Best of the Maldives: First Growth Wine – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah first growth wines

 

Wines have their own 5-star system to help buyers distinguish between the subtle quality differences. Although in the wine world the “5 star” system is the 5 “Crus” and the grading is flipped (“1” is best and “5” least distinguished). Actually, the full “Cinquieme Cru” is only for Medoc red wines, but other French wines have comparable classifications. The grading follows the property (not unlike resort ratings) and denotes the quality of the vineyard and a wine making operation.

At the top of the class (or “classee” so to speak) are the “1er Cru Classé” (sort of translated as “first class growth”). And at the top of the class in the Maldives for 1er Cru Classé selection is One & Only Reethi Rah. First growth wines on the Island include such legendary bottles as…

  • 2001 Château Latour, 1er Cru Classé
  • 1999 Château Latour, 1er Cru Classé
  • 1985 Château Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé
  • 1999 Château Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé
  • 2009 Château Mouton Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé
  • 2004 Château Mouton Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé
  • 1993 Château Mouton Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé
  • 1989 Château Margaux, 1er Cru Classé
  • 2003 Château Margaux, 1er Cru Classé
  • 2009 Château Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé
  • 2006 Château Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé
  • 2001Château Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé
  • 1995 Château Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé

They even have a very rare vintage of Château d’Yquem – 1904 1er Cru Classé Superieur.

Here at Maldives Complete, the “1er Cru” of all things Maldivian is of course “Best of the Maldives”. And so many vinous distrinctions have come to my attention recently that I have added the new “wine” tag to the categories.

Best of the Maldives: South African Wine – Constance Halaveli

Constance Halaveli sommelier

South Africa Freedom Day today. And no better way to toast the new, modern generation of South Africa than with one of its delectable wines. At each resort we visit, Lori and I always enquire about what’s a bit unconventional and we haven’t had before. And when Lori and I visited Constance Halaveli, the sommelier Cedric Jacob, served up some delightful South Africa varietals including A.H. Badenhorst (see below). We are no strangers to South Africa’s fermentations, but Halaveli’s extensive collection was the broadest we had seen in the Maldives. This vineyard in Swartland, North of Stellenbosch, produces this 9 grape young vintage blend, mostly Chenin Blanc (30%) which is “quite engaging, very complex” as Cedric describes. Constance Halaveli is a bit of a specialist in Southern Hemisphere wines with their distinctive Brazilian offerings as well.

 

Constance Halaveli south african wine

Best of Maldives: Ancient Tree – Kuramathi

Kuramathi ancient banyan tree

Arbor days vary around the world (even with States in the USA), but today is the most prevalent one. Maldives doesn’t have an official tree planting day, but more and more resorts are focused on the environment and engaging in a breadth of flora cultivation.

While most visitors look outward from the beaches at the legendary sea of the Maldives, the interiors of these tropical paradises have their own rich landscape. So much so, that today (on the occasion of Arbor Day), I have added the “tree” tag to the Maldives Complete blog.

One of the signature features as prevalent on the islands as branch coral is on the reefs are the multi-pod Banyan Trees. Their meandering style of growth produces a maze of smaller trunks comprising these curious tangles of growth. Allegedly, the oldest of these ancient landmarks is the Main Road tree on Kuramathi

“Located at the Main Road, this historical landmark is an estimated 300 years old and is a gigantic plant towering 30 metres high. One could wander through the sawdust trail at the entrance and be amazed by the maze of thick wooden barks of this ancient tree, enshrouded in rich greenery. The tree is a nesting place for herons, fruit bats and other animals and is a sight not to be missed. This tree at Kuramathi can be considered as one of the oldest banyan trees found in the Maldives.”

