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 and have reviewed the majority world's top onboard products for this blog. If you think that premium cabin travel is out of reach, read on to learn the tricks I use to fly around the world.
I also love visiting luxury hotels and resorts. I have reviewed a wide variety running the range from Park Hyatts and Ritz Carltons bookable with hotel points, right through to some of the world's most exclusive brands like Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and Aman.
Finally, I am a firm believer in the fact that the purest expression of a culture is in its cuisine. I love to eat and have written at length about some of my favourite restaurants around the globe.
If you want to explore our planet in style, you've come to the right place.
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When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
Tunis has never been a city with an abundance of luxury or even serviceable hotel options. For the last few years the top pick from an international hotel brand was the Sheraton which is... a Sheraton and the Ramada, which looks like a 1980s timeshare in Torremolinos.
When I saw an airfare from Tunisia to Vietnam flying a combination of Air France and China Southern (both for the first time!), with the possibility of an extended stopover in Paris for £650 per person, round trip - I booked instantly. No questions asked.
There's a lot to like about Garuda as an airline but one thing is abundantly clear. The Business Class is so good that First feels slightly disappointing in comparison.
The tableware, hot towels, food, drink and amenity kit are almost identical between the two products. The IFE is just as antiquated in both cabins and is well overdue for an upgrade. I found the service to be professional and well intentioned but somewhat lacking in warmth. The crew didn't go out of their way to make proactive suggestions or engage in conversation in the way that I've encountered on JAL, ANA, Cathay or Singapore - airlines which are natural competitors for Garuda.
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.
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
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.
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...
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'.
I only got into diving relatively recently, having completed my Open Water Diver course in Bali, back in 2014. Since then I have been become absolutely enamoured with the underwater world. Where previously I saw little appeal in staying at beach resorts more than three nights, now my beach stays are longer, so I can spend more time diving and also have enough time to decompress before going up to 36,000ft again!