If you guys have been following along on instagram, you know that my fiancé Kenny and I decided to honeymoon in the Maldives, and when our wedding was postponed due to COVID-19 for the second time, we made the (easy) decision to not cancel our honeymoon again, but to head to the Maldives anyway! We had the best time celebrating our (pre)honeymoon, and enjoyed every second of this perfect paradise. Traveling to the Maldives during the pandemic felt SUPER safe, since testing was required 96 hours prior to your trip to the Maldives, and a negative PCR test is required between resorts, too. It’s also just a destination where it is naturally easy to isolate from others and have your own space, since you really don’t even need to leave your overwater bungalow if you don’t want to. And, since every resort is a private island, and all staff lives on the islands and is tested often as well, guests don’t even wear masks at the resort at all, which, in my opinion, is nice. It’s a true break from reality, and you feel a million miles from home (which, if you’re traveling to the Maldives from the United States, you are! haha).
Okay so let’s get to why you’re reading this post in the first place – the most popular question on the Maldives in my DM’s! Which resort is best to stay in the Maldives? Which one did I like better? How did the St. Regis Vommuli and the Six Senses Laamu compare to the resorts I stayed my last trip to the Maldives? What are the main differences between different resorts in the Maldives? What’s better for honeymooners and couples? What’s better for families and groups? What does a trip to the St. Regis or Six Senses actually cost?
Here we go.
Deserted island castaway vibes. Eco-luxe. A one-of-a-kind emphasis on sustainable luxury.
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1300 sq. feet. Private overwater infinity pool. Panoramic view of the Indian Ocean’s unforgettable endless blues.
My favorite part about the overwater bungalow at the Six Senses: You can dive right into the ocean from your swoon-worthy bungalow deck, and the views of the pool at sunrise were out of this world. Did I mention a glass bottom bath-tub and a dreamy outdoor shower (Kenny’s absolute favorite thing in the world!)
The room is also stocked with a pillow menu to choose your perfect pillow (seriously, a PILLOW MENU, now that’s luxury), a butler, and every amenity you could ever wish for.
The cost of the Six Senses Maldives
Room rates are $1,700 – $2600 a night (February), around $1500- $2,000 (in April), and around $1700- $2300 a night (November 2021). The lower range are room options without pools which are cheaper than the overwater bungalows with pools.
The cost of food:
full board – includes lunch and dinner
⁃ $222 per adult, $111 per child
half board – includes dinner
⁃ $148 per adult, $74 per child
breakfast is included in all rates
The cost of the airport transfer at the Six Senses Laamu
⁃ $725 per adult, $560 per child (not a seaplane, a domestic transfer)
Which room did we stay in?
Our room category at the Six Senses Laamu was the Overwater Villa with Pool. We were at the end of a jetty, with sunrise views. You can also have sunset views. It was unbelievable to be at the end of the jetty because you have the most privacy.
The staff at Six Senses Laamu feel more like friends than staff. They are jovial and fun, and we loved them so much!! They really make you feel like Laamu is your home, which is why we came back for a second time! That being said, it is a very different feel than the more traditional luxury service of somewhere like a St. Regis – so it attracts a different clientele! I would say Six Senses is more approachable luxury, and St. Regis more opulence.
Six Senses Laamu is known for its snorkeling and diving, especially. The wildlife is so beautiful here. You can really tell their emphasis on sustainability shows in the abundance of wildlife all around. We had amazing snorkeling (turtles, fish, sharks!) right outside of our bungalow.
If you’re a beginner surfer (or have never surfed before) it’s a great place to start and learn surfing, too.
We LOVED the sunset dolphin cruise and highly recommend it! We saw so many dolphins. But even if you don’t get lucky, it’s a fun sunset cruise with champagne.
A couples massage at the spa is a must – it’s super serene and jungley – one of the best massages of my life!
Another must-do for couples on their honeymoon in the Maldives if you like wine is the sommelier wine pairing dinner, which we LOVED, located in their overwater wine cellar (so cool).
And our absolute favorite activity was a day at a sand bank ($200 per couple for a few hours on a private sandbank off of the resort, complete with a cooler, umbrella, and lounge chairs set up for you. This was a DREAM!
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The food + drink
The food and drinks at the Six Senses Laamu are very, very good – you definitely won’t be disappointed here. We were half board which means breakfast and dinners are included in our room rate (not including alcohol, there’s no all-inclusive option here or at the St. Regis). We especially loved the cocktails at Sip Sip Bar (they have an amazing bartender there and he was whipping up some of Kenny’s favorite pina coladas EVER!), and they had a great selection of wine, too (though at a 5-6X markup, which is typical in the Maldives). Food highlights were definitely the sommelier dinner (extra cost), the lobster BBQ, the treehouse-style LEAF restaurant, the sushi restaurant, as well as the breakfast buffet – which is incredible!! Although I will say that the breakfast buffet used to have sushi and dim sum as well as a full cheese and charcuterie room and it no longer does! Maybe a pandemic thing, hopefully they bring it back soon! That was a highlight!
