Best of the Maldives: Wristband Keys – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - wristband key

One of the top joys of the Maldives – throw on your swimsuit, grab your snorkeling gear and head out to the house reef.

Oh wait, don’t forget the villa key. Now where to put it (swimsuits don’t really have many secure pockets). Instead of the typical credit-card style proximity keys, NIYAMA has key band for guests. It’s completely waterproof so they can wear it in the pool, on the housereef or wherever.  (thanks again Paola)

Particularly good for people who wouldn’t remember their own head if it wasn’t attached to them.

Best of the Maldives Online: Interactive Dive Map – Dive Board

Dive Board

Another site making use of Google’s array of online mapping tools is the Dive Board website. It calls itself the “the largest online logbook” providing a database of dive sites around the world. Users can register and log their own dives on the website. Each dive site has a short profile including such information as Dives logged, Longitude and Latitude, and pictures.

But the real power of the site is how is has integrated with Google Maps complete with drill down functionality. At a “high” level, you can scan an entire atoll and it will show you some markers for individual dive sites. But in areas with lots of diving, it will have a coloured circle and a number both indicated the number of dive sites in that sub-area. If you then zoom in, the map will display further discrete dive sites, or even more circles indicating where you need to drill down further in order to distinguish the sites’ specific location. I love the elegance of this solution. You get high level scan-ability as well as drill-down detail. This capability was one of the great benefits of the Microsoft Deep Zoom technology that I exploited for the British Admiralty Maps (unfortunately, the Deep Zoom control only works in Internet Explorer now that Chrome has dropped support for Silverlight technology).

I appreciate the importance of drilling down in making the Maldives Complete Dive Site database. That part of Maldives Complete also works with a basic amount of drill down. There is a top level overview of all the Maldives allowing a user to choose their atoll (most people stay within a certain atoll when visiting a diving. The Atoll view which shows all of the sites in an atoll. You can squeeze them into a PC screen-sized map half the time, but the other half, denser sections of the atoll require a sub-area drill-down map.

Okay emoji

Best of the Maldives: Street View – Club Med Finolhu Villas

Club Med Finolhu Villas - street view

Club Med Finolhu provides a state-of-the-art virtual buggy to tour you around their new property. A number of resort feature “virtual tours”, but many are a bit clunky image stitching. Finolhu Villas uses the popular Google Street View technology. I’m still waiting for a Google Street View of a house reef though (see #17)!


Best of the Maldives: Fashion Pop-Up – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah fashion buggy

The latest Australian fashion extends beyond its globetrotting digerati. “Pop ups” are the big new trend especially in London dining. One & Only Reethi Rah has introduced a pop-up store featuring down-under designer Camilla Franks…

“From November 2015 to April 2016, One & Only Reethi Rah guests can browse through a stunning pop-up store at NEO Beach by Australian designer Camilla Franks. Camilla is well-known for her colourful, vibrant and lively collections which combine intricate craftsmanship, prints and detail to create truly individualistic designs. The 2015 season has already seen One & Only launch its own fashion label, partner with the world-renowned fashion house Missoni to release a bespoke capsule collection and launch a Melissa Odabash pop-up store at One & Reethi Rah. A breathtaking aquamarine Issa dress will also be available at exclusively One & Only resorts including One & Only Reethi Rah this year.”

I especially like the Camilla Frank styled buggy decorated as a part of the offer. So you can pop over to the pop up with a pop art buggy!

G’Day Mates

Australia National Day - Maldives

Happy Australia Day, mates! There seems to be a rash of “National Days” in the Indian Ocean this particular week (India National Day is also today). So, a chance to celebrate the Australians who have flocked to the Maldives. You would think that Australia would have enough sunshine, but even the Diggers dig this paradise.

Australia is especially prominent country in the #Maldives digiverse. While it ranks only 14th in terms of visitor numbers, but when it comes to the Maldives Complete social media database (models, athletes, celebrities, bloggers), it’s chockers with Wallabies coming in 4th (behind Russia, UK and US). What’s not surprising is that the Aussie-pedigreed resort, Amilla Fushi, is the most popular down under – 3 of the highest 7 ranked Australian digi-personalities visited there.  Mind you, the two countries do share a fair bit in common – extreme island nations (one the world’s largest and the other the world’s smallest islands), big surf culture (3 of those featured are surfers), and the biggest coral reef system in the world.  Not to mention the ubiquitous sunshine and effervescent demeanour of the people.

