Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is found on Thilamaafushi Island (which is about 1 km long) and has white sandy beaches everywhere with shallow turquoise waters filled with wildlife.
It was my bucket list dream to stay in an Overwater Villa and it did not disappoint; the view from our villa was spectacular and it was the first time I enjoyed our room that much.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Booking
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was the hype when it opened; for the first time, an overwater villa in the Maldives would be accessible on points. At the time of booking, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was a category 5 hotel which meant that you could book a night for as low as 24,000 points for a Beach Villa during the down period.
Therefore, I scrambled to find some availability just before Marriott Bonvoy’s changes in March 2022, and I managed to secure a 5 nights stay in a Sunrise Overwater Villa (which is an upgrade from the basic Beach Villa) for 140,000 points just before the beginning of the high season in the Maldives. I wanted to make sure I would have the room I wished for and not rely on complementary upgrades to get it.
In addition, we had to pay $840 US for the seaplane transfer (two adults as children under 2 travel for free) while the $60 US estimated taxes was not billed upon checkout; instead, we paid $30 US of “Green Tax’.
We benefited from the 5th night free, which means you earn a 20% discount when using points.
At the time of booking, the cash rate for the same overwater villa at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was averaging $484 US. Once all the taxes and service charges were factored in, the stay would have been $3041 US + the same $840 US seaplane transfer.
If we calculate our points’ valuation with the current exchange rate ($3041 US = $4095; this excludes the seaplane transfer fees), we come up with this:
$4095 ÷ 140,000 points x 100 = 2.93 ¢
We did not consider the seaplane fee in our calculations since it had to be paid whether you go with cash or points. Therefore, utilizing points at this hotel is well above Milesopedia’s estimation.
While those rates are no longer available, it is still possible to exploit your points + annual free night’s award and top it up to stay at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, as villas are bookable for under 50,000 points per night. You can redeem your certificate for a room costing 35,000 points, but you can top off an additional 15,000 points if the property you’d like to secure is above 35,000 points.
You will get fantastic value since those certificates are given to Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card holders as you renew your cards.
Respectively, the cards’ fees cost $120 and $150, so for a family or a couple, each adult could subscribe for both cards and you’d rack up four annual free night’s awards you can use at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. If you do the math, a 4 nights’ stay will come to $570 + 56,000 points instead of $2,700 ($2,000 US).
Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points
The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points for free stays at more than 7,000 hotels around the world is with the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card (and the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card).
In addition to the great welcome bonus on both cards, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases and 5 points per dollar at Marriott locations. And each year, you’ll earn a certificate for one free hotel stay (35,000 point value) and 15 Elite nights toward your Marriott Bonvoy status.
Also, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points with any card from the American Express Membership Rewards Program, including the American Express Cobalt Card.
The American Express Cobalt Card allows you to collect 5 Membership Rewards per dollar spent at grocery stores and restaurants; this incorporates everything sold at supermarkets, including a handful of other gift cards.
Therefore, you can quickly get enough points to cover a stay at the Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, especially if you combine it with the annual free night’s awards.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Arrival & transfert
We were travelling independently in the Maldives, so as soon as we arrived at Velana International Airport, we were instructed to meet up with a Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa representative. He took us to the Trans Maldivian counter to check and weigh our luggage; while we always go carry-on only, we had to check them in because there were no overhead bins on the seaplane.
Then, the representative directed us to a lounge while we waited for our transfer to Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. The lounge seemed new as there were no signs or anything; it was a large area with cozy chairs and a small buffet.
We had the choice between a couple of cold sandwiches, pastries and the usual drinks (coffee, juice and water). Wi-Fi was available and very fast, which we loved since we had to wait about 90 minutes.
When our departure was nearing, we were transferred to another room next to the seaplane pier. Then, the Trans Maldivian employee took us to board the seaplane. Note that there are no assigned seats in the seaplane and the crew will let you know where to sit in order to balance the plane. In our case, we asked kindly to be positioned in the first row as we are AvGeek and it wasn’t a problem since the plane was full.
The flight time to Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was about 30 minutes and we flew direct. We really enjoyed the magnificent views of the atolls as we made our way to the resort.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Arrival Pavilion & Le Méridien Hub
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the whole reception squad and staff from the Kid’s Club as we were travelling with a child. Our son was given a turtle plush and a colouring book.
