“Somelier, what do you have with fragrant bouquet, golden colour and smooth texture.”
Nope, not a guest at the Bubble Lounge seeking a tip on some tipple, but rather at Anantara Kihavah olive oil emporium…
“Casual lunches of crisp salads and traditional pastas are served poolside. In the evening the upstairs restaurant transforms into a leisurely Italian delice, offering regional specialties skilfully crafted from traditional ingredients. And expect an Olive Oil Sommelier to explain a selection of olive oil samples with the kind of lexicon usually reserved for wine.”
Their ‘extra virgin’ selection includes…
- Rustichella d'Abruzzo NOVELLO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Italy
- PONS Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Spain
- Dandaragan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Australia
- Vallaurea Ardoino Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Italy
- Coriole Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, South Australia
- Ionis Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic), Greece
- Marmarabirlik Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Turkey
- Terra Rossa Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jordan
- Colonna Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Italy
- Naturbosco Arezzo Black Truffle Oil, Italy
- TartuFlanghe Piedmont White Truffle Oil, Italy
- Mongibello Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic), Italy
And the perfect complement, as well as just as pricey as many bottles of champagne per bottle, gourmet balsamic vinegars…
- La Vecchia Dispensa Balsamic Vinegar 10yr
- Bellei Balsamic Vinegar of Modena 12yr
- Champagne Vinegar
- Cherry Vinegar
- Percheron Cider Vinegar
- Komesu Rice Vinegar
- Raspberry Vinegar
- Red and White Wine Vinegar
At Kihavah, even a simple salad for lunch is an occasion with style and distinction. Even dieting to keep that swimsuit figure doesn’t mean missing out on gourmet delicacy.
If you would rather see tiny bubbles than fish in your glass, then Iru Fushi’s “Bubble Lounge” is your sanctuary…
“A true heaven for Champagne and Sparkling Wine lovers. The perfect environment to relax and savour Champagne and Sparkling wine by the glass or by the bottle coupled with fine hors d’oeuvres. Our bubble lounge is a truly romantic, sensual experience.”
Vintage accompaniments include Salmon tartar with grapefruit ponzu and pop corn dust, fresh oyster with dashi caviar, marinated scallion & mint granite, iced d-tom kah gai, kaffir lime infusion and candied chili, peppered white chocolate and Thai basil Peppered white chocolate coated strawberries.
They also serve other sparkling wines from Spain and Italy and have bottles up to Jeroboam size. The most extravagant bottle of bubble is Louis Roederer Crystal Magnum for $1,950.
You don’t have to be under the ocean to enjoy aquarium views of a tapestry of marine life with the increasingly popular glass floors. Coco Bodu Hithi has added them to their spa rooms to ensure that even face down, the view is as stimulating as their treatments. I’m impressed when spas are attentive enough to such details to provide a bit of a flower arrangement under the treatment table head support. I have even seen spas with glass floors under their tables, but they were just small portals. CBH not only has quite an expansive glass floor (the big spa treatment glass floor that I have come across), but also has etched an enchanting design and added a flowers as well.
Sights, scents and soothing.
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin' for?
Under the sea, Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
– The Little Mermaid
If you want your social functions immersed in water, then Anantara Kihavah are the latest to add an underwater spectacle to their resort.
The biggest of the underwater rooms in the Maldives extends it to more than a meal or treatment. It is being used for dining, dancing, functions like weddings (see picture below) and special events like wine tastings…
“View and savour the Indian Ocean’s abundance of marine life by descending into a connoisseur journey at the underwater restaurant and wine cellar, ‘Sea’, where guests are indulged with exquisite degustation menus or classic creations and tempted by the resident Wine Sommelier’s perfect accompaniments from a vast array of new and old world selections. Oenophiles will delight in the impressive underwater wine cellar, featuring one of the most balanced and diverse wine collections in the Maldives with over 6,500 bottles and 320 labels from 14 countries. 22 labels are available by the glass and regular tasting sessions offer guests a tantalising journey through the vineyards of the world.”
