Best of the Maldives: Remote Massage – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru / Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons remote massage

I’m loving this beach relaxation run this week. And just when you thought you couldn’t get more relaxed on a stretch of sand, up steps the Four Seasons with their Sandbank Massage.

The excursion is limited to guests their of Four Seasons Explorer yacht.

“Guests can have their treatment on board Four Seasons Explorer or on a sandbank nearby where the boat anchors. The sandbank location really depends on the route the boat is taking hence it is not always the same one. The guest will be dropped off with the therapist on the sandbank to enjoy the treatment in privacy.”

Full range of treatments from the signature ‘Kuda Huraa Massage’ (“A blend of specialised techniques from all over Asia – Thai pressure point, Filipino hilot, Malaysian urut”) to the ‘Sun Soother’ (“Hydrating and cooling fresh aloe vera gel, toning lavender mist, and lavender lotion are featured in this tropical wrap”). Prices range from $140 for 60 minutes to $225 for 120.

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru sand bar massage

Best of the Maldives: Beach Cabana – Kuredu

Kuredu Beach hut

You can carry on sleeping on the beach during the day with Kuredu’s beach hut cabana. If the Fatboy is not enough comfort for your shore-side lounging. You can book if for half a day for $50. A number of resorts have four-posted awnings and even mattressed loungers on the beach, but Kuredu’s cabana is just a bit more protected against beeezes or sun for those who have sensitive skin and really need to stay out of it. I also thought that it would be a great place to settle into with a very small child whose sensitive skin you would want to protect and the sheltered shade might help them nap too.

Decadent daytime dozing…

Best of the Maldives: Beach Sleep – Kanuhura

Kanuhura beach bed



Sometimes it’s taken me so long to get out of a sand trap that I might as well as have checked-in for a proper stay. Well, at Kanuhura I can stay in the sand all night long…

“Enjoy a Dinner, a Night and breakfast like Robinson Crusoe. A romantic night under the stars on Kanuhura's very own secluded desert island. Indulge in a sumptuous dinner of the freshest grilled seafood and meat dishes, prepared specially for you in an intimate candle-lit beach setting on neighbouring Jehunuhura Island. Then sleep peacefully under the stars in a private petal strewn canopy bed arranged on the powder-fine sand. You'll be star struck with distant views across the ocean of twinkling constellations and glimmering light of the moon, while the gentle lapping of the waves will lull you blissfully to sleep. In the morning you'll awake refreshed, with the uninterrupted vistas of the brilliant turquoise lagoon and swaying palm leaves around you, and a delicious Champagne Breakfast prepared for you on a totally secluded beach on your own little paradise.”

A number of times, my family have gone to the beach in the evening and just lied down on the sand to gaze up at the sky awash with stars while listening to the calm surf gently ticking the beach edge. After a busy day, we’d just as easily just drift off right then and there. Kanuhura’s offering provides just a touch more elegance and creature comfort for such dozing al fresco.

Starlit slumber.

Best of the Maldives: Golf Course – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangi-La Villingili golf course

Well, it’s about time.

As I’ve discussed before, the absence of a proper scale golf course is one of (if not *the*) major inhibitor to prospective high visitors to the Maldives. Today, Shangri-La Viligili has plugged that gap opening the first full sized (well short par 3s…more of an ‘Executive’ course, but bigger than the Kuredu pitch-and-putt) golf course in the Maldives. Minivan reports

“The nine hole course sits on seven-and-a-half hectares of previously undeveloped land at the southern end of Villingili Island. Most holes par three and average 123.4 yards in length, and are set amongst the island’s natural veggetation including of palms, pandanus and other tropical plants. The course includes a clubhouse, refreshment bar and a pro shop. ‘It’s a recreational course, not a professional course,’ explained Shangri-La’s Assistant Communications Manager, Cristina Acenas. ‘It is accessible to beginners but advanced golfers will also enjoy it.’”

It might not end there if the plans for a fully engineered ‘floating course’ with underwater connections comes to light…

Well played, Shangri-La.

Best of the Maldives: Sandcastles – Kuredu

Kuredu sandcastle 1

If you need a visit from Mr. Sandman, then Kuredu has its very own. But he has nothing to do with sleeping. Unless it is a sculpture of a sleeping lady with a horse (?) like the photo above. A whole collection of sand scuptures were created on Kuredu by on of their chefs at the Far East restaurant named Dej. His other works (which you can see on Kuredu’s Facebook gallery) include

The executions are not just masterful, but the subjects are creative concoctions in their own right. The pieces reminded me of my younger days growing up by the beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts which held celebrated annual sand castle making contest. Below is a snap from the Lori and I assistned our artist friends George Karalias and Peter Manos put together a team to build the climactic scene from the ‘Grinch That Stole Christmas’.

Crane sandcastle 3

Best of the Maldives: Spa Hours – Niyama

Niyama 24 Hour Spa

If your ‘dreaming of Maldives’ gets interrupted while you are dreaming IN the Maldives, the Niyama can still keep you from toss and turning and provide a relaxation treatment to help you out. Or you can try to burn off some off that restless energy at their gym..

“A first in the Maldives, LIME Spa at NIYAMA will be open 24 hours. Treatments will utilise and infuse indigenous holistic components from around the globe to create unique experiences. LIME will include his and her beauty salons, a contemplation garden and Quench, the juice bar. Each of these areas will be designed to heighten guests’ relaxation, allowing them to enjoy the tranquillity and space around them. PUMP the 24 hour gym will be equipped with state of the art gym equipment for those looking to maintain their routine or try something new.”

