Maldives QI – Part X

Realm of the Great White Shark

…for “X” marks the spot where in the world the Great Whites are.

Q: When was the last shark attack in the Maldives?
A: A year ago?
Q: Buzzzzz! No. The Maldives have never had a recorded shark attack on a human.

World Tourism Day today and the Maldives stand tall (much taller than its famously low elevation) among the titans of the travel industry as a bucket list destination. And for selachophiles, the bountiful populations of a range of shark species is one of the many oceanic attractions.

Still, for a few of the more aquatically apprehensive, all these dorsal fins can evokes a number of cinematic fears brought on by everything from Jaws to Deep Blue Sea and Thunderball. In fact, nearly all species of shark keep quite a distance from diving and swimming humans. When you spend some time diving and snorkelling with them, you quickly figure out how they are the scaredy-cats of the ocean turning and fleeing at the least disturbance.

In most cases, these cartoonishly portrayed “man-eaters” are the species “Great White”. And if sharks’ docile temperament isn’t enough to re-assure you then, you can at least travel to the Maldives knowing that you won’t encounter any Great Whites. Great Whites are found pretty much all over the world east-to-west, and north-to-south. But there is one place they don’t hang out in and that’s the Indian Ocean (except for a patch off the coast of east Africa).

Best of the Maldives: Resort Shuttle – Club Med

Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas - shuttle

All the resorts will offer transfer from the airport to their hotels. And some hotels offer trips to sister resorts. But Club Med provides a regular, scheduled boat shuttle between its Club Med Kani and Club Med Finolhu Villas properties (departing about every 90 minutes from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm on about a 10 minute journey).

The courtesy gives guests the best of both worlds between two quite different properties. All the expansive facilities of the Kani are available free of charge to all Finolhu guests as a courtesy. Kani guests can also get guest passes to visit Finolhu.

Maritime a la Mode

Boat Shot - Unidentified

Today is World Maritime Day which also marks the conclusion of one of the world’s largest boat shows in Southampton, UK. Plenty of winsome lasses will be draped across fiberglass hulls and a wooden foredecks, but they will struggle to match the fetching allure of the Maldives fashionistas who similarly favour a pinnace photoshoot perch…

  1. Afrouta Diaboulous (Russia)
    Afrouta Diaboulous (Russia)
  2. Alia Bhaat (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Alia Bhaat (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  3. Paris Hilton (USA) – Velaa
    Paris Hilton (USA) – Velaa
  4. Jybby Mondeumas Punnakitti (Thailand) – Soneva Fushi
    Jybby Mondeumas Punnakitti (Thailand) – Soneva Fushi
  5. Natalie Morris (USA) – Velassaru
    Natalie Morris (USA) – Velassaru
  6. Jamie Kani (Thailand) – Meeru
    Jamie Kani (Thailand) – Meeru
  7. Iryn Shynkarenko (Ukraine) – Veligandu
    Iryn Shynkarenko (Ukraine) – Veligandu
  8. Bar Refaeli (Israel) – Anantara Dhigu
    Bar Refaeli (Israel) – Anantara Dhigu
  9. Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli
    Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli
  10. Bantik Boy (Russia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Bantik Boy (Russia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  11. Maria Ivakova (Russia) – Dhiffushi
    Maria Ivakova (Russia) - Dhiffushi
  12. Tatiana Lis (Russia) – Finolhu
    Tatiana Lis (Russia) - Finolhu
  13. Lay Peng Pek (Singapore) – The Residence
    Lay Peng Pek (Singapore) - The Residence
  14. Evelyn Virag (Italy) – Kuramathi
    Evelyn Virag (Italy) - Kuramathi
  15. Michon Van As and Amanda Ware (Australia) – W Retreat
    Michon Van As and Amanda Ware (Australia) - W Retreat
  16. Desiree Siahaan (United Kingdom) – Velavaru
    Desiree Siahaan (United Kingdom) – Velavaru
  17. Alexis Ren (USA) – Ayada
    Alexis Ren (USA) – Ayada
  18. Eem Nizam (Maldives) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Eem Nizam (Maldives) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
  19. Naomie Harris (United Kingdom) – Soneva Fushi
    Naomie Harris (United Kingdom) – Soneva Fushi
  20. Beea Beatrice (Romania) – Vadoo
    Beea Beatrice (Romania) – Vadoo

Best of the Maldives: Raft Building Class – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi - raft building 1

After coconut cups and tree houses, the next most iconic part of the deserted island fable is…the log raft. Now, not many Maldives guests would really want to escape their tropical paradise, but to live out the Swiss Family Robinson fantasy to the fullest, Soneva Fushi offers raft making as an activity in their The Den kids club…

“The children take part in a small auction to win different items that they will use to build a raft, this can range from wood, barrels, tyres, all sorts of items that would otherwise be thrown. They then have to build a raft and that will float, and then a race will take place.”

