Here’s the deal. At 6:41 p.m. on a random Tuesday, your editor asks if you maybe want to take a trip to the Maldives in two weeks. The catch: It’s a 30-hour trip each way, and the trip is only four days long. Is there any answer but yes?
Here, a few tips for those who are crazy enough to take on a long weekend in the Maldives—and a few things worth hanging around for.
Did and loved:
Dubai’s Emirates Terminal: Over the course of six hours, I loaded up on camel’s milk chocolate, worked up a sweat and showered at the airport hotel, and snarfed down a breakfast burger and shake at Shake Shack (I know, I know—but my body thought it was 7 p.m.).
Club Med. Put aside all preconceived notions about Club Med’s free-lovin’ past and all-inclusive-summer-camp feel. Those things still exist (in a tamer fashion) at the nearby Club Med Kani, but Club Med Finolhu is a very luxurious step up, complete with over-water bungalows, personal concierges, and genuine eco efforts (it’s 100-percent solar powered, for example). And, man, it’s one of the friendliest places I’ve ever stayed. Kudos.
THE WATER: Yes, it is as unbelievable as people claim. Glass-clear and filled with angel fish, zebra fish, fat little turtles, shy manta rays, giant purple-lipped clams... I spent as much time in it as possible swimming, parasailing, snorkeling, boating, and basically just floating around thanking my lucky stars.
Trip to Dhiffushi: It’s a tiny island without much in the way of tourist services. But what you do get is a peek at (predominately Muslim) life outside the resorts. There’s even a little hotel here with its own strip of beach.
Flying Emirates business class: Emirates’ coach is great—seriously good food, free mid-shelf booze, the ability to binge-watch all those shows you’ve been putting off—but business has flat-bed seats, lounge access, and the boss sky bar, where you can stretch your legs and chat less awkwardly with other passengers.
A full day Dubai layover: It was tough to pass through the land of Vegas flash, oil money, and Disney dreams and realize it’s the dead middle of the night and there was no time to explore.
A day in Malé: The busy, dense capital of the Maldives, and where all the political and economical moving and shaking takes place. I hear it’s where you go to bump up against the more authentic part of the Maldives.