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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: CZ60 on January 31, 2017, 04:52:03 PM

Title: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on January 31, 2017, 04:52:03 PM
I said I'd post it on the weekend so I'm a few days late. We are still working on the pics but I figured if I don't get started with something I'll delay into perpetuity. Having this up might push me a little harder to get the rest out.

The planning:

Dw and I got extremely lucky with this trip. The night before we found out about the new St. Regis we were looking at possible winter vacation options (we were looking at a list of Park Hyatt's as we are diamond through Feb via a status match). dw stumbled upon the Park Hyatt Maldives and begged me to go. We looked into the flight times to the Maldives and I simply wasn't willing to go that far. We were close to booking hyatt beaver creek to go skiing for a few days but we decided weíd sleep on it that night and get back to it the next night. The very next day, someone in my office told me (before Dan posted on DDMS but he presumably saw on FT DDF) about the St. Regis Maldives accepting points reservations for dirt cheap. I didn't quite have enough SPG points for 4 nights (5th free) and was on the phone with dw discussing how to get more quickly when my boss overheard the conversation and offered to book the trip for me using his points (to be repaid later). By the time I secured enough points, the rates were raised to what they are now. It pays to have a good boss.

We booked 5 nights in an overwater villa for 130,000 points (about a $12,500 value for the dates we were going). I briefly considered a garden villa so I can do C+P with my own account and not rely on my boss. Dw quickly knocked sense into me and my boss urged me to use his account to book and get the OWV.

We stalked pictures of the hotel on IG and made bowls of popcorn to read other peopleís TR on TripAdvisor (really). It would be a huge underestimation to say we were looking forward to this. The place looked incredible in the pre-opening website photos and even better on IG. Jan 19th just couldnít come soon enough. Iíve never stayed somewhere nearly as nice so I had no idea what to expect (dw has stayed at various Four Seasons before we got married) and it was better than we both expected. A tall task to live up to because we were looking forward to this vacation for 5 months!

When looking for flights, I admittedly made a HUGE mistake. We were pretty limited since we only had chase UR points (no Amex MR at all and no spg left after this trip) but we had plenty of time to get some signup bonuses and figure something else out. We didnít do that, and in our ďOMG I canít believe weíre goingĒ hype, we wanted to book rather quickly. If I could go back, I would but I canít so I wonít.

Anyway we ended up using the chase portal for 1.5 in Y (I WAS A N00B AT THE TIME! And quite possibly still amÖ) but the silver lining is that we got the flight times and days we wanted. We booked a multi-destination ticket on the way to MLE with a 40hr stop in DXB, and had a 2hr stop in DXB on the way back to JFK. The dollar amount was about $1,000 so we used about 67,000 Chase points. We were booked in fare class X which earns 50% on Alaska so at least we got around 7,000 alaska miles out of this (combined with the 10k from the Virgin merger, we each have 17k without really doing anything). Most of you will say youíd rather pay the cash then use 65k points for that, and Iíd agree with you. Unfortunately, I donít swim in green so I wanted to save the cash I was going to use on this trip for whatever we wanted to do when we got there. I view my points as travel savings accounts so I use them when I actually get to go away.

Complete side note about my failed attempts to get J so feel free to skip if uninterested: After coming to grips that I was going to fly all the way there in economy, I panicked and tried to explore getting out of it. I wanted to cancel (I would have gladly paid a fee to have the points redeposited if it were an option) but they would only give me $800 each worth of flights on Emirates that we would have had to use by August of 2017 Ė and you canít use the credit to book for others. Since I plan on going to BOB in June (how many go to Maldives and BOB, let alone in the same year!), I did not envision us using the Emirates credit by the deadline. What I wanted to do was use JAL to book the flights to DXB in J using spg (I would have signed up for 2 cards and bought the remaining points at the 1.7c sale). Anyway, I spent a few nights on the phone trying to get this done but I ultimately failed. At least I triedÖ.

Anyway, here is the itinierary:
JFK-DXB Monday 10:40 am
DXB- MLE Wednesday 2:45 am
MLE-DXB-JFK Tuesday 9:15 am connection at 3pm
In Dubai, we stayed at the Park Hyatt with a DSU giving us an amazing suite. More on that and the rest of Dubai in the next installmentÖ
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Dan on January 31, 2017, 04:59:34 PM
Glitch was first on DDF, then DDMS after a few days of letting DDF'ers get in while the getting was good, and then FT and other blogs.
At least AFAIK.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: BarryLincoln on January 31, 2017, 05:02:33 PM
Great start.  Look forward to reading more!!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on January 31, 2017, 05:05:28 PM
Photos or it never happened.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on January 31, 2017, 05:09:01 PM
Glitch was first on DDF, then DDMS after a few days of letting DDF'ers get in while the getting was good, and then FT and other blogs.
At least AFAIK.

This was pre my DDF days so if that's true, *y'all get all the credit*. (It was definitely on FT before DDMS though)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: mochjas on January 31, 2017, 05:14:28 PM
Definitely was broken here first by a lot
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on January 31, 2017, 05:15:31 PM
Updated  :)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on January 31, 2017, 05:16:37 PM
Waiting for this since mocha burger....
lets have the photos
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on January 31, 2017, 05:20:39 PM
Waiting for this since mocha burger....
lets have the photos
Ha!

They'll be worth the wait
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: E-MAN on January 31, 2017, 05:32:21 PM
Wow! can't wait for the rest
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: sruliL on January 31, 2017, 06:59:18 PM
Nice, can't wait for the pics.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Yuey on January 31, 2017, 07:16:42 PM
Sounds awesome! Can't  wait to hear more and about Dubai
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: damaxer91 on February 01, 2017, 12:51:21 PM
All the way to the Maldives in Coach. That's legit Mesiras Nefesh
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AsherO on February 01, 2017, 01:02:23 PM
All the way to the Maldives in Coach. That's legit Mesiras Nefesh

The way back erases the memories (says the guy who always travels in the back), or does it?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 01, 2017, 01:12:04 PM
The way back erases the memories (says the guy who always travels in the back), or does it?

I'm still on a high.

I binged big bang theory and watched 4 movies while drinking a few beers (taking bathroom breaks)

I would've done the same in J just laying down

F would've been a totally different story but G-d Willing, next time :)

Dubai coming soon.. it's all written up, just organizing pics on flickr
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 01, 2017, 11:29:29 PM
JFK- DXB
If youíre ever going to fly coach (I know, blasphemy), emirates is the way to do it. Itís just feels more comfortable than other airlines, the seats (feel like they) recline just a bit more, the ambience is nicer, the staff is nice and responsive, etc. We donít really eat airline food though they had a turkey sandwich for snack that was pretty good, except that it only included one(!) slice of turkey. I know Mr. Broadway shaved their portions but compared to this, Mr. B gives you whole animals.

