Hotel review: Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (Maldives)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel or flight review.

Last month, I enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in the incredibly beautiful Maldives. You can read my trip reports here:


Today (March 15, 2017): Review ofJumeirah Dhevanafushi (Maldives).

Nestled at the south end of the Maldives in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi was created for life’s tranquil pleasures. Stretched across two islands, this ultraluxe and enchanting hideaway offers everything you need to get away from it all. Lush foliage, crystal blue waters and stretches of white sandy beach create a sanctuary. It is no exaggeration to call this paradise. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi houses 21 island villas, each with its own private beach and pool. Over the water, you’ll find another 16 ocean villas with steps directly down to the deep and outdoor marble baths looking out the horizon. Here, guests can delight their senses with the sumptuous menus of the resort’s three restaurants.

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip and slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • My review of other luxury resorts in the Maldives
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Jumeirah Dhevanafushi enjoys one of the world’s most remote locations, on the heart-shaped Meradhoo island which is set in the extraordinary beauty of the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, 400 km (250 mi) south from the capital Male and just 70 km (43 mi) north of the Equator. Getting there requires a 55-minute domestic flight to Kaadedhdhoo Airport followed by a 20-minute speedboat ride, but once you arrive, you will be overwhelmed by a secluded world of breathtaking luxury. The resort takes care of the booking of your domestic plane tickets, so there’s nothing you have nothing to worry about regarding the transfer.
  • The journey to Kaadedhdhoo itself is an phenomenal sightseeing adventure, offering a bird’s-eye view of the Maldavian archipelago. The flights are operated by Maldivian, the national airlines of the Maldives, and depart from the domestic terminal at Male airport, which is located adjacent to the international terminal. Maldivian mostly uses smaller Bombardier Dash turboprop aircraft on the Kaadedhdhoo flight, which seat around 30 to 50 people (depending on the plane type) and fly higher than the more famous Maldivian waterplanes. Although I am scared of flying, it was nothing too bad and an easy hop.
  • Because getting to Jumeirah Dhevanafushi requires a domestic flight, your Jumeirah experience will always start from the moment you arrive at Male International Airport. Jumeirah’s meet & assist representatives will welcome you in person after the luggage collection at the exit of arrivals terminal, assist you with the check-in process for the domestic flight, and escort you to a comfortable waiting lounge at Male International Airport. The waiting time at the airport for the connecting domestic flight to Kaadedhdhoo is never longer than 3 hours (in my case, it was less than 30 minutes).
  • Jumeirah Dhevanafushi offers an unrivaled castaway experience and some of the most remote luxury that can be found on planet earth – perfect for anyone who really wants to ‘get away from it all’. The resort is just about as close to the Equator as you can get, and there isn’t another island in sight (except for one, recently opened resort at a comfortable distance from Jumeirah Dhevanafushi’s shores). The only things you hear on the beach are the palm trees swaying in the wind and the warm Indian Ocean waters lapping the white sands, which is a huge advantage compared to the hotels located closer to Male, where you are occasionally disturbed by passing boats and overflying planes.
  • The welcome ritual at the resort is one of the most impressive I ever experienced at a hotel. A large number of Jumeirah staff members – stylishly dressed in white uniforms – is waiting at the welcome pavilion on the arrival jetty and once your speedboat approaches the resort, they welcome you with the sounds of Bodu Beru – traditional Maldivian drums and singing. After introducing themselves and shaking your hands, the staff will offer you a refreshingly cold towel, a coconut drink and a fruit skewer. They do that for every arrival, day and night.
  • It took three years to go from the initial drawing boards to the opening of the resort in spring 2011. The design of the resort was done by Bangkok-based Blink Design Group and inspired by Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, one of the most important and influential Asian architects of the twentieth century. The minimalist decor, with its subtile black and white color theme, is omnipresent in both rooms and the communal areas, and is a stylish alternative for the usual opulent decor that Jumeirah resorts around the world are known for. It reflects a sense of tranquility, boutique escape luxury, private island spirit, haute couture, and a glamorous but discrete ambience.
  • The vision of the designers was to create an exclusive ‘two-resort island’. As such, one part of the resort is located on the tropical island itself, while another part is laid out for the most discerning luxury traveler on a overwater village, a mere 800 meters (0,5 mi) from the main island, suspended on platforms above the most iridescent sea in the world. A traditional Dhoni boat connects the main island with the overwater village every 20 minutes (the ride itself takes around 5 minutes). Both resorts feature somewhat similar communal areas (e.g. restaurant, library and infinity pool) that are accessible to all guests. Chances are you won’t spend much time here anyway since it will be very hard to drag you away from the luxury of your villa. While the main island only offers beach villas (21 in total, all having their own stretch of sand), it are the 16 overwater sanctuaries at the overwater village that are the resort’s most luxurious accommodations.
  • During my holiday, I stayed in so-called Beach Revive Villa (villa number 9) on the main island. Although this villa type is the lowest room category at the resort, it’s still a stunning accommodation. The spacious master bedroom featured honey coloured timber flooring, a soaring ceiling and a cozy lounge area in the corner, where some snacks and a fruit bowl were on display when I arrived in the room. Adjacent to the master bedroom was a separate study room, which can be transformed into a second bedroom in case you are traveling with children. The study room connected to the palatial bathroom which ranks among the largest hotel bathrooms I have ever seen in my life: it featured a walk-in shower, a walk-in wardrobe, an outdoor rain shower, and an enormous deep soaking bath tub (more of an indoor marble plunge pool), and came with luxurious Aromatherpay Assiociates bathroom amenities. The villa was surrounded by a delightfully private and shaded garden with a generously sized infinity pool and offered direct access to a private stretch of beach on the island’s north-west side.
  • Jumeirah’s Dhevanafushi’s small and triangularly shaped island is entirely surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and a luminous cyan-blue lagoon. However, the quality of the beach differs a bit from side to side. The east side and west side of the island feature a magnificent beach, with whiter-than-white, talcum powder sand granules, with the west side being my favorite because it comes with stunning views of  the dazzling Maldivian sunset. The beach on the island’s north side is more rocky and features some groynes made of sandbags to somewhat reduce the force of the waves and prevent erosion of the idyllic beaches that surround the island.
  • The Maldives stand head and shoulders above any other destination on earth when it comes to diving and snorkeling. And with one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi should be on the bucket list of everyone with an interest in marine life. The richness and variety of the underwater world that surround the resorts is astonishing: schools of vibrantly coloured reef fish await you the moment you enter warm crystal clear waters of the lagoon around Meradhoo island. Past the drop-off into the deep blue ocean, you may encounter manta rays, turtles, sharks and even the world’s largest fish, the whale shark.
  • The overwater Talise spa is located near the arrival jetty and includes 3 private overwater treatment rooms and one VIP room, with steam and sauna facilities incorporated in the treatment rooms. The range of individual treatments makes use of traditional and alternative therapies, with skilled masseurs creating absolute harmony. The spa specialises in treatment rooms for couples and also include a yoga platform over water and a viewing jetty to sit and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets.
  • Jumeirah Dhevanafushi has a large range of leisure facilities to keep you entertained for the duration of your stay. In addition to the private pools accompanying each villa, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi also offers two shared infinity pools, one on the main island and one at the overwater village. The main island also features an amazing fully equipped overwater gym, a Yoga Pavilion and an extensive selection of land and water sports activities, such as fishing, diving, snorkelling, sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking and a PADI 5-star dive centre.
  • The resort has three restaurants and one bar, offering a variety of culinary options. Azara – the opensided, main island restaurant – is located beachfront and offers a combination of lavish buffets and a la carte dining with international, mainly Mediterranean inspired dishes. It’s also the scene of breakfast each morning. Mumayaz is a casual beach grill, which opens a few nights each weeks and offers a choice of the freshest appetizers, seafood and grill specialties. Johara is the fine dining venue of the overwater village and specializes in contemporary pan asian specialities. Khibar is located adjacent to the Azar restaurant on the main island and offers an extensive cocktail menu, including home-infused vodkas and signature martinis; it’s also the scene of the weekly general manager’s reception, a complimentary cocktail reception for all guests.
  • An experience not to be missed is the ‘dine by design’ sand table dinner. The hotel staff literally digs you a table out of the white sand and serves you a tantalizing barbeque feast.
  • Pre-arrival communication with the resort is excellent: all my emails were answered within 24 hours (which is a blessing when you want to create your own itinerary).
  • The resort is managed by Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, which is regarded as one of the most luxurious and innovative hotel brands in the world. The company was founded in 1997 with the aim to become a hospitality industry leader through establishing a world-class portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts. The most famous hotel in the brand’s portfolio is the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi is hands down one of the best and most exclusive resorts in the Maldives. I tremendously enjoyed my stay here and highly recommend this ultraluxe hideaway. Nevertheless, it’s not 100% perfect, and you should know the following when you consider a holiday here:

