Our journey to paradise began midday on Friday, February 14 with a short drive to Logan Airport. We had intended to take the bus from Portsmouth, but decided to splurge with parking at Logan in case there was a storm that affected the bus service on the return. In the end, that was a great decision as both kids slept the majority of the car ride which they never would have done on the bus.
We arrived at terminal E and checked in with Aer Lingus. After a short delay due to the fact that the flight we had originally booked was cancelled and we weren’t properly rebooked on the earlier flight, we found ourselves in the Air France lounge having dinner. The lounge wasn’t huge, but had a pretty nice spread of food and was certainly adequate for dinner! Much to Lachlan’s consternation, boarding was delayed slightly, but soon enough we were on our way!
The flight from Boston to Dublin was really short. Even shorter than normal as the lingering storm had produced tail winds that were in the vicinity of 195 MPH. By the time dinner was over, we only had about 2.5 hour remaining. The four of us dozed during that time, but nobody really slept much… So, upon our arrival into Dublin, we were pooped!
Not knowing exactly what we would end up wanting to do with our 14 hour layover in Dublin, I booked us a room at the Westin right in the center of the city so that we’d have lots of choices within walking distance if we wanted to get out and explore. But, as I expected, we weren’t in any condition to do any exploring so the four of us crashed in the king size bed… After our 5 hour nap, we woke up and made our way to a local restaurant (Elephant and Castle) for lunch. Ken loved his meal, the kids and I thought it was just so-so. We took a short walk after lunch, picked up a few souvenirs and made our way back to our hotel. We were advised that our town car that would be transporting us back to the airport from the hotel would be arriving at 4pm so we wanted to get back room with plenty of time to get our things together. We were entitled to this transfer service due to the fact that we were flying in Etihad business class. Etihad provides a transfer service at your origin and destination for business class and first class passengers.
At 4pm, we made our way downstairs to wait for our car. We were advised that they could be up to 30 minutes late so we were prepared to wait. At 435pm, just as we were about to go to the ATM to take out money for a cab ride, the cars showed up. I guess there was a miscommunication between Etihad and the chauffeur service as to what our pick up time was. The chauffeur service had been told that our pick up was 5pm. No matter, we had one Mercedes town car and one Mercedes van to take the four of us to the airport. A little excessive if you ask me, but nice nonetheless.
Once we arrived to the airport, we checked in quickly and made our way to the lounge. The lounge was probably the best one I have ever been in. It was pretty small, but had all the necessities for our family along with some luxuries that Ken and I enjoyed. They had a kids room that had a Sony PlayStation so Lachlan spent the entire time in there playing that. There was another much older boy in there playing when we arrived and the boy was so kind to Lachlan, teaching him how to play soccer. He was thrilled. They also had a dinner menu that was amazing and they delivered it right to your seat. So, we just sat outside of the kids room and enjoyed a nice dinner without the typical kid craziness.
But soon we needed to make our way to our flight for boarding. We boarded our flight through the business class doors and made our way to our mini-suites made for two. It was perfect as the paired seats were very secluded from the rest of the cabin which is key for us with the kids and not wanting to disturb others. And soon we were on our way to Abu Dhabi. Other than a diarrhea explosion mid-flight, this segment was pretty uneventful and soon we were landing into Abu Dhabi. The plane had a camera so you could view the scenary as you were landing. Lachlan thought that was pretty cool.
We were pretty out of sorts upon landing due to our lack of sleep so we completely forgot to pick up our stroller before boarding the bus that would take us to the terminal. After trying to sort out where the stroller was, we decided to just let it be checked to Male. We made our way to the connecting terminal and into the lounge for a short bite to eat before boarding the flight to Male.
Our four hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Male was uneventful other than another Ainsley explosion. Her first few explosions upset her terribly, but after a while, she became very casual about it all. I just felt so bad for her… And trying to clean everything up in an airplane sized bathroom was certainly a challenge. But soon enough we had landed in Male and were out in the 86 degree heat and humidity. You would have thought that Lachlan was going to melt. He was beside himself about how hot he was…. So, while in line waiting to scan our luggage to insure that we did not have anything contrary to Muslim beliefs (you know, alcohol… pornography… dogs?) we changed him into shorts and a t-shirt. It was like we flicked a switch. He was back to his normal self. Ainsley, on the other hand was so deliriously tired that she was doing pirouettes and bowing excessively. Very cute.
After exiting the screening area, we found our Conrad Hotel representative who facilitated the process of getting our bags transferred to the sea plane. We then made our way to the Conrad lounge for about 45 minutes before boarding the sea plane for the 30 minute ride to the Conrad. This was the highlight of Lachlan’s trip. The sea plane was loud and very hot, but we were landing in no time. Upon arrival, the Lachlan was given a Conrad baseball hat and Ainsley got a stuffed whale. Unfortunately, she subsequently dropped it in the water on our walk to from the landing dock to the island. However, our island host replaced it with a fish and all was well again.
Check in was quick and we were soon lead to our villa. I had seen a few reviews but they didn’t do our room justice. It is just awesome. Our tub is made for 4, our shower is an outdoor rain shower with wonderful water pressure, and the villa itself is huge with a wall of windows out to the 20 step path to the beach. After checking out the beach for a bit and unpacking, we were ready for bed.
So, after four flights, over 8500 miles, and 4 diarrhea explosions, we had made it. It was a long journey, but the kids were awesome, and now we’re excited for a week of fun in the sun! I’ll write more about our activities in the next few days!
Breakdown of our logistics thus far:
- Aer Lingus flight from Boston to Dublin, 4 seats in coach, 50,000 British Airways Avios plus $122.28 in taxes and fees
- Taxi from Dublin Airport to Westin: 50 Euros (was really only 30.85 but through miscommunication I somehow tipped him the difference)
- Lunch in Dublin: 39.50 Euros
- Irish Souvenirs: 28.50 Euros
- Westin Dublin: 12,000 SPG points & $0
- Etihad Airways flights Dublin to Abu Dhabi to Male, 4 seats in business class, 120,000 American Airlines miles plus $172.80 in taxes and fees