Best of the Maldives: Grappa – Nika

Nika grappas

 

The past few months have been a smorgasbord of tour posts – resort visits, tour “best ofs’, updated ‘not seens’. And every filling feast needs a bit of a digestif to cap it off. Since today (the last Sunday in August) is one of the traditional open distillery days for the Grappa makers. Grappa comes from Bassano del Grappa in the northwest Vicenza province in an area known as the Riviera del Brenta. So it comes at no surprise that the grappa abbondanza in the Maldives is that Venetian inspired resort, Nika. The Kandu Bar serves no less than six different grappas including…

  • Nardini
  • Mangilli Riserva
  • Mangilli Collezione
  • Mangilli Moscato
  • Dolce Vita Prosecco

Cin-cin!

12 Even More Things I Have Yet To See In The Maldives…from Hammacher Schlemmer (Part 6)

Maldives - not seen - reading lounger

Forget Louis Vuitton, it’s Hammacher Schlemmer who should open up their own resort. Researching a few leads on the latest “Haven’t Seen”, I tracked them down to the Hammacher Schemmler catalogue. Browsing around and I had a field day of clever gadgets and gizmos that could lend some innovative fun to many Maldive resorts…

1. Drink Pool Lounger – And a drink at hand is an extra bonus. Especially great for those resorts with pool bars. Instead of a “drive thru”, they could introduce a “float thru”. “Inflatable pool lounger with coolers built into each armrest.” $150. Best Resort for this item – Royal Island (they have an in-pool bar facing the sunset where lots of guests gather to watch the twilight spectacle sipping their cocktails).

Maldives - not seen - drink pool lounger

2. BBQ Dining Boat – I’ve seen a range of sunset cruises and dhoni dinners, but this dingy is in a league of its own. “This is the boat with a built-in barbecue grill, umbrella, and trolling motor that provides waterborne cookouts for up to 10 adults.” $50,000. Best Resort – W Retreat (masters of BBQ and style).

Maldives - not seen - BBQ dining boat

3. Sandless Beach Mat – Another Hammacher special. Military-grade technology comes to beach lounging – “Developed for military use, this is the beach mat that is impossible to cover with sand. Used in military applications to contain sand and dust when helicopters land and take off, the mat is made from two layers of patented woven polyurethane that instantly filter sand to the beach as soon as it falls on its surface.” Even comes in 4-person size. $60. Best Resort – Anantara Kihavah (with its expansive, circumambient beach)

Maldives - not seen - sandless matt

4. Reading Lounger – Yes, the Maldives make you so lazy that the labour of reading does seem to sometimes require technological assistance. “Recommended by physical therapists, this lounger provides optimal support and comfort while you lie prone or supine$170. Best Resort – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (with the highest butler ratio, the truly super-lazy might be able to get their butlers to even turn the pages for them).

Maldives - not seen - reading lounger

5. Solar Velomobile – The eco-friendly golf cart. “A solar panel built-into the roof powers the 600-watt electric motor for up to 45 miles on a single charge or 100 miles when combined with pedaling.” $9,900. Best Resort – Soneva Fushi (the eco-obsessed, large island).

Maldives - not seen - solar velomobile

6. Petiole Hammock – “Recipient of Les Découvertes award for innovation at the prestigious Maison & Objet design show, this is the handmade, self-suspended hammock. The culmination of 20 years of research and design, the hammock is made in Sweden by two artisans who painstakingly mold each piece during a process that requires four weeks to craft one hammock$35,000. Best Resort – Kandooma (fits right into the other white, canvas, arches at the resort reception and pool area).

Maldives - not seen - Petiole hamock

7. Floating Obstacle Course – “One length of the course tests balance while walking over a 2′-wide “beam” – an ideal spot for water-noodle jousting matches – while another encourages players to jump over a two-section water “pit” or descend and climb out. Twin climbing obstacles require participants to decide if climbing over their inflated beams is quicker than crawling through a handful of arches.” $13,500. Best Resort – One & Only Reethi Rah (the king of lagoon inflatable play fun).

Maldives - not seen - floating obstacle course

8. Body Launching Inflatable – “Launches a person sitting on its surface into the air when another person jumps onto the inflatable.” $600. Best Resort – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru (king of the portable inflatables).

Maldives - not seen - body launching inflatable

9. Floating Lighting Pool Fountain – “This is the floating fountain that turns a pool into an effervescent light and water display.” $100. Best Resort – W Retreat (a bit of extra musical lighting for their DJ nights).

