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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: CS91 on March 02, 2016, 09:25:19 AM

Title: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 02, 2016, 09:25:19 AM
Here goes part 1! Less than an hour until wheels up so figured there's no better time to post the first installment than when I'm hanging out in the lounge drinking some Glenlivet 15 (I know it's 9am, but D93 told me I should be drinking anyways  ;D ).

Background

While this isn’t my first TR, I’ve decided to write up a brief background on how I got started with “The Game” because this is my first BIG trip. Part of my reason for this background is just to reflect on how much I’ve learned in a short two years, but more importantly, it’s for any “beginners” that are reading this and thinking, “I’ll never be able to do this.” Two years ago, I thought the same about myself. My biggest advice is to start slow, and before you know it, you’ll be surprised at how much you know. (If you’re not interested my background, feel free to skip it  :) ).

Exactly two years ago, I was in the middle of my first year of law school and decided that if I managed to get through the year (all you lawyers/law students know how much 1L sucks), I’d book a nice vacation for DW and I to get away and finally spend some quality time with each other. Problem was, I was, at the end of the day, a student and didn’t really have a way of paying for a nice vacation. A friend of mine who’s been in the points game for years suggested that I open up a couple of cards and go on a trip for free. Interesting, but I was hesitant (don’t want to mess up my credit, I can’t reach the spend thresholds, etc.). He eventually convinced me and DW and we each opened up a Citi AA Plat. and a Chase Hyatt. By the time our bonuses posted, our options were fairly limited but we settled on a five-day trip to Cancun at the Hyatt Zilara. I told myself “that’s it, you got one free trip, but no more credit cards after this.” But then we went, had an incredible time, stayed at a beautiful hotel, and it was all more or less free! So I altered my thought process and decided that I’ll limit myself to a couple of cards per year for one free vacation and that I didn’t really need to fly F or J so there really wasn’t a need to rack up tons of miles. Ha!

A few months after getting back from Cancun, I started to think about which cards to open for my next trip. Apparently I was bombarding my friend with too many questions because he referred me to DDF and said that I should start reading and then if things still weren’t clear, I could go back and bother him. Needless to say, that’s when I started to realize how lucrative this game is, and if done properly, how much can be gained without any negative side effects. The bottom line is, while it all seems overwhelming at first, anyone can do it! Over the past two years I’ve managed to rack up over 2 million miles and I started off verryyyyy slow.

Fast forward to about six months ago, about to start my third year of law school. By then I had accumulated a fair amount of points and I decided that I wanted to travel as much as possible and burn all my points before I started working. Who knows if/when/how long my next vacation will be once I start working, so I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my wife and soon to be kid. Ever since I first saw pictures of Bora Bora and the Maldives (wayyyy before I got my first credit card), I knew I had to eventually make it to one (or both!) of them. Thing is, I always thought I would have to save up for years. Never in a million years did I think that I’d be able to do it all for (more or less) free while still a student.

So I set out to book my first BIG points trip. The target date was March (my spring break) and DW and I decided on The Maldives (more point options and middle of peak season as opposed to rainy season in BOB).


Planning

Hotel: While I had read that there are better places to stay than the Park Hyatt, my options in terms of points were still somewhat limited. I didn’t have any Hilton points for the Conrad, and I didn’t want to risk not booking something then and waiting until I accumulated the points to find out that it was no longer available. Besides, the PH looked incredible from the pictures that I saw online, I read many fantastic reviews, and at the end of the day, it was a five star hotel in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Are there better? Maybe. But that didn’t mean that it was a bad option. I had a lot of URs to transfer, so after confirming that there was availability for the dates that I was targeting, I got to work on the flights.

Flights: For our flights, the plan was to use AA miles. Now here’s where I have to make a small confession. Back then, I was still quite the rookie at searching for partner awards, so instead of trying to figure out how to search for EY or QR availability, I just called AA and crossed my fingers that I’d land on a nice rep who would help me find availability. Lazy, I know. Luckily, I landed on one of the nicest airline reps I’ve ever spoken to (she must’ve been a former KE employee  ;D ) and after telling her my dates, she literally walked me through every possible option. Unfortunately, there was nothing available in F for EY, and between J on EY and J on QR, I opted for QR because I could fly directly from Philly (where I live) and not have to go to NY to catch my flight. She also told me that by the time I travel, QR will have started to operate their new A350s on the PHL-DOH / DOH-PHL route and that it’s supposed to be a great product. Again, I have no idea why I was so fortunate to land on such a (read: the only) nice AA rep. I took her word for it and put the flights on hold. The whole call didn’t last more than 10 minutes. Yes, she was that good.

After calling DW to confirm the dates with her, I called back Hyatt, transferred over the points from my UR account, and was confirmed for 6 nights in their Park Villa. They also put in a note that we are a honeymoon couple (every trip is a honeymoon, amiright?) in the hopes that we would get a complimentary upgrade. When Hyatt announced their status match promotion in November, I jumped on the opportunity and got them to match me to Diamond, hopefully increasing my chances of a complementary upgrade and guaranteeing me free breakfast! Once I hung up with Hyatt, I called back AA and had the reservation ticketed. We were set! Now we just had to wait six months for the trip  ::)…

Total Cost:
Flights – PHL-DOH-MLE-DOH-MLE QR J: 135k AA + $49.10 YQ  per person
Hotel – Park Hyatt Maldives: 150k Hyatt (6 nights)
Domestic Plane and Speedboat Transfer: $520 per person

Food: Two weeks before our trip, we ordered meals from POM and had them shipped to Philly. We ordered 8 meat meals and 3 dairy meals and the total came out to about $260. I ordered them two weeks in advance so that I would have some breathing room in case anything went wrong (thankfully nothing did) and so that I can deep freeze them at home. The POM meals were just for dinner. We brought along other food (bagels, peanut butter, oatmeal etc.) for lunch and the plan for breakfast was the complimentary hotel breakfast that comes with Diamond status. We also brought along our own pan and spatula hoping that the chef at breakfast would be nice enough to make us some eggs using our utensils. We'll see how that works out. I ordered a 48 pack Polar Bear cooler on Amazon and some Rubbermaid Blue Ice packs to pack the food.

Next up: My first *real* premium cabin experience (domestic flights and Transaero don't count  :D ) and arrival at PH MLE!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 02, 2016, 09:34:41 AM
Wow! Safe trip & enjoy.
I told myself “that’s it, you got one free trip, but no more credit cards after this.”
Yeah right :D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Matovu on March 02, 2016, 09:42:05 AM
Safe Trip.
So happy for you.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: jshelton on March 02, 2016, 10:26:10 AM
Have the best time CS!!!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Dawie on March 02, 2016, 10:57:14 AM
Have a safe trip!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 02, 2016, 11:39:52 AM
Amazing
Have a safe trip
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Mordyk on March 02, 2016, 12:03:52 PM
decided that I’ll limit myself to a couple of cards per year for one free vacation  there really wasn’t a need to rack up tons of miles. Ha!
Wow! Safe trip & enjoy.Yeah right :D
i still tell my wife that right before every trip. and on the trip i make sure to remind that we are on vacation courtesy of amex and chase :D

and cant wait for the rest of this TR. it looks like this will stay for a long time on my bucket list...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ADG on March 02, 2016, 12:08:20 PM
Do you guys really see it as free??? points cost money and are sold for money and they are hard earned. When I book a flight on points all I can think about is how much is it costing me!

(dont mean to hi-jack you thread)  :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Mordyk on March 02, 2016, 12:12:18 PM
Do you guys really see it as free??? points cost money and are sold for money
not everyone likes to sell i personally dont like the risk invloved. although i woulod book for family members
they are hard earned.
that depends :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shmebeble on March 02, 2016, 12:14:39 PM
Do you guys really see it as free??? points cost money and are sold for money and they are hard earned. When I book a flight on points all I can think about is how much is it costing me!

(dont mean to hi-jack you thread)  :)
Kinda....
I compartmentalize it as fun-money/ travel fund. Money I work for is a different story.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ADG on March 02, 2016, 12:23:11 PM
that depends :)

MS is harder then spending
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 02, 2016, 12:34:31 PM
MS is harder then spending
that depends
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ADG on March 02, 2016, 12:36:43 PM
tuchay  8)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Venilla on March 02, 2016, 12:43:29 PM

One thing is sure, it's time consuming... Not the actual MS but to read up, stay up to date...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: sam28 on March 02, 2016, 12:53:37 PM
Cant wait for more enjoy .
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: jj1000 on March 02, 2016, 01:08:26 PM
I'm schepping :))

Enjoy!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 02, 2016, 01:36:53 PM
Have a safe and fun trip! Looking forward to the rest of the TR, including pics.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 02, 2016, 01:47:55 PM
Enjoy!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shauly on March 02, 2016, 02:26:23 PM
Great so far, have an amazing time!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 02, 2016, 02:36:25 PM
Looking forward to the rest of your TR...safe travels and enjoy!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: MosheD on March 02, 2016, 02:46:48 PM
Wow!
Awesome start! Looking fwd to the rest..
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: E-MAN on March 02, 2016, 04:59:42 PM
Enjoy!
Can't wait for the rest
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 02, 2016, 05:03:14 PM
Enjoy your trip, looking forward to the rest of the TR..  A Maldives TR is always something exciting!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shmoe joe on March 02, 2016, 05:08:28 PM
Gosh I'm getting excited for the next part...... save & fun trip!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 02, 2016, 05:11:15 PM
Enjoy the trip!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ash on March 02, 2016, 08:38:09 PM
good times !!!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 02, 2016, 10:49:44 PM
Thanks all! Just landed in DOH a bit ago. What a flight. That's all I'll say for now ::)

Hope to type up the next installment on my next flight.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tageed-lee on March 02, 2016, 10:51:42 PM
Enjoy your trip! Be safe! Looking forward to reading the rest....
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: rileywiles23 on March 03, 2016, 12:36:01 AM
Have fun man !!!!
Hope you get your free upgrade
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 03, 2016, 05:40:39 AM
Awesome start, looking forward to the rest.

Have a great time!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 03, 2016, 05:42:53 AM
Total Cost:
Flights – PHL-DOH-MLE-DOH-MLE QR J: 135k AA + $49.10 tax per person

FTFY - AA doesn't charge YQ on QR.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 03, 2016, 05:44:19 AM
I'm hanging out in the lounge drinking some Glenlivet 15 (I know it's 9am, but D93 told me I should be drinking anyways  ;D )

Happy to be an influence, or better said - put you under the influence!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 05:46:52 AM
FTFY - AA doesn't charge YQ on QR.
Okay, okay. I'm still a bit of a n00b when it comes to some things. We get your point.  :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 03, 2016, 05:47:35 AM
Okay, okay. I'm still a bit of a n00b when it comes to some things. We get your point.  :P

That's what happens when you drink and post  :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 03, 2016, 05:49:11 AM
Do you guys really see it as free??? points cost money and are sold for money and they are hard earned. When I book a flight on points all I can think about is how much is it costing me!

(dont mean to hi-jack you thread)  :)

So you never use your points and miles? Just let them sit and collect dust because it's too stressful for you to use your "hard earned" money? Isn't money meant to be used?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 05:49:37 AM
That's what happens when you drink and post  :P
ALOL. Who are you? The DDF police?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 03, 2016, 09:28:24 AM
ALOL. Who are you? The DDF police?
Unofficially
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 03, 2016, 09:57:32 AM
So you never use your points and miles? Just let them sit and collect dust because it's too stressful for you to use your "hard earned" money? Isn't money meant to be used?

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=61142.msg1423979#msg1423979

@Dee  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 11:16:29 AM
This hotel is just WOW. Here's a sneak peek:

(http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160303/8b140a7888cf37aefcb6ae4dbe991c3a.jpg)

(http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160303/8ec5bcdfe811abc471e071fcdd525710.jpg)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Luvtotravel on March 03, 2016, 11:17:12 AM
wow indeed! were you upgraded?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 11:24:39 AM
wow indeed! were you upgraded?
Yup. From a regular beach villa to a pool villa. Didn't have a chance to ask them for an additional upgrade to an OWB because there isn't a regular check in process here. They take you straight from the boat to your room. Maybe I'll upgrade for the last night to an OWB but right now I'm VERY content.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Luvtotravel on March 03, 2016, 12:07:29 PM
Yup. From a regular beach villa to a pool villa. Didn't have a chance to ask them for an additional upgrade to an OWB because there isn't a regular check in process here. They take you straight from the boat to your room. Maybe I'll upgrade for the last night to an OWB but right now I'm VERY content.
id be too! enjoy every moment
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 03, 2016, 12:30:12 PM
Looks really nice! Enjoy
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eliteflyer on March 03, 2016, 02:11:47 PM
Yup. From a regular beach villa to a pool villa. Maybe I'll upgrade for the last night to an OWB but right now I'm VERY content.
Paging AJK!!!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ual902 on March 03, 2016, 02:25:56 PM
WOW is that the Conrad?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 03, 2016, 02:26:44 PM
WOW is that the Conrad?
PH
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: 3yummyboys on March 03, 2016, 02:56:12 PM
Wow that pool looks awesomeness
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 06:34:29 PM
Paging AJK!!!
I'm definitely going to ask how much it would be because we really want to stay in an OWB for at least 1 night. I'm just saying that this villa is still beautiful and great to stay in.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: jj1000 on March 03, 2016, 06:58:45 PM
I'm definitely going to ask how much it would be because we really want to stay in an OWB for at least 1 night. I'm just saying that this villa is still beautiful and great to stay in.
Dude, shut off your phones/computers and go live it up. Order drinks sit on the beach stare at the stars at night. This is the most secluded you'll be from the world. Enjoy it.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 03, 2016, 07:08:07 PM
Dude, shut off your phones/computers and go live it up. Order drinks sit on the beach stare at the stars at night. This is the most secluded you'll be from the world. Enjoy it.
But after relaxing for a couple hour said get bored, hence the phone!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 07:38:13 PM
Jet lag and waiting for the sun to come up so here goes Part 2!

Flights to MLE

Finally. The day that we’d been waiting for was here! Everything was packed, POM meals were in the cooler (which was a struggle in itself; I just got the cooler to close) and we were ready to go! One of our friends offered us a ride to the airport so we gladly accepted. After all, spending the same amount of money on an Uber to the airport as a business class ticket to MLE would just seem wrong  ;D . On the way to the airport, we picked up some breakfast sandwiches from The Dairy to go so that we could eat them in the lounge while waiting to board. There was no line for the business line check in counter, but it was nice to know that if there would have been, I would’ve been able to wait in line standing on a carpet.  :D

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1463/25365553642_11163670c3_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1671/25391164311_e6f21f7bbe_b.jpg)

Security was a disaster as it always is in PHL. I don’t know why they don’t believe in having a designated line for F/J Class passengers. Anyways, we eventually made it to the lounge. QR J passengers in PHL get access to the BA lounge in Terminal A, which is apparently the nicest lounge in the airport (source: D93). Being that there was no bartender making drinks and it was 9am, I felt that the only alcoholic drink that it would be somewhat normal to have was a bloody mary. I attempted to make my own, thought I did a pretty good job after taking the first sip, but then realized that it was just downright awful on the second. I decided to just chalk it up as a failure and went to pour myself some Glenlivet 15 instead. After eating our breakfast and knocking back a couple rounds, it was time to board!

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1720/25365551922_a3e1dc4dd0_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1628/24857286213_6f31f80afc_b.jpg)[/url]

Our home for the next 12 hours:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1499/25484002975_39c4364f19_b.jpg)

After walking down the jetway, a flight attendant greeted us, took a look at our boarding passes and told us “please follow me, right here, to your LEFT.” She escorted us to our seats, and within a minute I already had my Armani amenity kit, pajamas, a hot towel and a screwdriver in hand. Not a bad situation to be in. Once I settled in my seat, I finally took in my surroundings and just wow. I know some of you reading this have experienced EY Apartments and the like, but I feel like one’s first premium cabin experience always stands out as special. The AA rep that I booked the flights with was right – the A350 really is a beautiful plane. The seats are spacious, the interior of the plane looks brand new and up to date, and the TV is pretty big considering the fact that you’re on a plane. On top of all that, being in J means that the staff isn’t being obnoxious to you about turning your phone off etc. and they just let you be.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1521/24853448784_3648a35190_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1512/25365548832_f0322b42e8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1697/24853447634_ee69a1043f_b.jpg)

After takeoff, I went to change into my new pajamas (which were super comfortable FYI) and was served a meal. Not sure if it was breakfast, brunch or lunch but it consisted of a couple of pieces of Gefilte fish and a roll for the appetizer and grilled chicken with pasta and carrots for the main. The Gefilte fish was frozen solid so I just had the roll and went straight to the main. The chicken was pretty solid, especially because it was paired with my second (or third?) screwdriver of the flight.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1565/24857282623_ffdc3e15c0_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1646/25457863316_a6e4941b83_b.jpg)

After finishing up my meal, I had the flight attendant make my bed and I went to sleep for about four hours (that would have NEVER happened if I was sitting in Y).

