World Travel Market 2011

World Travel Market

WTM 2011 Maldives

Maldives came to London last week.

The World Travel Market is Europe’s largest travel and tourism trade fair filling the entire Excel exhibition centre in London. It is an opportunity for tourism agencies and major players to convene with existing customers very efficiently (in fact, sort of a treadmill fashion of one meeting after another from morning until night) as well with prospective new customers who are exploring new destinations to add to their portfolio.

The Maldives contingent was proudly represented front and centre of the ‘Indian Ocean’ hall right as you walk in the door (photo below) with a harried group of Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation and staff from various resorts. It was a great chance to meet the movers and shakers of the Maldives resort industry just a tube ride away. I caught up with Senior Marketing Officer Aminath Hudha (see photo above) of the MMPRC who was the very first person in the Maldives to help me get Maldives Complete off the ground. I also met up with resort managers both veteran (Champa, Villa, Universal) and newcomer (Dusit Thani, Viceroy). But the highlight of the day was finally meeting one of my Maldives heroes, Adrian Neville. We chatted into the evening about all things resort and Maldives comparing notes, stories and perspective.

I was a delight to welcome Maldivians to the British shores for once after so many years of them welcoming me to theirs.


WTM 2011 hall

Best of the Maldives: Longest Shoreline – Kuredu

Shorelines Edwin Lynn


Happy Birthday Dad.

Today is my father, Edwin Lynn’s, birthday. And probably his best present is his recently published book ‘Shorelines’. It’s a present for himself to see this distillation of a life’s work of insight and reflection come to reality. It is also a present to everyone who is inspired by the ocean and draws wisdom and serenity from it. As such, it seemed to be just right for the Maldives.

I grew up in a seaside town north of Boston, Massachusetts called Ipswich. It features one of the longest and finest beaches in the northeast USA…Crane Beach. It was there that my Dad would regularly brave the cold and sleep deprivation to catch a sunrise over the ocean. On a couple of occasions I was enticed to join this ritual lured more by the promise of fresh Marty’s donuts at the end than the celestial spectacle.

My Dad always favoured seaside holidays and during them got even more opportunity to watch the sunrise (or set on western shores). My Dad even got the opportunity to visit the Maldives when we took my parents to Conrad Hilton Rangali in 2000 (see photo below). Of course, one of the great luxuries of the Maldives is that you can easily watch both sunrises and sunsets!

In honour of ‘Shorelines’ and the lengthy, white sand Crane Beach that inspired him, today’s ‘Best of Maldives’ is its Longest ‘Shoreline’ or really ‘Beach’. A number of islands have long shorelines, but they interrupted by structures or rocks or something else blocking the way. According to Maldives legendary guru, Adrian Neville, Kuredu is “still the longest beach and so fine”. This assertion is confirmed by the island size data in the Maldives Complete database.  Gan is a very long island, but the ‘resort’ beach is limited. Kuramathi and Palm Beach are also a longer islands, but the ‘beach’ is broken up by infrastructure and some inaccessible rock/coral croppings.

May your shorelines be as refreshing and inspiring as a Maldivian sunrise.


Edwin Lynn Conrad Rangali 2


Edwin Lynn Conrad Rangali 1

Best of the Maldives: Repeater Honour – Komandoo

Komandoo - tshirts repeater


A bit of a numerically milestone event. Especially for British and Americans for whom ’11-11’ has long represented a day of honours for the nations’ veterans. The date itself marks the end of the First World War (aka Armistice Day) which goes even further as it officially ended on the ‘11th Hour’ today. Now in 2011, the 11’s string further. The day is a holiday of respect and remembrance for all who have served country. Often the day is marked with musical parades, wearing uniforms and erecting plaques.

Komandoo has a similar tradition every day for its ‘veterans’. Like all guests there, returning resort heroes are welcomed with a singing corps. Every repeater also gets a special ceremonial uniform in the form of t-shirt featuring one turtle (very prevalent around Komandoo especially with the nearby Kuredu caves) for every stay they have had (see photo above). After 4 stays, you get a custom plaque naming your villa after you for the duration of your stay (see photo below). After 7 stays, you get a special gift package presented by management.

