The festival of entertainment in the Maldives is without question Club Med Kani. This ambience stems from the very ethos of the global parent company renowned for fostering the “never a dull moment” approach. Some feel that sentiment is a bit much for them in general and a bit out of place in the indolent Maldives, but others love the programmes the counterbalance the “boredom” of tropical torpor and confined geography. Not only does the resort run amusing activities throughout the day, but they also have full scale entertainment productions at 9:30 pm every night. During the toasty days, the stage seems to shift to the main pool where I have (a) never seen so many people in the pool I the Maldives, and (b) never seen them so active as I have at Kani (like the pool disco above). Of course, like the summer festivals on right now, you always have the option to snooze the day away as well. And you don’t have to worry about you tent being stolen.
Festival season has begun with Glastonbury kicking off this week. But in the Maldives the festivals are even wetter than the infamous British versions, and instead of willies, snorkel and fins are more de rigeur. And the ‘big acts’ aren’t aging rockers, but prehistoric monsters! A big shout out to Conrad Maldives Rangali for their gala “Maldivian Whale Shark Festival” which takes to the stage today drawing people from all over the Maldives and the world…
“The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) in association with Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will launch the first Maldivian Whale Shark Festival in South Ari atoll on 29th June 2013. This one-day festival has been created to highlight the potential cooperative initiatives between resorts and local island communities while providing a positive platform from which to raise awareness of this magnificent species….Activities include whale shark excursions, an ecological treasure hunt, cultural demonstrations, guest presentations about whale sharks and coral reef ecology, participatory performance art coordinated by London based arts company Emergency Exit Arts and of course traditional bodu beru music and Maldivian food. Guests from surrounding resorts and local islands are invited to join the day of whale shark related festivities on Dhigurah Island in South Ari atoll.”
The youngsters at This Wimbledon are pushing the old guard out of the way (a record number of retirements, veteran upsets in early rounds). And one resort keen to aid the youngest tennis generation is LUX Maldives with its ‘Teddy Tennis’ programme…
“Aimed at children aged three to eight, Teddy Tennis combines music, pictures and teddy bear stories to make a child’s first experience of tennis fun and rewarding…Children are introduced to the programme via the story book, ‘Danny Bear joins the Teddy Tennis Academy’, which includes stories that encourage good practices such as eating healthy foods and exercising. A host of Bear characters, such as Molly (who likes to volley) and Boris (who loves to bounce) are used to demonstrate basic tennis movements. Music is used to emphasize the rhythm of the moves. Children then copy the moves on court helped by Head Ted – the tennis coach. Teddy Tennis is a very structured programme, with three core components: Play Sessions, Activities and Music. Children are divided into two age groups: 3 to 5 1/2 (Danny Bear) and 5 ½ to 8 (Johnny Mac Bear). Teddy Tennis Play Sessions are carefully devised to take account of differences in the age, ability and experience of the children involved. Teddy Tennis Music has been specifically created to provide the right rhythm and timing to play each game or activity. Teddy Tennis Activities – over 50 in total – focus on three areas of skill development: Movement Skills, Ball Skills and Racquet Skills.”
The Grand Slam hits its apogee this week with the start of the Wimbledon Championships. In fact, the opening session had a distinctly Maldivian touch as the headline for the day was “Stunned Nadal Mauled by Shark” (reference to unseeded victor Steve Darcis’ love of fish complete with tattoos).
Distinquished by its old school grass courts, I have often wondered why a Maldives resort hasn’t added such a posh surface to its resort. But a few top seeds do have a distinctive court surface that is a step in the right direction – astro turf.
The turf has a number of advantages…
- Softer so easier on the pounding of legs.
- Cooler than asphalt or cement which absorbs and holds the tropical heat more intensely.
- Prettier with a gentle texture and colour.
The elite astro-trio astro-trio includes
- Conrad Rangali (photo above)
- Gili Lankanfushi (photo below)
- Zitahli Kudafunafaru
I had to go to a Hawkeye like line judge to figure out the winner. All are floodlit for evening playing. Gili took the first point with the pristine condition of the court which impressed me when I visited it. But Conrad Rangali came back to take the set and match by having a tennis instructor on staff (see picture at bottom) who provides lessons for less than half the price of Gili (and the instructor has to be arranged).