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1599/25188412860_e43b323385_b.jpg)

The rest of the flight was great too. Woke up, watched a movie (Bridge of Spies – not the highest on my list of recommendations) while eating some fruit and eventually having another meal (and some more drinks, obviously). The next meal was breakfast, so it was the standard rubbery omelet with some smoked salmon that was actually pretty good.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1581/25391155701_b42901763f_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1542/25391154911_8d0ec0cdd1_b.jpg)

Before we knew it, we were starting our descent into DOH. The flight went by wayyyy too quickly but I took consolation in the fact that I’d be flying it again in a week from now. It’s funny how I didn’t find the 12 hour flight to be long at all, while my cousin who went to MLE last week and flew on the same exact route in Y told me that it felt like it was the longest flight of his life. Amazing what a bed and a few drinks could do. I watched our plane land through the tailwing camera that I remember reading about online somewhere. It was pretty cool to watch our plane land from that view.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1653/24857278353_86d127c6ff_b.jpg)

After landing and going through security, we went to the Al Mourjan Lounge (I know, not Al Safwa but hopefully I’ll make it there another time). Al Mourjan is really nice (as is the rest of the airport). Plenty of place to sit, breakfast room (which we didn’t go to) and a quiet area to rest. We went there to relax for a bit and I squeezed in a shower too. The bathrooms and showers in the lounge are really nice, and believe it or not, the staff actually cleans each bathroom stall after someone uses it. Talk about service.

The famous teddy bear:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1508/25188409430_05e3e4020e_b.jpg)

Entrance to Al Mourjan:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1455/24857270553_a76b63d20a_b.jpg)

Quiet Rooms:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1491/25188405620_93dfbeaf71_b.jpg)

Shower Room:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1643/25116442439_91fc89f018_b.jpg)

One more picture of the lounge:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1504/25457852356_4852b5002a_b.jpg)

After my shower, the lounge attendant told me that I should head over to my gate because it was last call for boarding. Apparently in DOH, when you're boarding pass says that boarding is at a certain time, that’s when you actually have to be there because last call is like 5 minutes later. Also, when someone tells you that the walk from the lounge to your gate is “just 5 minutes,” don’t believe them. When we got to the gate, everyone had already boarded and took the bus to the plane. We were the second to last ones to board and the gate agent said that we “just made it.” I asked him to confirm that our bags made the connection (I need those POM meals!) and he checked and said that they were on the plane. Perfect! We got onto the bus, drove to the plane, boarded and took off a few minutes later. Business class configuration on this flight was 2-2-2 and the seats are lie-flat. Business class was full while economy looked almost entirely empty.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1700/25391141711_08d4160960_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1581/25188396060_32ae790478_b.jpg)

Forgot to take a picture of the seats but this is from Google:
(http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/media/images/2014/Qatar%20Airways%20new%20A330%20seat.jpg)

We were served another meal after take off. This time it was salmon with some applesauce, crackers and some other snacks on the side. The food came from France and the Salmon was actually really good.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1479/24857263783_a3a7a3713f_b.jpg)

After the meal, I tried to fall asleep but couldn’t, so I popped open my laptop and typed up this installment of the TR. I couldn’t leave you guys hanging for that long, right?  :) After writing up a bit more of this TR, I ended up falling asleep for about an hour and then woke up when the pilot announced that we were about 30 minutes out. That’s when we got our first taste of some Maldivian views.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1683/24857262993_6f852d1ed4_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1501/25391136661_ca587501da_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1587/25188390310_683da8235e_b.jpg)

We eventually landed and stepped out into the humid Maldivian air. It was 32 degrees Celsius (feel free to convert it; I’m on the metric system  :) )!

Bye Bye:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1546/25457839076_40d666b1f8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1489/25391132491_501ec4012d_b.jpg)

Customs was uneventful, but when they scanned our bags on the way out of the airport, they asked us to open both of our bags. They apparently spotted bottles in one of them (showed them it was just ketchup and peanut butter) and I had to open our cooler bag too to show them it was just food. Everything was still frozen solid but I hope that opening the bag won’t make it defrost faster (ETA: It didn't). Guess we’ll find out soon enough. Once we were done with that, we walked out and were greeted by a Hyatt representative who led us to the lounge and took our bags from us and went to check us in. Lounge is nothing special but it has wifi and air conditioning so that’s the most important.

Probably one of the coolest stamps I'll ever get in my passport:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1447/24857254683_8580fef7bf_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1611/25457838166_3b9223029b_b.jpg)[/url]

After about 3 hours it was finally time to board our third and last flight.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1501/25365519092_5886a79e0f_b.jpg)

Our plane was a small, 50 passenger propeller plane. Slightly less comfortable and noisier than the A350 that we flew on earlier. :P

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1486/24857253273_c7bce34a6e_b.jpg)

Unfortunately, the sun was already starting to set when we took off so it was hard to see any of the islands from the sky but I took a few pictures before it got completely dark.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1475/25457834866_173a83bd80_b.jpg)

After about an hour, we landed in Kooddoo Airport – probably the smallest, most 3rd world airport in the world.

Apparently the technology for conveyer belts hasn't reached this side of the world  ;D :
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1589/25365516372_62be301088_b.jpg)

Once we had our bags, the Hyatt representative loaded them on to a golf cart and drove us to our speedboat. The speedboat ride was about 30 minutes long in pitch dark. I’m sure the views would’ve been great if we were able to see anything, but I guess we’ll find out when we fly back home.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1593/25188380180_2c22112c8a_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1580/25391121871_474b3deebd_b.jpg)

Arrival at PH MLE

Finally, the boat slowed down and we pulled up to the jetty. Another Hyatt representative greeted us by name and we got on to another golf cart. They check you in at your villa here so we were driven straight to our villa and went through some brief paperwork there. When we pulled up, I asked our driver what type of villa we were in and he told me that they had upgraded us to a Pool Villa! Both our jaws dropped the minute we walked into our villa. As to why, I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking.

Outdoor Shower:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1699/25457828986_c714035c1a_b.jpg)

Outdoor Bathtub:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1538/24853409604_d36e89ab97_b.jpg)

Bathroom Sink Area:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1461/25365511422_7e232c9c0b_b.jpg)

Shower Room:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1507/25391119551_b65c64084a_b.jpg)[/url]

View of bedroom from the bathroom:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1705/24853408014_2982281f39_b.jpg)

Bedroom (bathroom is behind the bed):
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1547/25365509832_56b27aa033_b.jpg)

Sitting Area:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1660/24853406134_8412fcd186_b.jpg)

Private Plunge Pool:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1702/25483958275_859fe0a7f6_b.jpg)

The first thing we did was open our cooler bag, and thankfully, everything was still frozen solid. I gave all the meals to the Hyatt rep to put in the freezer and singled out two of them to be heated up for dinner right away. After getting a tour of our villa, we went for a swim while waiting for the meals to arrive. After about an hour and a half (the meals were THAT frozen), there was a knock on the door. The chef came to introduce himself and told me that he’ll talk to me in the morning about doing everything he can to accommodate my Kosher needs. They brought the food in one of those metal warming boxes so that it wouldn’t get cold on the walk from the kitchen to our villa, and they even brought brand new plates and cutlery for us to use. Not sure if that was a throw in or not because when I originally emailed the hotel about bringing meals, they told me that the charge would be $20 per meal to store and heat up and it’ll come with new dishes. Once I told them that I didn’t need the dishes, they knocked the price down to $15. I plan on trying to get it all waived anyways, so we’ll see what happens.

Dinner was sesame chicken with sides of mashed potatoes and sweet potato (not sure why I doubled up the potatoes) and fire popper nuggets with couscous and mashed potatoes. Sesame chicken was okay but could've used more sauce; fire popper nuggets were very good. The sides were decent as well but probably would’ve tasted better if they were a little hotter. At this point though, it was nice to get a hot meal before calling it a night.

Dinner on our private deck:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1579/25365506252_e391435731_b.jpg)

To be continued...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 03, 2016, 07:39:12 PM
Dude, shut off your phones/computers and go live it up. Order drinks sit on the beach stare at the stars at night. This is the most secluded you'll be from the world. Enjoy it.
Yes, sir.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ual902 on March 03, 2016, 07:50:56 PM
WOW amazing, keep on posting.. What's up with KSML Gefilte Fish, never understood these caterers LOL..
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 03, 2016, 08:10:14 PM
WOW amazing, keep on posting.. What's up with KSML Gefilte Fish, never understood these caterers LOL..

lox you do understand? Very nice TR so far!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ual902 on March 03, 2016, 08:21:28 PM
lox you do understand? Very nice TR so far!

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1565/24857282623_ffdc3e15c0_b.jpg)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 03, 2016, 08:23:28 PM
Wow! Great start to the TR. Looking forward to the rest! Thanks for getting it out so quickly.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: solls108 on March 03, 2016, 08:43:34 PM
Great TR!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Luvtotravel on March 03, 2016, 08:45:33 PM
total aspiration
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: theM on March 03, 2016, 08:51:21 PM
Dude, shut off your phones/computers and go live it up. Order drinks sit on the beach stare at the stars at night. This is the most secluded you'll be from the world. Enjoy it.
+100000
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: MosheD on March 03, 2016, 09:08:12 PM
Dude, shut off your phones/computers and go live it up. Order drinks sit on the beach stare at the stars at night. This is the most secluded you'll be from the world. Enjoy it.
But then how would he Instagram  :o :o
#firstworldissues
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 03, 2016, 09:40:47 PM
Dan/JJ/Mod, please shut down this thread temporarily until CS91's trip is over :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ygygold on March 03, 2016, 09:51:47 PM
Thank you for writing. Giving insights to my trip one day.

I really loved you interdiction.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: B.D.Da'ehu on March 03, 2016, 09:52:01 PM
Wow! Enjoy!!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eli5757 on March 03, 2016, 10:08:37 PM
Wow So Awesome!! In the process of planning this trip in the summer. Just need to find those available flights with my points. MUST MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 03, 2016, 10:34:00 PM
Fun times!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 03, 2016, 11:10:01 PM
Looks awesome.  Keep it coming!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 12:51:03 AM
Quote
"I know some of you reading this have experienced EY Apartments and the like, but I feel like one’s first premium cabin experience always stands out as special. "

Truth.

What good memories.  Not only was MLE our first points-trip, but we were fortunate enough to fly EY F. "Turning left" is a direction like no other  :D

Room does look gorgeous. But just wait till you see what MLE looks like in the daytime.

Enjoy it. It'll be over before you know it.

...and then you'll have to do BOB  ;D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 12:52:48 AM
Do you guys really see it as free??? points cost money and are sold for money and they are hard earned. When I book a flight on points all I can think about is how much is it costing me!

I didn't get into the point-creating business to make money. I got into it to make experiences.

If you're always worried about money, you'll never have a chance to live.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shauly on March 04, 2016, 02:35:04 AM
Not to take away from the awesomeness of everything else in that post, but do the QR A350 J seats really not have an arm rest on one side??  :o
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: chuchem on March 04, 2016, 03:35:43 AM
I originally emailed the hotel about bringing meals, they told me that the charge would be $20 per meal to store and heat up and it’ll come with new dishes. Once I told them that I didn’t need the dishes, they knocked the price down to $15. I plan on trying to get it all waived anyways, so we’ll see what happens.


The hotel offered you a great service of storing meals and heating them up for 15 dollars. You accepted. Why would you want to try to get the charge waived? The more people drive them nuts about it, they will stop doing it. So you might save a few dollars but punish the next jews going there. You spend so much money/points going there, stop being the 'cheap jew' and enjoy it
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 07:05:05 AM
The hotel offered you a great service of storing meals and heating them up for 15 dollars. You accepted. Why would you want to try to get the charge waived? The more people drive them nuts about it, they will stop doing it. So you might save a few dollars but punish the next jews going there. You spend so much money/points going there, stop being the 'cheap jew' and enjoy it
Saw this coming, like, in 1999.

Chuchem only comes out of the woodwork for MLE TR's and waits for someone to make a comment like this, and then... BAM!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 04, 2016, 08:37:24 AM
Saw this coming, like, in 1999.

Chuchem only comes out of the woodwork for MLE TR's and waits for someone to make a comment like this, and then... BAM!

He has a point...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 04, 2016, 08:48:20 AM
The hotel offered you a great service of storing meals and heating them up for 15 dollars. You accepted. Why would you want to try to get the charge waived? The more people drive them nuts about it, they will stop doing it. So you might save a few dollars but punish the next jews going there. You spend so much money/points going there, stop being the 'cheap jew' and enjoy it

Was going to write this too. I'm happy I am not alone with these thoughts.
Enjoy your trip & lets make sure others can too :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: chuchem on March 04, 2016, 09:09:09 AM
Saw this coming, like, in 1999.

Chuchem only comes out of the woodwork for MLE TR's and waits for someone to make a comment like this, and then... BAM!

AJK I am sorry I have a life besides for DDF and dont have 23000 posts yet.

I will keep on helping people in private with MLE ideas and trip prep, like i did by you

I love the maldives, and this is one of the things I follow... I think its great how in a muslim country they try to accommodate our needs and it would be a pity to loose this... Cen lounge in Dallas stopped, PH Paris stopped, all because some people feel entitled and instead of  saying thanks demanded more and more

Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 09:20:40 AM
If I didn't have such a thick skin, I'd be offended by your insensitive comments. You don't think I have a life?  :'(  ;D

I'm not saying you're wrong--just predictable.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: chuchem on March 04, 2016, 09:22:19 AM

I'm not saying you're wrong--just predictable.

Wanna play heads up poker?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: jj1000 on March 04, 2016, 09:34:09 AM
Wanna play heads up poker?
Sounds like a great DO in MLE. Minimum bets of 100k miles.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 09:36:04 AM
Wanna play heads up poker?

I think that's a game you'd lose.

Just ask CS91 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=61010.0)  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: chuchem on March 04, 2016, 09:47:41 AM
I think that's a game you'd lose.

Just ask CS91 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=61010.0)  ;D ;D ;D

Any day you want
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 04, 2016, 09:50:03 AM
Any day you want

I'd like to join. Ill play for real money, A+ points.  ;D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 09:52:51 AM
Any day you want

In all frankness, I'd be happy to sit down and play heads up next time we're on the same continent.

$1,000?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: chuchem on March 04, 2016, 10:05:19 AM
Next time I am in NY we should have a ddf poker tournament
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 04, 2016, 10:25:13 AM
I think that's a game you'd lose.

Just ask CS91 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=61010.0)  ;D ;D ;D

I'll join and happily beat you. Especially if we play with <4 decks :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 10:47:23 AM
I'll join and happily beat you. Especially if we play with <4 decks :)

Me thinks your confused about how many decks are used in poker.

But on account of that fact, yes, feel free to join  ;D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 04, 2016, 10:48:00 AM
Next time I am in NY we should have a ddf poker tournament

+100

But that would be separate and apart from our $1,000 heads up matchup. But perhaps we can live-stream it for DDF.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 04, 2016, 10:51:40 AM
+100

But that would be separate and apart from our $1,000 heads up matchup. But perhaps we can live-stream it for DDF.
Thanks, for all those not living (or regularly visiting) the NYC area.  :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 04, 2016, 04:46:21 PM

Me thinks your confused about how many decks are used in poker.

But on account of that fact, yes, feel free to join  ;D

Oh, I will
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Luvtotravel on March 04, 2016, 05:00:29 PM
me thinks we should leave this thread for the tr
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 05, 2016, 09:32:01 AM
The hotel offered you a great service of storing meals and heating them up for 15 dollars. You accepted. Why would you want to try to get the charge waived? The more people drive them nuts about it, they will stop doing it. So you might save a few dollars but punish the next jews going there. You spend so much money/points going there, stop being the 'cheap jew' and enjoy it
If you really want to know, the reason why I plan on asking for it to be waived is because when I was on the phone with Hyatt a few days before my trip about something unrelated to the meals, the Diamond rep saw something in the notes about $15 per meal for storing and heating and told me that the hotel should waive it because I'm a Diamond member and instructed me to ask them about it if I'm charged. Otherwise, I would have never asked because like you said, I agreed to the charge.

Regardless, thanks for the jumping down my throat without giving me the benefit of the doubt. If you knew me personally, you'd know I'm the last person that you'd have to worry about causing a chillul Hashem.

Anyways, gonna go back to enjoying my vacation while you look for someone else to call out. For the rest of you, I'll probably get to the rest of the TR when I get back home.  :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: solls108 on March 05, 2016, 08:12:29 PM

Regardless, thanks for the jumping down my throat without giving me the benefit of the doubt. If you knew me personally, you'd know I'm the last person that you'd have to worry about causing a chillul Hashem.


Debatable  :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 05, 2016, 08:17:41 PM
Debatable  :P
UPS
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 05, 2016, 08:24:32 PM
If you really want to know, the reason why I plan on asking for it to be waived is because when I was on the phone with Hyatt a few days before my trip about something unrelated to the meals, the Diamond rep saw something in the notes about $15 per meal for storing and heating and told me that the hotel should waive it because I'm a Diamond member and instructed me to ask them about it if I'm charged. Otherwise, I would have never asked because like you said, I agreed to the charge.