 

Best of the Maldives: Reflexology Walk – Sun Siyam Iru Fushi

Iru Fushi - reflexology path

For a chakra-friendly walkway, Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s new refurb includes a reflexology path leaing up to its new spa…

A pebbled path winds amidst wild tropical blooms and endless shades of green. Splashes of light filter through the palms, dancing on the rippling water of a gentle stream. Luring you, a faint aroma of sandalwood and jasmine, heady with the scent of the earth. Rounding a curve, a sala appears – a haven of tranquillity, yours to revel in.”

Best of the Maldives: Eco-Pathways – Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo walkway liners

 

When the world gives you lemons…make lemonade.

When the world gives you lemonade bottles…make eco-friendly walkway.

One of the more creative solutions to the earth-friendly plastic bottle disposal issue in the Maldives is Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo’s walkways. They have coated their discarded plastic bottles with a layer of natural looking cement and used the result cylinders to make an extensive set of walkway liners.

 

Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo eco pathways

Wondering of saving the World

Im with stupid

 

The Maldives, with their fragile topology and sensitive eco-system have become a sort of ground zero on par with the Amazon rainforest for ecological concerns.

“The Maldives – With 80% of the 1,200 islands no more than a metre above sea level, there are real fears the country could be submerged before the end of the century. The Maldives government held an underwater cabinet meeting in 2009 to raise awareness, and they were first to sign the Kyoto Treaty on climate change. A 3m wall around capital Male, took 14 years to construct.”

Today’s Earth Day is a time for education to help get mankind and bit less stupid in how it treats this delicate planet. Many Maldives resorts are supporting with a range of special events.

Blood Moon

Blood Moon

Super Moons. Honeymoons. Annular Eclipes. Even “Polyp Moons” (my term for the June Full Moon). Now Blood Moons.

The Maldives, with their expansive vistas, skies clear of both particulate and light pollution make gazing at the heavens as spectacular as any panorama of paradise in the bright sunlight. The destination is renowned for a milestone event itself celestially named – the “honeymoon”. As such, I’ve posted a range of pieces on various astronomical events. The latest big event to hit the headlines is last week’s “Blood Moon”, but unfortunately this colourful variant won’t hit the Indian Ocean until 2017.

This latest celestial event has inspired the addition of the tag “moon” to the site.

Maldives Island for Sale

Islands of the World - Maldives

 

 

If you want to implement some of these novel ideas yourself, you can do so on your very own “Maldives” island. Not an island in the “Maldives”, but a tropical resort paradise. Just a bit more northwest off the coast of Dubai at the famous “The World” reclamation development project. The “Maldives” is officially for sale according to an Emirates 247 reports

“The island of Maldives on The World, Dubai, is up for sale. A listing on dubizzle.com, a classified website, reveals the size of the island to be 294,617 square feet, while the selling price being Dh48 million. Twenty villas can be built on the island, the listing states. An oyster-shaped islet, part of the Asia Island, has once again been listed on the classified portal. The island is now priced at Dh110 million [~£18 million]. The approved design for the island boasts of a built-up area of 47,048 square metres and a total land area of 36,661 square metres, comprising villas and apartments and 42-room boutique hotel.”

Actually, with the azure Indian Ocean surrounding the tiny dollop of sunny sand, the properties here probably all resemble a Maldives resort more than just about anywhere (I wonder if the person buying “Great Britain” is going to put a faux-Tudor place up on it?). I personally would go for the in-water massage and underwater bedroom.

 

Dubai Maldives

37 More Things I Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives (Part 4)

Maldives - wedding swim suit

600+ Best Ofs and still no…

I’ve amassed such a collection of “Missing From” in the “Best of” catalogue, rather than wait till my traditional July trip wrap-up, I thought I would do a mid-term update. With last month’s announcement of Saudi development firm Best Choice’s $100 million investment in a resort on Vadinolhu island, they will have quite a generous budget to consider some broad ranging innovations….

 

ROMANCE

1. Wedding Swim Suits. Increasingly famous for not just the honeymoon, but the the actual ceremony itself with the rise of the destination wedding. While the “Trash the Dress” fad is once way to go swimming in your gown, a more elegant solution are these specially designed fashion suits.

