On Friday we headed to JFK for what will no doubt be the trip of a lifetime… again… we do try to have one at least once a year. We are starting off with dinner in Istanbul during our layover, followed by 4 nights at the Conrad Maldives, 3 nights in Sri Lanka – two at a boutique hotel and one at their Hilton Residences, and then 4 nights in the Conrad Tokyo.
When we originally booked this award itinerary we were in Business Class on the way out, and Coach in the way back, on standby for an upgrade to business if space opened up. We used United miles (120k in Business per person) and providing that the flight is on United Metal (AKA not a Partner Airline from the Star Alliance) they will put you on a list to bump up to Business Class. However, due to a very irritating phenomenon that occurs when an airline adjusts its departure time (by as little as 5 minutes) we ended losing our Business Class outbound seats- apparently what happens is that all seats are cancelled, then rebooked – but if someone with more Frequent Flyer Status is asking for Business they get your seat, even though you had it reserved.
So, long story short, we are now flying in Coach (at the moment) but the itinerary for flights is better than I could have hoped for and the value for money is immense, perhaps value for points is more appropriate.
Quick update, here I am in the Maldives taking a little time to update the blog, we’ve settled into the King Beach Villa and have our entire trip here planned already, last night was very relaxing, taking in some sundowners at the Rangali Bar as we firmed up plans for the 4 night stay, and booking the following:
8am Breakfast at Vilu – Complimentary for HHonors Gold and Diamond Members (I’m Gold from the Citi Hilton Reserve Visa Card, so not really a true Gold but I get the perks… lets call that Pyrite)
11am Cocktails at Ithaa Underwater Restaurant $55 Per Person – turned out to be a Glass of Champagne (Pol Roger NV) or a Mocktail. This came with Canapes and also a Service Charge and Tax – total price was $130 for the two of us and frankly I wouldn’t recommend it. More of a bragging story than anything as it is the only undersea restaurant in the world…
4pm Afternoon Tea – Complimentary
5pm Happy Hour at Vilu Complimentary for Hhonors Pyrites, Golds and Diamonds.
7pm Vilu Desgustation Meal – 5 Courses with Wine Pairings $195 Per Person
7am Breakfast at Rangali Bar (its closer to our Villa and the Dive Departure, as Vilu is on the other island… it doesn’t have some of the Al La Carte items that Vilu offers but does have eggs and omelettes made to order, and a wonderful spread of food – we had honey off the comb, a selection of cheeses and just to keep things interesting and uneuropean/healthy also some Chicken Stir Fry and Fried Rice.
8am-5pm Whaleshark Dive – $400 Per Person, 3 Tank Dive with Lunch and Whaleshark Snorkelling During the Intermission no Whalesharks spotted… a shame, but a nice set of 3 dives and we made it back by 4:25pm in time to dash over to Vilu for Happy Hour.
5pm-6pm Vilu Happy Hour – great value (since it is free!) and they aren’t shy with the refills!
7:30pm Candlelight Dinner at Mandhoo Restaurant (Complimentary 3 course dinner for Mr & Mrs Saverocity!) One of the nicest meals thus far, healthy, light fair and we shared a half bottle of Chardonnay for $36, their cheapest option. Wines by the 150ml Glass ranged from $18-$22.
7am Breakfast at Rangali Bar
8am Whaleshark Snorkel $200 Per Person no Whalesharks spotted again… but we did see a large Manta at the end.
5pm Vilu Happy Hour
6:30pm Dhoni Night Fishing $70 Per Person ($20 Per after a $50 credit)
I hope to update a report on all of these so you can check them out, We are in the King Beach Villa – this is the entry level Villa on the Island and it is stunning. We received a half bottle of Champagne (French Stuff) Fruit and Chocolates upon arrival which we made good use of in the huge outdoor bath tub.
It’s currently around noon on Wednesday, we are doing some relaxing after the Whale Shark Snorkel and will pop out in the sea again a little later on, now it is time to start researching Sri Lanka- since we have hotels booked in Galle on the Southern peninsular and plan to go Blue Whale Watching at Mirrissa – for now it is time to figure out how we are going to get there as the logistics haven’t really been planned at this point…fun to live by the seat of your pants at times.
Check out Part Two, Sri Lanka here https://saverocity.com/travel/maldives-sri-lanka-and-tokyo-part-two-sri-lanka/