Review: Le Méridien Maldives

Room Type
Sunset Overwater Villa
Elite Status
Marriott Platinum
Date
March 2022
Rating

After back-to-back overnight business class flights with Turkish Airlines, we arrived in the Maldives delirious but brimming with excitement about our upcoming five-night stay at Le Méridien Maldives. 

The journey to get there was long, but as we’d find out, it was well worth the effort.

In This Post

Le Méridien Maldives – Booking

In search of sunshine and rest, we decided to book a stay at Le Méridien Maldives to get away from it all. The last two years had been full of ups and downs, and since we were sitting on a tidy sum of Marriott Bonvoy points, we decided to splurge on a luxurious getaway. 

We selected Le Méridien Maldives due to its lower cost and the fact that it is a brand new resort. 

At the time, it was one of the most affordable ways to stay in an overwater villa using points. While the price has since increased due to Marriott’s unfortunate pivot to dynamic pricing, it’s still within the grasp of savvy Miles & Points enthusiasts.

Originally, we booked a Sunset Overwater Villa for 160,000 Bonvoy points and a US$750 co-pay fee.

We opted to rebook in a Sunrise Overwater Villa for 160,000 Bonvoy points and a lower US$250 co-pay fee, but wound up being upgraded to the Sunset Overwater Villa due to my Marriott Platinum Elite status.

We had the option to pay 210,000 points without an additional fee; however, the extra 50,000 points would have fallen below our valuation of 0.9 cents per point. Plus, we also wanted to ration points for our visit to Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai, Luxury Collection after our stay in the Maldives.

Cash rates for the Sunrise Overwater Villa run around US$400 per night in low season and around US$525 in high season. Under dynamic pricing with Bonvoy points, the nightly price appears to hover around 50,000 points per night plus a US$50 co-pay, or around 60,000 points with no co-pay, for a Sunrise Overwater Villa.

As with most properties in the Maldives, the seaplane transfer from and to Malé added an extra US$420 each.

We took advantage of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard’s No FX Fees feature to cover the cash costs for our stay. We were also working on the minimum spending requirement on the card, which is why we opted to pay with it, rather than with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card to earn Bonvoy points. 

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Le Méridien Maldives – Location

Located on Thilamaafushi Island in the Lhavyani Atoll, Le Méridien Maldives is around 123 kilometres north of Malé. 

Le Méridien Maldives opened in September 2021. During our stay, we found out that the resort has yet to fully open, as the east jetty hasn’t been used to host guests. 

Le Méridien Maldives – West jetty

The resort anticipates opening fully in the coming months, and will also construct a new restaurant closer to the east jetty.

On the resort, there are a total of 141 villas. 91 of these are overwater villas, and the remaining 50 are beach villas.

Being in the middle of the ocean, there aren’t many landmarks nearby, which is part of the charm of going to the Maldives. The neighbouring island, Olhuvelifushi, is visible from the eastern part of the resort, but otherwise, you’re surrounded by coral reefs, turquoise water, blue skies, and white sand.

Le Méridien Maldives – Arrival & Check-in

The last leg of our journey was a flight with Trans-Maldivian Airways from the seaport at Velana International Airport. The plane stopped at another resort to drop guests off before heading to Le Méridien Maldives, and the entire journey took around an hour.

Trans-Maldivian Airways seaplanes

After splashdown and stepping off the plane, we were welcomed by the resort’s staff. We were greeted by name and escorted to check-in while our bags were whisked away on a buggy.

Le Méridien Maldives – Arrival and welcome
Le Méridien Maldives – Seaplane jetty

The check-in experience at Le Méridien Hub building was very pleasant. The Hub is an open-air hut and serves as a shaded, cool, and comfortable area for arriving and departing guests. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Le Méridien Hub
Le Méridien Maldives – Le Méridien Hub
Le Méridien Maldives – Le Méridien Hub

After being shown to our seats, we were treated with a welcome drink of delicious fruit juice. In the heat, it was very refreshing, and we had a few minutes to savour our surroundings and our cold drink before our check-in agent returned to complete the formalities.

Le Méridien Maldives – Check-in seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Welcome beverages

This was my first experience having the staff come to us for check-in. After such a long journey, we were exhausted, so it was nice to not have to wait in line for our turn at the actual desk.

