Best of the Maldives: Ballet Instruction – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - ballet 1

Dance is for everyone. Whether just swaying to the romantic ballads at the resort disco or practicing more classical form with Shangri-La Villingili’s innovative ballet programme.

  • “Reveal the ballerina in you or just discover a new dance fitness routine with our Ballet Master. The celebrated ballerina, Karis Scarlette, a former performer of the Royal Ballet in London and a qualified teacher from the Royal Opera House, will be our Master in Residence, passing on the joy of ballet through inspiring and fun ballet classes for all ages.”

Instruction possibilities include:

  • Ballet Fitness – 60 mins – Complimentary
  • Mini Ballet – 30 mins, parents to be on hand to assist with little ones. Timings: 8 a.m. or 5 p.m.
  • One-to-One Private Session – 60 min – $200 per person / 90 mins – $300 per person
  • Private Sunset Guided Meditation & Stretching by the Beach – 30 mins – $150 for two guests

Shangri-La Villingili - ballet 2

Shangri-La Villingili - ballet 3

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Sculpture Gallery – Sirru Fen Fushi

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 1

International Sculpture Day today. And new resort Sirru Fen Fushi is launching a world class sculpture exhibit with the most distinctively Maldivian twist – it is underwater.

  • “The sculptural installation on Sirru Fen Fushi will offer visitors a unique, cultural eco-art attraction whilst creating the foundations of an artificial reef to enhance the underwater ecosystem. The centre piece will be the Coral Cube, the worlds first semi submerged art space, a portal to the underwater realm offering visitors ephemeral encounters with the natural beauty beneath the water’s surface, delivering an other worldly experience that illustrates the connectivity of man with nature, a hybrid organic form in harmony with its surroundings, a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature.”

This creative installation is another gratifying “Finally Seen” for me as I first suggested such an exhibition 4 years ago with Part 4 of my “Not Seen Yet” series (#7).

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 3

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 2

Arbor Day by the Harbour

Madeline Joy Relph, Natalie Roser, Brooke Hogan (Australia) - Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

I think that I shall never see. A poem lovely as a tree.” – Joyce Kilmer 

Arbor Day today celebrates the noble tree. I’ve often described the Maldives as a that iconic image of a plot of sand in the middle of the ocean with a palm tree on it. So a trees are, at least in some caricatured sense, the most important (if not only) thing on these isolated parcels of paradise. And if there is one group of tree huggers drawn to these swaying shades, it’s the fashionista photoshoot set.