  • As mentioned above, the island is completely surrounded by a white sand beach, but the quality of the beach differs from side to side. The east side features a lovely stretch of beach, although a few villas here – those located close to the arrival jetty – look out on the overwater spa (nothing too bad though). The beach on the north side of the island is rocky, and features several groynes made with sandbags to prevent beach erosion as well as a service jetty (this side is thus best avoided). The good news is that the west side of the island has a stunning stretch of beach with uninterrupted views of the ocean, so make sure that you book or request a villa here in case you prefer a beach accommodation over a watervilla. Also keep in mind that the resort does not have a beach club (except for a few loungers on the sunrise side of the island), so the time you will spend on the beach will be on the private beach chairs in front of your villa (except for the occasional strolls around the island).
  • Jumeirah Dhevanafushi is set in a remote location in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, and getting there includes a 55-minute domestic flight and 20 minute speedboat transfer from Male Airport. This actually adds to the character of the resort as it is truly a peaceful island escape, away from city light and noise pollution. However, it also implies that you may have to wait a few hours in the lounge at Male airport for your connecting flight, although the waiting time never exceeds 3 hours. So you have to take into consideration that the transfer to Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (including waiting time) may take a large chunk of your holiday time on the day of your arrival and departure. While this is ok if you will spend a holiday of five days or more in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll (which is also home to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa Hotel), it makes the resort not so ideal for a shorter trip. And although the transfer is not always convenient, I promise you that it is worth the journey since Jumeirah Dhevanafushi offers some of the most remote luxury to be found on earth.
  • While food was excellent and of very high quality, I was not completely blown away by the taste nor the presentation of some of the dishes I was served. IMHO, the a la carte dining falls just short of a 5 star gastromic experience and does not completely match the idyllic restaurant settings, the lavish and excellent theme buffets, and the resort’s sky-high reputation as being one of the most exclusive hotels in the Maldives. Part of that may be explained by the fact that Jumeirah Dhevanafushi is very popular with Chinese guests, and as such the cuisine is very much focused on Asian clients and their tastes. However, ‘de gustibus non est disputandum’ since tastes and culinary preferences differ from person to person.
  • The one (and only) thing that truly disappointed me on the food and beverage level was the mediocre breakfast buffet. While still excellent to international standards, it was a rather limited spread when compared to the lavish breakfast buffets to be found at the Maldives’ other five- and six star top resorts. Although the buffet was complemented with an a la carte menu, I did miss some salmon, a variety of fruits, freshly squeezed juices and high quality cheeses on the buffet (to name a few). Perhaps the resort should consider a cold room to offer a more substantial breakfast buffet. I also noticed that some days the buffet featured hot Asian dishes while they were not offered on other days (not sure why).
  • Jumeirah Dhevanafushi offers some of the most grandiose overwater villas in the Maldives, all of them coming with their own infinity pool, and I highly recommend to stay in one. In fact, the resort’s overwater village – built at some distance from the main island’s shore – is a unique concept in the Indian Ocean archipelago as it also features its own restaurant, lobby and infinity pool. Although getting to the main island (and its beaches) is not much of a deal with the 5 minute, complimentary Dhoni boat ride, you have to take into consideration that it may include some waiting time (max 20 minutes) since only one boat is running a more or less scheduled shuttle service between the island and the overwater complex. As such, an impulsive beach stroll may require some advanced planning, unless you don’t mind swimming from your overwater villa to the island (which can be done) while observing the spectacular underwater underneath.
  • It’s only a minor detail, but from time to time I noticed a smell of gasoline on the island’s interior along the walking path to the island’s beach villas (although you won’t spend much time here anyway).
  • High-speed WiFi is complimentary throughout the resort. But unfortunately, there’s no internet connection on the beach that surrounds the Island Revive villas. As such, I did miss it to surf the internet on my tablet while lounge on my beach chair (although won’t be much of a problem for most guests).
  • During my stay, the resort was full of (often very loud) Chinese families, which was partly explained by the fact that it was Chinese new year. Apparently, the resort is year-round very popular with guests from mainland China (and for a good reason, since it’s a stunning hotel). The good news is that the resort caters very well for their Chinese guests with Chinese speaking staff as well as information and menus being written in Chinese. The not so good news is that the “omnipresence of China” on the island seemed to be a little out of balance for the non-Chinese guests (like myself). I heard though that the resort is looking to increase its market share in countries like the UK, Germany and USA.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Resort grounds (beach): 8/10
  • Rooms (villas): 10/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Breakfast: 8/10
  • Spa: 10/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS  &  SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: receive free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in , late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, $100 USD spa credit, and complimentary WiFi).
  • Save money: Elite members of Jumeirah’s loyalty program (Jumeirah Sirius) are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and savings on dining and spa facilities. Click here to read my review of the Jumeirah Sirius program (with pros & cons).
  • Save money: Pre-book your spa treatments before your arrival and you will receive a 20% discount on all treatments.
  • Make sure you book at least a five-day stay at the hotel, since you will lose a few hours on the day of arrival and departure with the transfers. When the prospect of staying for one week (or more) on the same, small island is not to your liking, you should consider combining your Jumeirah Dhevanafushi holiday with a stay at the Park Hyat Hadahaa resort (located within the same atoll, a 45-minute boat ride away) and/or a stay at Jumeirah’s sister hotel, Jumeirah Vittaveli, which is located in the South Male Atoll, a 20 minute speedboat ride away from the airport.
  • If you opt for a beach villa, I would recommend to book or request a beach villa on the west side (sunset side) of the island, which has the most beautiful stretch of beach. Try to avoid the north side of the island, where the beach isn’t very good.
  •  If you opt for a overwater villa, I would recommend to book or request a villa on the west side (sunset side), since the villas on the sunrise side – especially the villas close to the jetty – may suffer from the noise of the shuttle boat and also lack some privacy (guests in the shuttle boat can look straight into the terraces of those villas).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