I also LOVED that in half-board you could choose to have breakfast in your villa, too (at no extra cost). Mornings like this? Yes please.
The island of Laamu is bigger than most resort islands, making it fun to explore and get around. There’s even their own gardens where they sustainably plant all their own herbs and vegetables to use in the food. I highly recommend taking the sustainability tour if you have time to learn more about how they keep the island sustainable! It’s a great tour.
Definitely honeymooners and couples, definitely families with small children (we traveled in December, a popular time for families to get away to the Maldives), and surprisingly quite a few solo travelers – this is a great spot for solo travelers looking to relax, disconnect, dive, learn to surf, etc. Lots of UK, not a lot of Americans at all (I think we were the only ones).
The arrival + departure
You’ll fly into Male, where you’ll be met by a Six Senses Laamu representative who will get you on your next domestic flight (45 mins) to Laamu. This is a domestic flight not a seaplane so it’s a little less glamorous, but you still get great views). You’ll arrive to a domestic airport where you’ll catch a speedboat to the hotel, and they’ll serve you towels and delicious refreshing lemonade in Six Senses glass bottles.
On departure, you’ll board a boat with other departing guests and be taken to the domestic airport where you’ll wait for your flight back to Male. Nothing terribly memorable about the departure in comparison to the St. Regis, and I was surprised they didn’t give us the lemonades again, or at least a water bottle before our big travel day.
Sleek, contemporary, futuristic. Opulent, ultra-modern mixed with chic Mad Men vibes. All on a private island in the middle of paradise.
The arrival + departure
You arrive and depart via seaplane which is an incredible bucket list experience in itself. You’ll be swept up by the airport butler as soon as you arrive in Male and taken to a swanky St. Regis lounge where you’ll have complimentary Evians, sodas, teas, sandwiches, Maldivian delicassies, etc as you wait for your flight. They’ll take care of your bags (and everything) and you’ll instantly feel the differentiator of St. Regis’s service.
When it’s time to depart for your flight back home, they don’t just kick you out, make you sign the bill, and say see you later, they take care of you until the absolute very last second, bringing you back to that seaplane lounge once you’re at the airport, so that you can wait there instead of at the airport before your flight. Since we were flying through Singapore, our flight wasn’t until midnight and having this incredible lounge to relax in, and the service of the St. Regis butlers taking care of us, made ALL the difference. I think you can tell a lot about a luxury hotel based on how they treat you on your departure, and we were BLOWN away.
Speaking of the service, it (like everything at Vommuli) is out of this world. As soon as you arrive, you’ll meet your dedicated butler, who will ask thoughtful questions for everything in order to personalize your experience and make it incredible – for YOU. In the beginning, it was clear our butler Mariya was making sure that she was personalizing our experience – and she feeds off of your energy and needs – want her to be at your beck and call and golf-cart you everywhere? She will. Want her to give you privacy and just be there when you need her? She’s good for that too. Want her to take a few couples pics of you on vacation? They love that! Want them to let you saber a champagne bottle in your villa? Done. (Did you guys see the instagram stories? LOL! They’re saved in my story highlights!) We loved Mariya and highly recommend her if you can request her!
The rooms at St. Regis Vommuli
2000 square feet (Sunset Overwater Villa with pool) to 3000 square feet (St. Regis Sunset Larger Overwater Villa with Pool)
Sleek private pool, stargazing nets for relaxing, modern amenities and stunning ocean views
The rooms at the St. Regis Vommuli all have a pool (amazing!!), and the beachfront villas are just as nice (if not even nicer) than the overwater villas (a great option for groups or families). These rooms are very modern Mad Men, with a stocked bar, wine fridge, beautiful martini glasses, and chic straight lines and modern features. The pool is beautiful, and ideal for lounging away your days. And did I mention this bath tub???
My one con on these rooms vs. Six Senses is that you cannot dive or jump off of the bungalows here, however, since the reef is right there and it’s too shallow! But that also makes for fabulous snorkeling (and shallow, easy to get in water!)
The food + drink
I think St. Regis takes the cake on food + drink. I didn’t have a bad bite or sip of anything our entire time here. Everything was SOOOO good. But, you will pay for it. Wine is more like an 8-10X markup here, and food is definitely pricey. We absolutely LOVED Orientale restaurant, as well as Alba. There is also another third restaurant opening soon that they’re currently working on the concept of. Even the bites at the Whale Bar were soooo good for little appetizers. Everything food-wise knocked it out of the park here. The best of the best.
