BBDL Spring/Summer 2012 : Page 70

Minimoon: Stopover in Dubai Fly: Emirates (emirates.com). e premier air carrier of the Middle East, Emirates o ers direct ights to Dubai from Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco hubs. Expect exceptional service in all classes of travel, but seats in business and rst class are coveted for good reason— unrivaled comfort. An extensive menu of gourmet meals, snacks and spirits; 600 channels of in-demand, self-controlled entertainment; and seats that lay at are among the enviable list of in-ight highlights. Stay: e Park Hyatt Dubai (dubai.park.hyatt. com). Located just minutes from the airport, this luxury hotel o ers upscale accommodations and ideal proximity to the best of Dubai. World-class hospitality starts with the guestrooms—225 total, including 35 suites—and continues to the award-winning Amara Spa and the ne dining (everything o the wok at ai Kitchen is incredible). But the real jewel here is the pool. Fashioned as a re ecting pond, it’s the chicest plunge in all of the United Arab Emirates. Shop: e Dubai Mall (thedubaimall. com). Source every possible ware at the world’s largest shopping mall—a massive marbled mecca teeming with entertainment and the best global brands. Shopping markets more your thing? e Blue Souk, Gold Souk and Spice Souk are all stocked with amazing nds— think textiles, jewelry, carpets and perfumes. Do: Emirates Adventures (eatours.ae). Dune bashing is popular in these parts, but a far more calming way to scope the desert’s scenic dramatics is in a soaring hot air balloon at sunrise. is experience, as well as a full slate of safaris, cultural city tours, nature treks and an Arabian Nights -inspired dinner are all fabulous ways to immerse yourself in the local culture in and around buzzing Dubai. JUSt LIKe heaVen clockwise from top left: the interior of one of anantara Kihavah’s cool over-water villas. the couple’s beautiful seaside altar. the resort boasts the longest pool in the Maldives. an eagle-eye view of Kihavah huravalhi I had always heard romantics drone on endlessly about the Maldives—utopia smack-dab in the middle of the Indian Ocean, they said. ey’re overstating it, I assured myself, teetering on the cynical edge of envy, never believing that I would one day experience it for myself. But there is such a place. It is as described, and for my husband, and me, X marks the spot where our dream wedding was realized. 70 s p r i ng / su mme r 2 0 1 2 WeDDing pHOTOs BY AHmeD XAKi; AnAnTArA KiHAVAH ViLLAs pHOTOs COurTesY OF AnAnTArA resOrTs snorkeling, dining and hitting the spa for soothing massages and rejuvenating facials—it arrives without stress, not one visible nerve. “Everyone should honeymoon before their wedding,” says Mike, a meteorologist, who for three days has been tracking the position of the clouds in anticipation of our big day. It’s been raining, so he’s not convinced our plans for an outside wedding will manifest. But, rather than worry, he’s in the pool, crossing o No. 4 on his bucket list: “Swim in a tropical monsoon.” Not a hint of tension. By sunset, miraculously, the clouds have cleared and a late-afternoon sun blazes. Again I’m pinching myself—and Mike, who’s now gussied up. I, too, have been rendered unrecognizable thanks to a trip to the spa for hair and makeup. When the gown nally goes over my head it hits me: In less than an hour I will be someone’s wife. But not just someone, my everything; the person who, 23 years earlier, on the eve of our rst meeting, I mentally tagged as my future husband. It’s emotional when the stars align and I experience my rst breakdown of the day. The second comes at the altar, which Mike and I arrive at, hand-in-hand, with an authentic Maldivian drum line, half the resort sta and a few beaming onlookers in tow. Palm-fronded and festooned with owers, the scene is breathtaking—a dreamy tangle of turquoise blue, blinding ivory, marigold orange and lustrous pink. We take our places under an artfully constructed and exquisitely adorned covering of white and peach chi on and exchange rings and vows, just steps away from jewel-toned seas. Under dusty rose skies, we board Kihavah’s luxury yacht for a sunset sail, gourmet aperitifs and cascades of Champagne. (It’s here where the whole “without end” thing really kicks into high gear.) Calm seas lap the sides of the boat as it slices through the water and, as mister and missus, we take it all in from the bow—and yes, there’s a Kate and Leo moment. Romanced and dizzy, we nally return to Kihavah, where a private, four-course dinner helmed by a personal chef awaits us on a cloistered beach, illuminated by candles and stars. e evening culminates in our villa, where turndown has produced even more ourish—an aromatic bubble bath topped with rose petals, bed linens crafted into cotton swans, more candles strategically placed. Our heads spin, but not from the Champagne, more of which arrives in the morning with a sunrise breakfast. Not a simple meal, mind you—it’s never “simple” at Kihavah—but another feast for the senses.

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