For a heartfelt gift, you can make your own. Especially at one of the many Christmas workshops that are traditional this time of year. My church’s annual workshop was where I learned half my craft skills (straw stars, clove oranges, yuletide wreaths). A number of resorts offer various artistic studios (pottery, painting, glass making), but Finolhu have one of the most comprehensive that I have seen with a wide variety of media. The also have a festive Christmas workshop schedule (including ceramics) for all those budding Santa’s elves who prefer the sunny tropics to the frozen Arctic.
The traditional anniversary gift for 9 years is pottery. Actually, I received this “gift” of a post scoop from leading contributor Paola a while back. She spotted it at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and wrote, ““The ashtray is carved in a kind of faux-stone. This way the ashes are protected from the wind.” It also has sort of a Flintstones caveman-chic vibe about it. Twelve shopping days to Christmas (not to be confused with the “Twelve Days of Christmas”) so also a possible gift inspiration.
I also do Maldives Complete to ferret out new discoveries. Some people seek out and collect quirky and distinctive commemorative plates or garden gnomes. I collect distinctive features in the Maldives. Every time I find or someone forwards me something I haven’t seen, I get a buzz similar to a train spotter seeing a 66779 Evening Star.
It’s now become a semi-annual tradition (after my anniversary date in December and before our Maldives departure in July) to share the latest compilation. This group of 24 brings the total to 285. I’ve actually had to start a spreadsheet to keep track of all the “Haven’t Seens” so far (to help me make sure I’m not repeating myself). Of those, 24 have since appeared (with actually a number of resorts telling me that my piece inspired them to acquire or add the feature). They fall in to the following main and secondary groupings…
- Activity: Water Activity, Entertainment, Romance, Mermaid, Kids
- Infrastructure: Villa, Shopping, Digital, Seat, Décor, Glow, Spa, Artistry, Gadget, Eco, Service
- Food: Dining, Frozen, Drink, Lobster, Coconut
- Water: In Water, Underwater, Soak, Pool, Boat
Here’s the latest selection which happen to add up to an Advent Calendar’s worth with 24 treats…
- Drone Spotting – For Mantas and Whale Sharks. The dive boats waste so much time going back and forth between known haunts. Boat captains shared sightings information, but a drone would easily spot these creatures and give the search a broader perspective. Much like the African safaris which use helicopters (and increasingly drones) to spot wildlife movements. [ABOVE]
- Underwater Topology Table – Great for diving briefings (for a house reef dive) or for just bringing the underwater landscape to view.
- Lego Model – Maps are one thing for a birdseye perspective of the property, but a Lego model of a resort would be particularly cool especially for a child-friendly property. A Lego model that included a model of the house reef would be pretty amazing.
- Lego Set – The Maldives are sort of the caricature of deserted tiny islands of pirate folklore. When our kids were little, we used to set up treasure hunts for them around the island, and a number of resorts now offer the same. For the young crowd, this Lego set seems the perfect memento for a gift shop.
- Pirate Brio Train Set – For an even more upscale block model set, BRIO is the classic. While the notion of trains in the Maldives might be a bit far-fetched, not much more imagination required than pirate treasure I suspect…
- Stick-On Soles – For protecting against the occasionally sharp shards of coral in the sands without the annoying flip-flop tan lines.
- Underwater Light Show – Empty lagoon a bit boring without the dramatic drop-off and marine life of a house reef drop-off? Why not bring it to life with an underwater light show? Laser shows are a staple at big events like galas and concerts. A chance for a light artist to explore creations projecting lasers into or under the water.
- Pool Disco Light – Or for a more modest light show especially for a poolside disco (eg. W Maldives, Finolhu), these look like a bit of aquatic fun.
- Ocean Wave Projector – Instead of lighting in the water, you could bring the water in with light. Might be good for resorts that have spa that aren’t overwater.
- Reef Engineering for Surfing – The east reef of Meemu is an extraordinarily long stretch. But the waves break unevenly because the underlying reef which causes them is uneven. I was wondering if you could “even” it out a bit with some Reefscaping to create the longest surf break in the world.
- Surf Dock – Another bit of surf engineering this time on top of the water is surf dock which makes access to the breaks that much easier. Maldives surfing is known for its long, gentle breaks which are great for beginners and I suspect a surf dock would cater to them that much more.
- Floating Beach – Or your overwater engineering could simply help you to chill out swaying and bobbing with the ocean, while being dry and stable on firm platform (Hillside Beach Club, Fethiye Turkey).
- Water Go-Kart – For a bit more speedy bobbing around the water, how about an electric water go-kart?
- Jet Pad – A bit faster bobbing about the ocean…
- Water Car – Even faster?
- Jet Capsule Yacht – How about this transfer shuttle?
