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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: Denverite on September 08, 2016, 11:19:19 PM

Title: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on September 08, 2016, 11:19:19 PM
I'm sitting right now in the Conrad Rangali Island and while I can't quite manage a live TR I wanted to open this so that I won't be lazy when I get back and make sure to write it.

We're watching some football, about to head out snorkeling as soon as the game is finished but for now GO Broncos, from the Maldives!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Luvtotravel on September 09, 2016, 11:19:52 AM
certainly looking forward! enjoy every moment.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: bermo on September 09, 2016, 11:31:15 AM
Pictures please 😁
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on September 21, 2016, 01:29:00 PM
1st Segment- Trip Planning:

I know when people start their TR's they do the obligatory thank you's to Dan and DDF and it seems hokey but as I am beginning this TR I really do think it is so necessary although possibly for a different reason than others.  Within the frum community, DDF is known to provide a wealth of information and an amazing community to help people easily earn points and maximize their redemptions (and it certainly has helped me move light years ahead on that since I joined only a little more than a year ago), but more importantly it helped with something even greater and for that I want to express my thanks.  I actually grew up overseas and was a elite level frequent flier as a child because of travels back to the US for vacations and my dad was a DDFer before his time (and before the internet, so I really don't know he figured out all the stuff he did) and we traveled tons of places but all of that was not while keeping Shabbos and kosher.  Actually the first orthodox people I think I ever met were a couple of Bochurim from the Aleph Institute who gave me the Rebbe's Book "Toward a Meaningful Life" in Northern Japan, during High School.  When I became fully observant after college, I just kind of assumed that all the interesting and amazing travels that I had a child were things that I would have to give up, along with the many other things that a Baal Tshuva has to give up when they become frum and I was ok with that.  Fast forward many years and children later, with very nice family vacations basically to Phoenix and LA to get warm in the winter and have fun with my kids without worrying about kosher food and Shabbos, when I heard about DDF at a Shabbos table and started reading DDF.  All of a sudden it hit me that maybe I CAN still go to exotic places, enjoy my food and have top notch travel experiences like I used to have before I became frum but now in an observant way.  DDF opened back up the world to me, without compromising my Jewish values and for that I thank all of you!     

Ok, on to the planning.  My husband was coming upon a milestone date in his life and I wanted to give him a trip of a lifetime to help celebrate that milestone.  Also, we were really poor when we got married plus didn't have the time or inclination back then to take a big trip, so I was hoping to also kind of make up for that with this one.  Both my husband I weren't raised in the US, have been to lots of places, aside from Israel, don't really have very many places we want to go or return to so where to plan an amazing, over-the-top vacation?

 Where was worth arranging babysitting for many days for our kids, arranging precious time-off from both our businesses and worth the time to travel.  My feeling has always kind of been that I wanted a truly spectacular place, otherwise I'm not willing to even take a connecting flight and I can just enjoy a quick getaway somewhere close.  The places that pop up on DDF all the time are Bora Bora or the Maldives.  BOB would have been WAY less travel time for us from Denver, with just a quick flight to LA and then an 8hr non-stop flight but even looking at the beautiful scenery and the nice overwater villas at the different resorts, none of the OWV's in BOB appeared to be very private, where you could sit on your deck and enjoy the view without others seeing you, much less have a private pool.  From my perspective, even though it was more significantly beautiful than other places, if I wasn't getting a private deck or pool, the travel, expense or time to BOB wasn't worth it to me when I could get a not as nice but great experience in Cancun but be there on a direct flight in 4 hours with 8k SW points (obviously Cancun isn't BOB but my time and miles are very valuable to me).  Pretty much then the only place left that I was really excited to go to was the Maldives, because from my perspective, it was the closest I was going to get to being on a private island, in stunning surroundings, while paying with points. 

Once, I decided on the Maldives, I needed to book flights.  Because of the businesses we have, it was very important to be able to go on very specific dates, where business is anyway slow, we wouldn't lose that much money from being away and I could also get flights.  I chose to try to get flights over Labor Day weekend and since it is the exact same distance to the Maldives going either East or West, we decided that we'd much rather fly on an Asian airline, have a stopover in Asia and also there had more possibilities of being able to incorporate some business dealings that would help justify the time and expense of the trip.  Both Cathay Pacific and Singapore airlines consistently have multiple business class seats available to their hubs from LAX and SFO but because I had MR points not SPG (which are the best points deal in J to MLE because it is only 62.5 Alaska miles ow on Cathay Pacific) we chose to go Via Singapore Air, with a two day stopover in Singapore.