Check-in took a few minutes, as we went over options for meal plans, welcome gifts, activities, and payment details. In my communication with the hotel prior to the stay, they had proactively offered an upgrade to a Sunset Overwater Villa, which was again noted during check-in.

Le Méridien Maldives – Check-in desks

From the time we stepped off the seaplane to the time check-in was completed, I was thanked for my loyalty as a Platinum Elite member no fewer than five times. As I came to find out, Le Méridien Maldives is a very friendly resort for people with Marriott elite status.

Having finished our welcome drink and check-in, we were escorted to a buggy which drove us through the resort to our villa. We made a few quick stops, as the resort staff pointed out restaurants and other important landmarks along the way. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Main pathway
Le Méridien Maldives – West jetty

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa

After weaving through the main path, which was flanked by lush tropical plants, we arrived at Villa 214, located on the first section of the west jetty.

Le Méridien Maldives – Villa 214
Le Méridien Maldives – Villa 214

Upon entering, we were greeted with the pleasant aroma of LM002, Le Méridien’s signature scent. Our jaws dropped to the ground as we took stock of our surroundings.

The bedroom occupies the room immediately upon entering. Our king-sized bed, which was firm but comfortable, was decorated with local plants and flowers, congratulating us on our fifth wedding anniversary. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa bedroom
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa bed

On each side of the bed is a side table with universal plugins and a lamp built in to the bed frame, along with a telephone and an alarm clock on one side. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa side table

A flat-screen television sits atop a simple dresser next to the bed, while a grey chaise longue rests at the foot of the bed.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa TV and dresser
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa chaise longue

Against the wall beside the bed is an armchair, a lamp, and two small tables. We were delighted to find some fruits, chocolates, cheese, a hand-written note, and a bottle of chilled sparkling wine waiting for us.

On our last night, another bottle of sparkling wine and handwritten note magically appeared when we returned from dinner.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa seat and tables
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa welcome gifts

On this wall is one of two wall decorations in our room: a macramé hanging. The soft pink tone of the walls is the same hue as the sky during sunrise and sunset, which I found to be quite pleasant.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa macramé hanging

To the rear of the bedroom is a buffet that holds the Illy coffee machine, teas, kettle, minifridge, glassware, complimentary still and sparkling bottled water, glasses, snacks, and the minibar. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa buffet
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa buffet

The resort has a water treatment facility on site, and I appreciated having reusable glass bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles. One staff member noted that a resort that he previously worked at went through over 100,000 plastic bottles per week.

A small storage console sits behind the bed, and was useful for placing items as we got ready to leave throughout our stay.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa storage console

A turquoise shutter, which matches the colour of the water outside, opens up to the bathroom from the bedroom, and another shutter opens up to the closet.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa bedroom shutters
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa closet shutters

In the closet are an ironing board, a safe, hangers, life jackets, a small dresser, slippers, an extra bathrobe, a full-sized mirror, and fun flamingo wallpaper. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa closet
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa closet

There is a wooden make up table with mirrors and a lamp that sits between the main bathroom and the toilet.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa make up table

The toilet is located in a small room with traditional bowls on the wall. There is a bidet hose next to the toilet.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa toilet
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa restroom wall decorations

The bathroom is striking and spacious, with tiled walls behind the double sinks that give the villa some texture. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa double sinks

The bathroom is stocked with a bathrobe and extra beach towels. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa bathrobe
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa extra towels

Le Méridien Maldives offers Malin+Goetz toiletries in refillable containers, as well as a selection of amenities for use during our stay.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa Malin+Goetz toiletries

The rain shower and iconic bathtub are housed in a glass enclosure with sweeping views of the ocean. The glass is tinted from the outside and offers a moderate amount of privacy, but there are blinds that can be pulled down if you feel too exposed. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa rain shower
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa bathtub

During the day, the tinted glass is almost opaque from the outside, while in the evening, if you have a light on inside, it’s fairly transparent.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa tinted glass

I can gladly confirm that the bathtub is just as inviting as it looks, and is a wonderful place to watch the sunset. The rain shower had excellent water pressure, and cool showers after time in the scorching sun became part of our daily routine.

