On the way to my stay in the Maldives, my husband and I took QSuites Business Class known as “the world’s best business class” from Chicago (ORD) to Doha (DOH) and it cost 70,000 American Airline miles. The flight was QR Chicago (ORD) Flights 725/726 Boeing 777-300ER. In my opinion, Qatars QSuites product is the best Business Class product in the sky and is far superior to many first class products.
The suite seat was not only incredibly spacious but it was so stylish. There are several different seating configurations in Qsuites. There are six paired seats in the center of the cabin, which allow for a double-bed setup, and the first five sets of seats can be booked as a Quad seat arrangement. The window seats are private.
My husband and I had the honeymoon seats in the middle odd numbered rows and were able to combine our suites when it was time to sleep so we could rest together. The seats lie fully flat and are able to be conjoined as to mimic a double bed. However, if you’re in one of those seats and next to a stranger, there’s still a partition you can put up to maximize privacy.
The design and aesthetic of the plane is incredibly pleasing and you can tell the seats are made of the highest quality fabrics. The pillows were soft and adorable and had fun messaging. You also receive a quilted mattress and a thick soft blanket (one of my favorite business class blankets). Pajamas are complimentary, and once you are ready to sleep you can turn on a ‘Do Not Disturb’ indicator to ensure no disruptions. The suites also have two air nozzles, a reading light, and a coat hook.
The suite is designed to give you the optimal amount of storage and features a cocktail table, large TV monitor, a tray table underneath the TV, and then a counter near the aisle. On the side panel of the counter was most of the seat and entertainment controls were there as well. That included a handheld entertainment controller, 110v outlet, two USB outlets, and a headphone jack.
Next to the seat was a storage ottoman where there was Evian bottled water, airplane magazines, generic headphones, and extra room to store more things. To give you an idea of how much space “extra room” means, I stored my entire breast pump device and bottles. One of my favorite parts about the suite is the door, you can have the ultimate privacy.
Having flown many other business class cabins, I have to say I was greatly impressed with the style and functionality of the suites. The designers went above and beyond and paid great attention to detail. It is sleek and fun, the purple and gray, the stylish overhead lighting, detailed seat stitching pattern, and the rose gold detailing did not go unnoticed.
FOOD: The food was great and the menu items were on request so you could order whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. No restrictions on drinks, etc. There was more than enough to eat and the options were great. As soon as you are seated, they will offer you, your drink of choice, your choice of warm or cool towel, and an assortment of nuts (you can also have Godiva chocolates). I recommend the mint lemonade and saffron karak chai to everyone, if you get anything to drink make sure it’s that. For dinner, they went all in with the tablewear including stylish water glasses and a fake candle.
I also appreciated how well organized the transportation was to the terminal. They had separate premium cabin buses so we weren’t too crowded on the bus and it only took a few minutes from bus onboarding to the terminal. The drive to the terminal took just a few minutes.
Overall, the experience exceeded even my highest expectations and it is a fact Qatar Airway Qsuites is the world’s best business class.
Have a long Atlanta layover and want to leave the airport? I have some great ideas for you!
On my way to Dallas from Cleveland, I had an almost 24 hour layover with the kids (not by choice, flights were cancelled due to weather). I decided to make the best of it and have some fun in the city. If you’re reading this and you have kids you know exactly why I didn’t just stay at the airport with 2 kids or wait for the sooner flights on standby with them. Fortunately, I used to live in Atlanta for 4 years when I went to school at the illustrious Spelman College. Coincidentally, it was actually my Spelman College reunion. Of course, I stopped by campus and I gave my husband and the kids a tour of one of the most influential places in my life, that shaped part of who I am today.
Some of my favorite places I recommend on any visit to Atlanta as a 4 year Atlanta resident are:
Then we went to Two Urban Licks which I recommend everyone frequent on any trip to Atlanta. It’s definitely not the best place to bring children but we still brought them anyway and we had an amazing time nonetheless.
Georgia Aquarium – you can even swim with whale sharks
World of Coca-Cola – Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola
Atlanta Botanical Garden
High Museum of Art
If you have children, definitely check out the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta
WHERE TO STAY: My family and I stayed at the Canopy by Hilton Atlanta Midtown. The room was large and the decor was very stylish. Not only that but, the rooms were also recently updated and very modern so the furnishings were refreshed, large bathroom with walk-in shower, and a balcony. The complimentary breakfast for Hilton Diamond Members includes hot breakfast which includes waffles, pancakes, made to order omelets. It also includes a wide continental breakfast spread, as well as lattes and smoothies. It is a great location for getting around to the biggest attractions in Atlanta and if you have children it’s by Atlantic Station which is a shopping center that has a movie theatre, shops, and most importantly a TARGET. Anyone with kids knows how important a Target is haha. The room had free WiFi, a 55-inch TV, refrigerated drawer, Nespresso® machine, and bedding designed exclusively for the Canopy Brand. You can grab water anytime at the filtered spring water stations on every floor.
