Trip Report: The Caribbean of the Indian Ocean

I know I said I was going to the Caribbean.  I practically swore my life on it, or your life, I forget and it’s irrelevant, let’s just move on.  Yet then life found a way – quite literally, as Lucie becoming pregnant meant we couldn’t travel during the first 12 weeks due to these so-called doctors thinking they know best.  Medical advice is all well and good, but the real tipping point was when it became impossible to find business class flights to Antigua.  I don’t need a doctor to tell me it’s psychologically damaging for me to fly in economy with a toddler.

So we came extremely close to booking Necker Island, but because it’s exclusive use only except for a small number of what they call Celebration Weeks, it meant with February not being possible and the next opportunity being in July, we couldn’t do that either.   My second daughter is due in September and we won’t be flying anywhere post June.  Once again my Necker Island plans were scuppered.   I’d have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling (unborn) kids. Basically, it’s not my fault in absolutely no way and I’m still a man of my word.  As punishment for that thing I’m not at fault at, I’m now going on a far more expensive trip.

So a mere five months after we were last in the Maldives, we’re heading back, this time to revisit Cheval Blanc Randheli, now under the management of Laurent Chancel and having undergone some renovations.  At the same time, we’ll try out the new Patina and fly back via Dubai, where we’re staying in the Armani and Burj al Arab, both of which I’ve stayed in previously and neither of which I bothered to review, cos I used to have a life.

  • BA First Class to Male
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli
  • Patina
  • Emirates Business Class to Dubai
  • Armani Hotel Dubai
  • Burj al Arab

Now as I write this I don’t have a return flight home, so we may extend in Dubai, potentially to try Oberoi Al Zorah, or they might lock me up as they think I’m seeking asylum. If there’s somewhere you’d like me to review or try out whilst I’m out there, do let me know, as long as it’s not a police cell.

One amendment to the above: we always stay in London the night before we fly from Heathrow.  It’s closer, that bit more relaxing and it’s a relaxing way to start.   So you get an understanding of how meticulously I plan my own trips, I don’t know where that will be yet.  I guess in writing this is considered a cliffhanger?

Hopefully less exciting will be the getting there.  The daily news in England is currently filled with reports that must have British Airways PR team the same headache all the White House press secretaries from 2016-2020 suffered.    BA are cancelling flights due to IT meltdowns/staffing shortages/realising some of their planes are so bad they will spare people the embarrassment of flying on them.  I’m just hoping we actually get to go and they don’t cancel the plane, particularly mid-flight.

It should be stress-free when it comes to covid restrictions, as this is the first flight in which we flew to Seychelles in March 2020 that will have zero covid restrictions in place.  It’s nice knowing in the lead up to a holiday I can continue to lick lampposts and not worry about what disease I’ll soon have.

I’ll be writing reviews on each of the properties and as we know from my first sentence, I’m a man of my word.  Stay tuned.


  1. Stay far, far away from the One & Only Royal Mirage. We just stayed there 2 weeks ago and it was just plain awful (not sure they realize they’re in the service industry). I would love a review of the Four Seasons Jumeriah Beach though. Emirates Business is very mediocre (when you’re used to flying Singapore Air). Emirates First Class on the way back was a complete disaster. Took us an hour to check in for first class and total chaos with lines so can only imagine how long it might have taken for business to check in.

    • I don’t know what it is, but I always forget about O&O Royal Mirage – even though I’ve stayed at O&O The Palm. Good shout on FS – I’ll add that to the list.

      Agreed on Emirates Business – it’s a pretty dreadful product, but a 4-hour one-way first-class flight from the Maldives to Dubai is nearly £9,000/$12,000. That’s like half a meal at Cheval Blanc Randheli’s Le 1947

  2. FYI, I would look elsewhere as the FS JB Dubai is currently have problems with the beach club beside them, Nammos, blaring loud music all day and night long, they close at 2am. Especially with a young child in tow. You should also add the Mandarin Oriental or the Bulgari in Dubai, especially the Bulgari if you like sushi, you should try Hoseki, probably the best sushi outside of Japan, need to book 1 month minimum in advance for dinner, as they only have 9 seats.

    • Thanks, Robert. We stayed in Bulgari a few years ago and loved it – would love to go back, but it’d be hard not to book one of their 1 bedroom villas. I did already look at the Mandarin, but there’s something about the brand that always fails to quite deliver. It’s never quite there

    • You managed to convince me, Robert. Mandarin Oriental it is.

  3. How about the new Raffles on Palm Jumeirah?

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