Hurawalhi – A Luxury Overwater Villa In The Maldives

Hurawalhi – A Luxury Overwater Villa In The Maldives

I’ve dreamed about an overwater villa in the Maldives every since I first hear about the island nation over a decade ago. Sometimes, dreams do come true. Friends of ours honeymooned in The Maldives about 15 years ago. Before their wedding, I had never even heard of the country. They told us all about it, showed us photos, and since then, I have been wanting to travel to the Maldives. The Maldives is famous for being an island nation. There are over 1,100 islands of varying sizes, spread across the Indian Ocean. Every single island, including the capital in Malé, is tiny. Very tiny. To make the most of space, resorts began building platforms and jetties with overwater bungalows that jut out into the sea. The same went for Hurawalhi Maldives. Everything at Hurawalhi was fresh and new. We arrived on their fourth day of operation. And, yes, there was a new resort smell to the place. After registering at the sand-filled reception area, staff whisked us on a golf cart to our Ocean Pool Villa. We rode past the soon to be finished football pitch and tennis courts, and along the back side of the spa and the restaurants. Then, the buggy turned around a bend, and all I could see were stunning, wooden overwater villas. At the end of the beach path, and at the island’s edge, the buggy bumped onto a narrow wooden jetty, with clear blue water on either side. We jetted past more that a dozen overwater villas before arriving at ours, almost at the end of the path. Our driver deposited us at Villa...
What To Do In The Maldives

What To Do In The Maldives

As even The Planet D, a notable adventure travel blog couple, has stated, the Maldives is one of the top destinations to visit in 2017. Now, Dave and Deb, I am sure look for something a bit different than we do when traveling. They look for adventure. I am sure a trip to the Maldives for them includes snorkeling, diving, kite surfing, and more. But, we are not adventure travel bloggers. We are luxury travel bloggers. In that vane, we were looking to put together a slightly different list of what to do in the Maldives. Top Things To Do in the Maldives Set The Alarm for Sunrise This was all Eric. I slept in. Sunrise occurs around 6:30 am, and is around a similar time throughout the year because the Maldives is so close to the equator. Many resorts categorize their rooms as either sunset or sunrise. We had a sunrise room at Hurawalhi, but the sunrise was a bit too far to the right for us (meaning Eric) to enjoy it from our deck. At Outrigger Resorts, though, the sunrise was directly in front of our beach villa. Eric was up most morning, with our GoPro, taking some lovely photos and videos of the sunrise. I slept in. Happily. After all, at the top of my list of things to do in the Maldives, was relax. Enjoy Fresh Fish and Seafood Only two food items are naturally found in the Maldives: fish and coconuts. One of the main staples of Maldivian cuisine is a tuna coconut curry. In addition to the curry, fish and seafood is plentiful...
Maldives Travel Guide – How to Travel to the Maldives

Maldives Travel Guide – How to Travel to the Maldives

We were a little, well, lazy, when it came to figuring out how to travel to the Maldives. We obviously where able to figure out how to travel from Bangkok to the Maldives. But, we didn’t really look much beyond that. We trusted the luxury resorts in the Maldives would take care of things. And, for the most part, they did. In the end, though, we needed a little more than that to handle Maldives travel. Here are our Maldives travel tips. What Airlines Travel to the Maldives There are plenty of full service and budget airlines that fly to the Maldives. We flew Air Asia through Kuala Lumpur, which was the cheapest option with the fewest layovers. It did mean, however, an overnight flight back to Kuala Lumpur. The best way, however, to fly to the Maldives is to fly on one of the Middle East airlines, like Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, or Etihad. From Europe this means it is possible to arrive in the Maldives after only one stop. That’s even possible from the US from some of the Middle Eastern gateways, like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other major cities. This actually means that if you are in one of these main gateway cities, Maldives travel is a lot closer than you think. That’s a good thing. All international flights arrive and depart from Malé, the capital of the Maldives. It is necessary to  transfer to your resort in one of three ways. Some resorts, like the Four Seasons, are within a quick boat ride from Malé. Other resorts are close enough to Malé that their...
How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