Total mileage for both of us in J SFO-SIN, via ICN (stopover), SIN-MLE and then the return on the exact same route was 306k miles total for both us, so 153k pp.
.  We got a cheap Frontier flight from Den-SFO that was the only flight that would give us a comfortable connection and then on the way back to United from SFO-DEN (and they did tag our bags all the way to DEN from MLE).  It was worth it to book these last two segments separately in order to get the 15% mileage discount from SQ.

We were able to set up a great business meeting for one of the days we were in Singapore and also had set it up to have all our kosher food for the Maldives delivered to the Conrad, where were staying.  We ordered the food from www.koshwhere.com (http://www.koshwhere.com) and the ordered was fulfilled from the local restaurant.  I could have tried to order it directly from the restaurants but it was so easy from the website that I'd preferred to do it that way.  There were some small hiccups with the food that I will get to later but I do love the way that website works.

I'm not going to describe the Singapore Air flights except to say the seats were amazing, got a great sleep and our 777 flights didn't have suites and I wouldn't probably pay the extra miles for First class because Business class was awesome, I can't enjoy the better food and the bigger seats wouldn't really help me sleep better, which is my personal reason for paying more points for J.  Unlike other DDFers I don't enjoy flying and just want it to be comfortable enough that I can sleep!

The Conrad Singapore is a horrible points redemption but a great Cash&Points redemption, which we were able to get for $127SG (about $100US) and 24k HHonors points for a room that cost about $400SG.  They also gave us a beautiful diamond upgrade to a Centennial Suite.  It is also a great location, easy and direct to the Jewish community center, shul and restaurant.  It's a bit farther but also a nice walk to the kosher Coffee Bean as well.

Next installment- Singapore with Pictures!

Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Torkay on September 21, 2016, 02:02:14 PM
Great segment looking forward to the rest
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Dawie on September 21, 2016, 02:15:49 PM
looking forward!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: LoLo on September 21, 2016, 02:21:29 PM
Looking fwd to the rest and the pics, great introduction!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: @Yehuda on September 21, 2016, 02:27:01 PM
We're watching some football, about to head out snorkeling as soon as the game is finished but for now GO Broncos, from the Maldives!
Awesome - LOL
Great intro - very nice. Looking forward to the rest!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: rileywiles23 on September 21, 2016, 11:50:30 PM
Nice perspective on what ddf opened up for you.
Looking forward to the rest
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: mgoldhammer18 on September 22, 2016, 02:17:18 PM
At first when you said cash+points redemption I thought u were referring to the Conrad Maldives and was about to book, then you said next to the JCC and I wasn't sure if the JCC made it to the Maldives yet
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on September 22, 2016, 08:44:33 PM
Nice first installment. Looking forward to the pictures and the rest!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Abebee on September 22, 2016, 10:31:35 PM
Think we're all waiting for the pictures :)
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: mgoldhammer18 on September 23, 2016, 06:44:25 AM
Think we're all waiting for the pictures :)

+1
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on September 23, 2016, 03:56:31 PM
Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement!  I'm going to B"H try to work on the next segment and upload all the pictures on Motzei Shabbos or Sunday.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: gswannabe on October 05, 2016, 01:45:43 PM
awesome
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: moisheyb on October 07, 2016, 09:08:59 AM
So glad the trip worked out for you.

Maybe I'm missing something but why didn't you book a United flight to sfo from den... Isn't it the same price to include it?
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Super Speed on October 07, 2016, 10:48:32 AM
Nice perspective on what ddf opened up for you.
Looking forward to the rest
+1
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: E-MAN on October 07, 2016, 01:26:42 PM
Still stuck in Singapore?
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on January 15, 2017, 01:47:34 PM
Still stuck in Singapore?

Ok I'm back in Denver..LOL!  and I'm gonna do an installment now!  I was waiting hoping I'd upload and format my pictures but since that may not happen I'm gonna write the TR and just link to some other good pictures (yes, LAME, I know but at least you guys will get some info)!
So glad the trip worked out for you.

Maybe I'm missing something but why didn't you book a United flight to sfo from den... Isn't it the same price to include it?

NO, you can take a 15% discount from SQ if you only fly on their metal and since that was about 50k for both of us, just totally not worth it.  The best way would have been for us to use Alaska miles and fly on AA to LAX or SFO and then Cathay Pacific but those miles are harder to get.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on January 15, 2017, 02:03:46 PM
SINGAPORE- a GREAT INTRO to ASIA!