A personal representative was assigned to you for this process; we were escorted to the reception called the “Hub,” where welcome drinks were offered. The check-in process was smooth as we could chill in our sofas while our representative took care of the formalities.
This was also when I tried my luck in asking nicely if a Sunset Overwater Villa was available; I did not expect it because of my Marriott Bonvoy Silver Status, but I was happily surprised that they were able to upgrade us.
After everything was done, she drove us around Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa for a tour on a buggy before bringing us to our room. She gave us hers and the Reception’s WhatsApp details as they use it extensively to communicate on the island; the Wi-Fi is open and covers everywhere, so it was handy to have.
This is also where they brief you about meal plans and activities (more on that later).
You can make your reservation here if you are interested in a complimentary photo session at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. Bookings are required, so you should get to it as soon as possible, especially if you stay during the high season. The on-site photographer, Jana, was very talented and gave us wonderful candid pictures of our family.
Also, twice a week, a Twilight Cinema evening is held at the Hub where you can enjoy a movie; the hotel provides popcorn! Finally, there is a giant chessboard next to the reception.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Room Types
There are a total of 141 rooms at the Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa and I was given the opportunity to take a closer look at all of them during my stay:
- Beach Bungalow, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Lagoon access
- Beach Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Beach front access
- Beach Garden Pool Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Beach front access, Private Pool
- Beach Pool Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Beach front access, Private Pool
- Sunrise Overwater Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunrise view, Ocean view
- Sunset Overwater Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunset view, Ocean view
- Sunset Overwater Villa with Pool, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunset view, Ocean view, Private Pool
- Lagoon Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunrise view, Ocean view
- 2 Bedroom Beach Pool, 2 Bedroom Villa, 2 Kings, Beach front access
- 2 Bedroom Overwater Pool, 2 Bedroom Villa, 2 Kings, Ocean view
- Thilamaafushi Villa, 3 Bedroom Villa, 3 Kings
There are different variations of the Beach Villas at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, but it is mostly the inclusion of a garden or a pool and the type of beach access you have. The Beach Villas are mainly found on the island’s main road.
The Beach Villas are located firmly on the island, so the bathroom is a beautiful outdoor ensuite.
Then, you have the Overwater Villas situated on both ends of the island; the east and west sections are now fully open and receiving guests. Again, some villas with a hammock and some with private pools.
Only the 2-Bedroom Overwater Villa had both the pool and hammocks. This one was humongous; with the capacity to fit more beds, there is enough room for two families here. There is a spacious living area with a glass floor, the only kind to offer that.
Then comes the Lagoon Villas, depending on the tide, they can be overwater! Personally, I wouldn’t choose a Lagoon Villa because they always seem to be a bit more expensive than an Overwater Villa. I’d go straight for the latter since there are plenty of beaches on the island and there is no need to tease me with an “occasional overwater villa.”
Finally, the biggest villa you can get at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is the Thilamaafushi Villa which is a 3-bedroom villa located on the beach. The staff told me it’s very popular despite the fact that you can’t book this one with points and that the rate averages $3,800 US per night.
There is a rock barrier all around Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, so the water was very clear, calm and safe to snorkel in. Even if the Villas are close to each other, you feel pretty isolated as you can’t hear your neighbours; we only saw them when they were swimming out.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Sunset Overwater Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunset view, Ocean view
The room we chose at the Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was a Sunrise Overwater Villa, but we were upgraded to a Sunset Villa upon arrival; the Sunrise and Sunset villas are located on the same jetty (east and west); they are simply facing each other.
We had direct sea access, and the main snorkelling spots were easy to reach from our section; there are public ladders to descend into the lagoon, so you do not have to swim out very far if you decide to stay in a Beach Villa.
Upon entrance, you’re immediately struck by a Mediterranean feel and the bright turquoise water through the huge patio doors. The room was very spacious, with a king-size bed in the centre. There was also a couch at the foot of the bed, a small marble table and a big TV in the corner.
In addition, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa provided us with a crib for our toddler and we really appreciated this because it’s not all properties that allow families with young children in overwater villas.
The hotel also gave us a nice welcome gift as this trip was to celebrate our 5th anniversary.
Next to the entrance, a mini-bar is also refilled daily should you want to consume anything. There was a small paid selection of drinks and snacks, while tea, coffee and water bottles were complimentary. Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa has its own filtration system as they wish to be ecological; water bottles were all made out of glass and we did not see any single-use plastic during our stay.