  1. Madeline Joy Relph, Natalie Roser, Brooke Hogan (Australia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa  [ABOVE]
  2. Mary Kareva (Russia) – Kuredu
    Mary Kareva (Russia) – Kuredu
  3. Tia Lineker (United Kingdom) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Tia Lineker (United Kingdom) - LUX South Ari Atoll
  4. Sipos Szilvia (Hungary) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Sipos Szilvia (Hungary) - Cheval Blanc Randheli
  5. Valeria Orsini (Columbia) – Reethi Faru
    Valeria Orsini (Columbia) - Reethi Faru 2
  6. Alvi Lalli (Ukraine) – Anantara Veli
    Alvi Lalli (Ukraine) - Anantara Veli
  7. Kim JuanBandos
    Kim Juan - Bandos
  8. Paula Manzanal (Peru) – Reethi Faru
    Paula Manzanal (Peru) - Reethi Faru
  9. Karina Malina (Russia) – Fihalhohi
    Karina Malina (Russia) - Fihalhohi
  10. Jessica Immobile (Italy) – Constance Halaveli
    Jessica Immobile (Italy) - Constance Halaveli
  11. Tippawan Tanchai (Thailand) – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Tippawan Tanchai (Thailand) - Atmosphere Kanifushi
  12. Frugina (Hungary) – Vilamendhoo
    Frugina (Hungary) - Meeru
  13. Anelia Moor (United Kingdom)
    Anelia Moor (United Kingdom)
  14. Anyuta Rai (Russia) – Hurawalhi
    Anyuta Rai (Russia) - Hurawalhi
  15. Lya Dionisova (Russia) – Cocoon
    Lya Dionisova (Russia) - Cocoon
  16. Karolina Varab (Lithuania – United Kingdom) – W Maldives
    Karolina Varab (Lithuania – United Kingdom) - W Maldives
  17. Barbara Fumagalli (Italy) – Ayada
    Barbara Fumagalli (Italy) - Ayada
  18. Katrin Amaure (Austria) – Furaveri
    Katrin Amaure (Austria) – Furaveri 2
  19. Alexandra Bring (Sweden) – Vilu Reef
    Alexandra Bring (Sweden) - Vilu Reef
  20. Yulia Rybakova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Yulia Rybakova (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
  21. Valentina Vignali (Italy) – Cocoon
    Valentina Vignali (Italy) - Cocoon
  22. Emma Rose (Australia) – Ayada
    Emma Rose (Australia) - Ayada
  23. Ployly Yada (Thailand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Ployly Yada (Thailand) - Club Med Finolhu Villas
  24. Liliana Montoya (USA) – AaaVeee
    Liliana Montoya (USA) - AaaVeee
  25. Anna Ioannova (Russia) – Felidhoo
    Anna Ioannova (Russia) - Felidhoo
  26. Radmila Sadykova (Russia) – Fotteyo Kandu
    Radmila Sadykova (Russia) - Fotteyo Kandu
  27. Irina Popova (Russia) – Fotteyo Kandu
    Irina Popova (Russia) - Fotteyo Kandu
  28. Sonia Eryka (Indonesia) – Centara Ras Fushi
    Sonia Eryka (Indonesia) - Centara Ras Fushi
  29. Fleur De Lis (Russia) – Kihaad
    Fleur De Lis (Russia) – Kihaad
  30. Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
  31. Ilenia Vallejo (Spain) – Baros
    Ilenia Vallejo (Spain) - Baros
  32. Jasminne Majid (Bulgaria) – Anantara Dhigu
    Jasminne Majid (Bulgaria) - Anantara Dhigu
  33. Martyna Rybka (Poland) – Kuredu
    Martyna Rybka (Poland) - Kuredu
  34. Ksenia Tsaritsina (Russia) – Conrad Rangali
    Ksenia Tsaritsina (Russia) – Conrad Rangali
  35. Mariel Chjen (Germany) – Kuredu
    Mariel Chjen (Germany) - Kuredu
  36. Raminta Bielskyte (Lithuania) – Meedhupparu
    Raminta Bielskyte (Lithuania)
  37. Polina Gagarina (Poland) – Jumeirah Vittaveli
    Polina Gagarina (Poland) – Jumeirah Vittaveli
  38. Marianna Mäkelä (Finland0 – Summer Island
    Marianna Mäkelä (Finland0 - Summer Island
  39. April Love Geary (USA) – Amila Fushi
    April Love Geary (USA) – Amila Fushi
  40. Athina Oikonomakou (Greece) – Ayada
    Athina Oikonomakou (Greece) - Ayada
  41. Josephine Skriver (Denmark)
    Josephine Skriver (Denmark)
  42. Nina Moorena (France)
    Nina Moorena (France)
  43. Sana Lantana (USA) – AaaVeee
    Sana Lantana (USA) – AaaVeee 2
  44. Gizel (Brazil) – Angsana Velavaru
    Gizel (Brazil) – Angsana Velavaru
  45. Renee Somerfield (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu
    Renee Somerfield (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu
  46. Alessandra Ambrosio (Brazil) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Alessandra Ambrosio (Brazil) - Shangri-La Vilingili
  47. Elizaveta Vladimirova (Russia)
    Elizaveta Vladimirova (Russia)
  48. Xenia Deli (Moldova) – Six Senses Laamu
    Xenia Deli (Moldova) – Six Senses Laamu
  49. Nika Andryskova (Russia) – Amari Havodda
    Nika Andryskova (Russia) - Amari Havodda 2
  50. Carrie Santana da Silva (United Kingdom) – Velassaru
    Carrie Santana da Silva (United Kingdom) – Velassaru
  51. Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
  52. Charlotte Crosby (United Kingdom) – Kandima
    Charlotte Crosby (United Kingdom) - Kandima
  53. Kimberley Wallis (USA) – Bandos
    Kimberley Wallis (USA) – Bandos
  54. Liz Hurley (United Kingdom) – Huvafenfushi
    Liz Hurley (United Kingdom) – Huvafenfushi
  55. Pla Komaratat (Thailand) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
    Pla Komaratat (Thailand)
  56. Nicole Chen (Malaysia) – Hulhumale
    Nicole Chen (Malaysia) - Hulhumale
  57. Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  58. Nelli Chernova (Russia) – Irufushi
    Nelli Chernova (Russia) - Irufushi
  59. Natasha Jeanvie (Russia) – Meedhupparu
    Natasha Jeanvie (Russia) – Meedhupparu
  60. Jigenmg (Japan) – W Maldives
    Jigenmg (Japan) – W Retreat
  61. Twinkle Mukherjee (India) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Twinkle Mukherjee (India) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
  62. Uliana Berdysheva (Russia) – Sun Island
    Uliana Berdysheva (Russia) – Sun Island
  63. Valentina Braun
    Valentina Braun - 2
  64. Yanita Yancheva (Bulgaria) – Anantara Veli
    Yanita Yancheva (Bulgaria) – Anantara Veli
  65. Nikki Phillips (New Zealand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Nikki Phillips (New Zealand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
  66. Sabrynette Loana (Romania) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Sabrynette Loana (Romania) - Cheval Blanc Randheli
  67. Julia Dybowska (Poland) – JA Manafaru
    Julia Dybowska (Poland) – JA Manafaru 2

