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Escape to Excellence

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Step inside a set of large striking black doors and find an ultra-contemporary and sophisticated premium All Inclusive beach hotel… welcome to the truly excellent Excellence El Carmen!

Want to know what a typical day looks like when staying at this five star adults-only property in the Dominican Republic? Let us show you…

Start with a tricky dilemma: where to eat breakfast? Will you head to the Lobster House to enjoy an a la carte menu, feeling the gentle sea breeze at this quaint al fresco restaurant close to the beach. Or will you sample the extensive buffet at the impressive Kitchen Table with its diverse range of fresh ingredients, many sourced locally.

Then it’s decision time again: to the beach or the pool? Take your pick of sun loungers on the 2,000 foot stretch of soft golden sands dotted with palm groves or laze beside one of the many swimming pools – unless you can be tempted to join one of the informal activities from guided bicycle rides through the surrounding countryside to snorkelling the waters.

When lunchtime comes around you’ll have a number of restaurants to choose from: will it be seafood, Italian of buffet dining? Or if you’re only feeling peckish, the trendy Food Shark, housed in a converted VW Campervan, offers burgers, tacos and light bites until 6PM. Spend a relaxed afternoon in the shade or in your suite – where the minibar is restocked daily – participating in the local pastime of an afternoon siesta; you’re in the Spanish Caribbean after all!

As the sun sets and evening creeps in head to the striking Martini Bar for pre-dinner cocktails, then take your time ‘window shopping’ which of the restaurants you’d like to eat at. Our recommendation is the pan-Asian culinary experience at Spice with its Teppanyaki stations making for a sociable atmosphere.

Love a bit of evening entertainment? You won’t be disappointed! The performances of the nightly shows are top quality, though the entertainment is not the main focus of the resort. If you would prefer to spend time in quieter areas just the two of you, you’ll find it very easy to do so.

And so to bed. After another day in paradise end the evening with a final tipple on your private patio before relaxing within the sumptuous interiors of your suite.

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Travel

The Best Hotel in The Maldives

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Whilst you might associate the Maldives purely with honeymooners and romantic getaways, with 26 islands to choose from there is a hotel for everyone; the just marrieds, sports enthusiasts, partiers, spa-goers or families alike.

Since we couldn’t pick just one, check out five fantastic hotels in the Maldives to suit a range of travellers.

For romantic retreats…

OBLU Select by Atmosphere at Sangeli Island

Lets face it, you are spoilt for choice for romantic getaways in the Maldives! We love the added extras available for honeymooners at OBLU Select. Enjoy couples only villas with private pools, complimentary bottle of champagne, canapés and fruit platter on arrival, couples’ treatments at the ELENA Spa, complementary adventure activities and entertainments and a special evening turndown service as part of the impressive Serenity Plan.

For a sumptuous spa break…

Baros Maldives

Voted the top luxury spa resort in the Maldives by travellers on Tripadvisor, and the World Travel Awards Winner 2017 of “Indian Ocean’s Most Romantic Resort”,  it isn’t hard to see why this boutique resort scores so highly with visitors. Soak up the tranquility from one of the island’s beachfront or overwater lagoon villas before checking out some seriously relaxing, tailor-made spa treatments. Choose experience dining on a sandbank, piano deck or private island dining or enjoy spectacular ocean views from the Lighthouse restaurant located at the edge of the jetty. When you are feeling more adventurous check out the plethora of watersports, fitness centre or complimentary yoga classes on offer.

Best for nightlife

Dhaalu Atoll

Spanning two stunning tropical islands, the five star Niyama Private Islands resort boasts the most restaurants and bars of any resort in the Maldives. Be sure to check out the  famous underwater club Subsix and the impressive drinks menu of Fahrenheit. For something more substantial, visit the unique tree-house setting of east asian restaurant Nest or the relaxed campsite vibe of Tribal, which offers impressive cuisine from Africa, Central and South America. You are also able to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment at any time of the day or night at the 24 hour Lime Spa. An award-winning kids club and babysitting service means you can happily bring the whole family along too.

For all out luxury…

One&Only Reethi Rah

Hotels in the Maldives are known for their luxurious touches, exemplary customer service and added extras. We love the award-winning One&Only Reethi Rah (Reethi Rah fittingly meaning ‘beautiful island’) for it’s stunning beachfront and overwater villas, fantastic facilities (including 12 beaches, adults and children only swimming pools, watersports, tennis and rock-climbing to name but a few) and the One&Only Spa by ESPA which includes a vitality pool, ice fountain, steam and sauna, pedi/manicure studio and a hair salon alongside stunning ocean view treatment rooms. In keeping with the decadent theme, the airport transfer can be completed via speedboat or  luxury yacht. The island even operates its own time zone an hour ahead of the Maldives capital Malé so that sunset cocktail hour falls at a more appropriate time!

For families…

Constance Moofushi

An all rounder with fantastic dive sites, a sumptuous spa and extensive ‘Cristal’ all inclusive option, we also love this hotel because it caters to that traditionally tricky teen market. The BlueTribe dive centre offers a fantastic range of diving course and talks aimed at children and they have done away with the kids club format to provide complimentary yoga and a specific games area with ping-pong, pool, giant chess, water polo and beach volleyball available for your not-so-little darlings. Even the complimentary mini bar includes crisps, nuts and chocolate bars for constant grazers!   

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Travel

The Best Islands to Visit in The Maldives

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The Maldives’ 26 ring shaped islands are actually made up of around 1,200 coral atolls so whatever you are after, be it the picture perfect romantic setting, water sports or fine dining, the Maldives has you covered! If you are travelling between islands your hotel will usually be able to arrange transfers, or you can contact Maldivian Air taxi directly (www.maldivianairtaxi.com; 00 960 331 5201).

With further ado, here is our roundup of the best islands to visit in the Maldives.

