Social Media Holi-Day

Anatara Dhigu - Bar Rafaeli social media

Social Media Day today celebrates the surge of sharing and micro-blogging that has exploded on the web in the past couple of years. When I launched Maldives Complete nearly a decade ago, the inclusion of a “Blog” on this travel site was somewhat of a novelty. For the first few years, now resort really has any blog on their website. Blogging tended to be more the domain of technologists and political pundits. Now any girl (yes, the social media elite is dominate entirely by young women) with a trust fund and a well turned ankle is a “lifestyle blogger”.

I’m still about the interesting analysis (even if it is illustrated with some local colour). My fashion database now includes over 700 Maldives-loving fashionistas of which of 200 are classified as “bloggers”.

I’ve also gathered up their social media credential across a range of the top platforms including the following (with the top Maldives visitors by each)…

  • Instagram: Victoria Beckham (United Kingdom) – 8,990,000 Followers (One & Only Reethi Rah)
  • Facebook: Deepika Padukone (India) – 27,667,000 Followers (Taj Exotica)
  • Twitter: Paris Hilton (USA) – 13,600,000 Followers (Velaa)
  • YouTube: Tanya Burr (United Kingdom) – 531000 Views (LUX South Ari Atoll)

I’ve created a basic “Maldives Complete Digital Index” based on the numbers of Followers, etc. each individual has. Ties in Index points broken by total points (which adds things like Wikipedia, IMDB, website)…

A few observations…

  • English matters – The big English speaking countries – UK, USA, India – dominate 16 of the top 20
  • Looks matter – “Models” are the biggest category with 9 of the top 20. Despite commanding nearly a third of all fashion/travel material posted, only 2 actually Bloggers made it into the Social Media top twenty.
  • Sports Illustrated matters – Anantara Dhigu/Veli and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru together boasted 5 of not just the top 20, but the top 10! Both on the high-heels of the Sports Illustrated photoshoots taken place there. Aside from those, no other resort had more than one entry.
1. Bar Refaeli (Israel) – Anantara Dhigu [ABOVE]
2. Tanya Burr (United Kingdom) – LUX South Ari Atoll
Lux South Ari Ari - Tanya Burr social media
3. Tyra Banks (USA) – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - Tyra Banks social media
4. Christine Teigen (USA) – Anantara Dhigu
Anantara Dhigu - Christine Teigen social media

5. Brooklyn Decker (USA) – Anantara Veli
Anantara Dhigu - Brooklyn Decker social media
6. Priyanka Chopra (India) –Nika
Nika - Priyanka Chopra social media
7. Irina Shayk (Russia) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
Anantara Kihavah Villas - Irina Shayk social media
8. Yeng Constantino (Philippines) – Angsana Velavaru
Angsana Velavaru - Yeng Constantino social media
9. Heidi Klum (Germany) – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - Heidu Klum social media
10. Dita Van Teese (United Kingdom) – Conrad Rangali
Conrad Rangali - Dita Van Teese social media

11. Bipasha Basu (India) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Kudaa Huraa - Bipasha Basu social media
12. Sonakshi Sinha (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - Sonakshi Sinha social media

13. Sonam Kapoor (India) – Jumeirah Vittaveli
Jumeirah Vittaveli - Sonam Kapoor social media
14. Victoria Beckham (United Kingdom) – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah - Victoria Beckham social media
15. Zoe Sugg (United Kingdom) – Ranveli
Ranveli - Zoe Sugg social media
16. Nicole Scherzinger (USA) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
Sun Siyam Irufushi - Nicole Scherzinger social media
17. Deepika Padukone (India) – Taj Exotica
Taj Exotica - Deepika Padukone social media
18. Paris Hilton (USA) – Velaa
Velaa - Paris Hilton social media

19. Charlotte Crosby (United Kingdom) – Zitahli Kudafunafaru
Zitahli Kudafunafaru - Charlotte Crosby social media

20. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (United Kingdom)
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini Maldives social media










