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.
PCR Testing is an inevitability of the current travel environment and if you're UK based it certainly seems that this will be a requirement for some time to come.
With PCR tests ranging in price from £100 to £200 or even more, I've been curious to try various options at the lower end of the pricing spectrum to see how they compare...
Overall, the experience with Qantas was mixed. The crew are very helpful and friendly. They have their wits about them and behave like competent, experienced adults. With some other airlines you get younger crews who may look better but you get the feeling that their ability to improvise, go the extra mile or even engage in decent conversation is somewhat limited.
The Park Hyatt Melbourne has all the makings of a great hotel but the finishes need to be spotless in a Park Hyatt. Any mechanisms need to function without problems. Cables need to be tidied inside consoles or at least pinned or bundled in some way. Empty plates, towels and bottles need to be cleared in a timely fashion. Most of all, the staff need to be helpful and courteous.
Overall this was a decent stay but I'd still be tempted to look elsewhere when returning to Melbourne. The sports facilities are fantastic as is the location but the dark and noisy rooms detracted from the overall experience, as did the quality of the offerings in the club lounge. This is a city that seems to struggle with delivering true luxury. I can't help but feeling that it needs a Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton or MO to really raise the bar for the current crop of properties...
Whilst Sydney is undeniably the more famous city, with the likes of Bondi beach and the Opera House drawing millions of visitors each year, ask most Australians and they'll tell you that Melbourne has it firmly beaten when it comes to bars, coffee shops and restaurants. With four days to explore the city I went all out to eat and drink my way through everything the city had to offer...