Best of the Maldives: Bunnies – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi bunny

Maybe another title for this post is ‘Best for Easter’. Actually, Soneva Fushi isn’t the only resort with free roaming rabbits. Kuredu also has rabbits, but Soneva is really the most famous. Only for Soneva Fushi has several folks who have been there have talked to me about the rabbits. They even feature the bunnies on their website (see photo above)…

“Every visit makes you feel like a child again. Cycling round the island, never knowing when you might have to swerve to avoid bunny rabbits or lizard…Nesting turtles and bunny rabbits co-habiting happily on a jewel of emerald green in a vast ocean of turquoise.”

There are also lots of accounts in places like TripAdvisor (“rabbits that are everywhere”) and YouTube (see below).

Happy Easter!

Soneva Fushi - rabbit video

Best of the Maldives: Staff Community – Rihiveli

Rihiveliu staff quarters

From a vibrant online ‘tribe’ to one of the most distinctive resort communities – Rihiveli Beach. Another gem from Francisco (from the same email as the sandbank) also highlights the spirit of openness. In this case, the Rihiveli staff quarters.

“Staff quarters are open to the guests and make a sort of real maldivian villages (only men though) that you can actually go to and interact with the maldivian staff. Like having a local island visit on your resort island.”

We do enjoy the abundant hospitality that flows effortlessly from the Maldivian staff who work tirelessly to make our visits memorable and flawless. We enjoy our chats with them to appreciate more about their lives and their community. Rihiveli’s approach of opening up their quarters would seem to make a subtle but significant difference to the resort ambience where everyone on the island is together.

Best of the Maldives: Seth Godin – Mirihi

Mirihi - purple cow

Seth-urday today.

Probably one of the more bizarre Best Of’s I have come up with. The Best for Seth Godin.

Seth Godin is one of my favourite writers and one of the world’s top marketing maven’s. In many respects, his perspectives on marketing served to inspire much of Maldives Complete. He has written 11 books, a daily blog post and countless articles, presentations and ‘projects’. Most of his work revolves around the notion of finding and embracing your ‘raging fans’ (aka ‘tribes’). And while I have come upon passionate followings for a number of islands (Athuruga, Biyadhoo and Kuradu come to mind) none seem to be quite so fervid as Mirihi.

Furthermore, Mirihi operates and does a number of things straight from many a Godin books that reinforce and foster this fandom.

  • Purple Cows – The Maldives itself is a ‘purple cow’. Something truly ‘remarkable’ in all senses of the word especially in the ‘remarks’ that it inspires from people lucky enough to visit. In the 100+ strong herd of purple cows that is this archipelago paradise, it becomes a bold challenge to stand out even further. Mirihi has achieved it not with big, flashy ‘wow’ features (like underwater restaurants), but with a subtle combination of distinctive characteristics. It is more like a masterful blended whiskey capturing the ‘spirit’ of the Maldives than a single malt that stands out with a particular feature. Even Mirihi’s tag line reflects this individualised distinction – ‘Mirihi, a unique as you’. Though, I have to confess, it would have been fun if ‘Moo-fushi’ was my pick for ‘best purple cow’.
  • Firing Customers – By obsessively catering to your raging fans, Godin talks about ‘firing customers’. It would seem anathema to some businesses to explicitly turn away any business, but the point is that trying to be all things to all people simply turns away even more implicitly. For example, Mirihi ‘fires’ people wedded to poolside entertainment or their fix of television by having neither pool nor TVs on the resort. It harkens to my common refrain to my most common question posed to me, “What is the best resort?” I always respond, “There is no ‘best resort’, just the ‘best resort for you’.” Mirihi doesn’t try to be everything to everybody. It knows what it is and sticks true to that sense in both its operation and marketing.
  • Online – Godin is one of first and most prominent marketing authors to appreciate the power of the web for bringing together ‘tribes’ of enthusiastic customers. Not just bring the customers to the company, but bringing the customers together. For Mirihi aficionados, the place of congregation is the Trip Advisor Maldives Forum where Mirihi is often cited as a top choice among the aficionados.

Regional Weather Update

North Maldives precipitation

 

Today’s Spring Solstice is a traditional turning point to the seasons marking the shift to warmer days in the Northern Hemisphere. In the equatorial Maldives, seasonal shifts are marked more by the change of prevailing winds (especially since the angle of inclination doesn’t change much by definition at that latitude). These shifts typically happen in May and October. But, like this persistent UK winter which is bring us snow well into April it seems, ‘your mileage may vary’.

One of my earliest and most frequented posts is ‘Air and Water Temperature’ which provides a month by month guide of key weather indicators (eg. inches of rainfall, hours of sunshine, air temperature, water temperature). But with the weather such a central part of the Maldives draw (“The Sunny Side of Life” tagline), prospective visitors get even more meticulous in their climatic research. While island by island stats are not available (some people do ask how the weather differs on one island compared to another one a few miles away), there are some web resources which can provide a bit more detail.

