Reethi Rah, Maldives
Paradise is only a ten hour flight away, and I should know - I’ve been. If you want to head to The Maldives but the thought of a long haul flight is too much, why not break up your journey with a stopover in Dubai, and check two luxe holiday destinations off your list?
Dubai, GREAT idea! What’s it like?
Nothing in Dubai is small; when Dubai goes big, it goes big, and whether you're looking for a desert safari or skiing in the middle of summer, you’ll find it here.
How about the One&Only Royal Mirage Hotel?
Everything you ever wanted and more, plus a kilometer of private beach. The accommodation is super luxe, with private villas that international A-listers can't get enough of - George Clooney, Matt Damon, Roger Federer...
Nope - the staff are far too discreet to reveal anything about their guests.
How was the room?
Bigger than my flat back home, with the bonus of no husband and children to share it with. Bliss. I would have been quite happy to stay in it for the whole holiday, with my own dining area, plush bed plus LCD TVs (yes, plural), DVD player and iPod station. They even have proper hairdryers. The best bit? The walk-in wardrobe.
Well, I do want to see some of the city...
Ok, the shopping malls are the obvious places to hit up, housing the likes of Gucci, Chanel and Chloe. Nothing is beats a birds eye view of Dubai from above, so take a sea plane tour with the Seawings experience and view Palm Island in its full glory.
What else is there to do?
How many days are you staying? There's the gym, spa, swimming pools, water sports, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, tennis, golf, volleyball and basketball - and that's just within the hotel. Phew.
If you had to pick one thing, though?
A traditional steam bath at the beautiful Oriental Hammam, where every inch of your body is bathed, steamed, scrubbed and massaged until you have baby soft skin. Warning - be prepared to strip right down; bikini bottoms can feel over dressed. Not for the shy.
I’m feeling a little peckish. What are the food options at the hotel?
World-class chefs prepare foods from around the world. My favourites? The Beach Bar & Grill for amazing fish for lunch, and Eauzone for modern food with an Asian twist.
We can't wait to try those beds...
Take a shower first, the bathrooms are amazing. Wallow in the oversized freestanding bath while watching TV, drench yourself under the rain shower, smother yourself in the Aqua di Parma products. And there’s even a choice of towelling and silk robes.
What should we do when we've freshened up?
Nothing - just relax on a lavish daybed under a palm tree by the tranquility of the pool. Heaven. Or rent one of the private cabanas, and hang out with concierge service.
I need to satisfy my sweet tooth. Any suggestions?
Come dinner time, head to STAY; the signature restaurant by three Michelin star chef Yannick Alleno. There's a Pastry Library, where you can help put your dessert together. Customised pudding, what more could we ask for.
It's finally time to head to The Maldives, how far away is it?
Only five hours. You should stay at the One & Only Resort Reethi Rah.
What's it like?!
There are no words, except paradise. Or heaven. There isn’t an inch of the island that isn't totally Instagramable.
Is it a big hotel?
No way. It’s all about private quiet individual villas with your own pool and your own stretch of beach. There are 12 beaches, a beach club, two championship-grade tennis courts, a gorgeous spa, watersports centre, artists’ studio, climbing wall, golf simulator, luxury boutique, library and even a kid's club, although I suggest leaving them at home. This island is so romantic; perfect for a honeymoon. You even get your own bicycle to get you around the island.
We've got high expectations for the rooms...
Huge. With soaring ceilings. The massive bed has a view overlooking your pool and beach. There’s a hammock under the palm trees for that afternoon nap, too. There are sketch books in the room in case inspiration strikes, and even a pillow menu to choose from.
And if I want to get active?
There's a state-of-the-art gym with personal trainers on hand if you need them. Or head to Club One, the beach club, for lots of water sports including banana boats, canoes, paddle board, water-skiing and windsurfing.
What about swimming…
There is a lap pool, an infinity pool, your own personal plunge pool and of course the ocean.
What's the most memorable activity?
Head out on a boat for an exciting Turtle Adventure. Snorkle along the coral reef and make friends with some marine life and super cute turtles. A totally unforgettable experience.
But isn’t it full of honeymooners?
There are some (obvs). But there are also families and groups of friends.
Ok, I'm hungry. Talk to me about breakast.
The Reethi Restaurant has a buffet with every kind breakfast from around the world. American waffles? Yum. Chinese dim sum? Maybe not for breakfast. Eggs any style - poached please. Try the coconut smoothie, too.
My favourite restaurant was Tapasake, with it’s spectacular over-water setting and modern-Japanese cuisine. Don’t forget to try the chocolate spring rolls. If you are there at 9pm, a small school of reef sharks come and pay a visit every night.
I really don't want to lift a finger - will that work?
Someone to clean my sunglasses while sipping on a fresh coconut by the pool? Check. Someone to unpack my suitcase? Check. And repack it? Check.
I forgot to have a pedicure before I left…
Don’t worry, the lovely Kevin at the Bastien Gonzalez studio will give your feet the TLC that they deserve.
Best At Travel (www.bestattravel.co.uk / 0203 733 6507) is offering two nights at One&Only Royal Mirage in a Palace Superior Deluxe, one night at One&Only The Palm in a Palm Manor House Premier Room and four nights at One&Only Reethi Rah from £2349 per person on a half board basis. Price includes all flights and taxes on Emirates Airline. www.oneandonlyresorts.com
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