Then, there was a make-up desk at our disposal and an enormous walk-in closet. There was more than enough space to store all our belongings out of sight which was nice since we were staying 5 nights. A huge mirror, safe, ironing board and beach bag could be found inside along with two adult-size life vests.
The walk-in closet was immensely large, so we quickly decided to make it a baby room so our son would be able to sleep in his own space while we were chilling on our deck. No need for a 2 Bedroom Villa when the gigantic closet does the job!
The toilet is in a separate section opposite the bathroom. The bathroom and shower are actually my favourite part of the villa’s interior; it was stunning and spacious. As I entered, I was just in awe of the design and style; there were two sinks at our disposal and then, through the glass doors, a rain shower head and the lovely bathtub overlooking the water.
The cherry on top was the view you could get when you bathed at sunset! Mesmerizing!
As for the deck, the highlight of these villas, it can be accessed from the main room or the bathroom. This was very convenient as we could get clean and dress after our dip without dripping water everywhere in the room.
Outside, there were two lounge chairs, a table and a hammock. Where we could enjoy our morning tea and coffee and there is room service available should you want to eat your breakfast with this magnificent view. It was absolute love.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Restaurants
There are 6 different places to eat at the Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa and more are under construction. Five of them are on the island, while their signature restaurant, Tabemasu, is on the water.
Reservations are required at Tabemasu and recommended for Velaa Bar & Grill if you are in the midst of the high season.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Turquoise
This is the main restaurant at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa and the only one where breakfast is served—buffet style. The Turquoise is a semi-open air place as you can even eat while having your feet in the sand on some tables.
Breakfast at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was excellent. There was a great variety of food, from pastries, omelettes, Chinese dishes, soups, etc. The Turquoise is open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., so you can either go for breakfast, brunch or for an early lunch; the staff closes buffet at 11 a.m., but you are welcome to stay seated and finish your plates.
When fresh croissants and “pain au chocolat” were out of the oven, staff passed through the hall, offering them before they were placed in the buffet. The almond croissants were among the best I’ve had.
In the evening, dinner is usually served buffet-style but in order to save on food waste during the low season, it can also be à la carte at Turquoise. As we were staying at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa just before the beginning of the high season, we got to experience both. If you wish to try out the buffet dinner at Turquoise, remember that there is a specific theme and cuisine for each night.
The à la carte menu was really good and the food was terrific. The tuna tataki starter was actually a plate of sashimi; it was so fresh and melting in the mouth that I went for it twice during our time at the hotel. As for my favourite main, it was the tenderloin served with foie gras and mashed potatoes with truffle oil. Simply delicious. Then, I tried the tiramisu and it was very satisfying (although it didn’t beat the one I had at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa a few days later).
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Velaa Bar & Grill
This restaurant’s specialty is its wooden oven and grill. They are open for lunch and dinner, so it’s perfect if you wish to eat a light pizza during the day while keeping an eye on your children in the pool. Indeed, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa’s main pool, kids pool and main beach face the Velaa Bar & Grill.
The evening dishes are also very good; I ended up going back and ordering the exact same thing twice, the slow-cooked short ribs because it was amazingly delicious.
You can also find Scoop here, an ice cream food truck, where they serve some original flavours (papaya-lime) among the classics.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Waves' Café
Waves’ Café is a small place to get a light snack or a healthy lunch. While people don’t come to Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa to work, I thought this was a nice and quiet area to settle with your laptop for a few hours.
You can find an art gallery and a souvenir shop in the same building called the Waves Lifestyle Hub. You can also buy sunscreen if you run out or a bathing suit if you forgot yours. The gym is just above Waves’ Café.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Riviera
Riviera is an adult-only “restaurant ’ and bar; it’s more of the latter as the dishes were mostly finger food and small portions. The setting is excellent for socializing, and a pool is next to it, so you can enjoy your drinks without children on the horizon. If your villa isn’t facing the sunset, this is an excellent place to see it!
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Latitude
In the Hub building, there was a small area known as Latitude where you could have coffee and some snacks such as muffins or cookies. It was very quiet during our stay; if you wished to order, you just had to ask reception to call someone to operate the coffee machine.
It was mostly where the seaplane pilots were hanging out before taking off from Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa as it had air conditioning and comfortable sofas.
This is also where the on-site photographer meets you for picture viewing or to discuss packages.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Tabemasu
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant specializes in Japanese and fusion cuisine. It is only open for dinner and there aren’t many tables available, so it is best to make reservations as soon as you get to the hotel if you wish to eat here.
