The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort: Trans Maldivian Airways Seaplane to Resort
We spent some time at the St. Regis Lounge prior to boarding our seaplane to the resort which isn’t the cheapest transfer at USD 645 roundtrip per person. When one airline runs the entire operation in the Maldives and you need a seaplane to your resort you are at their mercy. Boat transfers can be cheaper, but the St. Regis was a 45 minute flight from Male so a boat transfer wasn’t an option. A van drove us from the lounge to the Trans Maldivian Airways boarding gates. Upon entering the boarding gate area, we were ID’d and asked to wait for the safety video to start. The safety video was brief and then we were escorted to the seaplane. No hand luggage was allowed so the only items you could have with you is what fit in your pockets (wallet, phone, MiFi, etc) or around your neck (camera). Today we were flying on Trans Maldivian Airways De Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter with Tail # 8Q-MAJ. These airplanes are equipped with ADS-B transponders therefore the flight was traceable via Flightradar24. Trans Maldivian Airways operates the world’s largest seaplane fleet with 46 planes as of August 2017.
Upon boarding, it was open seating so we secured seats in the 2nd row. The layout is 1-2 so 3 seats per row and a capacity of 19 passengers in total. The first row window seats were occupied by a Russian couple who kept tipping USD 20 for everything, even holding open the door for them so they made it on first. We still had a clear view of the cockpit from Row 2. There is no air conditioning on these seaplanes so they just have a couple of electric fans to keep a breeze in the cabin.
Once everyone was onboard we were ready to taxi for takeoff. The runway is a predefined area in the water. We took off to the north passing to the north of Male and then we turned south for our 45 minute journey to The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli. Everyone onboard was going to the resort so we didn’t have to make any stops. Depending on the load, you might have to stop at another resort on your way.
It was a fairly bumpy ride as there were some rain clouds we had to fly through so if you are scared of flying I wouldn’t recommend flying in a seaplane. We maintained an altitude of around 1,000 feet so it gave us an excellent vantage point to see all the islands along the way. Window seats are essential for this flight! The Maldives are made up of around 1,200 islands so there are plenty to explore as resorts takes up an entire island on their own.
We landed after a quick 45 minute flight and were greeted by The St. Regis team waving to welcome us to the resort. The plane docked at the jetty and we deplaned to finally start our stay. The team ushered us to a table where they had cold towels and fresh coconuts ready for us to cool down. Our butler, Ismail, welcomed us to the island and after we finished our coconuts he whisked us away in a golf cart to our villa 🙂
Conclusion: This was my first seaplane experience and I would highly recommend doing it once in your lifetime! It’s amazing to see such a remote place of this world from the sky and have some fun. Still not sold? Take a look at the video’s below shot with the new GoPro HERO6 🙂
Takeoff from Male:
Aerial of The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort:
Landing @ The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort:
Professional Photography: Hans