A South African couple trapped in the Maldives by themselves at a five star resort are having the time of their lives

Olivia and Raul De Freitas left for the Maldives on March 22nd for a six day honeymoon at the Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives,. At the time, they were assured by their travel agent that they would have safe passage back home despite the turmoil happening around the world.

Unfortunately during their trip, the received word that South Africa would be closing their airports within 24 hours and the couple was unsure of their ability to get back to South Africa on such short notice.

Photo by by Olivia and Raul De Freitas

They decided to stay at the resort as they were unsure if once they left if they would be able to come back. They were given an option by the South African Embassy in Sri Lanka to charter a jet with the other South Africas also in the Maldives to travel home at a cost of more than $100,000.

The Embassy was unable to reach all of the 40+ South Africans and therefore the De Freitas couple decided to continue to stay at the resort.

All of the other couples had cleared out and therefore this meant they had the resort all to themselves.

Photo by by Olivia and Raul De Freitas

They spent a lot of time sleeping, going to the pool, and chilling overall. They get quite a bit of attention from the staff due to the lack of other guests: special candlelit dinners on the beach, an entire performance of a show just for them, nine waiters waiting at their table. Even the diving instructor walks by to plead with them to come on a diving trip.

Photo by by Olivia and Raul De Freitas

There’s something forlorn, unsettling even, about wandering an empty space that’s supposed to be full. Reclining alone, amid the silent, abandoned bank of beach chairs, the equatorial sun shimmers off the sea to the horizon, browning skin and bleaching driftwood. “We’ve started playing a lot of table tennis and snooker,” Ms. De Freitas said. Mr. De Freitas has also taken to joining staff soccer games in the afternoons.

Photo by by Olivia and Raul De Freitas

With all the messiness of a return flight and quarantine, the couple are just taking the time to relax and enjoy the honeymoon even as the honeymoon debt continues to accumulate with each passing day.

Today they were contacted by the South African embassy and given an hour’s notice to pack their things and were transported to a different five-star resort where the rest of the South Africans stuck in the Maldives have gathered. This will surely be easier for the embassy to help arrange an eventual escape.

Until then, the honeymoon will continue in what is sure to be a memorable trip.

Hat tip to The New York Times

You can read about my experience in the Maldives where we endured an employee strike at the Conrad Rangali Island resort.

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Comments

  1. I find it puzzling that anyone would take the word of anyone else in March that anything would be predictable or guaranteed, when cursory awareness of worldwide events would have refuted that. This is why we have a nanny state……….

  2. I’m not clear what it’s costing them. Covered by travel insurance?

    Personally I don’t want nine waiters at my table.

    The staff may be anxious for them to leave. In the NYT article on the same topic it said “The resort’s full staff are at hand, because of the presence of the two guests. Government regulations won’t allow any Maldivians to leave resorts until after they undergo a quarantine that follows their last guests’ departure.” Hopefully their pay isn’t mainly made up of tips.

  3. Must be nice! Pretty silly to have still travelled that late though…

    P.S. candlelight dinners* (remove errant apostrophe)

  4. I’m sure the couples what if’s were covered. Think about it, anyone could see the writing on the wall. Wouldn’t you love to be “stuck” in paradise.
    I’m sure this was a wonderful contingency plan and likely most of the expense will eventually be covered.
    Pretty safe place lace to quarantine as well!! I’m hey got it made.

  5. We went to the Maldives when they started to get into big tourism. One week was more than enough. Each island is very small: you can walk around it in less than an hour at most. There is NOTHING to do except diving or snorkeling. Fish, coral, more coral, and coral… I would have gone totally crazy!!
    There are thousands of atolls. Each atoll has thousands of islands. An immensity of flat coral dots in the Indian Ocean. Only a few islands are inhabited, mostly by the hotel staff and guests. And we were invaded daily by hundreds of flies, just like in neighboring Sri Lanka. The personnel had to wave napkins around our table so we could eat without the flies in our food.
    There are no hills, no lush landscapes, no coves or caves, just coconut trees and some shrubs. There is only so much bonking you can do on your honeymoon! I feel sorry for them. Not funny…

  6. Has to be fake news, no way if the resort is empty, they would be paying a staff to still be there, empty means empty! More like get out and be stranded on an island alone!!‍♀️

  7. Staff have to stay there quarantined 14 days after final guest leaves so from the staff standpoint they’re more than happy to keep having guests

  8. To everyone who committed negatively you are all haters and just can be happy if someone else is happy, shame on you! As for the couple, more power to you!

  9. If you think there’s only so much bonking that can be done on any vacation where you are trapped with your needs met…I’m sorry for you and your mate.

  10. Its truly as shame how angry so many people are about two people enjoying a beautiful honeymoon on a SAFE island! You should all be ashamed of yourselves! God bless the two of them and I wish them a long and happy marriage!! Congrats!!

  11. I think it is great wished it was me and my better half and there would be plenty to do to keep ourselves occupied glas they had a great time and sounds like they enjoyed every minute that they were there!

  12. Sounds like paradise, but confusing that the staff would not only still be there but working, and for one couple. Seems to me that the hotel would be shut down. If staff was left behind, seems like they would all, newlyweds too, be on their own.

  13. They’re required to quarantine 14 days after the last guest leaves so they’re probably thrilled to still be earning a paycheck

  14. We stayed at their sister hotel, the Cinnamon Dhonveli, in Maldives this past December and I just can say that I would be THRILLED to be stranded in that resort under these circumstances!
    What a great story to tell your kids and grandchildren in the future!

  15. lol I wouldn’t be jealous of being stuck in a island.. you could only do so much for so long. It does get boring.. and then like that movie with Tom hanks . You start to go crazy and wanting to talk to a ball ⚽️ or .. it’s not so exciting.. .

  16. Is sex between a married couple permisable in the quarantine? If not, they better stock up before returning home.

  17. Looks and sounds amazing. I can only wish it was me and my husband. They are lucky. I’m jealous

  18. Yes, I’m jealous! And SO HAPPY for this couple! What a wonderful way to start a new life together. This story will no doubt be passed down for generations in their families. May God bless them & keep them safe upon returning home.

  19. The big problem is that many staff can’t leave as there are not many flights out of the maldives, or there are travel restrictions, and the few flights that leave are very expensive. If they send staff home, the resorts have to pay for their flights and have to pay for them to come back, so in many cases, it’s cheaper just to let staff stay on the island. Resorts still have to pay their staff, but most are trying to get them (or forcing them) to use their accrued vacation days. Most staff are paid salaries + a service Charge which is usually a good chunk of their pay.

  20. I’m calling BS on most of this story, no way a resort would have the kitchen, diving, etc. all open and available for just 2 people! C’mon man….

  21. AWESOME! I wish them all the best! Especially since this was my destination to celebrate my milestone birthday this year. Enjoy for me too! God Bless them and their union!

  22. I want this story to be true. I agree with all the positive minded people who have posted. What a neat thing in the midst of all the bad things that are happening.

  23. What ass hats. This is why I’m against all repatriating flights. It’s saying to morons like these with zero common sense “Yes it’s ok to do anything you want, someone else will do all the worrying and clean up the mess.”

    Do they not have the news in South Africa?

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