Still wouldn't do it (umless Hyatt will refund you without charging or notifying the hotel), but it's your decision. Despite what Hyatt told you, things like things like this could make the hotel think twice before offering above and beyond accomodations to us Jews.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: rileywiles23 on March 05, 2016, 09:08:09 PM


Cen lounge in Dallas stopped, PH Paris stopped, all because some people feel entitled and instead of  saying thanks demanded more and more
What happened at these places ?

Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 06, 2016, 12:59:26 AM
What happened at these places ?

kosher food, they had complimentary food & people couldnt stop feeling entitled & complaining. I spoke actually with the lounge manager there & even offered to help with arrangements. They just werent interested.. I dont think people chap what kind of chilul hashem can be made by acting like an entitled individual.

I dont think this the right thread for this discussion but maybe it should be discussed if it can create change & enlightenment of why this isnt right. 
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 06, 2016, 01:35:10 AM


I dont think this the right thread for this discussion but maybe it should be discussed if it can create change & enlightenment of why this isnt right.
Not a chance! The people that feel entitled will still feel that way...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 06, 2016, 01:54:24 AM
Not a chance! The people that feel entitled will still feel that way...

Maybe they are just unaware of the outcome it can cause?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: chuchem on March 06, 2016, 03:43:36 AM
People that feel entitled will not care about the outcome

I didnt mean to jump down OP throat, apologize if you feel that way

Just because a callcenter agent in india told you something, I still dont think its right to ask them... As I said, the more people will make issues, the less they will do us favours. Its a favour, even for 15 dollars

Anyway enjoy your time there

Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 06, 2016, 04:35:26 AM
Maybe they are just unaware of the outcome it can cause?
Really?!?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 06, 2016, 05:29:50 AM
Really?!?

It's not a possibility?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ABC on March 06, 2016, 05:50:08 AM
Really?!?

YES.
I am happy Chuchem brought this up, I will think twice next time.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 06, 2016, 06:04:57 AM
YES.
I am happy Chuchem brought this up, I will think twice next time.

+1
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 06, 2016, 06:45:55 AM
It's not a possibility?
It's definitely a possibility but for some reason I'm not feeling that benefit of the doubt
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 06, 2016, 09:27:53 AM
It's not a possibility?
It's a possibility. However I have been in cuchems shoes many times in my life. I have tried explaining to people why it was wrong in a nice way. At least 90% of the time it's been an absolute waste of time.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: solls108 on March 06, 2016, 12:12:30 PM
UPS
+1
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: jshelton on March 06, 2016, 01:56:49 PM
guys stop hijacking CS91's awesome TR
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 06, 2016, 04:03:50 PM
guys stop hijacking CS91's awesome TR
He hasn't posted anything of value since Thursday or Friday / he shouldn't be posting anyway now, so let's go nuts!!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shmebeble on March 06, 2016, 04:07:46 PM
I get excited every time I see this thread. but nothing new yet..... :(
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: solls108 on March 08, 2016, 10:39:47 AM
guys stop hijacking CS91's awesome TR
+1 Sheltone
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 09, 2016, 08:03:45 AM
Good news and bad news –

Bad news is my trip is coming to a close. Good news is hope to start working on the rest of my TR soon.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 09, 2016, 08:07:09 AM
Good news and bad news –

Bad news is my trip is coming to a close. Good news is hope to start working on the rest of my TR soon.
Always do the good news first :P
Looking forward
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 09, 2016, 09:32:36 AM
Good news and bad news –

Bad news is my trip is coming to a close. Good news is hope to start working on the rest of my TR soon.
May be bad news for you, but it's good for us.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 09, 2016, 09:59:45 AM
Good news and bad news –

Bad news is my trip is coming to a close. Good news is hope to start working on the rest of my TR soon.
My condolences. Still at hotel or left?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 09, 2016, 10:02:44 AM
My condolences. Still at hotel or left?
Leeli Lounge, MLE. Soon to be boarding QR 675  :(
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 09, 2016, 03:12:28 PM
Always do the good news first :P
Looking forward
May be bad news for you, but it's good for us.
Which is why I said the bad news first  ;).
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 10, 2016, 08:44:05 PM
Not to take away from the awesomeness of everything else in that post, but do the QR A350 J seats really not have an arm rest on one side??  :o
It does. It's adjustable because it's more comfortable to have it down when the seat is in bed mode.

Just ask CS91 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=61010.0)  ;D ;D ;D
Low blow. #TooSoon

The hotel offered you a great service of storing meals and heating them up for 15 dollars. You accepted. Why would you want to try to get the charge waived? The more people drive them nuts about it, they will stop doing it. So you might save a few dollars but punish the next jews going there. You spend so much money/points going there, stop being the 'cheap jew' and enjoy it
He has a point...
Was going to write this too. I'm happy I am not alone with these thoughts.
Enjoy your trip & lets make sure others can too :)
The charge showed up on my bill and I paid it, so everyone can relax :). The chef and Director of Food and Beverage were incredible over the course of our trip, so I also sent an email to the GM of the Hotel singling out those two employees for being incredible and expressing my appreciation for everything that they did to accomodate. So like I said, I would never deliberatly do anything that would even have a 1% chance of causing a Chillul Hashem, and even put in the effort to make a Kiddush Hashem. Not at all trying to toot my own horn; just reiterating that I wouldn't/didn't kill anything for future guests.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 10, 2016, 09:05:26 PM
It does. It's adjustable because it's more comfortable to have it down when the seat is in bed mode.
Low blow. #TooSoon
The charge showed up on my bill and I paid it, so everyone can relax :). The chef and Director of Food and Beverage were incredible over the course of our trip, so I also sent an email to the GM of the Hotel singling out those two employees for being incredible and expressing my appreciation for everything that they did to accomodate. So like I said, I would never deliberatly do anything that would even have a 1% chance of causing a Chillul Hashem, and even put in the effort to make a Kiddush Hashem. Not at all trying to toot my own horn; just reiterating that I wouldn't/didn't kill anything for future guests.
Did you end up getting an owb?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 10, 2016, 09:28:35 PM
Did you end up getting an owb?
Can't wait for the rest of the TR to find out, eh?  :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 10, 2016, 10:56:26 PM
The charge showed up on my bill and I paid it, so everyone can relax :). The chef and Director of Food and Beverage were incredible over the course of our trip, so I also sent an email to the GM of the Hotel singling out those two employees for being incredible and expressing my appreciation for everything that they did to accomodate. So like I said, I would never deliberatly do anything that would even have a 1% chance of causing a Chillul Hashem, and even put in the effort to make a Kiddush Hashem. Not at all trying to toot my own horn; just reiterating that I wouldn't/didn't kill anything for future guests.

Yashar Koach and thank you for paying for the service surrounding your food AND taking the time to thank their awesome staff!  I work with hotels all the time and they definitely notice and discuss that kind of feedback.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 10, 2016, 11:20:55 PM
Can't wait for the rest of the TR to find out, eh?
The suspense is killing me
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 11, 2016, 01:13:35 PM
Friday

As several other people mentioned in their TRs, we woke up very early on our first morning in MLE. By 5:30am Island Time (PH is 1 hour ahead of MLE; they do it for daylight savings purposes), we were up and couldn’t fall back asleep. We just hung out in the villa as it was still dark outside but by 6:30, it started to get light so we went outside to our private beach access and looked at the water as the sun started to rise. Here are a few pictures of the outside of our villa in the light:

Outdoor shower and bathtub:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1642/25072703414_dc128bd2dd_b.jpg)

Inside of villa (that whole corner of windows has sliding doors to close out the light, but during the day, it was really nice to have all the light come into the villa):
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1504/25703201915_6d55fe7e9e_b.jpg)

Private pool and path to beach:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1550/25584535432_acaf617df2_b.jpg)

Outdoor couch near private pool:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1494/25677073916_2abc2e4273_b.jpg)

Beach outside our villa:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1537/25072701074_1c597665e3_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1457/25076488613_a2e0327e5b_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1687/25076487633_72c9c45cae_b.jpg)

Never gave this crab permission to use our private beach access  >:(:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1482/25402389760_c49af7200a_b.jpg)

Path from the beach to our villa (little bit of a sand cliff because the tide was high in the morning):
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1536/25072698654_fb420a2bec_b.jpg)

Back of our villa:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1656/25677069216_f29a992b03_b.jpg)

Another view of the pool:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1717/25076484633_6a92eccf0f_b.jpg)

The sun didn't come up directly on our side of the island, so we walked to one of the jetties, saw the PH MLE sign that most people are welcomed to the hotel by (we came in from the other jetty the night before because the water was calmer on the other side) and watched the sun come up. It was a bit of a cloudy morning so it wasn’t the best sunrise, but it was still beautiful to look at. Because it was so early and there are so few people on the island, all we heard were the waves and it was very relaxing to just sit out on the jetty and take in the view.

When you walk anywhere on the island (on the inside, not on the beach), this is how the pathway looks:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1541/25610538301_1900c8864d_b.jpg)

Dusk Jetty:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1563/25076502663_0f3b735071_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1462/25610534941_457b1112a1_b.jpg)

Sitting area on Dusk Jetty:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1599/25072711864_27521db2ac_b.jpg)

Some pictures of the cloudy but beautiful sunrise:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1656/25402403740_ab4503f8e4_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1546/25677086116_84a57bab1e_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1689/25076498933_47e3b331e2_b.jpg)

Hotel welcome sign:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1567/25072710274_edd6ffbb31_b.jpg)[/url]

After watching the sunrise, we took a quick walk around the island to see where everything was. After our walk, we went for breakfast, which consisted of fresh fruit and freshly squeezed juice. Breakfast at the hotel is served at the main hotel dining room, which has semi-indoor and outside seating and overlooks the pool and beach – can’t imagine a nicer place to eat breakfast. This is when we started to realize how incredible the service at the hotel was. Somehow, the waiter that seated us knew that we were the Kosher couple and that we’d only be having fruit. The Director of Food & Beverages also came out to introduce himself to us and asked us if there was anything he can possibly do to further accommodate our dietary restrictions. We could tell that he really felt bad that we would just be eating fruit for breakfast everyday, but we assured him that it was more than enough for us and that everything was perfect. At that point we decided to not ask them if it was possible to use our pan and spatula to make some eggs. The fruit was more than enough and we had some oatmeal packs in our room in case we wanted to eat a bit more. More importantly though, I got the feeling that they would have said yes if I would’ve have asked (I’m pretty sure the staff at PH MLE isn’t aware of the word “no”) and we didn’t feel comfortable asking them to go above and beyond for us. They were already being very accommodating and we didn’t want to push it and be a burden on them. The chef also came out to say good morning to us and asked us how our POM meals were the night before. We told him everything was perfect but I asked him if it would be easier if I gave him a menu of which meals we’d like to eat every night so that he can take them out to defrost in the morning and then it would only take about 20-30 minutes to heat up once we called saying that we were ready for dinner. He said sure so I wrote out a list and gave it to him. Every guest of the hotel is assigned a member of the Guest Services Team to assist with anything that they may need, so the chef told us to call the person that we were assigned, Ameez, about 30 minutes before we wanted to eat and then Ameez would let him know.

Fruit Breakfast:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1654/25584521112_f57a0c4f53_b.jpg)

View from The Dining Room (outdoor seating):
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1559/25584520612_6bb4dd2b63_b.jpg)

The Dining Room:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1672/25402354300_2fed34ca52_b.jpg)

After breakfast, we stopped by the activities desk on the way back to our villa to pick up our snorkeling gear (provided by the hotel for free) and we also made reservations to go scuba diving on Sunday morning. After quickly changing, we went to the Dawn Jetty to snorkel. The hotel has two jetties – the Dawn jetty and Dusk jetty. Both have ladders going down in to the water to snorkel. The person at the activities desk told us that usually, the water at one jetty will be a little rougher than the other (depending on the tide). Just to be clear though, by no means is either side rough. One of them will just be as calm as a lake while the other has a bit of a current. We jumped into the water, put our heads underwater, and were just amazed at what we saw. We’ve been snorkeling before but the fish and coral in the Maldives are like no other. Instead of trying to describe it, I’ll once again just let some pictures do the talking. I haven't gone through all the GoPro footage from the trip yet so here are just a few pictures that I plucked out. I hope to go through the footage soon so if I do, I'll hopefully add more pictures to later parts of the TR. Also, just a disclaimer, I don't really know anything about photography so I'm not sure why the clarity one some of the pictures isn't that great, nor do I know how to edit them to make it better. All I'll say is that as nice as some of the pictures may be, they don't even come close to what the views looked like in person. You'll all just have to go to MLE to see the real thing  ;).

I found Dory looking for Nemo:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1669/25402378000_846aa87cae_b.jpg)

Then I found Nemo:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1534/25610466191_f2d16b8bf6_b.jpg)

And some other pictures of fish and coral:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1476/25703174375_6705e2f745_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1549/25076439473_88447dca91_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1625/25584481562_f6d85113c5_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1533/25076438143_29cfcc642f_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1495/25076437793_f241f84e4b_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1465/25703170505_f4045d7fcf_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1682/25584478502_67c17bc84e_b.jpg)

After a few minutes of snorkeling, DW decided that she would be more comfortable with a life jacket so I ran back to the activities desk to rent one for her. The hotel charges $10/day for them, so we returned it before Shabbos and then took another one out for her for the rest of our trip.

At one point while snorkeling, a blacktip reef shark swam past us. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear picture of it on my GoPro but we were about 8-10 feet away from it. Like the people at the dive center told us, the sharks around the hotel generally mind their own business and don’t bother swimmers, but it was enough to make DW cancel her scuba reservation because she didn’t want to run into more sharks when she was deeper down and couldn’t just swim right back up to the jetty.

After snorkeling for about an hour, we went to the public beach area to just sit on the lounge chairs and take in the beautiful views. We decided to sit there instead of our private beach access because there wasn’t much sitting room at our beach access. Some of the villas have about 15-20 feet between where the sand starts and the water, while others (like ours) only have a couple of feet and don’t really have much room to sit. It really just depends where on the island you’re located and I believe that most/all of the villas that have room to sit on the beach are the beach villas, while the ones with less/no room are the pool villas. Either way, any time we sat at the public beach area, at most there was one other couple sitting out. Because the hotel has so few villas, regardless of what you’re doing or where you’re sitting (aside from meals), you barely see more than a few other people. Within minutes of sitting down on the lounge chairs, someone from the staff brought over a cold bottle of water in an ice bucket with cups. They did this anytime we sat down at the pool or beach and constantly checked to see if our bottle needed a refill; another example of the first class service. They also brought around fruitkabobs for us and the other guests to eat.

View of beach from Pool area:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1694/25072664514_859f081e0e_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1618/25610485101_a85be05c91_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1620/25610507521_37144c28f3_b.jpg)

Beach:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1466/25072686044_1267c97c77_b.jpg)

Here are some pictures of the beach sitting area. I didn't have any good ones (my bad) so here are a few from Google Images:
(http://r-ec.bstatic.com/images/hotel/840x460/149/14930002.jpg)

(http://maldives.hadahaa.park.hyatt.com/content/dam/PropertyWebsites/park/mldph/Media/All/Park-Hyatt-Maldives-Hadahaa-P151-Beach-Walkway-1280x427.jpg)

After sitting out for a bit, we needed to get back in the water because the sun was so strong, so we went snorkeling again, this time off the Dusk Jetty. I didn’t think it would be possible, but the views off this jetty were even better than the other jetty. (The pictures that I posted above are a mix of pictures taken off both jetties.)

After snorkeling for about another hour, we went back to our villa, ate some food that we brought with for lunch, and then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out by our private pool.

As Hyatt Diamond members, we were entitled to two free drinks every night at happy hour but we were so exhausted from being out in the sun all day (and still a little jetlag), so we decided to skip out on happy hour and instead hang out at our villa until Shabbos. About 45 minutes before candle lighting, I gave Ameez a call and let him know that we’d like to eat dinner at about 7pm. I had also told him earlier in the day that we couldn’t use electricity from sundown Friday night until sundown Saturday night so we wouldn’t be able to answer our phone if he tried calling us. He told me he already knew because when he saw that he’d be having guests that keep Kosher, he read up on Judaism and what it entails. He also told us that if we’d like, he can stop by our villa every few hours on Shabbos to see if we needed any lights turned on or off etc. I know I’m getting repetitive when I say this, but this hotel just has first class service all the way. They just go above and beyond in ensuring that their guests have the best time possible.