Best for dining: Rangali

Technically two islands linked by a 500m footbridge which play host to the magnificent Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Here you can find arguably the finest restaurant in the Maldives, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which is also the world’s first all-glass underwater eatery. Observe reef sharks and manta rays glide past as you feast on a 6 course meal of stunning, contemporary European dishes. For the more budget conscious, you can also limit yourself to an impressive cocktail menu or a four-course lunch. If you ever get tired of the view, head above sea level to a tempting selection of 6 other restaurants at the resort, including the impressive Ufaa offering chinese cuisine from celebrity chef Jereme Leung. For those who like a tipple or two, (start to!) work your way through the 30,000 different wines on offer in the Island’s famous Wine Cellar or the 80 different types of Martini Cocktail on offer in Vilu Bar.

Best for diving: Helengeli

Home to the all inclusive OBLU by Atmosphere resort, Helengeli also plays host to its own reef, a spectacular array of marine life and a 5* diving centre. Its location in the channel between a deep lagoon and the Indian Ocean makes it an ideal diving hotspot with at least 20 impressive dive sites on the doorstep. No wonder it is rated one of Dive Magazine’s top 10 diving resorts in the Maldives coming first of all resorts in the Maldives in their 2017 DIVE Travel Awards and second overall in the world. Divers enjoy the more relaxed vibe of the island and excellent value of the all-inclusive options on offer. And when dry land beckons, check out the Elena Spa, Beachfront restaurant or poolside Helen’s Bar.

Best for families: Halaveli

Despite appealing to the romantic getaway market, the Maldives has now also branched out into family friendly holidays, seemingly realising that those romantic couples will be having children somewhere along the way! Despite a fairly lengthy flight from the UK, the predominance of ‘one hotel per island’ resorts brings freedom for little adventurers and peace of mind for parents. A convenient 25 minutes by seaplane from Malé is the family friendly Constance Halaveli Resort. With a fantastic, complimentary kids club running from 9am – 9pm, resident doctor and tennis and watersports lessons on tap there is plenty to keep little people happy… and a rejuvenating spa and premium all inclusive package bound to bring a smile to older faces too!

Best for a romantic getaway: Veligandu

Home to the five star adults only Anantara Veli Resort and Spa, it doesn’t get more Maldives then this tropical  paradise island which seems to have been created with honeymooners in mind. ‘Dine by Design’ under the stars, beneath a traditional faree tent or picnicking on a deserted island and soak up the relaxed vibe from the infinity pool, wine room or onboard a luxury yacht.  For those in search of a more active holiday, the Aquafanatics Watersports Centre (as the name suggests) provides a range of activities to keep even the most adventurous entertained.

Best for the eco-friendly: Dhuni Kolhu

Tourism in the Maldives can definitely a double-edged sword when it comes to the environment. Preserving the fragile ecosystem of the surrounding coral reefs and the traditional Maldivian culture has become the focus of many resorts in the Maldives archipelago, none more so than the impressive Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. Alongside the breathtaking beaches, sumptuous spa and stunning overwater villas which are a common sight in the Maldives, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu also offers the eco-friendly traveller a clear conscience as it provides a nesting place for the endangered indigenous green turtle and various marine conservation projects plus a focus on growing fresh produce on the island rather than being imported. Sexy it may not be, but the island also houses an on-site water production, glass bottling plant and waste management centre for recycling aluminium, glass and styrofoam and those big no-nos plastic bags and bottles are banned.

 

 

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Travel

The Best Time to Visit the Maldives

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The destination of choice for honeymooners the world over, the Maldives is an island nation uniquely made up of a string of 26 islands comprised of over 1,192 smaller coral islands, lying southwest of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean. With breathtaking beaches, stunning scenery and coral reefs second to none, it’s not hard to see why the Maldives ticks so many boxes. Think private-island resorts, diving into translucent 25°C waters and cocktails on a pristine white beach and you’re halfway there.

The weather in the Maldives is consistently hot and sunny, with daytime temperatures of around 30°C and evening temperatures around 25°C all year round. However, there are two pronounced seasons; the dry (or high) season which lasts from December – April and the rainy season, which lasts from May – November and peaks around June. As the name suggests, the rainy season (which is also referred to as the South West Monsoon) sees the highest levels of rainfall and humidity. Therefore, the most popular (and, as such, more expensive) time to travel is from December – April.

But before you discount the rest of the year when temperatures are still consistently high, remember the Maldives is renowned for activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling and spa retreats. Ideal rainy day pursuits should your trip see the odd downpour or two and you may just be able to bag yourself a bargain and some serious tranquility travelling during off peak months.

Whatever time you choose to visit, check out our essential Maldives to do list below.

  • Snorkelling and diving – Tourists don’t just flock to the Maldives for the romance. Its location at such a distance from other land masses makes it arguably one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkelling with fantastically impressive coral reefs and marine life that need to be seen to be believed. For adventurous water sports enthusiasts, you can also check out water flying, tubing, parasailing and – for the more experienced surfers – there are waves that you’ll be hard pushed to beat.

  • The world’s first underwater spa – Only 30 minutes from Malé International Airport is the private lagoon resort of Huvafen Fushi, whose spa offers guests underwater couples treatment rooms and an underwater relaxation area where you can truly be at one with nature. Boasting awe-inspiring views of the lagoon’s reef as well as weird and wonderful tropical fish which call the Indian Ocean home, it goes without saying that this resort is adults-only!
  • A day trip to the capital city – Whether you are passing through from the airport on your way to your own personal island paradise, or you take one of the frequent boat trips on offer from various nearby islands, make sure you spend some time in the Maldives capital city of Malé to really experience some of the local culture. In contrast to the relaxed pace of surrounding islands, vibrant skyscrapers, bustling fish and fruit markets vie for space with historic mosques and football pitches (a firm favourite with locals!). Make sure you find time to explore the history of Malé and the Maldives culture at the National Museum. For the foodies amongst you, try cuisines from around the world including Maldivian, Asian, Indian and Malaysian in the myriad of restaurants dotted throughout the city.
  • Visit a deserted island – Despite the boom in tourism since the 1970s, there are still a large number (approximately 1,000) uninhabited islands in the Maldives. Organise a boat trip for the day and play Robinson Crusoe soaking up the tranquility on a private beach or lagoon, as well as catching and cooking your own meal.

  • Soak up the sunset/sunrise – And if you can do so from your own private deck or plunge pool, overlooking the crystal clear waters, so much the better!

