All month long we celebrate Ireland. From the music, to the festivals, to its famous coastlines and castles. Book our sweeping castle tour and spend an afternoon at falconry school. To get you ready, our travel experts share some of their best packing essentials. We also welcome three new advisors to the team.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Honeymooners aren’t the only ones who should experience the blue lagoons of the Maldives. As our CEO Fernando Gonzalez discovered, they make a magical family vacation too. He shares why the island paradise is an F1S WONDERWALL destination.
Why do the Maldives make a great family vacation?
They’re perfect for anyone – young and old – who loves crystal blue waters. My wife Awilda, 11-year-old daughter Sofia, and I enjoyed the water activities, interaction with marine life and sheer island beauty. Both of our WONDERWALL properties, Maalifushi by COMO and One&Only Reethi Rah, have kids clubs, with really creative activities from sushi making classes to scavenger hunts.
How did you get there?
Getting to the Maldives is part of the adventure! From New York we flew Emirates via Dubai on the A380, which was one of the best flying experiences we’ve ever had. After a few days in Dubai, we flew to Male, which took 4 hours. Then boarded a seaplane for a 40-minute flight to our island resort, Maalifushi by COMO. Landing the seaplane in the middle of the Indian Ocean was a thrill in itself.
How would you describe the Maldives?
Nothing else on earth like it. With 26 natural atolls and 1192 remote islands, it’s hidden in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We swam in the clearest waters and walked along the softest sand beaches ever. The hospitality was very special too.
How did your family spend your days?
We’d wake up to a family swim in our private plunge pool, followed by hearty breakfast, and various excursions and activities. We had lunch every day in our over-water bungalow. Afternoon downtime involved reading and great educational conversations on the local culture, geography and ocean life. We even had our very own marine biologist who taught us all about sharks and why not to be afraid of them. Every evening we’d look forward to an amazing meal at either the Japanese-Thai restaurant or the main restaurant, which had theme dinners each night.
What were your favorite things to do?
Swimming with sea turtles was very cool and the dolphin excursion was a blast. We spotted over 100 dolphins swimming in tandem and ended the afternoon floating on a cargo net on the side of the boat. Every night after dinner, we’d all sit in our pool and gaze at the stars. The skies just lit up and sparkled.
How would you describe Maalifushi by COMO?
We had a gorgeous over-water bungalow suite and never wanted to leave it. We could snorkel and swim with the fishes directly from our room. Magic! But when we did leave our bungalow, the resort had everything we needed from a choice of great restaurants to a beautiful pool, dive center, and the famous COMO Shambhala Retreat. The Shambhala spa accepts children – and we made the most of it! Awilda and Sofia loved the mother-daughter Indian Head Massage.
Tell us about One&Only Reethi Rah.
This resort is on one of the largest islands and a quick yacht transfer from Male airport. The water villas are in small corner clusters for added privacy. Water activities range from swimming with whale sharks to diving and snorkeling. On land, there’s a golf simulator, climbing wall, as well as an artist-in-residence program, and live jazz every Sunday.
How was the food? Any local dishes to recommend?
We had plenty of fresh fruits. We ate lots of coconut, dragon fruit and fresh rhubarb in particular, as well as fish and prawns. We all loved masroshi, a savory Maldivian snack.