Once I knew I wanted to go to the Maldives, I had to figure out the best route.  From Denver it's literally almost the exact same amount of time to fly east or west and we knew so much preferred to stop in Asia, basically leaving Hong Kong and Singapore.  We also didn't want to bring food from Denver and knew there were good kosher options in both those cities.  I chose Singapore because I was able to find flights in J on the dates I needed and because DH had never been to Asia (my parents were expats and I grew up there so have traveled a good bit there) and I feel like Singapore is the perfect city to introduce a newbie to that part of the world.  You get the feel for all the cool cultures in a former British colony that is super clean, everyone speaks English and it's extremely safe and just comfortable to walk around and explore.  Before we landed in SIN they handed us the immigration papers and it said it big, bolded, red letters something like: "WE EXECUTE DRUG SMUGGLERS" which cracked us both up and I told my husband see this is Singapore in a nutshell, they have some strict rules but hey they are pretty clear about their expectations and if you are a normal person that can follow them it's an awesome!  :P

We only had two days there because of flights and time constraints and I wish we would have had one more day but it was still a nice break.  We checked in late at night at the Conrad.  In general it's a horrific redemption BUT they often have C+P of 24k points and S$138 (one S$ is US$0.70) and since rooms were running S$450 a night it was a fantastic redemption.  In the morning I was up super early and my husband still wanted to sleep.

I decided to go by myself to the Gardens By the Bay, since it was close and my husband wasn't dying to go.  I would definitely recommend it.  Since I didn't have my bearings, I took a cheap cab over.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: moisheyb on January 15, 2017, 02:12:04 PM
Ok I'm back in Denver..LOL!  and I'm gonna do an installment now!  I was waiting hoping I'd upload and format my pictures but since that may not happen I'm gonna write the TR and just link to some other good pictures (yes, LAME, I know but at least you guys will get some info)!
NO, you can take a 15% discount from SQ if you only fly on their metal and since that was about 50k for both of us, just totally not worth it.  The best way would have been for us to use Alaska miles and fly on AA to LAX or SFO and then Cathay Pacific but those miles are harder to get.


Ah got it thx
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: moisheyb on January 15, 2017, 02:17:42 PM
SINGAPORE- a GREAT INTRO to ASIA!

Once I knew I wanted to go to the Maldives, I had to figure out the best route.  From Denver it's literally almost the exact same amount of time to fly east or west and we knew so much preferred to stop in Asia, basically leaving Hong Kong and Singapore.  We also didn't want to bring food from Denver and knew there were good kosher options in both those cities.  I chose Singapore because I was able to find flights in J on the dates I needed and because DH had never been to Asia (my parents were expats and I grew up there so have traveled a good bit there) and I feel like Singapore is the perfect city to introduce a newbie to that part of the world.  You get the feel for all the cool cultures in a former British colony that is super clean, everyone speaks English and it's extremely safe and just comfortable to walk around and explore.  Before we landed in SIN they handed us the immigration papers and it said it big, bolded, red letters something like: "WE EXECUTE DRUG SMUGGLERS" which cracked us both up and I told my husband see this is Singapore in a nutshell, they have some strict rules but hey they are pretty clear about their expectations and if you are a normal person that can follow them it's an awesome!  :P

We only had two days there because of flights and time constraints and I wish we would have had one more day but it was still a nice break.  We checked in late at night at the Conrad.  In general it's a horrific redemption BUT they often have C+P of 24k points and S$138 (one S$ is US$0.70) and since rooms were running S$450 a night it was a fantastic redemption.  In the morning I was up super early and my husband still wanted to sleep.

I decided to go by myself to the Gardens By the Bay, since it was close and my husband wasn't dying to go.  I would definitely recommend it.  Since I didn't have my bearings, I took a cheap cab over.


Oh nice! Please continue!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: enwhycee on January 15, 2017, 02:31:04 PM
I stayed at that Conrad last year! Looking forward to hear more-
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: ual902 on January 15, 2017, 11:22:17 PM
Great report and thanks for sharing,  I'm aware  alcohol is forbidden from bringing into MLE, do they open up and inspect your luggage on arrival into MLE? would like to bring some of our own booz rather then spend on Hotel booz.

Thanks-
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: elya on January 15, 2017, 11:39:28 PM
Great report and thanks for sharing,  I'm aware  alcohol is forbidden from bringing into MLE, do they open up and inspect your luggage on arrival into MLE? would like to bring some of our own booz rather then spend on Hotel booz.

Thanks-
Customs seems pretty strict there. With that being said I'm pretty sure all you're risking is them confiscating it, though I can't say so from first hand experience as I didn't try bringing any contraband.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: BarryLincoln on January 16, 2017, 10:52:12 AM
Customs seems pretty strict there. With that being said I'm pretty sure all you're risking is them confiscating it, though I can't say so from first hand experience as I didn't try bringing any contraband.
Customs at MLE opened up our bags on suspicion of bringing in alcohol.... all they found was a bottle of grape juice... which after further inspection they let us keep...

Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on January 18, 2017, 06:04:13 PM
Ok I'm back for a little post.  So as I said Gardens by the Bay (where you've seen the pics of the SuperTrees) are really cool inside biospheres with lots of different plant, waterfalls and cool stuff to look at.  Since I saw how close it was back to the Conrad I was able to walk back past the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel and it was probably a 15 minute walk.  Since I'm super lame and lazy I'm gonna link to Yehoshua's awesome TR that shows some great pictures of the area:

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=60135.60 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=60135.60)

When I got back to the Conrad DH was up and ready for lunch.  Since we didn't want to get lost we took a cab to the Kosher Coffee Bean.  It is straight down Orchard Road from the hotel and in a huge indoor mall.  I was glad we took the cab because he directed us to which building to go in and took us the right door and it was only a few dollars.  Here is where I wish I could upload some pictures of the awesome food.

This is from Dan's TR and just shows the cake and quiches:
http://www.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IMG_3855a.jpg (http://www.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IMG_3855a.jpg)

We ordered beautiful salads and pasta and ended up ordering some extra sandwiches and quiches to take with us as well.  My husband had a business meeting that evening and I knew I wouldn't want to go out again by myself so we took enough for that night and if we wanted in the airport the next day.  We walked home and it was an easy 15-20 minute walk.  We walked right past where the synagogue, Jewish community center and meat restaurant were.  From the synagogue to the Conrad was a very short, easy and straightforward walk that could easily done with children (sometimes map will show something is close but it still isn't a good idea on Shabbat).  We just enjoyed seeing all the sights and people.  We stopped into the Raffles hotel, which is a really cool piece of history.

Before our trip I had ordered food from Amalfi (the local meat restaurant) to be packaged and frozen to bring to the Maldives.  Because they were a little annoying to work with and gave me only a limited menu, I decided to order all the meals via www.koshwhere.com (http://www.koshwhere.com) and was really glad I did.  They had a full menu, I ordered online in five minutes and could put all my explicit instructions in the order.  When we got back to the Conrad, they said I had a delivery, so I saw that they came and were frozen and labeled.  They were not ready for an oven though or double wrapped, they were in plastic containers.  I figured that wasn't the end of the world though and I would have them double wrapped with saran wrap or transferred to tins and double wrapped at the Conrad Maldives.  They also made a mistake with some of the dishes that I had ordered double, and only sent one serving.  Because Koshwhere.com has such a great platform, I messaged them and they responded right away and refunded me for the dishes they didn't send.  I did feel better having the third party and being able to go to through the website without a headache.

My husband dressed and went for his meeting and I just hung out at the pool and relaxed.  It is a beautiful pool with nice views of the skyline and the ferris wheel.  Report to be continued later, including our visit to the Marina Bay Sands!


Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on January 18, 2017, 06:14:26 PM
Thanks for the HT and link!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on January 18, 2017, 08:23:51 PM
Thanks for the HT and link!


For sure, your TR's are great and helped me plan the trip (and are helping to plan my next one to Hong Kong).  ;D
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on January 18, 2017, 08:28:11 PM


For sure, your TR's are great and helped me plan the trip (and are helping to plan my next one to Hong Kong).  ;D
Yw in advance. I'm also planning another HKG trip for the summer.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on March 15, 2017, 11:48:20 AM
I finally learned how to post pics so here are some from the Gardens by the Bay, walking outside and in their Biosphere domes:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3821/33065296480_fe881aa16f_z.jpg)
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/582/33408209816_ab6da8b797_z.jpg)
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3870/33293014952_90d89e7ab6_z.jpg)
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3952/33293029052_69bc388d2d_z.jpg)
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2926/33408134866_84af602945_z.jpg)
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3689/33448633065_aeb5fb9c8f_z.jpg)

It was a beautiful way to spend a couple of hours and then a nice walk back past the Marina Bay Sand to the Conrad.

Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on March 15, 2017, 11:52:59 AM
Most of the Streets had fencing around them for an upcoming Formula One street race...now THAT would be cool to watch in between the skyscrapers!

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/658/33448500615_4e8c88d7b1_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2875/32634433083_82170c0b77_z.jpg)

These posters advertising the big race were all over town:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2927/33292815162_1ebeacb203_z.jpg)

And I forgot, I need to give a shout out to @Yehuda for being such a mentsch and helping teach me how to upload pictures to DDF (I know there are written tutorials here but I needed MORE help).  :P
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on March 15, 2017, 12:11:25 PM
When I got back to the Conrad my husband was finally up and we decided to head over to the Coffee Bean.  Even though we could tell it wasn't that far we decided to just cab it over and not waste time, although we did walk back and it was a beautiful, easy walk home.

