Welcome to JarvisMarcos.com, a thorough and extensive database of my travel reviews.
I fly over 100,000 miles per year in First and Business class cabins and review every new product that I try. Similarly, I review almost every luxury hotel and airport lounge that I set foot in
I book the majority of my travel using sales, promotions and a variety of other tricks - often leveraging the power of hotel points and airline miles. If I use a special technique of any kind to book a travel experience, I'll mention it in the review.
This means that hopefully you'll have all the tools you need to book your own amazing trips too!
SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE LATEST POSTS
When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
This email popped into my inbox this week and I thought I'd answer it publicly since it's the type of question that I get asked a lot. Hopefully it give you some insight into my thought processes and the flexibility required to get long haul premium cabin flights booked for as little as possible.
After an amazing multi course meal complete with vintage champagne and cocktails in the First Class lounge, we were ready to make the most of the bed on this flight.
In a way, it seemed like a waste having such an amazing product and only using it to sleep... but on the other hand it was nearly 3am, we had experienced apartments before and I was really hoping to get a decent sleep before heading straight to the office a few hours later 😱
Back in 2016, when I first visited this lounge, Etihad was at its apex. Apartments were still a very new product and the lounge had only been open for a couple of months. The glow of invincibility surrounding this company was palpable, everybody wanted a piece of them.
The dining experience we had here would easily have cost upwards of £250 per person in a top London restaurant and would have been worth every penny!
The Park Hyatt is located on a prime stretch of white sand, alongside the St Regis, on Saadiyat Island. It is only 30 minutes from AUH or around 80 minutes from DXB airport. Although Abu Dhabi is a thriving metropolis, the beachfront area is a lot more sparse than Dubai and approaching the hotel it felt as if we were miles away from the nearest city. Quite a different feeling to the densely packed area of resorts, clustered around The Palm.
The Conrad Maldives has a huge variety of different eating and drinking establishments located across both islands. The most famous of which is Ithaa, the underwater restaurant, which I personally didn't bother with - it is universally derided for being an eye wateringly expensive tourist trap (I did clear a little bit of debris off the glass ceiling for the poor suckers inside, during our orientation dive though ?.)
Whilst it is easy enough to drastically reduce the cost of accommodation here, you will realistically need to budget at least an additional $50 per person per day in order to eat lunch and/or dinner. Add to this the cost of the seaplane transfers and you can see that this is still by no means a cheap holiday, even if you are getting it 'cheaper'.
One of the major advantages that the Conrad has over other Maldivian resorts is its sheer size. There is undoubtedly a charm in being able to walk around your entire island resort in five minutes but I imagine that after a couple of nights things start to get pretty boring.
With ten different bars and restaurants to choose from, all with their own unique identities and cuisines, the Conrad does not suffer from a lack of options. There are also tennis courts, two infinity pools, numerous watersports and several beaches, as well as a house reef.
If you are staying in a beach villa you'll be located on the Main Island whilst the majority of the water villas are across the water on the Quiet Island. Either way, you'll probably find yourself moving back and forth between the two islands throughout your stay, although most people tend to have a favourite...
During our stay at the beach villa, our island host Naeem kept in constant contact with us. Each morning at breakfast he would check in with us to see if we had any activities planned and whether he could organise any dinner or lunch reservations for us. On the first morning he asked how we slept and I mentioned the super loud air conditioning plant next to villa 208. He said he'd ask the engineers if there were any issues and would report back.
Although it was quite disappointing to find out that we hadn't been allocated an upgraded water villa, we got a beach villa which perfectly matched the criteria that I sent to the hotel ahead of our stay. I was seriously impressed by this, as I can only imagine the degree of complexity that goes into giving every person the room they want, especially when people are constantly coming and going and the resort stays at near 100% occupancy throughout the high and shoulder seasons.
In fact, there is a $1Million prize available to anybody who can prove the underlying mathematical theorem for solving (and indeed fully explaining) this type of problem
Whilst I've previously gushed over the amazing atmosphere at Koh Samui airport (very close to another favourite Conrad property of mine), the seaplane dock at MLE takes the whole holiday airport concept to another level!
Everywhere you look there are excited people smiling, laughing and taking pictures. Everybody is dressed for the sunny weather, including the pilots and ground crews who sport a uniform of flip flops and shorts alongside their short sleeved shirts.
Our Conrad host walked us to the edge of the dock and offered to take a picture for us before sending us on our way.
It is not often that I return to the same hotel on multiple occasions; the world is a large place and there are so many new experiences out there that I always feel like a bit of a sucker when I make a return visit.
Sometimes though you find a place that ticks so many boxes, a place that you keep thinking about on those drizzly days in the office, a place that is such unbelievably good value that you keep yearning to return and cannot justify the risk of exploring an alternative.