There is an à la carte menu and an Omakase or tasting menu.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Meal Plans
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa offers a few meal plans of great value. To take advantage of them, you must sign up for them on arrival or at reception. Furthermore, there is a minimum of 4 nights required.
|Meal Plan||Inclusions||Price (per person per day)|
|Full Board Plus||
Meal plans are priced by the night stay and they can’t be downgraded or cancelled, but you can upgrade; the Half Board includes dinner and breakfast on the following day while the Full Board Plus starts at lunch. So for a 5 nights/6 days stay, you’d pay 5X the rate per person.
Water, juices and soft drinks served during meals are part of the plans.
Children between the age of 3 and 11 pay half price for the meal plans while toddlers under the age of 3 eat for free.
If you hold a Platinum Elite Status or above with Marriott Bonvoy, breakfast is complimentary and you will receive a credit for it when taking meal plans. Also, all of these charges will earn you at least 5 Marriott Bonvoy points when paying with a Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card or a Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card and even more depending on your status.
After looking at the À la carte options and comparing costs, the meal plans are worth it if you’re eating more than one course. The buffet dinner at Turquoise alone is priced at $90 US.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Other services & activities
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Pools
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa’s main pool is just in front of Velaa Bar & Grill, along with a kids’ pool. Both were overlooking the beach.
There were also several lounge chairs and sun umbrellas in the area.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Beach & Fauna
The entire island has white sandy beaches where you can swim or lie down and employees are cleaning the algae away a few times daily, so it’s always very pristine.
The main strip of sand is located next to Velaa Bar & Grill, but after trying a few spots, our favourite place was on the other side of the island on the left of the Spa, as it was deserted. That area is just behind the staff’s village so there are no villas and thus less traffic.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa’s snorkelling points are to the north of the island and the best way to explore the reef is to reach the far end of the west jetty and use one of the public ladders to enter the water. The seabed in that zone is actually very shallow; depending on the tide, you can even walk to the points of interest.
Once you’re there, you can swim effortlessly and get carried by the current all the way to Turquoise and Velaa Bar & Grill restaurants, so you’re at the perfect place for a quick bite after your time in the lagoon! Then, you can ask for a buggy to bring you back to your villa.
Even though snorkelling in Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa’s reef is pretty easy, always take proper precautions in wearing your life vest and advising the lifeguard that you are out in the water for extra security. Indeed, a lifeguard can be seen patrolling the island on his bike.
There is a large amount of wildlife within and around the Thilamaafushi lagoon and we didn’t feel the need to book an excursion to go further; we didn’t have to look very far for them, lots of them were wandering just underneath our Overwater Villa!
There is a biologist at the Marine Conservation Hub for those interested in learning more about the sea.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Greenhouse & Flora
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa has a greenhouse where they mainly grow their greens with a hydroponic system to become more self-sufficient. They still import the majority of the products they need, though. In addition, there is a boat supplying the resort about every ten days.
You can tour the Greenhouse; ask reception about the schedule.
All over the island, plenty of beautiful flowers and gardeners were tending them with great care.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Fitness Centre & Recreation
A gym, the Waves Lifestyle Hub, is at your disposal with all kinds of training material. It faces the sunset, so you can enjoy the beautiful view as you exercise.
There is also a personal coach service should you need to be accompanied in your workouts.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa also organize a handful of fitness activities ranging from Pilates to yoga session; there is a sunrise deck for the morning yoga session and the sunset yoga is done on Riviera Beach. There is plenty to do and the ones listed below are free:
- Stretch + Relax
- Core Workout
- Lower Body Workout
- Beach Volleyball
- Run + Burn
- Aqua Aerobics
- Boot Camp
- Sunset Yoga
- Sunrise Yoga
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Explore Spa
The resort’s Spa is on water and there’s a glass window on the floor where you can gaze at the seabed while you get pampered. There is a wide array of treatments, from massages to esthetic packages.
Bookings are required and it is wise to make reservations as soon as possible, especially during the high season.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Watersports Hub, Diving Centre & Excursions
For those who like to be active, there’s plenty to do at the Watersports Hub and the Diving Centre at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa; we are not usually the resort type, but there was so much to keep us occupied that we were always far from getting bored!