The Coffee Bean had a lot more than in the US and was basically like a full service, fast casual restaurant, actually in a mall.

Takeout:
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/615/32634302393_2be4953f19_z.jpg)

Breakfast menu:
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3763/33065195670_33f6f2d21e_z.jpg)

Lunch/Dinner Menu:
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3914/33065312050_7f056455df_z.jpg)

Our Lunch food was great (especially for us country bumpkins who only have a pizza shop, not a dairy restaurant with cool pastas and salads in Denver)!  :)
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/638/33408121296_1b98186cbb_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3873/33448757925_c1cdec57a1_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2879/33457362995_45b25cfc17_z.jpg)

And since I know some of you guys are getting nervous, here is the teudah for y'all  :P

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3733/33301842122_e3d4bc6b91_z.jpg)

Since my husband had a work meeting that evening and we had an early flight to MLE in the morning (with an unknown wait in the lounge before the seaplane) we also took some nice pastries, quiches and sandwiches to go (we ended up being so glad that we had them).

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3774/33065161890_db99ea3985_z.jpg)






Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on March 15, 2017, 12:16:27 PM
Nice pics. I also took food to go. I just left it on the plane after a redeye and was pretty upset (and hungry) I did.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on March 15, 2017, 12:18:45 PM
Because we both had some work today and DH needed to head out, I just spent the afternoon at the pool, which is very nice at the Conrad.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/682/33320498851_a0de095f28_z.jpg)


I'll try to post some more later about our evening adventure to the Marina Bay Sands Casino and then continuation on to the Conrad Maldives!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on March 15, 2017, 12:19:47 PM
Nice pics. I also took food to go. I just left it on the plane after a redeye and was pretty upset (and hungry) I did.

Ahh I remember that from your TR...bummer! 
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Dan on March 15, 2017, 01:31:04 PM
Shame that CBTL isn't C"Y!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on March 15, 2017, 01:46:35 PM
Shame that CBTL isn't C"Y!

Yes, it is a bummer!! Although I can't remember what but they did have some parve things I think...
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on May 29, 2017, 07:08:07 PM
Ok I haven't worked on this in awhile and thought I'd add some pictures.  We left very early the next morning on Singapore Air direct to MLE, because of the way things ended up we had to wait a few hours for our Seaplane.  It WAS so cool flying in and seeing all the islands on the way to MLE...here are some pics of Male from the air, the Seaplanes and our flight to the Conrad!

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3846/33065286130_a6923008b4_z.jpg)

This is the new bridge being built so you don't have to take a ferry from the airport to Male (I'm not sure if this is good or bad as one of the reasons I felt safe at the airport was because it was totally separate from Male and I felt it would be hard to plan a terrorist attack on the airport...my husband has been to Pakistan and said the MLE airport was giving him flashbacks...lol).  Also, our Conrad driver told us the Chinese are financing and helping build it, which I thought was interesting from a geopolitical perspective.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/648/33292859262_b70f635a3c_z.jpg)

You can see even the water at the airport is gorgeous!!


(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/644/32605641304_27ca62e5a9_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3688/33320384141_8b01d40f54_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2849/32605368854_55e97f36ee_z.jpg)


I think it was unusual but the Conrad had confirmed us into a complimentary Deluxe Beach villa ahead (usually they won't guarantee anything until you arrive but I nicely wrote them ahead and told them how loyal and great customers we are within the Hilton family).  ;) We stayed there two nights and then paid for an upgrade to and OWV the other three nights.  The Deluxe Beach Villas are extremely private and you have to use your keycard not only to enter the villa but also to enter the courtyard and surrounding fenced in area.

Courtyard to the villa:
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3900/33408444556_9e55899036_z.jpg)


Walkway to your outdoor bathtub and jacuzzi in the back:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2840/33448901175_dfa5ff4ae9_z.jpg)

Another pic of the huge tub and lounger next to it:

](https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/758/32605509524_e410391a0d_z.jpg)

Outdoor shower:
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2862/32605401384_710c2edc32_z.jpg)

Outdoor dual vanities:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3873/33292818182_da9b560e03_z.jpg)

The trip was for my DH's birthday so they decorated the bed:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/699/33065442530_563a6a80f4_z.jpg)

Diamond Welcome amenity (I asked them for a couple cokes since we couldn't drink the champagne but I guess Housekeeping didn't get the message...lol):
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3920/32634551033_58f7ffcbea_z.jpg)

