What I Didn’t See

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My 2011 summer
tour was a huge success in ferreting out all sorts of impressive and quirky distinctions of the resorts I visited and elsewhere. After last week’s follow up round of new posts, I am now up to 180 ‘Best Ofs’ with that number again in the wings. I’ve even had to revamp the Best Of page which has given me the opportunity to integrate another great Sakis piece (everywhere I went, people knew about Sakis and his work).

I have now visited 28 resorts and yet there are a number of things I have yet to see. Given the frenetic arms race of the resorts to outdo one another with creative offerings and twists, these seem to me to be some candidates that range from obvious to obscure. I’ve broken them down into a few categories…

Enjoying the water…

  • Water slide – The ‘water slide’ keeps popping up in Six Senses concept CAD pictures (see above) as a villa attachment. Six Sense Laamu ended up abandoning that design, but why not a simple water slide in a kids pool or even off a jetty into the ocean?
  • Beach Wheelchair – Another obvious innovation overdue for the Maldives.
  • Sculling – First thing in the morning and into twilight, the Maldive waters, especially in the lagoons, is as calm as any lake or Thames River. A larger sized single scull or skiff would be a unique offering and provide a distinctive exercise opportunity. They have introduced rowing with the trans-equatorial crossing project. Would be ideal for a resort with a big lagoon. [NOTE: Any resort that wants to introduce this, I have a world class rower interested in marine biology who would be happy to come down to teach some Maldivian staff how to scull.]
  • In Ocean Dining – A couple of resorts are offering ‘in pool dining’, but how about ‘in ocean dining’. Some shallow lagoon with relative shallow water. Not feet in water or sand, but both!
  • Star Shaped Over Water Restaurant – I was impressed with the W Retreat’s ‘Fish’ restaurant which has an ‘H’ shaped deck for the diners. This shape meant that lots of tables could be arranged ‘right over the water’. It made me wonder why more resorts didn’t adopt such a ‘pronged’ decking design to optimise the ‘best tables’ even more. My Dad mocked up some drawings of what I’m talking about below.

Enjoying the vistas of the unique seascape…

  • Observation tower – For years now the trend in the Maldives has been to ‘go down’ (ie. underwater) for the super-luxury jaw-dropping attractions. A few top resorts are starting to ‘go up’ with some two story and roof top structures. These elevated places are actually quite appealing because they provide a broader vista over the turquoise and sapphire seas surrounding. For a long time, ‘going up’ has been a big approach to attractions (eg. Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Seattle Space Needle, Toronto Tower). For a super-luxe looking for that next ‘wow’ thing, I suspect this sort of feature might spark some possibilities.
  • Hot Air Balloon – Champagne ballooning…ah, duh. Modify the basket so it floats when it lands on water. No shortage of landing places. Nor shortage of aerial scenery. A senior official in the Ministry of Tourism thought that a resort had tried this years ago, but I couldn’t find any reference to it.
  • Skydiving – A group did a one-off skydiving trip in the Maldives out of Hanimaadhoo airport a few years back, but never followed it up with more. Parasailing is already quite popular and tandem jumps seems like the next step up to enjoy the distinctive views.

Neglected delicacies….

  • Banoffee Pie with Coconut Cream – Easy to make. A crowd pleaser. Local ingredients and tastes. Why is this not on the dessert menus?
  • Gourmet sausages – A big visitor population is British and a staple of the English breakfast is the sausage. Lots of people like a good sausage for breakfast and they are easy to prepare and serve. But sausages in the Maldives are always these anaemic little tasteless things. A number of specialty sausages are made from venison and other meats so an enterprising Maldivian could create a small business of gourmet sausages made from something other than pork. The closest I have come upon is Kurumba’s beef sausages.

Special sports…

  • Golf hole from one island to the next – The dearth of golf is one of the great holes (pun totally intended) in the Maldives offerings in the minds of many affluent travellers. And yet the Maldives has such great potential to fashion a ‘Holes to Play Before You Die’. Essentially, a tee on one island with the green on another. The greatest water hazard ever. Club Med Kani or Kandooma could set this up tomorrow.
  • Clay Tennis Court – Bit of a old-school, traditional cachet. Less baking hot, easier on your feet and typically more fun for recreational players than asphalt without the difficult maintenance requirement of grass courts.
  • Motorised Hammock – For those who are training for Olympic calibre indolence, I can’t imagine better training kit than a motorised hammock. In fact, I can’t imagine any place on earth that wouldn’t be made better by but the Maldives seems a natural with its soporific qualities.

Water restaurant layout design

15 Thoughts on “What I Didn’t See

  1. The Managing director of Maldives Marketing & PR Cooperation has written article which is very similar to your article. hope he didn't steal your idea.

    article has been circulated through the industry as first paragraph of your article changed.

    Who belongs that article You or Simon?

  2. On the internet, the most sincere form of flattery is sharing something with others.  Actually, Simon contacted me and asked me for permission to use the material.  He and I share passion for promoting the spectacular charms of the Maldives with people around the world and making the Maldives tourism as strong a contributor to Maldives welfare as possible.

  3. Pingback: The Managing Director of MMPRC Simon misleads the tourism industry and busted for plagiarism

  4. hawkwind on August 25, 2011 at 4:54 am said:

    Simon should have credited you then. I think you are fending for him. The man Simon is a hawkus-pocus. And the word is this man is re-branding the nation.

  5. hawkwind on August 25, 2011 at 5:28 am said:

    Maybe the email would have been better if he credited me, but I'm just saying that I don't think he meant any harm.  Maybe just omitted as an oversight.

    And yes, I guess I am fending for him.  I fend for any one I feel is unjustly accused.  I'm at least fending for the whole picture to be made clearer.  

    But I also am impressed with how he is promoting the Maldives.  You might not be impressed and that is your prerogative.  It's healthy for there to be a respectful debate about how the country should position and benefit from its incredible natural assets so I would fend for your critiques as well.

  6. Aishath on October 27, 2011 at 1:41 am said:

    Did you also know that he has of recent plagiarised the Maldivian tourism promotion logo? Plagiarism is stealing. Would you protect Simon even if he stole even when you knew he stole? I bet if you are as genuine as you sound, the answer to the questions would be a simple no.

  7. Aishath on October 27, 2011 at 4:03 am said:

    Aishath – I don't know the full story about the logo.  It certainly looks a lot (A LOT) like the Ocean Conservancy's logo.  I don't know whether the MMPRC choose the logo knowing full well it's similarities (and maybe even sought permission) or didn't.  

    I don't know why Simon is being targeted with so many attacks.  It smacks of blatant xenophobic prejudice.  First of all, if you want to attract foreigners, then having a foreigner on your team is a darn good move.  Secondly, I know intimately how the Ministry works and no decision get made without thorough consultation and approval of a broad range of stakeholders all of whom are Maldivian.  If the logo has any problems, then lots of Maldivians in the Ministry share the responsibility.  Simon did not come up with the logo (QUO did) nor did he decide on the logo (the Ministry did).


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