Spotless tropical beaches, lively reefs, and the turquoise Indian Ocean make the Maldives a once-in-a-lifetime destination for many. A trip to the nation of more than 1,000 islands comes at a price, of course. But with more than 100 resorts to chose from, there is something for all preferences and budgets here.
The good news: Even if you do not feel like splurging on a water villa, sea plane transfer, and a private butler, an unforgettable vacation in the Maldives is possible. The even better news: When staying in the Maldives, you will be spoiled regardless of your choice of accommodation.
The real luxury of staying in the Maldives manifests in its simplest moments: when feeling the fine sand between your toes, when dipping into the crystal-clear waters, or when enjoying authentic cuisine while watching the sun set.
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5 Reasons to Stay at Embudu Village Maldives
#1 - Location
For many travelers, a trip to the tropical paradise that is the Maldives likely entails at least one long-distance flight. While I do understand the thrill of hopping on a seaplane upon arrival at Malé Airport, nothing beats a quick and easy transfer to your resort.
Embudu Village is conveniently located just south of the nation’s main airport - which, in fact, has its own island. Do not worry about the noise of approaching or departing planes. While you might spot an airliner from the beach every now and then, noise is really not an issue.
Again, think of the big, big advantage here: All it takes is a short 20 minutes ride by speed boat and you reach the island paradise of Embudu Village. While other travelers still wait to check in for their connecting flight to one of the more distant atolls, you are already sipping your welcome cocktail at the beach.
Staff from Embudu Village will greet you upon arrival at Malé Airport and escort you to one of the hotel-owned modern speed boats. From there, all you got to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your first quick boat ride in the Maldives.
#2 - Simplicity
The minute you step onto the island, you will feel that Embudu village is no generic resort. The thick vegetation of palm trees and mangroves, looked after daily by proficient gardeners, has been growing for decades.
Luckily, no trees have been cut for a stylish infinity pool, to be found at neighboring resorts. No corals were harmed in favor of long lines of over-water villas, built ashore. Sure, for guests amenities like these can be a big draw, but in reality you do not need that.
For the resorts management under the leadership of Mr Ramsay, who has already spent over thirty years on the island, the focus has always been on providing guests an authentic Maldivian experience.
This idea shows in the spotless beach bungalows, each tastefully decorated, boasting a comfy bed but no TV. If you cannot go without, you might want to opt for one of Embudu’s water bungalows.
The simplicity of Embudu also shows in the open design of the communal buildings. It is as relaxed as its sand floor reception suggests, and has a thoroughly unpretentious atmosphere. This is one of the key reasons why I consider Embudu to be the best budget-friendly resort in the Maldives. And with that assessment I am not alone: The resort has a rate of repeat visitors other hotels can only dream of.
Boasting the simplicity of a village, while not compromising on the comfort and luxury of an all-inclusive resort, Embudu Village is an excellent pick for an authentic and affordable holiday in the Maldives. Oh, and did I mention Embudu is a barefoot island?
#3 - Food
The gastronomic offer at Embudu Village blends in brilliantly with the overall concept of the resort. Food is plentiful and varied, and all three meals are offered as buffets in the main pavilion. In the fall of 2021, there were pre-assigned tables as a Covid protection measure, which had the advantage that one was always served by the same waiter.
The many fresh dishes, from meat to fish to numerous vegetarian dishes, were positively noticeable. There was always something for all tastes. I was particularly pleased with the authentic dishes, many with an Indian influence, such as curries with coconut milk or fresh mango chutney.
Every evening there were also live cooking stations on different themes. Because of the in-house bakery, there were also plenty of fresh baked goods at every meal. The evening dessert buffet was always a feast.
We had booked the all-inclusive package, which was definitely nice to have but is of course also dependent on your personal preferences. Just keep in mind that you are on an island and self-catering is almost impossible. However, I would not want to leave unmentioned the reusable glass bottles that housekeeping refills every morning in the bungalows with fresh water.
At the bar, prices for cocktails are around 8-12 € (9-14 $), a can of beer costs around 5 € (6 $), the bottle of water 2.5 € (3 $) and soft drinks around 3.5 € (4 $). In comparison, for our stay, the surcharge for all inclusive came around 35 € (38 $) per day.
#4 - Underwater World
Okay, hands down - this is what we came for. The underwater world of the Maldives is incredibly colorful, varied and simply breathtaking. And the magnificent house reef that surrounds Embudu Village leaves nothing to be desired. And the best part: It is easily accessible.
Embudu Village is simply a paradise for snorkeling, for beginners as well as for advanced divers. It is even possible to circumnavigate the entire island snorkeling. Flags mark the entrances and exits at the different sections of the reef. No matter where you enter the water, the next snorkeling spot is never far away, be it the reef edge or the impressive coral garden.
During our snorkeling sessions, we saw numerous surgeonfish, turtles, parrotfish, reef sharks, moray eels and even rays. The latter make their rounds every evening around the jetty on the side of the water bungalows. The rich and widely intact house reef is yet another reason why I consider Embudu Village to be the best budget-friendly resort in the Maldives.
Another great advantage on Embudu is its own diving school, run by a German expatriate. The diving school organizes several trips a week to neighboring reefs - for divers and snorkelers. Unfortunately, the weather conditions during our stay were not ideal for trips to other atolls. However, the good reviews of the diving school from other travelers speak for themselves.
#5 - Price
Yes, the Maldives are and remain a destination that requires a certain budget. However - and this is what I am trying to stress herewith - the Maldives can also be more affordable than widely thought. If you set the right priorities.
For our 8-day stay, we paid a total of 1,700 € (1,780 $) per person. And that included round-trip flights (from Germany) with Qatar Airways, speedboat transfers from the airport to the island, accommodation in a beach bungalow and an all-inclusive plan. (travel period was October 2021.) We scored this deal via check24.com - which I value highly for their flexible booking options and regular deals.
We compared numerous offers. Throughout the Maldives, the price-performance ratio of Embudu Village is simply unmatched. For those who want to focus on the essentials during a Maldives trip - crystal clear sea, a diverse underwater world, tropical nature and delicious food - Embudu is a fantastic choice. And, in my humble opinion, even more than that: namely the best budget-friendly resort in the Maldives.