It’s a bulb, it’s ablaze, it’s Super Moon.
The Maldives are renowned for being one of the top worldwide destinations for ‘Honeymoons’ so named for that time when love is sweetest. The “Super Moon” is more famous for fertility. Though recent scientific evidence has debunked that traditional belief, what science does confirm is that the moon is bigger (14%) and brighter (30%) than usual. This shift is due to the Moon’s elliptical orbit which just happens to hit its closest point to the Earth this Sunday.
Sounds romantic enough for me.
The Summer Solstice brings us the sweet longest day of the year today. And in the Maldives, if not the world, the longest suite of all is the Gili Lankanfushi Private Reserve at a whopping 76 metres.
The Private Reserve is also long on its own distinctions.
- Largest – Not just the longest, but the largest water villa in all of the Maldives (1,400 square metres)
- Long Stays
- Longest Glass Floor (see below)
- Largest Bathroom – the 100 square meter bathroom is larger than over a quarter of the entire villas in the Maldives
A water suite of Stonehenge proportions.
Happy Fathers Day!
Perfect gift for Dad is a good gadget. But instead of getting another electric cheese straightener that will just end up in the garage, how about a “Coralbot”? Or at least a donation in his name to research project developing them – “Coralbots: Restoring and Conserving Coral Reefs with Robots” (thanks Eileen)
The initial trials are in Belize, which according to my research is the second best place in the world for snorkelling (similar shallow lagoon coral atoll topology to Maldives, but less extensive than Maldives). But hopefully the findings will be of benefit to all places in the world with stunning yet stressed reefs like the Maldives.
Restore-trooper, these are the droids you are looking for!
Happy (or should I say “Yummy”) Lobster Day!
Lobster dinners are becoming as much table stakes for the ever more luxurious Maldives as hot stone massages and artistic water features.
So much so that I have added a “Lobster” tag to the blog. And I have not been shy to sample the many crustacean cuisines as I am a serious aficionado. I grew up in New England with many summer trips to Maine. Maine lobster is still the worldwide gold standard for sweetness and tenderness so I have been spoiled by the best. Lobster bisque is my favourite starter by far and I will always order it out of principle if it is on the menu (I prefer the lighter cognac-cut style to the heavy creamy version).
We will also venture to some of the more renowned lobster establishments when in the vicinity. The high bar there is definitely the House of Elliott in Ghent, Belgium (a stunning creation of lobster cooked 6 ways in an artistically quirky setting by the Lys River). Mirihi provides a lobster experience that rivals it. Also waterside (or ‘water-over’) at its Murka restaurant, coincidentally both Muraka and House of Elliott had two of our most memorable bread accompaniments (House of Elliot cooked their fresh loaves in little flower pots). Muraka’s lobster in champagne and truffle sauce was prepared to near perfection.
The lobster distinction goes deep at Mirihi. From over water restaurant to underwater dive/snorkel sight. Mihiri features its own “Lobster Cave” widely regarded as one of the most striking places to see lobsters around. As Spammie reviews in her TripAdvisor Maldives Forum post…
“Mirihi corner is a named dive spot…yes it is at the far end of the reef , marked by an awesome wall and a lobster cave in just under 30 meters. as a (very) experienced diver, you can dive inside .. in pairs or max 3 people at a time and see lots of lobsters hanging out on shelf formations inside. very very amazing. the tricky part is to make it through a tight little tunnel single file without ruining visibility by finning up sediment.. it takes a little nerve and very calm fins. not for newbies or the faint of heart but worth it.”
The reflecting pool. The increasingly prevalent third ‘water’ feature on a Maldives resort (after the swimming pool and, of course, the ocean). Very often these artistic aquatic creations are found at receptions of the resort and the spa. Sun Island’s Araamu Spa has a water feature as extensive as its treatment list. Many water features around the Maldives are simply the water and some add a few reef fish, but Araamu’s is a classic gold fish pond packed with colourful fish throughout. A glimmering land lagoon!
For those who missed out on a draw in the Water Polo World League starting this week and want to soothe their disappointment in tropical paradise, then Olhuveli offers regular water polo matches in its pool.
Vilamendhoo used to have it in the lagoon which sounds great and reminds me of some Italian seaside towns which hold water polo matches in the seaside harbours (but they have not had matches for a while now).