The most striking feature is the view from the private patio, which looks out over the impossibly blue water. The floor-to-ceiling windows slide open from the bedroom to enjoy the view, but must remain shut for the air conditioner to do its job.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa view
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa lounge chairs

On the patio are two chairs and a table, two lounge chairs, and a hammock. Neither of us spent too much time in the hammock, but I imagine it would be a comfortable place to read a book.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa table and hammock

We spent a lot of time on the patio sunbathing, reading, and enjoying a glass of sparkling wine or two.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa sparkling wine on the patio

Lastly, a ladder leads down into the warm water, which, similar to the bathtub, I can confirm is just as inviting as it looks. At the top of the ladder, there is a hose for washing off any sand before heading back into the villa.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa ladder to the ocean
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa view from ocean

There is a privacy wall on one side of the balcony. Unless someone was swimming around the reef, we didn’t see anyone else from our balcony.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa privacy wall
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa privacy wall

We spent plenty of time in the water and on the patio. We were treated to delightful sunrises and sunsets, and also did some stargazing, as the light pollution here is so minimal.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa sunrise view
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa sunrise view
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa sunset view

Overall, I thought the villa had a functional and tasteful layout. There was plenty of space for both of us, and we enjoyed every second of the novelty of our first overwater villa experience.

Rooms are serviced twice daily: once during the day (usually around lunch) and once during dinner. We found towels shaped into various animals each day, which was a nice touch. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa towel swans

Evening turndown service had our bed remade and the blinds around the bathtub drawn.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa turndown service
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunset Overwater Villa turndown service

Other Room Types

Aside from the Sunrise and Sunset Overwater Villas, there are several other room types available at Le Méridien Maldives. Due to the very high occupancy during our stay, we were unable to do any walkthroughs.

The Sunset Overwater Villa with Pool is identical to the Sunrise and Sunset Overwater Villas, except it has a larger patio with an infinity pool on it. These are very popular rooms, so scoring an upgrade might be difficult during high occupancy.

At the end of each Overwater Villa jetty, there are two Two-Bedroom Overwater Villas, which also feature a pool on the patio. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Two Bedroom Overwater Villa

Scattered throughout the resort in between to the jetties are Beach Bungalows and Beach Villas. These are a popular choice for families, and come in one- and two-bedroom formats. 

All have direct beach access, and some have private pools on site. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Beach Villas
Le Méridien Maldives – Beach Villas

We were offered to move to a Beach Villa during our stay at no cost; however, we decided to save that for our inevitable return in the future. It was a kind gesture from the resort, and had we stayed longer, we likely would have taken them up on the offer.

Located on the southeastern tip of the island, close to the east jetty, are several Lagoon Villas. These are interesting, in that during high tide, they’re Overwater Villas, and during low tide, they’re Beach Villas.

Le Méridien Maldives – Lagoon Villa

Le Méridien Maldives – Breakfast

Breakfast is served at Turquoise Restaurant, from 7am–11am. 

We selected breakfast as our Platinum Elite welcome amenity, and if this option is available to you, I would highly recommend choosing it.

All breakfast items are located inside an air conditioned room within the open-air restaurant. We alternated between eating on the beach and in the breezeway, depending on how hot it was outside.

Le Méridien Maldives – Breakfast buffet

Staff members take orders for coffee, tea, and preferred water (still or sparkling). 

The breakfast offering at Le Méridien Maldives is excellent. There are options to suit every taste, including: local curries, Asian cuisines, Western breakfast options, a cooked-to-order egg station, a soup station (the broth changes daily), a dumpling station, cold cuts and cheeses, pastries, Maldivian fried dough, fresh fruit, yoghurt, fresh fruit juices, and options specifically for children. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast every day. In particular, I appreciated how the available choices were different each day, while staying within the same broad category of food type. 

We wound up returning to Turquoise for lunch and dinner in the first days of our stay, which is covered in detail below.

Le Méridien Maldives – Dining

At Le Méridien Maldives, there is a total of six restaurants. A seventh will be added in the near future, once the resort fully opens. 

A few weeks before we left, I looked into the available meal plans and did a cost comparison with ordering à la carte at each restaurant. 

Bringing alcohol into the country is prohibited, so we also factored in the cost of alcohol, since toting our own duty free wasn’t an option.

In the end, we wound up going with a meal plan. This was both for the purposes of this review and because we an extra $1,000 that we had budgeted for PCR testing on the trip, which was no longer required by the time of travel.

Meal Plans

There are three meal plans available: Half Board, Full Board Plus, and All Inclusive. The prices are discounted by $30 if you have access to free breakfast through your elite status, and the below prices reflect the discounted rates.

