Honeymoon Part 1: Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives

It’s been a while since my last post about my trip to Bermuda and so much has happened since then. I’ve taken on an additional role at work which has kept me rather busy although I have managed to keep up on Instagram. I’ve been wanting to write about this hotel for a while so I’m happy to finally have the chance to share our experience at the beautiful Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives.

If you recall from my Instagram posts in January, Sashien and I had our wedding reception at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka (wedding photos are currently being edited and I will share some once I receive them) and I’ve been a patron of this hotel since 2008. As we had our wedding in Colombo it made sense to start off our honeymoon in the Maldives one of the most luxurious honeymoon destinations in the world. Since we trusted and knew the Cinnamon brand of hotels we decided to choose a Cinnamon property in the Maldives and Cinnamon Dhonveli did not disappoint.

Getting There

There is one international airport in the Maldives located in the capital city of Male. Since we were in Colombo we flew Sri Lankan Airlines direct to Male however there are many other airlines that fly there from the Middle East, Europe and East Asia. Once you land in Male you have to take either a speedboat or a seaplane to your resort. Each resort is located on its own little island or atoll. Luckily for us Cinnamon Dhonveli was pretty close to Male and only a 25 minute speedboat ride away. I am a very strong swimmer and absolutely fearless when it comes to water but this speedboat ride even had me shakey! The Indian ocean can be very rough so it’s extremely important that you wear your lifejacket and hold on tight as it can get quite bumpy out there. If you do get motion sick I would strongly suggest taking your medication before you board the boat.

The Resort

Once we got to the resort we were greeted and welcomed with Cinnamon Hotels’ signature brand of hospitality. We were offered cold towels and drinks as we waited to be checked in. Since we were on our honeymoon we were upgraded to an overwater suite which is located on a dock built into the sea and the suites are freestanding on the water. We were in room 701 which was the furthest out into the sea and offered the best privacy and views of the ocean and lagoon.

There are other room categories at the resort which consist of bungalows and rooms. You can opt for a water bungalow which is the similar to a suite but excludes a living room area, a beach bungalow is located on the land and comes in a duplex style as well as a pool option. There are also simple beach rooms. A full list of all the room types can be found here.

Overwater Suite

Our suite was located at the end of the dock and we enjoyed walking along the dock to get to the main island for our meals. The suite was equipped with a spacious living area which included a coffee table that looked down into the ocean (yes we could see some fish swimming by).

The suite had a king bed and large sliding doors which opened out onto the spacious sundeck which included a seating area, overwater hammock and steps to go down into the ocean. I really enjoyed taking a dip in the Indian ocean first thing in the morning, it’s a great way to start the day.

Here’s a room tour:

There was also a large bathroom with a shower and tub, the sun deck could also be accessed from the bathroom. The suite came equipped with a mini bar, refillable branded water bottles and  sun care essentials courtesy of Spa Ceylon.

The Amenities + Dining 

Cinnamon Dhonveli is very much a luxury resort offering amenities such as a spa, pools, water sports, wellness activities and offsite excursions. One interesting feature at this resort is when you book directly through their website you can choose 2 complimentary activities as part of your stay. The activities consist of:

  • 4 course dinner by the beach
  • Malé city excursion
  • Dolphin watching experience
  • Kid Stays Free
  • 45-minute spa treatment

We chose the Dolphin Experience and the 4 course dinner by the beach and we really enjoyed both of these activities.

The resort features 4 dining outlets: Tex Mex, Beach Bar, Koimala and Raalu Bar. Depending on your room category and package type you may be assigned to one particular restaurant for your all inclusive meals and drinks. We chose the breakfast and dinner package and decided to explore the various options including in-room dining for lunch.

The Verdict

If you haven’t been to the Maldives before then you definitely need to check our this destination. The climate in the Maldives is extremely warm and humid so be sure to stay hydrated and use lots of sunscreen. I would definitely recommend checking out Cinnamon Dhonveli for its proximity to the airport, beautiful rooms and amenities and friendly staff. We stayed there for 3 nights and I felt that was sufficient; keep in mind each hotel is located on its own island so you don’t need to much time at a resort to get a feel for the place.

The Maldives is a muslim country so be aware of cultural and religious norms when you arrive. I would suggest a more modest outfit for the airport. Beware of the rules concerning alcohol as no one can bring alcohol into the airport and it is not served at any airport lounges, although it is readily available at the resorts.

We really enjoyed starting off our honeymoon at Cinnamon Dhonveli and we look forward to checking out the other Cinnamon properties in the Maldives.

Sri Lanka Trip Recap

I’m back, after a long break! I can’t believe we are already halfway through January 2023. This year is just flying by. I took a break from blogging and campaigns for the month of December as I was on vacation. I’m back in Canada now and I can’t wait to tell you all about my trip to Sri Lanka! As some of you know I was born in Sri Lanka.

Getting There

I’m not going to lie, it takes a while to get to Sri Lanka. In total it’s about 18 hours of flying and when you factor in transits it takes about 24 hours to get there. There’s many different routes you can take from Canada but as I live in Ottawa I flew through Europe. In the past Air Canada offered direct flights from Ottawa t0 London, UK and Ottawa to Frankfurt but they’ve since been discontinued. I decided not to take any chances with my luggage getting lost via a domestic transfer in Canada so my mom and I flew directly to London from Montreal and then directly from London to Colombo. We flew two different airlines, Air Canada to London and Sri Lankan Airlines to Colombo.

Pro-tip – we were able to find a great deal on roundtrip business class tickets on Google Flights and purchased our tickets directly from the Air Canada website. I’d totally recommend this splurge as you are going to be flying for a long period of time.