Bar Refaeli


Club Med Finolhu Villas






Tanya Burr

United Kingdom

LUX South Ari Atoll






Tyra Banks


Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru






Brooklyn Decker


Anantara Dhigu






Priyanka Chopra








Christine Teigen


Anantara Dhigu






Irina Shayk


Anantara Kihavah Villas






Yeng Constantino


Angsana Velavaru






Heidi Klum


Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru






Dita Van Teese

United Kingdom

Conrad Rangali






Bipasha Basu


Four Seasons Kuda Huraa






Sonakshi Sinha


Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru






Sonam Kapoor


Jumeirah Vittaveli






Victoria Beckham

United Kingdom

One & Only Reethi Rah






Zoe Sugg

United Kingdom







Nicole Scherzinger


Sun Siyam Irufushi






Deepika Padukone


Taj Exotica






Paris Hilton








Charlotte Crosby

United Kingdom

Zitahli Kudafunafaru






Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

United Kingdom






Best of the Maldives Online: TED Coral Reefs

For those of you who can’t make even a brief stop over to the Maldives, but still wish to explore the wonders of its world famous coral reefs, I highly recommend Kristen Marhaver’s TED talk “How We’re Growing Baby Corals to Rebuild Reefs”…

“Coral reefs are farmers. They provide food, income and food security for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Coral reefs are security guards. The structures that they build protect our shorelines from storm surge and waves, and the biological systems that they house filter the water and make it safer for us to work and play. Coral reefs are chemists. The molecules that we’re discovering on coral reefs are increasingly important in the search for new antibiotics and new cancer drugs. And coral reefs are artists. The structures that they build are some of the most beautiful things on planet Earth. And this beauty is the foundation of the tourism industry in many countries with few or little other natural resources.”

Quite a few resorts now (17 by my count) invest in reef regeneration programmes on their island. Someday maybe Marhaver’s work will allow us to go beyond strapping coral pieces to frames and actually cultivate and propagate corals.


Best of the Maldives: Male Snorkel Excursion – Secret Paradise

Secret Paradise - Male excursions

For those travellers swinging by Maldives for a short stop, one of my Top 10 FAQs is “Is there a place I can do a snorkel excursion to an island/reed during my one day stay in Male?” People looking for this include…

  • Cruise stops
  • Flight lay-overs
  • Short-stay visits
  • Business visitors

Much as I have researched the subject, it has been one of my earlier “Haven’t Seens”. But now I’ve now found an operator in Male who offers snorkel and dive trips from Male as well as a range of other excursions from a the operator Secret Paradise. I got in touch with them and they were very friendly and helpful. They sent me the following details on the snorkeling trips that they offer which all include services of a guide, snorkeling equipment and local taxes and service charges…

  • An insight into Marine Conservation (12:00-17:00) – Dive or snorkel with local conservationists and actively contribute to our conservation effort in Villimale. You will gain an understanding of the Maldivian ecosystems and conservation challenges arising from coastal development unique to small island states. Enjoy a tour of the island of Villimale observe island life and the impacts of land reclamations and harbor development first hand. Share traditional Maldives afternoon tea ‘hedika’ at a local tea shop with the Save the Beach reef conservation group. Includes…
    • Snorkeling or diving Equipment (Certified divers only
    • Hedika experience
    • Return transfer from guesthouse to Villimale
    • $99 per person diving
    • $90 per person snorkeling
  • Morning Snorkeling (08.30-12.30) – Depart on a traditional dhoni at 9.00am for a group snorkeling safari, two of the best snorkeling points close to Male. Sites vary dependent on weather and current conditions. Return Hulhumale approx. 12:30. Includes…
    • Return transfer from guesthouse to dive centre.
    • $45 per person
  • Afternoon Snorkeling (14:00-16:30) – Depart on a speedboat for a snorkeling safari, two of the best snorkeling points close to Male. Sites vary dependent on weather and current conditions. Return Hulhumale approx. 18:00. Includes:
    • Speedboat transfer from Hulhumale jetty
    • $65 per person based on a minimum of two guests

So if you are in the neighbourhood of the Maldives and you want to sample some of its world-famous snorkelling, by all means, stop into this hopefully less secret paradise.

Secret paradise - reef

Best of the Maldives: Swinging – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah Villas - hammock

Kihavah King of the Swingers for Jungle VIPs.

I was particularly impressed during my stay at Anantara Kihavah that every villa was kitted out with a high quality hammock. Most resorts I have visited have communal pendulous pallets scattered across the resort. But also each villa deck has a sofa swings (see directly below).