The food arrived a few minutes after DW lit candles and after davening, we ate our meal on our private deck. Besides for the POM meals, we also brought Tradition soups, which I prepared right before candle lighting. For the POM meals, we had honey mustard corn beef with sides of popcorn cauliflower and onion mashed potatoes and stuffed chicken capon w/ pastrami with sides of garlic string beans and mushroom rice. The corn beef was amazing and tasted like it was just made. The portion was also VERY generous. The chicken capon was also really good, but there was only one, which I found to be a bit of a small portion. All the sides were good too, but our favorite was definitely the string beans. Not sure how they weren’t soggy after being frozen and reheated. We were going to take a walk around the island after dinner but we were so exhausted that we just went to sleep. Overall great first day in MLE!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 11, 2016, 01:29:09 PM
Thanks so much for the TR. Well written & informative!
Those snorkeling pics are amazing! Good job, and thanks for being a mench with the kiddush hashem etc!  :D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ygygold on March 11, 2016, 02:06:37 PM
Thank you so much for writing this up.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 11, 2016, 03:02:16 PM
Those snorkeling pics are amazing!
+1
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 11, 2016, 03:03:09 PM
Wow, that was quite a first day! Great write up and pictures!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 11, 2016, 04:13:40 PM


At one point while snorkeling, a blacktip reef shark swam past us. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear picture of it on my GoPro but we were about 8-10 feet away from it. Like the people at the dive center told us, the sharks around the hotel generally mind their own business and don’t bother swimmers, but it was enough to make DW cancel her scuba reservation because she didn’t want to run into more sharks when she was deeper down and couldn’t just swim right back up to the jetty.

Nooooooo.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 11, 2016, 04:14:15 PM
Sounds like service was pretty fantastic. Great to hear.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Chapshnell on March 11, 2016, 05:02:33 PM
Sounds like service was pretty fantastic. Great to hear.

"no" isn't in their vocabulary  ;D
Love this line.. great to hear
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 11, 2016, 05:13:41 PM
Thanks so much for the TR. Well written & informative!
Those snorkeling pics are amazing! Good job, and thanks for being a mench with the kiddush hashem etc!  :D
Thank you so much for writing this up.
Wow, that was quite a first day! Great write up and pictures!
Thanks!
Nooooooo.
I know – missed opportunity. But truth is, even if she would've gone and wouldn't have seen a shark, I still think she would've gotten a bit nervous once we went further down etc. At least I enjoyed  ;D.
Sounds like service was pretty fantastic. Great to hear.
"no" isn't in their vocabulary  ;D
Love this line.. great to hear
It was incredible. It happens to be that when we went on the Back of House tour (you'll read about it in the next installment), we saw a sign with like 6 quick tips for employees and one of them said something along the lines of "don't say no to a guest unless it's ABSOLUTELY necessary."
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eliteflyer on March 12, 2016, 09:54:16 PM
Thanks for the report! Did they charge you for cancelling the scuba activity for your wife? I'm thinking to book in advance to take advantage of the 10% pre-booking discount on their activities. Did you obtain any scuba certification prior to the trip?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 12, 2016, 10:15:40 PM

Thanks for the report! Did they charge you for cancelling the scuba activity for your wife? I'm thinking to book in advance to take advantage of the 10% pre-booking discount on their activities. Did you obtain any scuba certification prior to the trip?
They told us as long as you cancel more than 12 hrs in advance, there's no penalty. Not sure if that holds true if you book with 10% discount though so I'd double check.

Nope. This was my first time scuba diving. You don't need any prior certification for the scuba option that I did.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shiframeir on March 12, 2016, 10:41:57 PM
Smart move going before u start work, and glad u had such a great time! Truth is, once u are at most big firms, the only real vacations u will be able to skip out on any work on are exotic 2 weekers, so plan a 2 week bora bora/AU/NZ trip for like a few years for now.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 12, 2016, 10:46:53 PM
Awesome tr. I know there are quick dive certification courses all over. I wonder if it's worth it to be able to go alone
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 12, 2016, 10:56:59 PM
Smart move going before u start work, and glad u had such a great time! Truth is, once u are at most big firms, the only real vacations u will be able to skip out on any work on are exotic 2 weekers, so plan a 2 week bora bora/AU/NZ trip for like a few years for now.
Thanks! You mean that only on exotic vacations in remote places will you be able to avoid having to do work while away? I'm pretty sure that at my firm, when you go on vacation out of the country, they set you up with a BlackBerry so that you get all your emails while roaming, regardless where you are  :-\

Awesome tr. I know there are quick dive certification courses all over. I wonder if it's worth it to be able to go alone
They asked me if I wanted to get full certification in like 2-3 days. Not sure if that's considered fast or not though. Either way, regardless of how certified I am, I don't think I'd ever feel comfortable going alone...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 12, 2016, 10:58:11 PM
Thanks! You mean that only on exotic vacations in remote places will you be able to avoid having to do work while away? I'm pretty sure that at my firm, when you go on vacation out of the country, they set you up with a BlackBerry so that you get all your emails while roaming, regardless where you are  :-\
They asked me if I wanted to get full certification in like 2-3 days. Not sure if that's considered fast or not though. Either way, regardless of how certified I am, I don't think I'd ever feel comfortable going alone...
Blackberry!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 12, 2016, 10:59:37 PM
Blackberry!
Ever try roaming with an iPhone? Uses wayyyyyy more data so ends up costing a fortune. I've heard of other firms that use BlackBerrys specifically in these scenarios too.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 12, 2016, 11:06:53 PM
My firm has given up on Blackberries. Now it's only BYOB and they pay per month.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: happinessNsunshine on March 12, 2016, 11:12:35 PM
Awsome TR!!!
Keep it coming.
Thanks.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eliteflyer on March 12, 2016, 11:34:45 PM
Smart move going before u start work, and glad u had such a great time! Truth is, once u are at most big firms, the only real vacations u will be able to skip out on any work on are exotic 2 weekers, so plan a 2 week bora bora/AU/NZ trip for like a few years for now.
100% agree, though this varies by firm. As long as I take a block week at a time, I can get confirmed coverage though our staffing coordinator and go off the grid. Long weekends are impossible, unless you're in tax or real estate, but this too varies by firm.
Ever try roaming with an iPhone? Uses wayyyyyy more data so ends up costing a fortune. I've heard of other firms that use BlackBerrys specifically in these scenarios too.
We have Iphones on data and voice plans that are technically unlimited (though they ask us to take it easy on personal use, particularly when traveling abroad). I just let them know which countries I'm visiting before departure and they set up international roaming.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 12, 2016, 11:40:24 PM
My firm has given up on Blackberries. Now it's only BYOB and they pay per month.
That's how it is for us too for regular every day usage. The BlackBerries are only when someone is going international. They just give you a phone for while you're traveling.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: MosheD on March 13, 2016, 12:12:09 AM
Great TR! Sounds amazing. I did a facepalm when you wrote that DW cancelled scuba as it is literally one of the coolest things I've done. Cannot recommend it enough. I sincerely hope you did it on your own...


Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tageed-lee on March 13, 2016, 01:27:18 AM
Good stuff! Thanks for sharing! Sounds amazing!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 13, 2016, 05:03:54 AM
Great stuff! Keep it coming.

The 2 free drinks as a Diamond member is every Hyatt hotel or just this hotel specifically?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 13, 2016, 05:04:46 AM
They asked me if I wanted to get full certification in like 2-3 days. Not sure if that's considered fast or not though. Either way, regardless of how certified I am, I don't think I'd ever feel comfortable going alone...

2-3 days is extremely fast.
CMIIW even with PADI certification, you can't go yourself, you have to always go with a "buddy".
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 13, 2016, 05:06:51 AM
Great TR! Sounds amazing. I did a facepalm when you wrote that DW cancelled scuba as it is literally one of the coolest things I've done. Cannot recommend it enough. I sincerely hope you did it on your own...

Seems like he did -

Thanks!I know – missed opportunity. But truth is, even if she would've gone and wouldn't have seen a shark, I still think she would've gotten a bit nervous once we went further down etc. At least I enjoyed  ;D.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 13, 2016, 05:08:02 AM
"don't say no to a guest unless it's ABSOLUTELY necessary."

Absolutely amazing!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 07:15:59 AM
The 2 free drinks as a Diamond member is every Hyatt hotel or just this hotel specifically?
Not sure but think it's specific to this hotel.

CMIIW even with PADI certification, you can't go yourself, you have to always go with a "buddy".
Correct. I meant that I would never go without a professional guide that's very familiar with the area. Like I wouldn't go just with you.  :P

Seems like he did -
Very observant  ;). That part will be on the Sunday segment of the TR.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 13, 2016, 08:21:52 AM
Correct. I meant that I would never go without a professional guide that's very familiar with the area.

Why not? Think you're gonna get lost under there?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 08:39:35 AM
Why not? Think you're gonna get lost under there?
Would just feel more comfortable with a professional guide.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: D93 on March 13, 2016, 08:42:40 AM
Would just feel more comfortable with a professional guide.

I'll let you off easy because it's your first time diving, after a couple times you won't be saying that anymore :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 08:44:52 AM
I'll let you off easy because it's your first time diving, after a couple times you won't be saying that anymore :)
Haha. But what's the benefit of going without a guide?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 13, 2016, 09:24:53 AM
Haha. But what's the benefit of going without a guide?
Better question is in a generally safe location what exactly is the benefit of a guide.

I know the hotel has free WiFi, what did you do for phone service? VOWIFI?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 09:30:49 AM
Shabbos (Saturday)

Shabbos was a really relaxing day on the island. Thankfully it wasn’t scorching hot (was still high 70s / low 80s though – perfect Shabbos weather) and there was a nice breeze so being outside and not being able to go swimming was bearable. After waking up and davening, we went to The Dining Room to have some fruit for breakfast again and then just took it easy. We walked around the island, sat out on the jetty for a while and then eventually went back to our room to eat lunch. We brought along some deli and made sandwiches. We considered ordering POM meals and having the hotel heat it up for us before Shabbos and then keeping it in the fridge but we decided that we’d rather have deli sandwiches than cold POM meals.

Ameez told us about the Back of House tour that was taking place on Shabbos afternoon so we went on that a little after lunch and it was actually pretty interesting. They showed us where the staff sleeps and how the whole island is run (everything from HR to garbage disposal). They also explained how they make the water for the island (all the water on the island comes from rain and sea water) and how often shipments of food etc. come in to the island. From the looks of it, it seems like the staff has pretty nice accommodations and are treated very well so that was nice to see.

After the tour, we relaxed in our villa for a bit and then about an hour before Shabbos was over, we went to sit by the beach and watch the sunset as Shabbos came to a close. I obviously don’t have any pictures of it, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was beautiful (I’ll include some sunset pictures later in the TR). We bumped into Ameez on the way back to our room so we asked him if he could call the chef to heat up our meal and that if possible, we’d like to eat at The Dining Room. He said of course, so we went back to the room, made Havdallah and then eventually made our way to The Dining Room for dinner. As I mentioned before, the dining room overlooks the main hotel pool so it was really nice to have dinner outside, overlooking the pool, while hearing the (small) ocean waves crash against the shores. We went on the light side for dinner, splitting an Eggplant Rollatini, which we both enjoyed.

View of the pool from The Dining Room at night:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1682/25076462353_8b3fb9d5ff_b.jpg)

It was a perfectly clear night so after dinner we went back out on to the beach and sat on the lounge chairs under the thousands of stars (as per JJ’s suggestion) – another one of the amazing views that we were privileged to see while in MLE. We eventually made our way back to the villa, went for a short swim in our private pool and went to sleep.

Sorry about the lack of pictures in this part, but I'll go back to posting a lot of pics in the remaining parts!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 09:32:43 AM
Better question is in a generally safe location what exactly is the benefit of a guide.

I know the hotel has free WiFi, what did you do for phone service? VOWIFI?
The only time we called anyone was to reach my in-laws because they were watching our daughter so we used the What's App phone feature.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 13, 2016, 09:47:57 AM
The only time we called anyone was to reach my in-laws because they were watching our daughter so we used the What's App phone feature.
Cool. Wifi is good all over?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 09:53:06 AM
Cool. Wifi is good all over?
Definitely not as good as the wifi that we're used to in America, but considering the fact that you're in the middle of nowhere, it was pretty solid. There were some dead spots around the island, but the connection was pretty solid from the villa and main areas (pool, restaurants, etc.).
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 13, 2016, 09:56:57 AM
Definitely not as good as the wifi that we're used to in America, but considering the fact that you're in the middle of nowhere, it was pretty solid. There were some dead spots around the island, but the connection was pretty solid from the villa and main areas (pool, restaurants, etc.).
So good enough. Great to know.

Amazing tr, and amazing that you're getting it up so quickly!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 10:03:21 AM
Amazing tr, and amazing that you're getting it up so quickly!
Thanks! Gotta finish it quickly because before I know it, it'll be time to write my Hawaii one  :).

Next installment will cover scuba diving so I need to go through the GoPro footage first so there may be a bit of a delay before that one goes up. But I'll do my best!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: damaxer91 on March 13, 2016, 11:12:43 AM
Great TR!

Would bother me more to be charged $10 for a Life Jacket than to heat up KSML's
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 13, 2016, 11:23:45 AM
Great installment! Looking forward to the scuba pics and videos.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Luvtotravel on March 13, 2016, 11:45:30 AM
truly beautiful!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shmoe joe on March 13, 2016, 12:12:57 PM
Wow gr8 TR and awesome pics!
Btw kosher wise speaking is there a problem to eat cut up fruit at an hotel that you can't be sure which knife was used? And/or the dishes its on?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Ergel on March 13, 2016, 12:14:57 PM
Great TR!

Would bother me more to be charged $10 for a Life Jacket than to heat up KSML's
+1, the charge to heat up KSML makes sense. Charging for a live w jacket is nickeling and diming
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: 3yummyboys on March 13, 2016, 12:22:01 PM
Amazing TR so far !
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 12:22:40 PM
Wow gr8 TR and awesome pics!
Btw kosher wise speaking is there a problem to eat cut up fruit at an hotel that you can't be sure which knife was used? And/or the dishes its on?
Thanks! I'm not gonna pasken for you so ask your LOR, but when I asked my Rav, he told me that if you're at a 5 star hotel, you can rely on the fact that they have a high standard of cleanliness etc. and that they have separate stations for different foods (i.e. they're not cutting the fruit up in the same area that they're cutting up meat etc.). Same reason why many people hold that you can buy cut up fruit in a supermarket. As for the dishes, he told me it's fine if I'm just eating fruit because it's cold.

Again, only saying what the psak I got was because you asked, but not suggesting what anyone else should or shouldn't do. I'm sure there are many different opinions on the matter.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 12:24:54 PM
+1, the charge to heat up KSML makes sense. Charging for a live w jacket is nickeling and diming
I didn't mind that I had to pay for a life jacket because I was just happy that the snorkeling gear was free. Many people think that charging to store and heat up KSML is nickel and diming too. Doesn't really cost them anything to throw the meals in the freezer and then in the oven for an hour. It is what it is.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: damaxer91 on March 13, 2016, 12:31:38 PM
I didn't mind that I had to pay for a life jacket because I was just happy that the snorkeling gear was free. Many people think that charging to store and heat up KSML is nickel and diming too. Doesn't really cost them anything to throw the meals in the freezer and then in the oven for an hour. It is what it is.

The reason for charging for heating up food is because resorts rely on F&B as a large percentage of their REV and having guests that spend nothing on their meals (especially in a place like the Maldives) is basically unheard of

Charging $ for using a lifejacket is plain thievery. I've been to quite a few 5* resorts and have never seen that before

Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 12:39:12 PM
The reason for charging for heating up food is because resorts rely on F&B as a large percentage of their REV and having guests that spend nothing on their meals (especially in a place like the Maldives) is basically unheard of

Charging $ for using a lifejacket is plain thievery. I've been to quite a few 5* resorts and have never seen that before
I'm not saying I disagree with your reasoning. Just that there's merits to both sides.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: shiframeir on March 13, 2016, 01:02:27 PM

We have Iphones on data and voice plans that are technically unlimited (though they ask us to take it easy on personal use, particularly when traveling abroad). I just let them know which countries I'm visiting before departure and they set up international roaming.
same here. Partners love watching movies on their phones, esp on vacations, so no more blackberries...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Mordyk on March 13, 2016, 01:43:35 PM
Who else that reads these TR's and promises themselves that their next trip is to MLE or BOB raise their hands ;D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: jshelton on March 13, 2016, 02:38:04 PM
loving this TR! Thank you for being so detailed, very helpful for those trying to plan a trip there. Did you end up buying a GoPro or borrowing one? I'm going to Scuba Diving in Costa Rica and want to know how you used yours
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 02:41:29 PM
loving this TR! Thank you for being so detailed, very helpful for those trying to plan a trip there. Did you end up buying a GoPro or borrowing one? I'm going to Scuba Diving in Costa Rica and want to know how you used yours
You're welcome! I borrowed one. Wanted to see how I liked it before buying one for myself (which I probably will do at some point in the near future).
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 13, 2016, 03:04:23 PM
Thanks! I'm not gonna pasken for you so ask your LOR, but when I asked my Rav, he told me that if you're at a 5 star hotel, you can rely on the fact that they have a high standard of cleanliness etc. and that they have separate stations for different foods (i.e. they're not cutting the fruit up in the same area that they're cutting up meat etc.). Same reason why many people hold that you can buy cut up fruit in a supermarket. As for the dishes, he told me it's fine if I'm just eating fruit because it's cold.