Getting there

The only international airport in the Maldives is Malé International Airport which is located on Hulhumale Island. Hulhumale is 35 minutes by ferry from Malé island where the Maldives capital Malé can be found. Ferries between the airport and the capital cost the princely sum of around 50p!

There are no direct flights from the UK but the following airlines will get you there from around £400 per person outside of peak travel periods.

  • Emirates Airlines (0844 800 2777; www.emirates.com) flies from Heathrow and Gatwick to Malé via Dubai.
  • Sri Lankan Airlines (020 8538 2001; www.srilankan.aero) flies from Heathrow to Malé via Colombo in Sri Lanka.
  • Qatar Airways (0870 389 8090; www.qatarairways.com) flies four times a week from Heathrow to Malé via Qatar.

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Travel

The Best Resorts in the Maldives

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The Maldives is well known for its picture postcard beaches, azure lagoons, stunning coral reefs and aquatic wildlife.  However, tourism in the nearly 1,200 small islands which make up the Maldives only began relatively recently. In fact, tour groups only started arriving in 1972 when the first resorts (Kurumba Island and Bandos Island) opened, catering to around 300 guests.

Flash forward to 2018 and there are now hundreds of resorts spread across the islands which encompass the Republic of Maldives, catering to around 1.3 million tourists a year.  It is now also possible to stay at a number of guest houses which have sprung up across the islands following a law change in 2009, meaning tourists are allowed to stay with the local population rather than just on privately owned island residences.  

For sheer luxury and indulgence, you can’t beat the stunning resorts the Maldives has to offer. We have shared some of our favourites with you below.

  • Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru – This five star plus resort occupies the entire island of Vabbinfaru, and is only a 25 minute speedboat ride from Male (the capital of the Maldives). All villas come complete with their own private swimming pool and private dining is available either on the beach or in your own private villa.
  • Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hurra – A great all rounder with a family friendly focus. Featuring private pools, villas (quite literally) sitting atop the ocean, as well as pampering like none other, this hotel consistently receives fabulous reviews and it’s easy to see why.

Pictured Above: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hurra

  • Mercure Maldives Kooddoo – This new resort has been built with local materials and features both beachfront and over-water villas. Best of all, the resort is within a direct flight of the capital Male so no speedboat transfers needed! Complimentary water sports are aplenty, with snorkelling, sailing and kayaking all free.
  • Shangri-La Villingili Resort And Spa – Built on stilts above the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, this five-star resort boasts a highly rated spa, excellent activities and even has a 9 hole golf course. After a busy day of water sports, running trails and yoga classes, visitors can choose between five restaurants and bars that serve a variety of international flavours.
  • Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru – Maldives – One of those rare resorts which seem to have something for everyone; families and couples, the health conscious and luxury seekers alike. With four swimming pools, a spa, kids’ clubs and even a submarine experience for two, this resort has it all.
  • Six Senses Laamu – The only resort on the Laamu Atol, Six Senses Lammu was rated as one of the top 10 romantic escapes in the world by Traveller magazine. Keen eyed Star Wars fans may notice some similarities between the nearby islands and the planet Scarif from Rogue One, namely because this was one of the main filming locations for the planet. Many of the villas at Six Senses come with their very own swimming pools, and we especially like the resort’s beachfront ‘Cinema Under the Stars’ idea.

Pictured above: Six Senses Laamu

  • Atmosphere Kanifushi – This luxury five star resort is surrounded by pristine beaches, and is one of our top picks for its fantastic all inclusive package. Specifically, if you opt for the Platinum Plus package you can expect lounge access at the seaplane terminal, meals, premium beverages, a round of sunset fishing, a complimentary excursion, use of an in-villa mini bar which replaced twice daily, 50% off couples massages and so much more.
  • Cocoon Maldives – Voted the Leading Design Resort in South Asia in the SATA Awards, this attention to detail shows in the outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor. The resort’s Lagoon Villas are especially sought after, and the island itself is known as one of the most beautiful in the Maldives.
  • LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives – Lux by name and luxurious by nature – stunning setting and a host of activities to suit all travellers. Voted “Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel” in the World Travel Awards 2017, the resort is situated on one of the largest islands in the Maldives and boasts a range of luxury suites and villas. This resort is especially popular with foodies since it boasts 7 restaurant and 6 bars.

Pictured Above: LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives

  • The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi – Another World Travel Awards Winner 2017, this time for “Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort”. Guests will be spoiled for choice when it comes to mealtime with no less than 14 restaurants and bars to choose from, offering Indian, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Maldivian and Italian cuisine.

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The best time of the year to visit Thailand

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Whether you are after exotic beaches, impressive temples, zen-like spas, amazing cuisine or the hedonistic nightlife, Thailand ticks all the boxes. No wonder then that it is known as the Land of Smiles! But when is it best to visit to get the most out of your trip?

Thailand’s tropical climate is common of Southeast Asia and generally falls into three seasons. The rainy monsoon season of May-October, the cool season from November-February and the hot season from March-May when it is not unusual for city temperatures to reach an impressive 35°C. As such, the best time to visit weatherwise is often seen as the cool season from November-February when temperatures are the most pleasant and rainfall is at its lowest. Although despite the name, Thailand’s ‘cool’ temperatures of 30°C would be considered a heatwave in the UK!

Unfortunately, the best time to visit can also mean the busiest, but a little research means you can soak up the sun and unique cultural heritage without the crowds and spend around 31% less doing so.

The real monsoon season doesn’t tend to hit until July-October, although expect rain showers from May onwards. Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island, sees a consistent year round temperature of around 30°C and there are plenty of varied activities on offer whatever the weather such as jungle hiking, water sports, diving…. or nature watching and indulgent spa retreats for those who prefer a more relaxed pace. Travel there in May and – according to Skyscanner – you’ll be spending 43% less than if you travelled during pricey December.

Direct flights are available from London to Phuket and start from around £350. If you are planning on breaking up your journey and want to spend a couple of days in the capital, consider flying into the main hub, Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, from £250 and travelling on via regional airlines.


What to see and where to go:

With so much on offer, the only issue is how to fit it all in! Check out our round up of must visit places and events below to add to your bucket list.