Front of the villa lounge chairs and private pool.  It is TOTALLY secluded so you don't have to worry about anyone bothering you but the downside to that is that even though we were about 20 yards from the ocean and had no view, because of the tall hedges.  Just something to bear in mind if a view is important to you (and something to add to the endless debate about whether it's necessary to upgrade to an OWV here or at the Hyatt). I loved the unit but the OWV was a whole other world and I personally love a great view and wouldn't travel here without booking and OWV for part of the time.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/606/33292986482_f604dfd43c_z.jpg)

We were jetlagged from all our flights so went to bed early that evening and caught the sunrise on the beach in front of our villa the next morning:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/653/32605782154_d071d13cc5_z.jpg)

The next morning at breakfast the chef (same guy that personally helped us store all our kosher frozen meals we brought from Singapore the afternoon before) came and found us and in a separate outdoor cooking area made us breakfast on new pans.  He chopped the veggies I requested in front of me, had me check the eggs for blood and had me turn on the flame (I didn't teach him all this it was BarryLincoln and it was him or someone else that also left some Pam)!  :P  He also let me check the package on their lox because I wanted some and it came from Australia and had a hechsher.  They also have cereal, chobani yogurt, jams and other things with hechshers or on the Australia kashrut list.  He gave us new cutlery and has special glass plates he keeps for serving kosher food and seriously everybody has their own comfort level y'all can ask shailas to your LOR's about eating at a place like this, but I felt he bent over backward for everything we requested (we made sure to give him a nice tip at the end of the trip because he personally did this every single morning for us).

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2822/33292859282_0501f8752f_z.jpg)

Next installment will hopefully be in a few days, not a few months and will include pics of the island and our visit to Ithaa, the underwater restaurant for morning cocktails!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: BarryLincoln on May 29, 2017, 07:25:10 PM
Great installment!!!  Brings back some nice memories...
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on June 05, 2017, 11:36:55 AM
Great installment!!!  Brings back some nice memories...

Yeah, every time I come back to the TR to add stuff it makes me want to return!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on June 05, 2017, 12:32:11 PM
Going to Ithaa (I think the first time included in a TR on DDF)!

I had reserved cocktails at Ithaa (the underwater restaurant) for the first morning because I figured it would be a nice leisurely thing to do on the first day.  If you do want to go it is almost always sold out so they do recommend always reserving before you arrive.  It isn't cheap, morning cocktails are $60pp but we were willing to pay just to have the experience and imagine people pay $250pp for lunch and $500pp ++ (SO ADD 22% TO EVERYTHING) for a FIXED menu so this was actually "reasonable."

It really was a cool and spectacular experience and I'm so glad I did it.  Normally they offer champagne and some appetizers but they bent over backwards for the whole trip for us about Kashrut and just gave us some cut fruit and fresh fruit juice but they will do whatever you like (I'm sure if you did want something alcoholic you could ask for a beer or whatever you wanted).


We went a little early to sit at the tables and enjoy the view from the above water entrance to the restaurant:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4234/34986548841_0708ae988e_b.jpg)

Here is from the outside and even from above you can see all the beautiful fish:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3867/32634699023_fb261345e9_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3899/33065574430_cc8795e380_z.jpg)

In this pic you can see the diver that was cleaning the glass right before we went in:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4225/35076959276_fd81582899_z.jpg)


They suggest you arrive a little early and they seat you in a lovely lobby where you get your drinks (yes, those are real flowers is pools of water within the table...just another lovely Conrad touch).  ;)
It was at this point the waiter came and confirmed with us about our different drinks and food.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4262/34306584693_d238e18c10_z.jpg)

And then you head down the stairs and you cans see that without seeing any fish yet, just they way the light plays on the floor from the sun and water is so beautiful:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4216/34272406514_d45e2f2d7e_z.jpg)


And then you sit down and I really can't describe the complete and beautiful sensory experience.  It just takes your breath away to have the water and amazing fish literally all around you and in many instances inches away. 

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3725/33065309310_ac6a6d9ca4_n.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/578/33408448346_ea55fc853f_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/713/32605770054_d01ed8a451_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2824/33065407250_6d4660e548_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3792/32634572523_e047cb349e_z.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3711/33065554090_7bf7107888_z.jpg)


All in all it was about an hour and I thought it was worth every penny.  Are there other people there with you? Yes.  Are they taking pictures most of the time? Yes.  Was it still an amazing and unforgettable experience, absolutely! 

If I didn't keep kosher and could eat there would I plop a grand on a dinner there? No, but it was so worth us going for cocktails, especially since my DH is not a strong swimmer to really take advantage of the snorkeling or diving.  If you are big scuba diver, it might seem cheesy but for us it was truly a spectacular experience and I apologize that my pictures don't do justice to the amount of fish, the color and sheer movement of all these beautiful creatures swimming right around you.   Because they feed the fish after the people arrive, an insane number of fish, sharks and rays converge all at once and even compared to what I saw on my snorkels, the experience was truly amazing!

