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.

 

Hotel Review: Columbia Beach Resort, Pissouri Bay

For a heavenly, exclusive boutique hotel on the island of Cyprus, luxury travellers need look no further than the gorgeous, five star Columbia Beach Resort. Location The Columbia Beach Resort lies nestled in a secluded location on the 2km long blue flag Pissouri Bay in Cyprus near to the village of the same name. The … Continue reading Hotel Review: Columbia Beach Resort, Pissouri Bay

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Review Araliya Lounge At Bandaranaike International Airport

Review Araliya Lounge At Bandaranaike International Airport

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Emma Harris Tiffany Anti Ageing Eye Mask With 24 Karat Gold

Emma Harris Tiffany Anti Ageing Eye Mask With 24 Karat Gold

We’re All Looking For That Secret To Younger Looking Skin, Especially Around The Eye Area, Which Can Often Be The Area That Gives Away Your True Age. Everyone Wishes It Could Be Quick, Easy And Pain Free And I Might Just Have Found The Answer, And Best Of All It Works While You Sleep! What … Continue reading Emma Harris Tiffany Anti Ageing Eye Mask With 24 Karat Gold

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Hotel Review: 19 Rooms, Valletta

When you visit the historic island of Malta, why not stay in the beautiful city of Valletta; packed with museums, palaces and grand churches. Stay in 19 Rooms; a stunning five-star urban boutique hotel that has recently opened and is already creating a buzz. Location 19 Rooms is tucked in the heart of the tiny … Continue reading Hotel Review: 19 Rooms, Valletta

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Hotel Review: Casa Chameleon Hotels

The rainforested Central American country of Costa Rica draws luxury travellers with promises of stunning beaches, volcanos and jungle teeming with wildlife. Your accommodation somewhere this special needs to be outstanding and you literally need look no further than the heavenly all-villa resorts of Casa Chameleon. Location There are two main resorts; Casa Chameleon Hotel … Continue reading Hotel Review: Casa Chameleon Hotels

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Boutique Hotel Review: Little Albion Sydney

This one comes to you hot off the press! Opening in June 2018, the stunning Little Albion Guest House in Sydney, Australia has recently undergone a very impressive architectural overhaul and is now a stylish accommodation choice that demands your attention. Location The location is just as fabulous as the guest house itself. You are … Continue reading Boutique Hotel Review: Little Albion Sydney

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A luxury weekend in and around Miami Beach, Florida

This blog post is brought to you in partnership with Visit Florida

 

Miami Beach needs no introduction – and to me especially. I have been a good 10 times, but I stopped in recently years. I needed a break.

But 2018 was the year I decided to return to Miami Beach – and if I can be honest, I am glad I waited to return. Why? Because I was really excited as the departing date got closer, and planning this trip was also pretty special. There were SO many new hotels to choose from – things got a bit stale and if you did not want a ‘pool and beach scene’, things weren’t so easy. But now… you are spoiled for choice and I was too.

I had 3 nights in Miami Beach and I made the most of them – here’s how my “long’ weekend went and how you can plan a luxury weekend in Miami Beach yourself.

 

Click here to watch this video on Youtube.
 

Getting to Miami Beach

Easy peasy. From London Heathrow, you can fly direct with British Airways, American Airlines and Virgin. I chose to get my ticket from British Airways and actually fly out with American. I like American’s business class set up (I reviewed it a few years ago and the experience was quite similar) and on this flight, I couldn’t ask for much more. I followed a readers’ advice and ordered a ‘Hindu Vegetarian meal’ which was not bad at all.

american airlines business class london to miami heathrow lounge cathay pacific

If you are oneworld Sapphire or Emerald (I am the latter), you can play a lovely little game called lounge hopping at T3 now. Have a quick look (and cry) at the American lounge, then the BA lounge and make sure you head to the Qantas new lounge too. Where you will find me? The Cathay Pacific First Lounge which really is an oasis of calm and has outstanding food and service.

Note that if you do not have status with oneworld, you can only access the American or BA lounges (which will be refurbished soon, from what I have heard).

The in-flight entertainment was very good and having left London at 9.45am, we landed slightly ahead of schedule at 2pm which gave me a proper half day in Miami.

And then… there was one of the most exciting landing views from a plane. Welcome to Miami.

landing at miami beach florida lux weekend in florida american airlines business class

 

Arriving at Miami Airport

I’m not a big fan of Miami Airport – in fact I was keen to fly to Fort Lauderdale (BA flies to 5 destinations in Florida and you are free to depart and return from a different one at no difference in cost). However, things have improved a bit and we were lucky with our timings and what not… and I was out of the airport, with luggage and past immigration within an hour of landing (my personal record is JFK at 37 mins, so this was pretty good).

