TRIP REPORT INDEX
The highlight of our honeymoon was expected to be visiting the Maldives. Most of the resorts require a seaplane transfer and they do take advantage of that.
Wait, how much do I have to pay for a 30 minute seaplane transfer to the Conrad Maldives? Unfortunately, you cannot pay for the seaplane with points and miles. It is very expensive and was the single most expensive part of our 20 day Asia Honeymoon trip. I can hardly complain because almost the entire trip was paid for with miles and points.
We were excited about the seaplane – it was our first time taking off and landing on the water. Check out the video above to see for yourself.
They made us wait a couple hours until enough people arrived to fill up the plane. Waiting in the airport was not comfortable at all — it would have been nice if they brought us to the Conrad lounge sooner. I asked a few times and each time was told that we would be heading to the lounge shortly. The Conrad lounge was very nice which I will cover in a separate post. If you arrive in the evening, you may need to spend a night in Male like we did. It's also good to do in case there are some travel delays/problems (I would be more upset if I miss my first day at the Conrad).
Finally, it was time to board the seaplane. Everyone walked out on the docks and passed a few planes. I made sure to secure the iPhone… anything dropped could easily fall into the water. As we step into the plane, I noticed the interior of the seaplane was, well… very cramped. There is not much space or leg room…but we are heading to paradise right?
After 15 minutes of waiting on the water, the plane picked up speed and we were off. The view was INCREDIBLE as we passed over many islands. The propellers were loud but tolerable, even without the complimentary ear plugs. It was really warm inside so it's a good idea to put on those shorts before boarding (there is no air conditioning inside)! About 25 minutes later, the plane prepared to land in the water….lower lower and we landed. The landing was smoother than I expected. As the plane got closer to the Conrad resort welcome center, we could see the staff line up waiting to welcome us. The porters took all the bags and a few minutes later, we were welcomed by our host. So far we were impressed and ready to check out one of Hilton's most expensive properties in the world.
The views were amazing!
The view was amazing inside the plane too… what an interesting outfit:
- Cost: $560 (including 12% tax) as of Dec 2014 – per person, round trip. Ouch!
- Alternatives: There are a couple alternatives, neither are very good:
- Speedboat – I don't recommended this, however. For the bargain price of just $3,500 + 18% tax (for the entire boat, one way, as I understand), the resort will pick you up in Male. The trip takes 2.5 hours and may not be so pleasant if the conditions are rough.
- Fly to Maamigili – a domestic airport near the Conrad Resort. The flight from Male to Maamigili takes 20 minutes and the speedboat transfer will take another 25 to 40 minutes depending on weather conditions. The speedboat transfer costs $560 + tax, the same as the seaplane from Male. I understand the only reason to use this alternative is if you are arriving late and don't want to stay in Male.
- Departure times: Start at 6am -8am, however, you really have no control over when your flight will depart.
- Flight Time: 30 minutes
- Flight Distance: 90km from Male airport (Hulhule Island)
- Flight Times: 6am-4pm during daylight hours only
Why is the seaplane so expensive and why do the prices keep going up? Perhaps it's because there were two seaplane companies until 2013 when Blackstone bought both Seaplane companies and created a monopoly. Other resorts nearby charge almost half the price! The following prices are all round trip.
LUGGAGE WEIGHT LIMITS
The Maldivian Air Taxi company is very strict on weight limits and will charge you for excess baggage if you are over the weight limit. When we arrived at the airport, the Conrad rep took our bags and brought them to get weighed right away. If you plan to rebalance you stuff, do it before you hand the bags to the rep because there is no chance to do so later. Before we entered the Conrad Lounge we had to pay about $20 USD for excess baggage weight which I believe was for 1 way only.
- Luggage Allowance: 25 kg per person + 1 piece of hand luggage max 5 kg
- Maximum Weight: 32 kg per piece of luggage
- Maximum Size: Length 33cm, Width 20cm and Height 28cm
- Excess baggage fees: Every 1kg over will cost $5 USD + 12% tax each way
- Tripadivsor: price for seaplane transfer to Conrad Hotel
- Conrad Maldives – Upgrades, Seaplane, Honeymoon Benefits
- Advance Upgrade Options for My Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Stay and Seaplane Transfer Costs
Camera Equipment: These photos and videos were taken using my Canon S110 Digital Camera which has been replaced by the S120. I love it – it's tiny, fits in my pocket, and takes amazing pictures/videos!
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