Maldives - not seen - floating lighting pool fountain

10. Electric Motor Boat – The posh (and lazy) version of the pedalo. “The watercraft’s 12-volt electric motor drives its two-bladed propeller, providing leisurely 4-mph cruises over calm lakes or ponds, ideal for accessing secret swimming holes, fishing spots, or visiting neighboring docks.” $4,000. Best Resort – Gili Lankanfushi (an updated personal transport to their Residence Villas).

Maldives - not seen - electric motor boat

11. In Pool Exercise Glider – “This aquatic exercise apparatus takes advantage of water’s natural buoyancy and resistance to deliver an effective low-impact workout that’s gentle on joints and muscles.” $1,600. Best Resort – Club Med Kani (to take their aqua aerobics to the next level).

Maldives - not seen - in pool exercise glider

12. Water Skiing Chair – Getting up on water-skis for the first time can be one of the most frustrating things in life. Our kids first got up on skis in Mauritius where the boat had a bar attached to the boat, instead of a rope, to hold onto which made it more stable. This seated device looks like a great progression from bar to rope where one could then move on to standing. “This is the patented chair that is mounted to a pair of waterskis, allowing beginners and experts alike to ski from a stable seated position.” $600. Best Resort – Kurumba (with their great catering to disabled guests, this might provide adaptive water skiing for some).

Maldives - not seen - sitting water ski

27 More Things I Have Yet To See In The Maldives (Part 5)

Maldives - not seen - easy breath snorkel

After 55 resorts, I have seen more innovative and imaginative ways to enhance idyll in the sun and luxury in a paradise. And yet, despite the 100+ resorts all jockeying to distinguish themselves with something unique and different, I still have yet to see a range of intriguing and appetising things that would be right at home at the right Maldives resort. So for instalment #5…

 

1. Float Pillow – Pools at resorts are used by two groups – (a) kids playing, and (b) honeymooners canoodling. But when we visit our sister-in-law’s beach house, we spend lots of time in the pool as simple old middle-aged loungers. I think the key difference is the pool floats. Lori’s sister has a range of comfy floats that allow us to bob around relaxing in the sun. Despite her broad collections, none are as comfy as Sofloat’s “float pillow” looks. Zzzzz.

Maldives - not seen - float pillow

 

2. Floating Lounge – Not a floating “lounger”…an entire floating lounge.
Maldives - not seen - floating lounge

3. Beach Swing C-Frame – Hammocks and Bird’s Nest Seats are pretty common. This version is a portable hybrid so you can get it right down by the water’s edge.
Maldives - not seen - beach swing C frame

4. Rain Shower Bath – A while back, rain showers were one of the distinctive touches that distinguished a super-5-star from just a run-of-the-mill 5-star. Now, rain showers are fairly mainstream in the Maldives and it’s hard to call yourself a 5-star without them. The new high bar in shower decadence are the drench showers. But one way to make a normal old rain shower into something special is to…add it to the tub. Hot soak and shower together! (thanks Rebecca)
Maldives - not seen - rain show bath

5. Bottleless Water – A sci-fi way to cut down on plastic water bottles – Edible Water Bottles. So “wow”, it is just screaming out for a way for a super-deluxe resort to find a way to use is.
Maldives - not seen - bottle-less water

6. Frozen Juice Pops – This seems a bit of a basic oversight. Frozen juice pops are the first thing American mothers turn to on the hottest summer days. And the Maldives has some amazing exotic fruit juices to make them out of. I would say make a bunch and then have a staff walk along the beach and public areas handing them out to guests.Maldives - not seen - frozen juice pops 

7. Poptails – Like this “Sex on the Beach Pomegranate”.
Maldives - not seen - poptails 

8. Craft Beer – What goes better with nice, hot sunshine…a cool refreshing ale to slake the tropical thirst. And the luxury fermented hops are the craft beers. As it happens, Maldives travel specialist, Linara Travel, held its annual LT Travel Awards recently and included a category for “Best Beer Selection” and“Disappointingly, no resort received a single vote in this category. With a worldwide craft beer movement going on, no luxury resort in the Maldives has yet to embrace this movement. It is something all luxury resorts can improve on. There are better beers than Heineken and Tiger!”
Maldives - not seen - craft beer

