In this Brides Of Long Island’s monthly series, We Profile Some Of Our Members’ amazing honeymoons! This Month, We Spoke With BOLI Sarah Paray about relaxing in the Maldives.
After postponing their original date in 2020 and holding a small ceremony instead, Sarah and Danny Paray had a full multicultural wedding weekend – complete with Catholic and Hindu ceremonies and a reception – in May of 2021. To say they were ready to kick their feet up and relax is an understatement, which is why the couple chose the Maldives as their honeymoon destination.
COVID (& Weather) Strike Again
Sarah is a COVID-19 bride, as many of our Brides of Long Island family are. She and her husband Danny held a small civil ceremony in June of 2020, a month after their original wedding date, with 10 family members. And then threw a small pizza party with their bridal party.
In May of 2021, Memorial Day weekend, they held their Hindu ceremony at Duckwalk Vineyards in Southold, and on the second day, held their Catholic ceremony and reception at the Peconic Bay Yacht Club, also in Southold. “It was a [wedding] weekend out east,” says Sarah. “Although it rained, poured cats and dogs, the entire weekend.”
But rain didn’t stop them from having a great time. It did, however, force them to change their second hotel in the Maldives. “I checked my email [the morning of my first wedding day], and our second resort we were staying at for our honeymoon was affected by the weather. Some type of storm rolled through, and our over-the-water bungalow was destroyed,” says Sarah. The resort offered to upgrade the couple to a land suite. But Sarah says if they were making the trip to the Indian Ocean, she wanted to stay in a bungalow over the water. Who wouldn’t?
According to Sarah, they rebooked their second resort as they were on their flight to their first hotel! “People who know me know I’m not a last-minute person. I’m very organized and I try to plan far in advance,” says Sarah. “That was adventurous!”
Choosing the Perfect Honeymoon
Sarah and Danny have traveled the world, and the Maldives has been on their bucket list. Most trips they take, they explore and have full itineraries – as most travelers do. For their honeymoon, they wanted something relaxing, a place to “put our feet up and just enjoy the time together,” Sarah explains. The couple originally wanted to visit Bali and Singapore, but due to COVID, they weren’t open. “So we decided to go with the Maldives, which, I think, was the perfect decision for us. And the perfect experience after such a busy wedding planning and long weekend of festivities.”
Without the help of a travel agent, Sarah and Danny booked their 10-day honeymoon to two different resorts in the Maldives, which included two full days of travel as the flights are approximately 24 hours each. They left a few days after their wedding weekend, which Sarah says was exactly what she needed to unwind. “We definitely could have stayed longer, anybody would like to, but it was the perfect amount for doing two different resorts and still enjoying yourselves and not feeling rushed to leave.”
For Sarah and Danny, they chose the half board experience at both resorts, which included daily breakfast and some dinner options. But she says the resorts did offer all-inclusive options or just resort options, with nothing included.
The Tale of Two Resorts
For those who are unfamiliar with the Maldives, each resort is located on its own tiny island. Those who travel there usually have a layover somewhere, Sarah and Danny flew Qatar Airways and stopped in Qatar, and then flew into Male Airport – the main airport for the Maldives. From there, visitors take either a seaplane or a boat to their resort.
The first resort Sarah and Danny stayed at was Gili Lankanfushi, and they took a small boat from Male to get there. While there, they first stayed in an overwater villa suite that came with a pool. And then they were upgraded to the over-the-water residence with a pool “that could fit a small family.” According to Sarah, the Gili Lankanfushi only had 30 percent occupancy while they stayed, so it was very quiet and relaxing. They spent their time exploring the island on bikes, getting massages and enjoying different cuisine nights at the various restaurants. They also got to tour the largest over-water villa in the world. “It was pretty cool. We felt like we were in an adult playground because there was a slide, multiple quarters,” says Sarah. “I’m pretty sure mostly celebrities stay there.”
After four days of relaxation, the couple headed back to the main airport and took a seaplane to their second resort, the W Maldives, which is a sister resort of their originally booked resort. Sarah says the W Maldives was a really different experience from the Gili Lankanfushi. “Our first resort, Gili, was really quiet, very honeymoon focused. [It had] a very boho vibe,” says Sarah. “Whereas the W Maldives had a little bit more of a resort-hotel feel than an island vibe.” Despite the differences, Sarah says it was beautiful, and the over-the-water bungalow at the W Maldives had a cool cutout in the floor to see into the ocean right inside their room.
At the W Maldives, they biked around, enjoyed massages and the various restaurants. They also got to enjoy a pool party with a bunch of other honeymooners from around the world. “It was kind of a cool experience to hang out with people, whereas the other resort was a lot more secluded.”
“You Feel Like You’re Living in a Dream.”
If you’re thinking about booking the Maldives as your honeymoon destination, Sarah says to just do it!
“It’s scary when you’re booking a trip that is so far away – 24 hours of travel – but it’s absolutely worth it. It’s breathtaking, the pictures don’t do it justice. You feel like you’re living in a dream when you’re there.”
She adds that it’s the kind of a vacation that will be so nice for you and your husband. Spending time on a secluded island with her new husband is just what she needed, and she’s sure other BOLIs need it too! “It’s uninterrupted time when you’re on an island like that,” she says. “And those specific resorts, you’re not bothered by anyone and you have your space, you have your alone time.”
As far as other advice when booking the Maldives, Sarah suggests checking those long flights and layovers. Since it is at least 24 hours, you want to make sure the flights jive with your check-in times as the resorts, so you can maximize your stays and don’t have long layovers.
“It’s just so worth it. It’s a trip you’ll never forget.”