Best of the Maldives: Edible Straw – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - edible straws

When most of what there is to do all day is savour pina coladas in the sun (or whatever your favourite tropical tipple is), plastic straws can pile up. Most resorts are moving away from plastic to a variety of sipping tools (so much so that with this post I have introduced the “Straws” tag). LUX south Ari Atoll has introduced another variety of edible straws:

  • The biodegradable straws, made from cooked rice flour, tapioca starch and water, can last up to one hour before they soften and eventually dissolve.”

Best of the Maldives: Plastic Bag – Conrad Maldives

Conrad Maldives - plastic bag

Black Friday! The biggest shopping day of the year. Of course you will need something to carry all those purchases and you don’t want to be adding to the landfill with shopping bags. If you do your early Christmas shopping at Conrad Rangali you not only get a useful and stylish bag for your shopping and more, but the bag itself doesn’t just stop added plastic consumption, but it actually removes waste plastic from the ocean. The bag is made from recycled plastic removed from the ocean. Parley’s website describes

  • The bags are made with Ocean Plastic® — a premium material created from upcycled plastic waste recovered from remote islands, waters and coastlines by our growing global cleanup network. Each Parley Ocean Bag in the artist series is made from approximately 5 intercepted plastic bottles and funds the removal of another 20 pounds of marine plastic waste by the Parley Global Cleanup Network.”

Bag for Sea Life!


Homecoming Parade-ise

Margie M (Australia) - Kandima

Happy Thanksgiving and a big welcome to all those Homecoming Queens riding in on their colourful floats…

  1. Margie M (Australia) – Kandima [ABOVE]
  2. Alana Panday (India) – Kandima
    Alana Panday (India) - Kandima
  3. Romana Rabinig (Austria) – Hondaafushi
    Romana Rabinig (Austria) - Hondaafushi
  4. Rkycia (Thailand) – Anantara Dhigu
    Rkycia (Thailand) - Anantara Dhigu
  5. Amanda Lynn (USA) – Six Senses Laamu
    Amanda Lynn (USA) - Six Senses Laamu
  6. Maumi Zhou (China) – Coco Bodu Hithi
    Maumi Zhou (China) - Coco Bodu Hithi
  7. Ariel (China) – Grand Park Kodhipparu
    Ariel (China) - Grand Park Kodhipparu 2
  8. My Life Inspiration (Russia) – Vilu Reef
    My Life Inspiration (Russia) - Vilu Reef
  9. Yuliya Bezdar (Russia) – Cheval Blanc
    Yuliya Bezdar (Russia) – Cheval Blanc
  10. Beatrice Wong (Australia) – Reethi Faru
    Beatrice Wong (Australia) - Reethi Faru
  11. Kristyna Sixtova (Czech) – Kuredu – Angel Wings
    Kristyna Sixtova (Czech) - Kuredu
  12. Cherliza (Netherlands) – Jumeirah Vittaveli
    Cherliza (Netherlands) - Jumeirah Vittaveli
  13. Enrou (Malaysia) – Kandooma
    Enrou (Malaysia) - Kandooma
  14. Maria (Italy) – Anantara Dhigu
  15. Yasemin C (Denmark) – Robinson Club Noonu
    Yasemin C (Denmark) - Robinson Club Noonu
  16. Karina Volodina (Russia) – Sun Island
    Karina Volodina (Russia) - Sun Island 2
  17. Maria Sionova (Russia) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Maria Sionova (Russia) - Gili Lankanfushi
  18. Khongyeusonglau (China) – Thulhagiri
    Khongyeusonglau (China) - LUX South Ari Atoll

