If you have to be stuck somewhere, a luxury 5-star resort seems like a pretty great place to be. This South African couple found out that this is both a blessing and a curse when they ended up being the only guests at the expensive resort after the nationwide lockdown was instated.
Newlyweds Olivia and Raul De Freitas arrived at the 5-star five-star Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives resort on March 22 for a luxurious 6-day honeymoon to ring in their recent nuptials. Rates start at $750 (R14,252) a night
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After a few days of bliss, however, on March 26 South Africa went into a 21 day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. This lockdown included airports being shut down.
“When we found out that South Africa closed its borders, we were worried, angry, and anxious about not knowing how we were going to get back,” they told Business Insider.
They considered taking a speedboat to the main island but by then, the Maldives had also imposed its own lockdown. They had no other choice but the stay at the resort and ended up being the last remaining couple after all the other guests fled to their respective countries.
Luckily, the hotel staff were all on hand to make sure their stay was special.
“Being the only guests at the resort was lonely and fun at the same time,” the couple said. “We really loved spending time with the staff and getting to know them on a personal level.”
The couple were eventually able to find their way to South Africa via a $104,000 self-funded private charter by the 40-plus South African and Mauritian tourists that were all stranded in the Maldives. Upon their arrival home this past weekend, they immediately went into a government quarantine facility.
It was a bittersweet experience for the newlyweds.
“When we look back, we realize we had the most incredible experience, although it was an expensive one,” they said. “We were healthy and safe and stuck in the most beautiful place on Earth,” they said.
Feature image: Unsplash