Maldives - wedding swim suit 2

2. Proposal Coach. LUX Maldives has a wedding coach, and Reethi Rah has featured an elaborate proposal, but how about someone geared up to coach the question popping itself like a proposal planner?

Maldives - wedding proposal coach

LODGING

3. Infinite Edge Water Villa pool. Maldives water villas have infinity pools. But none I have seen so deftly feature them to provide a seamless transition to the water below like this example at Banyan Tree Ungasan. Not even Ungasan sister resorts in the Maldives, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru or Banyan Tree Madivaru.

Banyan Tree Ungasan

4.  Underwater Bedroom. After the experiment by Conrad Rangali in adapting its underwater restaurant to be a bedroom at night, this obvious combination of two Maldive resort wow factors – water villas and underwater features – seems an inevitability here. Especially with this proven design featured at The Manta Resort, on Pemba Island in Zanzibar.

Manta Resort underwater room

INFRASTRUCTURE

5. Awesome Signs. I have seen some clever and useful signage around Maldives resorts, but this BuzzFeed piece shows how far one can go with clever, fun and romantic messages all of which are classic Maldives design points.

Maldives do not disturb signs

6. Glow in the dark path. Stars in the sky, the water and the wine glass so why not the walkways with this Pro-Tec Surfacing?

Maldives - lighted path

7. Underwater Custom Sculpture. In previous “haven’t seens”, I have noted “Underwater Sculture Garden” and Soneva Fushi did feature an underwater art exhibit, but Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun illustrates how imaginative one could be.

Maldives - underwater sculpture

8. Underwater webcam. Many resorts now have webcams on site primarily to provide live weather, but the real star of the show is the underwater world so why not a camera there. The new GoPro-stype cameras make this easier and cheaper than ever. Maafushivaru was going to do it, but nothing yet.

Maldives - underwater webcam

9. Jumping fountains. The Maldives resort have all sort of water features, but the latest n water fountains are the dynamic water jets providing a lively animation to the water (sometimes choreographed to music).

Maldives - jumping water fountains

10. Heart Tubs – While Bandos spa has a heart shaped Jacuzzi, still looking for a more Pocono-esque villa tub on a similar romantic motif.

Maldives - heart tubs

11. Champagne Glass Tub – And if you want to go full-on Poconos, there is always the iconic champagne glass tub.

Maldives - champagne glass tubs

WATER ACTIVITY

12. Powerski Jetboard. There’s jet skiing. There’s a range of boarding – surf, paddle, wake, etc. But no “jet boarding” yet.

Maldives - powerski jetboard

13. Water Car-Slides. Saw these by the shore in Spain. Turbo fun.

Maldives - car water slides

14. In-Lagoon massage. Signature offering of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. Given the pre-eminence of Maldives’ own very blue lagoons and the popularity of the spas, this combo seems inevitable.

Maldives - blue lagoon Iceland

15. Water Tube Slide. Pool slides aplenty, and even a water slide at One & Only Reethi Rah, but no classic tube slide. The Dolphin Plunge at Disney, which goes underwater with clear Perspex, is particularly inspired.

Maldives - Disney Dolphin plunge

16. Lazy River. If you are going to go with water park inspiration, then the staple fixture of the “lazy river” would seem to fit right into the Maldivian pace.
Maldives - lazy river

17. Underwater Virtual House Reef Tour. The Ministry of Tourism needs to get on the phone to Google to get Google Street View Oceans to do a few Maldives reefs or some enterprising resort could take the initiative and do one themselves to lead the way.

Maldives - virtual house reef tour

18. Submersible Radio-Controlled Submarine. So much fun. And a great way for non-swimmers to explore the dazzling reefs with a live Go-Pro attached.

Maldives - submersible submarine

OTHER ACTIVITY

19. Non-Resort Male Snorkel Day Trip. One of the most common questions on the online travel forums is “Is there a snorkelling day trip we can take from Male?” Typically, people who have a flight stop over or more frequently a cruise anchoring.