Half Board, which costs US$65 per person per day (US$32.50 for children aged 3–11), gives you dinner from a three-course menu at Turquoise and Velaa Bar and Grill, or a daily themed buffet dinner at Turquoise. It does not include alcohol or soft drinks.

Full Board Plus, which costs US$125 per person per day (US$62.50 for children aged 3–11), gives you lunch at Turquoise or a two course meal at Velaa Bar and Grill, and dinner from a three-course menu at Turquoise and Velaa Bar and Grill. It includes alcohol from a modified menu that may be consumed only during meal times. 

For example, if you want to have a beer during the afternoon when you’re by the pool, you’d have to pay extra (US$11) for that.

The All Inclusive meal plan, which costs US$200 per person per day (US$100 for children aged 3–11), gives you lunch and dinner from the all inclusive menu at any restaurant. It includes alcohol from a larger list than the Full Board Plus plan, including the minibar in your room (excluding sparkling wine) which is restocked daily, and you can order drinks at any time throughout the day. 

Note that you can upgrade your meal plan during your stay, but you can’t downgrade it.

We opted to do Full Board Plus for the first three days of our trip, and All Inclusive for the last two. In retrospect, we could have done Half Board on the first day, as we were fatigued from travelling and weren’t particularly hungry (but ate anyway).

We decided to exhaust our options at Turquoise and Velaa Bar and Grill with the Full Board Plus plan, and then move onto the other restaurants, including the Japanese restaurant Tabemasu and the adults-only bar Riviera, for the latter part of our stay. We had a late departure from the hotel, but our drinks were still included on check-out day.

Le Méridien Maldives – Cocktails

If you plan on drinking alcohol, then consider the Full Board Plus or All Inclusive plans, as paying à la carte for booze will quickly rack up a large bill. Beers cost US$11, a glass of wine starts at US$13, and cocktails start at US$18.

Generally speaking, the food was excellent, and it was great to have a variety of restaurants to choose from during our stay. 

We were consistently full throughout the trip, and wound up having an early breakfast so we’d be hungry by lunchtime, and then again ready for another feast in the late evening.

Be sure to make reservations as soon as you arrive, especially at Velaa Bar and Grill and Tabemasu, as they tend to book up well in advance. We booked dinner reservations for the whole week on our first day.

Turquoise

Turquoise is Le Méridien Maldives’s hub restaurant. It is located right on the beach, immediately next to Velaa Bar and Grill, and offers a range of cuisines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Le Méridien Maldives – Turquoise Restaurant seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Turquoise Restaurant seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Turquoise Restaurant beach seating

The current menu may be found here.

We had both lunch and dinner here. 

Mifzal, a Maldivian staff member whom we befriended during our stay, suggested the tandoori sampler, as it was his favourite dish. It was also one of my favourite dishes from the week, and I savoured each flavourful bite of the lamb, murgh tikka angara (chicken), malabar tiger prawns, and ajwaini fish tikka. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Tandoori sampler at Turquoise

Ashley enjoyed the wagyu beef yaki udon bowl, along with a refreshing chilled green gazpacho as an appetizer. The lychee sphere dessert was also excellent.

Each evening, there is a buffet available. On the night when we ate here, the theme was Spice Trail Curries, which featured curries from all over the Asian world. I sampled beef rangtang, calamari curry, Thai red curry, and palak paneer, which were delightful.

We thoroughly enjoyed the buffet, and I’d recommend giving it a try. The theme for each night is planned out in advance, so you can plan your dining accordingly if you tend to shy away from a particular cuisine.

Velaa Bar & Grill

Velaa Bar & Grill is located next door to Turquoise on the resort’s main beach. It is also an open air restaurant open for lunch and dinner, with shaded and sunny seating options available.

Le Méridien Maldives – Velaa Bar & Grill seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Velaa Bar & Grill seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Velaa Bar & Grill poolside seating

The current menu may be found here

Velaa Bar & Grill is known for its grilled seafood and meats, as well as pizzas from its wood-fired oven. Dinner reservations are particularly busy here, so be sure to book well in advance.

Le Méridien Maldives – Velaa Bar & Grill wood-fired oven

I had lunch and dinner here, while my wife Ashley just had lunch. She got sunburnt and wanted to rest, so I had a romantic dinner for one by the pool instead. 😉

Both meals were excellent.  For lunch, I enjoyed Maryland blue crab cakes and a togarashi spiced soft shell crab burger, while Ashley opted for seafood ceviche and fish tacos. We split a dessert of red velvet sponge cake and lemon panna cotta, which were excellent.