We ended up getting a little delayed on the way to DXB due to a sick passenger so we arrived at around 10am instead of 8am on Tuesday. The 12 hours it took really flew by (pun definitely intended) as we slept for about half and spent the other half watching movies. Their entertainment system is the best of any airline Iíve taken (though I remember taking AA in J from London to NY last pesach and they had a pretty good selection as well).

The DXB airport is massive. Let me rephrase: The DXB airport is gorgeous and MASSIVE. Huge ceilings, marble everywhere. Itís a work of art. (I apologize to everyone, we didnít take many pics of the airport as we were tired and werenít thinking straight. We intended to on the way back but as youíll see later, that wasnít possible). The one interesting thing about our flight is that almost every passenger was en route somewhere else on a connecting flight. I counted a total of 7 other people collecting their baggage with us. Letís not forget, this is an A380 which likely had 400+ people on it.

The employees in the airport all either were in a police uniform or were wearing the traditional white garb with the black ring(?) on their head. We learned that only 13% of the population in Dubai are natives. However, only natives are allowed to get govt positions so all of the airport workers were dressed the part. When you get out into the city, itís a lot harder to find people that dress that way. You see them around but itís closer to the 13% figure than anything else.

Getting through the airport was no issue. I will say it again to beat it into the ground, having Israeli stamps on your passport means nothing. We were admitted without a whisper of an issue. Our food also made it through without issue (though it was opened and checked and repackaged by the TSA - I guess they werenít really that hungry for deep frozen POM meals).

We took a taxi (Not a black car!!! Ė note that they try to scam you into getting into a black car and from what Iíve read, they are like 5-10x the price) from the airport to the Park Hyatt, around 10 min for ~$10, and were checked in and given our suite right away. We were given the option of 1,000 Hyatt points or an "amenity" from their list -some sort of champagne/fruit drink and other misc things. We were given a huge fruit bowl in our room and had free breakfast as diamond members. The suite was beautiful and huge. It was also in a great location in the main building of the hotel .Most of the rooms are in adjacent buildings- some so far you need a golf cart to take you there from the lobby area.

Airport
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/460/32658287465_3c3cbe0039_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUg4P)

If you zoom in, you can see the natives with the garb
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/596/31815905844_9631360809_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QtsQmL)

Some funny money
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/634/32617605426_8fc3dc4d00_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RGiKHm)

The suite
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/476/32658284545_17ba4cf46a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUfct)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/744/32658285705_02306b262d_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUfxt)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/649/32535925931_9e2de27f85_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rz68fc)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/603/32278946850_c3b6e76ccc_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rbo3jo)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/689/32658273175_37cbbf4fb1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUbPr)

The pool
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/697/31815767764_344dbc2242_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Qts8j5)

Some of the grounds
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/719/32658800665_a6a34fed67_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKWTC6)

Views from brekkie
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/623/31815768324_e8b0f166d5_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Qts8tJ)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/515/31815769214_ababb15a40_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Qts8K5)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/492/32536472711_7bd47eddbe_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rz8VMr)

Burj zoomed in
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/472/32536471111_a101a30f22_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rz8ViR)


Dubai Day 1:
On our first day we took some time to freshen up and enjoy the view from our suite before taking a taxi to the Dubai mall to try to zip line (dw saw videos online and wanted to do it.) Turns out the zip line wasn't open for the season yet Ė was told another month Ė so we spent a few hours walking around the mall, which is huge and beautiful, before our fountain lake ride at 5:45 pm. We booked the ride through At the Top (the Burj Khalifa website) and were given a 15 minute boat ride through the fountain during the water and light show (~$15pp). We stayed in the Burj Khalifa area for another half hour before we called it quits for the night. We were both dead tired.
I should point out that choosing to leave at around 6:30 from the Burj area was a terrible idea. The traffic was murder. Whereas it took us 15 min to get there, it took us 50 minutes to get back. Avoid rush hour in Dubai.

The mall
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/598/32658799525_9835e6f642_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKWThr)

The Burj Khalifa
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/455/31815905134_dcf68015f3_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QtsQ9w)

Its really so big
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/431/31815903864_d13678291a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QtsPLC)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/464/31815904614_4fed8f2e4c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QtsPZy)

They light it up at night. It's still intimidating but with a christmas feel to it
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/521/32505732282_3eb001ff53_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RwqnJ3)

The light show
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/295/32505950392_47099660f7_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rwruyy)

Dubai Day 2:
We woke up early and headed down to breakfast at around 6:30AM. Seeing breakfasts at hotels like this makes me wish I could eat anything and everything. They had about 6 dishes of hot food including sausages and eggs and the works. We kept it simple and stuck with fruit and coffee. It was like going to a Syrian Bar Mitzvah with the amount of food they had. We sat outside facing the little dock that outside of the hotel and had a view of the Burj Khalifa as well. The reason the pictures from the hotel of the Burj are not so clear is because there is a lot of pollution in Dubai. I havenít really been to many places with high pollution but that was my guess, confirmed by the few taxi drivers we took, and later confirmed by some fake news sources online.
We then went to the Mall of the Emirates to check out Ski Dubai. We bought "Ski Dubai Experience" tickets which gave us 2 hours of skiing, snow park access (with a mini zip lining, a kids park area, and ďgiant snowballĒ ride) and a penguin experience. The skiing was not bad for an indoor slope- we did the ďblueĒ slope which wasnít all that long but still fun. We skiied for about an hour before we had our penguin experience. The penguins were by far our favorite part of the Dubai trip. Ski Dubai has around 30 penguins that they are doing research on and we were given the chance to meet and play with 3 of them (2 Gentoo penguins and 1 King penguin). We were not allowed to touch the Gentoos but we watched them do tricks and run around between us. We were then given a chance to play with and pet a king penguin on a turn by turn basis. There was a photographer taking pictures which would be for sale at the end. (No cell phones or cameras allowed inside so we actually bought a picture for around $35 to remember the experience).

After all our ski adventures we headed back to the hotel for lunch then checked out (we had 4pm checkout with our diamond status) and were picked up by Arabian Adventures at 3:15 for a desert safari (~$100pp). The first stop of the safari is a falcon demonstration, where they teach you about how the falcons hunt and show us how itís done. You get a chance to hold the falcon and take pictures with it after. We then get into Toyota 4x4s for dune bashing, which was A LOT of fun. Unfortunately I didnt take many pictures or videos during the dune bashing, but I probably would have dropped and broken my phone/camera if I had done so. It was veryyy bumpy. At some point, you literally feel like youíre going to die but itís worth the thrill. We stopped on the top of a sand dune for pictures at sunset then went to the camp for dinner (you're at the camp for 2 hours during which they serve non-kosher dinner but we didn't eat and did other activities during this time). We were able to go sand boarding (eh) and camel riding (good for the pics) then dressed up as UAE arabs and took pictures (similar to penguin, would have had to pay but figured it wasn't worth it this time). When we finished with that we sat on some pillows and relaxed looking at the stars. There is no sight like seeing the stars while sitting in the desert (that is until a few days later in the Maldives). There was a belly dancing show as well as some hooka on the side.  Overall the desert experience was Ö interesting. Reminiscent of Bedouin tents in Israel but fun nonetheless. We were taken back to the hotel at around 9:15 and used the beautiful spa facilities (no cost) to shower and get ready for the flight to MLE. We then had dinner and relaxed at the outdoor lounge area of the hotel until 11:30. They took some time to find our Pom meals since they stored them in a different freezer than the whatís normally allowed for guests but we still got to the airport with time to spare.