Again, only saying what the psak I got was because you asked, but not suggesting what anyone else should or shouldn't do. I'm sure there are many different opinions on the matter.
The issues with allergies generally assure that they don't mix utensils.
Wow gr8 TR and awesome pics!
Btw kosher wise speaking is there a problem to eat cut up fruit at an hotel that you can't be sure which knife was used? And/or the dishes its on?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: @Yehuda on March 13, 2016, 05:32:02 PM
Great TR so far and beautiful pictures! Glad you had such a great time.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Joe4007 on March 13, 2016, 05:47:00 PM
Awesome TR! Thanks for taking the time.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 13, 2016, 07:39:10 PM
Great TR. Do those sharks that you mentioned, ever attack humans? (I know they usually don't, but can they, potentially?)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 13, 2016, 07:49:25 PM
Great TR. Do those sharks that you mentioned, ever attack humans? (I know they usually don't, but can they, potentially?)

A person can die in an earthquake... potentially. Or be stuck on MH370... potentially.

General rule is they don't bother you if you don't bother them. Kind of like pitbulls.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 07:52:30 PM
Great TR. Do those sharks that you mentioned, ever attack humans? (I know they usually don't, but can they, potentially?)
A person can die in an earthquake... potentially. Or be stuck on MH370... potentially.

General rule is they don't bother you if you don't bother them. Kind of like pitbulls.
+1. They have teeth, so technically, sure they can. I was talking to another guest at the hotel and he told me that he read somewhere that the last documented shark attack in the Maldives was in 1986.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 07:53:07 PM
Great TR so far and beautiful pictures! Glad you had such a great time.
Awesome TR! Thanks for taking the time.
Thanks, guys!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eli1571 on March 13, 2016, 07:59:36 PM


Over the past two years I’ve managed to rack up over 2 million miles and I started off verryyyyy slow.

Which cards did you open to get that many miles ?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 13, 2016, 08:00:18 PM

Which cards did you open to get that many miles ?

Not that crazy. Especially if it is across his and his wifes account.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 13, 2016, 08:03:08 PM
Not that crazy. Especially if it is across his and his wifes account.
That exactly.


Which cards did you open to get that many miles ?
Almost all the major ones that people talk about here. Some of them multiple times.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eli1571 on March 13, 2016, 08:04:36 PM
Not that crazy. Especially if it is across his and his wifes account.
Only way I can understand it is because they've never had any cards, but anyone that's affected by the once in a lifetime limit by amex etc I can't see how they can get to such numbers.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 13, 2016, 08:09:53 PM
Only way I can understand it is because they've never had any cards, but anyone that's affected by the once in a lifetime limit by amex etc I can't see how they can get to such numbers.

Well, there are no language apps out there and there is something called MS. Both are ways to get to those numbers and beyond even if in the game for quite some time already.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eli1571 on March 13, 2016, 08:16:09 PM
Well, there are no language apps out there and there is something called MS. Both are ways to get to those numbers and beyond even if in the game for quite some time already.
Maybe you're right, as someone living abroad MS isn't an option,so I guess it's harder to get to those numbers
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 13, 2016, 08:54:58 PM
A person can die in an earthquake... potentially. Or be stuck on MH370... potentially.

General rule is they don't bother you if you don't bother them. Kind of like pitbulls.
Got it. I'm not a diver so this stuff is completely foreign to me.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: solls108 on March 13, 2016, 10:13:16 PM
Very good CS! :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 14, 2016, 03:36:46 PM
Only way I can understand it is because they've never had any cards, but anyone that's affected by the once in a lifetime limit by amex etc I can't see how they can get to such numbers.
Also, until very recently chase was very churnable
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 14, 2016, 04:29:18 PM
Also, until very recently chase was very churnable
I've never churned a Chase card.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: David Smith on March 14, 2016, 04:34:03 PM
Shouldn't have been any problems getting 2M+ AA alone in the past 18 months, for 2 active SSNs.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 14, 2016, 04:36:11 PM
Shouldn't have been any problems getting 2M+ AA alone in the past 18 months, for 1 active SSN.

FTFY.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: David Smith on March 14, 2016, 04:38:42 PM
FTFY.
Yup, was just using the case example at hand. "+" is a big number.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 14, 2016, 04:39:43 PM
Shouldn't have been any problems getting 2M+ AA alone in the past 18 months, for 2 active SSNs.
If only. Only started churning AA a few months ago so didn't get to rack up THAT many  :(
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 14, 2016, 04:40:29 PM
If only. Only started churning AA a few months ago so didn't get to rack up THAT many  :(

When one door closes, another one opens.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 14, 2016, 04:41:45 PM
When one door closes, another one opens.
Either we're still waiting for another one to open, or I'm in the dark  :-\.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: dealfinder85 on March 14, 2016, 04:42:13 PM
Either we're still waiting for another one to open, or I'm in the dark  :-\.
certainly not gonna receive any of our sympathy in this thread
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: David Smith on March 14, 2016, 04:46:30 PM
Either we're still waiting for another one to open, or I'm in the dark  :-\.
+1.
 If you hear anything of the scale of the 100k Exec's with no language again, gimme a heads up. I'll be much obliged.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eli1571 on March 14, 2016, 06:11:37 PM
Shouldn't have been any problems getting 2M+ AA alone in the past 18 months, for 2 active SSNs.

FTFY.
Do you mean the w we loophole ?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 15, 2016, 12:00:52 AM
+1.
 If you hear anything of the scale of the 100k Exec's with no language again, gimme a heads up. I'll be much obliged.
+10000
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 06:51:59 PM
Sunday

We got a bit of an early start on Sunday because I had a 10am reservation for scuba diving (first time!). After our fruit breakfast, I went over to the dive center to get started. Because I had never gone scuba diving before and I didn’t want to do a whole PADI course during my stay, my only option was to do the “Discover Scuba Diving” experience. It was $200 and was part video lecture, part in-pool training, and the rest in the ocean off the jetty. When I signed up, the person at the dive center told me that usually you only end up getting about 30 minutes in the ocean (lame), but when I showed up on Sunday morning, I found out that I was the only guest that had reserved that time slot so I made sure to get through all the training stuff quickly in order to maximize my time in the ocean. The video was 25ish minutes long and I knocked out the pool training part in about another 15 minutes so I ended up getting a bit over an hour in the ocean. It was great to just be one-on-one with the instructor so that I didn’t have to wait for anyone else to get the hang of things.

At first, when they told me that we wouldn’t be going out on a boat and would just be going off the jetty, I thought that it wouldn’t be such a cool experience, but I was 100% wrong. The ocean floor near the jetty kind of looks like a cliff and while the water is only 10 feet deep right at the edge of the jetty, there’s literally a cliff that goes down on a slant with coral all the way down. The instructor knew the area pretty well so our depth fluctuated throughout the dive based on where she thought the nicest fish would be, but the deepest we went was about 30 feet. Once again, there’s no point in trying to describe the views that I saw when I can just attach pictures. My GoPro was actually on video mode for the entire dive so I quickly went through the video and took screenshots of different parts that I thought were really good. If/when I get around to editing the video, maybe I’ll post it on YouTube and paste the link here. Overall, scuba diving was an awesome experience and for those of you who have never gone, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty easy to get a hang of and after your first few breaths under water, you’re not even paying attention to the fact that you’re breathing in air from a tank and you’re just focusing on the beautiful scenery that’s in front of you. The only bad part was that I got swimmer’s ear from scuba diving but more on that later. Either way, it was worth it and I already told DW that I’ll be ditching her for half a day to go diving when we’re in USM later this year. Without further delay though, here are a bunch of screenshots from the GoPro footage that I have from scuba diving.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1592/25076437053_7509472925_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1490/25994650845_e568c08b97_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1460/25361937034_403749b720_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1587/25873867132_7262801ff8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1477/25365913803_48078bac07_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1585/25361936314_4558f7a7c5_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1560/25873866122_6826f1bd62_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1589/25694092290_ef3af7838f_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1714/25361935524_6d9b9fdfec_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1679/25365912353_fcc1f42bc1_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1528/25873864842_f1f0aa9f4b_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1685/25968726666_fca8fb4b66_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1630/25968726296_e2fd5f7270_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1484/25365910863_a249859245_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1675/25694089450_3c7a1b3ecc_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1591/25365910283_bed0be231f_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1701/25994645705_78e07fa8bf_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1596/25365909393_cda1fc51ce_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1601/25361931894_9e4e90d2b0_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1613/25361931584_599f30736b_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1628/25361931164_5b6328e6a8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1585/25694086750_bb88e5a6d6_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1549/25873860662_524614f89c_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1446/25994643165_fbeaf4cec3_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1702/25899675941_642518bb93_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1561/25968721836_3099a51d9e_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1682/25365906343_2c5af0e25a_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1454/25968721036_31065b2676_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1619/25873857482_d79cabd484_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1522/25361927244_9abec10481_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1706/25361926984_bfb584c5b8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1682/25361926294_aafcb8b7c2_b.jpg)

While I was scuba diving, DW sat on the jetty and read her book (side point – if/when you go to MLE, bring a book or two to read!). After my dive was over, we went back our villa to eat a quick lunch and then went to the beach to relax for the rest of the afternoon. There’s really nothing like lying back and hearing nothing but the waves crashing into the shore while taking in this view:

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1487/25969175196_cd63bb12b0_b.jpg)

Because the beach is right next to the Dusk Jetty, when we started overheating (which happens pretty often in the MLE heat), instead of just dunking in the pool, we just walked out on to the jetty and went snorkeling for a bit to cool off. Why not kill two birds with one stone, right?

We eventually headed back to our villa, washed up and went to The Bar for happy hour drinks. Ameez stopped by to ask us how our day was and we started talking about his background etc. and got into an hour long conversation about what it was like to grow up in MLE and his experience working for Hyatt. It was cool to hear about someone’s experience growing up in a totally different culture and how different our perspectives are. He said that he was already working on the island when it was another hotel and when he heard that Hyatt was taking it over, he had no idea who that was. He happened to Google "Hyatt" and was blown away by how this massive, luxury hotel chain existed and that he had never heard of it. This was just one of the many examples that he gave of how remote and far removed MLE is from the rest of the world. At one point he also mentioned that he once went to Dubai on vacation and after a few days, he needed to get back to his island in MLE because it was too busy for him. Imagine if he visited NYC…

Anyways, eventually Ameez told us that our dinner was hot and ready and asked us if we wanted to eat at the Island Grill for a change of scenery. We of course said yes, so he walked us over and seated us at a table. We got a table in front of a small gap in the trees so we were able to see a bit of the sunset over the beach while we ate our POM meals. On the menu was Boneless Spare Ribs with sides of Garlic String Beans and Onion Mashed Potatoes and Pesto Grilled Baby Chicken with sides of Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Roasted Sweet Potato. The Spare Ribs were amazing and the Pesto Grilled Baby Chicken was okay but the flavor was a bit weak. We also found it weird that the serving only came with one cutlet. It was a nice size cutlet, but it was still weird and a bit stingy. As for the sides, the mashed potatoes were good but were very watery because of being mixed with all the sauce from the ribs, the string beans were once again amazing, the roasted sweet potatoes were solid, but what really stood out were the Portobello mushrooms – just incredible.

POM Meals:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1598/25677047126_04715247a3_b.jpg)

The Island Grill Seating Area:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1677/25076462863_3304a9cf8f_b.jpg)

Path to the beach from The Island Grill:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1577/25402362340_a00fd72ec4_b.jpg)

After a nice dinner with our feet in the sand, we stopped by The Dhoni to play some Jenga (they had some other games to choose from as well) and then eventually made our way back to our villa, exhausted, to get a good night’s rest after a full day in the sun.

The Dhoni:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1568/25677061656_149d23cf9f_b.jpg)

Inside The Dhoni:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1586/25402361020_b101f219ef_b.jpg)

To be continued...
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 22, 2016, 07:00:46 PM
Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. When do we get to hear about your swimmers ear?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 22, 2016, 07:03:03 PM
Haha, whoops. Clearly didn't get enough sleep last night  :-\.
Busy writing
If only...
hmmmm.....
Thanx for the update once again amazing
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 07:31:25 PM
Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. When do we get to hear about your swimmers ear?
Thanks! Haha, from all things about an MLE TR, that's what you're looking forward to most?  :P

hmmmm.....
Thanx for the update once again amazing
I knew you were gonna say something like that! My TR has actually been more or less written up since early last week. It's the pictures that hold me up. I decided to stop being lazy this afternoon.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 22, 2016, 07:33:27 PM
Thanks! Haha, from all things about an MLE TR, that's what you're looking forward to most? I knew you were gonna say something like that! My TR has actually been more or less written up since early last week. It's the pictures that hold me up. I decided to stop being lazy this afternoon.
That's good! can't wait for the rest.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: 3yummyboys on March 22, 2016, 07:33:30 PM
Thanks once again for the write up and amazing pics
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 22, 2016, 09:26:35 PM
Thanks once again for the write up and amazing pics

+1
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ygygold on March 22, 2016, 09:30:24 PM
Thanks once again for the write up and amazing pics
Rt
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 22, 2016, 10:13:25 PM
Made my night!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 10:29:14 PM
Thanks once again for the write up and amazing pics
+1
Rt
Made my night!
Thanks all! Glad you're all enjoying.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 22, 2016, 11:05:44 PM
Nice installment. Did you find the personal butler guy to be too much in your face, or did he keep his distance?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 11:10:43 PM
Nice installment. Did you find the personal butler guy to be too much in your face, or did he keep his distance?
Not at all; we thought he balanced it perfectly. He was there when we needed him and always kept us informed about any events but otherwise let us have our space and enjoy.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 22, 2016, 11:13:24 PM
Not at all; we thought he balanced it perfectly. He was there when we needed him and always kept us informed about any events but otherwise let us have our space and enjoy.
Good to hear. I'm one of those guys that hates the overbearing service. (Like filling up my glass after every sip....)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 11:20:32 PM
Good to hear. I'm one of those guys that's hates the overbearing service. (Like filling up my glass after every sip....)
I hear you, but it wasn't like that. They really have the service (and everything else for that matter) down to a science at PH MLE. I literally have zero complaints. Like, nothing.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 22, 2016, 11:25:41 PM
I hear you, but it wasn't like that. They really have the service (and everything else for that matter) down to a science at PH MLE. I literally have zero complaints. Like, nothing.
Great, good for you.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 22, 2016, 11:30:22 PM
Great installment.

Hope swimmer's ear doesn't deter you from doing some more diving (other than USM of course!).
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 11:46:05 PM
Great installment.

Hope swimmer's ear doesn't deter you from doing some more diving (other than USM of course!).
Thanks! And never. No pain, no gain ;) (though I hope to equalize properly next time).
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 22, 2016, 11:46:50 PM
Oiy. Never, ever go deeper if you're not properly equalized. Forget the pain, which is terrible, it's not safe.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 11:49:15 PM
Oiy. Never, ever go deeper if you're not properly equalized. Forget the pain, which is terrible, it's not safe.
I thought I was. I did it every couple of feet whenever I felt my ears even a little bit. I guess I just didn't pop one of my ears all the way at some point. It definitely didn't hurt at all while I was diving so I figured everything was fine. Live and learn.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Super Speed on March 23, 2016, 02:19:20 AM
Reading through a few installments now, UNBELIEVABLE!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 23, 2016, 12:02:26 PM
I have no patience to wait -  did you end up getting owb at the end? Was it worth it?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 12:13:29 PM
I have no patience to wait -  did you end up getting owb at the end? Was it worth it?
Haha it's in the next installment. Hope to have it up within a couple of hours.  :P

Side point - now I know why AJK loves making us all wait while he takes foreverrrr to post his TRs. It's kind of fun lol.  ;D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 23, 2016, 12:36:12 PM
I don't do it purposely. If I had nothing to do but crank out TRs, I'd crank out TRs.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 12:40:24 PM
I don't do it purposely. If I had nothing to do but crank out TRs, I'd crank out TRs.
It was a joke! Yes, I know, I'm a 3L and I have nothing better to do with my time. #3LOL
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 23, 2016, 12:56:06 PM
It was a joke! Yes, I know, I'm a 3L and I have nothing better to do with my time. #3LOL

I know, I know.

Ahhh, the days.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 01:43:16 PM
Monday

We got another early start on Monday morning because DW had a massage booked for 9:30am. As much as I wanted to get one too, I opted out because I had a pretty bad sunburn and it would’ve been too painful. The hotel has a promotion that if you finish your spa treatment by 11am (basically book a 9:00am or 9:30am appointment), you get a 15% discount (basically an early bird special).

Once we were done eating, the masseuse came to pick up DW from breakfast to take her to the spa (another example of the great service) and I went to speak to Ameez about possibly upgrading for the last night to an OWB. Unfortunately, he told me that over the past few days a lot of reservations came in and they were all booked up (when we arrived, he told us that they only expected to be at about 60% occupancy for the duration of our stay; they were at 90% when we left), and that I wasn’t the only Diamond member that wanted to upgrade for one night (apparently many people only want to upgrade for one night). He did say though that if something opened up, he’d probably be able to upgrade me for free for one night, but unfortunately nothing did. I know, many of you are going to say that it was a missed opportunity to go all the way to MLE and not stay in an OWB. Sure, it would’ve been cool and a very different experience, and while it was a bit frustrating, it didn’t bother us that much. We really liked our villa and having a private pool was amazing. Hopefully we’ll get to BOB one day and stay in an OWB there. Our trip was still incredible and we’re not going to let one thing ruin it.