May your national day be as ripper as the togs you snap.


1. Jennifer HawkinsAmilla Fushi
One and Only Reethi Rah - Jennifer Hawkins
2. Laura BingleOne & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah - Laura Bingle
3. Natalie TranLUX Maldives
LUX Maldives - Natalie Tran
4. Shanina ShaikAnantara Veli
Anantara Veli - Shanina Shaik
5. Ricki-Lee Coulter Conrad Maldives
Conrad Rangali Maldives - Ricki-Lee Coulter
6. Nicole WarneAmilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - Nicole Warne
7. Erin Victoria HollandAmilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - Eric Victoria Holland
8. Jasmin HowellSix Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu - Jasmin Howell
9. Jessica SteinW Retreat
W Retreat - Jessica Stein
10. Nikki Van DijkMaalifhusi
Maalifushi - Nikki Van Dijk
11. Sarah StephensCoco Palm Dhoni Kholhi
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - Sarah Stephens
12. Shiralee ColemanConstance Moofushi
Constance Moofushi - Shiralee Coleman
13. Amanda Bisk Four Seasons Landaa Giaavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - Amanda Bisk
14. Gabby EpsteinLoama Resort Maldives at Maamigili
Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili - Gabby Epstein
15. Jean CarmelaMaafushivaru
Maafushivaru - Jena Carmela 2
16. Sophie Rose LeiskShangri-La Villingili
Shangri-La Villingili - Sophie Rose Leisk
17. Steph Claire Smith (Australia) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
Adaaran Hudhuranfushi - Steph Claire Smith
18. Georgia Fish (Australia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
Four Season Kuda Huraa - Georgia Fish
19. Chontel Duncan (Australia) – Meeru
Meeru - Chontel Duncan
20. Victoria LeeSix Senses Laamu
Six Sense Laamu - Victoria Lee
21. Adriana JenningsMaalifushi
Maalifushi - Adrianna Jenkins
22. ElleW Retreat
W Retreat - Elle
23. Karina IrbyAdaaran Hudhuranfushi
Adaaran Hudhuranfushi - Karina Irby
24. Kat HardingFour Season Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - Kat Harding
25. Maddison ClareCentara Ras Fushi
Centara Ras Fushi - Maddison Clare
26. Margaret MacPhersonClub Med Finolhu Villas
Club Med Finolhu Villas - Margaret MacPherson
27. PippaGili Lankanfushi
Gili Lankanfushi - Pippa
28. Renee HendersonFilitheyo
Filitheyo - Renee Henderson
29. Maddie CoxAnantara Veli
Anantara Veli - Maddie Cox
30. Melanie Kyle Oldenburg (Australia) – Olhuveli
Olhuveli - Melanie Kyle Oldenburg 2


Name Resort Primary Total Points Instagram Followers Twitter Followers Facebook Likes
1 Jennifer Hawkins Amilla Fushi Model 17 628,000 1,107,000
2 Laura Bingle One & Only Reethi Rah Model 16 435,000 3,182 201,000
3 Natalie Tran LUX Maldives Blogger 16 66,600 235,000
4 Shanina Shaik Anantara Veli Model 14 508,000 35,000 40,123
5 Ricki-Lee Coulter Conrad Rangali Actress 13 159,000 31,000
6 Nicole Warne Amilla Fushi Blogger 12 1,300,000 29,700 320,000
7 Erin Victoria Holland Amilla Fushi Model 10 5,853 654,000
8 Jasmin Howell Six Senses Laamu Blogger 10 192,000 10,300 11,523
9 Jessica Stein W Retreat Blogger 10 1,800,000 35,700 7,958
10 Niki Van Dijk Maalifushi Athlete 10 185,000 3,012 21,415
11 Sarah Stephens Coco Palm Dhonakuni Model 10 24,700 2,006
12 Shiralee Coleman Anantara Dhigu Model 8 204,000 615 23,510
13 Amanda Bisk Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Yoga 6 485,000 22,000
14 Gabby Epstein Loama Resort at Maamigili Model 6 1,000,000
15 Jean Carmela Maafushivaru Blogger 6 4,496 3,409 11,458
16 Sophie Rose Leisk Shangri-La Vilingili Blogger 6 11,400 598 100
17 Steph Smith Adaaran Hudhuran fushi Model 6 862,000 4,501
18 Georgia Fish Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Athlete 5 4,810 22,072
19 Chontel Duncan Meeru Model 4 165,000 5,851
20 Victoria Lee Six Senses Laamu Model 4 22,600 5,063
21 Adriana Jennings Maalifushi Blogger 3 4,241 155
22 Elle W Retreat Blogger 3 652 295
23 Karina Irby Adaaran Hudhuran fushi Model 3 147,000
24 Kat Harding Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Yoga 3 8,267 101
25 Maddison Clare Centara Ras Fushi Model 3 2,435 100
26 Margaret MacPherson Club Med Finolhu Villas Model 3 5,834 87 1,624
27 Pippa Gili Lankanfushi Model 3 14,900
28 Renee Henderson Filitheyo Model 3 5,793
29 Maddie Cox Anantara Veli Blogger 2 3,642
30 Melanie Kyle Oldenburg Olhuveli Model 2 5,410

