Maldives Part 2: Virgin Atlantic Seattle to London, 787 Dreamiliner
Mention the Maldives and images of pristine turquoise blue waters come to mind. Overwater bungalows with direct jump-in access to the water and romantic sunsets are commonplace in this island paradise.
While it’s on almost everyone’s wish list, getting there can be a challenge. Flights are often ridiculously expensive and once you DO get to the islands, a barrage of expensive hotels with overpriced meals await. Never mind the flight distance involved, those expensive factors are enough to turn some people off and have them looking for cheaper destinations.
Getting to paradise and back doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We booked a ridiculous, normally unattainable luxury vacation valued at almost $46,000 for a grand total of $1,818… for two people!
Considering that’s usually the price of a regular coach class ticket to the Maldives, that’s one heck of a steal.
In the series of posts to follow, we’re going to walk you through all the experiences that we enjoyed on this trip. While most people would consider this once-in-a-lifetime, with just a little legwork and dedication you can have a luxury getaway to make Instagram followers drool with envy.
- Part 1 – Introduction and Planning
- Part 2 – Flights to London and Hamilton
- Part 3 – Refined Luxury London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- Part 4a – The House Lounge, London Heathrow
- Part 4b – Etihad First Class Apartment LHR-AUH
- Part 4c – Etihad First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi
- Part 4d – A340 Etihad to Male, Flight Review
- Part 5 – A day in the life of Male, Capital City
- Part 6 – St Regis Airport Lounge
- Part 6b – Trans Maldivian Seaplane Ride
- Part 7 – The St Regis Hotel Arrival Experience
- Part 8 – Overwater Villa, $3000/night for FREE
- Part 9 – Things to do at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 10 – Free Breakfast at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 11 – How to not go broke eating in the Maldives
- Part 12 – Snorkeling at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 13 – Male Airport VIP experience
- Part 14 – Emirates First Class Male to Dubai
- Part 15 – Dubai Transit Hotel – Amazing Value
- Part 16 – Emirates First Class Dubai to Los Angeles
- Part 17 – Conclusion and Giveaway
Seattle to London, Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic recently took over the Seattle to London Heathrow route from Delta Airlines. They fly their 787 Dreaminer service between the two cities with an awesome Upper Class experience. We’d seen a lot of reviews online about the Upper Class product and when we met Sir Richard Branson last year, we had the chance to talk to him about the plane.
He mentioned that it was one of the in flight features he was most proud of. With that high of a bar, we absolutely had to check it out.
The flight was originally leaving at 130pm with a 6am arrival into London. About a month before the flight we got a notification that the flight was now at its new departure time of 5:55pm. 4 hours is a lot of time, and Delta was willing to allow us to make changes to our award ticket, but no other routes were available on Virgin planes.
Since we didn’t want to fly on Delta One’s product, we were forced to suck it up and eat the huge flight time change.
Virgin boards out of the S gates in Seatac (like almost all international flights). If you fly in the Upper Class cabin you’re allowed access to the Delta Sky Club in the S gates. We opted for the Amex Centurion lounge so we won’t have a Skyclub review this time around (it is our favorite club in Seattle after all).
Boarding was partitioned to allow only the Premium Cabin passengers onboard first so we could get settled in quickly and comfortably.
As soon as you board the plane you can tell this is going to be a different experience. The interior is lit up in hues of purple, red, and yellow. It makes taking pictures difficult, but the vibe that it gives is nightclub meets airplane.
The seats aren’t set up for couples to sit well together, but if you do want to have any semblance of a conversation I’d suggest the window seats. Also, try to get the A seats… the other aisle seats are strange cause someone is staring at you the entire flight. Very, very awkward.
At our seat upon arrival was the menu for the flight…
And an amenity kit by Herschel. I love the design (leather/fabric mix).
The TV came out of the side of the seat and was kinda awkward. You could angle it into a few different positions, but it was large and made for watching movies easy, no matter if you were seated or lying down.
A bottle of water was waiting for each person at their seat as well.
The seat did feel a little cramped, and at 6 foot 3, my feet stretched ALL the way to the end of the seat.
I’ll keep this one short. There was technically WiFi – but it sucked. Like, didn’t work at all. So as much as I’d love to talk about this, I can’t really.
As soon as I turned it on, I had apparently used 23 of my 40 MB. And then 5 minutes later, I was disconnected. What a piece of shit.
The food options were awesome. Not only was there something for every tastebud there was Sticky Toffee pudding. I don’t care how crappy your food is, because if you finish it with Sticky Toffee pudding, you’re good.
I opted for the potato and celeriac soup, pretzel roll, and Tikka Paneer. The dessert was disgusting. Let me save you the trouble and don’t bother ordering the cheesecake. It was like cardboard.
Breakfast was a lighy option for me since I knew we’d be having an actual lunch in London shortly after we landed. I went with a sausage link, back bacon, and pastry. Coffee as well (no espresso unfortunately) but it was still pretty tasty.
Can we all agree that these mugs are awesome?
Almost as awesome as the salt and pepper shakers like airplanes.
Before you knew it we were flying over The London Eye, the Thames, and landing in Heathrow.
Since we had a while day in London, why not go see Hamilton? The tickets (at $200) were a hell of a lot cheaper than in New York or even Seattle.
And look at how gorgeous this theatre is!!
If we’re being honest, I didn’t like Virgin’s Upper Class.
The seat? It was OK but it was kinda tight. You also spend the majority of the flight starting at the person in front of you (and the one behind you is staring at you).
The meals were OK but nothing to write home about.
Since I would consider Virgin to be a party airline, the bar in the back of the cabin was patronized by loud drunk Brits throughout the flight and the sound of their voices and laughter just carried throughout the entire cabin.
Mind you, it was a hell of a lot better than flying in coach on any airline, but I think I’d hold out for British First deals to get me back to the UK.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our epic trip where we will review, in our opinion, London’s absolutely best hotel, the St Pancras Renaissance.