Best of the Maldives: Indian Wine – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - Indian wine 2

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

Taj Exotica - Indian wine

Best of the Maldives: Glass Coffee Table – Safari Island

Safari Island - glass coffee table 1

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.

Safari Island - glass coffee table 2

Best of the Maldives: Alternative Ping Pong – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - ping pong table

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!

Six Senses Laamu - smash


Best of the Maldives: W Retreat – Pool Float

W Retreat - float

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)…

W Retreat - giant pink flamingo

Ladies’ Cay

Cherry Yeung (Hong Kong) - Taj Exotica

Ladies Day today is not only the height of fashion display during “The Season”, but quite possibly the entire year in the UK. A rainbow of couture is literally topped off with the most extensive collection of high-brow over the brow.  In fact, here is the official dress code for Ladies entering the Royal Enclosure today at Royal Ascot:

  1. Dresses and skirts should fall just above the knee or longer
  2. Jackets & pashminas may be worn
  3. Trouser suits are welcome but must be full length and of matching material and colour
  4. All straps must be one inch or greater
  5. Jumpsuits are welcome but must be full length to the ankle and follow the same strap regulations as dresses
  6. Hats should be worn
  7. Headpieces must have a solid base of four inches or more

Maldives fashionistas have got the last two down, but maybe literally coming up short on #1 and #4 quite often.

The more casual wide-brimmed straw has been a perennial favourite.  But the cursive catch-phrase stitched on has become a bit of a rage this season (see  #3, #42, #50).  Maldives fashionistas are no less the fan of a well perched headpiece. Here is the Maldives Complete 2017 collection of Maldive millinery…


  1. Cherry Yeung (Hong Kong) – Taj Exotica [ABOVE]
  2. Roksana Mussabekova (Russia) – Sun Island
    Roksana Mussabekova (Russia) - Sun Island
  3. Vlada Sharpilova (Ukraine) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Vlada Sharpilova (Ukraine) - Sun Siyam Irufushi 3
  4. Julia Dybowska (Poland) – JA Manafaru
    Julia Dybowska (Poland) – JA Manafaru
  5. Kristina Mendonca (Australia) – W Retreat
    Kristina Mendonca (Australia) - W Retreat
  6. Olga Stepp (United Kingdom) – Halaveli
    Olga Stepp (United Kingdom) – Halaveli
  7. Kristina Marakova (Russia) – Mahibadhoo
    Kristina Marakova (Russia) - Mahibadhoo
  8. Adelina Novak (Russia) – Taj Exotica
    Adelina Novak (Russia) - Taj Exotica
  9. Full Time Mamy (Thailand) – W Retreat
    Full Time Mamy (Thailand) - W Retreat
  10. Cristina Ich (Romania) – NIYAMA
    Cristina Ich (Romania) – NIYAMA
  11. Coco Airi (Japan) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Coco Airi (Japan) - Gili Lankanfushi
  12. Kseniia Burda (Russia)
    Kseniia Burda (Russia)
  13. Nina Serebrova (Russia) – Medhufushi
    Nina Serebrova (Russia) - Medhufushi
  14. Alessandra Ambrosio (Brazil) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Alessandra Ambrosio (Brazil) - Shangri-La Vilingili
  15. Katusha Lobanova (Russia)
    Katusha Lobanova (Russia)
  16. Ming Arinmas (Thailand) – W Retreat
    Ming Arinmas (Thailand) - W Retreat
  17. Greta (Russia) – Hurawalhi
    Greta (Russia) - Hurawalhi
  18. Pia Muehlenbeck (Australia) – Maalifushi
    Pia Muehlenbeck (Australia) – Maalifushi
  19. Seven Holidays (South Korea) – Velassaru 2
    Seven Holidays (South Korea) - Velassaru 2
  20. Irina (Russia) – Sun Island
    Irina (Russia) - Sun Island
  21. Viktoria (Azerbaijan) – Ayada
    Viktoria (Azerbaijan) – Ayada
  22. Adriana Larina (Philippines) – Ranveli
    Adriana Larina (Philippines) - Ranveli
  23. Carrie Santana da Silva (United Kingdom) – Velassaru
    Carrie Santana da Silva (United Kingdom) – Velassaru
  24. Katarina Ku (Indonesia) – NIYAMA
    Katarina Ku (Indonesia) - NIYAMA
  25. Sonja Kovac (Croatia) – Sun Island
    Sonja Kovac (Croatia) - Sun Island
  26. Frankie Bridge (United Kingdom) – Hurawalhi
    Frankie Bridge (United Kingdom) - Hurawalhi
  27. Alessia Marcuzzi (Italy) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Alessia Marcuzzi (Italy) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  28. Safiarina (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi 2
    Safiarina (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi 2
  29. Jacquelyn Jablonski (USA) – Constance Moofushi
    Jacquelyn Jablonski (USA) - Constance Moofushi
  30. Luchiya Stefanova (Bulgaria) – AaaVeee
    Luchiya Stefanova (Bulgaria) - AaaVeee
  31. Anastasia Romanova (Russia) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Anastasia Romanova (Russia) - Club Med Finolhu Villas
  32. Lena Mazuchova (Czech) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Lena Mazuchova (Czech) - LUX South Ari Atoll
  33. Aum Patchrapa (Thailand) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
    Aum Patchrapa (Thailand) - Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
  34. Jessica Cabensy (USA) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
    Jessica Cabensy (USA) - Anantara Kihavah Villas
  35. Nelli Chernova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Nelli Chernova (Russia) - Irufushi
  36. Margareth Made (Italy) – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
    Margareth Made (Italy) - Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
  37. Emma Lapin (Serbia) – Sun Island
    Emma Lapin (Serbia) - Sun Island
  38. Koi Chayathip (Thailand) – Vakarufalhi
    Koi Chayathip (Thailand) - Vakarufalhi
  39. Dilya Diaz (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu

  40. Scarlett De La Torre (Hong Kong) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Scarlett De La Torre (Hong Kong) - LUX South Ari Atoll
  41. Lorraine Van Wyk (South Africa) – One and Only Reethi Rah
    Lorraine Van Wyk (South Africa) – One and Only Reethi Rah
  42. Irina Kislyak (Russia) – Sun Island
    Irina Kislyak (Russia) - Sun Island
  43. Mimi (South Male)
    Mimi (South Male)
  44. Michelle Mone (United Kingdom)
    Michelle Mone (United Kingdom)
  45. Papic Sanja (Panama) – Velassaru
    Papic Sanja (Panama) - Velassaru
  46. Caitlyn Howe (USA) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Caitlyn Howe (USA) - Gili Lankanfushi
  47. Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
  48. Nicola Brown (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Nicola Brown (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
  49. Mina Al Sheikhly (UAE) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Mina Al Sheikhly (UAE) Sun Siyam Irufushi
  50. Valentina Pahde (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Valentina Pahde (Germany) - Sun Siyam Irufushi

“IN Beach” Dinners

Dusit Thani - beach dinner

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]

2. Dhigufaru
Dhigufaru - beach dinner

3. LUX Maldives
LUX South Ari Atoll - beach dinner

4. Velassaru
Velassaru - beach dinner

5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - in beach dinner

6. Amilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - beach dinner

7. Gili Lankanfushi
Gili Lankanfushi - beach dinner

8.  Taj Exotica
Taj Exotica - in beach dinner

9.  Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - beach dinner

10. Anantara Veli
Anantara Veli - beach dinner

Best of the Maldives: Eco-Offer – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi - eco offer

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 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.

Best of the Maldives: Turtle Rescue – Coco Bodu Hithi / Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - turtle vet

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’.”

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - turtle clinic

Best of the Maldives: Customer-Centric Cocktails – Kuramathi

Kuramathi - customer cocktails

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.

Best of the Maldives: Manta Napkin – Canareef

Canareef - manta napkin folding

I have “pinned” about every medium to the Maldives Complete Pinterest boardstowels, 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.