MY REVIEWS OF OTHER LUXURY HOTELS IN THE MALDIVES

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best weather in the Maldives is between January and April, which also means high season (with low availability and very expensive room rates). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, eat, work out or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled in recent years.

WEATHER MAP MALDIVES


HOW TO GET THERE

Getting to Jumeirah Dhevanafushi requires a 55-minute domestic flight from Male International Airport (MLE) to Kaadedhdhoo Airport followed by a 20-minute speedboat ride. Check the Wikipedia page of Male International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer flights to Male International Airport:

  • From/via Asia: Bangkok Airways (via Bangkok), Tigerair (via Singapore), Singapore Airlines (via Singapore), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Air India (via Bangalore, Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram), China Eastern Airlines (via Colombo, Kunmnig), Cina Southern Airlines (via Guanghzou), Hainan Airlines (via Bejing), Korean Air (via Colombo and Seoul), Shanghai Airlines (via Shanghai), Srilankan Airlines (via Colombo), Maldivian (Chennai, Chongqing, Colombo, Dhaka, Thiruvanathapuram), Mega Maldives (via Bejing, Hong Kong, Shanghai).
  • From/via Middle East: Emirates (via Dubai), Flybudai (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Etihad Airways (via Abu Dhabi), Oman Air (via Muscat), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul).
  • From/via Europe: Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), British Airways (via London), Thompson Airways (via London), Monarch Airlines (via London), Condor (via Frankfurt), Edelweiss Air (via Zurich), Meridiana (via Rome or Milan), Neos (via Rome or Milan), Transaero Airlines (via Moscow), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Air France (via Paris).

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

TRANSFER TO THE RESORT (PLANE + SPEEDBOAT)

ARRIVAL AT THE RESORT’S JETTY

ARRIVAL AT THE RESORT’S JETTY

ARRIVAL AT THE RESORT’S JETTY

ARRIVAL AT THE RESORT’S JETTY

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION

MAIN ISLAND: ARRIVAL PAVILION (VIEW ON ISLAND)

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: KHIBAR

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: LOBBY

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: AZARA RESTAURANT (BEACH)

MAIN ISLAND: BOUTIQUE SHOP

MAIN ISLAND: BOUTIQUE SHOP

MAIN ISLAND: BOUTIQUE SHOP

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: INFINITY POOL

MAIN ISLAND: LUSH INTERIOR

MAIN ISLAND: LUSH INTERIOR

MAIN ISLAND: LUSH INTERIOR

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: ENTRANCE

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: ENTRANCE

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM (MINIBAR)

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM (MINIBAR)

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: STUDY ROOM (MINIBAR)

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: BATHROOM

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE GARDEN

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH REVIVE VILLA: PRIVATE BEACH

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S EAST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S NORTH SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BEACH ON THE ISLAND’S WEST SIDE

BOAT TRANSFER TO OVERWATER VILLAGE

BOAT TRANSFER TO OVERWATER VILLAGE

BOAT TRANSFER TO OVERWATER VILLAGE

BOAT TRANSFER TO OVERWATER VILLAGE

BOAT TRANSFER TO OVERWATER VILLAGE

BOAT TRANSFER TO OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE

OVERWATER VILLAGE: JOHARA RESTAURANT

OVERWATER VILLAGE: JOHARA RESTAURANT

OVERWATER VILLAGE: JOHARA RESTAURANT

OVERWATER VILLAGE: JOHARA RESTAURANT

OVERWATER VILLAGE: LOBBY

OVERWATER VILLAGE: LOBBY

OVERWATER VILLAGE: LOBBY

OVERWATER VILLAGE: LOBBY

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL (VIEW TOWARDS ISLAND)

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL (VIEW TOWARDS ISLAND)

OVERWATER VILLAGE: INFINITY POOL (VIEW TOWARDS ISLAND)

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA (VIEW ON ISLAND)

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: TALISE SPA

MAIN ISLAND: OVERWATER GYM

MAIN ISLAND: OVERWATER GYM

MAIN ISLAND: OVERWATER GYM

MAIN ISLAND: OVERWATER GYM (VIEW)

MAIN ISLAND: WATERSPORTS CENTER

MAIN ISLAND: WATERSPORTS CENTER

MAIN ISLAND: WATERSPORTS CENTER

MAIN ISLAND: WATERSPORTS CENTER (SEA KAYAKING)

MAIN ISLAND: WATERSPORTS CENTER (SEA KAYAKING)

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

RESORT AT SUNSET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

AZARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

AZARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

AZARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

AZARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

AZARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

AZARA RESTAURANT: BUFFET

JOHARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

JOHARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

JOHARA RESTAURANT: DINNER

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

SUNSET CRUISE

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER

“DINE BY DESIGN” SAND TABLE DINNER


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Top 10: most fabulous things to see & do in the Maldives

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (March 13, 2017): Top 10 best things to see & do in the Maldives.

