Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives
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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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As far as tourism destinations, the Maldives is not only one of the more remote destinations for many vacationers from the West, but also relatively new to the tourism scene. While the infamous stilted luxury huts over the water, private island hotel resorts get all of the attention, there are some 1190 islands which make up the Maldives, and the local islands are starting to embrace tourism as well.

No matter if you are staying on a luxury private island or a local island, you will be either boarding a small seaplane or a ferry once you land at Male International Airport, as the airport itself is a small island, a quick 2 minute ferry ride to Male, the actual capital city, the smallest capital city on the world.

Our trip to the Maldives was quite last minute, and while the idea of a luxurious private island was of course appealing, the idea of spending out week long holiday on a local island had its perks as well, the least of which was the reduced cost. We chose the small (and we mean tiny) local island of Maafushi, a 90 minute ferry ride from Male. The island home to some 3,000 locals in an area you can walk around in about 15 minutes. Surrounded by white sandy beaches and picturesque scenes, Maafushi is as close to paradise as you can get.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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The locals are strict Muslims who has embraced the tourism trend and made Maafushi home to about 10 small boutique guest houses and bungalows. While alcohol is prohibited on the island, they have made nearly every amenity you would desire available to all guests who visit the island. With only sand roads, no stoplights and only bikes or golf carts to get around, Maafushi really is an island paradise. We chose to stay at the Beachwood Hotel, a 4 star boutique hotel located just a short 5 minute walk from the boat dock.

Remember that this is a Muslim island and while there isn’t much that will affect you there are a couple things to remember. Friday is a day of rest and few of the handful of shops will be open but most importantly the twice daily ferry to Male does not run on Fridays, so make sure to plan your travel around that. The Beachwood does have a speed boat you can reserve to pick you up from the airport, however the cost is quite a bit higher than the ferry. Also, the is no alcohol of any kind on the island, and although we mentioned it before it is worth repeating. Do not attempt to bring alcohol to the Maldives as it will be taken from you when you land. Also, be modest and respectful when on a local island.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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The locals have done gone out of their way to welcome you to their home so be extra respectful. The island has set up a long stretch of gorgeous beach with small barriers for tourists to swim in bikinis while making the locals feel comfortable as well.

The staff  of the Beachwood was incredibly warm, welcomed us with a drink, showed us around the property, which not only sports a spa and delicious restaurant but also a game room and Maafushi’s only swimming pool. The hotel, opened in late 2013, is shockingly up to date and hip, someone was clearly familiar with Pinterest before designing the hotel, and it shows. The rooms are simple but elegant, with everything you would need in a luxury hotel stay. The Beachwood brand, logo and colors are everywhere, making you feel you are in a larger resort while still in a boutique setting.

Free wireless internet is available in the rooms and throughout the hotel and while it might not be as fast as you are used to, you are seriously on an island in the absolute middle of nowhere, and were shocked there was internet at all. The restaurant serves delicious Western and Maldivian food, and while the Western food is better than we expected, you’ve got to try the Maldivian food, it is such a delicious cuisine. You’ll recognize items on the menu from other Asian countries, but all are done with a local flare, which is fantastic.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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Beachwood offers a complete list of local excursions as well, including night fishing, dolphin watching, island hopping, etc. We opted to try out the night fishing and it was so much fun that I went again a second night.

Maafushi is new to tourism and the Beachwood is as well, and it shows. While still working out all the kinks dealing with tourists from around the world, the Beachwood staff is learning how to run their hotel like any other luxury hotel and within no time at all we believe they will be the number 1 hotel on Maafushi as they have the perfect mix of location, luxury settings, a good restaurant and a dedicated staff.

The Maldives are truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever been, and one of the only places that really does look exactly like the postcards we’ve all seen. While one could easily spend a fortune on a visit to these beautiful islands, it really is easily possible to have a luxury stay for a very decent price, without giving up any of the comforts you are used to, and to do it all on a local island with more culture, color and vibrance than a secluded private resort. While we all dream of staying on a private island we are excited to book a return trip to the Maldives and think we know exactly where we’ll be staying, we miss Maafushi already – and I’ve got to go night fishing with the boys from Beachwood again!

Rooms start around $70 and include free internet, welcome drink, free transportation to and from ferry and breakfast.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

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