Communal swings do abound throughout the resort with such exceptional models as their “best of” pool swing (see second below). And they even have the increasingly de rigeur lagoon swing (see bottom).

Anantara Kihavah Villas - villa swing

Anantara Kihavah Villas - pool swings


Best of the Maldives: Tree Swing – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reeth Rah - tree swing

‘Best of the Maldives’ is all about extremes. And you don’t get any more extreme than One & Only Reethi Rah’s tree swing. Sort of the complete antithesis of Reethi’s workout Stott Pilates pulley swinging mechanism. A long rope means a longer, gentler undulation with a more languid rhythm reflecting the Maldives as a whole really.

Best of the Maldives: Stott Pilates – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah pilates machine

Versatile athletes need weight training for strength, cardio for endurance and  technique. Pilates is tainted with a bit of a “aging bored housewife” stereotype, but it is great for the flexibility and core fitness needed for top technique in most sports. I have also started practicing Pilates every week with a group of guys in the neighbourhood. And if you want to see a real manly pro then check in with Lindley (photo) at One & Only Reethi Rah who offers “Stott Pilates” instruction. The “Stott” variant focuses on the “natural curvature of the spine” rather than a more straight alignment of conventional Pilates.  Our sessions at home use maybe a ball or a band, but Reethi is kitted out with a number of high-tech specialist Pilates machines for the most advanced workout I’ve come across.

Best of the Maldives: Walking / Running Path – Kurumba

Kurumba - running pathway

Olympic Day today. And a particularly timely one with Rio 2016 just around the corner. Elite athletes around world (well, the clean ones at least) will be in the final stages of preparing for their lifetime’s pursuit. A few of my friends in the rowing world will be making the trip to Brazil with Team GB.

If you fancy a bit of chill before the thrill (or you are consoling yourself for missing out on selection), then you can still carry on your roadwork training in the Maldives…at Kurumba. The resort features a handy little running track effectives. A paved pathway circumnavigating the island.

Running on the beach can provide a more exhausting workout, but the unsteady surface can result in a losing your footing and maybe even twisting your ankle (not something you want to either right before your Olympic event or even just on holiday). Many paths in the Maldives crisscross the islands, but Kurumba’s is a handy loop which allows for a convenient circuit just over a kilometre (see above). Some parts pass under nicely shading palms trees and other parts run fairly close to the ocean’s edge for an inspiring seaside vista.

Every time we have visited the resort, we have seen a guest jogging on it. In fact, GM Jason Kruse shared his own run (see above).

Gold medal to Kurumba.

Best of the Maldives: Dive Yoga – Constance Halaveli

Halaveli - dive yoga

Yoga enhances the whole person – mind and spirit. But some poses can be particularly effective at helping certain parts of the body. Each week, our yoga teacher asks us what is hurting and what we want to focus on. Sometimes a tender back will call for a few extra twists and Child Poses. She worked on our hips and arms to get us ready for the golf course in the spring.

One of the most apropos yoga specialisations have been offered by Constance Halaveli – dive yoga. Diving is about body control. Slow and deliberate movements are the focus for both yoga and diving.

But perhaps most of all is the breathing. Yoga turns this autonomic routine in a mindful practice. A scuba diving is all about the breathing. Breath control not only regulates how long you get to stay under water (making your oxygen last longer), but it actually controls your movement in the water. Take a deep breath filling your lungs with air and your increasingly buoyant body will slowly rise. Exhale, and your body will sink again.

The resort describes the programme…

“TGI Diving , DBI, Constance Halaveli Resort and Spa & Katy Appleton team up to offer you an unique adventure to the magical Maldives. Many people would say that the Maldives offers the best diving on the planet, so we are taking apple yoga to the North Ari Atoll for a remarkable combination of underwater discovery and yoga designed especially for diving. We have designed packages to suit all levels of ability and experience – for both diving and yoga. You will be able to join us for just one session or the entire week, it’s up to you! You will experience all that the Constance Halaveli Island has to offer while enjoying daily yoga practices and sublime diving in this piece of paradise.”

For a slightly less aesthetic portrayal of what the dive+yoga combo might be like and a bit of cheeky chakra, Dive Plus on Maafushi posted this pic of their own offering…

Maafushi - dive yoga

Matsyasana in the Maldives

W Retreat - Tara Stiles yoga

Sun salutations to everyone on International Yoga Day. The Maldives legendary tranquillity has made yoga increasingly popular in this Chidanand land.

