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Re: Maldives Master Thread
What is the whether like at the beginning of August? Does the Maldives have "opposite seasons" where the nice whether is in Dec-Feb and it rains in August? I am looking to go from Israel for 5 days in August but if it is gonna be raining I may as well go to Greece.
If only there was a way to find out this information on the big wide Internets...

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May 18, 2017, 06:40:28 PM
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Dubai with Maxmiles PART 1

I decided to go to a trade show in Dubai for a couple of days. The couple of days turned into a week when my wife said that she would like to go, so we decided to make a vacation out of it.

For my flights I would fly in Ethiad F with 115k American miles and my wife would fly in Buisness for 70k American miles (only one F avail) from JFK-ABU and return a week later on Emirates in Business class as there was no F available. I booked my flight on Emirates with 80k Alaskan miles thanks to the Jetblue- Virgin promo from last year. As for the Mrs I transferred 50k Starwood to JAL (63k JAL miles).

For the hotels we would stay in Abu Dhabi  for 2 nights at the St Regis Saadayit Island for $250 a night. Then drive to Dubai where I would stay for Friday night at the Burj (much debating went into this). With the final 3 nights at the Ritz for $280 a night (rate went up to $450 a few days later).

For food we ordered about 25 Pom meals as well as some home cooked food that my wife brought.

The day finally came and we were all set to go to JFK. Check in was a breeze and we decided to check out the lounge for a few minutes. The lounge is nice and not crowded but was nothing special. After 15 minutes the hostess came to tell us that our flight was boarding. We walked over to gate A7 and went straight to our seats.

EY Flight F A380
Wow, the Etihad videos and pictures don’t do the apartments justice. The rooms were huge! I honestly didn’t feel like I was on a plane the entire time. The stewardess came over and showed us every nook and cranny in the room. There is an ottoman couch that turns into a bed as well as a vanity mirror with multiple storage locations, not to mention the huge seat that has a slight recline with an option for a small massage. By the door there is a closet to hang your clothes and store your attaché case. The “regular” bathroom is nice and offers some high end creams and soaps, while the shower bathroom is smaller. Then the head chef came to explain the menu, however I had to cut him short and explain that I was the guy that ordered the kosher meal. He then apologized and told me what the kosher meal would consist of and asked me if I needed anything else. I then decided to sit back, relax and watch one of the many movies that were offered (there was a nice selection). After a couple of hours, I headed to the lounge and hung out with my wife for an hour. The lounge is consists of 6 seats in a circular form, was actually very cool.

The stewardess then offered to warm up the dinner which I gladly accepted and back to the apartment I went. The KSM was from Weiss and was inedible. Good thing I stopped by David’s in Brooklyn and picked up some Shish Kebob sandwiches. After dinner the stewardess made up my bed. I was able to watch the Rangers playoff game live via Sports 24 which was very cool (sucks that they lost though). After the game I closed my eyes and slept for about 4 hours. When I woke up I requested the shower. The shower takes about 15 minutes for them to start up. Once its ready you have 5 minutes to use, its pretty decent pressure and the water is warm. The actual bathroom is small and there was just enough space to dry up. As everyone has mentioned, the greatest thing certainly isn’t the shower but the idea of showering up in the air. The flight went by so fast that I just wanted to stay longer! But after 13 hours it was time to get off the plane.

Abu Dabi

After the 20 min cab ride which cost 80 AED (they wouldn’t do the chauffer service since it was an AA ticket) we arrived at the St Regis Saadayat Island. The hotel is massive and beautiful. Originally we were supposed to stay on the 6th floor over the ocean but the room wasn’t ready so I made them switch me to a room that was ready that happened to be on the 2nd floor. View overlooked one of the pools and was just fine. Its pretty spacious for a regular room with the bathroom being huge! Before I had arrived I called the resort and they said they couldn’t heat up the food but would pass along a message to the head chef to call me. Over the phone I explained to chef Malcom that I had “special dietary needs” he said normally they don’t do it for legal reasons but would make an exception. When I arrived chef Malcom came to greet me and asked to see how the food was packed. When I opened up the suitcase, he exclaimed “Oh you are Kosher, this is no problem at all, we do this all the time”. And from there on everything in the hotel was service, service service! I cannot thank chef Malcom enough, he asked me to give him a list of when and what we will want to eat on a daily basis and everything was delivered exactly on time and to perfection.