Glamerous overwater resorts, pristine white-sand beaches and a spectacular underwater world make the Maldives the ultimate travel destination for the discerning traveler. The sovereign archipelagic nation – positioned in the Indian Ocean southwest of India – consists of 26 breathtaking atolls boasting rich cultural traditions and natural treasures. All 1192 coral islands and sandbanks (200 inhabited islands, plus 100 islands with tourist resorts) are encircled by incredibly beautiful lagoons blessed with crystal clear waters and protected by reef structures. Every resort in the Maldives is built on its own private, picture-perfect palm island, with all of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands competing with each other to offer their guests even higher levels of unprecedented luxury. I hereby present you 10 reasons why you should put the Maldives on top of your bucket list (if you haven’t done so yet).

There is more information below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Maldivian experience in the comments section, or take my poll below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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10. EXPLORE THE CAPITAL MALE

Male, the capital of the Republic of the Maldives, is located a short hop from Hulhulé Island, home of the international airport. With a population of more than 130,000 people (one-third of the nation’s population) on a small 2,5 sq km or 1 sq mi island, Male is among the most densely populated cities in the world. Although most people only catch a glimpse of the capital’s high-rise buildings while on their way to their resort of choice, Male is well worth a visit, especially at the beginning or end of your holiday when you may have a few hours to kill while waiting for a flight. There are several monuments in Male that reflect a noble past in contrast to the cacophony of modern city life.  Highlights are the relics at the National Museum (located in the former’s Sultan palace), the Old Friday Mosque or Hukuru Miskiiy (dating from the 17th century) and the colors, sounds and odors of the local fish market. Some of the ancient coral stone and timber mosques in Male – with their magnificent carvings and grand design – are currently under consideration by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

EXPLORE THE CAPITAL MALE


9. FLY ON BOARD A SEAPLANE 

For most people, thé iconic image of the Maldives is that of a deep blue ocean interspersed by tiny palm islands surrounded by ridiculously clear lagoons and sugar white beaches. The only way to see that breathtaking view of 50 shades of blue is from the air, and although you will catch a few glimpses of the islands from your plane upon landing or departure at Male airport, the best vantage point for the breathtaking panoramas is offered by the waterplanes that take guests to their resorts. Indeed, while all resorts in the North and South Male Atoll provide speed-boat transfers to/from the airport, the more remote (and often more luxurious) resorts require a seaplane transfer, with a flight duration ranging from 15 minutes to one hour. Most seaplane transfers in the Maldives are operated by Trans Maldivian Airways. Flying on board a seaplane in Maldives and admiring the picture-perfect archipelago from a bird’s eye perspective is one of the ultimate experiences that the destination has to offer.

FLY ON BOARD A SEAPLANE


8. CELEBRATE YOUR HONEYMOON

The Maldives is widely regarded one of the world’s ultimate romantic destinations, and for a good reason. What’s not to like about its iconic sunsets, sugar white beaches, world-class spa facilities, unparalleled snorkeling and diving, Michelin-starred restaurants, endless vistas over clear lagoons, and stunning overwater villas. It’s no wonder honeymooners flock here in droves. Enjoying a fabulous reputation for privacy, the Maldives truly deliver a dream honeymoon, with most resorts providing bath rituals with candles and rose petals and romantic bed decorations at night for newly wed lovers. How much more romantic can it get? With a reputation as one of the world’s most sought after luxury honeymoon destinations, the Maldives is also a popular honeymoon destination for the rich and famous. Katy Perry and Russell Brand and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are just two of the high-profile (former) couples who spent their honeymoons in the Maldives. However, don’t limit these lovely islands to just your honeymoon, though. They’re also perfect for a family holiday or a friend’s getaway.

CELEBRATE YOUR HONEYMOON


7. REJUVENATE AT A TOP SPA

Mind, body and spirit benefit from the serenity of a holiday in the Maldives especially when this is enhanced with relaxing and rejuvenating sessions at a resort’s spa. There are an estimated 110 top quality spas at island resorts plus some spas in Male and even one in the public terminal at Male International Airport, as well as informal ones catering to guests staying on inhabited islands. In the Maldives, a spa has become much more than its conventional meaning of a commercial establishment offering health and beauty treatments. Resort spas not only match the luxurious standard of the resort’s accommodation, they go beyond it in design and location. There are spas built on stilts over a lagoon enjoying panoramas of infinity; spas surrounded by lush tropical vegetation; spas on their own islands; spas on the beach and in temple-like sanctums; spas serenaded by babbling water, and phenomenal underwater spas. Every spa seeks to convey a breath-taking ambience of secure serenity where exotic therapies defy the imagination.

REJUVENATE AT A TOP SPA


6. GO DIVING

It is estimated that nearly half the guests on holiday in the Maldives arrive with the intention of snorkelling or diving or, as soon as they see the crystal clear waters of an island’s lagoon and the colourful fish and corals, can’t resist giving it a try.  Indeed, the breathtaking beauty of the majestic underwater world that surrounds the paradise island is beyond imagination. Deep channels separate the 26 atolls that run from the Haa Alifu Atoll in the North over 800 nautical km (500 mi) to Addu Atoll in the South, and concentrate nutrient rich ocean currents into and out of the atolls. The latter supports an abundance of marine life, making the Maldives one of the world’s premiere scuba diving venues  as well as the single best spot on the globe to dive or snorkel with giant whale sharks, harmless reef sharks and tremendously impressive manta rays. Most resorts feature their own certified dive center, and have access to a diverse range of dive sites suitable for divers of all experience levels; they also run courses to learn the beginner how to dive in the colourful underwater world.

GO DIVING


5. SNORKEL THE HOUSE REEF

If diving sounds too challenging for you, you’ll be happy to know that the Maldives stand head and shoulders above any other destination on earth when it comes to snorkeling. Snorkeling is open to everyone who can swim and doesn’t require a lot of experience. All resorts feature a so-called ‘house reef’ close to their shores, where the shallow lagoon precipitously drops off into the deeper ocean waters. The house reef is that area close to the vertical drop off where the coral begins to aggregate in a kind of coral garden teeming with marine life and colorful fish. The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the reef. Snorkeling in the waters off the Maldivian islands can bring you face to face with everything from surgeon fish, tuna, and parrot fish, to eagle rays, turtles and even hammerhead sharks. Quality of the house reef differs from resort to resort, and the best house reefs are located at Soneva Fushi, Park Hyatt Maldives, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, Anantara Kihavah, Six Senses Laamu, W retreat, and Angsana Ihuru.