Do you have an overnight layover in NYC and are unsure what to do? I have some ideas!
FOOD: – NYC is the place to eat. One of my favorites are Miss Lily’s which is a Jamaican restaurant whose chef was actually a competitor on Chopped! The food is incredible and I do not frequent NYC without stopping by.
Another place, I had the pleasure of just recently frequenting is Kura. It is in every New Yorkers top 10 sushi restaurants in NYC if they have good taste buds and on top of that it’s mildly affordable. It is omakase only, which means you eat what the chef gives you. It has a very intimate vibe, there is under 20 tables and seating is right under the chefs table as they make your sushi.
Of course, you can’t forget dessert. Grace Street is both a coffeehouse and an Asian sweets spot in Korea town. They serve teas, Asian donuts, shaved ice, waffles, and matcha everything. It is always busy, always delicious, & worth the wait!
THINGS TO DO: Besides, eating at the places aforementioned above we decided to take a stroll down the touristy Times Square and head to a comedy club. The Gotham Comedy Club was great! Even though Chicago is the real Gotham City, I’ll let them call themselves whatever they’d like. My husband and I went to an 11:30pm show so if you have a late overnight layover this would be a great idea. We had such a great experience there and will definitely be back again.
When purchasing your tickets for the show, any seat is a good seat, there is honestly no need to purchase a VIP ticket, the way the seats are set up everyone has an incredibly great view. The staff was so hospitable and even warmed up a tea I got from a cafe I went to prior. There is a 2 drink minimum but if you don’t drink alcohol you can get Non-Alcoholic Beer, juice, water, etc. We went to go see Ramy Youssef from the self-titled show Ramy on Hulu about his personal Muslim-American experience. There were 4 other comedians as well who did an excellent job. We had such a great time, and the staff and the view were so incredible they put the Gotham Comedy Club on my list of Must-Do’s every time I’m in NYC.
I hope this gives you a couple of things to do during your overnight layover. If you have an opportunity to stay for a weekend for family fun check out How to Maximize A Weekend in NYC.
The Maldives has been on my bucket list for awhile so when given the opportunity to stay at the twice voted “Best Hotel In the World” that features the “First Underwater Restaurant in the World” I jumped at the chance to stay at the Conrad Maldives. The Conrad Maldives is a ritzy island paradise surrounded by the Indian Ocean in South Asia commonly known for its overwater bungalows. This idyllic tropical resort is actually two islands connected by a bridge. The resort offers huge beach villas, overwater villas, an extremely expensive underwater residence, a world-class spa, award winning restaurants, and a plethora of excursions and activities.
How To Get There: To get to the Conrad Maldives you have to take a seaplane from Male International airport which Conrad arranges and charges for at $560 per person. While waiting for the seaplane they have a Conrad Lounge that offers 15 minute complimentary massages, food, wifi, and drinks. As an honest reviewer, I will say that the lounge is extremely outdated and needs to be revamped. The couches definitely need to be replaced. When I arrived at the lounge and saw how run down the furniture was I was nervous about what to expect when arriving at resort. The seaplane luggage is 25kg per person plus 5kg of hand luggage. Any excess baggage costs $5 per 1kg.
The seaplane ride was great and the views were phenomenal. It was an awesome way to see the other Maldivian islands.
Arrival: The seaplane flies to a dock that has a small waiting area where you meet a staff member who is personally assigned to you for the duration of your stay. Your bags are gathered, they offer you a welcome slushy and you are then taken to the main lobby where your personal Conrad “butler” takes you to your room via buggy or walking dependent on how close your room is. The scenery, design, and atmosphere of the Conrad Maldives is incredible and beyond what I could imagine.
The Conrad Lounge at the airport definitely does not do the resort any justice because you would have no idea that you would arrives to such an idyllic paradise based on the airport lounge. Upon walking down the bridge that connects the 2 islands, I knew we were in for a real treat. Our “butler” gave us the details about the resort and our room. Surprise! Surprise! We received an upgrade from the water villa to the Retreat Water Villa. The Conrad Maldives does not have to do this for Hilton Diamond members because of the status of the resort, however they did so and we were more than ecstatic. Paid upgrades are available if you don’t want to take the chance of not getting upgraded upon arrival.
We took a buggy with our “butler” to our Retreat Water Villa on the Spa Retreat side of the island. The ride was so exciting and I could not wait to see what our humble abode was going to look like.