  • Bangkok – No visit is complete without a trip to the capital city. By day, take in the elaborate temples and ornate palaces, shop ‘til you drop whatever your budget in high end shopping malls or local street markets like Chatuchak and Sampeng, or take a day trip to the nearby river island of Koh Kret. By night, enjoy a nightlife like no other.
  • Chiang Mai – The largest city in Northern Thailand. Brave the sometimes unpredictable weather to admire numerous, stunning Buddhist temples (over 300 hundred to be exact), stunning botanical gardens and fascinating hill tribe villages.
  • Pattaya – Only an hour from Bangkok, be sure to add this fascinating city to your must-see list. Visit the spectacular Khao Chee Chan Buddha Mountain and enjoy a plethora of activities such as water sports, bungee jumping, horse riding, golf and diving alongside an impressive nightlife.
  • Phuket – Soak up the culture on Thailand’s biggest Island via magnificent beaches, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine. If you visit in October, enjoy the fascinating ceremonies of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, a must-see (and taste!).   
  • Ko Samui – the island is extremely popular with visitors due to the stunning wildlife, white sandy beaches and spectacular scenery, not to mention the luxury resorts and spas. Find time to see the impressive 12m-high golden Buddha statue which can be found on a small island just off Ko Samui, and make sure to set your alarm for the impressive sunrise vista… we promise it is worth it.
  • Hua Hin – A stunning beach resort made popular by the Thai royal family in the 1920s and located south of Bangkok at the Gulf of Thailand. Enjoy incredible beaches and experience the local culture at impressive temples and bustling night markets.  

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Travel

Dubai Holidays from Glasgow

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Say Och aye to Dubai!

They may seem a million miles apart (although only 4,852 to be exact), but it is easier than you might think to travel from Glasgow to the sun drenched shores of Dubai. In 7 and a half hours you can fly direct from Glasgow International Airport to Dubai International Airport courtesy of Emirates from around £530 return per person.

Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates and it is a mecca for both tourism and the global business community. With transport connections to all of the major international cities and a plethora of activities to keep you entertained, it isn’t hard to see why. Whether you decide to take a luxurious break on a long journey or you make Dubai your one-stop destination you won’t be disappointed.

Where to go and what to see in Dubai – our top 10:

  • Burj Khalifa – Impossible to miss at 828 metres high, the world’s tallest tower welcomes visitors to the world’s tallest observation deck, fittingly named “At the Top” on the 148th floor.
  • The Dubai Mall – You’ve seen it on the Apprentice, now experience it for yourself. The Mall’s  1,200-plus shops sit alongside 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park, an ice rink, an indoor waterfall, a choreographed outdoor fountain and the giant Dubai Aquarium. Plenty to keep the whole family entertained indefinitely.
  • Dubai Creek – The waterways and souks of ‘old Dubai’. Head to the heart of the city which the Bani Yas tribe originally called home and learn more about Dubai’s fascinating history at the Dubai Museum before a visit to the intriguing souks selling gold, spices and beautiful textiles. A ride on an Abra (a traditional canal boat) is also a highlight.
  • Palm Jumeirah – The iconic man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. Hop on the monorail from the mainland to visit an impressive selection of hotels and eateries.
  • The Walk and Beach at JBR – Not just any old beach, The Beach opposite JBR also hosts top DJs every weekend, a regular outdoor cinema and an impressive waterpark.
  • The Desert – Less than 20 minutes drive from downtown Dubai will find you in the impressive Arabian Desert. Blend the old and new with a camel ride or quad biking safari, or perhaps stay a little longer and treat yourself to dinner under the stars.
  • Al Fahidi (“Dubai’s past”) – one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Dubai, where you can take Arabic classes, heritage tours and guided mosque visits to gain a real understanding of traditional Dubai.
  • Dubai Parks and ResortsOne for the families, Dubai is soon to introduce an exciting collection of theme parks such as Motiongate, Bollywood Park, as well as its very own Legoland. Sure to delight both the young and young at heart!
  • Al Warqa’s Dubai SafariHome to 2,500 different species of animal (rising to nearly 5,000 by 2020), explore four themed areas of the park: the Arabian, Asian, African and Safari Village.
  • The Dubai Opera – Enjoy a cultural experience to rival the West End or Broadway in an intriguing space inspired by the shape of the Arabian Dhow ship.

Pictured above: Dubai Opera

Dubai vs Glasgow – The Weather

Dubai is also known for its sunny desert climate and –  just in case you needed another reason to visit – check out these average temperature differences between Glasgow and it’s exotic Middle Eastern counterpart!

Average temperature (°C)
Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Dubai
19 20 23 26 31 33 35 36 33 29 25 21
Glasgow
3 4 6 8 11 13 15 15 13 10 6 4

Popular Hotels & Resorts in Dubai

Of course, one of the main draws of Dubai is its stunning, luxurious, and sometimes over-the-top  hotels. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Rixos Bab Al Bahr – One of our most popular hotels in Dubai and it’s not hard to see why. This 5* resort has it all; fantastic beachfront location, 15 restaurants and bars, a huge selection of activities, entertainment… and family friendly to boot!

Pictured Above: Rixos Bab Al Bahr

  • Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai – Oozing the effortless cool of the Nikki Beach club. Mingle with the coolest of the cool at this classy beach retreat on Dubai’s stunning Pearl Jumeirah shore. Fantastic food and laid back vibes courtesy of the best DJs in town will ensure that you relax in style.
  • Conrad Dubai Hotel – Right in the heart of the action in Dubai’s financial and shopping district, the luxurious Conrad Dubai Hotel caters to those wishing to work or play during their stay. Take advantage of easy access to all of Dubai’s must visit attractions such as the Mall, Marina and its ever-growing range of theme parks. Alternatively, why not stay in and enjoy a host of fantastic facilities and restaurants such as Marco Pierre White’s Grill or an impressive wine cellar with over 1500 international wines on offer.
  • Lapita Hotel – A fantastic base for the attractions of Dubai Parks and Resorts, the 4* plus Lapita Hotel is the only resort to be situated within the theme park itself. It is as family friendly as you could imagine with dedicated children and teen clubs to appeal to the younger members of your group.
  • Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort – As the name suggests, the 5* Hilton Al Hamra offers the best of both worlds for the keen golfer and beach lover. Ideally located between the impressive Al Hamra Golf Course and the beautiful coast of Ras Al Khaimah, take a break from the fairway to enjoy a relaxing treatment in the magnificent spa or, for the thrillseekers, enjoy the numerous watersports and activities on offer.

