There are many destinations on this beautiful planet we call Earth but none are quite as exceptional as the Maldives. The Maldives is comprised of 26 atolls (essentially a collection of islands which some are submerged under water as a collection of reefs). One of the atolls, the Noonu Atoll, houses a prestine resort called Cheval Blanc (white horse in English). We ended our 3 week honeymoon here and spent 4 luxurious days riding bikes, kayaking, and being whisked around the island by our personal butler and golf cart!
Getting there can be a journey in itself. Currently, the easiest ways are to fly from the U.S. and connect via Doha (Qatar Airlines) or Dubai (Emirates) - either option will assure you have an equally luxurious way of getting to the Maldives. Ross and I were ending our trip in Milan so a great option for us was to fly Qatar Airlines from Milan to Male connecting in Doha. We flew on the A330 from Milan to Doha and the brand new A350 from Doha to Male. I scored this one way flight for 65,000 Qmiles and $44.18 in taxes in Qatar's amazing Qsuites in their business class cabin. Qatar is a direct 1:1 trading partner with the Citi Prestige card (although, currently the Citi Prestige card is on hold as they re-vamp the program).
Upon arriving in Male, we had a quick transfer process (all handled by Cheval Blanc) to their private villa while we awaited some other passengers who also booked the private transfer - let me explain. You have two options for arriving into Cheval Blanc: 1. a shared prop plane which makes multiple stops at different islands to drop passengers off or 2. a direct flight from Male to Cheval Blanc on their private sea plane. The price difference is about twice as much to fly private (~$800 shared vs. $1500 private). We opted for the private simply because we did not want to chance any delays in arriving as we were only there for a short period of time. I want to disclaim something here - Cheval Blanc is NOT a cheap, or even somewhat expensive, resort - it's plain expensive. Probably the most expensive place we have ever stayed. Therefore, it's a must you book using your Citi Prestige card in order to benefit from the 4th night free. On top of that, Cheval Blanc was running a 3rd night free promo so we ended up paying for only 2 full nights plus the taxes for the other 2 nights (I won't share the nightly rate - you can go online and see).
The one disappointment about the private sea plane was their decked out Cheval Blanc plane was out for maintenance the entire month of May 2018 so they chartered an "exact like for like" for us - but it was not like for like. It was used many more times than the Cheval Blanc plane and did not have the new cabin feel - but hey, what are you going to do? We were in the Maldives!!!
Landing at Cheval Blanc was so cool - the sea plane literally does a nose dive just before landing so the pilot can see the crest of the waves and know how far he/she is from landing! Scary but fun. You are greeted by a fantastic staff once the sea plane docks and you are whisked away by your personal butler (ours was Mohamed) to your Villa. Now, not all villas are created equal. Some are very secluded and private and others face the bay. Some are over water and some are not - but all of them have private pools! Literally a giant pool in your back yard. A warning about ocean facing villas - when the wind is blowing heavy, you will hear the wind majorly in your room. There isn't anything to really block the winds since you are in the middle of the Indian Ocean! It was so intense that we opted to switch rooms because we didn't get a wink of sleep that first night.
The most striking thing about Cheval Blanc was the clarity of the water. It's not quite blue or green but almost an "ice" color - or lacking color really. It's just amazing - and then arriving at our villa Mohamed opens the double doors to your room and your breath is literally taken away. They have simply thought about everything and every detail.
Cheval Blanc refills your in villa fridge daily with complimentary juices and water - however, all alcohol and food is ala carte. Be prepared because wine prices are a minimum of $80 - $100 and can go all the way up to $1,000s and $10,000s. We opted for 2 bottles of a wine a day - one rose by the pool and one red with dinner. Also, The White Bar (by the main pool) does bartending classes (although a specific schedule cannot be locked down) around mid-day and you can drink for free and learn to make cocktails!
We dined at all the available options with the exception of Le 1947 due to not having enough time. Now here's a piece of advice - the restaurants are extremely expensive but breakfast is included in your villa price. You can even have breakfast delivered as room service and it's the same as going to the restaurant. The best part of this is you can order anything you want anytime of day from the breakfast menu and it still counts towards your free meal for that day. So we would wake up, work out, and try to eat breakfast around 11:30 or Noon. The menu is so expansive you can order anything from fresh tuna, to eggs, to fish, to thai food and rice - and everything is so delicious. We would order so much food and then store some of the leftovers in our fridge for a mid-day snack before having dinner around 7:00 PM. That way we were technically only paying for one meal a day (but be prepared for dinner to easily be > $250 total for two people).
Each night at dinner the hotel manager goes around to the few restaurants on site and says hello personally. We spent so much time just exploring the island, riding the bikes which are included in your villa, and swimming. It was truly magical.
Checkout our additional pictures below!
Ross enjoying one of the main private beaches of Cheval Blanc
Jarett gazing out over the tranquil waters from our private villa
Enjoying breakfast on our private desk