Maldives Travel Guide
Duty-Free / JFK / Airports / Shopping Travel / MLE / Maldives Travel / → All Tags
If you’re hanging out in the Maldives then you are probably already somewhat of a high roller—or you are just really good at collecting those frequent flyer miles. That’s why it doesn’t really surprise us that travelers heading to and through the country’s main airport are faced with big-ticket items in the duty-free shop.
Just like plenty of other airports across the globe there’s a decent selection of luxury goodies at Malé International Airport. One thing that sets this airport apart is the price tags, and they have a bottle of The Balvenie Fifty—a fancy whisky—that sells for roughly $39,000.
Well, we guess we should say they did have this in stock, as apparently a passenger heading to China threw down some cash to take it home only a few days after the bottle of booze hit the shelves. We don’t know if there’s a world record for most expensive duty-free purchase, but this has got to be in the running. We could probably buy this whole machine—cigarettes included—for less than this single bottle.
[Photo of a different whisky: Ethan Prater]
[Photo of a different whisky: Ethan Prater]
Airport Lounges / First Class Travel / Island Travel / Private Jets / Seaplanes / Hotels / MLE / Maldives Travel / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Our love of Airport Lounges around the world knows no bounds, even when it comes to helicopter departure lounges. Thus, it shouldn't be a surprise that when our sister site HotelChatter mentioned that three luxury hotels in the Maldives share a VIP Seaplane lounge at Malé International Airport in the, our ears perked up.
The Waldorf-Astoria's Beach House Resort, Hilton's Iru Fushi Resort and the Conrad Rangali Island Resort allows their guestsmany of whom are dropping over four figures for each night at the hotelsto chillax in this special space that includes free WiFi, an open-air terrace, a small plates buffet cooked by a resident chef and complimentary shoulder massages.
Bikini Travel / Sports Illustrated / Swimsuit Issue 2010 / Fashion Travel / Beach Travel / Bikinis / → All Tags
In case you haven't noticed (yeah right), there are pictures of hot women in bikinis plastered up all over the place; they're on billboards, payphone booths (where those still exist), in features on TV, and finallyon newsstands. It's all because the much-awaited 2010 Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is out and for sale, and this year, the scenery behind the girls is just as good as the view of tan lines.
So what's the lucky tropical location? The Maldives! The SI team shot the magazine way back in August of last year, and although they gave out clues on Twitter, they stayed clear of giving it all away; that's why you have to buy the magazine.
Looks like we're not the only country gearing up for some pretty historic national elections. In November 2008, the Republic of Maldives will be conducting its first-ever presidential vote under a multi-candidate, multi-party system. Yay, democracy! What better way to show support for the political process--and contribute to the Maldives flourishing tourism sector--than by booking a getaway to the tiny Southeast Asian nation?
The country is comprised of more than 1,100 islands--and there are private resorts on 44 of them. These destination hotels are all seriously luxe, and set up as five-star retreats for the romantically inclined and seriously stressed-out. Shoestring travelers won't find many low-budget dives this far out.
If we had our druthers--and perhaps, sugar daddies--we'd stay at the Conrad Maldives Rangali, which spans two islands via a walkway surrounded by a blue lagoon. The property features 50 villas built on stilts over the ocean (nearly all come with private butlers) and 21 new Spa Water Villas (each featuring its own private mini-gym and treatment room).
In case the sea view from our room isn't satisfying enough, the spa has three glass-floored villas offering a direct view down to the coral reef below. Plus, the resort boasts the world's only all-glass undersea restaurant, above, where you can watch all manner of marine life float by as you tuck into grilled snapper.
Seawalls on the seashore...
As far back as 1992, the president of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, warned that his nation could end up under the ocean by the year 2100. After the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, the entire archipelago was underwater for minutes. And the Kyoto Protocol has done about, well, nothing to keep the Indian Ocean at bay.
So the Maldives built huge seawalls--at the expense of the islands' natural beauty. (Not high on our attractive natural wonders scale: concrete blocks.) As for beaches, the new strategy is to build artificial islands, like Hulhumale, where white sand is the norm and engineering staves off submersion.
Still, forging artificial atolls isn't cheap. Unless the Maldives can convince industrialized nations--which create most of the world's greenhouse gasses--to chip in some cash, the future of the island nation remains in doubt.