At the Watersports Hub, you can hire a jet ski or a fun tube, go out for a catamaran sailing or windsurfing and even organize speed boat excursions to amazing reefs such as Hanifaru Bay, a famous spot in the Maldives to swim with whale sharks and manta rays.
Snorkelling in the lagoon by yourself, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are complementary, but all other activities are chargeable:
- Jet Ski
- Fun Tubes
- Catamaran Sailing
- Speed Boat Excursion
- Dhoni Excursions
- Sandbank/Deserted Island Excursion
- Dive (2 tanks)
- Discover Scuba
- Big Game Fishing
- Casting + Popping Fishing
- Hardline Fishing
- Sunset Fishing
- Sunset Dolphin Cruise
- Night Snorkelling
- Manta Snorkelling
- Turtle Quest
- Dolphin Quest
- Snorkelling by Dhoni
- Local Island Tour
The Maldives is famous for its underwater richness, so you can expect a great time with any of these activities.
Both beginners and advanced PADI scuba diving courses, such as Nitrox or Rescue Diver, are available at the Dive Centre; this is also where you can pick up your complimentary snorkelling equipment for the duration of your stay at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. Should you need a different life vest size from the one provided in your villa or one for your child, you should address the Dive Centre’s team.
It is also possible to rent GoPro, a perception mask and a torch at the Dive Centre.
If you need any care, there is a clinic in front of the Watersports Hub where they mainly treat sunburns.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spaa - The Kids' Club
At Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, there is a complementary childcare service for kids between 4 and 12 at the Kids’ Club. The Kids’ Club is massive! The outdoor playground is one of the biggest I’ve seen and there are modules for all ages. Inside, there is a large climbing structure with a slide that leads outside and a giant ball pool.
There are plenty of planned activities to keep the children busy and tons of different toys and games. The staff was also very engaging with the kids. As for us, we enjoyed sitting down and having a mental break while our toddler was playing in a safe environment.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa’s Kids Club also offer a nanny service during and after opening hours; should you wish to grab a drink at Riviera or eat a romantic dinner at Tabemasu, they can babysit in your villa while your little ones are sleeping. The rate was $20 US per hour.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Overall experience
Our holiday at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa will forever be remembered because it was the first time we experienced an overwater villa stay and that was everything we hoped for. The hard product of Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa (the Villa, the hotel’s amenities, the Kids Club, etc.) was impressive and of incredible value, whether you pay for your room with points or with cash.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa has a buggy service available upon request. Still, every time we asked for one (even in advance), we often waited over half an hour before giving up and walking to where we wanted to go.
The food was also delicious. But the dining service was a bit off and the service often took forever; we were always in at 6:30 p.m., and the earliest we were out was at 9:30 p.m. With small children, it was overkill and very tiresome. On a few occasions, there were a few mix-ups with our orders.
We did mention this to the restaurant manager and the food director; while we noticed they tried to improve over our stay, we still found it deficient.
As for the buffet-style dinner at Turquoise, it was disappointing because the food was primarily cold even though we had been there from the opening. But the good thing about the buffet was that we could eat quickly; with a child, that is very important.
It was also inconsistent in room servicing; while we had daily cleaning, our neighbours didn’t, even though they asked for it. Similarly, we did not have the turndown service every day while the villa next to us did; we went out to dinner together at the same thing every night and made sure the “do not disturb” sign was off, so we didn’t understand why they would skip us on some nights.
Overall, the few negatives did not outweigh the positives during our stay at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa; we noticed only minor things. But I feel it was worth detailing as we were a bit deceived by it as this is a 5-star resort that has been running for over a year.
The hard product was stellar, but the soft product did not meet our expectations; we could see they were trying to offer the best; the staff was very friendly and always eager to help improve our vacation. However, the staff seem inexperienced, especially for table service.
Nevertheless, we left Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa with a smile on our faces and memories to cherish forever. We also loved the feeling of living in our little secluded paradise for a short period of time.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Bottom Line
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa was a steal before the abolishment of Marriott Bonvoy categories. Those with a Status with the possibility to upgrade upon availability could easily obtain an overwater villa in the Maldives for as low as 24,000 points per night (booking a Beach Villa and requesting an upgrade).
Even though the prices have changed, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is still very affordable if you are on a quest to experience an overwater villa stay on points.
As rooms at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa can still be booked below 50,000 points, a couple can get enough points for a 5 nights stay by each signing up for the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card as the 5th night is free when you redeem points!