SNORKEL THE HOUSE REEF


4. STAY IN AN OVERWATER BUNGALOW

Almost all of the world’s overwater villas are located in French Polynesia (South Pacific Ocean) and Maldives, although there are some alternatives to be found outside these ultimate Bounty Islands. Currently, there are around 8,000 overwater villas in the world, and about two-thirds of them are located in the Maldives. A stay inside a ultraluxe villa nestled over a beautiful stretch of turquoise lagoon is high up the bucket list of most discerning travelers and for a good reason. Indeed, it is hard to top an island getaway experience in a bungalow style room perched above pristine water where a dip in the warm sea waters of the Indian Ocean is literally outside your door. The Maldives’ most exclusive resorts offer palatial overwater residence that will outdo your wildest dreams, with stunning features ranging from outdoor dining gazebos and infinity pools to in-room glass viewing panels and retractable roofs, allowing guests to view schools of fish below or gaze above into the sky.

STAY IN AN OVERWATER BUNGALOW


3. RELAX ON MAGNIFICENT BEACHES

The Maldives is billed as a slice of heaven and one of the world’s greatest beach destinations and it’s hard to find any reason to argue with that. The more than 1000 islands are graced with the whitest sandy beaches and surrounded by the bluest of water. The only things you hear on the beach are the palm tres swaying in the wind and the warm Indian Ocean waters lapping the powder soft sands. If you enjoy spending your lazy days on your own private stretch of white beach while the sun’s golden rays glide across your body, then you should go for a beach villa, with nothing but the azure sea in sight. While all beaches in the Maldives are marvellous, the quality of the beaches does differ from island to island, since – unfortunately – some resorts make use of sandbags, sea walls and coarses sand to preserve the state of their idyllic beaches. IMHO, the following luxury resorts feature the Maldivian’s most pure, white, talcum powder sands, sweeping handsomely round their idyllic islands: Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani, Park Hyatt Hadaaha, Six Senses Laamu, Four Seasons Landa Giravaaru, COMO Cocoa, and Taj Exotica.

RELAX ON MAGNIFICENT BEACHES


2. BOOK AN ULTRALUXE RESORT

The Maldives has become the globe’s ultimate luxury holiday playground for honeymooners, surfers, divers, spa enthusiasts, sunbathers and even the occasional celebrity. Synonymous with unrivaled luxury, the Maldives has the most luxurious hotel resorts anywhere on earth (with the Seychelles a close second), with prices to match its reputation. Those looking to pay top dollar – often more than $5,000 USD per night – for some of the world’s most decadent luxury resort experiences will be spoilt for choice here. Every resort is constructed on its own unpopulated and pristine tropical island, ensuring exclusivity, serenity and total privacy. Guests can choose between villas built on the shore’s  blinding white sand or accommodations perched on stilts above the shimmering blue lagoons. Top-drawer spas, Michelin star dining, unrivaled butler service and impressive wine cellars are the norm. To help you choose the right resort for your upcoming Maldivian hotel, I previously published a list with my 10 preferred resorts in the Maldivian archipelago, each with its own take on the castaway luxury that has made the Maldives famous.

BOOK AN ULTRALUXE RESORT


1. LIVE THE DREAM AT SONEVA JANI

The newest resort of genius Maldivian-based hotelier Sonu Shivdasani, the CEO of Soneva, is so revolutionary that it will blow you off your feet, even those that are return guests to the Maldives. Perhaps the most luxurious (and awaited) resort opening of the last years, Soneva Jani opened its fabulous doors last autumn and it does not fail to impress. It follows Soneva Fushi, which set the standard for Maldivian hideaway luxury 20 years ago, and joins the stable with Thailand’s Soneva Kiri as well as a luxury yacht also in the Maldives. Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on Medhufaru island, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The Maldives’ most exclusive hotel is fringed by pristine beaches, blanketed with lush tropical greenery, and surrounded by a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean. Each one of the 24 water villas has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze.

Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Jani at the time of booking.

LIVE THE DREAM AT SONEVA JANI


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Hyatt’s new loyalty program (World of Hyatt) explained

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel contests, tips, series or news.

Today (March 10, 2017): Travel Series: Hyatt’s new loyalty program (World of Hyatt) explained.

This month, the Hyatt Hotels group replaced its old complimentary loyalty program, Hyatt Gold Passport, by a new one, called ‘World of Hyatt‘. In some ways, the new program is very similar to the old program, as there are no changes to the number of points you earn for stays or the number of points needed to redeem for a free night. But with the new program, some major changes were introduced for reaching elite membership treshold and for the perks that are associated with elite status. With World of Hyatt, members can still earn Hyatt points and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at one of the more than 660 hotels & resorts, across Hyatt’s 12 brands all over the world: Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Hotels, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Zilara & Ziva, Hyatt Residence club, Hyatt Centric, and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

Park Hyatt and Andaz are the luxury hotel brands of the Hyatt Hotels group (and rank among my favorite hotel brands in the world).

In this overview, I explain the World of Hyatt  loyalty program:

  • Membership tiers
  • Earning points
  • Redeeming awards (free travel)
  • Pros & things I like about World of Hyatt
  • Cons & things I don’t like about World of Hyatt
  • My reviews of Hyatt properties around the world
  • Key points
  • Poll: what’s the best hotel loyalty program?

WORLD OF HYATT


WORLD OF HYAYY: MEMBERSHIP TIERS

World of Hyatt is a top class awards structure offering a four-tier elite structure. World of Hyatt membership is the first level, Discoverist is the second, Explorist the third, and Globalist the top-level. Each level has its own benefits, and as the member moves from Discoverist to Explorist then Globalist, they become more valuable.