 9. Brioche – Why is the most luxurious of breads not more prevalent at the most luxurious of destinations. Yes, you periodically find it as a part of its most common accompaniment – foie gras. But it’s potential is so much more. Brioche buns are all the rage at the gourmet burger restaurants taking over London, salmon and scrambled eggs are the best on brioche toast, and Nutella on brioche is sheer ambrosia.
Maldives - not seen - brioche

10. Lobster PizzaLobster + ordinary dish = Luxury dish (especially apropos for seaside). Like this Brown Butter Lobster and Spinach Pizza with Bacon and Fontina delicacy from Half Baked Harvest.
Maldives - not seen - lobster pizza

11. Lagoon Restaurant – Another Bora Bora inspiration (the first water bungalows in the Maldives, at Vadoo, were inspired by Bora Bora).
Maldives - not seen - lagoon restaurant

12. Aqua Balls – Bring out the water hamster from within you.
Maldives - not seen - aqua balls

13. Re-breather – 50 bars…time to come up. For people looking for ways to squeeze every moment possible from their dives, the ultimate in endurance submersion are “re-breathers”. Re-breathers are now featured at one of the guest house islands, but no resort dive centres have picked it up.
Maldives - not seen - rebreather

14. Easybreath Mask Snorkel – And why, oh why, is this EasyBreath snorkelling mask innovation not in the land of the world’s best snorkelling? (thanks Paola) Some people (like my mother-in-law) get really flustered by the whole mask-snorkel combo. Not being able to breathe through the nose, etc.
Maldives - not seen - easy breath snorkel

15. 3D Printed Crab Shells – I’m a big fan of anything that attracts interest in and enthusiasm for wildlife issues. (thanks Paola).  High fashion for the ultimate cast-off and hand-me-down dressers of the seaside.
Maldives - not seen - 3D printed crab shells

16. Wave Skiing – Surfing is quickly becoming the Maldives third big renown (after honeymooning and snorkelling/diving). For a stunning video of the state of the possible, check out champion Chuck Patterson.
Maldives - not seen - wave skiing

17. Subwinging – A cross between water-skiing and diving.
Maldives - not seen - subwinging

18. Dolphin Tow Trip – One of the highlights of our recent tour was seeing dolphins EVERYWHERE (especially in the Gaafu Alifu atoll). A couple of resorts took us on very successful dolphin boat excursions, but they entailed cruising on up to a pod and then following them a bit as the dolphins cavorted in front of the bow. When we were in Mauritius, the resort there featured a more immersive dolphin cruise. When they came upon the pod, you would don your mask and snorkel and grab a water-ski tow rope off the back of the boat. The boat would then pull you along as you looked under water. All of the dolphins playing around the boat would swim under you and you got a great view of them in their natural habitat. It wasn’t exactly “swimming with dolphins” because they really didn’t want to come an interact. But they were happy to swim by you and this set up gave you a front row seat. Also, contrary to most Flipper scenes, dolphins don’t hang around and stand still in the water much. As such, the tow line approach allowed you to keep moving while they kept swimming themselves. Here is a TripAdvisor review of one such experience in Australia which highlights both the plusses and minuses of this type of excursion. Maybe need to combine Subwinging (see directly above) with dolphin excursion. The acrylic Plana-sub is a tool designed for precisely this purpose (though we just used an ordinary tow rope when we went.
Maldives - not seen - dolphin tow trip

19. Videographer – Featured in the Sunday Times Style piece “Personal Services” (paywalled) which featured a number of ultra-high-end specialty services to the uber-wealthy. One which caught my eye was “Private Film Maker” which was described “I create private productions for families on holiday through my film and stage production company. There are big budget – £1.5m plus – and are educational/entertainment events spread over six days… We usually film in the Med or the Caribbean. It might be a story about the Greek gods, Christopher Columbus or a private treasure hunt. All the family and their large boat crew are dressed up in period clothes and become part of the production.” Perhaps a resort could have Raquel Azevedo’s number on speed dial, but they also might be able to fashion up a lower end version of some video production capability at hand for some simpler montages or story lines.
Maldives - not seen - videographer

20. Animated Wedding GIFs – What better way to capture the magic of this paradise?animated wedding GIF

21. Drone Deliver Champagne – You have drone photography and you have special delivery to remote villas set off in the lagoon, so why not combine the two? Or how about a drone champagne delivery to a Robinson Crusoe island experience?
Maldives - not seen - drone champagne delivery

