The more time we spent in Addu Atoll in the Maldives, the more we began to realize that the development in the atoll had just begun. At the moment, the atoll is accessible by land and by sea. Getting to it however can be quite costly as it means a stop in Male and then a connecting flight to Gan island. While Gan island has an International airport, the only international airline to currently serve the route without a pitstop in Male is the Sri Lankan airlines. That however means a pitstop in Colombo. While it isn’t the most ideal, it means cheaper flights to less visited and pristine part of the Maldives for people in South East Asia. That however is due to change as a number of International airlines have plans to start up a route that connects the atoll. We spent a lot of time researching the different hotels in Addu atoll before we left. While budget has a total different meaning in the Maldives, finding affordable hotels in Addu atoll is not completely impossible.
The way I see it, the hotels in Addu atoll can be divided into different categories.
- Extremely Expensive luxury resorts
- Moderately Expensive luxury resorts
- Budget friendly hotels (sort off)
- Backpacker accommodation
EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE LUXURY RESORTS IN ADDU ATOLL
The Maldives is known for its ultra-luxury resorts. Quite often these resorts occupy a whole island. It is almost like visiting a different land. Addu atoll is no exception. The Villingili island in the Addu atoll is home to one such resort that is run by the Shangri-La group of hotels. It has everything of the picturesque adventures that the Maldives is advertised for.
At the moment there is just one extremely expensive luxury resort in Addu atoll. That is the Shangri-La resort which is located on the Villingili island in the Addu atoll. The prices for a room in this resort starts out at around 764 USD per night and depending on the type of room you choose it can go over 1000 USD per night. While we did not get to stay at the famous Shangri-La resort (it was way too expensive for our pocket!), we do know that the luxury resort is the stuff of dreams. The Shangri-La has everything from over water bungalows to fine dinning. It is luxury at its finest for those who can afford it.
We would like to point out that the fine print states a number of fees and taxes. These get added to your bill and may skew your budget a bit. The transportation to the island itself is $550 per person per stay.
MODERATELY EXPENSIVE LUXURY RESORTS IN ADDU ATOLL
While the Shangri-La is the epitome of luxury, there are a number of hotels in Addu atoll that offer the luxury resort feel without making as big a dent in your wallet as the Shangri-La. I’m talking about the Canareef resort on Hullhudhoo island and Equator village resort on Gan island.
Canareef resort is located on Hulhudhoo island which is a part of the Addu atoll. Again, this was another resort that was highly recommended by the locals but was out of our budget range. Unlike the Shangri-La resort, Canareef does not have overwater bungalows. It does have the whole luxury resort ambiance. The cost of a villa in this resort is approximately $150 per day. The price just goes upwards from there depending on what you choose. The resort does offer a shuttle service for visitors to the island which costs around $380 per person. Like all other hotels in Addu atoll, there are a certain number of taxes that get added to your bill in the end.
The one thing that Canareef does offer is access to its facilities for people who aren’t staying in the resort for a fee. Other hotels in Addu atoll will encourage you to visit the luxury resort on a day trip. The transport can get expensive. A better way to circumvent the system is to take the local ferry to the island and then the bus to the resort.
EQUATOR VILLAGE RESORT
The gorgeous landscape of Equator Village resort.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to spend a few days at the Equator Village resort. While we were browsing, our initial choice among the hotels in Addu atoll had been Wave Sound by 3S. Due to some maintenance issues, we were upgraded to Equator village which was a bonus for us. At first, we were given a room at the back of the hotel which wasn’t bad, but we had originally paid for a view of the sea. After telling the owner of Wave Sound this our room was moved.
The Equator village resort is the only one among the hotels in Addu atoll to be located on Gan island. It has access to a private reef, a pool, a few different indoor games, a restaurant and some water activities. While it gives you the whole feel of a luxury resort, it is far from the centre and every add on gets expensive. So, if you think you are going to head out of the resort because it is connected to the main islands to eat, you are mistaken. Unless you rent a bike like we did.
All in all, it was a great place to kick back and relax. You can take a dip and snorkel at any time you like. You can sit by the sea and listen to the waves while reading your book or you could just sunbathe. Whatever picks your fancy.
BUDGET FRIENDLY HOTELS IN ADDU ATOLL
One thing that we realized when booking hotels in Addu atoll and that was budget in one part of the world does not necessarily have the same meaning in another part of the world. If you aren’t looking for a luxury resort and don’t mind foregoing on amenities like a pool, then there are a few options that you may want to consider.
WAVE SOUND BY 3S
A view of the sunset from Wave Sound.
While we have not personally stayed at Wave Sound by 3S because we got upgraded to Equator Village resort, we did get a chance to visit the complex and even had a barbeque dinner there. Wave Sound is located on Maradhoo-Feydhoo island. The hotel provides free transportation to and fro from the airport which is a nice bonus.
Photographs show Wave Sound with a nice white sandy beach and the sea in front of it. It however is located on the outer side of the atoll which makes the reef prone to wave action and unsuitable for snorkelling. During certain seasons in the year, it is a great place to try surfing. The hotel is peaceful and situated close to the city, so you can walk to the local restaurants and grocery stores easily.
Cost wise, Wave Sound is much easier on the pocket. The cost of a single days stay in Wave Sound is around $90.
The gorgeous room inside of Pebbles Inn.
Since Wave Sound was not free on all the days of our stay in Addu Atoll, Maldives, we decided to shift for three days to Pebbles Inn which is located on Hithadhoo. The hotel has a great view of the Hithadhoo lagoon and is located on probably the most populated island in the Addu Atoll. That means that you are close to almost everything in the city.
The rooms in Pebbles Inn are nice and well done up. A quick tip is the higher floors have better views so try and snag one of those. The building doesn’t have an elevator though so if you can’t climb then it may not be a good alternative. That being said, the third floor has the best view and an amazing place to sun bathe.
The cost of a room in Pebbles Inn is around $75 per night. It does come with breakfast included.
BACKPACKER ACCOMMODATION IN ADDU ATOLL
One thing that the hotels in Addu atoll are missing is the backpacker friendly stays. There aren’t any hostels in the atoll as of yet, but I have a feeling given the increase in the number of flights to the island, that is about to change. A few cheaper options that range between $25-35 seem to be cropping up but I will not add them here as yet. We plan to explore these options on our next trip to the Maldives. We will update the list when we have more information to offer.