A hotel to remember: Baros Maldives

When I ‘announced’ that I was going to Baros Maldives on a recent trip, something quite special happened: I had literally dozens of readers comment and react to the news in a very unique way. Why? Because many of you have discovered this Maldivian secret sailing paradise and have been going back year after year.

Having been there for 5 days on a recent trip – it is easy to understand why. It is a very small island (with only 70 something rooms, both over water and beach villas), service is incredibly attentive and it does feel like home. You all got to know the staff, or better, the staff got to know you over time and you are not interested in anything else except going back. I get it!

We arrived to this little piece of paradise by speedboat from Male airport (takes 25 minutes and transfers are included for all Sovereign customers) and before we knew it, we really were ready to enjoy our gorgeous beach pool villa at Baros Maldives.

Our beach pool villa at Baros Maldives

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays bedroom beach pool villa

Our room was absolutely gorgeous and very very recently updated. The standard was very good and it felt spacious yet very comfortable. These beach pool villas are 130+ sqm and as private as they get.

We had a king size bed with a pop-up TV at the end of it, a seating area and a writing area. The room also had a sizeable storage area which kept our luggage out of sight.

You could also find a Nespresso coffee machine, 2 1.5l bottles of water (replaced every day free of charge), ironing board, iron and new flip-flops.

Being a beach pool villa (which I have to say, is my favourite room category in the Maldives), you have a large outdoor area with your own secluded pool, day bed, 2 sets of sunloungers (one for the pool and one for the beach) and a seating area.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays outdoor beach pool villa

Getting in the spirit of the island, we also ordered breakfast and lunch almost every day – because it rained sometimes, and also because we just didn’t want to leave. And I am sure you can see why we did it!

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays breakfast beach pool villa

But needless to say, the best part is, without a doubt, your own ‘private’ stretch of beach. You have your own sun loungers and no one else can use them. We had neighbours as the hotel was at full capacity when we were there, but they were all very quiet. The hotel caters to adults mostly (children under 8 are not allowed) and those who choose this island resort do so to get away from it all. Literally.

The bathroom at Baros Maldives

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach pool villa bathroom

Our bathroom was mostly indoors and was very spacious. Inside we had a full-sized bath (and don’t you love that bath tray?), separate toilet, shower and double vanity units. The toiletries used were L’Occitane Verbena range which were lovely. My only comment was that we did not have spares for the outdoor shower (but we left a note to housekeeping and they then kept replacing them in both showers).

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach pool villa bathroom outdoor shower nespresso

As expected, the room was cleaned each morning and then turned down before dinner. We never had issues with timings and more often than not, they managed to do it whilst we had breakfast. Overall, service was excellent.

The food at Baros Maldives

Being a smaller island, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of dining options. But they weren’t as limited as I thought: for breakfast you could go to the excellent buffet breakfast (which also offered many cooked-to-order items like eggs, pancakes, etc) or you could order in-villa (with an extra charge).

My highlight for breakfast was having fruit actually cut and prepared in front of you and also what the hotel called ‘Eye-opening shots’, which changed every day. It was a little detail, but a lovely one.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays breakfast dinner food restaurants

Lime was also opened for lunch (we did try it once, but then indulged in our room every day) and dinner – and we loved the curry options they had. Lots of international cuisine (something for everyone), but we really did enjoy the various types of curry.

On two of the nights we went to Cayenne, which has more of a grill concept, with a starters buffet, which had really good sushi and sashimi options. We then chose the Maldivian seafood platter (approx $130 for 2) which we paired with Cloudy Bay, of course ($120/bottle).

On our last night, we tried the Lighthouse, which is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. We started our meal outside but due to the rain, we moved inside. The food was excellent and a meal will cost approximately $100-150 per person, depending on what you choose and excluding drinks.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays dinner food restaurants

On the photo above you can see Lime from 2 different perspectives (and also the Lighthouse restaurant).

Below, you can see the main bar (which I found incredibly quiet at all times, and honestly quite surprising as people did disappear immediately after dinner), and the ‘Lighthouse’ restaurant.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays lighthouse restaurant

I know you must be asking.. what about the drinks? Well, there were also options. We loved watching the sun set every day at the Lighthouse Lounge, located on the first floor of the building and enjoyed what I can call, gin & tonics with a view. (A Gin will cost you around $17 plus service and tax, which you can round-up to $22)

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays cocktails

We asked for them to be served in a wine glass and no one batted an eye lid. Even better, each day they remembered ‘our preference’ – which was kind of followed by other guests too!

