It’s the very thing we all dream of – staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives, swimming in the crystal-clear water and watching the pastel sunset over the Indian ocean. But, what about living there for a year to escape all this Covid-era stress?
We’ve seen it all lately – from digital nomad visas to massive hotel discounts to long-stay programs, hotels and tourism boards have brought many new creative ideas to coax travelers to return.
The Anantara Veli resort in the Maldives has the latest deal on our radar, offering those who can work remotely a chance to live in a luxurious overwater bungalow, set in the very definition of paradise, for cheaper than some 3 star roadside hotels.
The Overwater Bungalow Offer
- Stay for up to 1 year in 2021 (Jan 1 to Dec 23) in an Overwater Bungalow
- Pay $30,000 upfront, which equals $2,500 per month, or just over $80 a night (all taxes included)
- Includes: Daily breakfast for 2, unlimited Wi-Fi, unlimited transfers to Male and back, and a 25% discount on dining and spa.
Now you’re either thinking: “$30,000… are you out of your mind!?”, or “$80 a night to live in the Maldives for a year, where do I sign up?” but let’s actually break this deal down and take a look at the pros and cons, and see how viable this fantasy is in real life.
The Anantara Resort
The resort itself actually gets stellar reviews from guests.
There are 67 overwater bungalows on the property, as well as a gym, steam room, spa, tennis courts, 3 restaurants, infinity pool, beach hammocks, lounge chairs, and of course stunning views and nature all around.
However, the resort and the property are really all you have immediate access too. The very stunning setting of the location can suddenly be one of the biggest drawbacks, as guests will find themselves very isolated after a few weeks. There are unlimited transfers available into Male, but the isolation might get to some folks.
Come and go as you please… but just the two of you
When I saw this deal, I immediately thought about getting another couple involved and splitting the cost down the middle – $15,000 for each couple for 6 months each at the resort. However, in the fine print, the Anantara was very clear that guests can come and go as many times as they like, but the deal is only for 2 registered guests and cannot be modified, changed or shared.
Personally, for a digital nomad like myself, I could actually do 6 months in isolation and get a great deal of work done without it wearing on my psyche, but 1 full year is really pushing it. But if your idea of paradise is to have a breakfast/work/swim routine with not much variation, this could be for you.
The food is how much?
The 1-year deal (thankfully) includes breakfast for two each day, as well as a 25% discount on other meals, but since the overwater bungalow does not include a kitchen, lunch, and dinner will essentially need to be purchased each day. And let me tell you, it’s not cheap.
Here are some examples of what you can expect to pay (in USD):
- A poolside gin and tonic $25
- San Pellegrino sparkling water $15
- California roll $25
- Soup of the day $23
- Spinach ravioli $37
- Chicken pizza $36
- Salmon skewers $46
- Miso ramen $40
- Veggie burger $28
- 200g angus steak $76
- Surf and turf $108
- Desserts start at $20
One meal can easily cost more than the accommodation rate per day.
Escape the madness
As most of the world currently struggles with second-waves, lockdowns and uncertainty, the thought of being able to hideout in paradise seems more attractive than ever.
Thankfully, borders are open in the Maldives and travelers only have to fulfill a few biosecurity requirements in order to visit.
- All passengers will have to take a PCR test and obtain proof of the negative result, all within 96 hours before arriving into the Maldives.
- A health declaration form must be filled out online 24 hours before departure into the country
- Passengers are asked to wear a mask on the inbound flight, as well as in the airport at all times
- Arrivals will undergo temperature and symptom checks once arriving at the airport before being transferred to their resort
The Maldives were one of the first nations in the world to reopen for tourism, allowing international flights to return on July 15th. Since then, they have seen a ‘second-wave’ of sorts, but those numbers are now declining as more health and safety protocols have been put into place.
After checking into the Anantara, guests can enjoy a little bit of ‘normalcy’, albeit with a few practical changes like social distanced dining. Since many other guests at the resort will also be longer term stays, and other travelers coming in would have been recently tested for the virus, it gives a sense of calm to day-to-day life.
I think it’s a super creative idea that pulls on the heartstrings of our deepest wanderlust fantasies. But for the average remote worker or digital nomad, it’s likely going to be a little too isolating and monotonous, and just a tad over budget, despite how luxurious and stunning it is.
However, I must admit… it had me checking my 2021 schedule!
I’m excited to see more destinations and resort chains launching these types of long term programs, as much of the world starts to shift their workday online, and the demand for remote stays grows.
Read More: See the Top 10 places to visit during the pandemic, countries allowing American and Canadian tourists, and companies offering travel insurance that covers covid.
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Originally published November 8, 2020
Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Monday 9th of November 2020
Pay $2500/mes to live in a yurt where I'll hear the dude bro dropshipper next door have sex with a local prostitute?? And the yurt sits on top of WATER?? Very cool omw to Maldive
Monday 9th of November 2020
Yeah this deal sounds way too restrictive to me. I'm currently doing a long stay deal in Malta for €250/month and while it may not be as luxurious as this, I think it's a much better deal. I'd be interested in finding out info on anywhere else that is doing this sort of thing though as I will have to make a move for visa reasons soon. I much prefer the hotel lifestyle to AirBnBs or short lets.
Monday 9th of November 2020
Wow, great deal in Malta! Yes, we are always on the lockout for these longstay deals, as we agree with you, nothing beats hotel life! (we're staying in a hotel in British Columbia, Canada right now!)