 

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Dubai Holidays in December

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Renowned the world over for its beaches, hot weather and luxury hotels, Dubai is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. But how does the city hold up in the winter months, and what’s it like to spend Christmas in the City of Gold?

Glad you asked!

In this article we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about holidaying in Dubai in December, including what you can expect with the weather, where you can secure the best hotels deals, the best day trips and – most importantly – where you can find a good old fashioned Christmas dinner.

What’s the weather like?

Expect highs of between 25 to 28 degrees celsius in the day, and lows of 16 to 19 degrees at night. Dubai’s humidity in December usually sits around the 60% mark, and the likelihood for sunshine is approximately 75%.

Will it be warm enough to sunbathe?

By European standards, most certainly!

What are the best tours in December?

The winter months provide a unique opportunity to enjoy desert safaris without the intense heat, and for that reason alone it’s our top pick. From camel riding to quad bike riding, dune bashing experience to belly dancing under starlight, there are a huge array of options to choose from. Here are our personal favourites:

  • Moonlight Overnight Desert Safari – This overnight trip has it all. Starting with a 4 x 4 trip in to the desert, the pedal quickly hits the metal when tires are deflated and 40 minutes of thrilling dune bashing begins. Once the adrenaline has worn off, your 4 x 4 will drive to the top of a nearby dune and you’ll be able to take photos of the sunset over the Arabian Desert. You will then head to a nearby Bedouin style camp where you’ll be greeted with coffee and dates. In the evening there is a BBQ and buffet dinner, with live belly dancing and tanoura dance performances. Overnight you’ll be staying in a cosy tent, complete with a tasty breakfast to enjoy in the morning.
  • Camel Safari with Dinner – This authentic experience offers a 45 minute camel desert safari, followed by a sunset falcon show and an evening at an authentic Bedouin camp. Evening entertainment includes henna tattooing, bread making, cultural entertainment performances… oh yes, and a delicious meal!
  • 4×4 Dune Bashing – Somewhat self explanatory in that you will be ‘bashing’ dunes in a 4 x 4!
  • Sand Skiing – Who needs the alps when Dubai has 300 metre high dunes to ski down? Well, we say ‘ski’ but what you’ll actually be doing is sand-boarding or sand surfing, although the principle remains the same; ascend your chosen dune, affix your chosen board, and glide down the aforementioned dune looking effortlessly fabulous.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more traditional winter activity then look no further than Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. Featuring snowboarding, tobogganing, skiing, and coming complete with a chairlift for that authentic Alp-like experience. Ski Dubai is centrally located in the Mall of the Emirates, and you can check out their website here.

Do any restaurants serve Christmas Lunch?

You may be surprised to hear that there are a number of restaurants serving Christmas Dinner in Dubai, with this website covering some of the very best.

That being said, our personal recommendation is Bread Street Kitchen & Bar at Atlantis The Palm. This Gordon Ramsay restaurant offers the quintessential Christmas brunch with all of the trimmings, including a choice of roast turkey, vegetarian Wellington or – for those looking for something a bit less traditional – seafood. As you would expect, there’s also a huge range of starters to choose from, as well as a cheese and bread station. For dessert, we hear the Eton Mess is especially good!

Where can I celebrate New Year?

Visit Dubai has perhaps the best overview of Dubai’s New Year’s Eve parties, and indeed our personal recommendation comes #1 on their list.

Starting at 7:30pm, the New Year’s Eve Royal Gala at The Atlantis is one of the most prestigious events in Dubai’s calendar. Live music starts at 8pm and there is free-flowing alcohol (including champagne) all night, as well as a luxury buffet serving caviar, lobster, sushi… not to mention a myriad of other culinary delights designed to tickle your taste-buds.

Just don’t forget your posh frocks because this event has a strict dress code!

Where can I find the best hotel deals?

On Best at Travel of course! Here are some of our top deals for December 2018, with prices correct at the time of writing:

 

Best for Christmas

Hotel: Lapita Dubai Parks and Resorts

Basis: Half Board, 7 Nights

Flying From: London Gatwick

Dates: 21st December 2018 to 28th December 2018

Price: From £1,288pp, based on 2 sharing.

Star Rating: 4 star plus

Get ready to be entertained when you stay at this Polynesian-themed hotel just a short walk from Dubai Parks & Resorts’ exciting theme and water parks. Prices for two people sharing start at £2,576, a massive reduction from the normal £4,437.

 

Best for New Year

Hotel: JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel

Basis: All Inclusive, 7 Nights

Flying From: London Heathrow

Dates: 27th December 2018 to 3rd January 2019

Price: From £1,2,701 based on 2 sharing.

Star Rating: 5 star

This award-winning family beach resort is surrounded by streams, ponds, waterfalls and a private 800 metre beachfront. Prices for two people sharing start at £5,402, a considerable saving on the normal price of £6,360.

 

For even more options be sure to check out our full list of Dubai Holidays here.

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Dubai Holidays in October

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Dubai is a fantastic city to visit at any time of the year, but October stands out for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the children are back in school, so prices tend to be much more favourable than in the middle of summer. Secondly, Dubai’s weather is still fantastic in October, with temperatures usually in the low to mid 30’s. The sea is also at its warmest in October although, in all fairness, the Persian Gulf is warm all year round.

If you’re considering a holiday to Dubai in October then this article should answer any questions you might have!

What’s the weather like?

In a nutshell, hot! October tends to see little to no rain in the United Arab Emirates, and average temperatures for Dubai range from a high of 36°C to a low of 25°C. We’ve included an ‘at-a-glance’ table below showing how Dubai’s climate in October compares to other popular holiday destinations:

Destination Average High Average Low Expected Rainfall
Dubai, UAE 36°C 25°C Little to none
London, UK 16°C 10°C 10 days
Rome, Italy 22°C 12°C 7 days
Marrakech, Morocco 28°C 15°C 1 day
The Maldives 30°C 26°C 7 days
Orlando, Florida 29°C 20°C 5 days

In terms of Dubai’s daylight hours in October, expect sunrise at around 6:15 and sunset just before 6pm.