We were placed in villa 417 which was located at the end of the boardwalk, allowing for us to have maximum privacy. It was absolutely gorgeous. he interior of this villa is unbelievably huge measuring at 1615 Sq. Ft., featuring two rooms, one with its own double spa treatment room as well as a jacuzzi on the large sun deck with steps leading down into the ocean below. The villa has large glass windows, glass doors, glass, walls, glass everything. You can see turquoise lagoons and coral reefs anywhere you look, you are completely surrounded by it. Compared to the basic water villa, this villa is beyond impressive. The tall ceilings, the wood, the blue and white tones, create a sanctuary of bliss. It was at this moment, touring the villa with the Conrad staff member, that I knew I was going to have a very hard time leaving. The bathroom was huge and featured an obscenely large bathtub and a rain shower that also led to the sundeck. Let’s just say the villa was unreal. I saw pictures of all of the villas prior to arriving and pictures do not do it justice, I was in awe at the largeness and beauty of the villa.
Retreat Water Villa:
Cost: ~ USD 1350 a night
Size: 1615 Sq. Ft.
Occupancy: 3 adults
Dining and Amenities: As aforementioned the Conrad Maldives has the first underwater restaurant in the world. It’s a very cool experience but it is also incredibly expensive. We had dinner there for $390 per person. For a more affordable option you can have lunch or cocktails and canapés there instead. However, the dinner was great and I’m glad we went to the dinner as the lunch menu didn’t interest me as much and my husband and I don’t drink so the cocktails and canapés didn’t interest us either.
It’s important to note though that all of the restaurants are pretty expensive and even a burger costs around $40 dollars at the resort. I would definitely recommend a dinner at Ufaa by Jeremy Leung and the Fishermans BBQ.
The resort also offers so much to do in regards to excursions and activities. There are two spas and of course we went to both!
• A large spa positioned over the water at the northern tip of the main island (opposite Mandhoo spa restaurant) called the Spa Retreat. This was my favorite spa and the Private Heat Therapy is a MUST! Click here for more details and photos of Spa Retreat
• A smaller, 4-room spa off the smaller island called the Over Water Spa.
There is also an ocean dive centre, snorkeling excursions, jetpacks, jet skis, yachting, and so much more. All non-motorized water activities are free of charge, this includes are stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling at the house reef. All snorkeling equipment can be rented free of charge. We had so much fun snorkeling in the backyard of our villa and at the house reef we found no need to do a snorkeling excursion offsite. The water in the Maldives is the most clear and beautiful blue water I have ever seen in my entire life. Snorkeling and swimming in the Maldivian water on Rangali Island was such an amazing experience that I will never forget! Not to mention, I can never forget the soft white sand, huge palm trees, and gorgeous weather.
Another cool thing about the resort is that it is a shoeless resort so you can be barefoot your entire vacation. The lobby, restaurants, and walking paths all have sand floors. There is sand everywhere, the ritziest restaurant there even makes you take off your shoes before entering! I brought way too many shoes for no reason!
How To Stay For Free: 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night or 380,000 Hilton Honors points for 5 nights with fifth night free which makes it 76,000 Hilton Honors points a night
To sum this one up this resort is fantastic and you should not hesitate booking! The service was incredible and everybody was beyond friendly. The food was great and the villa was pure luxury. Not only that, but the location and the atmosphere was unreal and something out of a dream you once had of what heaven looks like. I will definitely be staying here again when I visit the Maldives for a second time which I absolutely must!
The Retreat Spa at the Conrad Maldives is absolutely gorgeous! The decor and aesthetics exude a feeling of tranquility and relaxation. You enter into a narrow hallway built of wooden thatches that lead to a tranquil pond. The hallway is filled with doors on each side that lead to a treatment room. We went through a door that led us to an overwater private heat therapy suite that featured a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, 2 rain showers, and a massage treatment room. It was completely private and perfect for couples.
We spent 30 minutes in the heat therapy suite and then followed up with a 90 minute muscle relaxation massage in the massage treatment room. If you are a Hilton Diamond member you can receive and extra 15 minutes of your massage treatment. For our treatment, they used a warm lime and berry infused oil that smelled absolutely divine. I chose medium pressure and received deep and my husband chose deep pressure and received super deep. Whatever you would normally choose for your ideal pressure type I would advise you to choose the pressure below. Their technique was great and my muscles were indeed relaxed and we couldn’t stop raving about how great we felt after. The massage was phenomenal, I didn’t want it to end, and even fell asleep. Between the idyllic atmosphere and blissful massage, it was one of our best spa experiences to date. When visiting the Conrad Maldives on Rangali Island, I definitely recommend you visit the Retreat Spa.