For dinner, I ordered the lobster bisque, rack of lamb, and grilled pineapple carpaccio. The soup, while not terrible, was my least favourite dish of the trip, but the lamb and dessert were outstanding.

Waves Café

Located in Wave Lifestyle Hub, which also houses the gym, gift shop, and artist centre, Waves Café offers lighter, healthy options, fresh smoothies, and desserts for lunch only. There are fancy coffee-based beverages available, but they aren’t included in any of the meal plans.

Le Méridien Maldives – Waves Café 
Le Méridien Maldives – Waves Café desserts
Le Méridien Maldives – Waves Café seating

The current menu may be found here.

We came here for a leisurely lunch and sat outside. There are a number of board games available here, and we enjoyed one while sipping on our smoothies and eating our bowls in the shade, looking out at the ocean.

Le Méridien Maldives – Waves Café outdoor seating

Ashley chose the grilled teriyaki tofu soba bowl, while I chose the Maldivian spiced chicken burrito bowl. After three days of feasting, it was nice to have a lighter lunch, and we decided to split a dessert instead of ordering one each.

Riviera

Located on the south-west edge of the island, Riviera is a casual adults-only establishment open for lunch, dinner, and drinks.

It’s a great spot to relax, as you can alternate between dips and shade, all the while enjoying cold drinks and snacks.

Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera pool

The current menu can be found here

The circular bar is surrounded with bar seats, and there is a multitude of other seats available. There is a wading pool on a patio close to the bar, as well as lounge chairs with umbrellas and covered beds as other seating options. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera bar seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera beach seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera beach seating

We ate lunch here one day and stopped by for a couple of drinks on one of the scorching hot afternoons. The bartender was friendly, and we enjoyed both our cocktails and the selection of sparkling wine.

Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera cocktails

For lunch, we ordered wagyu beef sliders, ceviche, vegetable summer rolls, and gambas al ajillo shrimp. These delicious tapas were followed by freshly scooped gelato and petit four desserts.

Bring a book and snag one of the lounge chairs for a perfect, relaxing afternoon. 

Latitude

Latitude is attached to the check-in area in the Hub building, open for brunch and lunch.

As I walked in to check it out, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of that “Latitude Attitude,” but instead I found a living room-type environment and fancy coffee machines instead of a great deal on Aeroplan.

Le Méridien Maldives – Latitude seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Latitude seating

The current menu can be found here.

We didn’t wind up ordering anything from here. It doesn’t open until 10am, and by that time, I was sufficiently caffeinated for the day. 

We hung out here on our check out day as we waited for our seaplane to arrive. If you are a coffee fanatic, I imagine that your best bet under the All Inclusive Plan would be to order from here. 

Tabemasu

Tabemasu, the resort’s Japanese restaurant, is located on the north-western edge of Le Méridien Maldives, right at the beach-side edge of the west jetty. It is open for dinner only.

Le Méridien Maldives – Tabemasu

The current menu can be found here.

Ashley and I both thoroughly enjoy Japanese cuisine, so we were delighted to have dinner here on our last two nights. Again, be sure to make reservations far in advance, as there are limited seats available and lots of demand.

Le Méridien Maldives – Tabemasu entrance
Le Méridien Maldives – Tabemasu exterior

There are indoor and outdoor seats available. We opted to dine in the covered outdoor hut each night, as there was a cool breeze coming off the water. We also enjoyed watching the crabs playing on the beach.

Le Méridien Maldives – Tabemasu outdoor seating pavilion

Inside, there is a trendy, modern bar counter, teppanyaki station (not included in the All Inclusive meal plan), and other table settings.

Le Méridien Maldives – Tabemasu interior seating
Le Méridien Maldives – Tabemasu bar

Our meals were memorable due to the quality of the dishes, the service, and the setting. Of all restaurants at Le Meridien Maldives, Tabemasu was our favourite.

While everything was delicious, the marinated hamachi, sashimi combination for two, roasted chicken on cedar wood (tsubu-miso gako hinadori no oven yaki), and kamameshi truffle risotto stand out.