Raft-making is more than a Castaway knock-off. It was a common “team building” challenge on corporate offsites that I’ve attended for years. It combines a very measurable objective (staying afloat) with mild consequences for failure (getting wet).  An activity that The Professor from Gilligan’s Island would have benefitted from in his youth.  As the old joke goes, “The Professor could make a nuclear reactor out of two coconuts, but couldn’t fix a hole in a boat.”

I’ve introduced a new tag “Swiss Family Robinson” for those desert-island chic features which evoke this classic film. Admittedly, the category is dominated by Soneva.

Soneva Fushi - raft building 2

Best of the Maldives: Kids Bathroom – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - kids toilet

Maldives kids clubs are packed with miniature versions of the amenities their grown-up parents enjoy during their stay. One of the focal points of luxury in the resort villas are the lavish bathrooms. And JA Manafaru is no less accommodating to its kids club patrons with a restroom designed with their pint-sized scale in mind. A great example of knowing your customer and optimising the customer experience. I bet the kids feel like great big boys and girls when they use the Manafaru loo (and I felt like the Jolly Green Giant).

JA Manafaru - kids sink

Best of the Maldives: Kids Door – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi - The Den - door

On the heels of all that pirate talk, I just had to do another post on Soneva Fushi’s kids club which has its very own pirate ship inside (see photo below). My feature of the day capture’s the “The Den’s” Alice in Wonderland fantastical quality with its nested front doors (photo above) inviting you into a Lewis Carrol world of wonder and amusement.

“Curiouser and curiouser!”

Soneva Fushi - The Den - pirate ship

Best of the Maldives: Pirate Cruise – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah Villas - pirate cruise

Ahoy me Hearties! Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen for an Anantara Kihavah Villas pirate cruise in honour of Speak Like A Pirate Day today…

“The Pirate Cruise is a weekly activity offered in the kids club priced at USD 30 per kid. This includes a 45 minute cruise in a speed boat around Baa Atoll and it’s possible to see the dolphins. All the kids are face painted like pirates and are given a Pirate Hat to wear on the cruise. One of kids club team members is also dress up in pirate costume – which is the photo you saw on Instagram [see photo above]. After the trip, an edited video of the excursion will be given to the parents. During the festive season this is elaborated to become a Pirate Picnic on a private island with fun beach games, treasure hunt and snorkeling.”

Avast ye landlubbers!

Best of the Maldives: Chilean Wine – Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - Chile wine 2

Chile National Day. Chile can take pride today in many of its contributions to the world not least of which are its world class wines. Often found in the value bins of the supermarket wine section, the country’s hot sunny days with modest precipitation and cooling breezes make it a proper paradise for viticulture. It produces a wide range of not only well-priced, but exceptional quality varietal wines including sleek Cabernets and clean Chardonnays. And to toast Chile today you need a word with the Sun Siyam Irufushi sommelier.

Their collection includes one of the most distinctive wines from the Andean slopes and a pioneer of Chilean ultra-premium Wines, Montes Alpha M (see photo at bottom)…