  • World of Hyatt membership is the base level and will earn you 5 Hyatt points for every eligible U.S. dollar spent at Hyatt’s hotels & resorts.
  • Discoverist membership is reached after completing 10 qualifying stays or spending $5,000 USD on hotel stays (= earning 25,000 Hyatt points) in a calendar year. As a Discoverist, you receive the following benefits:
    • A 10% point bonus.
    • A preferred room including rooms on higher floors or larger rooms, based on availability upon arrival.
    • Complimentary high-speed in-room internet access.
    • Daily complimentary bottle of water.
    • Resort fee waived on free night awards.
    • Priority check-in.
    • Late check out request (until 2:00 p.m) at participating properties.
  • Explorist membership is reached after completing 30 qualifying stays or spending $10,000 USD on hotel stays (= earning 50,000 Hyatt points) in a calendar year. As an Explorist, you receive the following benefits:
    • A 20% point bonus.
    • Upgrade to the best room, based on availability upon arrival (excluding suites).
    • Complimentary high-speed in-room internet access.
    • Daily complimentary bottle of water.
    • Resort fee waived on free night awards.
    • Priority check-in.
    • Late check out request (until 2:00 p.m) at participating properties.
    • 4 Club lounge passes valid on eligible rates or when redeeming points for free night awards.
    • One free night award in a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort (valid for 120 days from issuance).
  • Globalist membership, World of Hyatt’s highest tier, is reached after completing 60 eligible stays or when you spend $20,000 USD on hotel stays (= earn 100,000 Hyatt points) in a calendar year. As a Globalist, you receive the following benefits:
    • A 30% point bonus.
    • Upgrade to the best room available upon arrival, including standard suites.
    • Complimentary high-speed in-room internet access.
    • Daily complimentary bottle of water.
    • Resort fee waived on free night awards and eligible rates.
    • Priority check-in.
    • Late check out request (until 4:00 pm).
    • Exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge (featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres).
    • Daily complimentary full breakfast (in hotels without a club lounge).
    • Four suite upgrade per year (upgrade confirmed at the time of reservation on eligible paid nights).
    • Complimentary parking on free night awards at participating Hyatt hotels.
    • Priority access to available rooms when checking in early.
    • One free night award in a Category Hyatt hotel or resort (valid for 120 days from issuance).
    • Access to My Hyatt Concierge agent for reservations and personalized service.
    • Maintain Globalist status after 55 qualifying nights each subsequent year

WORLD OF HYATT: EARNING POINTS

There are a couple of ways to earn Hyatt points and boost your account.

  • You can earn Hyatt Points when you stay at a hotel of the Hyatt Group. You will earn 5 Hyatt points for every eligible dollar spent at Hyatt whether you’re spending the day at one of Hyatt’s spas, the evening at one of Hyatt’s restaurants, or the night at one of Hyatt’s hotels.
  • World of Hyatt elite members automatically receive a bonus on all the Hyatt points they earn: Discoverists earn a 10% bonus, Explorists a 20% bonus and Globalists a 30% bonus.
  • You can earn Hyatt points when staying at of the MGM Resorts. These include some iconic properties on The Strip in Las Vegas, such as The Bellagio, The Delano, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Aria. As a World of Hyatt member, you also receive a matching status with M life Rewards, the loyalty program for MGM Resorts International.
  • You earn 500 bonus points for each qualifying rental at participating Avis locations worldwide. A Hyatt stay is not required, and you can simply request your Hyatt points at the Avis rental counter.
  • Hyatt points can also be directly purchased (albeit those points don’t count towards elite status). Points can be purchased in increments of 1,000, up to 55,000 points per calendar year.
  • The Hyatt VISA credit card, only available in the USA, is one of the fastest ways to earn Hyatt points. Besides other great benefits (see below), the credit card earns you:
    • 3 points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt properties.
    • 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies.
    • 1 point for every $1 spent anywhere else you use your card.

