Friday Favorites #6

Maldives from the plane

Happy Friday! I'm currently sitting in a lounge in Malé sipping a vanilla bourbon iced tea waiting for our fourth and final flight. We will be taking a sea plane to get to the St. Regis resort in the Maldives where we will be spending the next seven days. As I was sitting here, I realized that tomorrow is already Friday (and time for a Friday Favorites). We left on Tuesday and have been living in a haze of airport lounges and incredible flights unsure what time or day it is until now.

Vanilla bourbon iced tea in Maldives St. Regis lounge
Photo credit to Matt because he has a better iPhone than me :-)

While I'm feeling a little jet lagged, I'm more overcome with an incredible feeling of gratitude. Matt booked this vacation using points that he has accumulated from traveling for work, and he really created an incredible adventure for us that doesn't feel like real life. We feel incredibly fortunate to have this experience and aren't taking one second for granted. If you're into travel recaps, you're in luck for the next couple of weeks! If not, my goal is to have at least one non-travel post coming out next week. I also threw in a couple of non-travel favorites I thought you'd be interested in - so scroll to the second half of this post if travel talk isn't your thing. Thanks for stopping by, and please share what you're loving this week in the comments! <3

Side note: I promptly fell asleep curled up in a chair in the lounge after writing that intro (jet lag is no joke), so I'm resuming now that we have officially arrived at our resort. Also, this post does contain an affiliate link.

Flying in Etihad's Apartment

Etihad apartment
It was hard to take a photo that accurately portrayed how large these apartments are. My legs may not be super long, but there was ample space for even Matt to stretch his legs.

As I mentioned in the intro, Matt was able to use his travel points to book an amazing trip for us - including the flights. We were able to fly business and First Class which made the 30+ hours of travel getting here feel like a special vacation on its own instead of a necessary means to get to our destination. The most incredible part was our flight from London to Abu Dhabi in Etihad's first class "apartments". Matt and I each had our own little large area with a divider that came down to share our space.

Etihad dining

I may do a full recap with details of the flights, but I'll try to keep it brief here. At the start, we were welcomed by the chef on board who was available to cook for us whenever requested. We enjoyed a sit down four course meal in my apartment that started with caviar (I was hoping to not like it, but unfortunately it's delicious). The other courses continued to be high-end restaurant quality.

Etihad apartment bed

When we were ready for some rest, they prepared our lie-flat beds. While I was too excited to spend too much time sleeping, I did get a couple of hours of extremely restful and comfortable sleep. Before landing, we were able to take a shower on the plane (!) before landing which was quite the experience and very refreshing.

Staying active while traveling

Yoga at Vinyasa Arts LKN studio

I don't like to sit still. The thought of needing to stay in one place for an extended period of time makes me restless just thinking about it, so I look for opportunities to move around as much as possible throughout the travel process. The morning before we left, I did a strength workout (Alexia Clark, of course) and took a yoga class at my favorite studio (more details on that below) for an awesome flow and opportunity to stretch before the flights.

Fitness room in Abu Dhabi Etihad first class lounge

We had an eight hour layover in Abu Dhabi, but having access to the Etihad first class lounge made that time fly by. We likely would have explored Abu Dhabi, but we got in at midnight and our flight was at 8 am so that wasn't an option. The lounge has a gym, which is an AMAZING concept. After an Americano that gave me new life, we headed straight to the gym. To my delight, no one else was feeling like a workout at 2 am in the morning so we had the space to ourselves. I had packed some resistance bands in my carry on, so I did one of Alexia Clark's travel workouts while Matt took advantage of one of the treadmills. We both felt so much better after stretching our legs and getting our blood pumping.

Fitness room in St. Regis Maldives resort

This morning, I woke up early and headed to a boxing fitness class that St. Regis offers. It was an awesome class, and the perfect way to get acclimated to the new time zone (it really was around 8:30 pm "my" time). While I can totally understand how some people would want to take a break from working out on their vacations, staying active makes me really happy. I really love having the opportunity to try new fitness classes, so I'm looking forward to trying the TRX class this afternoon. Other classes I have my eye on include the anti-gravity yoga, jumping fitness (on trampolines!), beach fitness, tabata HIIT, boot camp, and morning and evening yoga. The gym here is also fully equipped and stunning.

Arriving to the St. Regis by Sea plane

Sea plane from Male airport to St. Regis Maldives resort

In order to get to the Maldives, all planes arrive in the Malé airport. From there, you have to take a sea plane to get to the St. Regis resort. I had never flown in a plane this tiny before (especially not one that landed on water), so I was admittedly a little apprehensive about the experience. However, I believe that adventures that bring you a little outside of your comfort zone can be some of the most memorable experiences and this proved to be the case.

View of St. Regis Maldives resort from sea plane with sun setting

When we arrived to the lounge, we were updated that the plane would be taking off later than originally planned. While we were pretty exhausted at this point and so ready to make it to the resort, the silver lining was that the sun was setting just as we were arriving at the St. Regis. That made for an incredible, breathtaking experience as we gazed down on our final destination.

Üllo Wine Purifier

ullo wine purifier
Photo source Amazon website

With all of the wine talk in last week's Friday Favorites post, it would be unfair to keep this gem from you guys any longer! As we've covered, I adore wine but not the brutal feeling it predictably gives me the next morning after even a single glass of red. Matt got this wine purifier for me in an effort not to lose his wine drinking buddy, and it really is a miracle worker! I haven't used it much, but on Thanksgiving I had two very generous glasses of red using this and I felt completely fine the next morning. MIRACULOUS. The purifier filters out sulfites, which are often the culprit behind those notorious wine hangovers. As a bonus, the purifier can also aerate the wine. Each filter it comes with is good for one bottle of wine. While the filters aren't cheap (it's about $3/filter), it's worth it to me to be able to enjoy red wine again. Definitely worth the investment to all you wine drinkers out there!

Vinyasa Arts LKN Studio

Vinyasa Arts LKN studio

To any Lake Norman locals, I love this new(ish) yoga studio so much. Tamara and Andy (the owners), are incredible seasoned yogis. In the few months since I've joined I have really been able to expand my practice through their great instruction and adjustments. The classes are approachable but challenging, and they are great at teaching to a variety of skill levels in one class. As the studio becomes more popular, they are constantly adding new class times and instructors. They offer a few community classes that are only $5 cash in addition to a $35 unlimited class pass the first month, which are both awesome ways to try them out.

What's something you're loving this week?

What's your dream vacation?

What's your favorite trick for avoiding wine hangovers?


Diana Bondy

Hi Amelia, Loved this post. Your trip sounds and looks amazing. So glad you guys are enjoying, you’ve earned it! Can’t wait till your next post 😊. Xo, Di PS: I overheard at my barre class, that they’re opening a Barre3 in Charlotte. They’re on ClassPass.
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Thanks so much, Di! <3 We feel extra lucky to be here. That's great to know about Barre3 coming to Charlotte! I'm always up for trying a new workout class :-)
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