One of my bucket list trips has always been to visit the Maldives so last year my family and I decided to take a dream vacation there. The Maldives are a series of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka and India. Because it is such a long journey to paradise, we made a stop in Dubai for two days to break up the trip and enjoyed both destinations. This tropical getaway is literally like heaven on earth and known for its powder white-sand beaches, fabulous snorkeling and luxurious resorts.
GETTING THERE: We flew Emirates Airline from LA to Dubai which took us 16 hours on a direct flight. I highly recommend this airline if you are making a long trip as the service and food are top notch. Once we arrived in Dubai, we took a five hour connecting flight to Male, the capital of the Maldives. Once we landed, we were greeted by the staff at the COMO Maalifushi hotel where they escorted us to their sea plane taking us to the island where the hotel was located (this flight was one hour). This is a very long trip from anywhere in the U.S. so I suggest you plan to visit some other nearby countries like Sri Lanka and India while there. Or, you can make a pit stop in Dubai or Hong Kong to break up the trip.
STAY: For this trip, we used the American Express Concierge Service for the first time. They recommended several properties and after researching all of them, we decided to go with the COMO Maalifushi Hotel. My husband and I had stayed at one of the COMO hotels when we were visiting Thailand on our honeymoon and had so many fond memories of this hotel group. This particular luxury property is known for its beautiful architecture, over-water villas, tropical greenery and cobalt lagoon. The COMO Maalifushi has a minimalist, spa like vibe throughout the property and offers the best in fresh organic food, spa treatments, yoga, water activities, and more. The staff is very friendly and pays extra attention to every detail that includes folding your clothing. The guests at the hotel were an international mix of sophisticated Europeans and Americans. Although Islam is official religion of the Maldives, women are able to wear whatever they want at the hotel but should be dressed appropriately when in the Male airport.
DINE: There are a few restaurants on property that take inspiration from the region’s fresh, tropical produce and abundant seafood. The food is light yet flavorful. Tai was the one restaurant on the property besides the main hotel restaurant serving the freshest sushi. There is also a shark pit in the center of the restaurant where you can feed the sharks!
EXPLORE: We took a private island tour where we went to another nearby island, had a delicious picnic, and enjoyed some of the best snorkeling anywhere. The hotel offers the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks at night but they never came out while we were there. :( Whale sharks are the largest fish species in the sea--they are 18-32 feet long and weigh up to 47,000 pounds. If you are lucky, you can snorkel next to some! I would suggest visiting the Maldives soon due to the bleaching of many of the coral reefs there. We went snorkeling every day and saw many stingrays, sharks and the most colorful tropical fish. Also, I could not get over the size of the fruit bats flying around--they are quite large but harmless.
ESSENTIALS: When packing for this kind of beach vacation, think light. I always pack easy flowy dresses that can take you from day to night and one light sweater or wrap. I suggest checking out Nudz Beachwear for so many great dress options. Make sure to bring a straw hat, beach bag from Poolside, sunglasses, a couple pairs of sandals and a great sunscreen. An underwater camera is a must-have as you will be mesmerized by all of the sea life. It's a great time to deep condition your hair because of all the salt water from swimming and the sun. Remember to pack a super moisturizing face cream and face oil. Leave any fancy jewelry at home and opt for a few delicate gold pieces that you can leave on the entire trip. Bring a great self-tanning cream like Vita Liberata to boost your tan while away so you look sun-kissed ready at all times!
I hope you get a chance one day to visit this incredible part of the world!