Maldives - cruise ship

20. Zip Line. False alarm of reports that Reethi Rah had one in conjunction with their climbing wall. Having one that could be put up and taken down that went across the water to a neighboring island would be pretty cool.

Maldives - zip line

21. Nail Art – A manicure or pedicure is a cosmetic treat and they have gotten quite elaborate of late. Check out the rendition of the Maldives water villa (below left).

Maldives - nail art 2  Maldives - nail art 1

22. Opera. A number of top flight resorts have featured all sorts of cultural events from guest DJs to literary festivals. But a classic (or should I say “classical”) fare of distinctive outdoor venues is opera. From the Minack (see Lori below in the perfectly set Minack production of Madame Butterfly) to the Bregenze Festival, a dazzling landscape provides a backdrop a stirring as the music itself. As it happens, one of the world’s top artistic directors, Francisco Negrin, for opera is a massive Maldives aficionado so I’m sure you wouldn’t have to twist his arm too hard to secure his leadership of such a project.

Maldives - Madame Butterfly

23. Air Swimmers. If a resort teen club had one of these “Air Swimmers”, I would definitely try to sneak in so I could play with it.

Maldives - air swimmers

SPORT

24. In Water Spinning. Fitness craze made for the Maldives.

Maldives - water spinning

25. Beach Gym. Costa del Sol beach fitness course.

Maldives - beach gym 2  Maldives - beach gym 1

26. Paddle Tennis Court. Tennis, only smaller…just right for the diminutive Maldives islands (and for the more laid back atmosphere where you don’t want to run around as much).  Palm Beach has a beach version though.

Maldives - paddle tennis

27. Pickleball. Paddle tennis, only smaller still? Supposedly “America’s fastest growing sport”.

Maldives - pickleball

28. Surfboard Yoga. Two popular activities in the Maldives combined. And probably one of the best places in the world for the combo given the mill pon tranquil waters of the area.

Maldives - surfbaord yoga

29. Tennis Ball Boy Service – I always thought that would be cool to play tennis and have someone fetch my many stray balls and toss them to me before each serve. Plus it would feel like Wimbledon to play a game with a ball boy/girl lined up at the side of the net ready to swipe my serves into the net.

Maldives - tennis ball boys

30. Finning. Exemplary core/abs exercise.

Maldives - finning

31. Underwater Portraits – Resorts feature underwater photography for diving and portraits for weddings, so why not combine both for memorably artistic images exploiting the crystal clear turquoise settings of the Maldives’ famous lagoons?

Maldives - underwater portraiture

DINING

32. Expanding Towel Tablet. The very first gesture that a resort extends is the refreshing towel. And it carries on through much of your stay. This expanding towel table provides an especially fun variation on the presentation.

Maldives - expanding towelette

33. Maldivian Cooking Vlog. Cooking vlogs are the niche rage and a number of resorts’ blogs to feature special gourmet and local cuisine recipes, but as yet know one has pulled out the videocam to guide visitors through the culinary steps.

Maldives - cooking vlog

34. Instant Ice Cream. The innovation by the molecular cooking crowd of making while-you-wait ice cream by dipping custard into liquid nitrogen as now gone mainstream by people like Chicago’s i-Cream. A bit of drama and accented freshness (mind you I guess there is not much problem with ice cream going bad) to this “next generation” custard concoction.

Maldives - instant ice cream

DRINKS

35. Flower Cubes. Ice cubes with flowers frozen in them. Genius.

Maldives - flower ice cubes

36. Molded Cocktail Ice. Sushi Samba uses finely crushed ice which is compressed between a cup and large spoon to fashion a sort of frozen “bowl” shape into which condiments and garnishes can be sprinkled.

Maldives - molded cocktail ice

37. Kids Drink Decorations – A step beyond maraschino cherries and umbrellas…

Maldives - kids drink decorations