Between double PCR tests for yourself, your family and your rug rats, uploading digital forms for each traveller before every flight and being told off by the family for holidaying while the world is suffering human loss, one would think that the charm of Maldives would be quick to wear off.
One would be wrong, as I found out first-hand.
Despite the hours between Dubai to Abu Dhabi aboard Etihad Airways bus, followed by a red-eye flight, followed by a one-hour speed boat ride, the Maldivian magic of sun, sand and sea works even on people who live in Dubai, with its ample sun, sand and sea. The trick then is choosing the right place to stay – we chose to go spend our spring break in OBLU SELECT at Sangeli situated in the North-Western tip of Male' Atoll - and the decision was one of the best we took over the entire pandemic.
Although that doesn’t speak much of our decision-making capabilities, you would understand better if you have been to an island paradise during this period of travel restrictions. Blue as far as the eye can see and a bright tropical sun to match, beachy music, and people – lots of them – having a good time without their masks on, as though the news of the pandemic hadn’t yet arrived on the islands. A quick look at the staff and rest assured, though fully vaccinated and amply quarantined, the staff have their masks on, at all times: a precursor to the new norms in Maldivian hospitality – the ‘Joy of Giving’.
Roaming free without your masks (only in the open areas though) and daily entertainment with live music, dancing, stargazing cruises, guided snorkelling trips, free and unlimited use of non-motor water gear, most food and beverage outlets, and the kids club with its detailed activity list for all ages, makes a stay at OBLU SELECT at Sangeli feel like a trip to Utopia, only real.
Details of our stay on the island, travel procedures to the Maldives and back, and an all-exclusive interview with Monica Suri, the general manager of the well-oiled resort, will all be available in the next issue of TTN.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.