My first encounter with a Belmond property was a fantastic experience on the whole.
This is a hotel brand which has always had a reputation for classic, 'old school' elegance. I was worried that this would be a euphemism for antiquated but aside from the old TVs and the pointless taps the overall feel of the property was rather charming.
Staff were truly excellent, very friendly and proactive. Again, there was a worry with this being a heritage property, that this would lead to an air of stuffiness but this couldn't be further from the truth.
The transfer process is slightly longer than reaching a resort by seaplane and as a result it deters a lot of people from coming here. For those looking for a truly remote and tranquil island, this is the perfect barrier to entry. It keeps out the noisy groups looking to ostentatiously display wealth with as little effort as possible.
Indeed it's the only resort I've been to where guests regularly greet each other and interact as if they were residents of a small village (which they effectively are).
A lot of Maldivian resorts are like fast food: convenient, nicely packaged, initially satisfying but ultimately devoid of substance.
The Park Hyatt is the antithesis to this.
My expectations were very high going into this and Silvan quite honestly smashed them.
If you remove the safari element for a second and look only at the hard product, Silvan is already in the very top tier of anything I've ever seen. In terms of the sheer personal space, the private pool, the outdoor terrace and the very high end decor, only places like Amanoi or the Waldorf Astoria Maldives come close.
Even if you don't have Priority Pass the value for money here is pretty phenomenal. 210ZAR (roughly $12) will get you not only a comfy seat away from the main terminal but also a massive selection of drinks as well as some delicious home made food.
This is a hotel that is moments away from the airport. It ticks all of the items in my basics checklist and also has a full size gym and excellent restaurant.
The room decor is a cut above most airport hotels globally, as is the service.
Unless you have a layover of over 20 hours I can't imagine why you'd consider anywhere else in Joburg.
It's safe to say that this stay absolutely blew away all of my expectations. Amilla is a resort that delivered not just on the things that I thought I wanted it fulfilled knew needs that I didn't even know I had.
The food was comfortably amongst the best we've ever encountered in the Maldives. The bed was also the biggest and the snorkelling the best I've ever encountered.
The variety of accommodation options is fantastic and the combination of beach, treetop, bubble and overwater could keep you entertained for weeks.
The decor is beautiful but the champagne selection isn't great. Nothing that would ever be served in an F cabin, just some basic Moet and Veuve.
After the champagne bar there is a large sitting area, filled with couches and signature CX Solus chairs.
The service on this flight was ferociously good. I felt like I didn't have a care in the world. Everything was brought to me as soon as I needed it. Sometimes the FAs would proactively suggest a coffee or a snack before I myself had realised I wanted it.
The seat is obscenely large and comfortable in every position I tried it. The IFE had a huge selection and a decent screen too. The headphones sounded crystal clear and no cabin noise leaked through.
It is borderline ridiculous how good this flight was. I cannot wait to fly CX F long haul next year and am delighted to say that I just got my parents booked in on a CX F redemption too. I feel like everybody needs to experience this at least once.
I spent about an hour in the lounge and was able to eat, drink, send a couple of emails and sort through all my papers and reservations for the rest of the trip. It was much nicer than waiting at the gate but really not worth turning up early for.
If I’d paid the big bucks for SQ suites, I would certainly view this lounge as a disappointment. Within Terminal 3 alone, there is a better Business Class lounge (The Virgin clubhouse).
If I’d paid the big bucks for SQ suites, I would certainly view this lounge as a disappointment. Within Terminal 3 alone, there is a better J lounge (the VS clubhouse).
One of the big advantages to the old F cabin, is the amount you can see during take-off and landing. When we finished taxiing and the engines revved up for take-off, the feeling was exhilarating. Seeing the world rushing past, through 15 or more windows, gave me the impression that I myself was flying. As opposed to the usual feeling of just being along for the ride, in a metal tube.
Shortly after the seat belt signs were turned off, one of the 2 female FAs came over with menus