There’s many other routes you can take into Colombo including via Dubai, Qatar, Japan or Singapore depending on which end of Canada you’re traveling from.


I stayed at two main hotels during my time in Colombo and did some short trips around the island. The first hotel I stayed at was Cinnamon Lakeside. I had been to this hotel for the restaurants and high tea many times but this was my first stay at the hotel. It’s great as a dining option but I wouldn’t recommend it as a stay. The rooms were a bit smaller, dated and not soundproof.  I was only there for a week as I had a wedding to attend at this hotel. The event spaces and venues here are great though, just not the guest rooms.

I spent the rest of my 4 week stay at my go-to hotel Cinnamon Grand Colombo. My family has been staying at this hotel since 2008 and they never disappoint. The hotel is arguably the best hotel in Colombo with 501 guest rooms, 9 restaurants, 2 pools, a gym, tennis court and lots of green space. It’s also very centrally located and is really more of a resort in the city.

Pro-tip: If you upgrade your room type to an executive floor room, you have access to the exclusive executive lounge. The lounge is only open to executive room guests and offers complimentary breakfast, high-tea and cocktails daily. Totally worth the money. And as an added bonus you also have the option of having breakfast in the lounge or heading to Plates, the hotel’s buffet restaurant, if you want a wider selection.

The executive rooms also come with 24hr butler service!

Things to do

Sri Lanka has SO MUCH to offer! It’s definitely not your typical beach vacation. Despite all the negative press this country has received lately (much of which is over exaggerated) it’s a wonderful place to visit and there is truly something for everyone there.

If you’re looking to just relax you can head to any of the beaches in the country, but if you also like surfing and more of that island vibe you can check out Unawatuna, Hikkaduwa or Mirissa. You can also stop by the historic city of Galle. Want to learn more about our culture? Be sure to visit some historic sites like the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, arguably the 8th wonder of the world. You can also check out the ancient cities of Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa. Don’t forget to visit by the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy as well. If you’re tired of the warm weather, head to Nuwara Eliya. Known as little England this part of the island is cooler that the rest of the country with temperatures between 5 and 20 degrees celcius depending on the time of year.

Finally if you’re like me and love shopping then Colombo is the city for you!

I found this list of places to visit online.

Yala Safari

Sashien and I wanted to try something a bit more adventurous so we took a drive down to Yala National Park on the island’s eastern side and went on a safari. We stayed at Jetwing Yala which is a hotel located inside the park itself. There’s many hotels to choose from in Yala, some of which are situated inside the park.

It took us about 4.5 hrs to get to Yala by car from Colombo and we took the highway there. We booked a private safari online and our guide picked us up at the hotel. We booked our safari on this website: https://www.yalasrilanka.lk/yala-safari-ride

Please note: there are different prices for tourists and locals, this practice is quite common in Sri Lanka. The safari booking does not cover tickets to the park so you do need to pay for those as well.

We booked the half-day afternoon safari and it was 4 hours long from 2-6pm. We had the whole jeep to ourselves and really enjoyed our time. We saw so many different types fo animals. I’ve recapped our safari in this reel.

The hotel was also beautiful and we loved the nature and beach views at breakfast. Jetwing Yala had more of a rustic feel to it, not my favourite type of aesthetic but it was clean and modern. They also offer a safari camp but it was closed for renovations when we were there.

Anantara Kalutara

We also visited Kalutara which is  about an hour away from Colombo. Unlike Yala this was a more relaxed trip. We decided to stay at Anantara Kalutara. This resort is beautiful and offers views of the lagoon and the sea. We stayed in an ocean view room which was spacious and luxurious.

The staff were very helpful and accommodating. We especially enjoyed their welcome ceremony where each guest was asked to light the traditional oil lamp while a drummer played and blew a conch shell.

If you’re celebrating a special occasion the hotel also has a beautiful treehouse which is the perfect setting for a romantic meal overlooking the lagoon. Sashien surprised me with an anniversary dinner complete with fireworks and a custom menu put together by the hotel.

The hotel also has two pools one that’s for families and one that’s adults only. We decide to stick to the adults only side as the other pool was quite busy.

Christmas and NYE in Colombo

We spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Colombo and it was epic! Sri Lankans love a good party and this year they went all out for Christmas. All the streets in Colombo were decorated and all the hotels had their own Christmas displays. My favourite display was the Home for Christmas installation at the Hilton Colombo. It really got me into the Christmas spirit.

For NYE we decided to go for an indoor party (there’s so many outdoor beach parties to choose from if you prefer a more casual setting) since it was warm outside. We purchased tickets to the Cinnamon Grand Dinner Dance hosted in the grand ballroom. The ticket included a buffet dinner, drinks at the table, live band + DJ and breakfast buffet. It was amazing and we loved it! I have never seen that much food in one room in my life! The party started at 9pm and went on til the wee hours of the morning. We left around 4 am and it was still going strong! What a fantastic way to kick off 2023! I’ve attended the dances at this hotel in the past and they never disappoint.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a one of a kind tropical experience that’s not your run of the mill beach vacay then Sri Lanka is the place for you! You will definitely get your money’s worth at this luxury vacation destination! It’s also important to note that if you do invest in going to Sri Lanka you understand that it is very much a luxury destination despite some of the “budget travel” content you may see from travel bloggers and backpackers. Local vendors do need to be supported so please be kind shop local!

I’ll be sharing everything I bought on this trip on my Instagram stories so stay tuned! Feel free to ask me any questions about the trip as well.