Part of the fun of having visited the Maldives for two decades and written about them for over a decade is seeing the dramatic changes. As someone who studied development economics at university and first cut his teeth in travel writing posted in Togo, West Africa who were trying to build their economy with tourism dollars, the Maldives has been a brilliant and diverse case study of this evolution. For example, I first encountered the charming “Birds Nest” swing at Lily Beach years ago. In a matter of years, it seemed like standard fittings for the luxury properties. Now Waldorf Ithaafushi has pushed even higher (literally) with elaborate birds nest lounges for people to sip their sundowners in while enjoying an elevated vista over the ocean.