Sort of a new dimension to going ‘down below’ to see the wine cellar and literally taking special occasions to the next ‘level’.
The Chelsea Flower Show has become so big that it has spawned the ‘Chelsea Fringe’ which features some more adventurous and unbounded horticultural initiatives. With similar spirit, Kuramathi has developed its own alternative horticultural innovation with its new hydroponics garden…
“Set in the centre of the island, the Hydroponics Garden is a remarkable facility which caters 70% of fresh salads to the food outlets on the island. The garden which runs by a greenhouse system consisting of 20 greenhouses produces herbs such as coriander, rocket, green basil, mint, purple basil, dill, sage and lemongrass. This efficient and eco-friendly method facilitates rapid harvesting where plants grow within a month’s time. The greenhouses are categorised by type, for instance 15 greenhouses grow lettuce whilst another 5 grow herbs. Richard Brittaine, Resident Horticulturist who leads the Hydroponic Garden says that the system which is wholly dependent on water is supplied with nutrients that make up the solution necessary for the plants to grow, and the water is changed every 2 months. The facility has been running for nearly 18 months and more plants are planned to be introduced over time.”
Other resorts, like Park Hyatt Hadahaa and Filitheyo, have hydroponic garden facilities, but Kuramathi is the most extensive and ambitious that I have come across yet. For more details and pictures, check out their Facebook page.
The sellout Chelsea Flower Show in London started yesterday and tickets are scarcer than some of the prize blossoms trotted out for the horticultural world to admire. Flowers have always been part of the Maldivian paradise spectacle. From lining the flour soft sand paths to arranged in stunning bedtime displays.
Of all of the fabulous flora, only Kanuhura has its very own flower – the ‘Dendrobium Kanuhura’ (yellow and orange) registered orchid developed by Kanuhura nurseries.
And the orchid extravaganza doesn’t stop there. Kanuhura has over 15,000 orchids on the island when they are in season in over 15 colours.
Unlimited sushi buffet just one of the Palm Beach offerings on Full Board
The best board in the Maldives is not Surf boarding, Wake boarding or even Kite Boarding…but Palm Beach’s ‘Full Board’. They offer a ‘Full Board’ which includes more stuff than many All Inclusives. It’s sort of like a ‘dry’ or ‘tee totaller’ All Inclusive as it includes just about everything, but no alcohol. That said, even beer IS included there. Free beer! Nuff said.
I’ve already spoken about their non-stop food schedule (which is all included in the Full Board). Other freebies include..
- Instruction (golf, tennis, squash pros on staff)
- Excursions (snorkel trips twice daily to the house reef, picnic island once each week, fisherman’s local island once each week)
- Equipment (bicycle and the Presidential suite gets their own golf buggy, snorkelling gear)
So what do you actuallty have to pay for?
- Motorized water sports
- Special coffees (cappuccino)
- Wine and cocktails
Kite flying is no longer kids stuff. And today marks the opening of the Kite Surfing World Cup at The Hague. May always has been prime kite flying weather and it’s as good as any time to start learning the sport of kite surfing. As I’ve noted before, the Maldives is starting to establish as strong a wordwide profile for surfing as it has for snorkelling and honeymooning. And if you want to add the kite dimension to your boarding (or the boarding dimension to you kite flying for that matter), then Olhuveli’s Watersport World has established a specialised training facilitiy dedicated to the sport…
“Olhuveli houses the first certified kite surfing school in Maldives with impressive equipment, courses and lessons…The Team: Watersports World is an international certificated watersports school. Enrolled in the VDWS association…The Lagoon: There is a huge sandy bottom lagoon surrounding Olhuveli. That is unique in the Maldives and this is even one of the best watersports area in the world!! The wave point: It takes about 10 minutes by the speed boat from Olhuveli to get to ‘Guraidhoo’. The wave/swell season is from May to October with the South West monsoon wind. This spot is still uncrowded comparing with the North Male Atoll wave spots. Mostly, the waves are only for you! Wave beginners are not recommended.”
