The water villa floors are not the only place you will find an exotic glass in the Maldives. Their world class wine cellars house some of the most exquisite vintages from around the world.
One might not think of the neighbouring subcontinent as a particularly noteworthy appellation. We fell into that same trap. We went to a champagne blind taste testing which featured a Indian sparkling wine called Omar Khayam (which at the time was stocked by ASDA). We were all expecting it to taste like yesterday’s vindaloo, but in the tasting everyone (blind again) rated it as one of the top bubblys. We mistook it for Moet. It turns out that Omar Khayan had gone into to partnership with Louis Roederer and produced some actual vintage runs with exceptional quality (Unfortunately the production of at least the vintage stuff has stopped and I can’t find any bottles anywhere. We did try some N.V. bottles, but frankly, they did merit more of a comparison to curry than champagne).
But you can find some top bottles at Taj Exotica from the budding producers. Especially Fratelli Wines in Nasik, India which has produced a selection “Specially matured and bottled for Taj Exotica”.
- Fratelli, “Sette VII” Sagiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, $95
- Fratelli, “Vitae” Chardonnay, Barrel fermented, 2014, $75
शराब के बिना भोजन बिना धूप के एक दिन की तरह है
The favorite, even iconic, holes in the boards in the Maldives are the infamous glass floors of the water villas. But, Safari Island has lifted this feature with its indoor glass table. Sure beats a coffee table boo of underwater photography to instead sit down and gaze at the real thing. It’s a nice twist so that you can linger, perhaps over a cuppa or a cocktail to real savour this special view instead of staring down at your feet.
Holy Ping Pong Batman! This is not just something I have not seen at any other Maldives resort…I haven’t seen it anywhere else in the world (thanks Paola). Sort of like table tennis with golf hazards. Six Senses Laamu describes…
- ”This is a ping pong table that we have made here at the resort as part of our fun & quirky concept. It is placed on the beach outside Sip Sip along with other games we have made here on the island (giant score four, jenga etc). It is not easy as it looks! The table has holes with nets on it so one would have to have great aim to play without dropping the ball in the hole.”
Beer pong returning to its ping pong origins, though contrary to the resort statement, I think there definitely should be a version where you drink a beer if your opponent sends it into one of the holes.
A real *smash* hit!
Eid Mubarack! If you need to just lie down after all the feasting, then W Retreat offers literally the biggest armada of pool floats to lull you to a gently bobbing repose.
When we visited the Maldives with our children years ago, Lori and I would read by the pool while they splashed about (perhaps the very first beginnings of Maldives Complete was my research into which resorts had pools which the kids adored). If we had the W’s Canopy Float (see photo above), I could have enjoyed my reading in the pool rather than beside the pool. Especially with the sun-protecting canopy which keeps the light from being too harshly bright on the eyes while reading.
And if you want to make the biggest splash with a blow-up pink flamingo Instagram pic, the W has just introduced the largest in the Maldives, the mother of all pink flamingo floats (see below)…
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International Picnic Day today. And the Maldives resort go a bit beyond the blanket and basket. There are dinners “on” the beach, but in the Maldives you can dine “in” the beach. In luxurious style. Here are the Maldives Complete Top Ten “IN” beach dinners for your end your picnic day in paradise…
1. Dusit Thani [ABOVE]
3. LUX Maldives
5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
6. Amilla Fushi
7. Gili Lankanfushi
8. Taj Exotica
9. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
10. Anantara Veli
First rule of exploring the undersea world is “hands off”…but if you do want to get “hands on”, then Soneva Fushi there to lend you a hand. They are offering a special deal where you actively engage with their extensive eco-sustainability initiatives and get special pricing (thanks Paola)…
- “Stay five nights with us at Soneva Fushi, and if you agree to participate in the following initiatives, your next five nights will be on us. A tailored programme will be prepared for you for a few hours per day, over five days, incorporating the following elements:
- Land: Assist our horticulturists, mycologists, and gardeners in maintaining the vegetable gardens and learn how to grow your own vegetables. Deliver the vegetables to our restaurants and learn how to create a seed bank to ensure future sustainability of important crops. Help us to make sustainable bricks in our Eco Centro Waste to Wealth facility
- Water: Snorkel with our marine biologists to help with turtle identification and coral rehabilitation. Spend time each morning clearing debris from the island that may have washed up, and help us to register the fish caught by the local fisherman. Participate in reef clean ups in the Baa Atoll to reduce marine debris and prevent injuries to marine life.
- Community: Work alongside our community engagement manager on established projects with nearby communities, which may include local swimming classes, composting projects, beach clean ups, and other education initiatives.
- To book the Stay for Good offer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call at +91 124 4511000 and quote ECOPKG17. Upon confirmation of your stay, we will begin tailoring a programme to suit your preferences.”
You have to hand it Soneva for their handy way to handle the many environmental challenges in paradise.
World Sea Turtle Day today. And there are few better friends to the sea turtles’ in the Maldives than the Coco resorts Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. They have been long-time supporters of the Oliver Ridley Project with fund raising and public outreach, but this past year brought a pioneering, first ever in the Maldives “marine veterinarian”. Marine Biologist Dr. Claire Petros (from the Oliver Ridley Project) was appointed to operate turtle rescue centres at the resorts. Coco resort described their work in the blog…
- “Guests of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi have been incredibly generous in their efforts to support the project by donating funds directly and by purchasing signature Olive Ridley turtle toys at the resorts. In May 2016, we received the target of the funds required to start construction of the first rescue centre at Coco Palm….As planned, [the centre includes] a dedicated veterinary surgeon has joined our team to look after the rescue centre!”
She provides treatment and ever surgery to ill and injured turtles at the resort turtle rescue centres. Hotellier Maldives also did a profile on her work focusing on her clinic…
- “’My main role is to care for the injured turtles that we find around the country with the intention of being able to release them when recovered as quickly as possible.’ Injured sea turtles are not a rare sight in the Maldives waters. Though turtles are a protected species in the Maldives, their foes range from abandoned fishing nets, and people, who are hungry for their meat, eggs, and shells. Ghost nets are nets that have been discarded, abandoned or lost in the ocean. They can continue to entangle endangered and vulnerable animals such as marine turtles, birds, sharks, rays, dolphins and whales, long after they have been discarded, abandoned or lost. ‘Turtles are very attracted to ghost gear as it often contains an easy meal, but unfortunately during the process of trying to eat the fish entrapped in the nets, the turtles themselves become entangled,’ she explained. ‘Sadly, the effort to escape is so great by the animal that it exerts enough force to break its own bones and the extent of the injuries suggests that turtles may suffer for weeks before dying, or hopefully be rescued’.”
A good bartender can make just about anything the customer asks for, but the Kuramathi bartenders make drinks the customers invent. And keep on making them for other guests too. The resort held a cocktail concocting competition last year and the winning entries were (a) “Tropicana” by Elena from France, (b) “Speedbabe” by Andrew from England. As a part of their prize, their creations will be featured on the Kuramathi cocktail list for a year.
I have “pinned” about every medium to the Maldives Complete Pinterest boards – towels, palm fronds, watermelon, coral pieces, flowers, pancake batter, coloured rice, sand, soap suds, bread, cooked rice, coconut husk and milk foam. So I was especially impressed when I arrived at Canareef who presented their welcome fruit arrangement with a bit of aquatic-inspired artistry manta shaped out of a napkin. Serviette with a smile.