Best of the Maldives: Curious Shape – Nalandhoo

Nalandhoo - aerial

Earth Day today. A time to appreciate the diverse and curious planet we call home. In the Maldives, Not all the earthen mounds of islands are round dots. Some extend across elongated table reefs on the edges of the atolls. And some like Nalandhoo (not to be confused with Anatara’s Naladu) in Shaviyani atoll have a totally unique shape viewed from Google Earth(thanks Paola)…

Nalandhoo is particularly supportive to Earth Day today as its own emblematic exposure to environmental impacts especially of rising and shifting seas…

  • “The smallness of the [Shaviyani] atoll indicates to the islands’ vulnerability to environmental impacts. Hence the Nalandhoo is one of the island in Shaviyani atoll with its own unique beauty”

Nalandhoo  - vista

16 Dhoni Inspirations

Centara Ras Fushi - dhoni swing

The traditional dhoni has been the life blood for the scattered Maldivian archipelago pumping people and goods across its waters for centuries. In modern times, the dhoni also provides cultural inspiration to all manner of décor and items on the Maldives resorts.

The term “dhoni” is not only essential to Maldives life since its earliest history, but has even entered the global lexicon as one of two Dhivehi words that have made it into the English language (the other is even more characteristic of the very essence of the Maldives).

I have added a “Dhoni” tag to keep track of all the nautically inspired resort features now.

1. Boat SwingCentara Ras Fushi [ABOVE]

2. Boat VillaHuvafenfushi
Huvafenfushi - dhoni boat suit

3. LoungePark Hyatt Hadahaa
Maafushivaru - dhoni lounge

4. Room ServiceConstance Moofushi
Constance Moofushi - dhoni room service

5. FountainPark Hyatt Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Hadahaa - dhoni fountain

6. BuffetLily Beach
Lily Beach - dhoni - buffet

7. BarCanareef
Canareef - dhoni bar

8. Housekeeping Coco Bodu Hithi
Coco Bodu Hithi - dhoni housekeeping

9. PlanterAaaVeee
AaaVeee - dhoni planter

10. RestaurantMillaidhoo
Millaidhoo - dhoni - restaurant

11. Kids ClubAnantara Dhigu
Anantara Dhigu - dhoni kids club

12. Dining TableJA Manafaru
JA Manafaru - dhoni dining table

13. ReceptionSun Siyam Irufushi
Sun Siyam Irufushi - reception

14. SeatingAyada
Ayada - dhoni seating

15. LoungingTaj Exotica
Taj Exotica - dhoni lounging

16. Water VillaCocoa Island
Cocoa Island - dhoni water villa

Best of the Maldives: Historical Cruising – Velaa

Velaa - boat

If you want to live the maritime heritage of the Maldivian dhoni with all the conveniences and luxuries of this modern day paradise destination, then Velaa offers a distinctive dhoni crusing yacht, “Baththeli Anna”.

  • Baththeli Anna, the prncess of the Southern Seas. Designed to ensure the utmost comfort for her guests, Anna is a beautiful custom built Maldivian baththeli (“baththeli” – boat on Dhivehi language). This luxurious, uniquely designed traditional sailboat was laid down in April of 2012. Then crafted under the supervision of the Master Boat Builder, Matias Luhmann, himself alongside the proficient team of Gladonia Maldives Pvt Ltd. The idea of its elegant lines and comfortable spaces was conceived by the boat design, Philippe Laurella, French at birth, but Maldivian in Spirit.”

One of my biggest pastimes is the sport of rowing. The carbon-fiber sculls are the state-of-the-art, but I’m afraid that I’m still smitten by the aesthetic romance of a boat sculpted out of wood.


  • Length – 76 feet
  • Weight – 45 ton
  • Overnight guest capacity – 3
  • Day touring guest capacity – 8
  • Maximum speed – 12 knots.
  • 2 Hour, 4 person Sunset Dolphin Cruise – $1,695
  • 5 hour, 2 person Desert Island Dinner Cruise – $7,440
  • 2.5 hour, 4 person Luxury Private Snorkel Trip – $1,895
  • 8 hour, 4 person Charter Cruise – $5,495

With this post, I’ve added a new “Cruising” tag as the highest end resorts seem to be extended their super-premium arms race into a naval battle of yachts.