After DW was done with her massage (which she said was great), we took it easy and hung out at the main hotel pool (which overlooks the beach and ocean) for a bit and then went kayaking for close to an hour. The hotel has single and double kayaks that are free to use. We kayaked from the beach past the OWBs to the Dawn Jetty and then back to the beach. It felt like we were kayaking in a lake because the water was so calm. I’ve only been kayaking in an ocean one other time and I remember how difficult (read: annoying) it was because of the current, but that definitely wasn’t the case here.

Main Pool:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1553/25076497663_acc01cb7b5_b.jpg)

Another view of the pool:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1678/25584539772_2875ac3409_b.jpg)

After kayaking, we went back to the villa for lunch, took it easy for a bit and then went snorkeling off the Dusk Jetty to see some more beautiful fish and coral. Once we were done snorkeling, both jetties have nice sitting areas so we relaxed over there for a bit before heading back to our villa to wash up before happy hour and dinner.

We could've just stared at the water from the jetty for days...
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1459/25677053066_92a3691810_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1665/25072695274_f2cbaaebed_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1504/25610516091_3860408e79_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1694/25072693534_0bea20b0e8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1559/25677064916_975735ab6d_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1660/25076481733_05625764cb_b.jpg)

When we went to The Bar for happy hour, we noticed that they had some games there for people to use (not sure how we missed it the other nights) so we played some backgammon while enjoying a drink and watching the sunset. I forgot to mention this in the last installment, but The Bar is located right near the pool (kind of diagonal from The Dining Room) and only a few steps from the beach.

The Bar:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1642/25703200645_2df48cf385_b.jpg)

View of the pool from The Bar:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1504/25072677244_580f1fbe3a_b.jpg)

View of the pool and The Dining Room from The Bar:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1565/25610498001_34e309956a_b.jpg)

Although we wanted to have dinner again at The Island Grill, we ate at The Dining Room because there was a special event at The Island Grill (I think it was a BBQ) so we didn’t want to occupy a table that they could otherwise be filling with a guest ordering from the menu (and spending a lot on dinner). We changed it up and had dairy for dinner, splitting a Fettuccini Alfredo. We both really liked it, but I’m not so sure I agree with those who say that POM’s dairy meals are enough to feed two for dinner (perfect to split for lunch though). I don’t know if we would’ve each been able to finish a whole serving ourselves, but we thought that the ideal amount would probably be 3/4 of a serving per person, so I guess we’ll see what we do the next time around.

On the way back from dinner we stopped at the gift shop to pick up a shot glass as a souvenir (a tradition that we decided to start in the Cayman Islands two months ago) and borrowed a DVD from reception. The hotel has a collection of about 30 DVDs that guests can take out (free of charge) to watch in their villa (every villa has a DVD player). The selection wasn’t great, but we decided on Runner Runner, which was nothing more than okay (I think JT should stick to singing and leave acting for the experts). The reception also has a bunch of books in a variety of languages (DW spotted a couple of Hebrew books), though I’m not sure what the selection is like because I didn’t really look to see what they had. We went back to the villa, watched the movie and called it a day.

Our Souvenir:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1469/25984622196_cc14822a13_z.jpg)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 23, 2016, 02:05:06 PM
Sounds like you had a lot of time just relaxing and taking it easy. Did that bother you? I know when I write things like that in a TR it usually means I was either a bit bored or could have been doing something more exciting. Did you, at any time before the end of your stay, feel like you were ready to leave?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: sam28 on March 23, 2016, 02:56:19 PM
wow amazing report . thanks

Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: @Yehuda on March 23, 2016, 04:45:32 PM
Nice finish! I don't think I've come across people saying the dairy POMs can be split by 2 people. I think the general idea is 1.5 pom meals would satiate 2 people, or like you said 3/4 meal per person.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:00:19 PM
Sounds like you had a lot of time just relaxing and taking it easy. Did that bother you? I know when I write things like that in a TR it usually means I was either a bit bored or could have been doing something more exciting. Did you, at any time before the end of your stay, feel like you were ready to leave?
It didn't bother us at all, but we do particularly enjoy just relaxing and taking it easy (we're not the type that likes to be up at 6am and be out and about until 10pm everyday during vacation). We definitely weren't bored but we did feel that 6 days was the perfect amount of time to spend in MLE, and that anymore time could've been a little too much. If you're going to MLE though, you shouldn't expect to be doing a lot of activities unless you're ready to shell out a lot of money on hotel activities.

Nice finish!
Not done yet! Still a few more parts left to post!

I don't think I've come across people saying the dairy POMs can be split by 2 people. I think the general idea is 1.5 pom meals would satiate 2 people, or like you said 3/4 meal per person.
Thanks! Hmmm, probably gonna stick with one meal per person to be safe. Does that apply for milchig and fleishig meals or would you say the milchig meals easily feed two people because it's all main and no sides?
The milchig meals easily feed two regular eaters. The fleishig, I would stick to one meal a person.
Sounds right.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: @Yehuda on March 23, 2016, 05:01:43 PM
Oh, I thought the shotglass meant googbye. haha

Nice proofs. Should have asked me. :P We sometimes had leftover penne vodka, but never enough to split.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:03:15 PM
Oh, I thought the shotglass meant googbye. haha

Nice proofs. Should have asked me. :P We sometimes had leftover penne vodka, but never enough to split.
Haha, nope! Though I could understand why you thought that. Just posted it because we bought it on that day.

I posted my question on the forum, you just didn't answer :P. All good; now I know what to order for Hawaii.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 23, 2016, 05:08:00 PM
It didn't bother us at all, but we do particularly enjoy just relaxing and taking it easy (we're not the type that likes to be up at 6am and be out and about until 10pm everyday during vacation). We definitely weren't bored but we did feel that 6 days was the perfect amount of time to spend in MLE, and that anymore time could've been a little too much. If you're going to MLE though, you shouldn't expect to be doing a lot of activities unless you're ready to shell out a lot of money on hotel activities.
Not done yet! Still a few more parts left to post!
Cool. I think if we get to MLE we'd go for 2-3 days max, maybe including shabbos. Sitting and relaxing just isn't my thing for very long.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:13:25 PM
Cool. I think if we get to MLE we'd go for 2-3 days max, maybe including shabbos. Sitting and relaxing just isn't my thing for very long.
Yea, I agree with that. If you don't like just relaxing then you shouldn't stay as long as we did (unless you plan on doing activities everyday), though I would tell you to go during the week and not over Shabbos so that you can dive/snorkel everyday.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 23, 2016, 05:15:58 PM
Sounds like you had a lot of time just relaxing and taking it easy. Did that bother you? I know when I write things like that in a TR it usually means I was either a bit bored or could have been doing something more exciting. Did you, at any time before the end of your stay, feel like you were ready to leave?
Your missing the point of the Maldives then!

Speaking of DVD rentals, 2ere the tvs set up with hdmi so if you brought a chromecast or cable you could connect  a phone?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:18:50 PM
Your missing the point of the Maldives then!
+.75 Diving and snorkeling are also a big reason to go.

Speaking of DVD rentals, 2ere the tvs set up with hdmi so if you brought a chromecast or cable you could connect  a phone?
I believe they were, but I didn't really pay attention. There was a whole media panel with different ports so I think you would be able to connect something, but I'm not 100% sure because I didn't try.

Oh, and forgot to mention this, but Netflix doesn't work in MLE so if you definitely think you'll want to watch a movie there and don't want to rely on the hotel's selection, may be a good idea to download something beforehand.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: noturbizniss on March 23, 2016, 05:21:40 PM
+.75 Diving and snorkeling are also a big reason to go.
I believe they were, but I didn't really pay attention. There was a whole media panel with different ports so I think you would be able to connect something, but I'm not 100% sure because I didn't try.

Oh, and forgot to mention this, but Netflix doesn't work in MLE so if you definitely think you'll want to watch a movie there and don't want to rely on the hotel's selection, may be a good idea to download something beforehand.
Amazon works?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:22:05 PM
Amazon works?
Nope.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 23, 2016, 05:26:12 PM
Nope.
Anything?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 23, 2016, 05:27:39 PM
Yea, I agree with that. If you don't like just relaxing then you shouldn't stay as long as we did (unless you plan on doing activities everyday), though I would tell you to go during the week and not over Shabbos so that you can dive/snorkel everyday.
What types of activities does the hotel offer?

Your missing the point of the Maldives then!

Speaking of DVD rentals, 2ere the tvs set up with hdmi so if you brought a chromecast or cable you could connect  a phone?
Not really. I know people go for diving, snorkeling and relaxing, but just because some people enjoy doing that for 6 days doesn't mean others are perfectly content with doing it for 2-3 days and then moving on to another destination in the area, like CMB.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:32:17 PM
Anything?
I managed to find a link to stream the Suits finale, but otherwise, nothing worked.

What types of activities does the hotel offer?
Diving, snorkeling trips to other reefs, fishing trips, dolphin watching, local island visits, crossing the Equator trip, water sports (takes place at another island), uninhabited island visit and some others. All pretty pricey though.

Not really. I know people go for diving, snorkeling and relaxing, but just because some people enjoy doing that for 6 days doesn't mean others are perfectly content with doing it for 2-3 days and then moving on to another destination in the area, like CMB.
100%. You just have to know yourself and know what the right amount of time for you is.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 23, 2016, 05:47:04 PM
I managed to find a link to stream the Suits finale, but otherwise, nothing worked.
Diving, snorkeling trips to other reefs, fishing trips, dolphin watching, local island visits, crossing the Equator trip, water sports (takes place at another island), uninhabited island visit and some others. All pretty pricey though.
100%. You just have to know yourself and know what the right amount of time for you is.
I imagine anything that involved going to another island would cross more. None of those activities interest me much, especially if I had to pay a lot to do them. Crossing the equator trip? Seriously?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:48:52 PM
Crossing the equator trip? Seriously?
I actually think it was the most expensive trip lol.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 23, 2016, 05:54:58 PM
I actually think it was the most expensive trip lol.
That's because it's the farthest. Are people expecting a sign they can take a picture with? There are loads of other places on earth you can walk along the equator on dry land.  :D
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 05:58:07 PM
That's because it's the farthest. Are people expecting a sign they can take a picture with? There are loads of other places on earth you can walk along the equator on dry land.  :D
I think they actually let you get out of the boat and swim across it lol.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 23, 2016, 05:59:22 PM
I think they actually let you get out of the boat and swim across it lol.
::) At least some people don't mind paying for it.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: GettingReady on March 23, 2016, 06:12:18 PM
Absolutely LOVE the trip report and pictures. I was wondering why you waited on the hotel though?

Our first trip is this fall. I was worried about the hotel getting booked up, so I went through the concierge service, booked with cash, and then changed to points as I accumulated them. Is that not kosher?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 06:53:44 PM
Absolutely LOVE the trip report and pictures. I was wondering why you waited on the hotel though?

Our first trip is this fall. I was worried about the hotel getting booked up, so I went through the concierge service, booked with cash, and then changed to points as I accumulated them. Is that not kosher?
Thanks! I didn't wait to book the hotel. I booked it at the same time as the flights. But in general, doing what you did isn't a bad idea. I've done it before. Nothing wrong with it; some hotel chains actually suggest doing it.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: GettingReady on March 23, 2016, 07:47:55 PM
Thanks! I didn't wait to book the hotel. I booked it at the same time as the flights. But in general, doing what you did isn't a bad idea. I've done it before. Nothing wrong with it; some hotel chains actually suggest doing it.

Whew, that's good to know although they say ignorance is bliss. :)

So what's on the agenda for the next trip? Gonna be hard to top that one.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 23, 2016, 10:16:47 PM
So what's on the agenda for the next trip? Gonna be hard to top that one.
January
PHL-MIA AA Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 15,000 Avios
2 Nights in Miami.
MIA-GCM AA Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 9,450 Avios
2 Nights in Westin Grand Cayman: 32,000 SPG
GCM-MIA AA Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 9,450 Avios
4 Nights in Miami.
MIA-PHL AA Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 15,000 Avios

March
PHL-DOH-MLE QR J (2 Adults): 135,000 AA
6 Nights in PH MLE: 150,000 Hyatt Points
MLE-DOH-PHL QR J (2 Adults): 135,000 AA

May
EWR-HNL UA F (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 60,000 SQ
HNL-OGG HA Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 10,000 AA
6 Nights in Andaz Maui: 4 Sign Up Nights + 50,000 Hyatt Points
OGG-HNL HA Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 10,000 AA
HNL-EWR UA Plan B (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 80,000 UA

August
JFK-ICN KE F (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 199,500 KE
1 Night in Grand Hyatt Seoul: Anniversary Night
ICN-CNX KE J (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): Free Stopover
6 Nights in LM Chiang Mhai (Executive Suite): 44,000 SPG
CNX-USM PG Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 20,000 JAL
5 Nights in Conrad Koh Samui: 380,000 Hilton Points
USM-HKG PG Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): Free JAL Stopover
2 Nights in Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui: 1 Anniversary Night + 15,000 Hyatt Points
HKG-JFK CX J (2 Adults + 1 Infant in seat): 165,000 AA

+ Good chance we take another trip down to MIA at some point
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: GettingReady on March 24, 2016, 08:12:39 AM
+ Good chance we take another trip down to MIA at some point

Guess I missed that post from January. Have you ever considered being a booking agent in your spare time? NM, anyone with a "lap infant" doesn't have spare time.  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 08:50:41 AM

Guess I missed that post from January. Have you ever considered being a booking agent in your spare time? NM, anyone with a "lap infant" doesn't have spare time.  ;)
Nah. I help out some friends when they need it but that's it. And many people around these parts are wayyy more knowledgable than me.

Plus, all this fun and games is over once I start work in September.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 24, 2016, 09:47:33 AM


Plus, all this fun and games is over once I start work in September.
You think you can just stop?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 09:58:04 AM
You think you can just stop?
I won't have a choice. I just won't have the time to travel.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 24, 2016, 09:59:52 AM
I won't have a choice. I just won't have the time to travel.

 ::) Oh please.

You'll figure it out just like all of us.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 10:10:36 AM
::) Oh please.

You'll figure it out just like all of us.
Haha, I hope you're right.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 24, 2016, 10:25:42 AM
You'll figure it out just like most of us.
FTFY :(
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 24, 2016, 10:36:19 AM
FTFY :(

It's never too late.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 10:37:28 AM
FTFY :(
If you cut the amount of time that you spend on the "Help Me Find It" thread in half, you'd have time for a vacation  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 24, 2016, 10:39:08 AM
If you cut the amount of time that you spend on the "Help Me Find It" thread in half, you'd have time for a vacation  ;)
And forsake my brothers & sisters ? NEVER :)

That I could do during work. MLE I can't
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 10:43:55 AM
That I could do during work. MLE I can't
Touche
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 24, 2016, 11:05:43 AM
::) Oh please.

You'll figure it out just like all of us.

No. He won't. Just not feasible, sorry to say.

Better enjoy the first half of 2016, mon frere.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 24, 2016, 11:06:55 AM
And forsake my brothers & sisters ? NEVER :)

That I could do during work. MLE I can't

Mayybe if you spent less time in that thread, and instead used that time to find a job in which you wouldn't have time to be in that thread, you'd be able to make more money AND go to MLE :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 24, 2016, 11:20:00 AM
AND go to MLE :P

During work  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 24, 2016, 11:20:02 AM
No. He won't. Just not feasible, sorry to say.

Better enjoy the first half of 2016, mon frere.
Really no vacation whatsoever?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Super Speed on March 24, 2016, 11:30:21 AM
No. He won't. Just not feasible, sorry to say.

Better enjoy the first half of 2016, mon frere.
Says the guy who takes more vacations than work days
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 11:35:48 AM
Really no vacation whatsoever?
Technically I'll have vacation days. Using them isn't so simple. Between Yom Tov and short Fridays during the winter, it'll be hard to hit my billables if I take a lot of vacation.
Says the guy who takes more vacations than work days
Unique situation. And he's more senior.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 24, 2016, 11:38:36 AM
Technically I'll have vacation days. Using them isn't so simple. Between Yom Tov and short Fridays during the winter, it'll be hard to hit my billables if I take a lot of vacation. Unique situation. And he's more senior.
True, the first years are murder.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 11:47:09 AM
True, the first years are murder.
You're a lawyer?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 24, 2016, 11:54:13 AM
Mayybe if you spent less time in that thread, and instead used that time to find a job in which you wouldn't have time to be in that thread, you'd be able to make more money AND go to MLE :P
Not that simple. Money ain't the issue here.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 24, 2016, 12:03:31 PM
Says the guy who takes more vacations than work days

Fair point, though, to be frank, those days are over.

