Living Lavishlee

The Finest Of Dubai And Maldives

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I am going to backtrack a little bit to share some of my past traveling experiences. One of my favorite vacations to date was mine and my husband’s 10th Anniversary trip. We did a 10-day trip to Dubai and the Maldives. 


What airline did we fly?

One of the most popular airlines in Dubai is Emirates. I would highly suggest if you are flying to Dubai to fly Emirates. Emirates is a 4-star airline that provides travelers with top service. The airline also gives passengers amenities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving kit, comb, deodorant, tissue, and a sleep mask for selected flights, usually overnight flights. The airplane we flew on was a two-story plane. I believe most, if not all, of them are. If you can do first class, I recommend it because they provide a bed-like seat for a much more comfortable experience. They call it a hotel room in the sky. It is very luxurious and comes with a ton of other benefits. The flight to Dubai from Los Angles is around 16 hours. So, prepare for a long flight if you are coming from the U.S.

Where did we stay? 

We stayed at the beautiful Atlantis, The Palm Hotel. Atlantis is one of my favorite hotels; we have traveled to the Bahamas a few times and have stayed at the Atlantis there, too. The hotel design and architecture are almost identical to the Atlantis, Bahamas, but a little smaller. I feel this is one of the most beautiful hotels in Dubai. It is the epitome of luxury. The hotel offers many amenities like Aquaventure waterpark, swimming with dolphins, an aquarium, top restaurants, a spa, a gym, and even a kid’s fun center. The Atlantis is very much a family-friendly hotel as well. There are plenty of things to do here with kids, even though we traveled alone.  The service here is top-notch. They will treat you like royalty throughout your stay.

Where did we eat? 

We ate at a bunch of places. Nobu is a regular spot I eat at in Los Angeles, so it was no surprise that I wanted to visit the location out here. It is slightly different if you have ever been to Los Angeles or even the Las Vegas location. Nobu, Dubai does not have that typical “vibe” feel. It seems more of an intimate setting. The food was a little unusual, too. Not my taste, but still good. I prefer the Los Angeles location more, but I did enjoy trying out this location during our stay. I will say it is worth going to.

What activities did we do? 

My husband and I are adventurous and love to do fun activities during our vacations. Before any of our trips, I always do a lot of research to find the most famous tourist spots and popular places in Dubai. One of my favorite activities we did was an adventure package I bought from Desert Safari Dubai

The package I purchased was the Morning Desert Safari:

Dune Buggy | Camel Riding | Dune Bashing

They will pick you up from your hotel and drive you over to all three locations and then bring you back to your hotel at the end of the day. We had so much fun, and the service was terrific. Camel riding was a great experience. 

However, I will say camels are not the most comfortable thing to ride. After we rode camels, we then went Dune Bashing. That was such a wonderful experience. If you do not know what dune bashing is, it is off-roading but done in the dunes. The tour guide will drive you out into the dunes and do about 20 minutes of dune bashing in a four-runner. The best part of the activity was the Dune Buggy racing. My husband and I got the chance to drive through the sand desert in one. They will also supply you with refreshments during your activities. This company offers many different packages, so check out their site if you want to see what else they have to offer.

Helicopter Riding

If there is one thing you should not leave without doing, it would be a scenic helicopter ride. Helicopter riding was such a great experience. The flight takes off just outside the Atlantis Hotel and around Dubai’s most famous human-made island (shaped like a Palm Tree) to the world’s tallest tower (Burj Khalifa). We did the shorter flight, just 15 minutes, but it was just the right amount of time for us.

I purchased the flight package from Alpha Tours Dubai.

Swimming with Dolphins  

You can book this service directly through the hotel. If you are not a guest at the hotel, you can still book this experience through the site: Dolphin Bay at Aquaventure

My husband and I swim with Dolphins on pretty much all our vacations where they offer it. Moving forward, we probably will not do it anymore. I love this activity but have done it too many times now. If you have never done this before, it is a must. There is something so special about Dolphins, and their intelligence is mind-blowing. There are several packages you can buy, from interactions to the training experience. 