  19. Rachel Jeon (Japan) – Milaidhoo
    Rachel Jeon (Japan) - Milaidhoo
  20. Shivani Patil (India) – Vadoo
    Shivani Patil (India) - Vadoo
  21. Fahlalaaa (Thailand) – Constance Moofushi
    Fahlalaaa (Thailand) - Constance Moofushi
  22. Pui L Bes (Thailand) – Kanuhura
    Pui L Bes (Thailand) - Kanuhura
  23. Galina Bezruk (Russia) – Vadoo
    Galina Bezruk (Russia) - Vadoo
  24. Dasha (Russia) – OZEN by Atmosphere
  25. Evgenia Radzevichus (Russia) – Summer Island
    Evgenia Radzevichus (Russia) - Summer Island
  26. Sin Tong (Philippines) – Thulhagiri
    Sin Tong (Philippines) - Thulhagiri
  27. Tata Nualpeng (Thailand) – Centara Grand
    Tata Nualpeng (Thailand) - Centara Grand
  28. Peggy Hung (Taiwan) – Finolhu
    Peggy Hung (Taiwan) - Finolhu
  29. Joice Oliveira (Brazil) – Hurawalhi
  30. May Buranasiri (Thailand) – Kanuhura
    May Buranasiri (Thailand) - Kanuhura
  31. Maria Pogrebnyak-Shatalova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Maria Pogrebnyak-Shatalova (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
  32. Valeria Hammer (Ukraine) – Meedhupparu
    Valeria Hammer (Ukraine) - Meedhupparu
  33. Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – Gili Lankanfushi
  34. Katrin Amaure (Austria) – Furaveri
    Katrin Amaure (Austria) - Furaveri
  35. Bia Feres (Brazil)
    Bia Feres (Brazil)

Best of the Maldives: Plankton Condiment – You & Me

You & Me - H20 plankton 2

No matter how many toppings or how exotic the flavours, I have not come across any item on the menu as exotic as You & Me’s underwater restaurant H2O – plankton! More for a whale shark’s palette than appetite as it was presented in an eye-dropper bottle as part of the seafood platter. You sprinkle the “plankton” on the delicacies for that extra bit of taste of the sea. It didn’t really taste of anything other than just some seawater, but I guess that for mantas and other filter feeders, to them its all just sea water to them too.  Something small (actually microscopic) before the big feast of Thanksgiving tomorrow.

You & Me - plankton 2

Best of the Maldives: Ice Cream of the Month – Soneva Fushi / Soneva Jani

Soneva Fushi - ice creams

Forget Book of the Month Club or Employee of the Month plaques, I want the Ice Cream of the Month subscription thank you. Just another ice cream extravagance at Soneva (both Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani) as Maldives Insider reported at its launch last year:

  • Soneva is developing 10 new and unique flavours at Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva Kiri, for a total of 30 flavours. These flavours are only available for the next 12 months, after which time they will change. This is in addition to the regular rotating roster of flavours at each resort. Guests at Soneva Fushi’s So Cool will get to sample new flavours such as: Soneva Bread Fruit and Maldivian Pine Nuts, Strawberry, Aged Balsamic and Green Olives, and Curry Leaves and Sweet Mango. While at Soneva Jani’s So Cool, Yuka with Garden Basil, Seaweed, and Caramelised Young Coconut join the classic ice creams and sorbets. Soneva will also be introducing one new flavour each month inspired by that month’s Festival of Colour theme.”

Best of the Maldives: Make Your Own Sundae – LUX North Male Atoll

LUX North Male Atoll - sundaes

Buffets are part of the fabric of Maldives resorts, but I’ve never come across an ice cream buffet like LUX North Male Atoll sundae counter at its ICI ice cream parlour. It took me back to perhaps my earliest memory of personalised, decadent taste treats – Putnam Pantry. Back in the 70s, we would make the half hour drive to “make your own sundae” and their ice cream smorgasbord which was the ultimate treat or birthday party. But, not surprisingly, LUX surpassed even the American penchant for excess with 18 flavours of ice cream, 6 sauces, 8 toppings and a range of other accessory treats.

LUX North Male Atoll - sundaes 2

LUX North Male Atoll - sundaes 3

LUX North Male Atoll - sundaes 4

Best of the Maldives: Mystery Chef – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani mystery chef

Guess Who’s Cooking for Dinner. Sometimes you never know who will turn up. Soneva Jani is taking the “Chef’s Surprise” to a new level where the chef themselves are part of the surprise:

  1. The new dining experience has a secret menu concept, where the diners won’t know which chef is cooking or what cuisine they will be preparing until just before the meal. The kitchen is housed within the walls of a Bedouin tent…the lineup of Soneva chefs will include: Chef Kat (Thai cuisine), Chef Sun (Asian cuisine) and Chef Ansari (Indian thali) from Soneva Jani; Chef Sobah (Maldivian cuisine) from Soneva Fushi; and Chef Benz (Thai cuisine) from Soneva Kiri.”

