HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! For my first post of the year, I am recapping my last trip of 2020! I did NOT expect to go anywhere in December and was completely shocked and elated when Qatar Airways and Four Seasons Maldives reached out to me for a totally last minute trip to the Maldives!!! The Maldives have always been a bucket list destination for me and I could not believe I was going there in 2020 of all times?! Qatar Airways requires all passengers to have to get negative PCR Covid test results within 96 hours of the flight check in, so nothing was guaranteed, however. I invited my dear sister Irene to go with me on this trip, (the real OG that helped me even get my blog started!!!) and of course I was stoked when we confirmed she was my +1 and with that, we were on our way.
There was initial worry at finding a location to get a 96 hour PCR COVID test since every company in the Bay Area that could provide results within the required time frame seemed to be full. We ended up finding the company, Curative, which had some slots still open and booked an appointment at their Menlo Park location. Even though we had to stand in the rain for a bit, it was fast and we got the results in about 36 hours.
Fast forward a few days to our negative results and then arriving at the SFO airport. This was Qatar Airways inaugural flight out of the International San Francisco airport!! Once checked in, we went to the gate which had balloons, gift bags and special upgrades were awarded to random winners! This was the first moment I met all the other people in our group! Catarina (@professionaltraveler) and her husband Rafael, Haley (@haleytakesontheworld) and her dad Steve. I also saw my friend Albert (@jetalbert) and met a few of his aviation influencer friends which was fun.
Qatar Airways has one of the best business class cabins I have ever seen. A truly amazing feature of our individual seats was that we had sliding privacy doors. They do have seats that open up to each other, however, so you can have 2 to 4 connected. It is really great for couples, families or groups traveling together! The Qatar Airways service on and off the plane is impeccable as well and I was really impressed at the in-flight food selection. Chicken biryani? Yes please! Hummus, fresh fruit, hot croissants, and more! The in-flight business class bathroom also has a vanity mirror for makeup application, a longer mirror to see your whole outfit, lotion and body mist. Their “super wifi” is also really fast from SFO to Doha (not so fast from Doha to Male)! Needless to say, our first 15 hour flight passed super quickly!
I received a lot of questions on Instagram about pricing, so I have Qatar Airways flight prices for you guys here: Economy SFO-Maldives: from $899* roundtrip, and Business Class SFO-Maldives: from $2,999* roundtrip. Directly from the Qatar Airways website: Book by 11 January 2021 and take advantage of our great offers* with fares starting from USD 885* in Economy Class for travel by 14 December 2021.
We arrived in Doha, Qatar and a Qatar Airways rep was there to usher us to the Oryx Airport Hotel where we had just around 3 or so hours before our flight to Male. We were able to freshen up and sleep a little too though in retrospect I should have packed a full change of clothes. Qatar Airways actually escorted us straight from the plane to the hotel and back to the plane, which was really convenient, as we never had to worry about where we were going. I am pretty sure that anyone in business class can book this service!
The flight to Male was 5 hours. As soon as we arrived, we had to show an online health declaration form to customs. This would have been best done in Doha while we had fast internet (You are allowed to fill out the form within 24 hours of your arrival) but we were so tired that we didn’t even think about it! The service was so weak at the Male customs area that we tried to submit our forms over and over and it simply would not submit. In part of the form it asked us to upload a photo of ourself and our PCR test – the fix was not uploading the photos. Once through customs, we picked up our bags and then waited in the Four Seasons lounge which was air conditioned and fully stocked with drinks and snacks, before getting picked up by speedboat* to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. The view of the bight blue water right out of the airport was so mesmerizing. The ride was quick and smooth, only 35 minutes! *The cost of a speedboat transfer between the Airport and Kuda Huraa is US$250++ per adult (US$125++ per way per adult), subject to 10% service charge and 12%GST.
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is such a beautiful resort and we felt so welcomed! They took us straight to our villas where we were able to relax and get settled a bit before lunch at their Italian restaurant, the Reef Club. The water villas are simple amazing. We were right over the water, we had a huge bathroom, closet, the most comfortable king bed and a giant tv. We had our own infinity pool and many places to relax outside and direct access to the ocean with a little ladder off our balcony. Once at the Reef Club, where we had a very refreshing meal, we were also able to enjoy a lovely view of an infinity pool and the ocean. It was our first chance to start getting to know each other and of course we were all kind of reeling from the time change. After a few hours of chatting we went back to our rooms to change and start exploring the resort.
A few hours later, we had dinner at Baraabaru, where we explored seafood dishes infused with Indian flavors. To be perfectly honest with you guys, I don’t really like seafood so in general the whole trip I struggled to find food I wanted to eat 🙁 Everyone else really really loved the food though and I’m glad!
I think I’ll split my recap into at least 2-3 parts, so that’s where I’ll stop for now 🙂 If you guys want to see videos of anything I talked about in this post, just head to my instagram @hapatime or www.instagram.com/hapatime and look at my Maldives highlight in my profile!
Please let me know if you have any questions!
Part 2 coming tomorrow…XOXO