22. Mirrored Villas – A whole collection of structures using external mirroring to reflect and amplify the picturesque surroundings was recently featured in Today. It reminded me of Boston’s iconic John Hancock Tower which achieved the same effect in its cityscape. Seems like a design feature that could make a water villa stand out (or actually, blend in if you will) and accent the stunning Maldives seascape.
Maldives - not seen - mirrored villas

23. Individually Decorated Rooms – Two iconic hotels, Crazy Bear in UK and Ice Hotel in Sweden (among others), distinguish themselves by having no room the same.  Each one is an individual creation.  Soneva Fushi comes close to this, but most of its villas are out of reach for all but the billionaire set and the villas all have similar design themes.Maldives - not seen - individually decorated rooms

24. Proteas Convertible Bunk Bed – Turn every room into a family room with a Proteus transformer bunk bed.  A longstanding advocate of the Maldives as a family destination, and as such got increasingly stung by escalating costs as the kids got bigger and bigger.
Maldives - not seen - convertible bunk bed

25. Dronies –One of the most spectacular perspectives on the Maldives is overhead and yet the complete and utter lack of any elevation whatsoever in most corners makes this impossible. In order to add an elevated perspective to guests holiday pics, a “dronies” capability would seem a sure hit.
Maldives - not seen - dronies

26. Personalised Fragrances – Not one of those middle eastern perfumery rip-offs where they sell you over-priced, counterfeit scents. Instead, a trained aromachologist equipped with a collection of oils derived from native flowers and plants. To create that special scent evoking the essence of your stay in paradise.
Maldives - not seen - personalised fragrances

27. Seabreacher – Personal submarine. “The Seabreacher operates more like a aircraft with full three-axis of control. This allows the vessel to carve left and right, jump over, dive under, and cut though the waves. The acrylic canopy and underwater view ports give pilot and passenger a near 360 degree view as they fly through the water.” Yes please.  Wow.
Maldives - not seen - seabreacher

Best of the Maldives: Coconut – Kurumba

Kurumba - coconut

 

 

Coconuts are synonymous with tropical paradise…and Kurumba is synonymous with everything coconut. “Kurumba” actually means “young coconut” (the green kind that you get coconut water from) in Dhivehi. Literally the signature resort for Cocos nucifera, Kurumba incorporates this eponymous omnipresence every part of your visit.

Your arrival on the island is greeted with cold cloths perfumed with coconut essence and a refreshing coconut sorbet. Every restaurant and bar features some creative coco-concoction. The Kandu bar serves a frozen Coconut Martini (coconut sorbet, coconut water, toasted coconut infused vodka), as well as a Coconut Mojito. They also make one of the best Pina Colada’s I’ve enjoyed in the Maldives (I’m a bit of a Pina Colada fan and make a point to have one at every resort I visit). The Café offers a distinctive Coconut French toast prepared with stewed mango, jack-fruit, pistachios and mascarpone.

As it happens, all of these coconut preparations are made with coconut from the island. Using the coconut is fairly obvious, but Kurumba also has the only press for making their own coconut oil. They take mature coconut (not a “Kurumba”), split it, remove the white fruit, shred it, dry it in the sun, and run it through the press. Upul, their resident Horticulturalist, demonstrated this process to me which produces 60-70 litres/month.

They not only use it in the kitchen, but also in their spa and even sell it in their shop and to other islands. The shop features the resort’s own “Coconut Flower” scent made in Sri Lanka and used in the room amenities as well.

Best of the Maldives: Salt – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah Villas - salt trolley

  

Salt” is not just a thematic name to Anantara Kihavah Villas’ signature over-the-ocean restaurant, also its star attraction. Sort of the Thelma Ritter of the dinner table – a record 6 Academy Award nominations for “Best Supporting Actress”. ‘Salt’ restaurant is sort of salt’s “New Girl in Town” (the lead stage role for which she won the Tony Award).

The restaurant is part of the Sea, Fire, Salt, Sky is a dining concept at Kihvah providing a distinctive perspective on the Maldivian world from the elevated “Sky” roof deck down to the underwater “Sea” spectacle.