We had a fabulous timing when visiting Chengdu earlier this year. We saw a giant buddha, spent time with pandas, and ate some amazing Sichuan cuisine. It is also where we learned how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail.   Now, generally I enjoy receiving a lesson on how to make a good cocktail. We learned how to make a proper gin and tonic at the Four Seasons in Lisbon, as well as at the Ritz-Carlton Macau. We’ve explored cocktails in Brno and drank many a Aperol Spritz in Italy, all in the name of research. This time, though, enjoying a few cocktails at The Bar in Chengdu, China, caused a little bit of a problem. What kind of problem can an Old Fashioned cause? A little bit of an addiction. Prior to our visit to Chengdu, the Old Fashioned was not in our repertoire of drinks. Now, we can’t get enough of them. Tips On How To Make an Old Fashioned There was a certain formality to making this particular Old Fashioned. There was a bit of pomp and circumstance. Part of that was because we were at one of the top cocktails bars in Chengdu. Part of it, though, was the bartender, who marched through the steps, with a seriousness not often found in cocktail making. A seriousness that was followed by a generous smile, and a pride in knowing he made a great drink. Back to that Old Fashioned. A heavy bottomed rocks glass. A large single ice cube, to ensure the ice doesn’t melt too quick. A sugar cube. The bartender slowly dripped just a few drops...
Chengdu Luxury Hotel – Niccolo Chengdu

Chengdu Luxury Hotel – Niccolo Chengdu

What to Expect From a Chengdu Luxury Hotel During our first trip to China in 2009, I was entirely overwhelmed by the experience of traveling in China. Despite our flashpacking budget back then, we stayed at Western chain hotels, just to have some sort of comfort and familiarity. For our recent visit to China, though, I wanted more. I wanted a great experience, great food, and a little bit of luxury. And, we found it at a relative new Chengdu luxury hotel. Through our recent luxury travel experiences, we’ve learned what to expect from a luxury hotel. A well appointed room, a decadent lobby, well trained staff. But, when traveling in China, I wasn’t sure if the same rules applied. Sure, we’ve stayed in luxury hotels in nearby Macau and Hong Kong. But, mainland China, well, that’s another story. Traveling in China is hard, so I expect a luxury hotel in Chengdu to eliminate the stress of China. And, Niccolo Hotel did just that. The hotel prides itself on incorporating some truly unique artwork from both local and international artists. After walking in through the glass enclosed tea lounge, artwork surrounded us. Niccolo touts its “contemporary urban chic” decor, but I don’t care what they call it. It’s impressive. The most notable artwork was “Beijing Girl” by Zhang Xiang Ming. Her deep, soulful eyes greeted us each time we walked through the lobby. Of course Niccolo Chengdu offered well appointed rooms, with luxury amenities and a comfortable bed. But, what really set the hotel apart was the service, and the food. Niccolo Chengdu helped to arrange our visit to see the pandas,...
Top Foods You Must Eat in China

Top Foods You Must Eat in China

Because we recently ate loads of tasty foods in Chengdu, I asked our friends Agnes and Cez, China experts, to share their recommendations for foods you must eat in China. Agnes and Cez are typical foodies who love to discover new flavors when traveling across the world. Living and teaching English in China on and off since 2011, they managed to try a great variety of traditional Chinese dishes. They share their culinary experiences on their travel (eTramping) and food (Run Agness Run) blogs. Check them out if you are looking for some food inspiration! Unique Flavors of Chinese Food There’s a reason why Chinese food is so popular among worldwide travelers and locals. Chinese cuisine is, above all, extremely tasty, aromatic and very colorful. It is also diverse as you can find extremely spicy meals in the Eastern part of the country, sweet in the South, salty in the North, and West is characterized by its sourness. In this way, everyone can find something for themselves when visiting different parts of China. Cez enjoying his jiaozi – traditional Chinese dumplings. Additionally, dining out in China is very affordable so you can eat more and pay less. Superior restaurants are much cheaper than you think, whereas the street food costs nearly nothing! Agness ready to try some fried pork with rice and veggies. Since we know that Chinese cuisine is worth tasting, let’s check out some of the top dishes you must eat in China when visiting the Land of Dragons. Top Foods You Must Eat in China Sweet and Sour Chicken in Batter This dish is a perfect dinner option as it...
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