Will I need a coat?

With little to no rain and lows of 25 it’s highly unlikely, but we would advise packing a light coat if you’re considering an overnight trip into the desert since it can get a little nippy after dark.

How much cheaper is Dubai out of the school holidays?

We looked at three of our best selling hotels in Dubai and – on average – prices for a family of four were 26% cheaper outside of school holidays. Just another reason to book an October holiday in Dubai!

What events are on in October?

If you’re a theatre or opera lover then Dubai has plenty of big shows coming in October. Ghost The Musical is running from the 9th to 13th October at the Dubai Opera, and is followed at the end of the month by Swan Lake. More details about both of the shows can be found on the Dubai Opera website.

Those of you looking for something a bit more contemporary might be interested to know that trip-hop pioneers Morcheeba are also playing at Dubai Opera, on Wednesday 31st October.

Where can I find the best hotel deals?

On Best at Travel of course! Here are some of our top deals for October 2018, with prices correct at the time of writing:

 

Best for Luxury

Hotel: Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah

Basis: Bed & Breakfast, 7 nights

Flying From: London Gatwick

Dates: 3rd October 2018 to 10th October 2018

Price: From £5,152 per person, based on two sharing

Star Rating: Five star plus (marketed as seven star)

What can we say about the Burj Al Arab that hasn’t already been said? Probably the most luxurious hotel in the world, and indeed the only one marketed as seven stars, the property features ceiling-to-floor aquariums, dancing fountains and even 24-carat gold iPads offered to guests at check-in!

 

Best for Smaller Budgets

Hotel: The Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah

Basis: Bed & Breakfast, 7 nights

Flying From:  London Gatwick

Dates: 10th October 2018 to 17th October 2018

Price:  From £638 per person, based on two sharing.

Star Rating: Five star

The Cove Rotana is a luxury, five-star resort sitting on a 600 metre stretch of beachfront overlooking the Arabian Gulf in Ras Al Khaimah. The resort is also popular with families and features a dedicated children’s pool and kids’ club.

 

Best for Families

Hotel: Fairmont Ajman

Basis: Full Board Plus, 7 Nights

Flying From: London Heathrow

Dates: 3rd October 2018 to 10th October 2018

Price: From £962 per person, based on four sharing.

Star Rating: Five star

Fairmont Ajman is set on a 200 metre stretch of beach and offers specialised kids’ menus, a kids’ club, beach toys and a dedicated children’s pool.

 

For even more options be sure to check out our full list of Dubai Holidays here.

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Maldives Travel News – Maldives Resorts & Spa News

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TALL TALE WEDDING PAVILION OFFERS OVER-WATER WEDDING CEREMONIES

Walk down the glass floor aisle to say yes to your love, surrounded by the stunning vistas of the Indian Ocean at Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli has launched an enchanting overwater wedding pavilion, offering wedding ceremonies and vow renewals.

The Wedding Pavilion sits serenely tucked away in the resort’s overwater fine dining complex, adjacent to French fine dining venue Fenesse, the newly opened wine library Cuvée, and the tranquil overwater lounge Cyan. Panoramic glass doors provide 360 degree views, and decorations can be adjusted to suit the wedding couple’s personal wishes.

“The Maldives provide a wonderful, romantic location for weddings, and we have arranged a number of stunning ceremonies, on a secluded beach, a remote and deserted sandbank, and even an underwater exchange of vows. We can now offer this spectacular new venue to guests who wish to celebrate in style at Jumeirah Vittaveli. Imagine watching your partner appear to walk on water and down the glass floored aisle that stretches over the shimmering turquoise lagoon,” said Amit Majumder, General Manager, Jumeirah Vittaveli.
The wedding pavilion can be booked for ceremonies in advance or once guests are on location. Additional romantic packages include the Wedding Ceremony in Paradise or the Romance in Maldives offer which includes a romantic dinner by the beach and couple’s spa massage. Marriages at the resort are purely ceremonial and not legally binding.
Enhance your romantic escape and stay at the picturesque Private Ocean Retreats. Cocoon yourselves into this indulgent hideaway with a loft-style bedroom upstairs, overwater hammocks, private infinity pool and full outdoor daybed. The Villas are freestanding in the lagoon ensuring maximum privacy while only a two minute ride on board the complimentary boat service from the main island. The Private Ocean Retreats are designed to offer all the resort services at your fingertips, from in-villa dining, to yoga on your own open air deck, to an indulgent couple’s massage.
Jumeirah Vittaveli offers romantic escapes as well as a variety of land- and water-based activities, including the destination’s first ice rink, a PADI Dive base, water sports centre, six restaurants and bars, and two lounges; an underground tasting room and a wine library will open soon. 
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Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru launches submarine adventure

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DeepFlight produces the world’s highest performance personal submarines.

From today, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru will become the first place to launch submarine excursions in DeepFlight’s most advanced model yet: Super Falcon 3S.

In a world exclusive, DeepFlight Adventures take up to two guests on a once-in-a-lifetime sub-aquatic ‘dive’ exploration of the Maldives’ only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Landaa Giraavaru’s Baa Atoll home.

With a professional pilot at the controls, passengers can skim over coral formations; fly through shoals of brightly coloured fish; encounter creatures like turtles, sharks, dolphins and rays; and explore the Maldivian waters down to a depth of 37 meters – all without getting wet.

Brought to the Maldives in collaboration with leading water sports operator, Ocean Group, the Super Falcon 3S represents the pinnacle of personal submarine technology: an environmentally friendly, battery-operated submersible that offers unparalleled underwater ‘flying’ from the safety, comfort and style of a personal pressurized and air-conditioned cockpit, with individual viewing domes.

The Super Falcon 3S has also been designed with the environment in mind: its electric and acoustic emissions have been minimized so as not to disturb marine life, and it never lands on the seabed or reefs.