Technically I'll have vacation days. Using them isn't so simple. Between Yom Tov and short Fridays during the winter, it'll be hard to hit my billables if I take a lot of vacation. Unique situation. And he's more senior.

Yep. The holidays will be killers. Must. hit. billable. goals.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 24, 2016, 12:04:36 PM
Not that simple. Money ain't the issue here.

Trust me, if you have that much time to spend on DDF while at work, you can be using your time more wisely.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: TimT on March 24, 2016, 12:16:58 PM
Trust me, if you have that much time to spend on DDF while at work, you can be using you're time more wisely.
As I said
Not that simple.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 24, 2016, 12:28:22 PM
You're a lawyer?
No, but I heard all about it.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 24, 2016, 12:35:37 PM
As I said

Back and forth we go. Everyone's life is complicated, but this rule is true the world over.

If one can spend 6 hours a day on DDF while working (barring of course that DDF is your job), he or she is not being as effective as possible. Take it to the bank.

#kettleandpot
#kettlenotbeingkettleanymore
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 01:46:28 PM
Fair point, though, to be frank, those days are over.
Really now?
I'm not. I don't think. Already redeemed 800K last month.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 24, 2016, 01:47:22 PM
Really now?

Now just imagine what he USED to burn.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 01:52:02 PM
Now just imagine what he USED to burn.
Rather not be reminded of what a missed opportunity it was to not be in the game back when I was in college and literally had zero commitments   :-\
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 24, 2016, 01:58:54 PM
Rather not be reminded of what a missed opportunity it was to not be in the game back when I was in college and literally had zero commitments   :-\

+1 to that. Still, I won't cry. I am still happy I got into it at all and will still benefit from it. Even if I could have done way more back then.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 24, 2016, 02:16:43 PM
Really now?

Can't *all* work and *no* play.

One trip a year won't kill us :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 24, 2016, 02:28:20 PM
Can't *all* work and *no* play.

One trip a year won't kill us :P

Eh, there's a good chance CS will have to starting this fall.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 24, 2016, 02:28:38 PM
+1 to that. Still, I won't cry. I am still happy I got into it at all and will still benefit from it. Even if I could have done way more back then.
+1
Can't *all* work and *no* play.

One trip a year won't kill us :P
Where the hell are you flying for 800k AA? Space?  :o
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 24, 2016, 02:28:48 PM
Now just imagine what he USED to burn.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say AA :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: EJB on March 24, 2016, 02:29:44 PM
+1Where the hell are you flying for 800k AA? Space?  :o

I'm assuming one of the ways is transatlantic. AJK - You bringing a babysitter with you as well?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Zalc on March 24, 2016, 02:34:22 PM
+1Where the hell are you flying for 800k AA? Space?  :o
Trans-pacific in 1st for 2+ppl?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 12:35:33 PM
Tuesday

The hotel offers complimentary sunrise and sunset yoga on the pool deck twice a week, so we woke up to do yoga Tuesday morning, but when we woke up, we were too lazy so we just went out on one of the jetties to watch the sunrise. I’ve personally never done yoga before and it doesn’t really seem like my thing, but I was open to trying it in MLE while watching the sunrise near the beach.

Some pictures of the sunrise:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1618/25703193375_0cdc41724c_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1591/25677041036_3f79d5927c_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1605/25703191235_31bf8f1470_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1659/25677017716_18bf62a82e_b.jpg)

After watching the sunrise, we went to breakfast. Tuesday was very similar to the other days that we were there, but I’ll type up a summary anyways. As I’m guessing you’re all realizing, there isn’t THAT much that you can do in MLE, which is why many people say that 5-6 days is the most you can spend there without getting a bit bored. Sure, the hotel offered many activities (Fishing, Dolphin Watching, Local Island Visit, Water Sports, Equator Trip, etc.) but most of them were really pricey and more than we wanted to spend. Either way, we felt that 6 nights was the perfect amount of time for us to be there, though we’re the type of people that really like relaxing on a beach so if you’re someone that likes to constantly be doing things, you’d probably get bored a bit quicker unless you’re doing a lot of activities.

Back to the daily summary, in the middle of breakfast, DW’s masseuse from the day before stopped by to see how DW’s sunburn was (another example of employees at PH MLE going above and beyond and really caring about their guests). Turns out though, DW actually wasn’t feeling that great (she thinks she had a minor form of sun poisoning), so after breakfast she went back to the villa to take it easy and I went to sit out at the beach/pool for a few hours.

I eventually went back to our villa to eat lunch with DW and then we spent the rest of the day at our private pool because there was some shade and DW didn’t want to be out in the sun.

At around 6pm, it was off to The Bar for happy hour and backgammon and then to the beach to watch our last sunset in paradise.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1528/25584503422_810e25afaa_b.jpg)

Once it was dark, we had dinner at The Dining Room again because there was another special event at The Island Grill. For our last dinner, we had Swedish Meatballs with sides of Popcorn Cauliflower and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Teriyaki Grilled Cutlets with sides of more Popcorn Cauliflower and Roasted Sweet Potatoes. DW wasn’t such a fan of the meatballs; she found them to be a bit too thick (like most catered meatballs) and while I heard what she was saying, I thought they were pretty good. The Teriyaki Cutlets were a disappointment though. They barely had any flavor, but at least the serving was generous (there were two big cutlets this time as opposed to the one in the order of Pesto Baby Chicken). The sides were all solid again, with the Portobello Mushrooms once again being the highlight.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1485/25610487041_92578006f4_b.jpg)

As we were finishing up dinner, Ameez stopped by to give us our checkout itinerary. Our boat ride leaving the hotel was scheduled for 3:15pm (Island Time) and although checkout is normally at noon and the hotel was pretty full, he was able to arrange for us to have our room until our boat ride so that we could get the most out of our last day. After going over the schedule with Ameez, we walked back to our villa and watched a bit of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 that we found on TV (the channel selection is actually pretty solid) until my ear started killing me. I got worried that it was an ear infection because I was flying the next day, so I called the reception and asked if I could see the doctor. They told me that they’d send her to my villa and she arrived within 5 minutes of me hanging up. She checked it out and told me that it was a classic case of swimmer’s ear (probably caused by me not equalizing properly/often enough) and that I had nothing to worry about in terms of flying as long as I chewed gum or drank something for take off and landing. She also gave me drops and pills to help with the pain. I honestly have no idea what she gave me and the packaging wasn’t in English, and though I’d normally be hesitant to take something blindly, the pain was so bad that I just took it and hoped for the best. (Side point – the doctor visit and the meds were all free.) Anyways, I took my meds and we went to sleep. The pain woke me up a couple of times during the night but thankfully by the time the morning came around, it was feeling a lot better (and the Maldivian meds didn’t kill me) and I didn’t have any problems on the flights either.

Up next: our last (half) day at PH MLE and departure from the hotel.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 02:27:19 PM
Loved the sunrise pics.  Thanks for taking the time to do this whole report!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 02:28:25 PM
Loved the sunrise pics.  Thanks for taking the time to do this whole report!
You're welcome! Getting you excited for your trip?  :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 03:07:10 PM
You're welcome! Getting you excited for your trip?  :)

I'm so excited!  I'm literally planning to B"H have sinus surgery (that I have been putting off for years) so that I can properly enjoy the snorkeling and water.  Although I think your swimmer's ear story convinced me that with my sinus and other issues I'll be happy enough with snorkeling and don't need to try scuba diving. ;)  I'm also trying to figure out the best thing for food and whether it is better to chance having the restaurant in Singapore pack and freeze food for me or try to get some Australian meals from the hotel that probably won't taste that good...but I'm fine with these kinds of problems!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 28, 2016, 03:23:36 PM
I'm glad the swimmers ear wasn't that bad, though sorry you had to experience it in the first place. Cool to know that the doctor and meds were free. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 05:45:45 PM
I'm so excited!  I'm literally planning to B"H have sinus surgery (that I have been putting off for years) so that I can properly enjoy the snorkeling and water.  Although I think your swimmer's ear story convinced me that with my sinus and other issues I'll be happy enough with snorkeling and don't need to try scuba diving. ;)
#Dedication. Though if a doctor clears you to, I'd try to go scuba diving; it's incredible.

Cool to know that the doctor and meds were free.
Yup. When I called reception to ask if I can see the doctor, I asked them how much it would be because I was expecting it to cost (part of me thought it would actually be a fortune).

Side point - Am I the only one that when staying at an expensive hotel (for free, obviously), asks to make sure something is free or isn't expensive and feels funny doing so? I always feel weird because I feel like I'm the only guest asking (because the other guests are paying so much per night, they don't really care about a potential small extra charge).
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 28, 2016, 05:49:44 PM
#Dedication. Though if a doctor clears you to, I'd try to go scuba diving; it's incredible.
Yup. When I called reception to ask if I can see the doctor, I asked them how much it would be because I was expecting it to cost (part of me thought it would actually be a fortune).

Side point - Am I the only one that when staying at an expensive hotel (for free, obviously), asks to make sure something is free or isn't expensive and feels funny doing so? I always feel weird because I feel like I'm the only guest asking (because the other guests are paying so much per night, they don't really care about a potential small extra charge).
For me it depends on the hotel and the request. Sometimes I feel weird, like if other people are around, and sometimes I don't. They know some people stay at their hotels with points, even if most don't.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 05:52:02 PM
For me it depends on the hotel and the request. Sometimes I feel weird, like if other people are around, and sometimes I don't. They know some people stay at their hotels with points, even if most don't.
I know that I shouldn't have a complex, but I do anyways. Either way, this should be my biggest problem when traveling (and a good problem to have). :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 28, 2016, 05:52:57 PM
I know that I shouldn't have a complex, but I do anyways. Either way, this should be my biggest problem when traveling (and a good problem to have). :)
Lol, yup.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 07:56:10 PM
I know that I shouldn't have a complex, but I do anyways. Either way, this should be my biggest problem when traveling (and a good problem to have). :)

I'm actually becoming convinced (although I could be wrong and maybe Dan or AJK or others have some inside knowledge) that places like the Conrad and possibly the Park Hyatt are getting the majority of their people from points so you shouldn't feel bad at all! 

That's why they have it all set up like clockwork with the whole upgrade system.  How can it be that they say often like half the people at the Conrad are HHonors Diamonds and that's why they can't offer free upgrades.  They book all the lowest beach villas on points, do their best to get you to upgrade and then book those lowest rooms again!  I think they get paid more per point if they have a certain percentage of occupancy (or even at a certain percentage they get reimbursed the whole cost of the room for the points).  I feel worse about having them go out of their way for the kosher food since from Flyertalk and other places it looks like most of the people even that are coming on points are spending more than the cost of the room in F&B and activities.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 08:25:35 PM
I'm actually becoming convinced (although I could be wrong and maybe Dan or AJK or others have some inside knowledge) that places like the Conrad and possibly the Park Hyatt are getting the majority of their people from points so you shouldn't feel bad at all! 

That's why they have it all set up like clockwork with the whole upgrade system.  How can it be that they say often like half the people at the Conrad are HHonors Diamonds and that's why they can't offer free upgrades.  They book all the lowest beach villas on points, do their best to get you to upgrade and then book those lowest rooms again!  I think they get paid more per point if they have a certain percentage of occupancy (or even at a certain percentage they get reimbursed the whole cost of the room for the points).  I feel worse about having them go out of their way for the kosher food since from Flyertalk and other places it looks like most of the people even that are coming on points are spending more than the cost of the room in F&B and activities.
Interesting, though I'd be surprised if it's actually a majority of people that are there on points. As for having status, it's very possible that many of the people travel a lot for business and have status that way.

As for spending a lot on food if you don't keep Kosher, I don't know if I agree. We met one other couple at the hotel that happened to be there on points and it seemed like they barely spent money at the hotel. They were Diamonds so they got free breakfast and ate a lot so that they didn't have to eat lunch and they said that they usually split a portion for dinner to save money. Bottom line is, if you're on a budget you're on a budget.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: GettingReady on March 28, 2016, 08:38:51 PM
Great pictures! As far as flying, you might want to take an antihistamine before your flight if they're available. Another thing that helps are styrofoam cups over your ears when taking off and landing. Sounds stupid, I know but we did it with our one son that use to get sinus and ear infections and excruciating pain. Unlike most adults, kids don't mind looking silly.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 08:40:04 PM
Great pictures! As far as flying, you might want to take an antihistamine before your flight if they're available. Another thing that helps are styrofoam cups over your ears when taking off and landing. Sounds stupid, I know but we did it with our one son that use to get sinus and ear infections and excruciating pain. Unlike most adults, kids don't mind looking silly.
I've done the cups with some water over my ears in the past; works like a charm.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 08:50:20 PM
I've done the cups with some water over my ears in the past; works like a charm.

What exactly do you do?  You have to put a little water in the cups? How does it stay in?  One time I had to travel for work when I was sick and I thought I was going to die from the pain in my ear and sinuses so I gotta learn this trick!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 08:54:06 PM
What exactly do you do?  You have to put a little water in the cups? How does it stay in?  One time I had to travel for work when I was sick and I thought I was going to die from the pain in my ear and sinuses so I gotta learn this trick!
Put a tiny bit of water in each cup and put the cups completely over your ears. Hears a picture taken from Google:
(http://hopscotchtheglobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/8-Ways-to-Save-Your-Ears-When-Flying-with-a-Cold-1024x683.jpg)

You don't use a lot of water so nothing will spill out. You'll just look like a clown ;D.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 09:05:32 PM
Interesting, though I'd be surprised if it's actually a majority of people that are there on points. As for having status, it's very possible that many of the people travel a lot for business and have status that way.

As for spending a lot on food if you don't keep Kosher, I don't know if I agree. We met one other couple at the hotel that happened to be there on points and it seemed like they barely spent money at the hotel. They were Diamonds so they got free breakfast and ate a lot so that they didn't have to eat lunch and they said that they usually split a portion for dinner to save money. Bottom line is, if you're on a budget you're on a budget.

You're right that it may not be a majority of people redeeming points but for sure a significant percentage in these high-end non-business hotels.  The F&B and activities is also for sure a huge percentage of their income.  I run conferences for a living and business hotels make their money off of a combo of corporate meetings and social events and these kind of hotels make money off of weddings for their group business (although weddings don't seem to be a big thing in the Maldives, maybe because they are so remote and expensive) and since in the Maldives they don't really seem to have any group business they really need to extract more from their individual customers from their restaurants, spa and excursions.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 09:06:31 PM
Put a tiny bit of water in each cup and put the cups completely over your ears. Hears a picture taken from Google:
(http://hopscotchtheglobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/8-Ways-to-Save-Your-Ears-When-Flying-with-a-Cold-1024x683.jpg)

You don't use a lot of water so nothing will spill out. You'll just look like a clown ;D.

Wow, thanks for that.  Can't believe I've never heard believe I've never heard of it before!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 09:10:35 PM
Wow, thanks for that.  Can't believe I've never heard believe I've never heard of it before!
I've only done it when sitting in Y so plastic cups. Wonder if it works as good/better with the glass cups that they'll give you in F/J. Something to include on ur TR :P. Maybe even include a picture.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 09:12:38 PM
I've only done it when sitting in Y so plastic cups. Wonder if it works as good/better with the glass cups that they'll give you in F/J. Something to include on ur TR :P. Maybe even include a picture.

Lol.  I'm technical idiot compared to most of you guys so gotta read the thread about posting pics before I go too!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 09:13:46 PM
Lol.  I'm technical idiot compared to most of you guys so gotta read the thread about posting pics before I go too!
Here's the link to the thread: http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46084.0 . SF wrote out the instructions VERY clearly.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Denverite on March 28, 2016, 09:21:40 PM
Here's the link to the thread: http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46084.0 . SF wrote out the instructions VERY clearly.

Thanks again, now I don't have to search!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 10:49:53 AM
Wednesday

After breakfast on Wednesday morning, we spent a couple of hours relaxing at the beach and then went to hang out at the spa pool for about an hour. The spa pool is nice but it’s in a shady area so it doesn’t really get an sun. Nobody else was there though so it was quieter than sitting at the main pool (not that the main pool is busy or noisy at all; maybe two or three couples there at a time, max).