I am a bit of a t-shirt aficionado (and in fact get stroppy when the resorts don’t sell good t-shirts). Not only is using turtle as ‘belt notches’ fun, but I also love the similar designs that Komandoo gives to honeymooners which has two turtles holding hands/flippers (see photo bottom).

May your 11-11-11 be a memorable one.

Komandoo - repeater plaque

Komandoo - plaque

Komandoo - tshirts

Best of the Maldives: Thai – Anantara Veli

Anantara - Loy Krathong

Happy Loy Krathong!

“On the eve of the 12th lunar month, Anantara Resorts Maldives is proud to present a traditional evening of Thai cuisine and Krathong – flower-shaped candlelit rafts – in celebration of Loy Krathong, The Festival of Lights, under a full moon at Baan Huraa restaurant. As a resort company steeped in heartfelt Thai hospitality it gives us great pleasure to introduce and celebrate one of the most beautiful Thai festivals with our story-collecting travellers from around the globe. Our resorts encapsulate the excitement of discovery and exploration that comes with entering new territory and, though we are celebrating the Festival of Lights outside the Kingdom, I cannot think of a more perfect setting than the greatest paradise on earth to express good wishes to our guests and team members and to look to the future as we float our floral offerings on the night.”

With its romantic trappings (full moon, flowers, candles), as well as its aquatic and even ecological origins, the Maldives has to be one of the best places on the planet to celebrate this endearing Thai holiday…

“Popular legend holds that the celebration is an expression of gratitude to the goddess of water ‘Phra Mae Kongka’ for having extensively used, and sometimes polluted, the water from the rivers and canals. It is also in part a thanksgiving for her bounty in providing water for the livelihood of the people.”

And in the Maldives, there is no better place to celebrate anything Thai than Anantara’s three conjoined properties: Dhigu, Veli and Naladu. Anantara is itself a Thai company which explains its exceptional catering to all things Thai. Their spa is heavily Thai themed with Thai treatments and therapists. In fact, Anatara has one of the most relaxing greetings in the Maldives as its therapists come out to reception and give all arrivals a brief, complementary head and neck message in reception. They obviously have a Thai restaurant, Baan Huraa, which is certainly one of the best if not at least the most authentic in the Maldives. It even features a vintage Thai wine ‘Dranmonte’ (vintage) according to Bala, the resort sommelier.

Best of the Maldives: Deep Sea Fishing–Bandos

Bandos Maldives Game Fishing



Lots of resorts offer deep sea fishing as an excursion, but today Bandos has organised the first ever Maldives Catch & Release Game Fishing Tournament at the resort in conjunction with the non-profit association Maldives Game Fishing Association (MGFA)…

“The aims of holding this tournament event are to:

  1. Bring Maldives game fishing operators & resorts on to an international stage, where they can gain further exposure through international media , highlighting the great fishing opportunities & genuine friendliness that is on offer.
  2. To unite the Maldives game fishing operators, and introduce sustainable & professional practises of the likes seen internationally.
  3. To be a central body at local & international levels

Tournament Dates: 9th – 12th November 2011 These dates have been selected due to shoulder season on resorts & to coincide with the Maldivian fisherman’s calendar giving the best fishing periods”

Full details and rules located here…

Best of the Maldives: American Breakfasts – Kurumba

Kurumba Henry Jordan

If you want something a bit more substantial than OJ to start your day, then there is not much more substantial than an ‘American’ breakfast. Yes, the ‘British fry up’ is a noble effort with its variety and grease content, but most ‘full English’ would rank as a ‘bit of a starter’ for an American morning meal. In fact, Americans had to invent their own term ‘brunch’ to describe a meal so big it’s two meals in one.

And if you want the ‘American Breakfast’ experience, then the closest I have found in the Maldives is Kurumba’s spread…

  • Blueberry Pancakes…with blueberry syrup! IHOP staple (putting the ‘International’ into the ‘IHOP’). Lots of resorts have pancakes, but blueberry is the true classic. W had delicious Blueberry Waffles, but not served with the blueberry syrup.
  • Fruit Loops. Junky, high sugar, ‘kids bouncing off the walls’ with a cartoon character on the box. That’s American breakfast cereal. Fruit Loops is an old-school classic and I can’t even get those in the UK
  • Fresh cooked ‘proper’ doughnuts. A lot of resorts provide ‘donuts’, but few get it right. Most are stodgy, doughy, heavy and not even that sweet. These were freshly made at the resort because Lori and I smelled them cooking.
  • American chef. Perhaps one secret to Kurumba’s Yankee delicacies is their staff chef Henry Jordan from Narragansett, Rhode Island (see centre of photo above) who provides a real authentic expertise.