The pilot narrates each dive with a real-time commentary, educating and inspiring guests about the wonders of the underwater ecosystem.

Commenting on the launch, Four Seasons regional vice president, Armando Kraenzlin, said: “At Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, we have long been aligned with DeepFlight’s mission to bring awareness to the oceans.

“These submarine excursions redefine marine exploration and bridge the gap between the world we see above the waves and the one that exists below.

“We couldn’t be prouder to be the first resort in the world to launch the DeepFlight Super Falcon 3S.”

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Zitek takes up sous chef role at St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

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The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort has announced Olda Zitek has been appointed as executive sous chef.

Zitek will join the private island resort in early May 2018 from Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square where he worked as executive sous chef from November 2016.

Prior to this, Zitek held the position of head chef at Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel London, after roles in other five-star London hotels such as Claridge’s and The May Fair Hotel.

Zitek will support the executive chef at The St. Regis Maldives in supervising operations at the resort’s six distinct dining venues, which offer sophisticated cuisine from around the world.

He will oversee the entire culinary team, which delivers exceptional food and drink experiences to guests.

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Commenting on the appointment, Alexander Blair, general manager, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Olda join us at The St. Regis Maldives.

“We pride ourselves on delivering unrivalled experiences and exceptional service, so Olda’s background with some of London’s most luxury hotels means he is great fit for our team.

“We look forward to working with him and can’t wait to see to see his skillset being put to use for our guests.”

Zitek is originally from the Czech Republic and is fluent in Czech, English, and Slovak.

World Spa Awards

St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort will host the World Spa Awards later this year.

Taking place on October 26th, the event will welcome leaders from the global wellness industry to the Maldives.

Find out more on the official website.

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Travel

A U M Fawzy, chief executive, Trans Maldivian Airlines

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A U M Fawzy, chief executive of seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airlines, talks to Breaking Travel News during Arabian Travel Market 2018.

He tells us about the vital role his company plays in this rapidly developing destination.

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Haris Mohamed, acting managing director, Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation

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Breaking Travel News speaks to Haris Mohamed, acting managing director, Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation, about the destination, its growing visitor numbers, and how the World Spa Awards will play a vital role in promoting the country in an international audience.

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ATM 2018: Sun Aqua unveils Sun Aqua Iru Veli, Maldives

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ATM 2018: Sun Aqua unveils Sun Aqua Iru Veli, Maldives

Sun Aqua is launching the third property in their portfolio; Sun Aqua Iru Veli, an exclusive resort on the island of Aluvifushi, a private island for guests only in the heart of the South Nilandhe Atoll.

The resort is scheduled to open in October 2018.

True to the Sun Aqua brand, the new resort is laid-back and stylish with a playful vibe.

Iru Veli is a five-star premium all-inclusive resort of 125 villas and suites, all with private pools. Across the lagoon and along the beach, a variety of over-water and beach front villas offers total seclusion in open spaces.

All villas, whether couples’ suites or extended family villas, feature vistas across the Indian Ocean in true Maldivian style.

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Sun Aqua Iru Veli is a quick 40-minute seaplane ride from Malè and the international airport. Features include an infinity pool, a fully equipped recreation centre, a variety of activities and water sports such as jet ski, wind surfing, fun rides, catamaran sailing etc.

Sun Aqua Spa, with its six treatment pavilions and hydrotherapy area, is perched over the lagoon as an over-water spa offering a range of treatments combining western and eastern philosophies.

Dining options include an all-day dining restaurant with an international menu, a grill restaurant set on the beach with focus on fresh seafood and meat dishes, and an over-water restaurant with Italian specialities.

There is also the option of making dinner a private affair with the resort’s destination dining.

As an added flavour, Middle Eastern guests will be happy to learn that the Sun Aqua Signature, the premium all-inclusive plan, includes one daily shisha per couple at the Shisha Lounge free of charge.

Sun Aqua brand is a visionary creation from Sun Siyam, one of the most forward-thinking and dynamic hospitality companies in the Maldives.

With Maldivian entrepreneur Ahmed Siyam Mohamed at the helm, Sun Siyam aims to create a collection of hotel and resort brands across the Indian Ocean and Asia infused with his uniquely passionate and colourful spirit.

The vibe is unpretentious and laid-back yet is punctuated by bursts of vivid colour and quirky touches.

Sun Siyam Resorts will be attending the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai until April 25th at stand AS2350.

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St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort to host World Spa Awards 2018

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World Spa Awards has confirmed that its Gala Ceremony 2018 will be staged at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort on October 26th, welcoming hundreds of hospitality leaders from across the region and around the world.

A spectacular 40-minute seaplane flight from Malé International Airport, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort promises a private island escape in the southern Dhaalu Atoll.

An eco-conscious design draws on island-inspired style and contemporary architectural elements, villas come with private plunge pools and every whim is catered to thanks to the personal St. Regis Butler Service.

However, the standout at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is arguably the 20,000 square foot Iridium Spa.

Meaning “of rainbows” in ancient Greek, Iridium Spa features six couples treatment suites (including two Ayurvedic suites with private steam rooms), a relaxation room with a glass floor for watching fish, and a Blue Hole hydrotherapy pool equipped with high-pressure water jets and massage cannons.

Announcing the decision, World Spa Awards managing director, Rebecca Cohen, said: “It will be an honour for World Spa Awards to visit the Maldives for the first time, later this year.

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“Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches, an amazing underwater world, as well as spectacular spa and wellness offerings, make the Maldives the destination of choice for World Spa Awards.

“And I can think of no better partner for our fourth anniversary than Maldives’ finest address, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, offering a breath-taking overwater spa, a tranquil yoga and meditation studio and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. With so much on offer, it truly is a sanctuary for body and soul.”

Launched in 2015, World Spa Awards is a dynamic awards programme designed to drive up standards within spa and wellness tourism, by rewarding the organisations that are the leaders in the field.

Alexander Blair, general manager, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, added: “We are thrilled to be hosting the fourth annual World Spa Awards here at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort.

“It is an honour to hold such a prestigious Gala Ceremony in our beautiful surroundings.

