Best of the Maldives: Hoverboarding – LUX Maldives

LUX Maldives hoverboarding

Way over the water active fun with LUX Maldives latest topical thrill. The resort is certainly keeping up is lagoon cred for adventure adding to “hoverboarding” to its slate. Not the Marty McFly “Back to the Future” verion. Actually, a natural extension to the Flyboarding which LUX pioneered (though I see other resorts offering it now). Flyboards have very short platforms with nozzles out the bottom, while Hoverboard have larger platform “boards” with nozzles out the back (you can find a good description of the difference in this article “Flyboard versus Hoverboard”. Expert Hoverboarder and Flyboard Damone Rippy describes the former as, “Hoverboard was more natural because I am a snowboarder and flying on the Hoverboard feels very similar to snowboarding on water…The Hoverboard is used to soar across the water and glide along side things while being able to elevate to a maximum height and do barrel rolls, spins and carve.”

Like a game you would expect to see on the Jetsons. Or should I say, it is like frolicking in the water with “jets on”.

Best of the Maldives: Overwater Gym – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - over water gym 2

If you want work on your Olympic form without tearing yourself away from the signature Maldives sunshine and seascape, then Huvafenfushi is the fitness centre for you. Set out on its very own jetty with 360 degree views of the ocean masterfully exposed by floor to ceiling glass walls. Nice to see a bit of healthy activity given a place of prominence. So often the resort gyms are tucked away in some remote corner of the inner island. Probably because exertion and effort is sort of the antithesis of what the Maldives is all about.

Also Huva features a fine set of kit from high-grade machines to often-omitted Olympic free-weights and racks (one of my pet peeves is when a resort’s fitness centre is a running machine and a few dumbbells).

When we visited last summer, it was one of the few gyms that inspired her to work off a few of the pina coladas and reef fish curries she has consumed on the trip (see below).

Huvafenfushi - over water gym

Best of the Maldives: Windsurfing – Anantara

Anantara - windsurfing 1

Olympic Day today. Celebrated since 1947 to promote the ideals of the Olympic movement of sport bringing people together from across the world. The day also focuses on getting people to try new athletic endeavours. If you are looking to exploit the calm Maldive waters to just try your hand at the Olympic sport of Windsurfing (aka Sailboarding) or want to ride the waters to an Olympics standard, the the Anantara resorts provide the best windsurfing kit around.

I conferred with Maldive veteran and expert Catherine Watkinson who is both an active contributor to the TripAdvisor Maldives Forum and whose son is an accomplished windsurfer. The genesis of this post here was a posting she made to TA commenting on the troubles her son had finding top grade kit. Most of the gear you find in the Maldives is designed for beginners. That post prompted an investigation by us to find the best kit out there. The tops came out as Anantarta who described their inventory…

“We do offer a big range of top brand equipment, sails from North Sails and Neil Pryde and boards JP Australia and Mistral. Having sails from size 1.9 to 7.3 and board sizes from 094 to 205. Different harness sizes also available, gloves and booties. New equipment has been ordered from the brand Starboard.”

Catherine and her son comments, “These are good quality brands and would suit all levels of windsurfer from beginner (including children) up to the experienced wave sailor or free sailor. If we had been visiting these islands with our son we would not have needed to have flown windsurfing equipment out with us – he would have been very happy with what these [Anantara] islands have to offer.”


Anantara - windsurfing 2

Best of the Maldives: Staff Greeting – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah greeting


Nearly all of the resorts have special greetings for arriving and departing guests, but One & Only Reethi Rah shares a distinctive greeting every time you bump into one of their staff. It is a subtle gesture of placing one’s right-hand on one’s chest. American’s will recognize it as the “pledge of allegiance” pose. And it is sort of a gesture of the staff’s allegiance to your exceptional experience. But more simply, it’s token of affectionate respect expressing the heart they put into all their efforts on your behalf. It’s almost like you are one of the family with your special ritual.

Best of the Maldives: Family Business – Nika

Nika - Giampiero Bellazzi

Happy Father’s Day.

The “resort father” has to be Nika’s, Giampiero Bellazzi. In 1983, he took over the island that had 10 villas on it. But a resort couldn’t survive on that number so when Bellazi took over, he built more but based on the original design concept. Now his daughter Giovanna now runs it the resort as one of the truest veterans in the industry there as she grew up with the Nika resort.