After checking out the room we went to hang out by the pool/ beach for a few hours. There were 3 different pools that were huge and really nice, the ocean was turquois and warm but we couldn’t get over how salty the ocean was, it reminded me of the dead sea as my scabs were burning up, but it felt great. Everything from the pools to the beach to the ocean were great. As we requested earlier I called the chef to see if they can heat up the fettuccini for us and bring to the pool- when it arrived it was perfect and hit the spot. The drinks by the pool were OK, nothing special 130 AED for 3 drinks.

For dinner we had the Schezuan beef and sesame chicken. The flavor of the beef was unreal, really delicious. The chicken was ok, needed much more sauce. We then contemplated going down to the hooka lounge or the Mall and decided to hit the sack early as we were exhausted.



June 04, 2017, 03:57:33 PM
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Re: Dubai with Maxmiles Part 2

The next morning, we went down to the breakfast and had some coffee and fruit. All I can say is “If only”! It made the Waldorf Jerusalem’s breakfast look like something you would find in a holiday inn. 

IMG_7914 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_7916 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_7918 by Max Miles, on Flickr

On the agenda today was Ferrari World, and the Sheik Zayed Mosque. Ferrari World was pretty cool but not much to do after 2-3 hours. I was really impressed that for every ride they have someone hold your stuff and give you a ticket while you go on the ride. We got there at 11 when they opened so we didn’t have to wait on line for any of the rides. Being that we had sometime to spare we ended up going to YAS waterpark which is about 5 minutes away. The waterpark was ok, nothing special and spent a few hours there. We then went to the Sheik Zayed mosque which was magnificent and something I recommend to everyone. After that we  headed back to the hotel where we had dinner at the room. After dinner we went down and had a few drinks and some hooka and then went to bed.

IMG_7999 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_7977 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_7983 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_7986 by Max Miles, on Flickr

DUBAI

Now it was time to go to the Burj. I went back and forth on this many times in my head. The price for 1 night came out to $1500 ($1700 with tax). I decided to go forward with it since having the AMEX plat card allowed early check in and late checkout so I would be able to spend the whole Shabbat there. Officially check in is at 1, with the AMEX its 11. We arrived at the hotel at 930 and after 15 minutes we were led to our room. With AMEX you are also supposed to get an upgrade if available, they offered me this if I wanted to wait- however I said no. When we got off the elevator the hostess introduced us to our butler. Each floor has their own butler on site 24/7 so if you have an issue where your key isn’t working, or need arrangements made someone is there to take care of it. I ended up giving him the food with instructions for the kitchen and he had everything ready for whenever we wanted to eat which was amazing. Now ive seen many beautiful suites and hotel rooms. For a standard room this easily takes the cake. The room was massive. Downstairs has an office with a large living room area, and a bathroom, upstairs has a huge bathroom with a shower and Jacuzzi, a walk in closet and a bedroom. All rooms have a great view of the ocean.

IMG_8042 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8046 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8054 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8055 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8057 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8058 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8061 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8063 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8071 by Max Miles, on Flickr

We then went to Wild Wadi Waterpark and spent a few hours there, the park is complimentary when staying at the Burj and is a 3-minute gulf cart ride away. This Park was much cleaner with better rides then YAS. By 1pm we were tired and went to check out the beach, which is part of another hotel. The ocean was clear as can be and we just hung out there until an hour before Shabbat. Another great thing about the butler is we had them press the elevator button whenever we needed. At the lobby there is also always someone there standing to press for whoever needs to go up or down. After dinner we went up to check out the bar at the top of the hotel, being that we were guests we were seated right away. I believe you need reservations if you aren’t staying there. Drinks were very overpriced and VERY SMALL, I do not recommend this.

