After their fantastic first holiday together, Mike and Geraldine were keen to satisfy their wanderlust with a multi-centre mixture of adventure and relaxation.
Having visited both Sri Lanka and the Maldives some years earlier, Mike was keen to introduce his partner to the delights of these special places and asked for my help...
We knew that a trip around Sri Lanka was the next place on our travel wish list followed by some relaxation time in the Maldives. Gillian’s inspiration and advice on the best way to do it was the missing ingredient.
Whale watching, a safari, visiting a tea plantation and a general exploration around the island were our major considerations for the beautiful country of Sri Lanka, along with a private car and tour guide for a more personal experience.
Gillian’s knowledge and experience came to the fore, as usual, advising we spend eight days to accommodate everything that we wanted to do without rushing, followed by a week’s downtime in the Maldives, staying for the first time in a Water Villa at OBLU Select Sangeli.
It sounded idyllic. It was...
We flew with Qatar Airways and Gillian had organised VIP lounges at each of the airports we were departing from along with all our transfers throughout, which were seamless.
Sri Lanka was magnificent. I had recalled how green it was and how so many views were spectacular, but it was so great to be reminded how special the people are, so welcoming and the nicest I have ever met whilst on holiday.
Our private tour guide was excellent, picking us up in an air-conditioned car each morning to take us to the different destinations. He was very knowledgeable, always on time, and most certainly enhanced the whole experience.
Our excursions were all memorable and insightful, the nature and wildlife as beautiful as any we have seen.
We stayed at four different hotels, all of great quality and unique in their own way, from a beach type and a colonial tea plantation to being surrounded by trees, mountains and spectacular views.
The staff at each were excellent, attention to detail was first class and nothing was too much trouble. Food was terrific, especially the local cuisine, and on my birthday, I was presented with a cake by the hotel staff - a lovely touch.
After an incredibly enjoyable time touring around Sri Lanka, it was time for the luxurious paradise of the OBLU Select Sangeli, which we reached by a 50-minute comfortable boat ride to the island.
The place blew us away upon arrival. Everything looked stunning, from the gorgeous beaches, crystal clear water, spectacular water villas, and all the lovely palms. The bars and the pool looked perfect too, which didn’t take very long to confirm this was the case.
Staying in a Water Villa was a first for us and we would definitely do so again. To look out into the open sea was amazing, along with being able to see the fish swimming beneath us through the internal glass floor.
Steps from the balcony meant we could climb down into the sea and a short distance out was a drop, so you could see deep down into the ocean and a stunning collection of spectacular fish.
The resort service was superb - all the staff went above and beyond even the cleaning team, who would ask daily if there was anything that we wanted in the room.
There was no need to leave the hotel at all. We stayed on an all-inclusive basis and the three restaurants, two of which were à la carte, were of a very high standard.
We went scuba diving, out on jet skis with a guide to see other islands and to a sandbar in the middle of the ocean, which was a great experience. We also went canoeing, snorkelled outside the villa daily, watched dolphins swim by and saw some gorgeous sunsets - words can’t explain the feelings.
It was all over too soon, as it always is when having so much fun.
The return trip was fine from the boat to the airport, and after flying back to Doha, we decided to end the trip in style, upgrading to first-class for the seven-hour journey home - another great experience.
It was a dream holiday of a lifetime. We were surprised by how beautiful Sri Lanka was with its lovely greenery, stunning mountains and gorgeous beaches, and OBLU exceeded our expectations.
Thanks to Gillian’s excellent planning, we managed to fit in everything that we wanted to do. Her attention to detail and thinking of all the little things makes booking a holiday so much more pleasurable and we know everything will be sorted to a very high standard. We can’t thank her enough.