My own father is a big fan of the sun. When we lived on the west coast of the USA, one of my few memories of that earliest age (pre-school) was waking up to the top of the hill to watch the sunset. Later in life we moved to the east coast in the seaside town of Ipswich, Massachusetts and watching the sunrise at the famous Crane Beach was a regular ritual for him. We wrote a small book of quotations, “Days Alive”, illustrated with an animated sun passing across the sky and celebrating the blessings of every day. For years growing up, the tradition has been to give him a card with a sunrise on it and sometimes some curious sun curio as a present. And in 2000, we were able to give him the ultimate sun gift of a trip to Conrad Maldives Rangali for a week.

Best of the Maldives: Glass Table – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - water villa glass table



Glass floors have become a signature design feature in Maldives water villas, but Six Senses Laamu has literally raised the concept to a new level. Their Lagoon Water Villa has transparent portal into the colourful lagoon below, but by making it a table, it’s easier to sit down and enjoy the spectacle with a tropical cocktail.

Today’s post has triggered the addition of a new category tag of the best “Tables” in the blog.

Best of the Maldives: Pool Dining Table – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - pool dining table

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi let’s you have you drinks in the water too. The inset seating is found at its Johara (“Jewel”) restaurant itself located out in the water with the Ocean Pearl villa complex. The pool in which it sits was awarded one of the “Best Pools of the World”. Soneva has one of these sunken tables but for exclusive use of a particular villa while the Jewel on is available for any guest.

Drinks in the pool without getting wet!

Best of the Maldives: Boat Bar – Barefoot

Barefoot - boat bar 2

To toast World Oceans Day today, how about venturing onto the ocean itself to raise a glass? Barefoot resort’s “Black Pearl” is the Maldives only boat bar serving refreshments floating freely on the water.

Barefoot is situated on an inhabited island which means it is not allowed to serve alcohol on its premises in accordance with the respect for its Islamic co-residents. But most non-Islamic guests welcome a drink as a part of their holiday and so Barefoot has secured an alcohol license for its sailing schooner anchored offshore. The resort provides guests with shuttle services to and from.

The boat is charmingly classic with an eerily resemblance to the TV show Lost’s “Black Rock”. And if you know the series, then you will know that it is a great place for a blow out and having a blast.

Barefoot - boat bar

Best of the Maldives: Mango Gazpacho – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi mango gazpacho

So much is my appreciation for gazpacho, and so apropos a dish for the equatorial paradise of the Maldives, I have now added a special “gazpacho” category to the blog to tag all of the distinctive examples sampled here. Today’s chilled cheer goes out to Soneva Fushi’s “Mango Gazpacho” (see above). The mango is a perfect tropical flavour to the characteristic smooth and silky gazpacho style. If you want a taste of paradise at home, here is a recipe for it (including a nod to Soneva in the comments).

Best of the Maldives: Light Italian – Dusit Thani

Dusit Thani - seafood lasagna

Bonjourno! Italy Day today is the occasion to celebrate all things italiano. And the best place to start is the cuisine. Many people think of Italian meal as heavy with the pastas and pizzas (and if you have ever sat through a Sunday family meal in Italy, then you indeed will know the true meaning of “stuffed”). In a hot tropical destination, one might not think of Italian. Usually, it seems that the Italian resort offerings are for the (a) unadventuresome, or (b) the kids (see #a). But Dusit Thani’s Sea Grill restaurant brings an inventive gourmet touch to some true Italian mainstays…

  • Seafood Lasagna (see photo above) – Why don’t more resort restaurants do more seafood pastas (instead of the ubiquitous bolognaise)?? It’s a winge of mine that crops up regularly in my “Haven’t Seen Yet” series (eg. Lobster Mac and Cheese).
  • Light Gazpacho (see photo below)– A twist on Gazpacho made from blanched tomato and garlic and force through cloth for a pure, clear essence of tomato served over tomato and soy garnish.

Now Lori and I go to Italy several times a year and eating are a big part of our visits not to mention that our hometown of London has its own sampling of Italian high cuisine. Gazpacho and Lobster Bisque are my two most favorite soups…and I love soup. I have gazpacho everywhere. And yet, never had never sampled anything quite so delicately exquisite as these two classics with almost ethereal twists.



Dusit Thani - soup 1