Kurumba donuts   Kurumba froot loops

Best of the Maldives: Re-fresh-ment – Kandooma

Kandooma orange juicer

Kuramathi wasn’t the first resort to offer locally made beverage. While coffee presses are all the rage at the luxury resorts, Kandooma offers a more natural orange juice press in every room. My wife and I enjoyed fresh OJ the mornings we were there and it was a real re-FRESH-ing treat and change from the bottled, processed stuff normally found in a mini-bar.  As the old jingle goes, ‘A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine’…and that would be a real shame in the Maldives!

Best of the Maldives: Bottled Water – Kuramathi

Kuramathi bottled water

If you prefer to imbibe rather than immerse in Maldivian aqueous refreshment, then Kuramathi has developed the tipple for you…

Kuramathi Water. This clean, potable water made on the island emanates from a Classic Crystal purification system, ensuring the highest levels of quality and standards. The finished product is a glass bottle containing fresh drinking water. The bottle comes in two sizes, 500ml and 1 litre, and is a complimentary amenity for guests staying on Full Board. The bottles are also replenished from the guest’s stock every day. Reusing glass bottles is a milestone for Kuramathi, making our carbon footprint smaller as it would save the usage of about 300,000 plastic bottles discarded every year. To provide our guests with a memoir of Kuramathi, the bottles will be sold at the bars for very reasonable prices. One other interesting aspect about this water is that they are bottled in two forms; as still and sparkling waters.”

Perfectly timed launch coinciding with the Maldives’ ‘Always Natural’ campaign.

Among the old-timer Maldives aficionados, there is a bit of nostalgia for the ‘no shoes, no news’ simplicity of old school Maldivian simple paradise. One of the details of that nearly by-gone era that my wife Lori and I miss are the battered ‘re-used’ soda bottles. With the ecological mantra of “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle”, the re-used bottles were actually more environmentally progressive than the current practice of recycling. They had a sea-glass charm covered with the patina of many quenched thirsts. They also had sturdy heft to them for durability, but also making drinking from the bottle like holding a sculpted glass mug.  But, Kuramathi now takes it a reuse a step further adding locally produced beverage.

Best of the Maldives: Pool Service – Kanuhura

Kanuhura pool


Kanuhura does seem to have a thing for making your plunges as pampered as possible. In addition to its ‘Bath Menu’ it also offers ‘Pool Service’ (if you prefer your soaking on a larger, more public scale). Their services include…

  • Sun glass polishing by the beach host
  • Complimentary sorbets and ice creams (we had mango, coconut and pistachio…yum!), all home made on the island
  • Wireless Internet
  • Face mist spray service
  • Music CD menu

Yes, ‘sun glass polishing’ and ‘face mist spray service’. The spa is right next door to the pool, though, and I think the one thing they could add to the already decadently extravagant service would be “Suncream Application – one of our spa therapists will apply sun cream rubbing it in thoroughly while applying a gentle massage.” Just sayin’.

Maybe as a encore, Kanuhura will introduce a ‘Snorkelling Concierge’ with stuff like mask defogging and getting sand out of our fins. In any case, if you like aqueous indolence, then Kanuhura is the place for you.

Best of the Maldives: Bath Menu – Kanuhura

Kanuhura bath

“Your bath is drawn, m’lady”

You don’t need a butler at Kanuhura to get decadently pampered including having your bath drawn for you. Not just any bath, but your choice from their signature ‘Villa Bath Menu’ which include choices of “Veyoge Absolute Flower Bath”, exotic “Kanuhura Flower Ritual” or “Enchanting Breeze Flower Experience”.

“Drawn by the villa host at the guest’s chosen time, illuminated by a scented candle or oil burner, the water strewn with petals and accompanied by Champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries as well as a kids bath ceremony with milkshakes, cookies and a bedtime story.”

I don’t think my kids would protest at bath time with that sort of luxurious enticement.