(Once I learn how to post videos, I will upload a ski video so you can see the slope, and some others that are nice and worthwhile)

The giant ball that you roll down a hill in. Fun but made me pretty dizzy
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/657/31816044644_4675980622_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QttxBS)

Gazelle
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/558/32505949862_6fd3f42150_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rwrupq)

We were able to hold this guy later
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/711/32658319245_1ab29024bb_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUqvK)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/756/32279788200_e942394524_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rbsmqq)

Few sights such as seeing the sun disappear in the desert
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/742/32505949602_f45c269829_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RwrujW)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/326/31816044174_142219fe02_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QttxtL)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/624/32658317045_53e9c961c8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUpRP)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/639/32505949032_53a7634f75_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rwrua7)

Sand Boarding - meh
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/587/32505948602_a2731f84e8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rwru2G)

Camel Riding
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/314/32659168885_954e0b47b1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKYM5H)

The Merhaba lounge (priority pass) near gate B21 in DXB aws *awful*. Overcrowded, noisy (all of DXB is noisy), and just unpleasant. I donít travel often so Iíve only been to probably 7-8 lounges but this one ranks as the worst by far. I didnít check for alcohol which I probably should have to help me get through it. I kid you not when I say we probably would have been more comfortable sitting on the lousy chairs by the gate. For the free water and banana that I took, it wasnít worth going near it. Itís also impossible to find. Everyone tells you its by gate B21. No one tells you its on the second floor! And to get to the second floor, you have to go back to where the elevators are in the middle of the terminal and take a different elevator than the one you were just on to go upstairs. It took us at least 15 minutes to find the darn thing.

We boarded our plane (777) to MLE, slept through the flight, and landed at 8am in MLE

To be continued....
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Luvtotravel on February 01, 2017, 11:44:55 PM
nice appetizer... looking forward to the main course!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: cholent on February 01, 2017, 11:53:07 PM
Enjoying this TR! Keep it coming!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: SrulyS on February 02, 2017, 12:57:58 AM
Nice TR. I like your style.


It's kinda cool how the shape of the tower makes it look like you are zooming in as you scroll down the page.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 02, 2017, 09:35:49 AM
nice appetizer... looking forward to the main course!
Enjoying this TR! Keep it coming!
Nice TR. I like your style.


It's kinda cool how the shape of the tower makes it look like you are zooming in as you scroll down the page.

Thanks everyone! Yeah, the Burj is in a league of it's own

Part 3 is all written up as well but the pictures are whats slowing it down. And they're also the only thing anyone reallllly cares about  :P
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Dawie on February 02, 2017, 10:51:55 AM
wow!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 02, 2017, 12:42:52 PM
WOW WEEEEE
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 02, 2017, 12:53:24 PM
WOW WEEEEE

And yet, you still didn't make me a wiki  :P
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 02, 2017, 12:56:45 PM
And yet, you still didn't make me a wiki  :P
Better....
I was overwhelmed by your photos.

now the rest is up to you.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Dawie on February 02, 2017, 01:42:38 PM
Better....
I was overwhelmed by your photos.

now the rest is up to you.
and i was thinking t was the Syrian Bar mitzvah line that got you distracted ::)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 02, 2017, 02:07:55 PM
and i was thinking t was the Syrian Bar mitzvah line that got you distracted ::)
lol
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Yuey on February 03, 2017, 06:30:19 AM
Thanks for the TR, keep in coming! What did you do about cellphone in DBX and MLE?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 03, 2017, 10:42:20 AM
Thanks for the TR, keep in coming! What did you do about cellphone in DBX and MLE?

I go into shutdown mode on vacation :) If I needed to, I could've turned on cell service my phone but I would've have been charged $10/24 hrs - Verizon. (I've only ever done that when I got lost in the West Bank one time.... a story for another time)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: good sam on February 03, 2017, 10:53:29 AM




(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/689/32658273175_37cbbf4fb1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RKUbPr)
see you

Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: mgoldhammer18 on February 07, 2017, 08:17:40 AM
Gotta hear about the rest  ;D
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 07, 2017, 12:23:40 PM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639559/str1.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639559/str1.jpg.html)
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639563/str2.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639563/str2.jpg.html)

Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 07, 2017, 12:25:10 PM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639572/str3.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639572/str3.jpg.html)
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639573/str4.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639573/str4.jpg.html)
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639574/str5.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639574/str5.jpg.html)

Picture1, a sashimi platter we had for apetizer every night. 39 USD++, but it was very good and nice to have fresh food
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 07, 2017, 12:25:40 PM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639582/str6.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639582/str6.jpg.html)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 07, 2017, 12:28:16 PM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639601/str7.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639601/str7.jpg.html)

This was our breakfast every day from hermolis incl hot eggs (right corner) and fresh OJ from Hotel
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 07, 2017, 01:45:10 PM
Hijacking my thread?!  ???  ;)  Now I  have to get them out sooner  :P

Should be up by tonight (G-d Willing)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 07, 2017, 02:09:57 PM
Not really, just some pics....
Since we were there at same time, its allowed  :-)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 07, 2017, 05:02:21 PM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32641560/str8.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32641560/str8.jpg.html)

Just a cool pic
We took cholov yisroel milk along and when in the mood asked them to make us milk shakes with fresh fruits, probably the first cholov yisroel milkshakes in that country
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 07, 2017, 05:28:04 PM
Hijacking my thread?!  ???  ;)  Now I  have to get them out sooner  :P

Should be up by tonight (G-d Willing)
Soon Your TR might turn into a St Regis Maldives Master Thread
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 07, 2017, 05:29:32 PM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639582/str6.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639582/str6.jpg.html)

Awesome Photos by the way
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: tageed-lee on February 07, 2017, 05:32:35 PM
Soon Your TR might turn into a St Regis Maldives Master Thread

I say we get a MOD to take @chuchems pics and put them in his own thread so we get an actual TR out of it... with lots of pics  :)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 07, 2017, 10:02:25 PM
Maldives Day 1:

Upon landing we had to go through passport control then get our bags and go through customs (they flagged my grape juice that I brought but after showing it to them, it was cleared). After that we were met by St. Regis airport butlers that took our bags and passports and lead us to an air conditioned SUV (sadly, not the bentley) with wifi where we waited a few minutes for them to arrange our seaplane transfer. One of our bags was definitely overweight and should have incurred about $80 worth of charges but the butler must have took care of it because we weren't charged anything.
When everything was done we headed to The Great Room, an airport lounge with views of the seaplane terminal. The butler takes a picture of you by the St Regis sign here. (This is just speculation but I think they send the picture to the hotel staff so they know your names/ what you look like. Everyone in the hotel seemed to know us by name without having met them before). There's not much in terms of refreshments at the lounge- just a bowl of fruit that doesn't look like it's meant to be touched and a fridge with water and various juices. There are also showers to refresh yourself, toothbrushes, etc. Basically comparable to a nice lounge minus the food. Other than that it's just a room with a bunch of couch areas to sit in and wait for your transfer. There's a nice deck facing the water outside so we sat on some chairs there and enjoyed the sunshine and beautiful blue water. At one point the staff took our credit card and put a hold of $500 per night on it. They also gave us a drink menu with 4-5 options and asked us to choose a welcome drink for when we arrive at the hotel.
We only had to wait about 30 minutes before getting back in the car for a 1 minute (or less) ride to the seaplane (literally would have been a 2 minute walk). They give you little amenity kits with earplugs, mints, and face spray for the plane. The seaplane ride is breathtaking, which is expected. We made one stop at another resort and let people off then continued to Vommuli island.

From the Great Room outdoor deck

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/521/32689660085_7106570875_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF444)


Seaplane

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/777/32536980262_dd0fbcf91c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RzbwEj)


Amenity kits

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/637/31877428993_056bc813b6_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUa3H)

View from seaplane

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/303/31877429173_ae99873475_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUa6P)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/290/31877429053_6b46a5b807_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUa4K)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/558/32689659945_d52da6fcfa_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF41D)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/346/31877429063_162ffb8a81_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUa4V)

View of the Iridium spa from the seaplane

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/371/32310575930_ccef12d3d5_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Reb9xm)


Upon arrival there were a bunch of St. Regis staff standing in a row waving to our approaching seaplane. They all shook our hands and greeted us by name (I was known as Mr. Charles the whole trip) then we were given our welcome drink. Our butler Naseeb then introduced himself and took us for a tour of the island and finally to our villa.

Arrival - you can see the butlers waving

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/576/31877428923_ecfcfcc291_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUa2v)

Butler Cart

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/481/31877429993_34dc435f59_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUakX)

We were originally given a north facing villa with a lot of privacy but little sunlight on the deck. Dw wanted to have views of the light blue water ("why else would you go to the Maldives, we have dark blue water at home") so we asked to switch to one of the sunrise villas (Yíall can debate the privacy/sun on the Master Thread). Our butler Naseeb (he gets an A+) took care of the room switch while we were on a sunset fishing trip. We chose to do the fishing trip on our first day and only mentioned it to our butler in the afternoon but he booked it for us on the spot. We were taken on a boat with 6 others to a spot around 10 minutes away from the island and were taught the traditional Maldivian style of fishing (line fishing). We didn't end up catching anything ourselves, thought we almost did and we lost 3 hooks to apparently hungry fish, but others on the boat caught 4 red snappers, a barracuda, a baby shark, which we threw back into the water after taking some pictures, and a green reef fish. They were able to have their fish for lunch or dinner the next day. I believe the fee for that is $30. After fishing we had our Pom dinner at Alba, the main restaurant. We brought along plastic plates and cutlery but they had extra for the last few days when we ran out of the ones we brought.

North facing villa at around noon - notice the shade

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/682/31846868064_e25d32c840_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Qwcwm9)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/546/32689657915_4e8e9790b9_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3pD)

Sunset fishing

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/362/32536980092_7d84dd4f99_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RzbwBo)


(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/477/32689659445_2071349fd6_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3S2)

Catch of the night - a bunch of snappers and a baracuda

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/291/32567700371_16a47c086c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RBTYFn)


Also caught a baby shark but had to let it go

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/768/32689659385_74fec6537c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3QZ)


All in all we had a relaxing first day and were definitely ready for some rest:


(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/309/32689661205_e5f31a53d1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF4on)



Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 07, 2017, 10:10:45 PM
Good stuff. Interesting idea about the photo by the St Regis sign.

Any idea why you didn't get Bentley?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: cholent on February 07, 2017, 10:11:11 PM
Those pics are gorgeous!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 07, 2017, 10:18:39 PM
Good stuff. Interesting idea about the photo by the St Regis sign.

Any idea why you didn't get Bentley?

Rumor has it the bentley was only for Caroline Astor and John Jacob Estate's but unconfirmed

I'll ruin the surprise now, they gave us a copy of the picture by the sign on our way out on the last day. Very nice framable picture
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 07, 2017, 10:27:01 PM
Those pics are gorgeous!

Thanks, much better ones to come!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chff on February 08, 2017, 01:11:40 AM
Thanks for the TR, keep it coming
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: mochjas on February 08, 2017, 03:40:22 AM
Those pics are gorgeous!
thanks for motivating him to get another segment out. Maybe if you post some more pics we can get this TR finished!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 08, 2017, 03:57:13 AM
We asked for the bentley on the return in the lounge and they gave it to us. Was cool, but its a 3 min drive, really no difference.
Weird, we didnt get that pic by the sign, I guess you tipped your butler better then I did :-)
By check in at the seaplane we had about 40 kg to much. Would have been 230 dollars, they said will put on room, but never saw it
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 08, 2017, 06:38:32 AM
thanks for motivating him to get another segment out. Maybe if you post some more pics we can get this TR finished!
Lol I must admit that the holdup on the next segment is the videos. Will be up tonight
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: moisheyb on February 08, 2017, 01:14:56 PM
Lol I must admit that the holdup on the next segment is the videos. Will be up tonight

Wow awesome tr so far!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: sam28 on February 08, 2017, 02:05:41 PM
Amazing TR keep it coming .
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 08, 2017, 02:36:05 PM
Great stuff! Please delete the part about the shark before I show it to DW :P
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: eliteflyer on February 08, 2017, 02:43:17 PM

Quote
The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives in economy

FTFY ;)
I don't think I would have gone to the Maldives last year had we not gotten premium cabin all the way there, but good for you for just going with what worked for you and not feeling pressured that EY/EK/TK/CX J or F is the only option. My wife is hesitant to travel anywhere in Y after EY Apartments.

Great trip report, giving me some motivation to write my own some day!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 08, 2017, 03:34:24 PM
Great stuff! Please delete the part about the shark before I show it to DW :P

Ha, black tips. We wished we saw more. There was one lurking around the villas but I only ever saw it while on my bike, never when I was snorkeling.

Amazing TR keep it coming .
Wow awesome tr so far!!

Thanks!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 08, 2017, 03:36:57 PM
FTFY ;)
I don't think I would have gone to the Maldives last year had we not gotten premium cabin all the way there, but good for you for just going with what worked for you and not feeling pressured that EY/EK/TK/CX J or F is the only option. My wife is hesitant to travel anywhere in Y after EY Apartments.

Great trip report, giving me some motivation to write my own some day!

