Beach Front Villa in The Maldives – A Luxury Escape

Beach Front Villa in The Maldives – A Luxury Escape

Another dream come true in the Maldives! Five nights in a luxury beach front villa. Sand between the toes, blue skies, and blue seas. This was our stay at the Outrigger Konotta Maldives. So, what’s like to stay in a beach front villa in the Maldives? Relaxing At Our Beach Front Villa There are two ways to really experience a luxury stay in the Maldives. One of the most recognizable ways, is in an overwater villa, surrounded by blue seas. We certainly experienced this while staying at Hurawalhi, in one of the north atolls. But, not every property is exclusively filled with overwater villas. In fact, most of the rooms in the Maldives are beach front villas. That was just our experience at Outrigger in the Maldives. At first, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have another overwater villa experience. But, our beach front villa was lovely, comfortable, and huge! A little more in tune with nature than Hurawalhi, our beach front villa included a small plunge pool, a comfortable seating area, and even a jacuzzi on the roof! Our thatched roof villa was surrounded by tropical greenery and felt entirely private. I was also happy for the extra space in the villa, as it did rain a bit during our stay. I did not feel as “stuck” inside because we had the extra space. But, the best part of our beach front villa was that we could walk directly from our deck, onto the white sand beach, and directly into the clear blue waters. Frankly, this was particularly important with the rain, as we were able...
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...
Where to Stay on an American Road Trip

Where to Stay on an American Road Trip

Growing up and studying American history, I always associated a road trip with road side motels. A clean and welcoming Howard Johnson, or a motel in the shape of a teepee. It seems when traveling across the American Southeast, teepee motels are few and far between. But, there were a lot of other options of where to stay on an American road trip. We seemed to hit them all. First, I will note that we started our trip in Florida and were lucky enough to stay with a series of friends for our first two weeks in the States. So, I thank them for their hospitality. But, chances are, you will not be staying with them.  Luxury Historic Hotel For our one night in Mobile, Alabama, we wanted to stay in the center of town. We knew we would only have one dinner, and one more morning to explore Mobile. We wanted something in the middle of it all. We cashed in a free night certificate to stay at the Battle House Renaissance Mobile. This hotel is the perfect example of a luxury historic hotel. The lobby was beautiful, and we chatted with the staff and General Manager about the history of the hotel. The Battle House Renaissance was a perfect way to break out of the mold of typical chain hotels. Rooms at the Battle House Renaissance start at $189 a night. Read what other travelers have to say abut the Battle House Renaissance at TripAdvisor Historic Bed and Breakfast In a similar line, during our last stop on our culinary road trip, we stayed at the John...
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...
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,...
A Luxury Khao Lak Resort in Thailand

A Luxury Khao Lak Resort in Thailand

I’ve become a little picky about where we stay when we visit the Thai beaches. Part of this is a direct result of our stay in some luxury villas in Koh Samui. That experience was fabulous and hard to replicate. Some of it also revolves around our recent vacation to Ao Nang, which was no vacation at all, and ended in a bout of food poisoning. Even as travel bloggers, we want to make the most of the time we spend at the beach. That is why I was so happy to have found a fab Khao Lak resort, which ticked off all of the boxes for a perfect Thai beach stay. The JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort Beach Within minutes of arriving at the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort, our bathing suits were on. We wanted to make the most of our late afternoon arrival to explore the property before dark. This is not that much different from any other time we’ve stayed at a beach resort. The difference here: we explored the resort via water. Bathing suits on, no shoes. We had a pool access room, which meant that we were two steps away from an enormous pool, over two kilometers long, which snaked across the entire resort, in front of our room, past two swim up bars, and pretty much up to the beach. We jumped in and started to explore, ultimately ending up at the edge of the pool with a view of the beach. We returned back to our room amazed at how far we swam without even making it all the way around. But, happy...
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