And the beach equivalent of your own private open shelter al fresco dining is Cheval Blanc Randheli’s outdoor pavilion.
I would eat al fresco every meal if I could. The temperate weather and the enchanting surroundings of the Maldives provide ample opportunities, but all too often one is sequestered away in a main dining area. One of the reasons for this is the need for reliable protection from the elements. Both the beating sun and the occasional shower can detract from an open air meal.
Jumeirah Vittaveli has finessed this issue with its striking north side Samsara restaurant. A soaring shard of a roof provides ample shelter while keeping the sides completely exposed to gentle breezes and a 270 degree view of the ocean.
One of the finest delights of the Maldives is dining over the ocean. Forget dining by the ocean (though there is that too), but dining right on top of it is standard fare there. If you want your own private setting atop the water, then the famous Maldives water villas provide an exquisite platform. But typically, you are limited to dining off a tray from room service. Some fancier villas do have dining tables on their decks, but Velaa has a special deck for its dining table. Complete with curtained shelter (to provide either added privacy or to shield ocean breezes if they kick up a bit too much for your liking) and canopy top (to shield from too much sun glare or even a passing rain shower).
Water based healing is the principle behind One & Only Reethi Rah’s Watsu pool. “Watsu” is Japanese for “water”, in this case mineral water from sea warmed to 36 degrees and used for stretching sessions overlooking the ocean.
“(WATer ShiatSU) is a form of aquatic therapy, which combines massage, yoga-like stretches and point work carried out in skin temperature water. The weightless environment of the water allows for graceful, fluid movements which can release muscle tension, improve circulation and increase your range of motion.”
Even without its therapeutic properties, it is a distinctive spa relaxation pool.
If private shades are your thing, then Constance Halaveli offers it right out in the main pool. Mini, canopied private jetties are built over a shallow rock pool looking out towards the beach and ocean. Like having your own private deck but with a beach view (which water villas won’t give you) and instant access to a quick Olympic-sized freshwater dip.
From seeing through floors to not seeing through windows, Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo beach villas feature tinted glass windows. Not only do these help to keep the interior cool in an eco-friendly way, but they also allow you to keep the shades open while maintaining privacy (though you need to keep the lights off in the room to maintain maximum privacy effect).
Perhaps the best villa for a cat would be Huvafenfushi’s Two Bedroom Beach Pavilion with Pool villa which features a second story glass floor (given the feline predilection for surveying surrounding from an elevated perch). All glass floors I know of are water villa features providing a vista to the aquatic life below, but Huvafenfushi’s villa is a beach property. You still get a water view as they have situated the pool directly underneath (though the water creatures are a bit more limited).
Multiple islands also have the more land faring cats (eg. Sun, Bathala, Mirihi). But Nika has 4. One belongs to one of the Maldivian staff and the others to the owners. Strangely they don’t bother the free roaming birds at all. They are quite sociable and they come out to say hello to the guests regularly.
Of all the yachts, there is a special fondness in our family for the doubly-sleek, but twice as stable catamarans. Our brother-in-law took us on his 30 foot cat the “Nauti-Gail” (named after Lori’s sister Gail) and recently they custom-built a 54 foot floating palace (“Nauti-Gail II”).
Reethi Rah’s fleet has a bigger cat, but I prefer their styling of LUX Maldives’ “Kokomo” which it offers up for cruises with some very experienced hands…
“[LUX] have an amazing Maldivian captain that has been sailing boats for past 20 years (believe it or not there are very few Maldivians with sailing experience!) and he combines the charters with a lot of local knowledge. He teaches guests the basics of sailing, shows guests secret snorkeling spots or shows guests old Maldivian recipes when cooking the freshly caught fish on the boats BBQ.”
The New Year brings a new model year for a range of luxuries and this weekend’s annual London Boat Show kicks off the range of new yachts for the maritime elite. One & Only Reethi Rah is a virtual Maldives Boat Show every day of the year with its extravagant fleet of sleek cruisers (first in list above and rest below in order)…
- 55 foot Gulf Craft with 3 air conditioned cabins (above)
- 50 foot Majesty
- 42 foot Leopard catamaran
- 52 foot luxury sailing dhoni
- 131 safari yacht
- 70 foot Azimut