Author Topic: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR  (Read 8660 times)

Online israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #60 on: May 05, 2020, 07:09:36 PM »
did you email the manager about the overwater villa?
Yes, but it's not relevant anymore.
I'll explain in the next installment.

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #61 on: May 06, 2020, 12:32:45 AM »
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi:



Since I'm the first one to review this hotel in this forum, I will also cover the booking process and other helpful information.
We booked 2 of our 3 nights long in advance (almost a year earlier). Not long after we booked, the hotel didn't have any availability for the month of January and February until a month before our arrival when I could've booked more nights before or after the stay. When the cancellation window comes closer, more room will be available since people are freeing up their reservations (even on peak seasons).
I began to email the hotel long in advance, first for the price mistake of the boat transfer and then to ask them an upgrade to an overwater villa.
From the 1 bedroom villas, the hotel has 3 categories, Beach, Reef (entrance from the ground and the other half Overwater), and the Overwater villa. We originally booked the base room which used to be the beach villa but since the hotel experienced a high demand for the beach villa after they had many families coming, the hotel changed the base room to be the Reef>Overwater>Beach. Because we had a reservation for the Beach Villa, we had basically the choice between the 3 of them. Beginning of 2020, the hotel changed the base room also for points redemption and it's possible to book directly an overwater villa with points (called ocean villa). Though, it's easier to find the 'Reef Villa' with points than the 'Ocean villa'.
The rate for the standard room award is 120k HH points with the 5th night free, or a free weekend night certificate.
We decided to spend more time at the Conrad USM than in the Maldives mainly because of the Kosher meals at the Conrad and also because we didn't want to be too long in an overwater villa with a toddler.

Arrival pier:


The Hotel was always very responsive to our emails and easy to communicate with. Before our arrival we already booked most of our activities and asked them for a Kosher wine bottle too. Like at the Conrad, I preloaded money to my portfolio before our arrival, they were sending me payment links without any question asked (I loaded $2000 prior arrival and $750 at the hotel, (my total cost price was $1220)).
As mentioned before, I asked the hotel to stay on the south side of the island in the 100's.

As you can see on the map, the Overwater villas are 101-145 (south), and 701-737 (north).
On the North side, there are Villas on both sides of the bridge, more crowded. It's also windier and the water is colder. There's also more boat traffic and at night there are lights from Male visible. Besides the reef next to the Dive center that is located on the north side of the resort, the snorkeling next to the 700's villas is less comfortable (more rocks and more shallow).
That's the reason that I waited for a room to be ready on the south side, although it was late and I almost gave up because DW and the baby just wanted to sleep... (they weren't the ones reading FlyerTalk for months... ).

When we came to the room, our butler showed us the room and explained to us how everything works. The room is controlled from an iPad, for the lighting, AC, fan, room service, etc. He also gave us a phone with his number to call him every time we need something.


Floorplan:


Room tour:




Outside deck:









you can make a party with 15 ppl seating/lounging!

Bathroom:




Outside Shower:


In the closet room:


The most comfortable slippers!


And this silk bathrobe...OMG! (I wanted to pay full price to bring one home but they were short in supply... If someone is going there one day, and they have enough of them... I'll QP you )


When we arrived on Sunday night we gave them our frozen meals to keep them in the freezer. The hotel charges $20++ per meal per person to heat up the food (we paid $12 for our meals from Awafi), and they don't provide microwaves in the room. I would've paid this price if the meals were decent, but my brother, that eats at Awafi's kitchen daily, told me that the chicken is dry and it will not be worth it. (I wanted to bring Pom meals but figured that it would be a bit complicated to schlep them for a week). We brought with us a pot and a burner and had rice, couscous and tons of snacks. We ate very well in Thailand but in the Maldives, it was at the minimum level.
(The hotel told me before that they can get meals from Australia but a week before they notified me that it will not be doable). Don't worry, we ate properly and we weren't hungry.
-Side note; any price mentioned here is before the service charge and taxes, there's 23% to add on top of it, as explained here.
Every morning we went to breakfast, they have a large variety of fruits, vegetables and juices. Anything that is not there can be asked and brought on-demand. They also have cereals with Kosher symbols, they brought me the boxes so I can check them. (Breakfast is free for Gold and Diamond HH members).
On our first day, they also brought us a Kosher wine bottle that I enjoyed a lot during the stay. I had confirmed with them for it before but they gave it to other Jewish guests without having to ask.





And the baby basket amenities.