- Fishing Camera – A luxury techno-yacht calls for some luxury gadgetry for some deep sea fishing.
- Mask with GoPro Mount – See for yourself where the fish are and bag snaps.
- Wallpaper LED TV – Watch your underwater videos still still in the water. Coincidentally and curiously advertised on this photoshopped Instagram pic in the Maldives (their marketeers must have had the same idea I did).
- Shared Cocktails – For a location renowned for honeymooners, a bit surprised this hasn’t cropped up.
- Lobster Tempura – Lots of Asian fusion in the Maldives and lots of the ultimate luxury seafood – lobster – but not yet the classic tempura preparation. I had this dish at Circus in London and it was quite tasty.
- Coconut Sugar – A less processed for of sugar, many people consider it to be a healthy alternative to cane sugar with more nutrients. Made from the sap of the coconut palm flower, it seems like an opportune venture for some Maldivian entrepreneur.
- Salad Station – Salad Bars, yes. But a station where a chef freshly cuts and prepares your salad to order, no. Inspiration from Hillside Beach Club in Fethiye, Turkey.
- Disabled Staff – Pararowing. Have any resorts recruited disabled individuals and supported their adaptive needs?
- Jet Pad – A bit faster bobbing about the ocean…
If you work at something fun, then you will never have to work. That is part of the spirit of why I do Maldives Complete (still the second most frequently asked question about the website). I value keeping my creative edge sharp in much the same way that I enjoy keeping my physical fitness up. The problem is that tedious gym sessions can be a painful and boring way to workout. Which is why I enjoy activities like ballroom and Latin dancing, basketball, and rowing all of which provide an engaging and enjoyable way to keep the [fitness] up. Similarly, my hobby of Maldives Complete pays considerable dividends in my professional life. Here a few pieces of advice which resonate with me and illustrate this concept of life-long exercise of the creativity muscle…
- “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut
- “Employees who did something creative after work – like knitting, drawing or even playing a video game that required creative thinking – were more likely to be helpful and creative problem solvers on the job, according to new research from San Francisco State University.” – CNN
- “#5 – Make Writing a Practice – A common first mistake is thinking you’re not a writer. That it’s a domain reserved solely for people with ‘creative’ in their title. Nonsense. If your job depends on articulating ideas, you need to write. Not to mention, you need to write with clarity, with simplicity and, at times, unfettered imagination.” – Doug Kleeman, “20 Ways to Become A Better Strategist”
Another year of Maldives fandom completed. The 9th anniversary of the Maldives Complete website.
The Resort Profile data is inching forward in completeness with Resort Profiles up to 98.9%. The primary issue causing remaining holes has been the addition of new resorts at new atolls, like Raa and Thaa, where I have less dive site information so Dive Charts and Dive Maps are missing from the profiles. The completeness of the Room Type profiles dropped a tad with a record number of new resort launches (room type material is hard to obtain and takes longer to collect).
This is probably the first year that I have not added a major feature or component to the site. So maybe not just the Profile data, but the even the functionality of the site is growing more “Complete”.
All that said, the site hasn’t stood still. In addition to the ongoing research, responding, updating, and other refining and polishing, I made a few significant changes:
- New Logo – The look of the website got refresh a bit with its new logo by Maldivian artist and designer Aima Musthafa. The new branding added an local Dhivehi dimension. In the process, Aima provided some superb input as we cleaned up the look a bit with her more coherent colour palette. She has proposed some more dramatic change to the home page which I am working on (stay tuned).
- Name Meaning – I actually cleared down a number of unused fields in the database, but I did add a fun one which took a fair amount of research populate further extended the Dhivehi dimension of the site – “Name Meaning”. And I learned a bit more Dhivehi in the process.
The Fashionista features keep growing in popularity and are fuelled by even more Instragramming than ever providing lots of shard photos to curate for the Maldives aficionado crowd. Below is sort of a ‘leader board’ of the top social media fashionistas to visit the destination…
Dhevanafushi’s sister resort, Jumeirah Vittaveli, is also showcasing their own distinctive water feature albeit a bit less toasty…in fact a bit chilly…actually downright freezing. Well, actually no water has been harmed in the making of this winter wonderland. In fact, no water was even used. The rink is made out of a special artificial ice plates supplied by Glice®…
- “An experience unlike any other, guests can take a dip in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, then step off the white sandy beaches and into a pair of skates to glide over the resort’s glistening ice skating rink. Launching shortly before Christmas, the ice rink adds a little more magic to this already enchanting season.”