“Our resort is home to the unique lobster-shaped Iridium Spa, which is the largest overwater spa in the Maldives – so The St. Regis Maldives lends itself perfectly as a venue to celebrate the brilliance of the global spa industry.

“We look forward to welcoming hospitality leaders from around the world to help recognise great success.”

For more information about World Spa Awards, visit the official website.

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Niyama Private Islands to welcome first private jets

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Niyama Private Islands have become accessible via private jet for the first time.

The news follows the opening of Dhaalu Airport in November, which is a mere ten minutes by speedboat from the hotel.

Niyama is the only resort in the Dhaalu atoll region to offer this luxury service, which is set to further cement the resort’s reputation as one of the leading luxury hotels in the world.

Combining unrivalled privacy with exceptional hospitality, Niyama Private Islands is the luxury Maldivian choice for discerning travellers.

Guests are now able to soar over sparkling atolls in the comfort of their own private jet, breeze through the VIP lounge at Dhaalu Airport before speeding across the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean to a jetty reserved exclusively for travellers arriving via jet.

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For those wanting to continue their quest for complete solitude, Niyama offers a quintet of overwater pool villas – known as The Crescent – which fan out over the ocean in stunning isolation.

The epitome of luxury and considered one of the most exclusive villas in the Maldives, The Crescent accommodates 22 people and comes complete with private infinity pools, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, direct access to the crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean as well as private chefs and butlers guaranteed to provide heartfelt personalised service.

There are five two-bedroom over-water Studios which enjoy their own private stretch of beach away from the main resort.

The Studios are available for hire individually, or for large families and groups, they can be hired collectively.

Set across two spacious private islands, appropriately named Play and Chill, connected only by a single wooden bridge across the Indian Ocean, Niyama Private Islands is a truly special Maldivian resort in the south-western atoll of Dhaalu.

The twin islands take barefoot luxury to an exotic new level with their distinctive edgy feel and extraordinary range of activities which allow the stylish, aspirational traveller to expand on the traditional Maldivian itinerary.

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Tibaldi to lead One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

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One&Only has announced the appointment of established industry leader Jan Tibaldi as general manager of One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives.

In his new role, Tibaldi will be responsible for the overall operation and strategic development of the award-winning all-villa resort, as well as leading the One&Only Reethi Rah team to continue to create unrivalled guest experiences.

He brings almost 30 years of international experience in the luxury hospitality industry to One&Only Reethi Rah, having previously held senior positions at some of the most prestigious luxury hotels in the world, including prior roles with One&Only.

Prior to joining One&Only Reethi Rah, Tibaldi held the role of general manager at The PuLi Hotel and Spa, a five-star resort in Shanghai, China.

He has held notable senior leadership positions at global luxury hotel brands including Oberoi, Viceroy and Four Seasons.

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Tibaldi holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Cornell University in the USA.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jan Tibaldi back to One&Only. One&Only Reethi Rah is an extraordinary resort that sets the standard for ultra-luxury in the Indian Ocean, offering unrivalled style, unparalleled privacy and truly unique experiences for guests to discover,” said Philippe Zuber, president, One&Only Resorts.

“His global expertise and extensive background in the luxury hotel sector is a fantastic asset for One&Only.

“Led by Jan, the passionate team at One&Only Reethi Rah will go on to achieve even greater success.”

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UK visitors drive up tourism figures in the Maldives

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UK visitors drive up tourism figures in the Maldives

The Maldives has announced a 9.3 per cent year-on-year increase on the number of UK travellers who visited the country in February 2018, welcoming a total of 11,362 tourists from the UK, compared with 10,395 who visited during February 2017.

Furthermore, 20,804 UK travellers visited the Maldives during the first two months of 2018, representing a 9.4 per cent growth in numbers when compared with the same period of 2017, during which the Maldives welcomed 19,025 UK travellers.

Worldwide visitor arrivals also saw a 19.2 per cent year-on-year increase in February, with a total of 144,286 global travellers visiting the Maldives.

Speaking about the announcement, Mohamed Haris, managing director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, said: “The UK is one of the Maldives’ most important long-haul inbound markets, representing over seven per cent of total visitors so we are very pleased to once again see an increase in the number of travellers from the United Kingdom.

“With several new tourism developments taking place in the Maldives this year, including a new runway and terminal being built at Velana International Airport and 23 new resorts scheduled to open by 2019, our tourism infrastructure is continuing to expand which will provide visitors with even more choice when visiting the Maldives.”

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The Maldives was presented with a host of impressive travel industry awards in 2017, confirming its status as one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world.

Most importantly the country was recognised as Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination by the World Travel Awards.

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Cadau appointed head chef at Gili Lankanfushi

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Gili Lankanfushi has appointed Aldo Cadau as the island’s new executive chef.

Cadau joins the Gili Lankanfushi team in an exciting phase of the island’s gastronomic journey, as he spearheads developments in the resort’s restaurants, news of which will be announced in spring 2018. 

He will oversee operations of the main restaurant and Gili Lankanfushi’s other dining destinations.

These include By the Sea, a Japanese fine-dining restaurant specialising in exquisite sushi, Fini Foni, a poolside ice cream parlour, and the Overwater Bar, in addition to destination dining experiences and in-room villa dining.

Hailing from Sardinia, Cadau’s culinary passion started in his mother’s kitchen, helping her make fresh pasta, pastries and bread.

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His father reared pigs and sheep and taught him how to make prosciutto sausages and cheese, instilling the importance of food’s provenance from a very early age.

Inspired by his upbringing, Cadau continued his culinary journey and trained at the Hotel Institute in Arzachena, Italy.

Bringing a wealth of international influences and impeccable standards of service to Gili Lankanfushi, Cadau looks forward to introducing sand oven cooking techniques to the island, the first of its kind in the Maldives, inspired by the subterranean cooking techniques he learnt in the Middle East.

David Stepetic, general manager of Gili Lankanfushi, said: “Having worked with Aldo previously, I am very excited for him to bring his wonderful culinary – talent and culture to the island.

“He has an intrinsic respect for food and ingredients while being a natural creative, always delivering memorable dining experiences for his guests. 

“We look forward to working with him to grow Gili Lankanfushi’s reputation as one of the Maldives finest gourmet destinations.”

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