Le Méridien Maldives – Pool and Beach

The resort’s main pool is located at Velaa Bar & Grill. There is also a small wading pool for children, as well as beach lounge chairs with umbrellas nearby. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Pool
Le Méridien Maldives – Pool
Le Méridien Maldives – Pool

The entire island is a beach, so finding some prime real estate isn’t difficult. It’s safe to swim around, and there are lifejackets included in each room.

Le Méridien Maldives – Main beach
Le Méridien Maldives – Northeast beach

Le Méridien Maldives – Activities

Prior to our trip, I wasn’t sure how well I’d do on a small island for six days, as after a couple of days, I thought I’d have run out of things to do. That was definitely not the case.

Snorkelling

Le Méridien Maldives is surrounded by a coral reef and crystal clear water, making it ideal for snorkelling.

Le Méridien Maldives – Coral reef

Snorkelling equipment is provided free of charge from the Dive Centre, located on the jetty where the seaplane docks. You can keep it for the entirety of your stay.

We wound up snorkelling every day, and discovered hundreds of colourful fish. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Coral reef

From the ladder on our patio, we did casual swims and found clusters of fish. There is also a ladder down to the ocean on the second turn of the jetty, from where you can swim out to the house reef to discover even more.

There are buoys that mark where to swim to, and the staff are all happy to point out where to go. The current was strong on the day that we tried swimming out to the reef, and since we were tired from our snorkel trip that morning, we headed back to the beach.

Dive centre

Le Méridien Maldives has a dive centre that offers snorkelling and scuba diving excursions to guests. All excursions cost extra, but ours wound up being one of the highlights from the trip.

Le Méridien Maldives – Dive centre exterior

Rather than scuba diving, we chose to do the Turtle Quest, which cost US$125 each. After a brief presentation about sea turtles from the resort’s on-site marine biologist, we headed out on a boat with several other groups to a reef around 15 minutes away to swim for around two and a half hours.

Le Méridien Maldives – Dive centre interior

While the other groups (who I believe did the snorkelling excursion, which was cheaper than the Turtle Quest) weren’t in the presentation, we mostly wound up swimming together. So, if you opt for the cheaper snorkelling excursion, there’s a chance that you’ll get to swim with turtles, too.

Le Méridien Maldives – Snorkelling excursion boat

Despite me being relatively terrified of and uncomfortable in the ocean, this wound up being one of the highlights of the trip. 

As we swam through reefs teeming with thousands of colourful fish, anyone on the surface could hear a chorus of “Wows!” through my snorkel during our swim, although they may have heard more colourful words when some baby sharks swam by.

Aside from countless fish, a manta ray, stingrays, and baby sharks, we had the pleasure of swimming with two majestic turtles. It was well worth the cost of the excursion, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Le Méridien Maldives – Majestic Hawksbill sea turtle

Watersports Hub

Just down the beach from Velaa Bar & Grill is the Watersports Hub. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Watersports Hub
Le Méridien Maldives – Watersports Hub sign

Here, you can choose to participate in a variety of aquatic adventures, including wakeboarding, water skiing, jetskiing, kayaking, windsurfing, tubing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The stand-up paddleboards are free to use, while everything else incurs a fee.

Le Méridien Maldives – Watersports Hub stand-up paddleboards & kayaks
Le Méridien Maldives – Aptly named boat

Other activities

Le Méridien Maldives provides a host of free and paid activities at the resort. These range from cooking classes to cocktail lessons and from sunrise yoga to core workouts.

We woke up early for sunrise yoga one day, which was a wonderful way to start the day, and it didn’t cost us anything. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunrise yoga platform
Le Méridien Maldives – Sunrise yoga platform

Along the main beach, close to Turquoise and Velaa Bar & Grill, are beach tennis and beach volleyball nets. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Beach tennis net

On some nights, an open-air movie is played close to the check-in building. There is also a gigantic chess board in this area.

Le Méridien Maldives – Outdoor movie screen
Le Méridien Maldives – Gigantic chess board

Lastly, anyone with elite status is invited to a once-weekly cocktail hour, where the resort’s manager and other staff mingle with guests. The goal is to learn about what’s going well with your stay, and any suggestions you have that would make it even better.

Le Méridien Maldives – Other Facilities

Gym

The gym is located on the top floor of Waves Lifestyle Hub, close to the west jetty. It is well-appointed with brand new cardio and bodybuilding equipment, as well as friendly staff. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Gym
Le Méridien Maldives – Gym
Le Méridien Maldives – Gym
Le Méridien Maldives – Gym

We came to the gym every morning to work out and watch the sunrise as waves crash against the nearby shore.

