Planktons Beach

 

Prologue

Well-established as a luxury travel destination, the Maldives has in recent years sought to diversify its visitor base and attract budget travellers to its pristine islands and clear waters. A decade ago, regulations were amended to allow locals to own and operate guesthouses on the local islands. An overnight stay near the airport at Planktons Beach following our late inbound flight to Male recently afforded us the opportunity to experience one of these budget-friendly accommodations.

 

Location / Accessibility

Wanting to avoid troublesome ferry rides for our layover, we narrowed the accommodation options to the locally-owned guesthouses on the manmade island of Hulhumale. Planktons Beach is situated in front of the public beach at the corner of Reethigas Hingun and Dhigga Magu, a quick 15 minute drive from Velana International Airport and an easy walk from the island’s main bus stop where the airport shuttle bus can be caught. Its location within the island’s tourist area also sees several small restaurants and cafes in close proximity.

 

Arrival Experience

 

 

We arrived just before midnight at Planktons Beach on foot after a short walk from the bus stop. Standing out in the dark of the night, the reception area was a brightly lit storefront (typical of the many guesthouses converted from walk-up buildings) furnished with sofa seating and manned by a single associate. Ushering us inside in a friendly yet laid back manner, he proceeded to check us in and collect payment for our overnight stay while we sipped on our welcome drinks of cold mango juice. We were also advised of our seaplane flight confirmed for the following day and proactively offered a transfer to the airport, which we gladly took up given the early morning departure. Formalities complete, the associate then walked us upstairs to our room for the night.

 

Guestrooms

 

We booked the lead-in Deluxe Guestroom, which we found to be smaller than expected but otherwise clean, air-conditioned and comfortable. The decor is basic and functional, although some of the furniture bore minor scuffs and scratches. A Queen-sized bed occupied the bulk of the space with a mirror and small workdesk immediately ahead, on which a simple coffee-/tea-making set-up was placed together with bottled water.

 

All guestrooms at Planktons Beach come with en-suite bathrooms. When we opened the door to ours, we were initially taken aback as it looked different to photos we had seen online when booking our stay. Rather than a cool blue and white colour palette, what greeted us was a tired looking, predominantly orange-coloured bathroom. That initial shock aside, we appreciated that it was clean with hot running water and small bottled amenities, towels and a hairdryer were also provided for our use.

 

 

There was also a 28-inch flatscreen television mounted on the wall above the desk. Scrolling through the channels we found the programming to be poor, limited to local Maldivian and South Asian satellite television content. Thankfully wi-fi at the property was complimentary and fast, allowing us to stream online content.

 

Dining

Knowing that we would be leaving Planktons Beach in the early hours of the next morning, we opted not to add breakfast to our booking. Guests who have breakfast included can dine at the guesthouse’s Chill Beach Cafe on the ground floor offering both western and Maldivian options. Alternatively, meals can also be served on the beach.

 

Facilities

In terms of facilities, Planktons Beach is pretty bare bones like most locally-operated guesthouses. There were seating areas around for guest use and the staff can arrange for transport, excursions and activities, but the property was otherwise a bed and breakfast establishment.

 

Service / Staff

Our time at the guesthouse did not allow for much interaction with the staff, but we found them to be pleasant when we did during check-in and check-out. The service here is basic and by no means polished. We found the laid-back, island style adequate and acceptable for the prices charged, but definitely with room to improve if they want to up their game.

 

Verdict

All things considered, we were pleased with our short layover at Planktons Beach. This is no boutique hotel and does not pretend to be one. It lacks the bells and whistles of larger competing hotels and guesthouses, but makes up for this with a great location, clean rooms and an affordable price point for a fuss free, overnight transit stay.

 

Planktons Beach

Lot No. 10094 Dhigga Magu

Hulhumale 20022

Maldives

+960 335 0344

http://www.planktonsbeach.com/

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