Welcome to JarvisMarcos.com, a thorough and extensive database of my travel reviews.
I fly over 100,000 miles per year in First and Business class cabins and review every new product that I try. Similarly, I review almost every luxury hotel and airport lounge that I set foot in
I book the majority of my travel using sales, promotions and a variety of other tricks - often leveraging the power of hotel points and airline miles. If I use a special technique of any kind to book a travel experience, I'll mention it in the review.
This means that hopefully you'll have all the tools you need to book your own amazing trips too!
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When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
The JW Marriott Marquis is a 5* hotel but I think you'd struggle to make a case for it being a luxury hotel. For the price we paid I feel like we got value for money, however I would not have been happy if we'd been paying $500+ per night.
Realistically this might be a Top 10 First Class product but in order to crack the Top 3 BA would have to make some serious changes. Of course, this would probably come at a higher cost, with less opportunities to redeem miles for the experience.
BA's A380 First Class offers an experience truly worthy of the name. It is very pleasant, relaxing and comfortable. However BA falls short of being truly spectacular. Given what other airlines are doing with their flagship products these days, it seems a shame that a once great airline isn't aiming to beat the world.
The Churchill is a very well located hotel which manages to be within a two minute walk of some of London's busiest shopping and dining streets, whilst retaining an air of calm and tranquility overlooking the Portman Square Park. The staff on the club level were universally superb, everybody seemed to be happy to work there and it results in a remarkably pleasant experience. The club lounge itself was a quiet and elegant place to relax and offered a wide variety of high quality food and drink.
After an absolutely spectacular outbound flight in the First Class Apartments I was really curious to see how the business class product would pan out. Given that I would be heading straight to the office from this flight, my priorities were a little different than on the outbound. Basically I just wanted to get to sleep in comfort and enjoy some privacy and quiet. I wasn't looking for tons of attention and I was already stuffed from the food at the lounge and on the flight from MLE.
The Conrad Maldives has a huge variety of different eating and drinking establishments located across both islands. The most famous of which is Ithaa, the underwater restaurant, which I personally didn't bother with - it is universally derided for being an eye wateringly expensive tourist trap (I did clear a little bit of debris off the glass ceiling for the poor suckers inside, during our orientation dive though 😜.)
Whilst it is easy enough to drastically reduce the cost of accommodation here, you will realistically need to budget at least an additional $50 per person per day in order to eat lunch and/or dinner. Add to this the cost of the seaplane transfers and you can see that this is still by no means a cheap holiday, even if you are getting it 'cheaper'.
One of the major advantages that the Conrad has over other Maldivian resorts is its sheer size. There is undoubtedly a charm in being able to walk around your entire island resort in five minutes but I imagine that after a couple of nights things start to get pretty boring.
With ten different bars and restaurants to choose from, all with their own unique identities and cuisines, the Conrad does not suffer from a lack of options. There are also tennis courts, two infinity pools, numerous watersports and several beaches, as well as a house reef.
If you are staying in a beach villa you'll be located on the Main Island whilst the majority of the water villas are across the water on the Quiet Island. Either way, you'll probably find yourself moving back and forth between the two islands throughout your stay, although most people tend to have a favourite...
During our stay at the beach villa, our island host Naeem kept in constant contact with us. Each morning at breakfast he would check in with us to see if we had any activities planned and whether he could organise any dinner or lunch reservations for us. On the first morning he asked how we slept and I mentioned the super loud air conditioning plant next to villa 208. He said he'd ask the engineers if there were any issues and would report back.
Although it was quite disappointing to find out that we hadn't been allocated an upgraded water villa, we got a beach villa which perfectly matched the criteria that I sent to the hotel ahead of our stay. I was seriously impressed by this, as I can only imagine the degree of complexity that goes into giving every person the room they want, especially when people are constantly coming and going and the resort stays at near 100% occupancy throughout the high and shoulder seasons.
In fact, there is a $1Million prize available to anybody who can prove the underlying mathematical theorem for solving (and indeed fully explaining) this type of problem
Whilst I've previously gushed over the amazing atmosphere at Koh Samui airport (very close to another favourite Conrad property of mine), the seaplane dock at MLE takes the whole holiday airport concept to another level!
Everywhere you look there are excited people smiling, laughing and taking pictures. Everybody is dressed for the sunny weather, including the pilots and ground crews who sport a uniform of flip flops and shorts alongside their short sleeved shirts.
Our Conrad host walked us to the edge of the dock and offered to take a picture for us before sending us on our way.
It is not often that I return to the same hotel on multiple occasions; the world is a large place and there are so many new experiences out there that I always feel like a bit of a sucker when I make a return visit.
Sometimes though you find a place that ticks so many boxes, a place that you keep thinking about on those drizzly days in the office, a place that is such unbelievably good value that you keep yearning to return and cannot justify the risk of exploring an alternative.