After dinner, we did go to the main bar, but as I said before, we found it very quiet at around 9pm. Cocktails are $15 (+service + tax) and we ended up going to the room earlier than normal as we did feel a bit lonely at times.

The Spa at Baros Maldives

As the weather wasn’t brilliant at times, the spa was our to-to place when it rained (in the afternoon). We had a massage every day (60 mins for $159 ++) and one day we even tried a private yoga class ($60 ++ per person).

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays spa massage

Most hotel spas in the Maldives are ‘over water’ and I loved that this one was inland – very different and so so so green. It had ‘little houses’ which were self-contained treatment rooms and the therapists really were fantastic.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays spa massage yoga lessons

What do to at Baros Maldives

I know many readers worry about going to the Maldives ‘as there is nothing to do’. I have said many times that you need to be prepared for something unique: Maldives time. It goes so quickly, it is quite unbelievable.

We had planned to do some SUP and other things (like a sandbank picnic and the unique breakfast in the middle of the ocean), but the weather did not allow it. But when we had sun, which was actually every day for at least half the day, we did something we are very good at: we went to the beach where we swam, sat and read.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach fun beach pool villa

And we did it again and again…

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach reading beach pool villa

But the highlight was a private snorkelling session ($100 for 2) – which I highly recommend you do at the beginning. You will then know where to go, etc. And you also get photos!

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays snorkelling

Final thoughts

It was easy to see why most people go to Baros and return time after time. The island is small – but not too small – but everything has a purpose and place. The service was really attentive and friendly (lots of smiles), the rooms were exceptional and the food was really good too.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach sunset

And the sunsets were not bad either 😉

Until the next time!

xo

Mrs. O

Factbox and disclaimer: I was a guest of Sovereign Luxury, who organised this trip. Opinions are, as always, my own (but I loved it, promise).

Sovereign ( Tel: +44 1293 765 003) is offering a seven-night holiday to the Maldives staying at the five-star Baros Maldives in a Pool Villa on B&B basis from £3,895 per person – a saving of up to £1006 per couple. The offer includes airport security fast track and access to UK private airport lounge (where available), airport transfers, and return international flights from London Heathrow with Qatar Airways in economy class. For business class flights, the cost is £5,279 per person. Based on departures 14 May 2017.

 

A DJI Drone Flying Holiday in Spain

About a year ago, we bought our first drone – a DJI Phantom 3 Pro, to be precise – but after playing with it in the garden, it was clear that something else needed to happen. Just as I wouldn’t get into a car without the standard 30h (theory) + 30h (practical) lessons, we took the same approach to drone flying. Because it really isn’t as easy as people make it out to be.

A quick internet search revealed the Phantom Flight School which seemed to address all of our needs – multiple locations across the UK (initially, we even had lessons in Henley on Thames, which was brilliant), advice and support.

But our love affair with the Phantom was short-lived – we hated carrying it around (not so handy to go to the beach with a suitcase!!) and even though I tried to really use it on trips – you can see some examples in Bali, Greece and Mallorca, I knew something had to change.

So when Alan (who runs the school), sent us an email about the new DJI Mavic Pro, which weighs under 1kg and comes in very very compact packaging, I knew it was the drone for us. But we had to get rid of the old one…. absolutely no problem: the Phantom Flight School took it back as a part exchange and we purchased our new one from them.

And why? Because when you do, you get a free flight lesson – which was handy for us as we were a bit apprehensive to try the Mavic before our trip to Abu Dhabi, and it was night and day for us.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that the school was running actual drone flying holidays (which are mostly fully booked, with very few spaces remaining), I jumped at the chance when a cancellation occurred. It meant cancelling a conference, but I knew I wouldn’t get 5 days of drone flying lessons any other time. And it was 100% worth it.

Here is a quick recap video of the whole 5 days – and if you are interested, there are a few more from each individual flight below. They have music, but it isn’t important, so feel free to watch without sound if you are in a place where you shouldn’t have music on!