The next day (Shabbat) we hung out by the infinity pool overlooking the water, which is really nice but nothing special (IMO the nicest pool I saw was at the Sands in Singapore). Also with Amex we were given complimentary massages which we decided to book at 6pm. Officially checkout with AMEX is 4 but we were able to push it to 6, where we then went to get our massages. By the time we were done Shabbat was over.


IMG_8083 by Max Miles, on Flickr

The main question everyone probably wants to know is “Was it worth it?” The answer is simply no. “Was I happy I did it?” The answer is simply yes. To me it was like renting a Ferrari for a day, would I ever lease one, no? But perhaps I would try it for one day. Same thing here, I probably would never stay here again and took it as a once in a lifetime experience. The hotel is gorgeous the rooms are massive and the service was impeccable but to me it still doesn’t justify the price tag, but to each his own. We were then off to the RITZ.

Being a platinum member we checked in at the club lounge, and met one of the chefs who took all of our food. For the rest of the trip we ate dinner at the lounge every night which was great as we were able to have drinks and eat like normal people at a restaurant. The hotel was really nice and the service was once again phenomenal. We then went to check out the Dubai mall which was massive and supposedly one of the biggest in the world with every name brand store you can think off.

For the next couple of days I was busy at the show while my wife hung out by the hotels pool. On Sunday night we went to Emirates mall and went to a 4DX movie which was GREAT!!! They need this in NY ASAP! The next night we went to see the Burj Khallifa water show, the boat ride is inexpensive and was really relaxing- then went to Ski Dubai which was very cool. There are only a couple of slopes but was cool skiing indoors, we spent a couple of hours there before heading back to the hotel.

IMG_8175 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8251 by Max Miles, on Flickr

IMG_8261 by Max Miles, on Flickr

Tuesday morning, I had a meeting early before we went down and got the last couple of hours in the sun. We were then off to the airport. If you are flying in B or F you check in via your own terminal, the airport itself was amazing, nothing like the beat down airports you find in NY.  After hanging in the lounge for an hour it was time to head to the gate which was basically right by the lounge. Before going on the plane we needed to check in our ipads and laptops as per the new rule- it honestly wasn’t such a big deal to me. I ended up booking the “honeymoon seats” which basically has the console at the outer part of the seats and no real barrier in between you and the person you are sitting next to (each row reverses). Flight back was a breeze with service being excellent.

IMG_8344 by Max Miles, on Flickr

Overall we had a great time in Dubai the people were very nice, city was beautiful and clean, and everyone there spoke English. IMO Emirates Business was better than Etihad Business but Etihad F is far and away better than Emirates F. I wanna give a shout out to ual902 for helping me with a couple of things and most of all DAN for the tremendous work that hes done in showing all of us how to utilize cc spending.

Hope you all enjoyed.



June 06, 2017, 08:05:07 PM
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Re: Maldives Master Thread
Anyone have experience smuggling wine into the maldives.

...and in other news, a man frequenting the online deals site, DansDeals.com, got arrested today for breaking one of the Maldives only three customs rules.

Family members are worried and do not know when or even if he will be afforded access to an attorney.  When asked, friends expressed both concern for his welfare and incredulousness. "Listen, I like wine as much as the next guy, but it simply boggles the mind why he would he try to smuggle contraband into a foreign country. I wish him the best and hope he doesn't spend the rest of his life in prison. I just hope it wasn't Manischewitz," said Baruch from Boropark. 

Yehudah from Monsey worried, "can you imagine the shame his family is going through right now? Forget the white table cloth on shabbas issue, can you just imagine what the shadchanim will think, 'so his father went to jail in a Muslim country, huh? I wonder what else he might have done while there...'"

No comment from the Maldivian government was forthcoming at press time.

And that's all for the top of the hour. Joanne, back to you.





May 07, 2018, 07:59:47 AM
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