Greenhouse

On the eastern flank of Le Méridien Maldives, there is a large greenhouse and chef’s garden. We searched around and found lettuce, bok choy, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs growing. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Greenhouse
Le Méridien Maldives – Greenhouse

While it’s a small drop in the bucket compared to all the other food that must be brought in, I like the idea and appreciate the intention behind it.

The greenhouse aligns with Le Méridien’s overall sustainability goals. I try to be mindful of the amount of waste produced while on holiday, and I appreciated the resort’s many efforts to remove single-use items and garbage.

Solar panels power the entirety of the resort during the day, and once energy storage becomes available, the resort won’t have to rely on generators for power during the night.

Flora and Fauna

Around the resort, there are unique plants and animals both on land and in the water. The island is covered with tropical flowers, plants, and palm trees.

Le Méridien Maldives – Hibiscus flower
Le Méridien Maldives – Trees

We spent a lot of time observing the heron, who seemed to follow us around during our stay. Lizards, crabs, birds, and stingrays weren’t hard to spot, either.

Le Méridien Maldives – Grey heron
Le Méridien Maldives – Stalk-eyed ghost crab
Le Méridien Maldives – Stingray

Explore Spa

The Explore Spa is located on the southern edge of the island. It offers a range of spa treatments and is housed in a visually appealing villa.

Le Méridien Maldives – Explore Spa
Le Méridien Maldives – Explore Spa

Neither of us booked anything at the spa.

Family Zone

During our visit, we noticed many families at the resort, which was nice to see. There is a space dedicated for kids, called the Family Zone, located midway through the island on the southern edge.

Le Méridien Maldives – Family Zone

There is an outdoor and indoor playground, and parents can book supervision from resort staff for their children for a few hours, should they wish to have a drink at Riviera or relax.

Le Méridien Maldives – Family Zone

Clinic

The medical clinic is a small hut just off of the main trail. Since opening, the majority of visits have likely been for PCR tests, but as testing requirements are removed in many countries, it will likely be much less busy.

Le Méridien Maldives – Clinic

Resort staff told me that the most frequent medical issue is sunburns, which isn’t surprising.

Gift shop

In the same room as Waves Café in the Waves Lifestyle Hub, there is a small gift shop that sells knick knacks, souvenirs, sunscreen, and clothing. 

Le Méridien Maldives – Gift shop

Next door to the gift shop is an art room, where the resort’s resident artist sells paintings and offers art lessons. His work was impressive, and we noticed a few travellers taking prints as mementos as they departed.

Le Méridien Maldives – Artist’s paintings

Le Méridien Maldives – Staff & Service

A final word in this review goes to the staff and service at Le Méridien Maldives. We were thoroughly impressed with all resort staff from the beginning to the end of our stay. 

I’d describe the overall service culture at Le Méridien Maldives as polished, warm, and approachable. There didn’t seem to be an expectation of tipping, but we did anyway, which was always well received.

At the restaurants, staff called us by name and were happy to engage in conversation. By mandate, 45% of staff at resorts in the Maldives have to be Maldivian, so it was nice to learn about what it’s like to live in the Maldives from locals.

Other staff members came from all over the world. They all seemed happy and well looked after, which shows in their demeanour and friendly attitudes.

Staff live on site for months at a time before leaving for an extended break. Local Maldivians head back to their home atoll more often. 

There is a separate football field, gym, TV room, games room, basketball court, and badminton court for staff use. Management arranges for transportation to a neighbouring local island, should a staff member want a change in scenery for the day.

Conclusion

Our five-night stay in a Sunset Overwater Villa at Le Méridien Maldives was fantastic. While we were excited about the next leg of our journey, we could have gladly spent another week here.

Aside from the delicious food and stunning surroundings, we also enjoyed the surprises that we weren’t expecting: stargazing, watching the sunrise in the gym, snorkeling with turtles, and feeling fully relaxed and rejuvenated at the end of our stay. It was the perfect holiday that came at a perfect time.

Booking on points, we got excellent value from our stay, even when the seaplane transfer and meal plans are taken into consideration. 

I felt appreciated and well looked after as a Platinum Elite member, which I can’t say is the case most of the time in North American hotels.