The price per person varies based on the particular menu of the day, starting at $175 for Soneva’s chefs and $350 for a degustation menu by a visiting international chef. “Guess Who’s Cooking” is only available two to three nights a week, seating just 16 diners. Dinner is served from 7:30-10:30pm, while a sunset cocktail experience is offered from 6:30-7:30pm. There will also be the occasional lunch pop-up from 12:30-3pm.

International main of mystery.


World Travel Market 2019

WTM 2019 - Jason Kruse

This year’s World Travel Market was like a trip back to where it all began. In more ways than one.

First, I bumped into to one of the charter members of the Maldives GM Hall of Fame (figure of speech) – Jason Kruse. After I had developed Maldives Complete as a way to play around with new web technology at Microsoft and to share my trove of Maldives resort information, it was our family trip to Jason’s resort (just before he arrived), Kurumba, that convinced me that I should invest a bit extra in this undertaking. Throughout our stay, various Maldivian staff came up to me and said, “Hey, you’re that Maldives Complete guy. We love your website.”

While I had made it a policy to never re-visit a resort I had already seen (primarily because I wanted to see as many resorts as possible), Jason convinced me to stop by Kurumba again during one of our first tours in 2011. He and his wife were so much fun and so helpful with information about the Maldives, that we subsequently made an exception to our steadfast rule and ended up visiting Kurumba every year as a part of our tours. It was a convenient final stop near the airport, but primarily a great chance to catch up with Jason and Victoria.

Sadly, those annual catch-ups have been interrupted a couple of years ago when Jason took on a resort manager role in Fiji closer to his home in Australia. But Jason is back! He has taken on the GM role at Amilla Fushi. And he was at WTM London to get word out about some of the changes being introduced there. Sounds like some classic Jason magic and I can’t wait to see what he does there.

If that long-time-no-see meeting wasn’t enough, my next meeting was even more nostalgic. Every year that I have been going to WTM, I always check out whether the country of Togo, West Africa has a stand. Togo was by first stint as a travel researcher and writer. I was stationed there as an overseas correspondent in 1980! My first experience in investigating and sharing an exotic destination with the world. Togo has always been a small country and has been hit with its own challenges (like most of Africa) since the fall of the Berlin Wall (when the two superpowers stopped caring about the continent as pawns on a geopolitical chessboard and unceremoniously and disruptively upped stakes leaving discord and conflict in their wake). They haven’t really had the resources to rebuild its tourism industry…until now. Strolling over to the “Africa” section, I came upon Togo’s first stand and had a chance to meet with their representatives (see below) from the same Tourism Ministry that hosted me to their own colourful and enchanting country four decades ago!

WTM 2019 - Togo

Mermaid Reboot

Mermaid group

Little Mermaid Day today celebrates the release of the eponymous Disney movie. In recent years, this now classic film is getting a reboot though sadly not with one of my favourite actors (Dwayne Johnson)  as King Triton). So time for a sequel to the Maldives Complete’s own “Mermaid” series with the latest seashell bikini-ed, finned fashionistas in this unda’ da sea paradise (who had its own Mermaid Week just recently)…