Nearly every resort will have a yoga master on hand. My very first yoga session ever was a sunrise session during our stay at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Now, Lori and I take a weekly yoga lesson (in fact, we will have a timely session tonight) and Lori has even started doing special yoga holidays herself. I suspect you will see us on the matt at sunrise and sunset during our upcoming tour of the Maldives.

The idyllic surroundings have attracted top yoga practitioners from around the world. In celebration of the day, I have assembled a top twenty collection of some slightly more advanced poses than your typical Fish pose (Matsyasana)…


1. Tara Stiles (USA) – W Retreat [ABOVE]
2. Vivienne Tang (Hong Kong) – Loama Maamagili
Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili - Vivienne Tang yoga

2. Gabi Kim (South Korea) – Huvafenfushi
Huvafenfushi - Gabi Kim yoga

3. Jessica Olie (United Kingdom) – Four Seasons Landaa Givaavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - Jessia Ollie yoga
4. Morgan Guth (Hong Kong) – Velassaru
Velassaru - Morgan Guth yoga
5. Rosa Yogini (Peru) – Centara Ras Fushi
Centara Ras Fushi - Rosa Yogini yoga
6. Kat Harding (Australia) – Four Season Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - Kat Harding yoga
7. Deborah Tan (Singpore) – Centara Ras Fushi
Centara Ras Fushi - Deborah Tan yoga

8. Sjana Elise Earp (Australia) – Amilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - Sjana Elise Earp yoga

9. Linzi B (United Kingdom) – Constance Moofushi
Constance Moofushi - Linzi B yoga
10. Ksenia Seno (Russia) – Taj Exotica
Taj Exotica - Ksenia Seno yoga
11. Dannielle Blaker (OAE) – Ayada
Ayada - Dannielle Blaker yoga
12. Yvette Dusol (United Kingdom) – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah - Yvette Dusol yoga
13. Gemma Cheung (UAE) – Kurumba
Kurumba - Gemma Cheung yoga

14. Anna Kleb (Germany) – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah - Anna Kleb yoga

15. Faya Nillson (Sweden) – W Retreat
W Retreat - Faya Nillson yoga
16. Ea Nitsche Holm (Hong Kong) – Anantara Kihavah
Anantara Kihavah - Ea Nitsche Holm yoga
17. Katrina Robles (Philippines) – Jumeirah VIttaveli
Jumeirah Vittaveli - Katrina Robles yoga

18. Amanda Bisk (Australia) – Four Seasons Landaa Giaavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - Amanda Bisk yoga

19. Tanya Shapoval (Ukraine) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - Tanya Shapoval yoga

Hanging 10

Adaraan Hudahuranfushi - Amy Kotch surf

Totally stoked about International Surfing Day today.

A bommie of fashion pieces this week with a cluster of Maldivian models. Today’s instalment brings us some of top female surfers in the world drawn to one of the top surfing destinations in the world. The Maldives has long be renowned as a Mecca for honeymooners and divers. More recently it has established its cred as a top place for families, luxury travel and of course snorkelling. But I would (and have) add to that list of global distinction its place in the world of choka swell seekers.

Maldives Complete is amped to share its top ten Benny gidgets and wahines


1. Amy Kotch (USA) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi [ABOVE]
2. Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - Sofia Mulanovich surf
3. Taina Izquierdo (Indonesia) – Adaraan Hudhuranfushi
Adaraan Hudahuranfushi - Taina Izquierdo surf
4. Hanalei Reponty (Tahiti) – Club Med Kani
Club Med Kani - Hanalei Reponty suf
5. Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli
Cinnamon Island Dhonveli - Roxy Louw surf
6. Eliza Landgren (Australia) – Adaaran Hudahuranfushi
Adaraan Hudhuranfushi - Eliza Langren surf
7. Alana Blanchard (USA) – Maalifhusi
Maalifushi - Alana Blanchard surf
8. Nikki Van Dijk (Australia) – Maalifhusi
Maalifushi - Nikki Van Dijk surf
9. Georgia Fish (Australia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - Georgia Fish surf
10. Janni Hönscheid (Germany) – Cokes Surf Camp
Coke Sruf Camp - Janni Honscheid surf