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1540/25703186195_5ec37dd9d8_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1635/25703185285_999d44638d_b.jpg)

We told Ameez in the morning that we had one more POM meal left in the hotel freezer and that we wanted to eat it for lunch because it would be a while before we ate dinner on the plane. At 1pm we went to The Dining Room to have our Penne Vodka. We both thought it was really good. Unexpectedly, as we were getting ready to leave The Dining Room, our waiter brought us a bill for the water that we drank while eating lunch. He told us that for lunch and dinner there is always a charge for water ($9 for a 1L bottle!). It sounded incorrect to us because after most of the other meals, our waiter told us that there’s nothing to sign because the only thing that we had was water/sparkling water which is free, but I didn’t want to argue so I just signed the bill and figured I’d wait and see what shows up on my bill when I check out.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1604/25402347940_3077da6b77_b.jpg)

After lunch, we went back to our villa to wash up and pack up because the hotel told us that they’d be picking up our bags at 2:45pm. Once they picked up our bags to take them to the jetty, we went to the main hotel reception to checkout. I was given my bill and saw that I was only charged that one time for the water (proving that the waiter was indeed incorrect), but I decided not to fight over $9 and just left it alone. After settling the bill, we were driven to the jetty on a golf cart, took some last pictures on the jetty, said goodbye and thank you to Ameez who came to see us off, and boarded the boat with two other couples. After a brief safety demonstration, we pulled away from the jetty and were on our way to Koddoo Airport. About 5 or 6 hotel staff members that were at the jetty to see us off lined up at the edge of the jetty to waive goodbye to us as we pulled away. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture, but it was a nice gesture to send us off.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1466/25677031966_603370bc60_b.jpg)

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1607/25703181695_504b131383_b.jpg)

Up next: GKK-MLE-DOH-PHL and overall last thoughts.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: eliteflyer on March 30, 2016, 11:32:46 AM
Excellent! From what I've read in reviews, it seems they generally charge for water at lunch and dinner (and some reviewers mentioned just carrying along the water bottles provided in-room (which are the same house-purified bottles served in the restaurants) to their meals to save on the cost.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 11:35:21 AM
Excellent! From what I've read in reviews, it seems they generally charge for water at lunch and dinner (and some reviewers mentioned just carrying along the water bottles provided in-room (which are the same house-purified bottles served in the restaurants) to their meals to save on the cost.
Really? If that's really the policy, that's pretty ridiculous. I've never been to a restaurant that charges for water. Even more ridiculous because like you said, they give it to you in your room/beach/pool for free and you can keep requesting as much as you want. I guess I was lucky that I only got charged for it once. Would've had a water bill for ~$120.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 30, 2016, 01:23:52 PM
Really? If that's really the policy, that's pretty ridiculous. I've never been to a restaurant that charges for water. Even more ridiculous because like you said, they give it to you in your room/beach/pool for free and you can keep requesting as much as you want. I guess I was lucky that I only got charged for it once. Would've had a water bill for ~$120.
It's indeed a crazy policy, but loads of restaurants charge for water, even if it's still water, and even if all they do is fill up a carafe from the tap.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 30, 2016, 02:13:43 PM
It's indeed a crazy policy, but loads of restaurants charge for water, even if it's still water, and even if all they do is fill up a carafe from the tap.
Really? I have never seen a kosher Resturant (including RC, PG, Mike's...) charge for tap water....
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 30, 2016, 02:14:53 PM
Really? I have never seen a kosher Resturant (including RC, PG, Mike's...) charge for tap water....
I've seen that mainly in Europe. In Argentina and Brazil they charge you for plates, bowls and cutlery too.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 30, 2016, 02:20:10 PM
I've seen that mainly in Europe. In Argentina and Brazil they charge you for plates, bowls and cutlery too.
Wow, that's nuts. Disposable or real?
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 30, 2016, 02:24:20 PM
Wow, that's nuts. Disposable or real?
Real. It's a separate item on the bill. And it's per person.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 05:58:12 PM
Boat ride, GKK-MLE-DOH-PHL and Final Thoughts!

This time, the boat ride was much more enjoyable because it was light outside so we were able to look out at the water and see some islands that we passed. We were sitting across from another couple so we started talking to them about how they enjoyed their stay and turns out they were staying at the hotel on points too (and he also status matched to Diamond)! He wasn’t as big of a points person as me (didn’t really sound like he MSs or signs up for as many cards as a lot of us do), but he said he was slowly starting to learn some tricks. They were actually continuing on to Thailand so they weren’t as sad to be leaving MLE as we were.

After about a half an hour ride, we pulled up to Kooddoo Airport Island and were greeted by other Hyatt representatives who took our bags and checked us in for our flight. After about a 20 minute wait at the gate (the whole airport is like one check-in counter and one gate), we boarded the flight.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1445/25703180695_77851b407a_b.jpg)

The Hyatt representative that checked us in saw us talking to the other couple that we met on the boat so he sat us next to each other on the plane, which was nice. We continued talking for most of the flight while looking at some of the beautiful views that were outside. I wasn’t able to get such good pictures because our window was VERY dirty (Maldivian Air planes seem to all be pretty old), but here are a few of the better ones.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1460/25072657994_b665acedc5_b.jpg)

Male:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1688/25677017006_dbf49a438d_b.jpg)

We saw our next plane waiting for us as soon as we landed in MLE:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1595/25402343870_7c2b0f92c9_b.jpg)

Upon landing in MLE, we were greeted by one last Hyatt rep who once again took our bags for us and help us check-in. The other couple had about 5 hours until their flight and they weren’t flying J/F so the hotel arranged for them to have lounge access at the lounge that all the guests get access to when originally landing in MLE and waiting for their domestic flight. Because we were flying J, the Hyatt rep told us that he’d be taking us directly to international check in (the airport has two buildings – one for domestic and one for international) so we said goodbye to the couple that we met on the boat, I exchanged emails with the guy (nothing wrong with doing a little networking while on vacation ;) ), and we headed over to the international part of the airport. MLE has double security, so everything is screened as soon as you walk into the airport, and then after check-in, you go through regular security that we’re all accustomed to. (I actually turned to DW as we were going through the first round of security and mentioned how I thought every airport should have security right when you walk into the airport. Then after seeing what happened in BRU, it’s really beyond me how other airports aren’t making immediate plans to have security like we saw in MLE.) Once we were all checked in, the Hyatt rep said goodbye to us and we headed over to security, customs and then went straight to the lounge. Leeli Lounge is for any F/J passengers. The wifi was solid, the lounge had a decent sitting area, and the food (though we obviously couldn’t eat it) actually looked really good. By the time we were all checked in and settled in the lounge, we only had about an hour to kill before it was time to board so the timing actually worked out pretty well.

Check-in:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1492/25677028906_f301ac70e6_b.jpg)

Duty Free:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1510/25677027996_c2baf1a329_b.jpg)

Before we knew it, it was time to board our flight to DOH. MLE is a tiny airport so the walk from the lounge to the gate was about 30 seconds and within minutes, we were settled in seats 2A and 2B and being offered drinks and hot/cold towels. The only alcohol that they serve before takeoff is champagne so I settled for some Pellegrino while watching Messi and Neymar give the safety demonstration.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1483/25584476052_504395d03c_b.jpg)

Safety video featuring Lionel Messi:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1462/25610475301_d74c6fcefc_b.jpg)

And Neymar too:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1661/25703174765_59f9935f51_b.jpg)

They told us that dinner would be served right after takeoff so I decided to start a movie. After going through what must have been 150 choices, I decided on The Big Short. Great movie and I highly recommend seeing it. Dinner was chicken and olives, which I thought was pretty good (DW didn’t like it because she doesn’t like olives and the chicken had an olivy taste). There were also a couple of small jars of salmon spread that were pretty good. The service on the flight was great; I basically had Glenfiddich 15 on tap until I finished the movie, at which point I was in a pretty good zone and fell right to sleep for about 2 hours until several minutes before landing.

Dinner:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1581/25610474351_457c6f01fc_b.jpg)

One of the many drinks:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1587/25677027186_fe9d00bd26_b.jpg)

All comfy, watching The Big Short:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1675/25703176555_cb56a22e11_b.jpg)

After landing in DOH, we took a bus to the terminal, walked around the airport for a bit to see some of the shops and then went to Al Mourjan. Unfortunately all the quiet rooms were taken and the lounge attendant told me that nobody that had a room had a flight out of DOH before 1am (our flight was at 1:40am) so they probably wouldn’t open up at all. Though it would have been nice to get a quiet room to hang out, the lounge has a lot of nice areas to sit so we just relaxed in the main sitting area, I had a couple of beers, caught up on some DDF ;) and went to take a shower about 35 minutes before it was time to board our last (longest) flight. Even though it would be a 14 hour flight, we were both looking forward to getting back on an A350 and getting a good night’s sleep.

Another part of Al Mourjan that we didn't see last time:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1562/25402339950_94d8e280e4_b.jpg)

When our flight took off at 1:40am it was really 4:40am PH MLE time so we were pretty exhausted because we each only slept for two hours on the first flight (purposely so that we’d be able to sleep on the longer flight). After take off, I went to change into my pajamas and we both went straight to sleep for about four and a half hours. We both decided to have a meal when we woke up which was salmon and once again pretty solid. This time I watched J. Edgar while eating dinner. I thought it was pretty good but I’m also biased because I’m a big Leo fan.

After the movie was over (and my body had its refill of scotch), I went back to sleep for about another four and a half hours. DW and I still can’t get over how much easier it is to sleep on a flight when flying J, and it makes the time pass so much faster. Though it is harder to sleep, I was never one who minded flying in Y but DW usually hates flying and is never able to sleep on a plane and she loved every minute of our flights on this trip. After waking up and asking the flight attendant what the available meal was, she told us that she had another salmon meal for us. It was a little odd because our body was expecting breakfast, but honestly, the salmon was pretty good and definitely better than the rubbery omelets that airlines serve for breakfast. As the flight attendant was setting my table, I went back to the movie list to choose one last movie that would take me to the end of the flight. This time I chose Black Mass, which was also a pretty good movie. The movie ended with about 20 minutes left in the flight so after changing back into my regular clothes, I turned on the A350 tailwing camera to watch our descent into PHL. I was able to spot the runway from about a mile out so it was cool to watch us approach the airport head on and eventually land in PHL.

Approach into PHL:
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1524/25584475692_6f45086bc8_b.jpg)

After pulling up to the gate, we got off the plane, were through customs within 10 minutes (Global Entry FTW!) and after collecting our bags, we went outside to meet our friend who generously offered to pick us up and give us a ride home.

Overall Thoughts
I tried being as detailed as possible throughout the TR in the hopes that it would be helpful to any of you planning a trip to PH MLE (or MLE in general). I know I’ve gained a lot (and enjoyed too, of course) from reading other TRs so I just wanted to return the favor. To end off my TR, here are some overall thoughts on both PH MLE and our QR J experience.

QR J
Just a disclaimer – this was my first *real* premium cabin experience, so keep that in mind as you read this. Once September comes around, the plan is to have experienced UA J, KE F, KE J and CX J (or F if it opens) so by then, my opinion will carry some more weight :). Anyways, our experience with QR J was great from start to finish. The service was amazing, having on demand meals was much better than either missing a meal or being woken up to eat it (as is standard in Y), and the planes were all very nice. We both thought the beds were pretty comfortable (like I said before, DW usually has a very hard time sleeping on planes) and the pajamas and amenity kits were great (pajamas were very comfortable and as for the amenity kits, nothing wrong with some free Armani cologne/perfume and cream). We of course hope to one day be fortunate enough to fly on an A380, but we’d both definitely love to fly on an A350 again – by far the quietest plane I’ve ever been on. Actually doesn’t sound or feel like you’re on a plane at all.

As for connecting in DOH, as others have said here before, nothing to worry about. I obviously didn’t walk around wearing a kippa but my middle name on my passport is clearly Jewish and anyone that looked at it didn’t even flinch or react. The same goes for being served Kosher meals on the flights – nobody paid attention at all. I could have honestly put on Tefillin on the plane too. DW, who I had to convince to fly on QR and connect in DOH turned to me when we landed back in PHL and said that she’d fly with QR again in a heartbeat, so for all of you who are trying to convince your wives to fly EY/EK/QR, PM me and I’ll get my wife to give yours a call ;). Just all in all a great experience and it made travelling for basically 24 hours in each direction a breeze.

PH MLE
Oh, PH MLE, you set such a high standard for every other hotel that I’ll ever stay at. From the minute we landed in MLE until the minute we left, PH MLE provided 5-star, A+, first class service. You would think that as good as the service was that I’d be able to at least find something that could be improved. But nope – nothing. Zilch. The villas were beautiful and spacious, the main hotel areas (pools, beach, restaurants etc.) were all really nice and clean, and the staff was welcoming, courteous, thoughtful and overall just incredible. They had the right balance of being helpful but not too overbearing. The hotel as a whole was very accommodating and understanding about us bringing our own food and kept asking if there was anything that they could do for us to further improve our experience. I’ve been to 5-star hotels where the service was great but you could tell that the staff was being nice because it was their job to do so. Not at PH MLE; everyone was just genuinely nice and helpful (either that or Hyatt staffs a hell of a group of actors :P). From the moment we arrived, many of the staff members knew us by name (no idea how). I know I’m being repetitive but PH MLE is just an incredible place to stay and I highly, highly recommend it for any of you planning a trip to MLE.

Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my trip, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away! I’ll do my best to answer all of them.

THE END

Next up: Hawaii (OGG) in 35 days!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Yehoshua on March 30, 2016, 06:16:03 PM
👏👏 Well done! Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tageed-lee on March 30, 2016, 06:18:01 PM
Thanks for the excellent write up! Amazing pics throughout! Really enjoyed reading the whole TR!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Feivish on March 30, 2016, 06:32:04 PM
Great report!
As for having your wife convince mine to fly via DOH, forget about that. Maybe she can try to convince her to at least let me do it solo.  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 06:54:29 PM
👏👏 Well done! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the excellent write up! Amazing pics throughout! Really enjoyed reading the whole TR!
Thank! Happy you enjoyed!
As for having your wife convince mine to fly via DOH, forget about that. Maybe she can try to convince her to at least let me do it solo.  ;)
Ask her again. If she says no, just HUCA.  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Feivish on March 30, 2016, 07:03:53 PM
Thank! Happy you enjoyed! Ask her again. If she says no, just HUCA.  ;)
:)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 30, 2016, 07:14:20 PM
Ha! If only HUCA worked on wives..... Great write up. Enjoyed reading it.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 07:17:07 PM
Ha! If only HUCA worked on wives..... Great write up. Enjoyed reading it.
It did for me (except that the conversation(s) took place in person). Happy you enjoyed!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: tzifanya54 on March 30, 2016, 07:21:34 PM
It did for me (except that the conversation(s) took place in person). Happy you enjoyed!
In my case she just keeps reading notes from the previous conversations!  ;)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 07:27:27 PM
In my case she just keeps reading notes from the previous conversations!  ;)
ALOL. Ask to speak to a supervisor. Or just apply for another card from another bank.  :o
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: GettingReady on March 30, 2016, 08:24:29 PM
Thank! Happy you enjoyed! Ask her again. If she says no, just HUCA.  ;)

+1
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: benjie1305 on March 30, 2016, 08:27:25 PM
Very nice and detailed report. Really enjoyed the different aspects of it. Congrats and looking forward to your upcoming ones.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 30, 2016, 08:29:28 PM
Very nice and detailed report. Really enjoyed the different aspects of it. Congrats and looking forward to your upcoming ones.
Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: AJK on March 31, 2016, 12:05:50 AM
Excellent rundown. Heck of a trip of firsts. Mine was similar. First premium cabin trip was also to MLE. EY F + Constance Halaveli. What a combo.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 31, 2016, 12:21:00 AM
Amazing amazing amazing
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 31, 2016, 12:48:02 AM
Excellent rundown. Heck of a trip of firsts. Mine was similar. First premium cabin trip was also to MLE. EY F + Constance Halaveli. What a combo.
Thanks! Yup, I'm gonna remember this trip for a loooong time. Now if only I could emulate the rest of your trips ;).
Amazing amazing amazing
Thanks!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Sholom123 on March 31, 2016, 11:03:25 AM
Wow pretty incredible.
Thanks for all the details.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Luvtotravel on March 31, 2016, 03:20:03 PM
loved the TR from beginning to end! fantastic detail, riveting pics and overall great style. happy trails on the rest of your upcoming adventures and waiting to hear all about it!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: ash on March 31, 2016, 09:20:32 PM
Great TR Thanks
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 31, 2016, 10:04:43 PM
Wow pretty incredible.
Thanks for all the details.
loved the TR from beginning to end! fantastic detail, riveting pics and overall great style. happy trails on the rest of your upcoming adventures and waiting to hear all about it!
Great TR Thanks
Happy you all enjoyed! It'll give me motivation to write up TRs for the other trips too. :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 31, 2016, 10:05:24 PM


Happy you all enjoyed! It'll give me motivation to write up TRs for the other trips too. :)

You better
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 31, 2016, 10:06:08 PM

You better
Or what?  :P
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: yochiek93 on March 31, 2016, 10:11:41 PM
Or what?
I will hunt you down
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on March 31, 2016, 10:17:54 PM
I will hunt you down
I'm shaking in my space boots.  :o
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Joe4007 on April 28, 2016, 01:52:50 AM
Job well done! I hope you do the same with your upcoming trips. Was a pleasure to read.
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on April 28, 2016, 02:11:59 AM
Job well done! I hope you do the same with your upcoming trips. Was a pleasure to read.
You finished reading just in time. Another trip starting next week.  :)
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: Joe4007 on April 28, 2016, 02:23:23 AM
You finished reading just in time. Another trip starting next week.  :)
Can't wait! Have a blast!
Title: Re: CS91's Bucket List Trip to MLE
Post by: CS91 on April 28, 2016, 02:45:15 AM
Can't wait! Have a blast!
Thanks!