As BA cease their summer schedule to the Maldives, we suggest alternative routes to make touching down a pleasure, not a pain.
While the summer 2015 cessation of the direct BA route to Male will frustrate many a traveller planning their holidays and honeymoons next year, the now compulsorily indirect flight will present a variety of opportunities, previously unconsidered by ‘fly & flop’ fans. Those with their heart set on the picture perfect islands of the Maldives need only spend a few extra hours on an aircraft (the quickest route being just over 12.5 hours with Emirates, only 2 hours more than BA’s direct winter offering).
Discover the Shopping Malls of Dubai, the summer festivals in Abu Dhabi, a collision of opposites in Singapore, the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, the Ancient City of Istanbul or the great capital in the making of Doha.
Huvafen Fushi and The Armani
Emirates’ regular schedule allows for speedy connections through both legs on one’s way to and back from the Maldives, yet Dubai is an excellent point to stop off for some serious shopping. Combine seven nights at one of the Maldives trendiest resorts, Huvafen Fushi, with two nights at the Armani, housed in the iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower within walking distance to the air conditioned Dubai Mall, the world’s largest retail destination.
From: £3,875 per person, based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis, including transfers and international flights with Emirates in economy class.
Outbound/Inbound Journey: UK Various-Dubai-Male/Male-Dubai-UK Various 12.5 - 13 hours
Outbound/Return Stopover: Armani, Downtown Dubai
Raffles and Gili Lankanfushi
A slightly longer route, but certainly worth the journey for a three night stay in the world’s most iconic hotel followed by seven nights luxuriating in one of the Maldives best renowned barefoot luxury resorts. With a connection of under two hours on the return journey, the award winning Singapore Airways and ‘oh so easy’ Changi Airport make this itinerary work like a dream. With a glorious blend of old world charm from Raffles and a 21st century approach to rustic luxury from Gili Lankanfushi, this is the perfect trip for the traditional and romantic.
From: £4,350 per person, based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis including transfers and international flights with Singapore Airways in economy class.
Inbound Journey: Male-Singapore-Heathrow 19.5 hours
Outbound Stopover: Raffles, Singapore
Six Senses Laamu and Ulagalla
The classic combination of The Maldives and Sri Lanka is nothing new but its popularity has fallen since the introduction of the direct flight. The Cultural Triangle in Sri Lanka makes for a wonderful contrast with the sea and sand of The Maldives and offers history buffs a feast of ancient treasures. Spend seven nights at Six Senses Laamu, an emerald gem fringed by a powder white sand beach and crystal clear waters, then hop over to Sri Lanka for three nights at Ulagalla to escape to another era and immerse yourself in culture, history and nature.
From: £3,200 per person, based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis, including transfers and international flights with Sri Lankan Airways in economy class.
Outbound Journey: Heathrow-Colombo-Male 13 hours
Inbound Stopover: Ulagalla, Cultural Triangle
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa and Viceroy Yas Abu Dhabi
If you can handle the heat, the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi sits in stark contrast with the glistening city on a nine-kilometre stretch of beach, a short distance from the Cultural District - allowing guests to visit such upcoming iconic masterpieces as Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Etihad fly to the Maldives with a connection time of under two hours, the slightly longer layover on the return leg tempting a stopover to discover Dubai’s big brother. Reflecting the same sleek, contemporary style, seven nights at Park Hyatt Hadahaa offers what many consider to be the best house reef in the Maldives, the perfect combination with a three night stay at its sister property in Adu Dhabi on the way home.
From: £3,995 per person, based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis, transfers and international flights with Etihad in economy class.
Outbound Journey: Heathrow-Abu Dhabi-Male 13.5 hours
Inbound Stopover: Park Hyatt, Abu Dhabi
Four Seasons Sultanahmet and Four Season Landaa Giravaru
Turkish Airlines are fast becoming the airline of the decade, playing with the big boys after landing impressive sponsorship deals with the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United. With some of the best fares and flights out of Gatwick and Heathrow, journey times are between 13 and 14.5 hours. Istanbul is an exciting and intriguing place to visit, boasting beautiful palaces, impressive mosques and maze like bazaars combined with a lively and authentic nightlife. With properties in both countries, Four Seasons junkies will be satiated by the tropical private villas of Landaa Giravaru and the fabulously located Four Seasons Sultanahmet, housed in a former prison, set within striking distance of all the key sites including the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Cistern.
From: £4,075 per person, based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis, including 10 nights accommodation, transfers and international flights with Turkish Airlines in economy class.
Outbound/Inbound Journey: Gatwick/Heathrow-Istanbul-Male/Male-Istanbul-Gatwick/Heathrow 13.5 – 14.5 hours
Outbound/Return Stopover: Four Seasons Istanbul, Sultanahmet
W Retreat & Spa and W Doha Hotel & Residences
Qatar Airways have always offered excellent connections through Doha, but few take the time to explore this modern capital with its spectacular tapering towers and elegant cornice along with its heritage souqs and world-class Museum of Islamic Art. Party lovers will find paradise at W Retreat and Spa in the Maldives with myriad of watersports to entertain in the day and an underground nightclub to enjoy in small hours. W Doha Hotel & Residences offers a modern sanctuary above the city, peering out over the blue Arabian Gulf, with insider access to the destination’s hottest shopping, buzzing nightlife and best culinary experiences.
From: £4,480 per person, based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis, including 10 nights accommodation, transfers and international flights with Qatar Airways in economy class.
Outbound/Inbound Journey: Gatwick/Heathrow-Doha-Male/Male-Doha-Gatwick/Heathrow 12.5 – 13 hours
Outbound/Return Stopover: W Doha Hotel & Residence, Qatar
For more information on The Maldives or to book a holiday please call us on +44 1608 638 777 or send us a message.