As I was on my own (and even if I wasn’t), I much prefer to be met by a car service at the airport – and sort the car rental the following day or when I really need it. After a long flight, it is the last thing I needed and I had a couple glasses of champagne on the flight (which was just about OK) and therefore, driving really wasn’t an option.

I used Blacklane again – I think they are very good in the USA and much simpler than Uber (cost me under $100 from airport to hotel, in a business class car as I had 3 suitcases, but I didn’t have to fight with people to ‘find’ my uber at the curb) and got to my hotel within 30 mins.

 

Where to stay

As I mentioned earlier – oh my were there choices! There are more than a handful brand new luxury hotels, but my decision wasn’t that tough. Why? Because in my last visits we always stayed towards Bal Harbour, a town located 10-15 mins north of Miami Beach, home to Bal Harbour Shops (probably the best luxury shopping experience in the area) and the St. Regis hotel. We have always found that this area suited us better – it is quieter, there is no beach or pool scene and it is super easy to get to downtown Miami or Miami Beach.

I am sure it was why the Four Seasons chose Surfside (literally the town before Bal Harbour) to locate its latest addition to its Miami portfolio: the absolutely stunning Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club.

luxury travel miami florida weekend four seasons surfside luxury hotel flytographer surf club

The hotel uses the original building which was The Surf Club for the main public areas – it is also home to Le Sireneuse’s restaurant first international outpost (and it is excellent). We loved the vibe of the hotel – how quiet it was (on the beach or pool – the hotel has only 70-something rooms, but then has private residences in adjacent buildings) and then how lively the bar and restaurant were in the evening.

luxury travel miami florida weekend four seasons surfside luxury hotel flytographer surf club pool and beach club

I will be reviewing the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club in greater detail soon, so for the time being, I will hopefully leave you wanting for more.

I really can’t fault the hotel – the service was really friendly and efficient, the location was really convenient for us and the bar was brilliant. We went out and about for dinner but always chose to return to Le Sireneuse for drinks as it had our name written all over it.

luxury travel miami florida weekend four seasons surfside luxury hotel flytographer surf club double room

The rooms were really well appointed too and came with what one could call, ‘a decent view’. You can see a video with a bit more detail on my Instagram.

 

Where to eat and drink in and around Miami Beach

It wasn’t easy to choose where to eat –  a handful of old timers and then some new options… and only 3 nights, which turned into 2, as I will explain in a bit why.

I decided to go for ‘something old but different’ and ‘something similar but new’ because in all honesty, it was difficult to pick.

On our first night, we went to Leynia, a new Argentinian concept by SBE at the Delano Hotel. It was the perfect first meal for my friend Kirsten (who had flown in from Los Angeles) and for myself who was a bit tired from flying in from London. The cocktails were great, and we chose to share a few starters and a steak between us, which was more than enough. Dinner for two is around $200-$300+ (depending on the wine you choose, of course). Whatever you do, order their signature sorbet for dessert and you are in for a treat.

luxury travel miami florida weekend leynia argentinian restaurant delano hotel miami sbe group

On our second night, we were due to go to Estiatorio Milos but my friend K had drinks with a client of hers, which then turned into dinner. These things happen and I am actually glad it did because I can now make a first hand recommendation of a restaurant a few blocks from the Four Seasons, in Surfside, which I would never have gone to.. Her clients and family were Jewish and invited us to join them at their favourite Kosher barbecue restaurant, Backyard BBQ. I have one single photo of the evening, which is of the sharing platter – it isn’t a pretty one, and I don’t care.

I am also not 100% sure of what we had Рbut I remember burned ends, buffalo something, rib eye and goodness knows what else. I may also say that the jalape̱o cocktails were delicious. I think dinner was around $75 per person (but I did not pay the bill). It was quite the experience and I think we were the only non-Jewish people there, and everyone was very nice to us.

kosher bbq surfside 1

On our last night, I really fancied going back to Bazaar by Jose Andres – for many reasons, but one of them was because they have this ‘Ultimate Gin & Tonic’ which is a little work of art, and also because my friend K also makes Hendricks and this would be a nice surprise for her. Living in California, she fancied some European flavours and as always, Mr. Andres did not disappoint. He has a new restaurant in Miami which came highly recommended too, but we flipped a coin and chose the South Beach location. I tell no lies. Dinner for 2 was between $250-300 excluding service. We had wines by the glass and quite a few cocktails.

luxury travel miami florida weekend bazaar by jose andres at the sls sbe group

 

We lunched at the Four Seasons pool restaurant (lovely but I still do not understand why one needs plastic glasses when eating at a table, but not really by the pool) and also at Le Sireneuse. If you like real Italian food, go. It really is a beautiful venue – and really busy at dinner. For lunch, we tried the 3-course $52 lunch menu (can do 2 courses for $42). It was really quiet, so it ended up being a bit more formal than I would have liked.

luxury travel miami florida weekend four seasons surfside luxury hotel flytographer surf club la sireneuse italian restaurant amalfi coast

The bar, on the other hand, was always busy and was excellent. The whole team is Italian and very chatty. They made great cocktails too. Cocktails are around $20++.

