World Sleep Day (good chance to sleep off all those green Guinness’s from yesterday).
Cushiest cushion we have slumbered on in the Maldives is Soneva Fushi. Their mattress is nearly 2 feet thick. But just the right firmness too. Combined with its classic four-poster frame, the bed comes to nearly my hip (and I am a tall person). You literally do have to climb into bed. There is a regal comfort to sleeping a bit elevated I find. This mattress would make it hard for even a princess to feel a pea.
Rain descending from above is not typically a welcome feature of a Maldives stay, except when the rain shower is actually, literally, a “rain SHOWER”.
When we first started coming to the Maldives, massage and power showers were the luxury soakers. Shortly thereafter, “rain showers” became the table stakes default for a self-respecting super-premium resort.
Hideaway Beach resort goes even further with their rain shower offering a trifecta of distinction…
- Double shower – A double rain shower. No more getting chilly with having to swap in and out of who gets to be under the water. The resort’s Ocean Villas also have two person rain showers in their bathrooms.
- Likely the “tallest shower” in the Maldives (with it reaching several metres up to the bathroom ceiling),
- Tub/Shower combo – Another “finally seen” ticked off.
Another resort where good things are looking up is Ayada. Specifically, its Royal Ocean Suite features a distinctive array of Levantine lanterns across the ceiling providing an elegant aesthetic worthy of a sultan to this particular luxury suite.
One of the most striking aspects to our own house in England is its beams. We live in a 18th century hay barn and the conversion has kept as many of the original oak timber exposed as possible. This rough hewn timber style is one of Soneva Fushi’s own most defining design motifs. It exudes the all-natural, artisanal, Swiss Family Robinson aesthetic that pervades the property. Beams are up, Soni.
Turtles all the way down…
Turtles aren’t just some namesake mascot for Velaa (“Velaa” means turtle in Maldivian). They are more like its spirit animal that imbues the property from top to bottom. And everywhere in between.
From top, the entire layout of the resort is designed to look turtle shaped from an aerial view. The water villas have been arranged in an almond shape to resemble a turtle head, and 4 jetties surround the circular island to complete the chelonian outline. From below, Velaa is itself a turtle nesting ground (as we so fortunately witnessed when we visited).
But the today’s “Best Of” distinction is more about the in between bit where the essence of the turtle is stylishly reflected in every nook and cranny of the property. The most distinctive design element is its simple, chic logo motif which pervades the resort. A football-like mesh pattern of hexagons and pentagon evoking the characteristic patterns on a terrapin shell. I’ve included just a few snaps I took of the restaurant, the Tower bar, the spa. And at bottom is their cappuccino decorated with cocoa in the same distinctive pattern (thanks Belinda).
I’m on a bit of a roll recently with all of the sculpture features. And of all the things that are better with a bit of butter, rolls are right up at the top. JA Manafaru has baked its own upper crust artistic creations with their own boulangerie menagerie.
I love attention to detail and during my tours I am always on the scrounge for those little touches that make the experience a bit more distinctive. One of my favourites was Dusit Thani’s butter patties wrapped with a little bow of greens. No balancing on the edge of your knife or unwrapping cafeteria-style packages. Just pick up the patty by the sprig and put it on your plate.
In our household, we have a family saying from Lori’s home turf in The South of the USA – “Everything is better with butter!” And a Dusit Thani, even the butter is better.
A treat for women on International Womens Day (though men will like it too) by Jumeirah Vittaveli – Aloe Vera Baked Yogurt with Berries. Created by their Executive Sous Chef Francis Cornelious (see photo below)…
“The life of a modern woman is very stressful and busy, filled with a multitude of tasks and duties that we take on willingly but that also tend to deplete our energy reserves. To counterbalance our stressful routine, we need to ensure that we take care of our body and mind, through healthy food and moments of rest and meditation. At Jumeirah Vittaveli, our creative Executive Sous Chef Francis Cornelious has created a tantalizing dessert that will assist your physical wellbeing, while utilizing unique yet commonly available ingredients.”
The focus of the creation was the health benefits (and of course the taste), but I was enchanted by the colourful artistry of glassy sweetness on top. May women around the world be treated with the same care, consideration and respect as Vittaveli’s tribute to them.
What better use for a bottle than an S.O.S. message? How about an S.O.S. for the entire planet? Starting with creating a sustainable gardening plot? Kurumba used old beer bottles to build an array of gardening plots on the island giving new eco-friendly meaning to the word “bottling plant”. I guess the “S.O.S.” message in their bottles stands for “Sustainable Old Steins”. Not to mention that they have literally created the infamous song…
A hundred bottles of beer in the wall, a hundred bottles of beer…
When people ask me what’s so great about the Maldives, one of my regular replies is…”You know those pictures of a plot of sand and a palm tree? Well, that’s the Maldives!” It is an iconic image of tropical paradise and isolation. And if there another image that is nearly as iconic and complementary, it would be a “message in a bottle” with an “S.O.S” message scrawled inside.
That’s why I love this little story from the Indian Times that came out this week about a guest couple at Constance Moofushi, “Message in a bottle travels from Maldives to Mahabs”…
“A message in a champagne bottle that was tossed into the sea by a Scottish couple on their honeymoon at Maldives eight months ago washed up near the coast of Mamallapuram on Friday. The bottle travelled over a thousand kilometres (about 700 nautical miles) from the Moofushi coastal resort in Maldives before it was picked up by a local tour operator on his evening walk at the Pattipulam beach along the east coast. The note inside the bottle which was plugged with a cork, was rolled up and tied with a string. It read, ‘Mr and Mrs Giles stayed at Moofushi on honeymoon. We went fishing and caught the biggest fish in the sea. So drank this champagne to celebrate! If found please contact us to let us know where out note went.’ The note was signed, Linsey Wright & Marc Giles, Linlithgow, Scotland. C Kothandabani, who found the bottle on Friday evening, phoned the couple the same evening. ‘They were delighted to hear from me. They have promised to come to India soon and meet me,’ said a delighted Kothandabani.”
S.O.S. (“Special Ocean Surprise”)