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How to Honeymoon: Abu Dhabi, Dubai & the Maldives

by Travelbag on 12 December 2019, 13:12PM

Maldives seaplane

If you’re planning your 2020 honeymoon, then grab a cup of tea and get comfy – we’ve got some top tips for you. One member of our team, Anita, has just returned from her incredible honeymoon to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Maldives, and we asked her to lift the lid on her dream holiday.

She said: “Our honeymoon was all we could’ve wished for, and more! We decided to make two stops on our way to the Maldives, as we thought it would be nice to break up the journey. Plus, we wanted to appreciate the Maldives without any jet lag – the flight from Dubai to Malé is only four hours, so this worked perfectly.”

Thinking of booking your own romantic getaway? Read Anita’s top tips on how to honeymoon, and start planning...

 

Abu Dhabi

Jumeirah Saadiyat Island

We landed in Dubai about 7am, and hopped in our private 90-minute transfer. When we reached Jumeirah Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, our host greeted us with cool towels and a drink. We were then escorted into the stunning reception area which had high ceilings and a marine-inspired glass sculpture. The large windows at the far end of reception looked out on to the pool area, and the beach looked incredible – the perfect start to our honeymoon.

Check-in time at Jumeirah Saadiyat Island is 3pm, but by some luck – or simply because the hotel was amazing – we were taken to our room immediately. Our host showed us around our Ocean Deluxe Room, where we had a lovely honeymoon welcome including a bottle of bubbly, chocolate cake and fruit platter. There was excellent Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and there’s also an ‘E-butler’ available via WhatsApp. You can message the butler with any questions and make dinner reservations at the hotel – really handy if you were out for the day.

View from Jumeirah Saadiyat Island

We had booked the half board basis. This included breakfast and dinner in the main buffet restaurant, White, which had a large outside area with lovely views of the ocean. The breakfast buffet was amazing, with stations serving eggs, pancakes and frozen smoothies. There were more pastries than you could eat, and the coffee was some of the best we’ve ever had. For dinner, there was a ‘Dine Around’ option – this means you can either eat at the White buffet place, or visit Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and dine in their main restaurant. For a small supplement you could also eat in Mare Mare – this Italian restaurant had the best pasta and pizza we’d ever tasted – or Tean, a traditional Arabian restaurant.

The hotel had a lovely rooftop bar which was the perfect place to go in the evenings – you could watch the sun go down, and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and Abu Dhabi. The bar also had a very affordable happy hour from 8pm until midnight, which included a range of beer, wine, Prosecco and cocktails.

Day trips in Abu Dhabi

While we were in Abu Dhabi, we took a speedboat tour – with The Yellow Boats – which was a fantastic way to see some of the city and its impressive skyline. We were even lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins! We also visited Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s free to enter this spectacular building – I’d suggest visiting at sunset, as you can take some very beautiful pictures. We also took a trip over to Ferrari World, which is home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster. It was a really fun experience – and it was quite nice to get out of the sun for a little while!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 

Dubai

Sofitel the Palm

After a few days in Abu Dhabi, it was time for our transfer to our next stop – Sofitel The Palm in Dubai. When we arrived, once again we were greeted by a host who helped check us in. We were lucky enough to stay in a fantastic room with views overlooking The Palm. We were staying on the half board basis, and enjoyed dinner in several of the hotel’s fantastic restaurants – there are 12 in total. A few of the bars at Sofitel The Palm also had great happy hours, which we took full advantage of!

Day trips in Dubai

While we were in Dubai, we visited the Burj Khalifa to watch the evening fountains. The display starts around 6.30pm, and continues every half an hour – the show was amazing, and a must-see for anyone who visits Dubai. We also visited the Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium, which was a really fun day out. Afterwards, we had dinner at Seafire Steakhouse in Atlantis The Palm which was a brilliant experience – the food, wine and service was all fantastic! We even got to select our own steak knife from a selection of knives from around the world.