Ice skating has become an essential ingredient of the yuletide season. Even those not living in cold enough climates to have their neighbourhood ponds freeze over, many towns and cities now set up special holiday rinks. The classic is New York’s Rockefeller Center. London has one next to the Natural History Museum. So iconic is it that the legendary Peanuts “Charlie Brown Christmas” opens with all of the characters ice skating to the silky smooth sounds of Vince Guardaldi…
Rub a dub, just relaxin’ in the tub thinkin’ everything was alright.
Bathtub Party Day today (still not making any of these days u). In a part of the world which is 99% water and where most every resort or even villa has its own pool, it might seem a bit strange that the bath tub is one of the most biggest and most extravagant features in the luxury villas. There is something a bit sensually soothing about a sudsy soak. And you can add sweet scents, foamy bubbles and a sprinkling of petals. These splishin’ and a splashin’ fashionistas certainly seem to think so…
- Coco Lili (France) – Hideaway Beach
- Yulia Rybakova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
- Madeleine Schneider-Weiffenbach (Germany) – Grand Park Kodhipparu
- Anna Trestain (OAE) – Angsana Velavaru
- Dominika Myslivcová (Czech) – Gili Lankanfushi
- Tatyana Kiss (Russia) – Furaveri
- Vanessa Midori (Japan) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
- Anjelika (Russia) – Sun Island
- Elisa Hasselkjaer (United Kingdom) – Grand Park Kodhipparu
- Melissa Celestine Koh (Singapore) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
- Daniella Novaes (Brazil) – Six Senses Laamu
- Barbara Fumagalli (Italy) – Ayada
- Haley Andersen (Australia) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
- Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
- Steisy (Bulgaria) – Sun Island
- Valery Khudyakov (Russia) – Dusit Thani
- Daria Dashenka (Russia) – Velassaru
- Lauryn Goodman (United Kingdom) – Sun Aqua Vilu Reef
- Alisa Ilieva (Ukraine) – Kanuhura
- Adrianne Lu (Taiwan) – Anantara Veli
- Ani Lubov (Russia) – Soneva Fushi
- Yoyo Cao (Singpore) – Halaveli
- Kate B. Kate (Poland) – Sun Island
- Maria Kragmann (Denmark) – Angsana Velavaru
- Tatiana Vasilieva (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu
- Lista Khu (Indonesia) – Conrad Rangali
- Pepper Chocolate (Italy) – KIHAAD
- Madeline Joy Relph, Natalie Roser, Brooke Hogan (Australia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
- Melinda Bam (South Africa) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
- Rachel Limsh (Malaysia) – W Maldives
- Kristin Sundberg (Sweden) – NIYAMA
- Jenny Phm (Vietnam) – Six Senses Laamu
- Ksenia Rai (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu
- Melanie Martin (France) – Kandima
- Coco Airi (Japan) – Gili Lankanfushi
- Darya Radchenko (Russia) – Kihaad
- Farina Opoku (Germany) – Kandima
- Helen Janneson Bense (Finland) – Grand Park Kodhipparu
- Katrin Amaure (Austria) – Furaveri
- J Chow (Hong Kong) – Kuramathi
- Olesia Z. (Ukraine) – Kandima
- Belinda Morgan and Margaret MacPherson (Australia) – Club Med Kani
- Maria Romanova (Russia) – Velaa
- Alex Seifert (Germany) – Conrad Rangali
- Anna Sharapova (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
- Nina Serebrova (Russia) – Medhufushi
- Annie Lenova (Russia) – Naladhu
- Julia Kovalenko (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu
- Marina Comes (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
- Larisa Yuskovich (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu
- Marie Kitsova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
- Renee (NewZealand) – Kandolhu
- Yvette Le Blowitz (Australia) – Shangri-La Vilingili
- Nika Zakharova (Ukraine) – LUX Maldives
- Pia Muehlenbeck (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu
- Arisha Gz (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
- Crissy Luv (Trinidad) – Anantara Kihavah
- Dilya Diaz (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu
- Devon Windsor (USA) – One and Only Reethi Rah
- Tamala Prickett (USA) – Huvafenfushi
It’s not just the sights, but also the sound of Christmas that surround you. Not just for advent, but all year round at Finolhu. And not just at the resort, but anywhere in the world where you want to tune into their vibrant soundtrack. Their Baa Baa FM features special DJs as well as a range of live shows Monday through Friday (2:00 – 6:00 pm Finolhu Time +6 GMT). When I tuned I recently, I was graced with the tunes of DJ Jaffa. Kandooma had a radio station years ago, but it stopped before I could do a piece on it.
Instagram allows you vicarious check out snaps of the Maldives’ scenery remotely, a range of webcams can provide a cinematic glimpse of tropical goings-on, blogs like Maldives Complete can keep you up-to-date on the latest developments and stories, and now you can enjoy them all serenaded by cool sounds of BaaBaa FM piped to you direct from paradise.