I definitely wouldn't have gone if I didn't get the amazing St. Regis deal so how we got there was less impt for us. Each trip has it's own quirks and I definitely do not regret it for a second. It was better than I can describe with or without pictures.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 08, 2017, 03:45:29 PM
Woweee!!! now were talking!!! these are beyond!

Send more please!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 08, 2017, 03:45:40 PM
FTFY ;)
I don't think I would have gone to the Maldives last year had we not gotten premium cabin all the way there, but good for you for just going with what worked for you and not feeling pressured that EY/EK/TK/CX J or F is the only option. My wife is hesitant to travel anywhere in Y after EY Apartments.

Great trip report, giving me some motivation to write my own some day!
I flew some 36 hours each way to be in the Maldives for 48 hours.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: BarryLincoln on February 08, 2017, 03:53:13 PM
FTFY ;)
I don't think I would have gone to the Maldives last year had we not gotten premium cabin all the way there, but good for you for just going with what worked for you and not feeling pressured that EY/EK/TK/CX J or F is the only option. My wife is hesitant to travel anywhere in Y after EY Apartments.

Great trip report, giving me some motivation to write my own some day!

EY Apartments were the icing on the cake for our trip home.  If Y was the only option, I probably still would've gone.  That said, everything else is child's play after EY or EK F...
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 08, 2017, 03:58:10 PM
EY Apartments were the icing on the cake for our trip home.  If Y was the only option, I probably still would've gone.  That said, everything else is child's play after EY or EK F...
EY , EK in F are Vacations no Destinations required.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 08, 2017, 04:26:52 PM
EY , EK in F are Vacations no Destinations required.

Lol
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Yuey on February 09, 2017, 12:10:17 AM
My butler was awesome. How much should I tip him?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 09, 2017, 03:35:13 AM
I was there 4 nights and gave him 50 dollars the day i arrived
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: ual902 on February 09, 2017, 04:41:42 AM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639601/str7.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639601/str7.jpg.html)

This was our breakfast every day from hermolis incl hot eggs (right corner) and fresh OJ from Hotel

Did you have to pay EXTRA for the daily hermolies? If yes how much?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 06:12:59 AM
My butler was awesome. How much should I tip him?
I gave him $100 for 5 nights
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 09, 2017, 09:33:11 AM
I gave him $100 for 5 nights
he prob said screw this!!! Now!!!! I open my own hotel!!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 11:07:46 AM
Maldives Day 2:
Our second day was Friday so we didn't have much time to do something big. We spent the morning snorkeling by the edge of the reef. There's nothing to see in front of the sunrise villas (in the clear light blue water) so you need to swim to the sunset side to get to the reef. The coral is bleached and still damaged from the construction but there's still fish to see at the edge. We saw a few baby black tip sharks, sting rays, clams, and a lot of colorful fish.


Morning at the sunrise villa

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/592/32567700781_2f77ac0421_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RBTYNr)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/422/31846868444_cb762b6ceb_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QwcwsG)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/417/32689657645_ed9bffae4c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3jZ)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/698/31877427003_d18c0b11fd_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9sp)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/563/32689658545_96bd4eb94d_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3Av)


(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/354/31877427903_415a3f5de9_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9HV)


(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/442/32689659345_785c0cdbcb_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3Qi)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/715/32310575800_bb17c1c276_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Reb9v7)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/277/32689659265_2dd9f1fe72_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3NV)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/631/31877428823_a18cccd670_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9ZM)

Snorkeling - They give you a snorkeling set (goggles, snorkel, flippers) withing an hour of when you arrive that you use for your entire stay. Side note: They only have one type of snorkel, if it doesn't work for your face, you probably have to buy a different one from their store. For whatever reason, it didn't work for my face. Luckily, one of the ladies in the water sports center had a personal one that was different than the rest and that one happened to be fine for me. She let me use it for the duration of my stay.

I'll add some more pics and videos for Day 4 & 5. As you can see, the coral is mostly dead. There are fish to be seen though.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/401/32689658765_7ca5a6c2ea_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3Ei)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/464/32689656515_c000d71da2_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF2Zv)




After lunch we went to the water sports center to make a plan for the next few days. We did sea bobbing that day which was a lot of fun. It's basically like a jet ski that you lay on with your stomach and your lower half just dangles in the water. You can take it under water (up to 2 meters). We didn't take any pictures of them but here's a picture from google. I couldn't strap my gopro to my head because these things go up to 100km/hr, and I couldnt hold my gopro in my hand because you really do need two hands to hold onto this thing.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/373/31959185743_b611886e4b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QG8btR)

After sea bob we relaxed by the main beach before getting ready for shabbat. We had our dinner at 6 (before shabbat actually started) so we didn't run into any food heating issues.

Beach

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/632/32689660485_4198697378_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF4aX)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/439/32689660905_ba5a0612a1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF4ic)

Bike parking (each guest gets a bike to use for their stay)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/383/32689660805_170b8f346f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF4gt)

Free sunscreen at the pool/beach area

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/376/31877429853_9aea4b325f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUaix)

Crabs
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/443/32536979612_805145e38e_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Rzbwt7)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/650/32567700601_6633842af8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RBTYKk)

(And hereís a video we took from the deck of the room. It will give you more of a complete picture of how the rooms are set up.)

Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: chuchem on February 09, 2017, 11:12:53 AM
Did you have to pay EXTRA for the daily hermolies? If yes how much?

I took them along myself
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: BarryLincoln on February 09, 2017, 11:20:58 AM
Pictures and videos are great.  You're quite the photographer... love how you positioned your teacup at the edge of the infinity pool!!!!

Place looks awesome...
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 09, 2017, 11:22:21 AM
Wow, just a note, who cares if the coral is dead if there are still fish there.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 09, 2017, 11:28:10 AM
I took them along myself
Smart
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 09, 2017, 11:31:43 AM
Maldives Day 2:
Our second day was Friday so we didn't have much time to do something big. We spent the morning snorkeling by the edge of the reef. There's nothing to see in front of the sunrise villas (in the clear light blue water) so you need to swim to the sunset side to get to the reef. The coral is bleached and still damaged from the construction but there's still fish to see at the edge. We saw a few baby black tip sharks, sting rays, clams, and a lot of colorful fish.



incredible photo videos
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 09, 2017, 11:38:32 AM
incredible photo videos
New DDF rule. When you quote a long post with pictures etc, you should delete all the images and then reply...
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 11:45:57 AM
New DDF rule. When you quote a long post with pictures etc, you should delete all the images and then reply...
#BradyRule
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 11:53:37 AM
Wow, just a note, who cares if the coral is dead if there are still fish there.

