Many people certainly dream of moving to a tropical island. But only a few make it true. Canadian restaurateur Neal Van Beers and his partner Charmaine Sanchez made their dream a reality – and paid $ 30,000 to spend up to a year in a luxury resort in the Maldives.
The couple traded snowy British Columbia for the Maldives in December and bought the Anantara Veli Resort’s “Unlimited Stays in Paradise” package. The $ 30,000 package allows two people to stay in one of the resort’s luxurious overwater bungalows as often as they want through December 23, 2021. It includes breakfast, transportation, and discounts on food and the spa.
Van Beers owns a dairy franchise in Golden, British Columbia. He and Sanchez originally planned to travel in summer 2020. But they had to cancel their trip because the Canadian government advised against travel that is not absolutely necessary due to the corona pandemic.
As of January 6, 2021, travelers returning to Canada must demonstrate a negative Covid-19 test. This must not have been carried out more than 72 hours before the flight. In addition, travelers returning must remain in quarantine for 14 days.
When the first snow fell in British Vancouver, it was clear to Van Beers that he really wanted to travel. Then he happened upon the Anantara Veli Resort on the Internet. “I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said, adding that he had visited the resort on previous trips. That was the decisive factor in booking the vacation.
Van Beers and Sanchez did a PCR test before their flight which both tested negative as required by the government. They traveled in the “Q Suite” from Qatar Airways, in which they said they felt comfortable due to the personal space it offered. However, one should be aware that traveling involves a certain level of risk and that many countries currently advise against travel that is not strictly necessary.
The suites are private business class cabins that offer passengers privacy and space. Passengers must wear face masks throughout the journey.
When they arrived in the Maldives in December, their luggage was disinfected multiple times during airport transfers and check-in, according to Van Beers. The employees they met all wore masks.
The resort’s website will inform guests of the safety regulations. It states that the resort has “taken additional measures to comply with the advice and guidelines of the World Health Organization, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and local authorities” in the Maldives. These include the minimum distance between tables in bars and restaurants, increased cleaning of all public areas and temperature control stations.
The resort also offers its guests an app with which they can request in-room services, make payments and reserve tables in the bars and restaurants. All employees are obliged to wear masks. The guests, however, do not have to do this.
To travel to the Maldives, international visitors must show a confirmed hotel booking and submit a health self-assessment within 24 hours prior to the flight to the Maldives.
In addition, they must be able to prove a negative Covid-19 test result in English, which was carried out a maximum of 96 hours before the flight. In addition, according to the resort’s policies, travel to Anantara Veli from other resorts, local islands, guest houses or safari boats is not permitted.
Thanks to the resort’s security measures, Van Beers felt safe as a guest. “Everything is outdoors here,” he said of the activities on offer at the resort. These include, for example, snorkeling in the coral garden and cooking classes. The activities on offer are mostly outdoors and are reserved for couples, which he thinks has made social distancing easier.
According to the Johns Hopkins University, there were a total of 18,930 cases in the Maldives at the time of this writing.
Van Beers can work from home from the Maldives. The only downside, he says, is that Canada is twelve hours behind the Maldives.
Van Beers starts his day with a coffee. Then he settles down at his workplace: a desk next to a window with a sea view. He checks his email and does a few administrative tasks before going to breakfast.
The couple then explore the island and take part in outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, and swimming. They also pass the time with reading and cooking classes. The day begins around dinner in Canada. At this time, Van Beers is answering other emails and attending meetings.
Many tourism-dependent countries are turning to digital nomads
The Maldives is one of many countries that offer various home office programs. Travelers can enter the country on a 30-day visa, which can be extended to 90 days if necessary. That is exactly what Van Beers and his partner did.
The Global Citizen Concierge Program, launched by the Cayman Islands, enables travelers to work from home for up to 24 months. Other countries, including Barbados and Aruba, have also launched their own initiatives enabling remote working.
Even though he’s having a great time, Van Beers misses some of the virtues of office work. However, the resort provided a printing service and a stable WiFi connection. The couple originally planned to return to Canada in March – and remain in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. They wanted to return to the Maldives after the summer. However, they have now decided to stay at the resort for the time being and only return to Canada when it is safer again.
This article was translated from English and edited by Ilona Tomić. You can read the original here.