Best of the Maldives: Bubble Blowing – LUX Maldives

LUX Maldives bubble blowing

Today is Domink’s day…Guinness World Record Day.

“I once tested the count of bubbles on one breath. I ended up with 42. Since the Guinness world record is stated to be 18 I guess I should submit a video to them.”

Dominik Ruhl, GM of LUX* Maldives, doesn’t (yet) have a video of 42, but he does have this quite impressive YouTube clip of an extra big one (see above). Dominik has the special advantage of his freediving mastery which is primarily focused on breath control.

The dive master at Bathala did an impressive air bubble when we were diving the house reef with him, but that was with a scuba tank for air.

Dominik might not have the official Guinness record (yet), but as far as documented bubble blowing, he seems to be the best of the Maldives at least.

Best of the Maldives: Tailoring – Gangehi

Gangehi tailoring

One of the traditional gifts for an 8th anniversary is linen. And another Maldives modelling gig for Lori (see below).

Lori had been looking for some more warm weather dresses, but has struggled to find styles she likes that fit her the way she wants. When we arrived at Gangehi we met Kumareshan at the gift shop who offers a complete dress making service. This seemed like a fine solution, but with our short stay, we only had a few hours until departure. Not a problem, Kumareshan took the measurements and had the dress ready for us while we ate lunch. And at a relative snip for 95 euros.

Gangehi tailor 2

Gangehi dress

Failure in Paradise

404 page

Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of my first blog which sort of started it all. On the topics of “Leadership and Management” and “Embracing Failure” (both linked by the shared theme of risk attitudes), it pre-dated my Maldives Complete launch by just over 3 years and helped me to get a handle on the medium before immersing it with Maldives material.

One of the messages to “Embracing Failure” is about not avoiding problems, but looking at them as opportunities. One example that I have written about it creative twists on “404 Pages”, aka error pages on websites. Usually, one gets a pedestrian message like this – “The URL contains a typographical error. A custom filter or module, such as URLScan, restricts access to the file. Things you can try: Create the content on the Web server, etc…”).

But website owners are able to set an alternative default page to display when errors are hit. I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase yet another Sakis master shot and provide a bit more of an topical if not tropical message.

I hope I can keep Maldives Complete running so smoothly that you never hit the 404 page, so I thought I would share it here (also, wait a second with the speakers on).

7 Things to do Under the Sea in the Maldives without Getting Wet

Buzzfeed is the latest Internet frenzy and I admit that I have subscribed to their daily feed of wacky lists and other esoterica. ‘Top X lists’ have always been a hit on the Internet but Buzzfeed have really perfected the craft. I’m in fact working on an e-book titled “The Best of the Maldives” which features a collection of “Top Ten” lists for a broad assortment of categories drawn from the “Best of the Maldives” oeuvre. But for now, I thought I would take a bit of Buzzfeed inspiration for one of my own lists narrated by everyone’s favourite crustacean, Sebastian

“Under the sea / Under the sea / Darling it’s better / Down where it’s wetter” – Little Mermaid

1. Guess who’s gon’ be on the plate

Conrad Hilton Rangali Maldives Restaurant

The first and still the most spectacular under da sea Maldives feature with its 180 degree all glass surround, Conrad Rangali Maldives’ Ithaa restaurant was the pioneer which started it all. Now the tables are turned with the fish looking in at the diners ensconced in their aquarium.

2. You dream about going up there

Rangali underwater bedroom

Conrad Rangali didn’t stop at dinner. A few years on, they realized that they could double their utilization of this amazing space by clearing out the dining tables and moving in a bed. Unfortunately, the logistics got too demanding and they have since ceased this offer.

3. Life is the bubbles

Huvafenfushi Underwater Lime Spa

You can lie down and relax (and if you are like me, doze a bit) at Huvafenfushi’s underwater spa. Fish pedicures are not on the menu.

4. An’ oh that blowfish blow

Niyama Deep Six club

NIYAMA’sDeep Six” lounge turns into a nightclub. Have yours with a splash.

5. Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter

Anantara Kihavah underwater wedding

Anantara Kihavah Villa’s underwater function room is used for weddings and other special events like wine tastings from its 6,500 bottle wine cellar. Cheers!

6. Just look at the world around you

Hurawalhi has added it’s own larger grander life aquatic eaterie which is the biggest in the world.

7. The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake

Dutch Docklands underwater golf course concept

What more could you do? What could the future hold? The firm Dutch Docklands created concepts for a underwater linked links. Should help to find your ball in the water hazard. Wait, the entire golf course is a water hazard.

Under the sea
Under the sea
Since life is sweet here
We got the beat here

Maldives, The Best Of…

What Each Country Leads the World In

All of these “Best OF the Maldives”, what about the country itself. What about “The Maldives, Best of”? Can such a tiny country stand out as #1 in the world in any category?

Republic Day in the Maldives today with many patriotic points of pride to celebrate. The second round of elections has proceeded peacefully according to reports. And the country can point to many areas which despite it’s small stature on the map, where it commands a big standing on a few statistics.

Recently, Dog House Diaries created a fun infographic highlighting two things that every country on the planet led the world in. Unfortunately, the Maldives were woefully omitted. So being the master of what “best” about the Maldives, I thought I best do some research a lay down some markers.