Velaa - dhoni 2

Velaa - dhoni 1

Velaa - dhoni 3

Best of the Maldives: Historical Artifacts – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - dhoni relic

World Heritage Day celebrates the sites and monuments around the world which capture and preserve bits of the local history. Shangri-La Villingili has so many such relics that they have assembled a little guide history tour of their island. It starts with the dhoni displayed (see photo above) near the entrance to the resort:

  • This Maldivian dhoni was shipwrecked on the Villingili island reef during stormy weather in the late 1940s.”

But Villignili also shared the RAF heritage of the Addu atoll as an extension to the neighbouring Gan outpost. Garrison. The historical buildings include a RAF building (see photo directly below) as well as a defensive pill box (see photo bottom):

  • “Administrative building of the 1st Royal Marine Coast Defense Regiment manning the shore batteries on Villingili Island, ca. 1942. In August 1941, the netlayer HMS Guardian landed Royal Navy construction crews on Addu Atoll in the Maldives Islands to begin work on a secret naval base for Britain’s eastern fleet. The British eastern fleet had left more of its base facilities in Singapore, including dry docks and repair sheds In the event of Singapore’s loss, it was to fall back on Trincomalee on Ceylon’s eastern coast. The British fleet commander wanted an alternative base somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Addu Atoll, which became known as ‘Port T.’ The 1st Royal Marine Coast Defense Regiment was dispatched to secure the atoll.”

Shangri-La Villingili - RAF history

Shangri-La Villingili - pill box

Easter Mum Day Bunnies


Easter Monday provides that magic 4-day weekend for extra-long plan time. And the Maldives has extra colourful fashionista mums who have not only graced their shores, but also the other iconic bunny’s pages, Playboy. A dozen egg-cellent painted beauties…

  1. Jayde Nicole (USA) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Jayde Nicole (USA) – Anantara Dhigu
  2. Eva Padberg (Germany) – Soneva Fushi
    Eva Padberg (Germany) – Soneva Fushi
  3. Natalia Siwiec (Poland) – Kurumba
    Natalia Siwiec (Poland) – Kurumba 2
  4. Jessica Jane Clement (United Kingdom) – W Retreat
    Jessica Jane Clement (United Kingdom) - W Retreat
  5. Janni Honscheid (Germany ) – Cokes Surf Camp
    Coke Sruf Camp - Janni Honscheid surf
  6. Joana Plankl (Germany) – Meedhupparu
    Joanna Plankl (Germany) – Meedhupparu
  7. Lela Ceterova (Czech)
    Lela Ceterova (Czech) – Constance Halaveli
  8. Sherra Michelle (USA) – Park Hyatt Hadahaa
    Sherra Michelle (USA) - Park Hyatt Hadahaa
  9. Monikica Adamin (OAE) – Paradise Island
    Monika Adamin (OAE) – Paradise Island
  10. Silvi Bodi (Germany) – Kandooma
    Kandooma - Silvi Bodi underwater
  11. Xenia Deli (Moldova) – NIYAMA
    NIYMA - Xenia Deli
  12. Jammie Leong (Canada) – Meeru
    Jammie Leong (Canada) – Meeru

Sunday Sunsets

Maldives sunset 7

Easter Sunday is one of the most colourful days of the year with brightly coloured eggs sequestered amongst the spring garden blossoms. The Maldives tends to have more of a tricolour motif – blue, green, white. Until sunset. Then the Maldives explodes with a kaleidoscope of colour.

The sunset is a big event in the Maldives. All the men (it is the gadget guys) abandon their loved ones to their cocktails and grab their SLRs to start shooting. As a result, Instagram and Flickr are awash with an ocean of sunset snaps.