Since I'm one of the rare women posting on DDF, if you wanna know if your wives would appreciate going, I think the answer for most women (again especially if you guys aren't going scuba diving) is a resounding yes...if you're going to the Conrad spend the money and go to Ithaa!!


If you need more encouraging (since let's be honest, my pics are not that great...lol...and I'm a techno-loser without a YouTube account to post videos) here is the official Ithaa video from the hotel:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
cver=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on June 05, 2017, 12:43:52 PM
Wow! I never thought of going to the underwater restaurant with just the possibility of eating fish (and not even that, just drinks!!). I'd certainly want to see it if I was there; great job taking pictures.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on June 05, 2017, 12:46:54 PM
Wow! I never thought of going to the underwater restaurant with just the possibility of eating fish (and not even that, just drinks!!). I'd certainly want to see it if I was there; great job taking pictures.

Thank you and I hope you get there!!  Only a few avios and an easy flight from HKG since I think you're going anyway...could you squeeze it in??  ;D
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on June 05, 2017, 12:58:53 PM
Thank you and I hope you get there!!  Only a few avios and an easy flight from HKG since I think you're going anyway...could you squeeze it in??  ;D
Haha! No, I don't think on this trip there will be time, but maybe on the next one. Who knows what the story will be with Qatar next week anyway?
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on June 05, 2017, 01:05:11 PM
Haha! No, I don't think on this trip there will be time, but maybe on the next one. Who knows what the story will be with Qatar next week anyway?

That's true, it's so crazy! Are you flying Qatar on any of your legs?
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on June 06, 2017, 01:04:16 AM
That's true, it's so crazy! Are you flying Qatar on any of your legs?
Nope, just curious if anyone is. I'm not flying any of the ME3.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on August 03, 2017, 05:16:39 PM
The Premier Villa at the Conrad...Truly Spectacular:

I'm not gonna write too much in this installment.  We didn't do that much in our 5 days at the Conrad and mostly spent the last three days in the villa.  In the whole OWV debate I would absolutely say that you are TOTALLY MISSING OUT not to pay for even a couple nights.  Just the feel of seeing the water from all around, the privacy and views are simply spectactular and priceless.  Barry Lincoln has some great snaps of the inside of the unit in his TR below, so I'm just gonna post ones of the view and other shots:


http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=64846.30 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=64846.30)




From the road heading over to the Quiet Island and up to the units:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3783/32634482503_0dcbed6e7f_k.jpg)

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2820/33408480786_291d772afd_k.jpg)




The highest level Sunset Villa next door:

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/771/33408431166_cf90120985_k.jpg)





View from the deck:
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3947/33320408651_c91f20fd24_k.jpg)


(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2812/32634422123_067d2a8578_k.jpg)


(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/661/33320431021_8e8d833c3e_k.jpg)



From the edge of the private pool...it's THAT private:
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3778/32634279073_136e0eab69_k.jpg)





Although we could always call a golf cart to drive us across the bridge to the main island, one of my favorite things about the resort was the dhoni (native word for these boats) that ferried people between the islands.  I loved seeing them on the horizon and riding on them.  They were just such a classy touch, adding to the ambiance of the place.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/573/33448647215_54782b76bb_k.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/32634575313_0ad011a051_k.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/33320684561_dca78c3160_k.jpg)




Watching the dhoni's glide across the water at the daily happy hour for HHonors Diamonds at Vilu:
(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2875/32634697593_c90bfc978b_k.jpg)


Some nice sashimi the chef prepared for us (he let my husband pick the fish, check the scales and put everything on glass plates for us):
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3775/33065414710_446d494344_k.jpg)



Lovely views and total peace and privacy make the very long travel and expense of coming here totally worthwhile...
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: BarryLincoln on August 03, 2017, 05:23:58 PM
Good times!! Exactly a year ago...
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehoshua on August 03, 2017, 05:26:39 PM
Thanks for continuing the TR!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Dan on September 27, 2019, 05:32:40 PM
Going down a rabbit hole of TRs. This was a great one!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on September 29, 2019, 12:13:14 PM
Going down a rabbit hole of TRs. This was a great one!

