In the Maldives, the more leisurely way to swing from the trees is lounging in one of their many swings swaying to the ocean breeze. I remember when I came across the first “birdsnest” swing a decade ago. Now they are common fare across the destination. Recently opened Joali literally does put the “bird” in “birdsnest swing” with its giant Heron head designed by Cape Town-based Porky Hefer. The plaque beside the piece reads, “Very often, birds are the first visitors or residents on the islands. This one migrated from Africa. Kara prefers the Maldivian weather and cuisine. Kara has decided to stay.”
Cocoon not only brought the inside…out, but it also made its outdoor workout facility more like the outdoors itself. Its “Tree of Well Being” is not just a functional fitness apparatus for body-weight training, but also provides a striking sculptural aesthetic as well
·The Tree of Wellbeing is provided by MyEquilibria, a ground-breaking new concept of physical fitness based on instinctive body movements. At first glance, Tree of Wellbeing looks more like a work of art than a place for exercise. Engineered around the biomechanics of instinctive training, the Tree of Wellbeing was created by innovative designer Vito Di Bari.”
See the video below for a video demonstration of one of the exercises.
This is just the latest of a number of activities brought outdoors in the sun-soaked landscape so I’ve now added a new tag “Al Fresco” for things conventionally done indoors that resorts have taken outdoors.
People question why you would want to sit in a gym when you have travelled thousands of miles to be in a natural paradise. I was one of those guys who would do workouts on my Maldives holidays. I wanted to keep momentum in my training, I could get great sessions in because I was eating and sleeping extra well, and the general enthusiasm of the whole holiday gave me an extra boost. I did appreciate when resorts made an effort to bring the outdoors in with big picture windows and well situated views. But AaaVeee’s fitness center goes a step even further. Bringing the inside…out. Their gym is fully outdoors. It does have clear wind/rain sheets to lower during inclement weather. It is so outdoors, that it even has a palm tree going in the middle of it through the floor.
One of my other hobbies (with accompanying website) is rowing. Small-world coincidence, one of my fellow coaches at Marlow Rowing Club, Imogen Walsh, was one of the first rowing coaches in the Maldives stationed there for a year to help develop the sport. One of my first “Haven’t Seen Yet” items is finding a resort with a sculling boat (and there still are none). But the Life Fitness “water rower” at Hurawalhi is designed to most closely simulate the action of rowing in the water with a slider seat the resistance is actually created by a small tank of water at the foot of the apparatus. State-of-the art rowing training with a striking large window view of the nearby ocean to provide that extra aesthetic water feel.
Malahini Kuda Bandos has its own distinctive bite sized treats at its buffet slider station. One of the problems with buffets is that you eat too much as you simply can’t decide between all the delicacies on offer. Not only can you have a tapas-scale burger, but it is also prepared freshly for you to your liking. Have it your way (#NotSoWhopper)!
A nibble to spike that thirst for the mini-bar? NIYAMA’s villas all come with hot-air popcorn poppers and a supply of gourmet popcorn for a quick, fresh, hot, healthy snack. And if that doesn’t satisfy you, they also provide complementary cassava chips for something a bit more exotic.
With this post, I’ve added what is really a long overdue category tag for “Mini-Bar”.
What you don’t want to find on your underwater
Maldives adventure is a bunch of ugly and harmful plastic. People around the world and no less so in the Maldives itself are re-examining how they use plastic and looking for non-plastic alternatives. One option to throwing out plastic straws, it to have a re-usable, non-plastic straw. That was the objective of FinalStraw which is like the straw that James Bond would have (if he drank his martini that way).
Kudos to Kuredu for being the first resort to introduce this elegant innovation to a challenge affecting very close to their home…
“Now available for guests, FinalStraw allows guests to take our commitment to reduce single-use plastics beyond Kuredu Island Resort, and provides great souvenir as well.”
Conrad Rangali’s latest show stopping “wow” feature finally introduces an underwater bedroom to the Maldives. Or should I say “re-introduces”. Actually, Conrad pioneered not only the first underwater restaurant (which was actually my very first “Best of the Maldives” post that kicked off all my blogging about the Maldives over a decade ago), but also experimented with converting the underwater room into a bedroom for guests to sleep in. They discontinued it as it was too difficult to transform the room into a bedroom and back to a restaurant quickly enough to make it work. For example, the guests paying an extreme amount of money to sleep there (at the time the most expensive room in the Maldives) had to wait until later in the evening to access their room when guests had finished dining there and the resort had cleared the restaurant items and set up the bedroom.
Conrad describes the master bedroom masterpiece as follows….
“The entire lower suite was built on land in Singapore, fittingly made of acrylic from Japan’s premiere aquarium manufacturer Nippura Co., and sealed with Shin Etsu Marine sealant, which was used in the construction of Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. Then the 600-ton structure was hoisted by crane onto a specialized ship that could transport it to the Maldives and moor near the reef without damaging it. It was then submerged into the ocean and held firmly in place by 10 concrete piles that ensure it will not move or shift due to a high tide or rough seas.”
The roof over Kudadoo’s over water pavilion sets a new standard for solar ambition. The Champa resorts keep upping the bar on the solar investment across their estate after their snaking jetty of panels at neighbouring Hurawalhi. The 320-kWp solar system generates enough electricity to power the entire resort:
“Committed to your well-being and that of the planet, Kudadoo reinvents sustainability – we take pride on the island being powered by the sun 100%, and on eco-conscious choices that intertwine the design, conceived by the architectural mastermind Yuji Yamazaki, and adventures to create a luxury experience that threads lightly.”
With all of these energy sustainability investments in the country, I’ve add a new “Solar” tag for all of the sun powered initiatives in this sun-drenched destination.
With the new year, it’s time for out with the old and in with the new. The gingerbread hued tented villas were introduced by the old Madivaru resort, but it has been defunct for a while, but in its place the new Sirru Fen Fushi has introduced its own tented villas. The “tents” make the structures seem all the more natural and intimate with the surroundings. A tented safari in Africa (ideally on the Zambezi) is on our bucket list, but at Sirru Fen Fushi you can do a tented snorkel safari!