ALSO – THERE ARE FREE MIMOSAS & CHAMPAGNE AT BREAKFAST EVERY DAY. Thought this deserved all caps because every resort needs to do this. Huge.
The island of Vommuli is breathtakingly beautiful, and very small and easy to get around everywhere. We saw lots of sharks and rays here, as well! And had snorkeling right outside of our bungalow.
The St. Regis has a ton of activities to choose from. I’d recommend jetskiing, a day on their private yacht Norma, or a picnic day at a private sandbank. Though these activities can get pricey, they are some of the best experiences in the world.
The cost of the St. Regis Vommuli
Each room rate at the St. Regis Maldives includes breakfast + $100 dollar food credit per day. Check exact room rates for your dates here.
Overwater villa with pool: $1,887 – $2,327 per night
Sunset overwater villa with pool: (1,958 square feet): $2,134 – $2,635 per night
Sunset overwater, larger villa, with pool: (3,034 square feet) : $2,282 – $2,820 / night
Marriott Bonvoy members get 20% off when booking, and 10% off all food and beverages. St. Regis is one of the best Maldives resorts to use points on, by the way! We used our credit card points (check out my article on the best credit cards for travel rewards) and transferred them to Marriott points for our stay. The St. Regis Maldives is a Category 8 Marriott Bonvoy property, and free nights for that cost 70,000-100,000 points depending on whether it’s peak, standard, or off-peak.
The seaplane transfer fee is $745 per adult and $500 per child. Food and drink is very expensive here – There are ways to save money at the St. Regis Maldives and keep food costs lower (ordering room service, ordering certain things on the menu that are less), and there are definitely ways to splurge (lobster burger at lunch? Yes please!), but eating out at restaurants will typically require you to budget at least $100-$250 a day for food per person (not including breakfast, which is included in your rate), and definitely more if you like wine! There are also half board and full board options for meals here, which you can see the rates for when booking here.
Also a cocktail is about $25 once you factor in taxes (similar to Six Senses pricing on food + drink).
The clientele was very global at the St. Regis. Many from the United Arab Emirates, UK, Russia, India, etc. A few Americans. Great people watching because such a wealthy, global audience. VERY family friendly. All the little kids were friends from the kids club, it was super cute. Many multi-generational families traveling together (grandparents, kids, and grandkids), so it’s a great spot for that. If you’re honeymooning or not looking to be around too many kids, you can do that, too, you just spend your time in your beautiful villa! It didn’t bother us at all on our honeymoon to have families around at breakfast and meals occasionally, but it depends on what you’re looking for! There were definitely also families at Six Senses, but maybe a few less. If you’re looking for adults only or to not be around any families at all, I would recommend going during school dates (such as October/November or February/March), also check out Gili Lankanfushi, however, a resort we stayed last time, where I remember thinking how romantic and quiet it felt for honeymooners, and Kandolhu, another resort we stayed at is adults only if that’s what you’re looking for.
The Iridium Spa at the St. Regis Vommuli is second-to-none. Its architecture has won multiple awards, as have its spa services. Even if you don’t go for a massage, you need to book ‘the blue hole’ for an hour hydrotherapy session – it is one of the most stunning pools in the Maldives.
SO WHICH IS BETTER, SIX SENSES OR ST. REGIS?
It completely depends on what you are going for. I personally LOVED experiencing both in the same trip because they could not be more different and it is so fun to see two very different interpretations of luxury in the Maldives and across two very different well-respected hotel brands. I definitely do recommend going to two different resorts on a trip to the Maldives in normal travel times, but, it’s worth noting that right now it’s not only the expense of an extra seaplane or domestic transfer if you switch resorts, but also $200 pp for a PCR to fly to the next resort. Also if you’re going to two, definitely make sure they’re totally different from each other, for example the St. Regis and the Six Senses, not the Six Senses and Gili Lankanfushi together (I made that mistake my first trip to the Maldives and although I LOVED them both, they were SO similar it was impossible to not compare the two!! They actually were started by the same owners – I wouldn’t do two similar resorts in a row again).
But anyway – back to which resort is better (and for who!). I would say if you are someone who prioritizes seven-star service, top-of-the-line everything, and has more modern, opulent luxurious tastes, then St. Regis is hands down the resort for you. If you are looking for a more approachable-luxurious, friendly, castaway-luxe atmosphere with an emphasis on sustainability and wildlife, then Six Senses is the perfect spot for you. You definitely cannot go wrong with either and I personally LOVE them both, but for different reasons. My favorite part of Six Senses is that to-die-for room view and the fact that you can dive right into the water off your pool (SO COOL), my favorite part of the St. Regis is the service, the modern room amenities (remote control blinds! bluetooth surround sound! stunning cabana!!), and the food and drinks.
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