When we ate, we were presented the salt range by resident “Salt Guru” Julius (see photo above) on their “salt trolley”. They also have a Himalayan heated pink salt bowl for certain preparation. Out of the 16 varieties from all over the world – Tasmania, USA, Croatia, France – we chose the wild porcini mushroom salt…

  • Himalayan Pink
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Szechuan Pepper
  • Hiwa Kai-Hawaiian Sea
  • Alea-Hawaiian Sea
  • Porcini Mushroom
  • Salish Smoked Pacific Sea
  • Kala Namak
  • Lime Fresco
  • Murray River Pink
  • Thai Ginger
  • Cyprus Black Lava
  • Sel Gris
  • Vintage Merlot
  • Bali Coconut and Lime
  • Espresso Brava
  • Vanilla Bean

You can also buy the salts to take home (see below). They make great gifts that are unusual and more useful than trinkets or t-shirts (everyone loves a dash of salt on their food and if you are worried about your blood pressure eating here, check out this latest report “Pour on the Salt”).

Worth its salt.

 

Anantara Kihavah Villas - salt for sale

Best of the Maldives: Snorkel Safety – Dusit Thani

Dusit Thani - snorkely safety briefing

If there is one “Best of the Maldives” innovation that I would like all resorts to emulate it is Dusit Thani’s snorkel safety programme. We were taken through it by the resort’s dive centre instructor Manon (photo above).

  1. REQUIRED SNORKEL BRIEFING – For starters, all guests are required to have a 15 minute snorkel briefing before snorkelling on the reef. If you have not had your briefing and are spotted snorkelling, staff will approach you and politely inform you of the policy. For us, it didn’t matter that we had snorkelled over 50 house reefs and are a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, we still had to have the briefing.
  2. REQUIRED SAFETY COURSE – If you can answer three questions, then you are cleared to snorkel the Dusit Thani house reef after they have shared a few details like entries, some current tips and other basic information about the island’s surrounding waters. The questions are:  (a) How does one clear a mask?, (b) How does one clear a snorkel?, and (c) How does one determine current direction?  If you can’t answer the questions, the guests are requires to take a snorkel safety course (cost $55).
  3. REQUIRED SNORKEL TEST – After the course, you are assessed with a boat accompanying you and your instructor/guide. If you pass, you are all set to snorkel freely on the house reef.
  4. REQUIRED SNORKEL GUIDE – If you do not pass your snorkel proficiency test, then you are required to use a resort/dive-centre guide every time you snorkel on the house reef (cost is $25 per outing)
  5. TRAINED SECURITY STAFF POSTED– All of the security staff are trained in lifesaving and all 3 of the resort jetties have security staff posted. The posted house reef entry points are located near these jetties and the security staff are instructed to watch snorkelers who go out. Probably the closest thing to full time lifeguards I have seen in the Maldives. A measure I think resorts should consider (though the resort points out that these security staff are not intended as “lifeguards” and people should not depend on them for their safety).
  6. LIFEJACKET RECOMMENDED – It still boggles my mind that a number of quite knowledgeable Maldives experts on the Maldives TripAdvisor Forum have asserted the bizarre argument that snorkelling with a lifejacket is dangerous. I think their reasoning is along the lines of (a) “just say no” – ie. if you can’t swim well, don’t try it (nice, in principle, but in the real world people don’t really understand or respect their limitations, not to mention that this prohibition removes one of the great experiences of the Maldives from their visit), and (b) “over-confidence” – ie. the same reasoning as to why some say seat-belts are unsafe – because the sense of security makes you drive more recklessly (one may drive recklessly, but whatever the outcome of your driving, you are safer with a seat belt). Anyway, authorities like the Red Cross and PADI strongly urge the use of lifejackets when engaging in swimming activities where there is any question of swimming capacity (eg. strong swimmers in tough conditions, weak swimmers in easy conditions). The fact that Dusit Thani strongly encourages this practice is an inspired attitude in my view.

 

HINT FOR THE TEST – We knew the first technique for checking current, but hadn’t thought of the other two which are quite obvious on reflection…

  1. See which way the fish are facing (they swim into the current)
  2. Ask the dive centre
  3. Ask the boat captains.

 

Happy (and Safe) Snorkelling!

Best of the Maldives: Ice Cream – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi ice cream 2

 

 

 

Nothing goes with sunshine like ice cream. And nobody does ice cream in the Maldives like Soneva Fushi. We have sampled many dairy delicacies over our many trips here, and some particularly scrummy scoops, but no selection as broad and creative as theirs. More flavours than a Baskin Robbins (49 – see below). Not only are the ice creams are made on the island, but some are even invented on the island with some of the resort’s own special recipes like “Eva’s Cheese Cake” and “Soneva Magnum.”  Some far-out flavours I had never even heard of like “Pandan” (a cake) and “Gianduja” (a Belgian chocolate).