I like colorful coral. My first time snorkeling was in Hanuama Bay and the coral there is vibrant and lively. This was nothing compared to that but having a lot of fish there made it nice. I'll try to find the pic/video of the stingray for the next segment. That was pretty cool.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 11:54:39 AM
You're quite the photographer

Shot on an iphone6 (and gopro black 5)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: shmebeble on February 09, 2017, 11:57:09 AM
Wow, just a note, who cares if the coral is dead if there are still fish there.
the coral itself can be beautiful and some people care about that.
One reason the snorkeling by CKS is just ok
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 09, 2017, 12:59:24 PM
1) lively coral = more fish
2) seabobs don't go anywhere close to 100 km/hr; more like 13km/hr
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 01:04:46 PM
1) lively coral = more fish
2) seabobs don't go anywhere close to 100 km/hr; more like 13km/hr
Over the water it goes pretty fast, under water, you obviously slow down but still too fast for a gopro strapped to my head
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 09, 2017, 01:52:55 PM
1) lively coral = more fish
That's what I thought was the case, but based on his video I don't think the W was much better than that for snorkeling with fish.

One negative was dead coral but if the fish are still there it's not a negative for me personally.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 09, 2017, 01:54:22 PM
Could be the reef at W was subpar... Go diving or snorkeling in GBR and you'll see the difference.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 09, 2017, 02:05:05 PM
Could be the reef at W was subpar... Go diving or snorkeling in GBR and you'll see the difference.
And if there were OWB on top of GBR it would be part of this discussion.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 10:01:47 PM
Maldives Day 3 - Shabbat:
The St. Regis was surprisingly shabbat friendly. Although the lights and blinds in the room are controlled by iPads we just left the bathroom lights on and the rest off. The bathroom doors kept the light out when they were closed (while we slept) and let enough light come in when we had the doors open. The front door does require a magnetic key that has a light but we kept it unlocked by having the deadbolt turned so the door doesn't close all the way. (It's a risk we were willing to take. The island feels incredibly safe- we didnít think twice about leaving valuables lying around). We also left the Do Not Disturb sign on so we wouldn't have to worry about them changing any of our settings.

We ate our lunch on the beach chairs by the main beach (we brought a platter of finger foods - mazza as davidmal would say- from our local butcher for that day). After lunch we hung out in Vommuli house. They have a library, and two story game room with ping pong, foosball and air hockey downstairs and board games upstairs. The upstairs room is air conditioned and has very comfortable suede bean bag chairs so we spent a lot of shabbat there escaping the heat. We didnít revisit this room so sadly, we donít have pictures of it. But picture a large living room with couches and beanbags to sit on and play videogames, jenga, etc.

After Shabbat we went on a night snorkeling trip, which turned out to be a great experience. Our guide took us out to the house reef with strong flashlights and pointed out cool things like puffer fish, lion fish, huge starfish (biggest we've ever seen), a huge hermit crab, and sleeping reef fish. Once we were deep in the water he told us to cover our flashlights and wave in the water. We didn't know what he was getting at but we followed his instructions and saw something incredible. There are bioluminescent plankton in the ocean that light up when agitated. Waving created a show of lights we'll never forget.

Maldives Day 4:

Sunday was our most active day on the island. We woke up early to get some morning snorkeling in since there are supposed to be the most fish out in the morning. We then went kayaking (free) from the watersports center past the family villas, past the main beach, and around the overwater villas. We turned around at the John Jacob Estate. I sort of regret that we didnít get the glass bottom kayak because that would have been a window to whatever is underneath but it was still fun nonetheless. We saw a lot of fish from our kayak, and jellyfish that must have numbered in the thousands (literally). After kayaking we had lunch at Alba then Naseeb gave us a tour of the John Jacob Astor Estate. (dw wanted me to mention that Naseeb happens to be one of the best iphone photographers she ever met and he was amazing about taking pictures of us throughout the trip.)

A short snorkeling video:




John Jacob Astor Estate - In case anybody has 40-50k laying around and wants to try it for a night...

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/346/32567568961_731ff995e4_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RBTiBF)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/545/31846868584_1bd5fb0d45_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Qwcwv7)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/314/31877427673_5bed8bf53d_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9DX)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/708/32689658315_95f125fa5b_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3wx)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/260/31877426113_f2755bbed4_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9c4)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/546/32689656925_9ffe09531c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF37z)

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(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/383/32689658075_76f4f30c0a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3sp)



Me thinking Iím Tarzan:





A Ride in the butler cart (wind noise so maybe turn volume down)



We then went back to the watersports center for our Discover Scuba session (we wanted to get fully certified but they said that would take 3-4 days which we didnít have). We became friendly with Allister from the dive center - we met him Friday during Sea Bobbing and had our night snorkeling session with him so he was our guide for the scuba course. It was both of our first time scuba diving but Allister made us feel very comfortable and made the experience very fun. We started out at the watersports center getting a quick 20 minute explanation of the basics of diving. Then we moved into the water by the beach. We started out in shallow water practicing some skills then spent some time in deeper water getting comfortable with everything. When we were ready, we took a boat to an amazing coral garden with more lively and colorful coral and sea life than the house reef. We were underwater for a total of 32 minutes and went down to 12 meters.





After scuba diving we went back to the room to shower then went to the Whale Bar for drinks and dinner. The sunset was really incredible and sitting on the outdoor deck was the perfect way to end the day. (PS this is where we had a mini DO and met Chuchem and another Jewish couple from NY). I didnít mention earlier that every night at dinner we would speak to our servers about the Maldives, their local Islands, their history, and much more. Each and every one of them had such different stories and taught us so much about the islands and what itís like being a native Maldivian. (DW says ďif onlyÖĒ)

The Whale Bar

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/338/31877591743_1ee972cf87_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUZqK)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/382/32567568891_e4c1af9287_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RBTiAt)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/539/32649006956_f9143f6208_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RK5Gi3)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/619/32689660335_ca6ab3050f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF48n)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/289/31877429433_3018b1050f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUabi)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/359/32310576020_0088714ab1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Reb9yU)

Everywhere you go on the island, the give you a scented cold towel. Each place you go has a different scent. I remember the beach being a mint scent, the restaurant some oil scent, etc.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/770/31822627143_ec7170a911_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Qu4hne)

Bloody Mary served in a shell

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/280/32310576160_3a33367336_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Reb9Bj)


Just a side note, their drinks are pretty good. Not out of this world amazing but pleasant, enjoyable, and relaxing.