“This extraordinary wine represents a dream come true for the original founders of Montes: to produce a ‘first growth’ that can stand alongside the world’s other finest wines. Production of Montes Alpha M is extremely limited and vintages are only released if our head winemaker Aurelio Montes considers that the quality of the wine is up to demanding standards. Aurelio goes as far as painstakingly selecting individual grapes rather than bunches at harvest time, in his aim for supreme quality, eliminating variables that might compromise quality. Coming from the best vines at our Finca de Apalta estate, considered by many to be Chile´s best red wine terroir, Montes Alpha M has become the icon benchmark for other Chilean wineries to follow. Montes Alpha M is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Merlot (10%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%). Basically it is Bordeaux blend with intense dark red in color. It is a powerful wine with beautiful soft, rounded tannins. The wine is elegant and has a very well-defined character. The inclusion of Petit Verdot adds an extra element of complexity. There is a pleasant and harmonious marriage of fruit and French oak. It is perfectly balanced, full-bodied and voluptuous mid-palate with a rewarding, lingering aftertaste of mature grapes and a level of acidity that reflects its superb structure. Wine maker tried their best level to bring the wines up-to the Bordeaux wine standard. 2006 Montes Alpha ‘’M’’ is one of most popular wine in the luxury wine cellar dinner at The Sun Siyam Irufushi Maldives. It is for guest experience to match the Bordeaux chateaux with Chilean Montes Alpha ‘’M’’ 2006. This wine will be able to keep for more than 20 years. “

The complete Chilean Wine Selection at The Sun Siyam Irufushi Maldives reads like a Chilean geography lesson…

White wine

  • ·Aconcagua Valley
    • 2012 Errazuriz ‘Estate Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%
    • Casablanca Valley
    • 2012 Errazuriz ‘Estate Reserva’ Chardonnay, 12.5%
    • 2010 Montes ‘Alpha’ Chardonnay, 14%
  • San Antonio Valley
    • 2012 Emiliana Novas Sauvignon Blanc, 13%
    • 2012 Emiliana Signos de Origen Chardonnay, Rousanne, Marsanne, Viognier, 14.5%
  • Central Valley
    • 2013 Poco Mas Chardonnay, 13%
  • Maipo Valley
    • 2011 Undurraga ‘Aliwen Reserva’ Chardonnay, 14%
  • Rapel Valley
    • 2011 Emiliana Adobe Gewurtztraminer, 14%
  • Curico Valley
    • 2013 Montes Classic ‘Riserva’ Sauvignon Blanc, 12.5%
    • 2011 Caliterra Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, 13%
  • Maule Valley
    • 2008 O. Fournier ‘Centauri’ Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%

Red Wines

  • Casablanca Valley
    • 2009 Montes ‘Limited Selection’ Pinot Noir, 14%
  • Central Valley
    • 2013 Siete Soles Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, 12%
    • 2010 Undurraga ‘Aliwen Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, 14%
  • Maipo Valley
    • 2009 Marques de Casa Concha ‘Concha Y Toro’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5%
    • 2006 Undurraga ‘Founder’s Collection’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 14%
  • Colchagua Valley
    • 2012 Fuzion Shiraz, Malbec, 13%
  • Rapel Valley
    • 2011 Montes ‘Reserva’ Merlot, 14%
    • 2009 Montes ‘Reserva’ Merlot, 14%
    • 2010 Caliterra ‘Reserva’ Merlot, 13.5%
    • 2007 Montes ‘Folly’ Syrah, 15%
  • o 2011 Caliterra ‘Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5%
  • o 2009 Montes ‘Purple Angel’ Carmenere, Petit Verdot, 14.5%
  • o 2009 Montes ‘Alpha’ Carmenere, 14.5%
  • o 2009 Montes ‘Alpha’ Shiraz, 14.5%
  • o 2006 Montes ‘Alpha M’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, 14.5%
  • · Maule Valley
  • o 2007 O. Fournier ‘Centauri’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Cargignan 14%

Viva el vino!

Sun Siyam Irufushi - Chile wine

Best of the Maldives: Swimsuit Fashion – W Retreat

I’m tempted to dub this piece “Most Fashionable Resort” as everything it does is distinguished by sophisticated styling. But in my effort to keep “Best of the Maldives” post as specific as possible, I’ll settle for “Best Swimwear”. W Retreat has already been highlighted for its distinctively fashionable uniforms. And now it adds a line of house swimwear partnering with designers “We Are Handsome”…

“We are really excited to be involved in this project and to have the opportunity to collaborate with a brand which shares the same passions for design and fashion,” said Jeremy Somers, Managing and Creative Director, We Are Handsome. “We took our inspiration for the collection from the energy which ebbs and flows through the resorts when the sun sets, the stars come out and nature starts to glow. The bespoke design conveys this energy, as well as the vibrant and playful personalities of the retreats and their island destinations, whilst evoking their bold sophistication and glamour.”

We Are Handsome?…Most definitely!

W Retreat - We Are Handsome swimwear