· Maldives Builds Barriers to Global Warming [NPR]
· Air Taxis Trump Land Taxis in the Maldives [Jaunted]
· The Maldives: Destination of the Year 2006 [Jaunted]
· Tuvalu Slowly Sinking Under The Sea [Jaunted]
The Maldives was back and on the attack in 2006. After some of the country's resorts were damaged in the 2004 tsunami tragedy, many got makeovers. And we followed closely as our sister blog, HotelChatter, drooled over the islands' best properties with the help of Google.
The Maldives also continued to host many celeb guests in 2006, TomKat's and Madonna's crews among 'em. With all the attention, you might think that we're ready to proclaim the Maldives "over." Hardly. We want to go there now more than ever. Just check out some of those Google flyovers and try and tell us you don't feel the same way. Anyway, is it not against human nature to say no to an overwater bungalow?
Celeb Travel / Madonna / Islands / → All Tags
Taking a two-week vacation with someone you're on the rocks with romantically is never fun, yet Madonna seems to be ignoring this well-known fact.
It seems Madge and Guy (and Rocco, Lourdes, and new baby David) are headed to a private island in the Maldives in a "last-ditch bid to save their marriage." The two supposedly are "hanging on by a thread," even fighting over where to escape for a two week break to to save their relationship.
We're sorry to hear this because in celeb-time, they've been together for an eternity...but why go to a tropical island to make-up and bring your kids?!
· Madonna and Ritchie Jet Off to Save Marriage [SF Gate: Dish!]
· Is Divorce in Madge's Unlucky Stars? [TMZ.com]
Transportation / Airplanes / YouTube / Islands / → All Tags
We've been testing out New York City's new taxi pricing this week, and it looks like it's time for a monthly metro card; the increased fares really add up. We could have gorged on maki rolls at our favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant for the price of a ride uptown. It was sad.
So next time we drop too much money on transportation, it better at least be a Maldivian air taxi and not some rank cab. Jaunted most definitely shares HotelChatter's crush on the Indian Ocean archipelago, and were it not wildly incestuous, we'd probably already be married and honeymooning there for kicks. At a hotel with wifi, of course, so that the blogging could continue without interruption.
Check out the ride above: it's an air taxi approach into the Maayafushi Resort. For more reports on Maldives lodging, head on over to the HC.
· Google Earth Hotels: Full Moon Obsession [HotelChatter]
Now that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are done with their publicity wedding, it's time for a publicity honeymoon. The couple and their alien spawn have left Italy and jetted off to the Maldives for some postnuptial quality time.
They arrived in the Maldives on Sunday and are currently lounging on a private yacht near Male. No suprise, really, when you consider that L. Ron Hubbard was himself a huge yachting enthusiast. We wouldn't put it past Tom to honor his memory with a boat trip, though his ride is no doubt more plush than the Hubster's was.
It's rumored that after a week on the seas, Tom, Katie and the rest of the crew will hit solid ground for some snorkeling time. Could they be headed for one of the resorts recently highlighted by the New York Times? Whether they end up at the Four Seasons or a private island to which ordinary people would never have access, HotelChatter will surely track down their choices in land-based lodging.
· Tom & Katie Honeymoon in the Maldives [US]
· Maldivians to TomKat: Just Say Hi, Puh-Leeze? [TMZ]
· Paradise Regained in the Maldives [NYT]
Right now, Tim Flannery has been making the rounds pushing his book The Weather Makers, about the truth of the Global Warming situation. (Summary: Not so good, Al) Whether you think Global Warming is a reality or not, if the ocean levels do rise, one of the first places to disappear will be the Maldives, a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean that are just a few feet above sea level.
Since we're not sure exactly when we'll be swinging through that part of the world next, or anytime before the polar ice caps melt, we recommend taking a look at Ahmed Zahid's photographs on Flickr instead. Check them out; it's be much harder to photograph the Maldives when it's underwater.
[Image via Ahmed Zahid/Flickr]
The latest One&Only resort has opened, and if you thought the others were exclusive, think again. The One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives requires a 50-minute yacht trip from Male Int'l Airport just to get there.
Rooms go from $625 to $2,395 a night and all offer either a private (!) beach or secluded swimming pools. The resort has three eateries and over 50 chefs on staff.
"We have gone away from the buffet style. Everything here is a la carte, so that it is as fresh as possible. We are not here to offer an all you can eat buffet," he insists.
The staff is another topic altogether. There are 600 of them from over 27 different nationalities--making the staff to guest ratio 2:1. Talk about being waited on.
The resort also sports an orchid farm where flower farmers are working to create the 'One&Only Orchid', going a little over-the-top regarding exclusivity we think. Come on, your own orchid...