  • LOWEST LYING – Renowned as a climate change campaigner for years with the threat of rising ocean levels hitting the lowest lying parts of the world first. And according to Wikipedia, the Maldives is #1 on that list: “Maldives is the lowest country in the world, with a maximum natural ground level of only 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in), with the average being only 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, although in areas where construction exists, this has been increased to several metres. However, more than 80 per cent of the country’s land is composed of coral islands that rise less than one metre above sea level.”
  • SKINNIEST – The islands form a narrow chain 820 kilometers (510 miles) in length and 130 kilometers (81 miles).  Length to width ratio of 6.3.  But Chile, the ostensible skinny champion, averages 110 miles wide across 2,653 miles of length for a ratio of 24.1.  But, if you include Easter Island (and why not since Maldives includes islands!), then the width of Chile extends to 2,292 miles which changes the ratio to a mere 1.2.
  • RESORT DENSITY – And of course, the ubiquitous resorts. There is a resort for every 2400 population in the Maldives (137 resorts active or inactive) not counting hotels and guest houses for 317,000 population). By contrast, the USA has 46,295 hotels/accommodation (NAICS code 721110) for 313.9m population. Only a fraction of these would be “resorts” and still this only comes out to 1 per 6823 of population. Another resort intensive country, Bali, has 830 resorts, but their population is 4.3m making 1 resort for about every 5000 population.

I thought that there might be a case for the “Least Landed” with only 300 square kilometres spread over 900,000 square kilometres of country boundary in the ocean. But it turns out that Tuvalu (in Polynesia) has only 26 square kilometres across an nearly identical expanse of ocean. Similarly, Tuvalu’s 11,000 inhabitants, compared to about 317,000 in the Maldives, make them also the least densely populated (when ocean area is considered).

So my nomination for Dog House Diaries Maldives entry would be “Sea-level Resorts

Best of the Maldives: Burkini – Kurumba

Kurumba burquini


The native Maldives and Islamic traditions are famously much more discreet in their female fashions. Such sartorial covering is fine but the extra garments can be a hindrance swimming in the water. Hence the “burkini”. A swimming costume designed to provide the modesty of a “burqa” with the fabric and styling optimised for swimming (like a “bikini”). Actually, the “burqa” is the traditional Islamic dress that even covers the face. In covering its closer to the “khimar” (so maybe a better term is “bikhimi”?).

Such garments are traditional for Muslims, but also a great solution of the sensitive of skin. My father has had a number of skin cancers and only goes out well covered up on sunny days making swimming not easy nor enjoyable.

Kurumba is leading the this fashion statement with their own signature burkini at their gift shop which Lori kindly modelled for us.


Kurumba burquini 2

Best of the Maldives: Custom Beachwear – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah NEO boutique custom beachwear

In today’s Miss Universe pagent, contestants will dazzle not only with their natural beauty but with a range of fashion and costumes the most famous of which is the swimming costumes. You too can shine in your own swimwear competition at One & Only Reethi Rah who offer a swimsuit customization service…

“Ever wish you could skip the packing before your holiday and not have to think about what to wear on the beach? Guests will be treated to this luxury thanks to the collaboration with designer swimwear brand Babajaan. Launched in November, NEO Beach Boutique [will let you] customise your purchases by choosing the fabrics, embroidery, beading and chain details you like, so you can be sure you’ll be the only one of the beach wearing them. The Panama hats are traditionally woven by an Ecuadoran weaver, pressed to your desired shape and decorated with the ribbons and trimmings of your choice.”

Lori has bought a number of fashion items travelling in the Maldives from jewellery to dresses and wraps. Often you find things that just evoke the distinctive colours and imagery of this tropical paradise. Reethi lets you combine a bit of that tropical air with your own personal flair.

One and Only Reethi Rah NEO beach boutique

World Travel Market 2013

WTM 2013

The Maldives coming to London is better than nothing (though never as good as London coming to the Maldives). The movers and shakers in the Maldives resort community have taken up residence at the Excel centre this week as a part of the World Travel Market.

Today, I had the chance to catch up with friends and supporters from across the industry including the tourism ministry, many resorts, tour operators, agencies, and other afficionadoes (like Adrian Neville). I caught up with Mohammed Elaf of the MTPB (see above) who focuses on their social marketing. I got to put another face to a TripAdvisor Maldives Forum stalwart, “Kanthony” of Conrad Rangali. I got to get some research on some of the new resorts coming on line like Velaa, Atmosphere Kanifushi and “Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili”. I uncovered some great new “Best of the Maldives” pieces (eg. ‘island fit for an ancient king’, snow room, bamboo bicycle, turtle sanctuary, fly fishing).

The only thing missing was blinding sunshine, flour-soft sand, and an aquatic tapestry surrounding it all.

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

One and Only Reethi Rah bicycle homing service Purple Passport

For a considerably bigger treat brought to you from anywhere on the island, One & Only Reethi Rah provides a bike “homing service”. You’ve ridden your personal bike somewhere and then wandered off for a stroll down the beach. Or you’ve ridden it to the bar and had one cocktail too many to consider operating any sort of vehicle much less an unsteady one. Or you are in a rush for something and grab a buggy. Well, Reethi staff return left bike back to your villa when they find them around the island.

Reethi phone home.