Jun 022012

This is going to be mainly a picture post, with a few thoughts thrown in. My decision to come to Maldives was basically based on two things: 1) I had to get to Colombo anyways to catch my onward ticket, and 2) I’ve spent 20+ days in Sri Lanka already, so a short detour (even though it was only 24 hours) to Maldives to count another country seemed well worth it to me. Add in the fact the Sheraton was a mere 20 minute boat ride from the airport…and I was sold. Despite the cost.

Cost? Oh yeah…the Sheraton requires a boat transfer from the airport to the island the Sheraton is on at the cost of $100 per person roundtrip. I figure in many cities I pay $30 each way for a taxi, so this wasn’t THAT awful, and I’d likely have my own boat…which I did in one direction. It wasn’t so bad. Except for the fact that when I landed, the Sheraton rep was nowhere to be found. It took me nearly 30 minutes to locate him, in shabby shorts and a stained t-shirt, no sign, he simply noticed me wandering around looking lost and came up to me. Major service fail.

That said, a picture from the airport boat jetty as we departed:

About 20 minutes later we docked at the hotel, where the boat docks at the “reception area” – basically a hut whose only purpose is to check you in. Quite nice, informed I was upgraded to an ocean view bungalow (I asked about an overwater one, but was told that was a double upgrade and not permitted – even for platinum members.)  A golf cart whisked me to the room, where after 10pm I wasn’t going to leave for the night.  Despite the fact room service drinks were damn near extortionate, I indulged.  I did elect the scotch, however, solely based on the fact it was the only mildly reasonable option:

Prices in US$ and yes, they wanted $225 for a bottle of Belvedere Vodka…ouch!  I managed a 375ml of scotch from the minibar for around $35, which was the most reasonable thing around..

Slept relatively early, and wandered out onto the beach in front of my room the following morning to this view:

Walking back into the room from the beach, here’s the view of the bungalow:

Breakfast was included in my rate, so headed there next.  Only real complaint is that it was well over 30C at 8am, incredibly humid, and there was next to no breeze in the restaurant.  Combine that with the heat from cooking and it was almost intolerable in there.  There were a couple of timid fans, but many more are needed.  That said, the buffet was extensive…eggs, waffles, pancakes cooked to order, lots of hot options, tons of cold options, great selection of baked goods.  Only real downside is the cold items like cheese were not kept overly cool, and had a nice sweaty film on them.  Not sure how much breakfast would cost if it wasn’t included in your rate (I heard $30+) but for included it was mostly awesome.

Headed back to the room afterwards, where I snapped some shots of the awesome outdoor shower / tub / bathroom.  Yea, wandering outside to use the bathroom was a bit odd, but the outdoors shower under the sun was absolutely awesome.  I think I took three showers that day just to enjoy the sun on me.

This is a good time for a quick shot of the room:

One note on the room:  the air conditioning was awesome, however, the room was not sealed well.  I had two small lizards living in the room that I was surprised by, and I’m sure a few other insects as well.  Maldives is definitely not a destination for the squeamish!

I spent the remainder of the morning sitting on the beach, snorkeling for 30-40 minutes at a time, rinse, and repeat.  By early afternoon around 2pm I was hungry, but decided to take the long way to lunch wandering by the overwater bungalows:

Decided to take lunch at the bar, since it had nice tables outside next to the water.  The restaurants were all incredibly empty.  I’d read online that most guests had breakfast included (makes sense, it was packed!) and then ate in the rooms the rest of the day.  Again, made since, because at lunch time all the restaurants were absolutely deserted!  Fine by me!

While I waited for food to come, I enjoyed a cold beer and watched some sand crabs fighting next to my table:

View from seat at lunch:

Soon, lunch came.  All told, it wasn’t a huge ripoff considering all food has to be imported to the island.  2 beers, a sandwich with fries, and 2 scoops ice cream, total cost around US$60.

After lunch, I relaxed on the beach a bit more, snorkeled a bit more, before the reception called at 3:30 offering to send the golf cart to take me to check out.  There was lots of waiting around over the next 45 minutes, but it all worked out.  Shared the transfer to the airport with a group of 10 that was on my flight, and everything worked out.  A couple shots of the airport during the daytime:

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