Best of the Maldives: Sari Hire – Nika

Nika sari hire


If Black Friday or your trip of a lifetime has depleted your bank account so you have to watch what you buy, then you might consider renting your outfit. Especially, if it is a very elegant piece of couture. Like its neighbour Gangehi, Nika’s main shop also offers a range of clothing complete with custom tailoring. But it also offers a range of saris for wedding hire. So you can have the most ravishing piece without the expensive or having to cram it into your suitcase.

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Gourmet – Kurumba

Kurumba Maldivian rolls

Happy Thanksgiving!  A time for friends and “homecoming”. For us, Kurumba is almost like our Maldivian home. We have been there the most times and GM Jason and his wife Victoria (see below) have become lovely friends.

And like most American celebrations, today’s traditional turkey day is a time for eating. A feast of native delicacies. And Kurumba is certainly the standout out there with their cornucopian array of Maldivian gourmet dishes….

  • Indian Ocean Island Colada with screw pine, cinnamon and other spices of the area (see below)
  • Maldivian Rolls (see above)
  • Screw Pine Alaska Bomb (see bottom)
  • Maldivian salad (cabbage like vegetable)

Screw pine is literally part of the Maldives landscape, but it can also be used for food. Being a tree, it needs to be peeled and then boiled for 3 hours. Kurumba chefs use the pulp for the bombe and the juice used for cocktail.

Pilgrims in Paradise!

Kurumba - screwpine cocktail

Kurumba - Maldivian ice cream

Best of the Maldives: Horticultural Service – One & Only Reethi Rah

palm tree moving


Orthogonal, inverted or just in the way, One and Only Reethi Rah will make adjustments to ensure that your view of the sunset is just perfect. They will even change the landscape. Reethi actually moved a palm tree for a guest who found it obstructing his view. The resort regularly move trees on island as they actively cultivate the lush flora so they had the means to do it.

At first blush, it seems quite decadent (well, at second and third blush too), but I can empathise. One of my pet peeves is when dining areas are obstructed by foliage especially when they are relatively close to the water. I am as big a fan of nature as the next person, but if I am sitting close enough to the ocean to hear its mini-Maldivian waves tickling the shoreline, I would like to be able glance over my fish curry to have an admiring glance at it. And I can never figure out why such resorts don’t clear the foliage to enhance the diners’ views. But Reethi will enhance just about anything in any way to get it just right.

(picture above not from Reethi though)

Best of the Maldives: Natural Arch – White Shell Beach Inn Maafushi

White Shell Beach Inn Maafushi tree arch

This weekend was a chance to catch up on some updates to the website including the addition of new property, White Shell Beach Inn Maafushi. I came upon it after finding this great picture of a “climbing tree” that has gone completely horizontal creating its own unique arch canopy.

White Sheel Beach Inn is really classified as a guest house and I have made a concerted decisions not to focus on guest houses. I have never stayed in one and so I’m don’t feel qualified to comment on what makes for a good experience, what sort of things should people be looking for, etc. As it happens, it is located on Maafushi island which has more guest houses than any other Maldives islands (a distinction in itself).

There is a big call for budget options especially close to Male (for limited duration trips and to avoid high transfer costs). White Shell Beach Inn has a good website and quite a good property so I decided to add it to the database as a further step to even more completeness.

Best of the Maldives: Banyan Copse – Nika

Nika banyan


Banyan Trees are one of the enchanting tropical natives of the Maldives. Every resort has a monstrosity of a towering ancient specimen that they are proud to show off. Nika’s own Banyan highlight is more of a Banyan copse. Four Banyan giants that have intertwined to become one. The resort celebrates the space with a mystical yoga area set up directly under their canopy. But perhaps most distinctive is the resort name itself, “Nika”, which is the Maldivian word for “Banyan Tree”.

Best of the Maldives: Climbing Trees– Vilamendhoo

Vilamendhoo climbing tree

For a more natural hang-out over water, take stroll down “Climbing Tree Alley” at Vilamendhoo. The nearly horizontal palm trees are nearly as iconic a shot of paradise as the sunsets and the turquoise lagoons. The palms start to grow this way by the water’s edge when erosion undermines the stability of their root system and on the water’s side and the start to gently tilt and eventually grow in that direction. You will find such orthogonal specimens across the Maldives, but Vilamendhoo has a particularly extended stretch of them along the northeast side which they have named after many people’s favourite activity on these arboreal jungle gyms.

Vilamendhoo climbing tree 2

Best of the Maldives: Bridges – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah bridge

Bridges are often icons of the places they join together. The Golden Gate. The Brooklyn Bridge. Today is the anniversary of the Budapest Bridge which has a personal connection to me as its miniature cousin graces the banks of the Thames in my hometown of Marlow.

Most cities are situated on some body of water, a river or a harbour, due to a heritage of waterway commerce. And yet with all of the water surrounding the Maldives, I had never come across a bridge until One and Only Reethi Rah. They actually have two. You can see the second one in the distance in the photo above. It is a charming Kodak moment spot with distinctive vistas in both directions.

Bridges also have their own romance about them. Pont des Arts in Paris started the now worldwide trend of “Locks of Love” where lovers attach locks and throw the key into the river. The Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, Iran is a famous as a lovers tryst as it is elegantly captivating.

Reethi is sort of a Rialto Bridge for Venice of the tropics.

One and Only Reethi Rah bridge stream

Best of the Maldives: Suite Toilet – Constance Halaveli

Constance Halaveli Toto toilet

Not only can you find a “Best of…” for just about anything in the Maldives these days, you can also find a declared “Day of…” just about anything as well. And today is “World Toilet Day”. Declared by the UN no less (with the very credible objective of raising awareness of sanitation issues in less developed areas of the world).

Constance Halaveli celebrates the pinnacle of hygiene convenience and technology with the latest Toto Neorest model featured in its Presidential Beach Villa. No spouse arguments over leaving the seat up as it automatically raises and lowers the seat for you. And I guess you can get a more aptly labelled gadget button than “Rear Cleaning” (see below).


Constance Halaveli Toto toilet 2

Best of the Maldives: 3D TV– Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo house reef



If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Videos are surging in on the web in general and in particular to try to capture the magic of the Maldives in even higher fidelity. I

Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo has taken cinematic illustration to the next dimension. The third dimension of 3D TV in its dive centre with stereoscopic footage taken of the house reef. Just need to get some footage of a shark coming straight out of the screen at you for a bit of hair raising fun.