City Bus Tour

The tour bus excursion is a must. It is inexpensive and allows you to see most of the city. The tour bus offers two different routes. My husband and I did this during the mid-day into the evening. The city at night is so beautiful. Dubai is such a modern city, and everything is top of the line. My favorite part of this tour was the Burj Khalifa (Giorgio Armani Hotel), the tallest building. Another hop-off we did during this tour was visiting the Dubai Mall. The mall carries some of the most expensive brands in the world and over 1,200 stores. Not to mention there is a Shark tank in the center of the mall.

You can book through the website: City Sightseeing

What are other hotels good to stay at out there? 

The next time I go, I want to try some other places to stay. Here are a few of my top picks:


We went to the Maldives for the second half of our Anniversary trip. The Maldives is such a magical place to visit. The water is so crystal clear that you can see your feet right through it. The hotels are on separate smaller islands spread out from one another. You can take a boat or a seaplane from the main airport over to your hotel. It is such an incredible place to go for a romantic trip, with lots of R&R. I am looking forward to the day that COVID is over so we can go back. 

What airline did we fly?

We flew from Dubai straight to the Maldives. The trip from Los Angeles to the Maldives would be around a 23-hour flight, but Dubai takes 4 hours. We flew Emirates to the MLE (Ibrahim Nasir International Airport). The airport in the Maldives is tiny and floating on water. Once you land at the airport, you must take a seaplane or a chartered boat to your hotel unless you stay in the central city near the airport. But, if you are going to the Maldives, you most likely will not be doing that. We took a boat from the airport to our hotel that we booked through our hotel’s concierge service. The boat ride took about 30 minutes but can take longer depending on how far your hotel is. I believe flying by seaplane takes around 15 minutes.

Where did we stay? 

We stayed at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa. The service there was excellent. The staff is friendly and will tend to just about every need that you have. The one thing I was searching for when researching a hotel to stay at was an overwater villa. I had seen so many photos of the Maldives on the internet and always wanted to stay in one. This hotel did not disappoint when it came to its overwater villas. They have a cute deck with a seating area where you can relax and drink wine, watch the sunset, or even jump right off into the water for a nice dip. The bathtub has a huge window overlooking the ocean, and the beds are very comfortable.

Where did we eat? 

We only ate at the hotel. Once you get to your hotel, it is not very easy to come and go, and it would not make sense to leave once you get there. You can take a 30-45-minute boat ride into the central city if you want to explore a bit, but we strictly stayed at the hotel.

One thing about the Maldives is the cost can get high due to the taxes. Food and beverages are pricey. The reason for that is that the Maldives is a remote location and costs a lot to import goods. Resort islands must charge 10% service charge + 12% GST (goods & service tax), which is over 22% in tax. These taxes were back in 2017, so I am not sure if the taxes are higher than that now.

One of my favorite things we did was book a private wine dinner at the Pavilion. They set up a table under a cabana right on the beach in a secluded private area. They have everything on the menu from steak, lobster, fish, you name it. The wine was also outstanding. We ate and relaxed for hours and just listened to the sound of the ocean.

What activities did we do? 

We walked down to the beach on the days we wanted to do fun activities. The hotel’s beach has a place where you can book things to do like snorkeling, fun tubing, jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, and sea-doo.

We decided to do a single day of activities and use the rest of our time there for relaxation.

Fun tubing- If you have never done this before, you must do this. Fun tubing was so much fun and something my husband and I have never tried. It is a giant inflatable water tube that two people can sit in. They attach it to the back of a jet ski and drag you through the ocean. We were laughing the entire time.

Parasailing- This was my third time parasailing but still super cool because you can see a panoramic view of the entire island and the neighboring islands from the hotel. The ocean is crystal clear, so it is such a beautiful sight to see from above.

Jet Skiing- Jet skiing is always a must when on a tropical vacation or anywhere near water. I love jet skiing and try to do it on just about every trip I go on.

Snorkeling- They will give you snorkel gear, and the pretty cool part about having an overwater bungalow is the ability to snorkel right from your room. You can jump off the deck straight into the water and snorkel around your bungalow. There are sharks, but they have never had reports of shark attacks. They are smaller in size and typically will not bother you.

What are other hotels good to stay at out there? 

The next time I go, I want to try some other places to stay. Here are a few of my top picks:

Let me know your experience!