Day 6: Maldives
We started the morning with a pretty fantastic breakfast at our budget overnight hotel.
At around 9:30am, we met in the lobby with a few other passengers and were driven to the Malé Seaplane terminal. Most of the resorts in the Maldives are on their own islands and require a seaplane flight to get there. Therefore, the seaplane terminal was even busier than the international airport. After arriving, a staff member from Conrad greeted us and handled all the ticketing. Afterwards, they escorted us to the Conrad Lounge above the terminal. Many of the resorts operate their own lounge here while guests wait for their seaplane. The schedules and routes are set on the day-of, depending on the number of guests flying to the resorts. We were on the 11am flight to Conrad, so we had a little bit of time to chill in the lounge.
The seating in the lounge was very comfortable - with wide white leather arm chairs and even some day beds. The food spread was pretty minimal however, as it’s more designed as a short term waiting area.
Soon after, our flight was ready and we boarded our first seaplane ever!
The seaplane was pretty tight and laid out in a 1-2 configuration. We sat in the second row and we could see into the cockpit. The pilots were very funny and relaxed, while all the passengers were in a good mood and ready to start their dream vacation. Flying over the Maldives was very beautiful as you can see the stunning azure sea, dotted with coral reefs, islands, and resorts.
The flight took about 30mins and a team of Conrad staff was waiting to greet us at the dock.
Each guest was assigned a host for their stay whom greeted us by name and handled all our check-in details. They also gave us some refreshing raspberry sorbet and brought us to the air-conditioned waiting lounge.
After a little while, our host, Jessica, told us that our room wasn’t ready yet and brought us to the lobby. It was getting pretty warm there so she then moved us to the business center with A/C and gave us an iPad with the menu for the restaurants at the resort. She recommended that we make reservations for lunch and dinner, so we went through the options. The menu was made with iBooks and if you click on an item it shows the picture which was very handy. All of the options looked great, but the Cantonese restaurant Uufa caught our eye. We tried to avoid looking at the prices.
At around 1pm, Jessica came back with our room keys and called a buggy (golf cart) to drive us to our villa. Conrad Maldives has two main islands for guests - the main island with the lobby and beach villas, and the smaller island for water villas. For the first two nights of our four night stay, we stayed in a water villa. For the last two nights, we would move to a beach villa. I have been in constant communication with Conrad Maldives in the weeks and months leading up to this stay. I booked this stay using a combination of a free weekend night certificate and 275000 Hilton Honors points. I then paid a small fee to upgrade to our final rooms.
We were ultimately upgraded to the Deluxe Water Villa, which is one category higher than the one I paid for. These are amongst the best on the island, with only 6 of them at the resort and each one spaced pretty far apart. They typically go for $1500+ USD per night (there is also a 23% tax and service charge on top of everything), so I was very happy to have only paid $60 for this upgrade.
As we walked along the water, we saw a baby shark swim by!
The room itself was stunning, at over 1200sqft, with a beautifully decorated king bed, a massive bathroom, and an amazing deck, complete with a private jacuzzi and stairs to the ocean.
They even had complementary fruits, chocolates, and champagne on the coffee table.
As incredible as this was and how distant we felt from the real world in that moment, we were still in the real world. The truth was, the coronavirus outbreak in Italy had grown to be extremely severe and this was now a pandemic. The rapid spread of the virus made it clear that we would not be able to continue with the European leg of this trip. Our original plan to was fly to Abu Dhabi in four days, then fly out of Dubai a week later to Prague via Istanbul. Instead of going to Prague, I booked a new ticket from Istanbul back home to Vancouver. I was prepared to make this decision before the trip began so I did all this very quickly and we carried on with our day.
By now it was around 2pm and Jessica came by to see how we were doing. We asked about going to Uufa for lunch, but she said it was actually closed today. Each restaurant closes one day of the week. It was also getting a bit late for lunch so we decided to just book dinner at Mandahoo and book dinner at Uufa the next day. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in our stunning villa. We ate our snacks from Singapore and then swam in the ocean. There were small crabs clinging on to the stairs. The water was amazing and the area around the villa was quite shallow. In fact, in low tide you can even walk on it. Afterwards, we relaxed in the jacuzzi - a pretty great start to our Maldivian vacation.
At around 7pm, we called a buggy to drive us to Mandahoo which they call a “Spa Restaurant”. It was located on the northern tip of the main island at the overwater spa. The restaurant was themed around wellness and divided the menu in elements (fire, water, earth, air, etc). There was a pretty large selection of mostly western dishes, but with some unique takes. We were seated right on the water, overlooking a beautiful sunset.
Service started with some bread paired with two dips. The purple one was made with truffles and the red one was a type of salsa. That truffle dip was phenomenal - I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed free bread as much as the one here. My fiancée really like the red dip. Unfortunately, that Voss water costed around $20. Next, we had a palate cleanser which was a healthy celery shot. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
For the main course, I had a nori-wrapped filet mignon topped with sautéed shiitake mushrooms. This was an interesting use of eastern ingredients in a traditional western dish. It worked really well - the flavors were great and the beef was cooked perfected.
My fiancée had a sea bass grilled on the plancha with some mashed potatoes. It was also pretty good.
This was a great meal with a very romantic atmosphere as we watched the sun set in the Maldives. We even saw a manta ray swim by as we were eating. In the distance we could see the Muraka, the flagship 2 bedroom underwater suite at the resort (for $10000+/night).
After dinner, it was getting dark so we went back to the villa and called it a day. Good night from paradise.