We’ve already started planning our next trip, which we think will be in a couple of years. 

I imagine many of you have upcoming bookings at Le Méridien Maldives, so if there’s anything I missed, please comment below or get in touch.

23 Comments
  1. Paul

    Hey TJ great review! I have one question. When you upgraded your meal plan did you pay with points or cash/card? I like the flexibility of choosing to upgrade later, but I’d like to use just my points. Thanks!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      We paid with cash. I don’t think there’s an option to cover meal costs with points.

  2. Rob

    Am I the only one that thinks these prices are outrageous! I mean the equivalent of $500 cdn per day for just the meals and drinks, I can think of many exotic beach destinations for way cheaper than that. Maldives is very excotic no doubt, but not the best value for the buck IMO.

  3. Ken

    How is the mosquito situation on the island? My wife and I stayed at the Dusit Thani resort in the Maldives and there wasn’t a mosquito in sight much to our surprise and pleasure!

  4. Rebecca

    Great review; I feel like booking immediately. I’m curious if you know of a similar location/experience that we could bring our kids to that would not require the extra flight/cost? I like the quiet, relaxed feel but don’t necessarily need the over the water experience; beach-front with safe, easy access to snorkelling would be great.

    1. Laryngospasm

      Consider French Polynesia, stay at a local Pensione. Its still a bit of a flight (but shorter) via LAX or SFO but great options to dive or snorkel. I’ve been to both Maldives and FP and they are differences in marine life (more pelagics in FP) but the sense of isolation and beauty where the day is spent watching a crab run, or looking for turtles is common. Doing both this year, I find that you don’t necessarily need the OW experience to garner the peace and serenity of the location. So look for local options, lots in the Maldives too (try google Furidhoo or Thinadhoo) where you don’t need the sea plane and is a cheaper speedboat ride away. One thing I think needs to be noted is the proper isolation of these locations. EVERYTHING is essentially flown or shipped in and fresh water is such a precious commodity. Hence the higher prices. The review shows just how luxurious this Meridien is.

  5. KJ

    Great review, I’m staying here next week! How does the tipping work? Do you give them a tip every time a service was provided or do you tip at the end of your trip?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      There’s an option to tip on the bill, but I’m sure you can just tip at the end of your trip if you want.

  6. WT

    Amazeballs!!! Thx for the review!!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Thank you!

  7. Tyler

    For those that haven’t booked, given the new points rate I’d give the Westin a serious look since Le Meridian is nearly the same number of points on many dates. The villas are nicer, larger, and the base beach villa has a plunge pool. I thoroughly enjoyed both properties, but if they were priced the same I personally would go Westin, though I think LME is cheaper to cash upgrade to an OWV. Westin accepts SNAs for OWV and OWV with pool last I checked…

    1. The Reverend

      Are you able to sprinkle spices on it?

  8. MDG

    This is a great review – I’m looking to go here next year. Can you provide a bit more detail on how the seaplane works? How do you arrange it once booked? etc.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      The resort will get in touch and ask about your flight arrival and departure details. They ship that off to the airline, who will confirm the information on the day of travel. A representative from the resort will meet you at the airport and escort you to a lounge in the seaplane terminal, and from there, you’re in Trans-Maldivian Airways’s hands.

      We waited around 2.5 hours from the time of arrival until our flight left.

  9. Bradley S.

    Thanks for the great review TJ! Kate and I can’t wait for our destination wedding in December.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      You’re sure to have a great time!

    2. Maritza C. Roman-Pavajeau

      I was there in March and it is the best ask for Sajeed in Reservations he is an amazing Helper

  10. Dave Empringham TOR

    Great review T.J. My wife and I have booked the end of November and can’t wait.

    Sometimes with my work, I need to stay in touch, do you have any info on Internet or cell service at the Meridien?

    Thanks

    1. JamesBock

      Excellent Internet by the time being there and the tower communication is on the island

      1. Dave Empringham TOR

        Thanks James…..much appreciated

  11. Anwar

    Another amazing review. Many thanks TJ 🙂

  12. Mark C

    Thank you. Great review!

  13. JamesBock

    We were there April 6th-11th and this is exactly like you said. We had a villa on the beach and we adored the bathroom with 2 showers outside. We booked again for January. I also got a sunburn in 15 minutes and the doctor ( really kind ) didn’t charge me anything for the examination and medication. Good article!

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