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WORLD OF HYATT: REDEEMING AWARDS (FREE TRAVEL)
  • You can redeem your Hyatt points for free hotel nights at Hyatt’s portfolio of hotels (no blackout dates). The number of points needed for a free or discounted night will depend upon the category of the hotel (Hyatt hotels come in 7 categories): just 5000 points for a free night at a category 1 hotel (standard room) to 48 000 points at a category 7 hotel (standard room).
  • You can stretch your Hyatt points with “Cash&Points” and book a seriously discounted hotel room using a combination of points and cash. Cash&Points nights start at just 2500 points + $50 for a night at a category 1 hotel to 15 000 + 300 US$ at a category 7 hotel.
  • You can use your Hyatt points to upgrade to a higher room category, where available, for as few as 3000 points at Hyatt Regency/Grand Club (or to a Suite for as few as 6000 points).
  • You can redeem your Hyatt points for dining and spa experiences at participating hotels around the world, even when you’re not staying the night. Dining & spa credits range from $10 for 2,000 points to $1000 for 120,000 points.
  • Your Hyatt points can be converted to airline miles.  You will receive 1 mile for every 2.5 Hyatt points you convert, starting with a minimum of 5,000 Hyatt points. In addition, you will earn 5,000 bonus miles when you convert 50,000 Hyatt points.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE ABOUT WORLD OF HYATT
  • The program is rather uncomplicated. There are not many earning options, and burning options are easy to understand as well.
  • Hyatt’s portfolio includes some high-end luxury properties. I hereby present you an overview of the 12 Hyatt brands, with the 2 luxury brands placed at the top (Park Hyatt & Andaz):
    • Park Hyatt Hotels: smaller, luxury hotels designed to cater to discerning travelers.
    • Andaz: Hyatt’s hippest brand focuses on indulging guests with simple luxuries and unexpected details.
    • Grand Hyatt Hotels: grand in every sense, these hotels feature luxurious accommodations, dramatic architecture and state-of-the-art technology.
    • Hyatt Regency Hotels: Hyatt’s best-known hotels feature stylish, contemporary design, abundant meeting facilities and extraordinary restaurants.
    • Hyatt Hotels: located in prime destinations and business districts, these hotels offer an intimate environment for travelers eager to experience the local flair.
    • Hyatt Place: these hotels combines style with casual hospitality.  Featuring spacious guest rooms with the Cozy Corner, free Wi-Fi, the 24/7 Gallery Menu, Coffee to Cocktails Bar, and free a.m. Kitchen Skillet breakfast.
    • Hyatt House: these hotels offers upscale home comfort for extended stay guests, featuring residentially inspired suites with real kitchens and living rooms.
    • Hyatt Zilara & Hyatt Ziva: Hyatt Zilara, adult only all-inclusive resorts, and Hyatt Ziva, all-inclusive resorts open to all ages, include luxury accommodations, authentic dining options, world-class entertainment and locally inspired activities.
    • Hyatt Residence Club: these timeshare properties are located in some of the most exciting U.S. resort destinations.
    • Hyatt Centric: properties under this brand aim to be local home bases, preparing you to explore the best the USA cities have to offer.
    • The Unbound Collection by Hyatt: Collection of unique boutique hotels.
  • World of Hyatt awards its member with a free nights galore, which is one if the program’s most interesting features.
    • All members get a free night award in a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort when they stay at 5 different Hyatt brands and pay an eligible rate (valid for one year from issuance).
    • Explorists get one free night award in a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort (valid for 120 days from issuance).
    • Gloablists get one free night award in a Category 1-7 Hyatt hotel or resort (valid for 120 days from issuance).
  • Globalists get 4 suite upgrades yearly and upon qualifying for the first time. These can be used for stays up to 7 nights and don’t require you to book anything else than a qualifying rate.
  • Globalists have access to unlimited suite upgrades. Whenever they check-in at a Hyatt hotel, they will be upgraded to a standard suite (if available).
  • Globalists receive two complimentary United Club one-time passes annually.
  • There are incremental benefits for Globalists who stay more than 60 nights at Hyatt hotels. Guest who stay 70, 80, 90 and 100 qualifying nights in a calendar year, will be awarded with a choice between 10,000 bonus Hyatt Points or a suite upgrade award.
  • WiFi is free for all guests (no need to join Word of Hyatt or to book via Hyatt.com). You will, however, as a non-member need to pay in some hotels to receive ‘fast’ WiFi, suitable for video and streaming.  The faster service is free for Discoverists, Explorists and Globalists.
  • Word of Hyatt members have access to exclusive Member Discount rates at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts.
  • Word of Hyatt members can earn 500 miles per stay with 28 participating airlines (instead of Hyatt points). You simply have to present your frequent flyer and World of Hyatt membership numbers at check-in.
  • World of Hyatt members can share points or eligible awards – including free nights, points + cash and select room upgrades – with any World of Hyatt member. It’s a great gift idea or an easier way to plan a vacation with family and friends.
  • Hyatt has one of the most generous Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) programs, which means you will always get the best available rate at Hyatt Hotels when you book on an official Hyatt sites. If you find a lower rate prior to, or within 24 hours of, booking your hotel room, simply submit a BRG claim to Hyatt to match that receive and receive an additional discount of 20% for your entire stay. Finding a better rate is not that difficult at all, as you can read in my tips for booking a room at a luxury hotel at the cheapest price.
  • Hyatt points won’t expire as long as you show account activity once per 24 months. Otherwise, the account may be deleted and all points in the account forfeited. There are a number of easy ways to keep your membership active:
    • Earn or redeem points for stays at Hyatt hotels and resorts, on dining and spa treatments, and for stays at participating MGM properties.
    • Purchase or combine points, transfer free night awards or convert points to miles.
    • Maintain a Hyatt credit card account.
  • Hyatt often launches promos that allow you to earn bonus Hyatt points on your stays, so that you can reach your preferred redemption faster (tip: subscribe to the World of Hyatt’s newsletter).
  • There are no award blackout dates. As long as there is a standard room available, you can book it using your Hyatt Gold Passport points.
  • You do earn Hyatt points, not only for hotel rooms, but also for food, beverages & spa treatments.
  • Hyatt is one of the few chains, where all the benefits apply regardless of how the stay was booked. All the benefits apply even on Priceline or Hotwire stays.
  • The program has remained relatively constant for many years, giving guests the certainty that the reward they are after will not be pulled away from under them. You will never see Hyatt making unannounced changes overnight or adding 75% to its top redemption rates as Hilton did in 2013. The replacement of Hyatt Gold Passport by World of Hyatt was announced long in advance.
  • World of Hyatt awards its most loyal guests with lifetime Globalist status, after they earned 1000000 base points (that is $200000 in spending) over the course of your program membership.
  • The Hyatt VISA credit card, only available in the USA, is one of the fastest ways to earn Hyatt Gold Passport points. This credit card comes with many benefits:
    • You will receive two free nights (at a category 1-4 property) after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months with the Hyatt Credit Card. This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new card member bonus for this product in the past 24 months.
    • You will earn 3 points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt properties with your Hyatt Credit Card.
    • You will earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies.
    • You will earn 1 point for every $1 spent anywhere else you use your card.
    • You will not pay foreign transaction fees when you use your Hyatt Credit Card on purchases made outside the U.S.
    • You will maintain Discoverist status for as long as you are a card member.
    • Every year after your card member anniversary, you will receive a free night at a category 1 to 4 property.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport and MGM Resorts International have teamed up, which means you can enjoy the perks of membership in both programs when staying in Las Vegas at MGM Resorts or at any Hyatt hotel worldwide.

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CONS & THINGS I DON’T LIKE ABOUT WORLD OF HYATT
  • Hyatt is a really small chain and has less than 700 properties worldwide. Marriott (which acquired Starwood), Hilton and IHG have eight to ten times the number of properties compared to Hyatt.
  • Hyatt has a very limited international representation with around 20% of its properties outside of North America. The chain is absent from many international markets. They are expanding rapidly however.
  • Earning elite status with Hyatt is hard if not impossible, especially for those living outside the US since Hyatt only has a small global footprint.
  • While World of Hyatt is very easy to understand, the earning & award options are limited.
  • World of Hyatt’s elite members no longer receive Hyatt points or a food & beverage welcome amenity upon check-in.
  • Hyatt suffers from a confusing brand structure as it only uses another name than Hyatt for Andaz properties. All the other brands are tied to the Hyatt “mother” brand for the good or the bad. All the other major hotel chains have distinct brand identities like Sheraton vs St Regis, or InterContinental versus Holiday Inn.
  • Contrary to most loyalty hotel programs (Starwood, IHG or Hilton), award stays don’t count toward status: you will not receive stay (or night) credit for award stays (or nights) and these will not count towards your Hyatt Gold Passport elite qualification.
  • Lifetime elite status requirement is ridiculous expensive compared to Starwood or Marriott ($200K Hyatt spend that is credited towards Hyatt points).
  • World of Hyattt does not have decent airline partnerships. Both Starwood and Marriott have introduced partnerships with airline for some matched benefits. Starwood launched Crossover Rewards with Delta and Your Word Rewards with Emirates, while Marriott has RewardsPlus partnership with United.

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MY REVIEWS OF HYATT’S LUXURY HOTELS

Click the thumbnails to read our reviews of Hyatt Hotels around the globe:


KEY POINTS
  • World of Hyatt is a greatloyalty program, so be sure to subscribe to it when you stay at a Hyatt Hotel.
  • There are not many earning options and the ways to burn points are limited as well.
  • The best way to spend your Hyatt points is to use them for hotel stays.
  • The worst way to spend your Hyatt points is to transfer them to airline miles.
  • When not residing in the USA, World of Hyatt membership is rather useless since Hyatt’s international representation is small.

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Qatar Airways A330 Business Class Doha to the Maldives

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel and/or flight review.

Last month, I enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in the incredibly beautiful Maldives. You can read my trip reports here:

If you are looking forward to the Soneva Jani review, I will publish that one in April.


Today (March 8, 2017): Trip report: Qatar Airways Airbus A330-300 Business Class Doha to Male.