The criteria I use to filter the ordinary from the extraordinary is the following…

  • Colour – Rich, deep, gradient, varied. No black (the sunset equivalent to the “No Sunglasses” Rule). And *multiple* colours…not just a wash of golds. A bit of Photoshop to accent the highlights is okay as long as the image is not saturated like some kids colouring book.
  • Light Play – Not just a glowing orb in the distance, the sun must certainly ignite the clouds in the sky. Also (more frequent oversight) is that the ocean seascape must also be alight with reflected and refracted colours.
  • Maldivian – No “CBA” (ie. “Could Be Anywhere). The shot needs to have some distinctive iconic Maldives bits like a dhoni or sand bar or water villa to give it a destination signature.

Here are a dozen eggs-eptional shots (especially check out Abdulla Didi (#2) who is a bit of a Maldivian sunset specialist)…

  1. Extremely PierreW Retreat [ ABOVE]
  2. Abdulla DidiHithadhoo
    Maldives sunset 14
  3. Luca AugAngaga
    Maldives sunset 13
  4. Infinite ExplorerAnantara Dhigu
    Maldives sunset 12
  5. KandolhuKandolhu
    Maldives sunset 11
  6. Conrad RangaliConrad Rangali
    Maldives sunset 10
  7. Shestak KonstantinSun Island
    Maldives sunset 9
  8. Camila AsenjoDrift Thelu
    Maldives sunset 8
  9. Hussain ZaheenDhigurah
    Maldives sunset 6
  10. Pun PhotosFihalhohi
    Maldives sunset 3
  11. Rid PerspectivesLUX South Ari Atoll
    Maldives sunset 4
  12. Travellers PlanetSix Senses Laamu
    Maldives sunset 1

Palm Sun Day

Palm - close up

Every day is Palm Sun Day in the Maldives. Where “Face Palm” is anything but.  The destination is defined by the “plot of sand and palm tree” vignette. The sleek, emerald green lines of the palm frond impart all the more aesthetic appeal around and above this paradise. So it is no surprise that the parade of paradise posers choose the palm as one of the most popular backdrops and props. Here’s a Maldives Complete top list…

  1. Belinda Morgan (Australia) – Club Med Kani
    Belinda Morgan (Australia) – Club Med Kani
  2. Kimberley Wallis (USA) – Bandos
    Kimberley Wallis (USA) - Bandos
  3. Rechelle Jenkins (United Kingdom) – Conrad Rangali
    Rechelle Jenkins (United Kingdom) – Conrad Rangali 2
  4. Xenia Deli (Moldova) – Six Senses Laamu
    Xenia Deli (Moldova) – Six Senses Laamu
  5. Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
  6. Aleona Lynx (Russia) – AaaVeee
    Aleona Lynx (Russia) – AaaVeee
  7. Mirela Nicoleta (United Kingdom) – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Mirela Nicoleta (United Kingdom) - Atmosphere Kanifushi
  8. Angie (Spain) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Angie (Spain) - LUX South Ari Atoll
  9. Tori Son (Russia) – Ranveli
    Tori Son (Russia) – Ranveli
  10. Mia (Spain) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Mia (Spain) - One & Only Reethi Rah
  11. Caitlyn Howe (USA) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Caitlyn Howe (USA) - Gili Lankanfushi
  12. Ednyr Marie (Canada) AaaVeee
    Ednyr Marie (Canada) AaaVeee
  13. Alessia Marcuzzi (Italy) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Alessia Marcuzzi (Italy) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  14. Kristina Mendonca (Australia) – W Retreat
    Kristina Mendonca (Australia) - W Retreat
  15. Roxet (Russia)
    Roxet (Russia)
  16. Regina Ponfilova (Russia) – NIYAMA
    Regina Ponfilova (Russia) - NIYAMA
  17. Eryka Yar (USA) – AaaVeee
    Eryka Yar (USA) - AaaVeee
  18. Iryn Shynkarenko (Ukraine) – Veligandu
    Iryn Shynkarenko (Ukraine) – Veligandu
  19. Mary Shum (Russia) – Ranveli
    Mary Shum (Russia) - Ranveli
  20. Valentina Guerrieri (Italy) – Conrad Rangali
    Valentina Guerrieri (Italy) – Conrad Rangali
  21. Vassia Kostara (Greece) – One & Only Reethi  Rah
    Vassia Kostara (Greece) - One & Only Reethi Rah
  22. Sana Lantana (USA) – AaaVeee
    Sana Lantana (USA) – AaaVeee 2
  23. Berry Malinowska (Poland) – Sheraton Full Moon
    Sheraton Full Moon - Berry Malinowska greenery
  24. Pei Shan (Thailand) – Thulhagiri
    Thulhagiri - Pei Shan greenery
  25. Uliana Berdysheva (Russia) – Sun Island
    Sun Island - Uliana Berdysheva greenery
  26. Maggi Apa Bhavilai (Thailand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Club Med Finolhu Villas - Maggi Apa Bhavilai greenery
  27. Liliana Montoya (USA) – AaaVeee
    Liliana Montoya (USA) - AaaVeee

