Best of the Maldives: Plankton Spectacles – Conrad Maldives Rangali

Conrad Rangali plankton spectacles

The legendary Dom Perignon reportedly exclaimed when he first sipped the sparkling wine of his cellars “I am drinking stars.” Well, at Conrad Maldives Rangali, you can sometimes wade in them too. Set in the marine-rich South Ari atoll, Rangali is in the heartland of whale shark country who are drawn by the plankton-rich waters. Also, their marine cousins the mantas can be found so readily that they can be regularly seen of the Rangali jetty in the evening doing loop-de-loops in the pier light feeding on the plankton drawn there. But the possibly the most striking example of plankton spectacles was this photo released by Rangali this month showing bioluminensce on the beaches. The aquatic microrganisms emitting their glow with the gentle stimulation of the equally minute ‘waves’ ticking the shore. When we used to sail in Maine, our friends taught us how to prompt this phenomenon by stirring an oar in the nighttime ocean waters. You can even even swim through this constellation with Rangali’s night dive offer called “ocean of stars”.

May your 2014 be filled with sparkling wonders!

Best of the Maldives: House Reef Wreck – Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo house reef wreck

From a snorkel enhancement to a wreck, to a wreck enhancement to a snorkel. The Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo extensive house includes its own wreck. A small inter-island cargo ship just off the main jetty. Usually such wrecks are the province of dive trips or excursions, but at Ellaidhoo, it’s just another handy feature of their extensively equipped house reef.

Space Snorkelling

Space Snorkel

What do you get an astronaut for Christmas? A space snorkel.

As Maldives Complete is sort of the hub of Maldives resort snorkelling, (the best snorkelling in the world), I do tend to venture into other extremes of the activity around the world. Or, this week, out of the world. The Maldives is renowned for its low altitude, but NASA today brings it to a record altitude. Snorkelling in Space.

It turns out that the astronauts faced a bit of a problem with leaky space suits which almost drowned one of them. The “snorkel” is an improvised fix to work around the problem.

Maldives snorkelling/diving and space walking have a bit more in common. Diving is about the closest one will get to the sensation of being in space and being in “another world”. Complete with anti-gravity as one of your first scuba skills is neutral buoyancy.

Best of the Maldives: Golf Academy – Velaa

Velaa - golf academy beach

Welcome to the neighbourhood to Velaa resort which opened this week. The latest of the super-premium gold-plated rush. In line with its elite spec, it includes another addition to the under-represented pastime of golf in the country with its own golf academy…

“Golf enthusiasts can enjoy the only ‘Short Game Golf Academy’ in the Maldives, 170m of greens and a swing studio carefully crafted by Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazabal”


Velaa - golf academy close up

Best of the Maldives: Spacious Entries – Cheval Blanc Randheli

Cheval Blanc Randheli sliding doors



If One and Only brings the bedroom into the pool, Cheval Blanc Randheli brings the pool into the bedroom. It has made an entire wall of its villa openable for an expansive vista from within. I love this design element which was have been thinking of adding to our own house (replacing the back floor-to-ceiling windows of the dining room with French doors that open up to our back yard). The approach melds the best of both the gorgeous outdoors with some of the comforts of inside.

The architecture of the villas also features record-breaking entry doors themselves. The previous tops was The Haven’s 4 meter high doors, but Randheli features“An architecture sequence of 7-meter high doors in each villa [which] creates a spectacular space.”

No worries about bumping my head on the frame there then.

Best of the Maldives: Bunk Beds – Constance Halaveli

Constance Halaveli bunk beds

After all that horizontal tandem activity, Constance Halaveli brings a new vertical dimension to some tandem rest. Our kids always enjoyed a bit of “sleep over” ambience on our holidays where they invariably stayed in the same room and chatted surreptitiously in the dark while Mom and Dad got in a few more chapters on the deck. Despite their camaraderie, except at the very youngest age, they started to want their own beds, but often twins were hard to come by at resorts. Sometimes one could improvise sleeping on a couch or day bed. But Halaveli’s bunks are a great solution that my children would have adored (though definitely would have prompted many fight over who gets the top bunk).

Best of the Maldives: Pedalling Kayak – Baros

Baros tandem pedalling kayak

For ocean proximity of a more active sort, Baros offers a pedalling tandem ocean kayak (1 hour session for $40)…

  • “This double seated kayak is different from most other kayaks; it has two methods of propulsion. One is the traditional paddling. The second method is using a unique, fully adjustable, pedaling system. The pedals are alternately pushed back and forth with the feet and legs. With this movement the Penguin shaped flippers underneath the kayak makes a sweeping motion that drives the kayak forwards. The movement is swift and silent. Hands and arms can be at rest allowing you to go further and with less effort to get the most out of your experience.” 

Best of the Maldives: Neighbourly – Angsana Ihuru and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Angsana Ihuru and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru aerial

(photo courtesy of Luxury hotels

Olhuveli and Fun Island might be the closest geographic neighbours, but Angsana Ihuru and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru are the closest operationally (not attached).

You have Angsana which is literally a 2 minute hop by hourly water ‘taxi’, so you have the benefit of two islands in one resort (you can also charge any costs on Angsana to BT, and visa versa.” (thanks John)

You might not be able to go pick watermelons, but you can enjoy any of the other amenities (perhaps a watermelon martini).