And if you have your own creative spark, you can also craft your own sundae with are cornucopia of toppings and mix-ins (see bottom) including both multi-coloured and chocolate sprinkles (!).

Never mind the remote Maldives, if Soneva’s ice cream parlour was in London, it would be on a “Best of London” list.  The cavalcade of custards includes…

  • Almond and amaretto
  • Almond milk (dairy free)
  • Baileys and chocolate chips
  • Banana
  • Brown bread
  • Cappuccino
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa
  • Eva’s cheese cake
  • Fruit and nuts
  • Green tea
  • Gianduja
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey walnut
  • Honeycomb
  • Mango
  • Mint and chocolate chips
  • Orange and Campari
  • Pandan
  • Passion fruit
  • Pistachio milk (dairy free)
  • Raspberry
  • Rum and raisin
  • Soneva Magnum
  • Stracciatella
  • Strawberry (sugar free)
  • Sweet ginger
  • Vanilla

Sorbet

  • Banana
  • Basil and yogurt
  • Black currant
  • Carrot and ginger
  • Cocoa
  • Fresh coconut
  • Grapefruit
  • Green tea
  • Jasmine
  • Lychee rose water and gewürztraminer
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Passion fruit
  • Papaya & lime
  • Pineapple and chilli
  • Raspberry
  • Rose water
  • Strawberry
  • Watermelon (sugar free)
  • Mango

Toppings

  • Almond biscotti
  • Berry compote
  • Brownie crumbles
  • Butterscotch
  • Chewy meringue
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Chocolate chunks
  • Mixed nuts
  • Vanilla sauce
  • Whipped Cream

 

Soneva Fushi ice cream toppings

 

Soneva Fushi ice cream menu

Best of the Maldives: Zumba – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - zumba 2

 

Zumba is a fitness craze that has is just about everywhere now, but in the Maldives it is only at the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi resort. Like a number of aerobic trends, the key to its popularity is injecting a strong dose of fun into the workout so there is less pain with the gain.

Zumba’s fun is dance. Dance based fitness which has been sort of the core of aerobics for years (think “Flashdance”). But aerobics always seems like fitness first and dance second…exercise set to music. Zumba is more music first and fitness second. Think musical movement amped up enough to provide some fitness.

Dhevanafushi's exclusive offer is thanks to their spa staffer, Elmer Munar. In fact, Elmer was the first to introduce Zumba to the Maldives offering it for periods at a number of resorts, but now he is resident at Dhevanafushi. He holds classes at their over-water Talise Spa which provides a visual vista as energizing as the music and Elmer’s charismatic class leading. No need to wrest yourself away from the ocean to just enjoy a bit of cardio.

Elmer welcomes you with a cold lemonade and scented towel (which I found myself returning to several times during the session). He is licensed Level 2 in 5 of the 7 Zumba styles – Fitness, Sentau, Toning, Kids and Kids Jr. It’s like a buffet of Latin dance. Lori and I did cha-cha, salsa, mambo and Cubiya moves with a cool down to the bachaba. All the moves are simple and repetitive to make them easy to pick up. They all can be embellished as you get better. Elmer is clearly an expert and once the class settles into its own groove, he adds a number of flourishes to his own steps providing a bit of extra dazzle and fun to watch.

It’s hard to find a bit of dancing in the Maldives. Usually, it’s the occasional DJ enlisted for an evening or two. For any one who likes a bit of getting their groove on, Elmer’s studio is a must stop.

Fizzness. Fitness with fizz.

 

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - zumba 1

Best of the Maldives: Jacuzzi Chess – Ayada

Ayada - jacuzzi chess

 

I have seen lots of ways to play chess. Fancy sets. Giant outdoor setups. But Ayada’s has to be the most ingenious master stroke of them all.

I love hanging out in the Jacuzzi or pool, but admit it can get a bit boring. You can’t read in the pool because the pages get wet and don’t even think about bringing in your iPad.

This is what 5-star luxury is all about (and the the focus of so many “Best of the Maldives” pieces) – taking a simple, ordinary thing (a game of chess) and making it extraordinary.

Check and mate!