To some a 24-hour spa might seem a bit pointless, but I can imagine many scenarios where it would be a godsend. For starters, many people visit the Maldivse from far and wide. Very far…which can mean big time jet lag. You can’t sleep, but what can do you? The other scenario is a very real danger that my wife Lori and I have been hit with a number of times…over-relaxation. Yes, I know some of you would find this malady inconceivable and have a virtually genetic immunity to it. But, a number of times my wife and I have woken up at crazy hours unable to sleep and the sense was that we had just over done the relaxation. Between the sleeping in, lounging on the beach, and dozing by the pool, we just could manage any more shut-eye in the day (or night).

Best of the Maldives Online: Videos – Dreaming of Maldives

Dreamin of the Maldives videos

Facebook, Twitter, Forums, Foursquare…all of this look a social media and I have not yet looked at one of the big ones, YouTube.

As it happens, the best eye to Maldivian spectacle has expanded his lens from photography to videography recently. Sakis Papadolpolous now has a collection of video vignettes for resorts he has produced available not just on his own Dreaming of Maldives site, but also on Vimeo and his own YouTube channel. They are simply the best resort videos going. Sakis does produce some seriously beautiful staged ‘mood’ shots to highlight a languid hammock or a tantalising cocktail. But he also includes plemty of panoramic material which provides a good perspective on the look and feel of the landscape itself and facility itself.

Since the inception, I have included a video of the resort in the main Profile page if there was a decent video available on YouTube. I limited myself to YouTube do to the ease of embedding into the Profile page. I limited myself to’decent’ because I loathe those fake slide-show “videos” (in air quotes) which are just the picture gallery set to music with some tired transitions. Many of my resort clips were guests simply doing a walk through to capture a feel for the resort for their friends or their own memories. Production quality not be much, but their utility and effectiveness to give people an authentic feel for the resort is invaluable.

Video is definitely taking over the web. A decent video of your resort is as much online table-stakes as an FAQ, map of the island and contact details.

I’ve now changed the videos in the Profiles to Sakis’ pieces for the resorts that he has done so far – Six Senses Laamu, Huvafenfushi, Dhonakulhi Island Hideaway and Lily Beach. Hopefully, more resorts will produce such vivid illustrations and hopefully, they will all use Sakis’ artistic talents to do so.

Best of the Maldives: Historical Celebrations – Kurumba

Kurumba heritage

The first resort to get a Snorkel Spotting was Kurumba which is just one of many firsts for this proud pioneer in Maldive resort history. It is the ‘Delaware’ of the Maldives resort union.
In a crowd of glitzy up-and-comers in the Maldivian resort scene, Kurumba stands out at the revered silverback of the pack. Already distinquished for extent of its experience and customer loyalty, they are hit their Ruby anniversary a fortnight ago. To celebrate, they are hosting with an unprecedented schedule of 40 ceblebrations through the year to mark their 40 years business which include such fun as…

  • Rescue Swimming Diploma competition for staff
  • Kurumba’s staff “Have For Talent” evening
  • National qualification commences for our Maldivian team
  • Opening of the Kurumba 40th year Museum
  • Inter-island Olympics (fusbal, volleyball, cricket and netball)
  • Maldivian Mothers cooking classes
  • Alternative languages classes round one completion
  • Lunch for employees with 20 years service
  • Kurumba History Coffee Table Book launch
  • Local Children Art Competition
  • Lagoon cleaning
  • Malé history tour
  • 40 Divers on Kurumba house reef
  • Family Day for staff with over 30 years service
  • Staff Anniversary Party
  • History presentation
  • 40th Anniversary Gala Evening

Congratulations and happy festivities!

Kurumba Heritage 2

Snorkel Spotter v1.0

Snorkel Spotter

How about an entirely new form of social media designed just for the Maldives?

Introducing ‘Snorkel Spotter’.

Snorkel Spotter is something I have dreamt of for a long time. It was inspired by my experience at Maldives resorts where snorkelling is so popular and the most common question around the bar at night is ‘what did you see today?’ The question is not just marine curiosity and nor merely making conversation, but it is helpful reconnaissance into where one might decide to snorkel on your next outing.

I often suggested that resorts put up white boards at reception with a map of the island where guests could make a public note of what they had seen that day. Since no one took me up on it, I decided to create a virtual whiteboard. Sort of ‘Foursquare for Fish’ as one digerati put it.

If you want to add some sightings, you simply drag and drop the sea creature you saw from the menu at the left to the place around the island where you spotted it (use ‘Starfish’ for ‘all others’ of anything spotted you want to mention that is not included in the standard menu). A small pop-up will show allowing you to make a comment or add (optional) contact information.

If you want to see some spottings, then select Kurumba or W Retreat where I logged some of the sightings my wife and I made during out visit last summer. Also, a beta tester ‘Aurore’ logged a couple of sightings for Sheraton Full Moon and W Retreat as well.

It’s just version 1.0 so it might not be perfect. I have a number of planned enhancements and suspect that once people start using it, other improvements will become evident. Feel free to contact me with any suggestions or problems.

Happy Snorkeling!

Best of Maldives Online – Twitter Tweets: LUX Maldives

LUX Twitter

The top Tweeter of the Maldives resorts is LUX with 1,665. Unfortunately, it might be just a bit too much noise and I’ve turned off my LUX feed, but if you need a regular drip feed of Tweets from paradise, then LUX Maldives is one to follow (also’s feed – which has secured the coveted ‘Maldives’ tag itself – is very active covering a broad range of bits from across the Maldives).