Maldives gives you wings. And Maldives Portal gives you all the nuts and bolt and any other tool you need to take flight to Maldivian paradise.
The most comprehensive German website for the Maldives is actually not from Germany, but Austria – www.maldives.at (For those of you who didn’t get the link to the ‘gives you wings’ tagline of Red Bull, Red Bull is the not just the biggest manufacturing company in Austria, but I think it is the biggest manufacturing company share of a country’s GDP of any in the world, not to mention it is by far Austria’s most iconic brand).
The simply titled ‘Maldives Portal’ is anything, but simple. It is a smorgasbord of information with a pedigree as rich as its pages. It is arguably the first major independent website on Maldives resorts. Certainly the oldest of any that persist to today. It was a major source of information for me when I first started researching my first trip in 1993. It wasn’t the most polished site with stylised graphics and slick interface, but it was chock full invaluable information that was actually useful. Instead of overly contrived pictures of tropical fruits and palm trees, it featured practical shots of the resort infrastructure like the rooms and facilities long before TripAdvisor or Flickr albums came on the scene. They also provided island maps which helped provide a sense of the overall layout. The forest for the trees. Not just of the island itself, but the surrounding waters, lagoons, reefs, etc. It was a major inspiration for me in creating Maldives Complete as I thought that the web needed more practical information on the resorts like the kind of stuff I could find some of on the Maldives.at.
Over the many years, Maldives.at has continued to update and enhance itself. It has added a bit more polish and order, but it still resembles a colourful, packed-to-the-ceiling-bazaar rather than a fussy, posh boutique. What it features in comprehensive information it does lack a bit in resort coverage as it only profiles 34 of the over 100 Maldives resorts. The section ‘All Tourist Resorts’ is, however, a virtually complete table of information with links to ‘Reports’ on nearly half which does provide a more expansive set of resort data.
The two areas where it stands out for its depth are diving information and its own community Forum. While Maldives Complete fatures dive maps of sites nearby to each resorts, Maldives Portal features broader atoll dive maps showing virtually all the dive sites in reach (see below). Unfortunately, the while the Forum rivals TripAvisor’s, it is almost completely in German.
But the shop inventory doesn’t stop there. It has links to key government sites, online webcams, TV, radio, services, companies, and so on. It’s like a giant hardware store of Maldives information where you could just get lost on a Sunday afternoon browsing all of the obscure items and thinking ‘surely, I can use this Maldives Puzzle!”
As Reethi Beech General Manager Peter Gremes wrote me after this week’s piece, “If Vettel wins next Sunday we’ll raise the Austrian flag and serve Red Bull.” Maldeives.at certainly is its own little online resort Red Bull – a powerful jolt of information, worldwide notoriety and German content in an Austrian car.