Thank you!!
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: shimino1 on December 19, 2019, 10:51:16 AM
Ah! I just read your trip report again and can't help feeling my hart strings pulling me back to the Maldives.
The only thing I still don't get even after staying in one is the big deal people make out of the OWB.
I think a nice villa on the beach with a private pool is just as good and you get the bonus of sand which can be very fun.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Dan on December 19, 2019, 11:46:37 AM
Ah! I just read your trip report again and can't help feeling my hart strings pulling me back to the Maldives.
The only thing I still don't get even after staying in one is the big deal people make out of the OWB.
I think a nice villa on the beach with a private pool is just as good and you get the bonus of sand which can be very fun.
There are nice beach villas in thousands of places.
There are nice OWBs in a small handful of places.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: shimino1 on December 19, 2019, 10:03:53 PM
There are nice beach villas in thousands of places.
There are nice OWBs in a small handful of places.
So what? The fact that it is rarer doesn't make it better.
At the end of the day what do you get from an OWB that you don't get from a beach Villa that makes it worth a couple hundred dollars extra per night?
We stayed in an OWB with a private pool and it was very nice but I think the beach Villa with pool would be nicer.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Dan on December 19, 2019, 10:15:06 PM
Why travel 25 hours for something that can be had much closer?
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: yoshyosh on December 19, 2019, 11:19:24 PM
Ah! I just read your trip report again and can't help feeling my hart strings pulling me back to the Maldives.
The only thing I still don't get even after staying in one is the big deal people make out of the OWB.
I think a nice villa on the beach with a private pool is just as good and you get the bonus of sand which can be very fun.

I enjoyed the aquatic life that is visible from a hammock especially under moon light.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on February 17, 2020, 07:34:59 PM
So what? The fact that it is rarer doesn't make it better.
At the end of the day what do you get from an OWB that you don't get from a beach Villa that makes it worth a couple hundred dollars extra per night?
We stayed in an OWB with a private pool and it was very nice but I think the beach Villa with pool would be nicer.

I totally disagree because of two words PRIVACY and VIEWS! 

If I'm in a beach villa that is private (which is what I want to comfortably swim in the pool) then it is going to have a high hedge and no view whereas at my Conrad OWV I had the most stunning view of the water, horizon and sea life AND it was totally private...that is priceless to me (and I think to many women).  :)
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: IsraelGuy on February 25, 2020, 09:30:17 PM
Why travel 25 hours for something that can be had much closer?

Where would you go for beach villas and just as good service/ambiance/privacy/seclusion that's closer to the US? Not a challenge, curious...
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: @Yehuda on February 26, 2020, 09:01:51 AM
Where would you go for beach villas and just as good service/ambiance/privacy/seclusion that's closer to the US? Not a challenge, curious...
Interested as well. Especially if points can be used.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Denverite on February 27, 2020, 11:38:57 AM
Where would you go for beach villas and just as good service/ambiance/privacy/seclusion that's closer to the US? Not a challenge, curious...

Interested as well. Especially if points can be used.


I think this is actually the 64k question!  I don't want to mispeak for Dan but I think he means if you just want a private pool you can get that in Orlando or Phoenix. And if you want a private pool on a beach then you can get this in Cancun (or @yehuda, with points in Cabo at the new Waldorf Astoria property and there are some other Caribbean ones available through new Hyatt partnerships). 

Those places in Mexico and the Caribbean should also offer good service and ambiance.  I know I sound like a broken record but as far as the privacy and seclusion, the absolute whole package, I just can't think of anywhere else besides the Maldives, it's as close as any of us will get to being on our own upscale private island.  Even when you are out of your unit and walking on the beach you are most likely not to see another soul around.  Also, the fact that the Conrad has two islands, I felt a huge difference even between the seclusion of the quiet island and the main one where the beach villas, restaurant, check-in, etc. were.  Staying on the quiet island was just a different experience (so I'd make sure to request it if you are going, and they do have base unit OWV's on the quiet island), another level up of privacy and secluded feel and just magical.
Title: Re: A little different Maldives TR
Post by: Yehuda25 on February 16, 2021, 12:44:10 PM

I think this is actually the 64k question!  I don't want to mispeak for Dan but I think he means if you just want a private pool you can get that in Orlando or Phoenix. And if you want a private pool on a beach then you can get this in Cancun (or @yehuda, with points in Cabo at the new Waldorf Astoria property and there are some other Caribbean ones available through new Hyatt partnerships). 

Those places in Mexico and the Caribbean should also offer good service and ambiance.  I know I sound like a broken record but as far as the privacy and seclusion, the absolute whole package, I just can't think of anywhere else besides the Maldives, it's as close as any of us will get to being on our own upscale private island.  Even when you are out of your unit and walking on the beach you are most likely not to see another soul around.  Also, the fact that the Conrad has two islands, I felt a huge difference even between the seclusion of the quiet island and the main one where the beach villas, restaurant, check-in, etc. were.  Staying on the quiet island was just a different experience (so I'd make sure to request it if you are going, and they do have base unit OWV's on the quiet island), another level up of privacy and secluded feel and just magical.
+1