Best of the Maldives: Guest Contract – Medhufushi

Medhufushi - guest contract

The first principle to saving the planet is personal responsibility and no resort fosters more than Medhufushi with their inspired guest “contract” of “behaviour rules”. When I coached rowing at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, the programme introduced a very similar contract for all the athletes to sign. It put down on paper important responsibilities and forced everyone to give it more than a fleeting consideration as they were putting their signatures on it.

One of the biggest obstacles to a more sustainable lifestyle is people simply not knowing the adverse impacts some seemingly innocuous activity can have. One of the most prominent examples is STANDING ON THE CORAL. To the uninformed, lots of coral can appear like simply underwater rocks. But despite their stony exoskeleton, they are indeed living animals (not even plants) and standing on them hurts them and can kill them.

Even if you aren’t checking into Medhufushi, their guest rules is a handy guide to do’s and don’ts anywhere in the Maldives:

Dear guest, please acknowledge the following rules. It is for your own safety and enjoyment, and they will help Medhufushi Resort to preserve its natural beauty. Any failure in following these guidelines will incur in a fine of 300 USD.

  1. Do not touch or chase the animals, including marine creatures such as sngrays, turtles and crabs.
  2. Do not feed the animals, including fish and sharks. (There is a fish feeding session organized by the hotel for all guests at 21:00hrs every evening)
  3. It is not permied to catch, kill and eat animals.
  4. Do not pick up coral or shells. Do not damage them.
  5. Do not cook any kind of food in the room kindly contact the Front Desk for any special requests.
  6. During snorkeling excursion, please, Do not stand or walk on the coral it is a delicate living creature that takes several hundreds of years to grow and it is the very foundaon of the beauty.
  7. There is no lifeguard on duty, snorkeling and swimming is at your own risk. Please make sure you are using the proper safety equipment.
  8. Each accompanying parent is deemed responsible for the safety and behavior of their children.

Best of the Maldives: Artificial Reefs – Summer Island

Summer Island - rope reefs

Earth Day today. Time to give back to the planet that gives us all so much. In the Maldives, probably the biggest initiative to strengthen the planet are the reef building initiatives to restore coral stressed by rising sea temperatures as well as outbreaks of COTS. Dozens of resorts invest in these reef regeneration projects, but I’ve never seen so many different approaches than Summer Island.