  28. Pamela Reif (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Pamela Reif (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
  29. Iren Buchovskaya (Ukraine) – Sheraton Full Moon
    Iren Buchovskaya (Ukraine) - Sheraton Full Moon
  30. Darya Radchenko (Russia) – Kihaad
    Darya Radchenko (Russia) - Kihaad

Best of the Maldives: Boom Netting – Maalifushi

Maalifushi - boom netting

If you would like to mix your own body up with plenty of refreshing fluids and a shot of adrenalin, then check out the boom netting experience is part of Maalifushi’s Splash Cruise and Dolphins” excursion:

  • “Try a sunset cruise with a twist – or a splash – and join us on our Splash Cruise. Bring your swim wear and relax in the cargo nets as the water washes over you. If we are lucky some dolphins can be encountered on the way. “

Offered 16:30 to 18:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday at a cost of $95 pax (also Private Charter for $500 for 2 hours +$25 pp for food/drink, and $47.50 pp for children 7-12).

Best of the Maldives: Kombucha– LUX South Air Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - Kombucha

If you want more than just vitamins and minerals on the rocks in your health smoothie, then try a “Kombucha”, a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks. LUX South Ari Atoll makes its very own version:

  • Known as the ‘Immortal Health Elixir,’ we ferment our own variety of Kombucha ranging from black tea, green tea and coffee just to name a few and offering it to guest in our all-day dining restaurants as well as Spa.”

Kombucha is produced by fermenting the tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). In other words, SCOBY Snack!


Sexy on the Beach on the Rocks

K Katerinochka (Russia) – Sun Island

Geologists Day today. Rocks are not a common thing in the Maldives. What passes for rocks are most usually discoloured, chunks of old coral. Sometimes boulders are shipped in from overseas to provide sea barriers and other construction materials. So any budding geologists searching for some semiprecious precious veins will have to look on top of the rocks. Here is a baker’s dozen of sun-baked gems to start off their collection…

  1. K Katerinochka (Russia) – Sun Island [ABOVE]
  2. Lilia Matsegora (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Lilia Matsegora (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi

  3. Karolina Zubkova-Mattes (France) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Karolina Zubkova-Mattes (France) - Cheval Blanc Randheli
  4. Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah

  5. Katrina Mercado (USA) – Taj Exotica
    Katrina Mercado (USA) – Taj Exotica

  6. Nelli Chernova (Russia) – Irufushi
    Nelli Chernova (Russia) - Irufushi

  7. Viktoria Devil (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Viktoria Devil (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi

  8. Mimi (South Male)
    Mimi (South Male)

  9. Audrey Ling (Singapore) – Anantara Dhigu
    Audrey Ling (Singapore) – Anantara Dhigu

  10.   Ann Shalman (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Ann Shalman (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah

  11.   Alyssa Jusright (USA) – Ranveli
    Alyssa Jusright (USA) – Ranveli

  12.    Ann-Katrin Vida (Germany) – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Ann-Katrin Vida (Germany) – Atmosphere Kanifushi

  13.    Coleen Garcia (Philippines) – Velassaru
    Coleen Garcia (Philippines) - Velassaru