Arriving in Male, the first order of business is clearing immigration, which was a cluster bomb. It took us over an hour and had us regretting that we didn’t pay for the VIP service the airport offers to bypass the normal line. Our St. Regis representative told us it’s always a disaster, so I’d recommend the VIP service to anyone planning a trip to the Maldives and looking for a less stressful immigration experience.
After immigration, our carry-on bags were screened, and then we could retrieve our luggage. Right after customs, the St. Regis representative was there to collect us and guide us to the Trans Maldivian Airways counter to check us in for our seaplane transfer to the resort.
The St. Regis guide did the entire check-in process for us, which was nice after such a long journey to get to Male. They weighed each of our checked bags as well as our carry ons. Each passenger is allowed 30kg, and we tapped out at 58kg total. 😅 Note that both your carry-on and checked luggage are weighed in this calculation, which is very different from the norm.
From there, a driver was waiting for us in an SUV to take us to the lounge. They used to do this transfer in a Bentley, so this was quite the downgrade!
It took about 7 minutes to get from the commercial side of the airport to the seaplane terminal, which is on the other side of the airport. On the ride over, the representative shared a video from the butler that would be taking care of us during our stay and also took our dietary/food restrictions.
Once we arrived at the lounge, we were given cold towels and a menu of complimentary food and drink to enjoy while we waited for our seaplane. We had coffee and pastries as well as some sandwiches.
The lounge was very relaxing with several seating arrangements and two bathrooms, one of which had a shower. We waited here for about 45 minutes until our seaplane was ready for boarding.
In addition to the two of us, there were 6 other hotel guests also going to the St. Regis property on our seaplane transfer, and we were all driven in a Trans Maldivian Airways bus to the seaplane boarding area, which was about 3 minutes away. We were checked into our flight and told to wait in a very small, stuffy and crowded room until our seaplane was ready. After about 10 minutes our flight was called, and our group was escorted down the pier to our seaplane.
In total we had 12 passengers staying at 2 different resorts, so the seaplane made 1 stop 35 minutes after takeoff, and then stopped at the St. Regis 10 minutes after that for all the remaining passengers.
We had arrived on an especially windy day, so the water was rough, which meant the seaplane rocked back and forth quite a bit when it was in the water. Unfortunately, Jason gets seasick pretty easily, so this was a rough journey for him. Definitely pack dramamine if you get seasick easily.
The plane itself was small, old and not very comfortable, but something about getting to the resort this way felt charming. And remote. As soon as you leave Male it’s nothing but an endless blue ocean dotted with small islands.