As you can see from their commentary, May marks the onset of prime Kite Boarding season in the Maldives as well.
Olhuveli’s equipment includes kites from size 3.5 to 17 from North Kiteboarding (Buzz, Evo, Rhino, Rebel) and Cabrinha Kite (Convert IDS 2009 / Contra 08). Their boards include North Kiteboarding (Phantom 143/154, Gonzales 151) XRide 141/129, Mallory 129, Jaime S, Freestylefish 5’0″, Sumo, M2, and Cabrinha Board (Custom, Imperial).
Surf’s *way* up, up, up…
Happy Mothers Day!
Maldives doesn’t have an official national Mothers Day, but this is the day it is celebrated in neighbouring India as well as the country which started it, USA. A number of the resorts have taken the occasion to honor the maternal guests with special celebrations and well wishes.
In the Lynn household, all Mothers Day celebrations start with a traditional breakfast in bed. But, in our new home of the UK, ‘Mothering Sunday’ is more conventionally celebrated by taking your ‘mum’ out for a Sunday dinner.
If you want to take you mum out to breakfast, then Waldforf Astoria Maldives is the place to book. This is an ambitious category to award a best of. The 5-star kitchens across the Maldives are of exceptional quality, they just seem to get higher and higher gourmet standard, and breakfast is a big deal at most resorts with extravagant buffets. There may be other breakfast menus as good as the Waldorf’s, but I cannot imagine what one would do to surpass it. I’m a bit of a breakfast connoisseur (one of my entrepreneurial fantasies is to open a restaurant that serves breakfasts from all over the world). All set on their over-water restaurant facing the sunrise. Here’s a sample of the daybreak delicacies on offer…
- Lobster Omelette ($19)
- Foie Gras on Toasted Brioche with Vanilla-Pear Chutney ($24)
- Eggs Benedict with Truffle ($18)
- Scrambled Eggs with Caviar ($17)
Sure beats Corn Flakes!
For an even closer investigation into reef life, state-of-the-art ‘fluro-diving’ has come to the Maldives.
Night dives shed a whole new light (or lack thereof) on the undersea world. Night dives never had much appeal to me because it seems to defeat the purpose of ‘seeing’ the underwater world. I always figured I could turn off all the lights in my bathroom, fill the tub and breathe through my snorkel and get pretty close to the same experience. But my more advanced diving buddy, Lori, assures me that night dives are so much more. A whole new world reveals itself in the dark hours many of which have their own tantilising illumination which you can only appreciate in the pitch black.
The Prodivers team at Kuredu, Komandoo and Vakarufalhi have taken this night time spectacle a step further by introducing ‘Fluro-diving’ to the Maldives…
“The Prodivers team, always on the lookout for new diving experiences, have launched yet another spectacular and unique underwater adventure! To boost our divers’ enjoyment and appreciation of the reef, we’ve recently introduced fluoro-diving! After exploring the trippy phenomenon and discovering which sites around Kuredu are the best to be dived with the newly acquired NightSea fluoro-sets, the well-kept secret of fluorescence night diving is now available to our divers. Experienced divers, not afraid of spooky, low-light conditions, can now intensify their night diving and sneak peek at the reef to find crazy green bubble anemones, burning red feather stars, freaky blue shrimps, brightly red scorpion fish, green glowing brain and mushroom corals and glowing green lizard fish. Fluorescent diving has so far been revealed only by 6 dive centers in the world. The Prodivers team are overwhelmed by seeing the reef in a new light, and as there is so much more to discover – don’t hesitate to join us!”
The whole concept smacks of underwater Crime Scene Investigation. Perhaps they should do an episode of ’CSI: Maldives’.