The tour is done. Thankfully, we returned to England just in time a break in the 4 month downpour. The 27 degree, sunny days made the return transition less jarring. I’ve shared my daily initial impressions, and over the next week I will share in tour order some of my favourite ‘Best of the Maldives’ features that I uncovered. Not necessarily the biggest or most impressive ones, but ones that caught my fancy. Before then, here are some parting overall reflections on the Maldives after our stay.
- Flights to Premium – The inexorable tide of stronger and stronger quality remains as unabated. It’s not just the refurbs that turn tired fun-in-sun style holiday resorts into showcase luxury experiences. Even the value resorts and 4-star properties are raising their game with slicker looks and offerings.
- Shifting Bests – As the resorts constantly invest in new and better, I realised more this trip the need to revisit some of the ‘Best of the Maldives’ pieces that are now going on an eternity ago
- Ambient Music – Finally, the majority of resorts we visited seem to have shifted their music selection in the bars and lounges to more appropriately relaxing playlists of gentle acoustic tracks (sometimes taken from the spa music library) or something like a soft jazz instead of the tiresome top 40 pop selections that have prevailed in the past.
Weather – Another visit during the ‘monsoon’ season. The only two times that we felt the ‘monsoon’ (ie. bucketing down rain and very windy) was (a) while we were snorkelling at Vakarufalhi (underwater everything was fine), and (b) returning from our whale shark excursion (and we were all laughing at the dhoni wrestling with the bumpy seas). There were a few other passing Winnie the Pooh-esque ‘little black rain clouds’ who let loose a couple drops, but we barely felt them. The other dimension to ‘monsoon’ season is the breeze. Throughout the week there was near constant breeze. While this reduced the calmness of the water and the visibility underneath it (stirring up more sand than usual), Lori savoured the fresh breezes.
‘Best of Tour’ – maybe not ‘Best of the Maldives’, but a distinctive highlights to the tour trip…
- Gili – Lunch: tempura reef fish, seafood bisque
- Paradise Island – Nature interaction: Bats, birds (that land on your arm), a good snorkel meant we were doing our Dr. Doolittle thing for most of the stay.
- Lily Beach – Coral: Dense tapestry of vibrancy and colour
- Vilamendhoo – Dessert: German Chocolate Cake. Very hard for resorts to get puddings right and baked goods never seem particularly fresh or more-ish, but this cake was an exception.
- Maafushivaru – Tiny Size: We love the small island feel and Maafushi had the smallest
- Vakarufalhi – Snorkel: Complements of and compliments to effervescent marine biologist tour guide Tania.
- Mirihi – Dinner: Lobster with Champagne and Truffle sauce.
- LUX* Maldives – Special touches: My obsession, LUX* Maldives’ promise, and they delivered.
- Sun Island – Shark feeding: I’m still of mixed mind of this controversial practice, but the event was quite impressive.
- Holiday Island – Value: Hope for the average tourist to experience paradise without winning the lottery.
Results – Overall, I came back with…
- New Best Of Candidates –96
- Other Blog Pieces – 11
- Room Type Photos – 82
I made more friends and supporters, and gathered more insights and data for the database. But best of all was a first hand perspectives on 10 more wonderful Maldivian resorts so I could talk about them with more authority and perspective.