Where are we today? If you are just joining us, check out our last installment of TC Travel Diaries, which follows our team of experts and top travel professionals as they explore the stunning shores of Saint Lucia.
Today, our final edition of TC Travel Diaries brings us halfway across the world to the monolithic shores of the Seychelles, the technologically lavish city of Dubai and striking blue lagoons of the Maldives. This destination combination offers the best of both worlds – exploration and relaxation.
Pictured above (left to right): Joanne Ng- Island Destinations; Debie Isroff- Wayland Travel; Margaret Williams- Williams Travel-Travel Experts; Susan Ganis- Ovation Travel; Martene- Six Senses Laamu; Beth Steele- Island Destinations; Alycia Papadopoulos- MTA Travel; Donna Guttman- Number 1 Travel; Rhiannon Dunkley- MTA Travel.
Our first stop was in the Seychelles. Located off the east coast of Africa in the western Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are comprised of 115 granite and coral islands surrounded by sparkling turquoise seas. This pristine paradise has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and almost half of the islands are uninhabited.
Here our group stayed at Banyan Tree Seychelles, located on the mainland of Mahé. This island oasis offers colonial charm and modern luxuries while still maintaining a sense of environmental responsibility. Not only can you enjoy a massage overlooking the sea, but you can stroll through the resort’s organic garden or check out their conservation center, which supports rescued terrapin, or sea turtles.
ID’s Insight: We highly recommend staying in one of the Beachfront Villas (we stayed in Villa 125). These expansive accommodations definitely embody the true meaning of ‘beachfront’ – where you’ll be able to step outside with your morning coffee and be just feet from the crystal clear water, with your toes in the sand.
After a few relaxing nights in the Seychelles, we arrived in Dubai. This unique blend of modern metropolis combined with the tantalizing charm of the Arabian Desert offers the ultimate cultural experience with an abundance of activities from camel polo to indoor skiing… And is part of the reason Dubai is considered to embody the spirit of possibility.
Our home for the evening was One&Only Royal Mirage – set in 65 acres of lush gardens with a kilometer of private beach, this opulent property offers a repose in the middle of the city, with easy access to downtown activities. The property is divided in three distinct sections – The Palace, Arabian Court and The Estate. Our group stayed in Arabian Court, which embraces the mystique of the Orient with dramatic architecture and reflecting pools.
ID’s Insight: The best way to end an exhilarating day of exploring is with a cool cocktail at The Beach Bar and Grill (aka ‘The Beach’), set between lush gardens and golden sands. Come sundown, the glow of the candles and reflections of the sunset over Palm Island Bay make for a magical night.
ID’s Insight: One of the most unique things to do in Dubai is a sundowner safari in the desert. We visited Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa to experience the natural side of Dubai. We had the once in a lifetime opportunity to ride camels to a champagne bar positioned in the middle of the sands dunes, followed by a beautiful five course a la carte dinner in the surrounding desert – a truly unforgettable experience.
Our next stop was in the Maldives, a tiny island nation located in the remote Indian Ocean that is comprised of 99% sea. Upon arrival in Malé, the capital, we relaxed in the airport lounge and awaited our seaplane. Since most resorts are on their own island, a combination of domestic flight, seaplane, and speedboat is typically required to arrive at your destination.
The first hotel we stayed at was Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, a 30 minute seaplane from Malé. Renowned for its exceptional hospitality, we were blown away by the island’s lush tropical setting, gourmet dining and beautiful spa – set on stilts above the lagoon with glass-floored treatment rooms.
ID’s Insight: A romantic dinner at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is a must! The world’s first and only glass undersea restaurant sits five meters below the surface, with 180-degree panoramic views of the vibrant coral gardens and stunning wildlife. This is truly a unique Maldivian experience!
Next, we were back in Malé awaiting our transfers to Six Senses Laamu – a 50 minute domestic flight and 15 minute speedboat ride from the mainland. Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, and is comprised of on-land and overwater villas constructed with sustainable materials.
ID’s Insight: For an enchanting Maldivian day, start off with a treatment at the spa, uniquely nestled in the lush gardens. Each villa includes two bikes for easily navigating the island in style! After a blissful post-spa afternoon, enjoy a sunset cocktail at Chill Bar, built completely overwater. Finish off the night with an organic dinner at LEAF – Six Senses’ signature restaurant, perched above the organic garden.
Our final stop in the Maldives was at the ultra-modern Amilla Fushi, a 15 minute domestic flight and 10 minute speedboat from Malé. Located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, Amilla Fushi translates into ‘My Island Home.’ All of the accommodations here are stunningly minimalist – fresh blue and white décor with open-concept floor plans.
ID’s Insight: While on property, you have to take advantage of the resort’s ‘HUB’ or epicenter for marine activities and programs. From Turtle Safaris to Night Snorkeling and Catamaran Sailing to Seabobs, there is something for everyone. Just be sure to hire Amilla’s underwater photo and video services to make your memories last a lifetime!
Thank you for joining the TC Travel Diaries as we journeyed across the globe, seeking out the world’s best hotels and their untouched white sand beaches, award-winning spas and five-star dining. Be sure to follow us into 2017 to see what new destinations await…