The only other place we went to for pre-dinner drinks was Soho Beach House. If you are a non-member, you can book a room and also visit Cecconi’s who operates their non-members area. If you are a member, you have the usual bar and restaurant and I cannot tell you any more about it.

luxury travel miami florida weekend soho beach house miami beach

 

Where to shop

This is a BIG question, and I will tell you something: I pre-ordered pretty much everything I could online and had it delivered to the hotel. My time in Miami was precious and I wanted to add in some lovely beach time (which I can assure you existed).

bal harbour shops

A visit to Bal Harbour Shops is a must – it could be possibly the most civilised shopping mall in the world. Very compact and with the very very best money can buy. I had an accident where my flip flops broke and just so you know, Havaianas cannot be found at BH. I found it strange as there are $100 havaianas and we all know there is a time and a place for them. I “had to buy’ a lovely pair of Gianvitto Rossi slides which I will remember forever as my emergency $400 pair of shoes. I was able to get a new pair of havaianas (as the GRs really are not ever going to see any sand) at the Four Seasons hotel shop (which was fantastic, by the way) and later on in the trip in Sarasota was able to get the exact same ones I had.

But there’s obviously another place we went to – the better than ever Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills. Located an hour’s drive from Miami Beach (and approximately 90 minutes from Naples, where I headed off to next), they are Florida’s most unique designer outlets and I can barely recognise them since my last visit. Sawgrass Mills is still huge (and some more mainstream high street brands have stores there), but the luxury brands are now all in the same place and it really makes for a pleasant shopping experience.

colonnade outlets at sawgrass mills florida luxury outlet shopping

 

I loved returning to Miami Beach and pretty much every minute we spent in the area. I am glad I had a break since my last visit – because it was really interesting to see how at home I felt. I love the mix of cultures (the South American influence really adds more than a ‘je-ne-sais-quois’ to this part of Florida) and just how easy and relaxed everything was.

I even had the courage to have my first solo Flytographer session (which is always a blessing as they are, of course, the only photos I have of me!)

mrs o flytogapher miami beach luxury weekend florida four seasons photographer

If you haven’t been to Miami Beach for a while…. go. I loved returning and it definitely won’t be years until I go back.

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer and Fact Box: this trip was funded and sponsored by Visit Florida and I was able to organise the trip entirely on my own, like I normally would. My collaboration with Visit Florida also included a live social media campaign, which allowed those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be able to join me during the trip. I loved every minute and opinions are all mine (and I promise you, it was great).

Find out more about Florida by visiting Visit Florida‘s website – it has a good collection of resources and can help you plan your next trip. Start here for ideas on what to do and see in Miami, accommodation and shopping, of course. You can also visit the Miami and Beaches website.

I would also recommend following Visit Florida on Instagram – it will give you a good flavour of what to expect as the state really is so diverse.

 

How to get to Miami Beach Florida and how much it will cost to do it Mrs. O style:

– Fly there – I flew with AA and BA in business class and fares start from £1800 direct from London Heathrow. My flight was £2750 due to the dates we chose. You can fly to nearby Fort Lauderdale as well now from London Gatwick.

– Sleep – I stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club in Surfside, Florida. Rates for a double room start at $550 + tax excluding breakfast. Valet parking costs $42 per day.

– Getting around – I used Blacklane for the airport transfer ($), used Uber pretty much everywhere around town and also hired a car from day 3 onwards with Avis. 

– Capture the moment – a 30-minute photo session with Flytographer  costs $250.

 

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Mileage Runs: Frequent Flyer Genius Or Pure Insanity?

Mileage Runs: Frequent Flyer Genius Or Pure Insanity?

Search through travel forums and you will find stories of frequent flyers who have endured insane mileage runs in order to earn miles or to maintain airline or hotel status. Most recently, my friend Xavier who writes the travel blog “The Luxury Travel Expert” did an extreme mileage run with a return flight on an … Continue reading Mileage Runs: Frequent Flyer Genius Or Pure Insanity?

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