The Maldives official government weather website also goes down to the detail of 5 atolls (Weather.com has 4 but omits Hanimaadhoo) –

  • Male (Male atolls in center)
  • Kaadedhdhoo (Gaafu Dhaalun in far south)
  • Kadhdhoo (Thaa atoll in south)
  • Hanimaadhoo (Haa Dhaalu atoll in far north)
  • Gan (Laamu atoll in south)

Thanks to some diligent work by TripAdvisor contributor Maria Eugene, you can get precipitation stats by month for the North, Central and South regions of the Maldives. The biggest difference is looking at the ‘rainy’ seasons (the periods when the prevailing winds shift) which peak around June and November. The designation of ‘rainy’ season is purely relative as I have often explained. We have visited the Maldives in the peak of the ‘rainy’ season and still experienced more sunshine than we would see in an entire English summer (yes, faint praise I know). The key regional variations seem to be around these ‘spikes’ and the father north you get, the more statistical rainfall one seems to get (about 580mm in November at north compared to 400mm in south). Again, these are just averages and statistics and your mileage is likely to vary. Remember the gods of weather are mercurial croupiers with perverse and volatile senses of humour.

Flat Empty Water

XKCD flat empty water

 

 

Red Nose Day today. No, not a rash of under-applied zinc-oxide, but the UK’s day for goofing around for charity. I love the XKCD cartoon and it’s ‘deeper’ message about how much richness is below the surface. An apt metaphor for the always adventuresome and somewhat mysterious paradise of the Maldivies.

In the spirit of the day, I will donate a £1 for every comment to today’s post that provides something missing from the cartoon above if it were a Maldivian island.

Best of the Maldives: Women’s Art – Maafushivari

Maafushivaru eyes 2

 

 

Celebrating International Women’s Day today is probably the most subtle yet dramatic piece in the Maldives honoring women – ‘Maafushivaru Eyes”. The piece at the eponymous Maafushivaru resort is a sort of wall sculpture carved into the wall by the restaurant. It features two eyes with flowing lines off to the right (see above). Also the adjacent reflecting pool and jetty were designed to reflect other aspects of the feminine aesthetic.

The creative and inspired installation evokes a piece of art specifically commissioned for International Women’s Day a couple years back – “Dhaalu Girl”. Showcased in the “Cool Women” film project, also done to honour International Women’s Day, the piece was painted by the exquisitely talented Aemii Musko. So impressed by this young Maldivian artist and her depiction of the feminine charm and power of the ocean, I purchased the piece and it hangs proudly in home now.

Here’s to the power and creativity of women around the world.

 

Maafushivaru eyes

Maldives Snorkelling Book Day

Tim Godfrey Dive Maldives 2   Dive Maldives Sam Harwood   Diving and Snorkeling Maldives Lonely Planet

World Book Day! An apropos time to showcase the top books on snorkelling (and diving) in the Maldives. There are 3 main books on snorkelling (and diving) in the Maldives…

  • Dive Maldives by Tim Godfrey – The original. More focused on scuba diving, but it does highlight which sites are great for snorkelling too.
  • Complete Guide to Diving and Snorkeling the Maldives by Sam Harwood and Rob Bryning – No dive charts like Godfrey features, but Harwood and Bryning do have more information specifically on snorkelling. For example, for every site they indicate not just a star-rating for diving, but also one for snorkelling.
  • Diving & Snorkeling Maldives by Lonely Planet – A relatively recent find, though also out of print. Thinner and less comprehensive that the other two, but a handy guide for the most prominent sites.

All three cover the atolls with the most resorts…

  • North and South Male
  • Ari
  • Felidhoo
  • Lhaviyani
  • Seenu
  • Baa

Lonely Planet and Harwood/Bryning also both cover…

  • Dhaalu
  • Faafu
  • Raa
  • Meemu

But only Harwood/Bryning cover the following atolls…

  • Thaa
  • Kaamu
  • Gaafu (Alifu amd Dhaalu)
  • Noomu
  • Shaviyani

Best of the Maldives: Accessible Sand Bank – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu sandbank

 

When I need to describe the Maldives to people unfamiliar with them, I say “You know those pictures of a deserted tropical island of a plot of sand in the ocean with a palm tree in the middle?…that’s the Maldives.” But, the even more secluded, minimalist isolation comes from such plots…sans palm trees. The sandbanks.

The ultimate on open space bounty comes courtesy of Francisco Negrin, one of most helpful correspondents, who recently returned from Six Senses Laamu

“A real, and beautiful sand bank with maafushivaru type sand as per your description and a stunning reef around it. And you can swim or kayak to it from the main island in just a few minutes. No need of a boat , no sea planes landing next to it etc etc.. And you can book it to have it to yourself too.”

Discovery of a treasured isle…in Laamu’s aquatic backyard.

 

Best of the Maldives: Open Spaces – Equator Village

Equator Village - Gan

 

If you get geographically claustrophobia, then you can still enjoy the tropical splendour of the Maldives on the more substantial plot of land, Gan. Covering 1500 hectares, it provides expansive open spaces rare in the Maldives. Big enough for an airfield which stretches from one end to another. And an old, disused golf course (built by the RAF airmen stationed there).

Not only is Gan substantial, but it is connected to a string of islands Feydu and Hittadu. The resident resort there is Equator Village. As a result, it 'open' in another way by being also the one resort located on an island where other non-staff Maldivians reside.  So it is truly open to Maldivian life not just landscape.

Best of the Maldives: Open Room – Conrad Maldives Rangali

Conrad Rangali open room

 

 

“Conrad beach rooms open on all four sides. What a difference to a/c. The outside comes in. Lovely sleep under the silent fan.”

A pavilion in your villa. The weather and surrounding are so idyllic and perfect that the biggest downside to a villa is having to go into it. The best villas provide lots of ways for you to remain connected to the natural splendour through decks, outdoor showers and bathrooms as well as a design of windows and vistas.

(Thanks Adrian)