And another random video, this time of me in the water, taking a 360 view (there was some shmutz on the camera that we only saw now, while viewing and editing the videos)


Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 09, 2017, 10:29:54 PM
Unbelievable. Great videos and pics!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 09, 2017, 10:32:08 PM
Unbelievable. Great videos and pics!
Thanks!! Even better in person ;)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: tageed-lee on February 09, 2017, 10:52:31 PM
Amazing top to bottom!! Thanks for sharing!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 10, 2017, 12:22:58 AM
And if there were OWB on top of GBR it would be part of this discussion.
Lol. Don't be sensitive that I learned you something about coral reefs and fish. Or that the hotel you stayed at didn't make the grade.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 10, 2017, 12:28:44 AM
Sounds like you had a blast. Night snorkel and seabob, two things I'll likely do because of this TR.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 01:00:56 AM
Quote from: CZ60
  We ate our lunch on the beach chairs by the main beach (we brought a platter of finger foods - mazza as davidmal would say- from our local butcher for that day)
officially my best part of this epic TR
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: mmgfarb on February 10, 2017, 01:25:33 AM
officially my best part of this epic TR
Your vanity knows no bounds
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 01:44:45 AM
Your vanity knows no bounds
I was focusing on his noble attribute of kindness
It just so happens to be my name.... coincidence
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 01:45:27 AM
Wiki looks great!!! Maybe add a few words summary per day like Shabbat or snorkeling sand skiiing etc.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: mmgfarb on February 10, 2017, 01:46:06 AM
I was focusing on his noble attribute of kindness
It just so happens to be my name.... coincidence
Lol
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 10, 2017, 09:45:22 AM
Sounds like you had a blast. Night snorkel and seabob, two things I'll likely do because of this TR.

Just note, there are way less fish at night, but you see different things at night than in the day. That being said, I would still highly recommend. We did it without the UV light and was pretty cool. They charge $30 more for a UV light but I'm not sure what type of benefit it gives you. The guide told us its not worth it.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 10, 2017, 09:45:53 AM
officially my best part of this epic TR

I was testing you to see if you were actually reading or were in it for the pictures  ;)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 10, 2017, 10:10:04 AM
Lol. Don't be sensitive that I learned you something about coral reefs and fish. Or that the hotel you stayed at didn't make the grade.
Dude they heated up meals for free? Who cares in NYC there are great kosher restaurants. Is basically what you said.

No one claimed the Maldives had GBR level coral, so why would anyone look for that there?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 10:28:21 AM
Dude they heated up meals for free? Who cares in NYC there are great kosher restaurants. Is basically what you said.

No one claimed the Maldives had GBR level coral, so why would anyone look for that there?
Belize Barrier Reef second largest in the world is dying as well...

I met a international Snorkel/Scuba and they claimed that Cozumel Mexico was one of the best snorkeling they've had. (as doubtful as that sounds)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Luvtotravel on February 10, 2017, 11:20:45 AM
incredible! two questions, how was the Sabbath lunch brought to you regarding carrying on shabbos? what are the nets at the end of the deck?

.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 10, 2017, 11:48:08 AM
Dude they heated up meals for free? Who cares in NYC there are great kosher restaurants. Is basically what you said.

Not quite.  You said "One negative was dead coral but if the fish are still there it's not a negative for me personally."

I responded that it's likely not a negative for you because the reefs you've experience have probably been sub-par.  I happened to note the GBR, which is famous, but the reef at the Halaveli in MLE was also fantastic.  It's quite elementary that the more lively the reef = the more fish are present.  The fact that you drive a Honda, and not a Lamborghini, doesn't make the Lamborghini any less fantastic, or your Honda any more exotic.
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: jj1000 on February 10, 2017, 11:51:34 AM
but the reef at the Halaveli in MLE was also fantastic
So go ahead and add more things to your statement. Totally fine, but don't act like that was there before.

Also based on his videos did the snorkeling outside your OWB have much better snorkeling in regards to the fish specifically?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: AJK on February 10, 2017, 12:01:02 PM
Considerably more.

And, I only added what I did because you apparently didn't follow the the simple point I was trying to make.  Either way, feel free to have the last word -- I've no more time to debate the intricacies of biodiversity, geological study, and coral reef ecosystems when I could otherwise be doing something productive :P

Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 10, 2017, 12:08:29 PM
incredible! two questions, how was the Sabbath lunch brought to you regarding carrying on shabbos? what are the nets at the end of the deck?

.

Q1: Depending on who you follow and whatnot.... Probably belongs in the "shailos" thread. We had enough of a hechsher discussion in the Maldives MT  ::)

Q2: 4 pretty comfortable Hammocks
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 12:55:33 PM
So go ahead and add more things to your statement. Totally fine, but don't act like that was there before.

Also based on his videos did the snorkeling outside your OWB have much better snorkeling in regards to the fish specifically?
No need for that.... as a Mod you can just go back and change it....
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 12:56:29 PM
Nice Job on the wiki!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 10, 2017, 01:14:41 PM
Nice Job on the wiki!
Thanks!! I got the idea all by myself...::)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: mochjas on February 10, 2017, 01:15:23 PM
Thanks!! I got the idea all by myself...::)
you need to add a part for the JJ AJK argument
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: davidmal on February 10, 2017, 01:56:39 PM
you need to add a part for the JJ AJK argument
Hahaha
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 19, 2017, 07:17:41 PM
Maldives Day 5:
On our last full day we decided to wake up early and go sunrise snorkeling. Naseeb woke us up right before sunrise and brought us our tea and coffee. After getting ready we went in the water and I immediately got stung by something. I called Naseeb and he took me to the doctor to get my hand checked out. The doctor wasnít sure what stung me (we werenít near the reef and we didnít see anything in the water near us when I got stung so I couldnít figure it out either) but the doctor gave me a lotion to put on it and the burning/ itching was gone within a few minutes. We spend the rest of the morning relaxing in our pool then went to the beach later on. After lunch, Naseeb gave us a tour of the Decanter wine cellar, which is amazing (and even more amazing that they donít have even one kosher wine!!) and the Caroline Astor Estate, Beach villas, and Family villas. Getting to see all the different villas was such a treat, it really helped us appreciate the architecture and planning of the resort.

Sunrise



(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/320/31877591623_38f7d30db8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUZoF)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/529/31877426383_3160a746f4_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9gH)

Caroline Astor Estate bedroom

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/683/32689657155_22cae6be64_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF3bx)


Caroline Astor View

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/423/31877426583_79fd70b736_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU9ka)


Beach Villa

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/578/32649006756_8de4f08e8f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RK5GeA)


Family Villa

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/608/31846868214_25079905f4_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QwcwoJ)


Family Villa View

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/353/31877425713_da4e2f383e_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyU95a)


Family Villa 2nd Floor Bathroom

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/476/32689656825_c02af373f6_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RNF35R)
 


We had booked massages for our last day before the 23 hour journey back to NY so we headed to the Iridium spa after our tours. The spa is even more incredible than the pictures. The views are spectacular and everything is immaculate. At the spa, we were also given our choice of cold or hot tea when we got there and also after our treatments. We chose iced ginger tea when we arrived and liked it so much that we had it again after. We had a bamboo rhythm massage, which uses smooth hot bamboo. The massage was very relaxing and professional. They tried to convince us to use the Blue Hole but it wasnít included and we would have had to pay $60 pp + tax + service charge and while it does look relaxing we couldnít justify paying for the experience.

(I apologize, we donít have any pics from the spa. The hotels instagram has plenty if you want to see it.)