There are bikes in the resort to move around and they now put the room number on the bike to ensure that no one mistakes others' for theirs, they even have bikes for children.


And for her too:


Our experience with the buggies was that they were slow to come (10-15 minutes) although the hotel was at half occupancy. If there's a certain time you know in advance that you'll need one, they are reliable to come on time. We used our 2 bikes all the time to go everywhere in the resort and I had the child with me on a baby carrier. We actually loved biking on the island on the firm sand and the creaking noise passing the wooden bridge. Passing by staff members greeting you with their right hand on their chest and a big smile that makes you feel so welcome... Since we were on the far end of the island we had to bike a lot to go to breakfast or to Peacock Alley for Happy hour, but for us, it was a real pleasure.

The lovely greeting, every time a guess passes them:


The occupancy at the hotel was pretty low, on our 2nd day they told me that it's at 40% only. The main reason is because the country banned Chinese visitors although it was right after the Chinese new year.
There are about 120 rooms/Villas in the resort so only 45 were occupied and 3 of them by Jewish couples (DDFrs too, more of that later). I wrote about it on the forum and @Dan reported it on DDMS (with some exaggeration... ;).
The hotel set the time one hour ahead of Male so the guests can enjoy one more hour of light during the day. When you're on an isolated island, it doesn't really matter what time it is...

During the day they prepared our bed for the 'special occasion'...

Although we were a bit upset on Sunday night that it took time to get our room, when we woke up Monday morning we were just thrilled to be there. This was the highlight of our trip and we waited so long for it. The villa was so perfect and everything smelt like a million $$. We were also glad that we booked that night although we were so tired. (truth is that I didn't sleep much during our 72 hours stay, I was in intensive adrenaline, I really felt like a dream ;D).

The first thing I wanted to do that morning (after a good Espresso and davening) was to go in the water, I brought with me a special guest...




And of course the huge swimming pool too:


Before going to breakfast, my daughter decided to drop her shoe to the water... Thanks to the huge skimmer net, found in one of the closet outside, we got it back.


Breakfast table:

The breakfast is served at the Tasting table, after the 500's Villas, (pretty much the opposite side of the island from our Villa).

After Breakfast, we went to the water sport (next to the 300's) to book the JetSki for the next day and we also took a paddleboat in the lagoon.


Right next to the water sport there's the kids' club. They get usually between 15 to 30 kids at a time but when we were there there was only the chef's daughter playing with her nanny. They have an indoor and outdoor space. The outdoor space is full of water games with slides and kids can have lots of fun there. Kids older than 4 can be left there at any time during the day for free. Younger than 4, parents can be with them or there's a babysitting option of $25++ /H. The babysitting fee is the same if it's in the Villa (We used this service too) or if it is in the kid's club. The staff in the kids club are from different countries, they all speak perfect English and are sooo nice! (Like all the staff actually, but even nicer, and very professional).




Early afternoon, after the baby had her nap we were seating at the main beach area of the hotel and then I got the so-much-waited email from Expert Flyer notifying me that there's available seats on the (long) last leg of our trip. We booked with AC but at the time of booking there was only 1 seat on Eva Air for J. I took the risk to book it hoping that they will open up award space. I was tracking the space availability and saw that there were many vacant seats on J 6 days out so I knew they will open up. When I got the email, it was the last drop to make this trip perfect. I waited for 7 AM EST and called AC to move that leg to J. (Other guests looking at me were probably raising an eyebrow why I jumped out of my lounger looking at my phone with so much Chayus...)

Main pool area:






I went snorkeling a few times next to the Villa, there are fish there, it's not rocky and very accessible. Since I went to 2 snorkeling next to the Dive center with a guide and a special camera, the next 2 days, I'll share these pictures on the next installments.

For sunset, we went to Amber (next to the Spa, on the west side). It was so calm and peaceful, no one was there.






Offline tavster

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2020, 01:03:48 PM »

DDFrs too, more of that later
@israshot is there a last installment coming??  ;)

Online israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #63 on: June 01, 2020, 01:22:40 PM »
@israshot is there a last installment coming??  ;)
Sure! When I'll have some time for it...

Offline Dan

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #64 on: June 28, 2020, 01:26:12 AM »
Sure! When I'll have some time for it...
Bump, just catching up now.
What an incredible TR this is!!!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Dan

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #65 on: July 14, 2020, 11:54:28 PM »
Bump :)
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Offline tavster

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Online israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #68 on: July 15, 2020, 01:33:00 PM »
Ok guys you won. I'm very busy during the summer/country season but I'll find the time hopefully.