  1. Lucy Wangluxi (China)
    Lucy Wangluxi (China) 3
  2. Katrin Gray (Germany)
    Katrin Gray (Germany)
  3. Lukwa Duangkamol (Thailand) – Kudafushi
    Lukwa Duangkamol (Thailand) - Kudafushi
  4. First First (Thailand) – Hurawalhi
    First First (Thailand) - Hurawalhi
  5. Mermeow Awn (Australia)
    Mermeow Awn (Australia)
  6. Ai-Chan (Spain)
    Ai-Chan (Spain)
  7. Bibi Luna (USA) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Bibi Luna (USA) – One & Only Reethi Rah
  8. LGBNC (USA)
    LGBNC (USA) 2
  9. Adriana Alencar (Brazil) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
    Adriana Alencar (Brazil) - Anantara Kihavah Villas
  10. Wonder Beamy (Thailand) – OBLU Select Sangeli
    Wonder Beamy (Thailand) - OBLU Select Sangeli
  11. Irina Sabetskaya (Russia)
    Irina Sabetskaya (Russia)
  12. Tiffany Wu (Hong Kong) – Hurawalhi
    Tiffany Wu (Hong Kong) - Hurawalhi
  13. Sally Kwan (China)
    Sally Kwan (China)
  14. Anyuta Rai (Russia) – Veligandu
    Anyuta Rai (Russia) - Veligandu
  15. Patcha Titty (Thailand) – Club Rannalhi
    Patcha Titty (Thailand) - Club Rannalhi
  16. Gabriela Farías (Maldives) – Kurumba
    Gabriela Farías (Maldives) – Kurumba 2
  17. Weinnie Undine (Malaysia)
    Weinnie Undine (Malaysia)
  18. Sky Kiki Jung (Thailand) – Centara Ras Fushi
    Sky Kiki Jung (Thailand) - Centara Ras Fushi
  19. Bella Foreverith, Chhet Sovanpanha, Tep Boprek (Cambodia) – Centara Grand
    Bella Foreverith Chhet Sovanpanha Tep Boprek (Cambodia) - Centara Grand
  20. Lydia Sarunrat Deane (Thailand) – W Maldives
    Lydia Sarunrat Deane (Thailand) - W Maldives
  21. Beatrice Wong (Australia) – Reethi Faru
    Beatrice Wong (Australia) - Reethi Faru
  22. Churee Porn (Thailand) – Fushifaru
    Churee Porn (Thailand) – Fushifaru
  23. Ariel (China) – Grand Park Kodhipparu
    Ariel (China) - Grand Park Kodhipparu 2
  24. Sherin Suetzi (Hong Kong)
    Sherin Suetzi (Hong Kong)
  25. Mari Kühn (United Kingdom)
    Mari Kühn (United Kingdom)
  26. Jenny Rei (Germany) – Soneva Jani
    Jenny Rei (Germany) - Soneva Jani
  27. Sonakshi Sinha (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Sonakshi Sinha (India) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  28. Christine Ren (USA) – Palm Beach
    Christine Ren (USA) - Palm Beach
  29. Sri Saan (Thailand) – Kooddoo
    Sri Saan (Thailand) - Kooddoo
  30. Syrena (Singpore) – Kihaa
    Syrena (Singpore) - Kihaa
  31. Daria Korn (Russia) – Fihalhohi
    Daria Korn (Russia) - Fihalhohi
  32. Mari Martello Perez (Spain) – Velaa
    Mari Martello Perez (Spain) - Velaa
  33. Tammy Donaldson (USA)
    Tammy Donaldson (USA)
  34. Sin Tong (Philippines) – Thulhagiri
    Sin Tong (Philippines) - Thulhagiri
  35. Viktoriya Kabochkina (Russia) – Drift Thelu Veliga
    Viktoriya Kabochkina (Russia) - Drift Thelu Veliga
  36. Bow Oho (Thailand) – Centara Grand
    Bow Oho (Thailand) - Centara Grand
  37. Elena Vian (Bulgaria) – Meedhupparu
    Elena Vian (Bulgaria) - Meedhupparu
  38. Irina Britanova (Russia)
    Irina Britanova (Russia)
  39. Alla Shishkina (Russia) – Vilu Reef
    Alla Shishkina (Russia) - Vilu Reef 2
  40. Sylvia (Spain)
    Sylvia (Spain)
  41. Sunny (Thailand) – Thulusdhoo
    Sunny (Thailand) - Thulusdhoo
  42. Gabby Epstein (Australia) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Gabby Epstein (Australia) – Shangri-La Vilingili

  43. Malene Lausten Sørensen (Denmark) – Fun Island
    Malene Lausten Sørensen (Denmark) - Fun Island

  44. Mermaid Soul (Czech) – Maafushi
    Mermaid Soul (Czech) – Maafushi

Best of the Maldives: Natural Weights – Joali

Joali - wood weights 2

Looking for an all-natural workout. Joali features possibly the most natural workout equipment I have ever come across. In the Maldives or elsewhere. No plastic or metal (!), just wood. It has a real Flintstones vibe. If the Swiss Family Robinson ever opened a fitness centre on their castaway island, this is what it would look like. And yet, free weights are free weight. Plenty of heft for good workouts.

I’m a big aficionado of woodwork (admiring, not making) and I’m surprised I don’t yet have a “Wood” tag for all the features using this rich, natural material (but I do now).

Joali - wood weights 3

Joali - fitness