I’ve already written about their submerged Underwater Objects as well as their Coral Pops. They have also built a series of artificial reefs, the most recent being 15m x 2m x 4m constructed out of limestone rocks. Their latest innovation is a series of Coral Ropes. These serve as a coral nursery to incubate coral growth. Less than 2.5% die, and the ones that live are transplanted to the new artificial reefs:

  • “Three pipes are completely winded in rope (needed over 500 meters) and 2 in fishing nets that were removed from the surrounding reefs. The plateau is hovering (we placed buoys inside the pipes) and it’s 6 meters long & 2 meters wide. The pipes are full of Durban dancing shrimps, Bruun’s cleaning partner shrimps and banded boxer shrimps. In between the ropes we already fixed a lot of coral fragments that are all alive AND growing ! Basically a home for a lot of life and we made it hovering so that if there were any crowns of thorns, the corals won’t be eaten by these damn creatures ! Underneath are limestone rocks where lion fish and octopii are hiding.”

Reef Madness!

Summer Island - artificial reef

Best of the Maldives: Curry Variety – Medhufushi

Medhufushi - beetroot curry

Planted in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there is never any shortage of subcontinent inspired dishes on the Maldives buffets especially the ubiquitous curry. Reef fish is the obviously the more local staple. But I have never seen such variety in curry variety than I did at Medhufushi. Each night they had no less than 3 different curries. Our first night was beetroot curry, cucumber curry and chicken curry.

Best of the Maldives: Eggs Benedict – Velaa

Velaa - Eggs Benedict

I am the Egg Man. Well, the “Eggs Benedict” Man. And if I keep eating rich eggs benedict for breakfast, I will soon be the walrus too. Eggs Benedict Day today (yes, seriously, there is a day for this) and a chance to call out the ultimate luxury breakfast for the ultimate luxury destination – eggs benedict. I’ve had eggs benedict at fine hotels around the world. Velaa shows how little accents can turn something conventional to something exceptional with a special touch.  In their case, a sliver of black truffle on top.  I have had this breakfast dish at some of the finest hotels around the world, and this one was the most impressive (not even accounting for the bonus of eating it with warm sand between my toes, the sun low over the mill pond still ocean and the palms trees swaying languidly overhead).

In honor of this eggs-ellent day, I’ve added the tag “Eggs” to the site.

Maldives Top Models

Raudha Aathif (Maldives) – (Male)

Fashion photoshoots are not just the preserve of guests to the Maldives. The Maldives has a wealth of native beauty that extends beyond the paradise backdrop to the very front of the lens. The programme, Top Model, is coming to the Maldives, to showcase some of its brightest faces. It is a sandy catwalk trailblazed by the doyenne of Dhivehi beauty Raudha Aathif (above), the Maldives’ most accomplished model who was tragically murdered as a student in Bangladesh. Maldives Complete had the privilege of getting to know Raudha briefly for one of her few interviews.

But this tiny country has many worthy faces to follow in her footsteps. You can find many on the “Portraits from the Maldives” Instagram feed which is a gallery of elegant and striking portraiture of mostly Maldivian women. Here are perfect ten of other I have come across during my online Maldives research…

  1. Raudha Aathif (Maldives) – Coco Bodu Hithi [ABOVE]
  2. Aala Ahmed (Maldives)
    Aala Ahmed (Maldives)
  3. Angie Aminath Fazleena AbbasVelaa
    Angie Aminath
  4. Bathool Ahmed
    Maldives - Bathool Ahmed
  5. Eem NizamVilu Reef
    Eem Nizam (Maldives) – Vilu Reef
  6. Fathmath Rasha Abdul HaleemMaafushi
    Fathmath Rasha Abdul Haleem (Maldives) - Maafushi
  7. Juu Juway
    Juu Juway (Maldives) – Maldivian Airways
  8. Mariyam AzzaShangri-La Vilingili
    Maldives - Mariyam Azza
  9. Mihooonaa
    Mihooonaa (Maldives)
  10. Reea ArifShangri-La Villingili
    Reea Arif (Maldives) - Villingili