 

Seaplane views

The Maldives

You & Me By Cocoon

After our epic UAE adventure, we flew to the Maldives. From Malé, we had a seaplane transfer to our hotel. The 45-minute flight was a fantastic way to arrive, because we had stunning views of both inhabited and deserted islands below. If I ever come back to the Maldives, I would definitely do this again.

You & Me By Cocoon has many overwater villas, and even their standard room is over the water – unlike many other hotels in the Maldives. We stayed in an overwater villa with a private pool, which was absolutely stunning. Each villa had its own steps directly into the sea which was fantastic for snorkelling – so you could really make the most of your complimentary snorkelling equipment. And the whole place is adults only, so it’s perfect for honeymooners!

The hotel is also one of the only hotels in the Maldives to offer a full à la carte experience, which is great value for money. There’s one bar and five restaurants to choose from. This might not sound like loads of options for a week-long stay, but the menus change regularly and there’s a themed night once a week, so we had no problem finding plenty of variety. The main restaurant has a broad menu and daily specials, but our favourite restaurant was Rising Sun. The Tapinyaki was cooked right in front of us and it was a really intimate meal, as only five couples can fit around the small cooking area. You do have to book, but it’s definitely worth it. And, if you’re staying at You & Me on an all-inclusive basis, meals here are part of your package, as well as drinks.

We also enjoyed the Italian restaurant, La Pasta. The menu offered five different courses and you could order as much or as little as you would like. It’s a much more sociable experience than a buffet, which is particularly lovely while you’re on honeymoon. The food was fantastic too! Cheers Bar had a huge range of drinks including cocktails, wines, beers and branded spirits. The drinks throughout our whole stay were fantastic, and there was such a wide variety that we never got bored.

The hotel also has an underwater restaurant, H2O. We decided not to visit as the menu wasn’t quite to our taste, but we spoke to a few couples who went, and they said that dining underwater was really fun and worth the extra cost – H2O isn’t included in the all-inclusive package. 

During our stay, there was a ‘Maldivian theme night’ where tables had been set up on the sands, and there were three beach huts serving Maldivian food. The first hut served starters, and you could go up and pick as many different options as you wanted. We ordered our main course from the à la carte menu, and then went up to another hut later for desert.

Maldives sunset

Day trips in the Maldives

While we were in the Maldives, we took a boat over to a deserted island for dinner and drinks, which was a fantastic experience. The boat trip took about half an hour, and on the island we had a bonfire, music, a barbecue, and unlimited wine or beer. It was really romantic and a must-do for any honeymooners.

We also went along on the complimentary snorkelling trip out to the reef where we saw an abundance of fish, marine life and coral. You & Me also offers some fantastic honeymoon benefits, including a romantic set-menu dinner for two on the beach, a complimentary room upgrade – subject to availability – and a 25-minute couples massage, during which we could see the fish through the glass floor. They also leave a bottle of chilled wine in your room – perfect for sipping on your balcony as you watch the sun go down.

 

Packing tips for a multi-centre holiday

  • Take as many essentials as you can, as you can’t buy much in the Maldives – and anything you can buy is fairly costly. If you’re worried about your luggage allowance, you could always buy more supplies during your stopover. We ran out of sun cream, so I would take more next time.

  • Keep shoes to a minimum, as a lot of the resorts are entirely sand – we lived in our flip flops in the Maldives! Taking fewer shoes also gives you more space for your essentials.

  • If you’re going to the Maldives, take your own snorkelling mask. The hotel-provided ones are fine but if you use them a few times a day they tend to fog up. Several other couples had their own masks, which didn’t seem to fog up – the masks also had a built-in mouthpiece which made them easier to carry around. There’s no need to take your own flippers, though – the hotel ones were perfect.

  • Take a reasonably sized piece of hand luggage (like a wheelie suitcase) and pack all your stopover clothes in there, as this will save you from unpacking and re-packing your large suitcase.

  • Also, take a small bag that you can tuck into your hand luggage. When you land in the Maldives, both your hand luggage and your checked bag is taken away – so having an additional small bag means you can keep your valuables with you.

 

Feeling inspired? Take a closer look at our honeymoons or check out our exciting multi-centre holidays


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