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Kids Swing – Dusit Thani

Dusit Thani - Maldivian kids swing

Here’s a little bit of Maldivian culture for the little ones. I love checking out the resort kids clubs whether they have all manner of items shrunk down to tyke size. You will find these Maldivian classic seats throughout the Maldives, but Dusit Thani’s “Baan Sanook” kids club was the only place I’ve seen a tiny tyke version adapted for the little ones.


Best of the Maldives: Local Village – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - village

Maldives National Day today. A time to celebrate Maldivian culture and heritage. At JA Manafaru resort, they celebrate it every day of their year with their own “Kakuni Village” exhibition on the island. Many guests are interested what life was like for residents of this exotic place on Earth (before modern civilisation brought its more globally homogenous concrete and plaster)

The display features several reconstructed Maldivian homes…

A typical traditional house in the Maldives is built here with thatched coconut or palm branches forming the roof of the house which is called BodrugeIt is now very rare to find a house with the badhige (kitchen) as a separate annexure to the dwelling.”

Among other examples of traditional fittings and décor, the village includes…

  • House (bodruge)
  • Gazebo (holhuashi)
  • Outdoor bathing (gifili)
  • Kitchen (badhige)

JA Manafaru - village 2

JA Manafaru - village 4

JA Manafaru - village 3

JA Manafaru - village 5

JA Manafaru - house sign

Best of the Maldives: Photographic Gallery – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - gallery 1

A sense-ational week this week – Smell, Taste, Touch. So how about something for the eyes. If you want something as entrancing as a cabernet’s bouquet, as exquisite as artful nectar, and as soothing as a warm bath, the Huvafenfushi’s newly launched art gallery offers an indulgence of visual delights. The exhibition features both iconic shots of the Maldives, but also a collection of dazzling destination portraits from around the world…

“Per Aquum gallery on the Maldivian island of Huaven Fushi has become the first photography gallery in the world to only be accessible by speedboat or seaplane. Each visitor to the exclusive gallery is greeted at one of the private jettys with a cocktail and are then guided through exclusive prints, only available on the island. Photographer Paul Reiffer had been shooting for the island owners when he saw an opportunity to create a unique exhibition. The 35 year-old said: ‘We’ve done it in part because it’s quirky. If you look at it from a commercial view it’s a stupid idea but we wanted to do something a bit different and it completely works.”

This post has prompted me to add a “Photography” tag for all posts literally focused on the fine art of the camera.

Huvafenfushi - galler 2

Best of the Maldives: Olfactory Wine Tasting – Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - Le Nez du Vin

Think your nose knows the notes? Then sniff out Sun Siyam Irufushi’s olfactory oenology offering.

The “Le Nez du Vin” kits by Jean Lenoir provide a collection of the most prevalent aromas, or “notes,” in wines including “fruity” ones like pineapple and cherry, or “spicy” ones like vanilla and pepper (see list below). The resort sommelier introduces the diners to the pure essence and then serves up a wine where that fragrance features prominently. I think all but the most oenological among us have had that frustration of being told that the wine’s bouquet features “liquorice and geranium” and all we can smell is, well…wine.

For the intermediate class, check out Wine Folly’s “33 of The Most Bizarre Flavors Found in Wine” (includes a few you can sample in Le Nez like liquorice and violet). Actually, here are some of the tasting notes for Cheval Blanc’s (the resort and the chateau) 1947…”The huge nose of fruitcake, chocolate, leather, coffee, and Asian spices is mind-boggling.”

Sun Siyam Irufushi - tastng notes