Maldives Complete made it to yet another World Travel Market at the Excel Centre in London this week. Maldives resorts, agents, cruises and promoters were there in force. With all the giant, illuminated backdrop tableaus, it was the closest thing to a day visit to the Maldives on a November day in London.
I got a chance to catch up with long-time friends and associates like Barefoot Resort Marketing Director Raffaella Colleoni and Grand Park Kodhipparu General Manager Raffaele Solferino (please, Raffles Resort, hire these two executives!) – see above.
I also got an opportunity to meet some of the folks behind some of the newer properties – eg. Emerald, Carpe Diem, Kuredhivaru, Hard Rock, SAii Lagoon, Rahaa. Emerald in particular has some incredibly attractive pricing and may be doing some extra special offers at its launch. And Hard Rock with SAii Lagoon is going to be a real game-changer opening up entirely new ways of holidaying in the Maldives and experiencing this paradise.
The other revelation to me was the deals for some pretty swish cruising. ScubaSpa is a live-aboard-cum-spa on a luxury cruiser and gourmet meals for the price of a good 4+ star resort. You can choose any number of days that you want to travel to tailor the timings (and costs) to your preferences. And Carpe Diem has a deal of $1200 for a week on their yacht including meals and 3 dives each day. We’ve often considered doing a cruise. We’ve seen so many of the Maldives resorts, we thought it would be a great way to explore some of the deserted islands, remote lagoons and sand bars in the middle of the ocean. We’ve sailed in the Mediterranean and there is an adventurous charm to anchoring in some remote place with no civilisation in sight.
Hurawalhi’s Duniye Spa goes far beyond the ubiquitous sound track of ambient recording featuring soft acoustic instrumentals often mixed with a smattering of nature sounds like whale calls or water lapping. They offer a variety of “Sound Therapy” sessions and techniques including a collection of ringing bowls (see below) and a rain stick (see above). Our family really appreciated this distinctive offering as Chase (our son) has his degree in “Sound Art and Design” and Lori is a professional classical musician, so we are quite familiar with the salutary effects of soothing sounds.
The National Ayurveda Day is celebrated every year on the occasion of Dhanwantari Jayanti. Most Maldives spas include at least one Ayurveda treatment, but Taj Exotica’s has an entire menu of Ayurvedu treatments at its Jiva Spa…
I’ve featured a number of Bed Decorating distinctions over the year and I keep a Pinterest board that includes a broader range of contenders. In fact, I first proposed holding a bed decorating competition 3 years ago. In the controlled environment of an adjudicated competition, the Maldives Housekeepers Forum Competition, it was Vadoo who took home the top prize seeing off a king-sized field of competition…
“More than 50 housekeepers from over 25 resorts and hotel operators participated in the competition; including Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, Velaa Private Island, Kurumba Maldives, Meeru Island Resort & Spa, Centara Hotels and Resorts, Baros Maldives, NIYAMA Private Islands, Bandos Maldives and Hulhulé Island Hotel. Other hotels and resorts which competed in the competition are Hotel Jen, Naladhu Private Island Maldives, Anantara Maldives Resorts, Hurawalhi Island Resort, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, Veligandu Island Resort & Spa, Komandoo Maldives Resort, Coco Collection and W Maldives.”
Vadoo’s gold medal team comprised of Hasaan Majeed and Ahmed Hafiz (see above). Runner-ups were Baros and Hulhule Island Hotel.
One resort that is always dressed in traditional Maldivian garb is AaaVeee. The entire resort is not just inspired by local Maldivian design, but most of the infrastructure was produced in the Maldives itself. In fact, a good number of things like chairs and tables were made on the island by Maldivians using materials from the island itself.
Perhaps the most “Maldivian” aspect is the ubiquitous “koari” adornments. “Koari” means “cone” and is a traditional form of decoration found on the islands. It is a cone made out of palm thatch placed atop a tall pole. I’ve already posted about the koari used to mark the navigation channel to the resort, but it is also used at the reception jetty (see above), in the lagoon (directly below) and various other places across the island. The resort’s chef even baked a “Koari Kake” (below).