On February 5, 2017, I flew Business Class in an Airbus A330-300 of Qatar Airways (QA) from Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Qatar to Male International Airport (MLE), also known as Velana International Airport, in the Maldives. The previous flight segment from Brussels to Doha was operated by a QA Boeing , and you can read my trip report of this flight here. QA offers several types of Business Class products on its A330 fleet, with some aircraft featuring the old seats (that don’t fully recline) and some other featuring the updated product (with fully flat-bed seats). This particular flight was flown by an A330 featuring the new product, but although quite comfortable, QA’s A330 Business Class product is inferior to the one it offers on its A350, B787 and A380 planes. Today though, QA announced that it will introduce a new Business Class product – designated the Q suite – across its entire fleet (starting with the B777), so in the near future, the inferior A330 Business Class cabin products will be gradually phased out (you can watch a clip featuring the new Business Class seat here).

Unfortunately, the flight’s departure was delayed by one hour and 15 minutes due to an aircraft swap). Because of this delayed departure, we lost our landing slot at MLE and had to circle for one hour near the airport (there were six aircraft in front of us) before the control tower allowed us to land. MLE has only one runway and planes need to turn on the runway and track back in order to reach the terminal, hence explaining why only one plane can land at MLE every 10 minutes. The good news is that we got some awesome views of the spectacularly beautiful Maldives and its 50 shades of blue (and the pilot guaranteed us that we had enough fuel to circle for 90 minutes in total).

Qatar Airways features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the most delicious airline food, the world’s best airline Businss Class lounges, the best inflight videos of all time, the world’s most luxurious A380 First Class cabins, and the best Business Class amenity kits.

  • Trip: DOH-MLE
  • Airline: Qatar Airways (QA)
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A330-300
  • Aircraft registration number: A7-AEH (delivered in 2006)
  • Flight Number: QR672
  • Date: February 5, 2017
  • On time departure: no (3.30 am instead of 2.15 am)
  • On time arrival: no (10.30 am instead of 8.50 am)
  • Miles: 2056
  • Flight time: 5 hours
  • Seat: 3A
  • Class: Business Class (D)

In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Al Mourjan Business Lounge at Doha
  3. Business Class Cabin
  4. Business Class Seat (& what seat to choose)
  5. Amenities
  6. Food
  7. Entertainment
  8. Other inflight experiences
  9. Comparison with Etihad Airways and Emirates
  10. My verdict

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1. COST OF MY TICKET

As I explained in my QA B787 trip report, this flight was part of a return trip from Brussels to the Maldives via Doha. I booked the Business Class seat (and one for my travel companion) for 80,000 AAdvantage miles + $89 USD for airport taxes. AAdvantage is the loyalty program of American Airlines, which is a oneworld partner of QA, making it possible for passengers to collect and spend miles on both airlines. Although the program devaluated last year, AAdvantage is still my favorite airline loyalty program, because of the numerous promotions (which earn you shiploads of miles) and the interesting airline partners beyond the oneworld alliance (such as Fiji Airways, Tahiti Nui, and – especially – Etihad Airways). 80,000 miles is still below the mileage threshold required by other loyalty programs, although it’s considerably more than the 60,000 miles one needed before the AAdvantage devaluation kicked in.


2. AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

QA’s Al Mourjan Business Lounge, located on level 3 at Hamad International Airport, is currently the best Business Class lounge in the world. It simply outclasses all the competition out there and redefines the world standard in airport lounge experiences.

From the moment you enter the physically stunning, rectangular shaped lounge with its incredibly high ceilings, you are treated to a refreshing zen-like ambience. The massive space – about 10 times the size of an Olympic-size swimming pool – features a minimalist design, and is adorned with exclusive marbles, designer furniture, and bronze walls featuring traditional Arab calligraphy. In many ways, the lounge feels more like a museum of modern art than an airport environment. The center piece of the lounge is an elevated platform, which features several very comfortable lounge chairs, two self-service bars, and a small resort garden. There are tons of other seating areas spreading out around the platform, with each seat having its own power outlet and touchscreen monitor with airport information. One side of the lounge features a esthetically stunning, black-tiled water pond and large floor-to-ceiling windows with great views of the runway.  The lounge has several side rooms, such as a prayer room, shower rooms, a game room (with a Formula 1 simulator) and a quiet room. The latter features several cubicles, separated by low partitioned walls, offering a nice environment to take a nap.

The lounge has two dining areas. The main restaurant is located up a spiral staircase behind the water pond, boasting a chic bar and nice views of the lounge’s mezzanine floor. This restaurant used to offer an a la carte menu, but now its offerings are ‘limited’ to two very extensive buffet spreads, offering a great variety of cold appetizers, soups, and several hot dishes. Then at other end of the central lounge space, there is another eatery, which is more of a deli and offers sandwiches in addition to some small plates and a dessert buffet.

THE FAMOUS TEDDY BEAR AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

THE FAMOUS TEDDY BEAR AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: ENTRANCE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: ENTRANCE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: ENTRANCE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: MAIN RESTAURANT

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: QUIET ROOM

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: QUIET ROOM

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: QUIET ROOM

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: QUIET ROOM

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: GAME ROOM

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: DELI

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: DELI

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: DELI

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: DELI

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: DELI

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: DELI

AL MOURJAN BUSINESS LOUNGE: FLIGHT DELAY


3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

QA operates several versions of the Airbus A330s. This flight was operated by a two cabin A330-300, seating 30 passengers in Business Class (featuring the new product) and 275 in Economy Class.

The Business Class cabin on the A330 makes a chic first impression upon boarding the plane, with dark grey seat covers, wood trimmed decor touches, and QA’s signature pink colour displayed on the entertainment screens. Nevertheless, its design and layout is inferior to the Business Class product offered on QA’s A350s, A380s and B787s, even though this particular A330 plane was equipped with the refurbished Business Class cabin (QA still has several A330 flying around that feature the old Business Class product with seats that recline to a maximum of 165 degree). The plane featured 5 rows of 30 fully flat-bed seats placed in a classic 2-2-2 configuration in one single Business Class cabin. All seats faced forward and had aisle access, except for the window seats (where you had to climb over the legs of your neighbour to get to the aisle). A remarkable feature was that two adjoining seats didn’t completely line up, so you sat either a little more to the front or back as compared to your neighbour. This is not much of a deal when you travel with a companion, but it does create an extra level of privacy when you are seated next to a stranger (especially when pulling out the large, sliding screen divider).

For a seat map of this version of QA’s A330, click here.

QATAR AIRWAYS A330-300

QATAR AIRWAYS A330-300

BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)

BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)