 

The flying holidays take place near the village of Periana, 1 hour north inland from Malaga. Courses are limited to 6 clients (all in ensuite accommodations) and it includes transfers and meals. It was a decent 4-star villa – but by no means luxury, and we really enjoyed ourselves.

I arrived on the first day (but much later than the core group) and I didn’t fancy the drive up, so I pre-organised a private transfer with Hoppa to take me there. Worth noting that all we had was a Google Maps pin and it worked a treat. My husband joined us a day later and hired a car at the airport, which we kept for the remainder of our stay.

On Thursday, my first full day, we spent a morning at the villa having some theory lessons – from legislation, to pre-flight checks and understanding the DJI Go App. Everyone had some experience – but we all wanted to learn. The focus of the 5 days was to a) make us excellent pilots, so that we can then b) focus on the output which is, of course, what I am interested in: the photographs and the videos.

Here is how my first flight went – we went up to the mountains, not too far from the villa and needless to say, Simon and I filmed everything except for the bits where I appear (Alan did that for me with my then drone).

 

We ended our day with cocktails and dinner at the villa and an early night for most – I had to wait til 2am for Mr. O to arrive (because BA really has some horrible flight times to Malaga, which has been downgraded to Gatwick for every flight except for one a week from Heathrow) and they are timed in a way that you either land at 22.45 (my flight) or 00.30 (Mr. O’s flight). No dinner for anyone…

On the second day, we flew over a farmhouse ruin during the morning, returned to the villa and checked our footage.. and then went back in the afternoon to correct things. What did we do wrong? What did we miss?

In my case, the morning was exceptional. But in the afternoon, I lost a bit of focus (and became a tad overconfident) and… crashed the drone. It meant that the boys had to really walk far away to get it – for which I am very grateful – and also that the best thing I had done this month was to get drone insurance. As long as I recover it, I am covered – so hence why getting it back was crucial.

I was gutted – and so annoyed that ‘it was the girl’ who had this accident. A tad embarrassed too, but I did not let that ruin our evening at a beautiful local restaurant with the most stunning views. All the adrenaline during the day called for an early night and give me some time to mentally prepare to fly the following day… over the sea.

A special thank you to Alan, who let me hire a spare DJI Mavic Pro drone he had – knowing it wasn’t mine made me even more nervous and I wasn’t 100% confident the next morning as we were flying over what was one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever seen in Spain… and one I had no idea existed so close to Malaga (you know I visit the area regularly, be that Marbella or my beloved Finca Cortesin)

It was important to get back on the horse, and the scenery did help. As did the lunch with amazing sea views – and the celebratory ‘Tinto de Verano’. Needless to say, no drinking and flying – and those of us who did have a cheeky drink, did not fly again that afternoon.

We had a barbecue at the villa that night (my last one, but the rest of the group still had another day and night ahead) and we were all in bed before 10.45pm! It is tiring – a lot of concentration is required and sleep is vital!

On our last morning, we flew over Lake Vinuela, on the way towards the coast – the weather wasn’t so nice and I used the wrong filter on the drone, but hey, we are still beginners. Lots and lots to learn!

 

Final thoughts:

I thought the course was very well organised and I cannot recommend it enough. Accommodation isn’t luxury (I know I am picky), but it was absolutely fine (all ensuite, of course) and the food was also good. I was the only woman on the course, and I would like to think I did not kill the mood for the boys. Everyone was a tad older than me and I really enjoyed everyone’s company – some great stories we shared, everyone wanted to help the others and we had a lot of fun.

I am a normal customer of the Phantom Flying School – it is where I have all my lessons (and will continue to do so), bought my drone, accessories and get all my advice from. If you are based in the UK, I cannot recommend them enough (and for the holidays, of course anyone can join!).

xo

Mrs. O

Disclaimer and fact box: on this occasion, and due to a last minute cancellation, we were guests of the Phantom Flight School for this holiday. Obviously we covered all travel costs. A 5-night drone flying course in Spain costs £1,195 including all tuition, accommodation, half board and transfers – I told them they have to increase the price as it is worth a lot more.

My transfer with Hoppa took 1 hour from Malaga airport and cost £50 one-way.

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