After the massages Naseeb picked us up and dropped us off at our villa so we can get changed for dinner. He waited a few minutes for us then took us back to the Whale Bar for our last sunset there. We spent about an hour there then went to Orientale (the Asian restaurant) for dinner just to check out the scene. There were more people at this restaurant than weíve seen during our whole stay. It seemed like most of the guests were Asian and stayed in their rooms except to go to Orientale because we only ever saw an average of 5-10 people anywhere else in the resort.

Orientaleís location is right off the beach on the spa side of the island and while it was windier, we enjoyed sitting outside facing the water. The Pom meals took a bit longer to come this time since they were heating them up in Alba and bringing them over but they arrived hot and perfect as usual.

We then went to our room, relaxed outside a bit before calling it a night.

Maldives Departure:
Our flight the next morning was scheduled for 9:15AM which meant that we had to leave the resort on the first seaplane out at 6:30. We got our wake-up call with coffee and tea delivered at 6 and were ready to go 30 min later. We got to the main island at around 7:30AM after taking off a few minutes later than scheduled. No worries as they had already received word that our flight was delayed until 10. Turns out it was delayed until 11 (google now knew when our flight schedule and sent me flight alerts. Creepy, yet cool). Dw and I were secretly hoping that it would get delayed again so that when we landed in DXB, we would stay another night there and come back the next day. We werenít so fortunate as we landed at around 2:15 with our connecting flight leaving at 3. We did have to go through security again but not passport control. We just made it (we werenít running through the airport - on purpose), though it seemed like they were waiting for all the NY bound people on our MLE-DXB flight. The 14+hr journey home was Ö long. Other people on my flight were given the option a few days prior to upgrade to J for $1,000, which I would have done in a heartbeat, but since I booked through the UR Portal, I had a ďspecial fareĒ ticket and that option wasnít available for me. The only option I had was to pay $3,200 to upgrade. No thanks.

Our luggage didnít make it through to NY because of the short stopover but they delivered it the next night (very late- 10:30PM). We could have got Chase (Reserve) to cover us for delayed baggage but we were so hungry (EK Kosher food was terrible way back) and exhausted that we didnít even think to go out and buy $100pp worth of ďessentialsĒ to get reimbursed. We went straight to subs, ate a cowís worth of meat and tried to adjust back to reality.

We still smile ear to ear when we think about this trip. It truly was an unbelievable trip, only made possible by everyone here on DDF (NOT FT!! :P) and my boss. Iím already looking forward to my next trip - Bora Bora - in June!

Thank you to DW for writing most of this and choosing what pictures/videos should go in the TR.

And thanks everyone for reading!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: shulem92 on February 19, 2017, 07:23:21 PM
Great TR! Thanx for finishing it! ;)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: tageed-lee on February 19, 2017, 07:48:25 PM
Thanks for finishing the TR! Amazing!!

This picture is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/320/31877591623_38f7d30db8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QyUZoF)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Luvtotravel on February 19, 2017, 11:33:39 PM
beautiful wrapup!! and youll be part of the super exclusive club to be qualified to compare MLE to BOB
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 20, 2017, 09:07:56 AM
Great TR! Thanx for finishing it! ;)

Thanks for finishing the TR! Amazing!!


Thanks! I know it was an underwhelming finish but we literally sat on our behinds the entire last day save for the spa so there really wasn't much to report  ::)

This picture is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!

Even better in person. No camera can capture the scene perfectly.

Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on February 20, 2017, 09:08:59 AM
beautiful wrapup!! and youll be part of the super exclusive club to be qualified to compare MLE to BOB

Hehe sooper exclusive
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Denverite on March 14, 2017, 11:57:36 PM
Just saw this and great TR!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on March 15, 2017, 03:35:17 AM
Just saw this and great TR!
Thanks!!
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on July 03, 2017, 02:02:54 PM
Just got back from my Bora trip this morning and the verdict is in. Even though we stayed in the St Regis in Maldives and Le Moana in Bora (I'd go back if someone can show me how to get Thalasso on points!) , dw and I both think Bora > Maldives. Full TR and explanation for why to come in a separate thread.

For those too addicted to shower class suites, you're missing out bigtime. :)
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: johnshek on July 03, 2017, 02:47:35 PM
Just got back from my Bora trip this morning and the verdict is in. Even though we stayed in the St Regis in Maldives and Le Moana in Bora (I'd go back if someone can show me how to get Thalasso on points!) , dw and I both think Bora > Maldives. Full TR and explanation for why to come in a separate thread.

For those too addicted to shower class suites, you're missing out bigtime. :)
What way to tease it
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: damaxer91 on July 03, 2017, 04:56:46 PM
, dw and I both think Bora > Maldives. Full TR and explanation for why to come in a separate thread.

For those too addicted to shower class suites, you're missing out bigtime. :)

Pretty sure everyone here who has been to both concurs

Verdict is in...
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: ar on July 03, 2017, 11:32:20 PM
Just got back from my Bora trip this morning and the verdict is in. Even though we stayed in the St Regis in Maldives and Le Moana in Bora (I'd go back if someone can show me how to get Thalasso on points!) , dw and I both think Bora > Maldives. Full TR and explanation for why to come in a separate thread.

For those too addicted to shower class suites, you're missing out bigtime. :)

Wow. Really want to see your TR and why you like Bora better
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Wizmanison on December 01, 2017, 11:48:04 AM
(https://www2.pic-upload.de/thumb/32639601/str7.jpg) (https://www.pic-upload.de/view-32639601/str7.jpg.html)

This was our breakfast every day from hermolis incl hot eggs (right corner) and fresh OJ from Hotel

How does one go about arranging this?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Denverite on December 03, 2017, 11:08:54 AM
Just got back from my Bora trip this morning and the verdict is in. Even though we stayed in the St Regis in Maldives and Le Moana in Bora (I'd go back if someone can show me how to get Thalasso on points!) , dw and I both think Bora > Maldives. Full TR and explanation for why to come in a separate thread.

For those too addicted to shower class suites, you're missing out bigtime. :)

Did you pay to upgrade to an OWV and how much?
Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: CZ60 on December 03, 2017, 11:39:11 AM
Did you pay to upgrade to an OWV and how much?
I assume you're asking about BOB.. we paid $275 per night. There was a cheaper option, but the water for that one was very shallow. There is also end of pontoon for more money but I thought it to be a waste (and we got the second to last on the pontoon anyway).

We only did it for 2 nights and to be honest, I liked the beach bungalow better. To each their own. We had already experienced over water for 5 nights in Maldives so it wasn't a huge to do in BOB.

Title: Re: The first DDFer to go to St. Regis Maldives, with a little Dubai to start
Post by: Naftuli19 on May 14, 2019, 10:04:03 AM
Cant believe i did not see this before, great TR awesome Pics ill be there in 36h but u got my heart pounding like were 5min out! did the hotel make any food for u Eggs, fish, pasta,? also about kosher wine they offered to get me a Kedem Cream Red for $155 :o :o :o for those of u who dont know it cost about $5 at ur local wine store!