Author Topic: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip  (Read 10881 times)

Offline E-MAN

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2016, 05:28:19 PM »
Wow! Can't wait for the rest. Thanks for such an enjoyable read.

Online BarryLincoln

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2016, 06:40:42 PM »
Wow! Can't wait for the rest. Thanks for such an enjoyable read.
No problem... look forward to completing it soon...

Offline moisheyb

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2016, 03:42:10 AM »
Wow epic sounding so far

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2016, 12:21:22 AM »
Great stuff. Love these reports that make reminiscing so fun.

Glad it worked out for you.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Denverite

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2016, 09:57:32 PM »
No problem... look forward to completing it soon...

Any Koach to give us another installment?  :P

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2016, 11:43:46 PM »
Part V

Our seaplane took off around 2:00pm or so...



... and arrived at the Conrad at about 3:30pm.  While the flight was only 30 minutes, Conrad operates on "island time" which is an hour later than Male.  The landing was awesome.



Took about 2 minutes to taxi to the seaplane platform where we were greeted by Conrad's host, hostesses and some general staff.  We noticed that our luggage was already waiting for us upon arrival - they must have sent it in advance on an earlier seaplane.  We were quickly escorted into an air conditioned room near the jetty where we were offered ices, cold water, and cold towels - super refreshing after the hot seaplane ride.

Our hostess, Stephanie, walked us over to the main reception area where she checked us in.  She advised us that we were confirmed for a Beach Villa and noted our request for an upgrade.  She said the resort was operating at capacity (~300 ppl) but she would keep an eye out for any cancellations and/or openings.  She also introduced us to one of the chefs at the resort who took our Pom meals and food schedule.  He committed to defrosting the meals in advance, heating them up and serving them to us at our venue of choice (at no additional cost).  He felt really bad that we couldn't enjoy any of their restaurants or fresh foods.  We asked him about the procuring a new skillet, spatula, cutting knife, cutting board, silverware and plates, all of which he indicated were not a problem and he would have them ready for us the next morning.  Stephanie then showed us to our room - one of the newly renovated beach villas.



Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

We were no more than 15 feet from the beach.

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Hot water kettle, fully stocked nespresso machine along with several bottles of water (that would be restocked 2 or 3 times daily).

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Outdoor bathtub.

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Outdoor shower.

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Indoor double sink vanity.

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Lots of closet space.

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Big room...

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Sitting area.

Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Beach Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

After relaxing for a bit in our villa, we started hearing screaming and crying kids, from what seemed like both of our neighbors (on either side).  It was a bit annoying but we figured that we'd deal with it and they'd quiet down.  At about 5pm or so, we decided to stroll over to the Vilu restaurant where Diamond and Gold HHonors guests were invited for some drinks.  As a HHonors Diamond (thank you status match), we visiting Vilu each night to enjoy some drinks and good company.  We ended up meeting eli5757 at the Happy Hour and had what was probably the first DO in the Maldives (it sounds like there may be a few in the coming year at the St. Regis...)

At Vilu, we bumped into the Conrad's general manager, Lyle Lewis.  Lyle is a really nice guy from Australia (I think) who came out of retirement to run the Conrad Rangali.  He's been there for two years.  We mentioned to him in passing that our villa was sandwiched between two families with loud kids.  He took an immediate interest and made a few calls.  While he couldn't do anything for us that evening, he did say we would be switched out to a new villa the next day.  In exchange for having to dealing with our situation that evening, he said we could have dinner at Vilu or Mandhoo on him.  That wasn't going to do us much good, or so we thought... more on that later.


Conrad Footbridge (Seaplane platform in the distance)
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Sunset
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Rasheed from in-room dining brought our dinner to the room at about 8pm, just after this beautiful sunset.

We went to breakfast at the Atoll restaurant Friday morning bringing with us some pastries, rugulach and small tetrapak of shelf-stable milk for coffee.  I took a walk around the breakfast buffet and saw some pretty impressive shehechiyanu-type fruits (dragonfruit, starfuit and prickly fruit with black seeds) along with some other basic fruits.  They also carried cereals from what appeared to be Australia along with Chobani yogurts.  We had the Autralian kosher app on our phones and were able to check some of the foods.  The cereals appeared to be kosher (but wasn't totally sure) and the Chobani's were definitely fine.  Our chef eventually came out and inquired if we wanted omelettes for breakfast and we agreed to try it out.  He then brought out the skillet and other utensils (which he proudly took out of their respective new boxes and plastics) along with his cutting board and proceeded to dice some vegetables for us in one of the adjacent outdoor kitchens.  I cracked the eggs and inspected them.  We provided him with olive oil spray which we brought with us, and then he mysteriously asked me if I wanted to light the flame, which I of course obliged.  And then we had fresh eggs for breakfast that morning and every subsequent morning (except for Shabbos of course).  We even brought our own cheese for the omelettes.  The chef (and staff) knew much more about kashrus than we expected.  After some discussions with the GM several days later, we learned that the kitchen staff had met before our arrival to discuss our needs.  He also said that they've been seeing more and more kosher guests and were becoming accustomed to everyone's needs.  [I debated including this level of detail on the food situation out of fear that it could somehow be abused and cause a chillul Hashem.  Am hoping that it won't be ruined for future guests.  If people feel otherwise, I'd be happy to modify/remove this paragraph.]

That said, we spent most of Friday relaxing on the beach, strolling the resort and taking in all the sights and sounds the place had to offer.


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Exploring the island further, we heard some strange sounds coming from a loudspeaker.  We eventually came to the source of these sounds...  There was no minyan there...  We eventually found out that the Mosque was primarily used by Conrad's employees of the Muslim faith.


Conrad Rangali: Mosque
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Bad shot of the Quiet Zone infinity pool...


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Vilu

Conrad Rangali
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

More on our Premier Water Villa upgrade, snorkeling pics etc. to come...

Online tageed-lee

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2016, 12:21:23 AM »
Amazing installment!!

Offline Denverite

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2016, 01:54:53 AM »
Amazing installment!!

+1 and Wow, wow, wow!  I still can't believe you scored an upgrade to a Premier Villa!  That fact that they were so prepared to help you have kosher food, knew you needed to light the flame and offered to do so is also truly amazing. We're leaving in a little over a week and I promise to try to be extra grateful to them for all their efforts to provide kosher food for us so they'll keep doing it!

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2016, 01:59:02 AM »

Offline moisheyb

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2016, 09:12:19 AM »
Ha they really are an amazing staff! Just left the hotel now and thanks for the shop rite ou cooking spray!

Online BarryLincoln

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2016, 10:16:45 AM »
Ha they really are an amazing staff! Just left the hotel now and thanks for the shop rite ou cooking spray!
You're welcome!!

Offline moisheyb

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Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2016, 10:18:33 AM »
You're welcome!!


I'm sure it'll last awhile , but they really knew exactly what to do and offered us everything that was available to them to the best that they could.

On to Venice now....

Offline ual902

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #42 on: August 25, 2016, 11:10:59 AM »
WOW nice trip report thanks for sharing, loved how everyone sounds so happy upon landing @ the conrad.

Online BarryLincoln

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2016, 12:34:38 PM »
Part VI

(As you can probably tell, I really want to finish this TR because I know that once Labor Day rolls around, there's probably zero change I finish it... so here goes the next installment...)

A few interesting points that I think are relevant.  We were told upon arrival and continuously during our stay that the resort was operating at capacity (~300).  Combined with 600+ staff, that could make for a very chaotic and busy stay.  That couldn't have been farther from the truth.  Given the size of the island, you barely see anyone - certainly nowhere near the 300 people they claimed were there.  As someone mentioned above, guests were primarily Asian, European and Russian - very few, if any other North Americas.

We learned that the Asians generally don't go outside during the day.  They don't like the sun and if they are outside during the day, are typically covered up from head-to-toe.  The reason they don't like the sun is that being tanned/dark-skinned is a sign of poverty in certain cultures in Asia (because poor people work outdoors during the day).  So during the day, you won't really bump into Asians.  They start appearing late afternoon-ish. 

That said, we spent Sunday lounging around, my wife got a massage which was somewhat reasonably priced (we found a $25 GC in our mailbox one day, which brought the cost down even further).  My wife also able to get a facial included as well (based on the initial offer we were provided with at the Conrad lounge at MLE).  I borrowed snorkeling equipment from the Dive Center and a life jacket from the water sports area and spent some time snorkeling - best time to go snorkeling was 10am - 12pm or so during low tide - water is clearest then.  The fish were incredible - tough to find any videos or photos that truly do them justice.  Some of the most colorful and unique fish out there.  Brought along a GoPro camera which worked like charm, although I was somewhat disappointed with the quality of the underwater images...


Snorkeling near the Conrad house reef
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Snorkeling near the Conrad house reef
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Snorkeling near the Conrad house reef
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Snorkeling near the Conrad house reef
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


More snorkeling pics
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


More snorkeling pics
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


More snorkeling pics
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


More snorkeling pics
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


More snorkeling pics
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


More snorkeling pics
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Baby Shark
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Baby Sharks
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

There were also tons of baby sharks although I did not see any while snorkeling, nor did I see any manta rays.  One of the lifeguards (Abdullah) sent me this video from a few weeks back when they fed the sharks and manta rays - incredible video.  He mentioned that at about 1:30pm every afternoon (except for Monday I think) - they feed the sharks and rays out of the Mandhoo restaurant.



One of the other unique things we saw were bats.  Very unusual to see them during the day but they would fly between the two resort islands every so often.  We did manage to catch a picture of one a palm tree near us.


Bats
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Bats
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Bats
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

At about 8pm on Sunday, we got a call from our island hostess advising us that there was a cancellation for one of the OWV and that we should pack our bags to have them ready for a porter for pickup.  She said we would be super-happy as she was going to put us into one of their nicest OWV - wasn't totally sure what to expect but knew that it was going to be awesome.  Took us about 20 minutes to pack-up.  She picked us up in one of the resorts buggies to take the (long) trip to the other island to our new accommodations.  We motored through the reception area, over the long footrbridge, passed the Quite Zone infinity pool and Vilu restaurant towards the Sunset Villas... but at the very end she made a quick turn to Villa 314 - and we arrived at our home for the next two nights - a Premier Water Villa!  She did a great job showing us around.  I thanked her profusely considering we did not pay for the upgrade and quickly snapped some photos that I hope you will enjoy!! (sorry there are so many...)

Walkway...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Huge bedroom...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Huge bathroom with multi-person jacuzzi, rainshower, separate bathroom and double vanity sink...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Huge closet...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Hot water, coffee and water bar...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Outdoor infinity pool...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

20160802_095951 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

20160802_120843 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

20160802_120946 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr
Daybed...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

20160802_100004 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Sitting area...

Conrad Rangali Premier Water Villa
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

20160802_100000 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Steps to snorkel at the foot of your villa in the Indian ocean...
20160802_100029 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

20160802_100210 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

More to come on our last day at the Conrad and our trip home on EY-F...


Offline mgoldhammer18

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2016, 12:52:36 PM »
WOW!