If you want that personal touch of a homemade gift, then not only does Amilla Maldives host bath bomb making instruction at its Jaavu Spa, but it also generously has shared it bath bomb making secrets in a YouTube video available to all.
Black Friday is the starting pistol for the Christmas shopping season. A few Christmas’s ago, I asked Santa for a Vilebrequin swimsuit which were the smartest suits I had come across. Since the fashion line was among my Haven’t Seen collection, Santa’s little helper had to find one at their London boutique (see me modelling my turtle motif suit below). But now Ritz Carlton Maldives is featuring the Vilebrequin line at its resort boutique. So if you are puttin’ on the Ritz Maldives for Christmas and are behind in your shopping just put on some Vilebrequin.
The polished silver finish and the multi-spray flush make Soneva Jani’s urinal at its main restaurant one of the poshest potties we’ve used.
World Toilet Day today. How far we have come with indoor pluming that the notion of have an outdoor toilet seems to be the quintessence of backwardness and impoverished living. And yet, Cora Cora’s outdoor toilet is distinctly luxury. For starters, it provides the most thoroughly vented toilet in all of the Maldives. Many luxury properties have moved their water closets to the villa rear exterior. And many do have toilets sitting in the overall bathroom area either in the open or partly enclosed by some glass blind. But Cora Cora’s does provide the al fresco morning constitutional experience with a bit more privacy with its own segregated area.
- “Operating more like an aircraft than a watercraft, these extraordinary semisubmersible vessels can jump over, dive under and carve left and right through the waves – and are even capable of 360-degree barrel rolls on the water. The Seabreacher’s acrylic canopy and underwater view ports give pilot and passenger near-360-degree views, while its supercharged 260hp engine propels them across the water at speeds of up to 50mph.”
If snorkeling over a house reef drop-off feels like “flying” in water then riding one of these does seem to be like flying Jetson-style over the water.
For all those budding Cousteaus out there, Amilla Maldives offers Junior Marine Biologist Course. In the same way some people wonder why resorts have fitness centres (“who wants to do workouts on holiday?”), you might wonder, what kids want to do schoolwork on holiday. Well, me for one. When I was a tyke (about 9 years old), I used to go away to Camp Belknap in New Hampshire for a fortnight. While other kids signed up for archery, swimming and baseball, I signed up for the nature activities. They taught you flowers, trees, animals, star constellations (which has come in handy one many a star-filled Maldives night). I thoroughly enjoyed walking around exploring the outdoor beauty and learning all about it.
Amilla’s course features a daily 1-hour activity that include a Marine Walk, Mini Marine Bio Programme – comprehensive learning about the ocean. Over 6 days (each day a different topic). It builds. Ocean, plankton, coral reef, parrot fish, sea turtles and sharks. The sessions included showing selected TED talks and National Geographic clips, but the focus is on engaging with the children with puzzles, book creation and other activities to implement the material they have learned:
- Monday: 17:00 – 17:30 – Marine Walk (different topics, such as the sea turtle nest, the origin of maldivian islands, some curiosities about Maldives etc.)
- Thursday: 10:00 – 11.00 – Introduction to Snorkeling (a short presentation followed by a snorkeling session. Location: Spa Jetty or Dive Centre Jetty, depending on the weather and current conditions). VERY IMPORTANT: Please note that equipment (life jackets, fins, mask) will not be provided, so please make sure they come with equipment and they wear a rash vest. FYI: 10 slots available (for the moment). Only 5 years and above can participate. If younger than 5, they can come accompanied underwater with parents.
- Sunday: 10:00 – 11:00 – Marine Biology Presentation and Q&A
The Mini Marine Bio Program is tailored to those kids who are keen to receive a comprehensive learning about the underwater world and its creatures. The program is run 6/7 days, 1 hour a day. Each session is about a different topic:
- Sunday: Facts about seas and oceans @15:00 – 16:00
- Monday: The plankton and its importance for our lives @10:00 – 11:00
- Tuesday: All about coral reefs @11:00 – 12:00
- Wednesday: Parrotfish (How to keep a balanced and healthy ecosystem) @16:00 – 17:00
- Thursday: Lets discover the sea turtles @15:00 – 16:00
- Friday: Sharks and their amazing world @10:00 – 11:00
At the end of the program, participants receive a certificate plus Amilla’s marine badges (see photos at top and bottom)
Jean-Michael Cousteau is the David Attenborough of the subaquatic world. A generation of sea lovers, like myself who watched it diligently as a child, were inspired by his prime time “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” (a sample episode of sharks is featured below). He never shot an episode from the Maldives, though in 1997 the ubiquitously marine Maldives honoured him with a postage stamp (see bottom). But Ritz Carlton Maldives has brought his enduring legacy to the Maldives with their “Ocean Futures Society” collaboration with Jean-Michael Cousteau (Jacques’ son) which is carrying on the family mission to inspire people around the world with not just appreciate the aquatic world, but to take care of it.
The centre has sponsored six projects at the Ritz Maldives. One is exploring the concept of coral reefs as “underwater cities”. The notion described in Richard Murphy’s “Coral Reefs: Cities Under the Sea” postulates that all coral reefs have species who do different “jobs” (such as janitor, policeman, builder, farmer, etc. Curiously. which species do which roles varies from coral reef to coral reef.
We’ve all brought our fish guides along on our snorkel safaris, but the BBC now has a fish SOUNDS guide for you…
Yesterday, I enjoyed my annual pseudo-escape to the Maldives at London’s 2023 World Travel Market. Their booth is replete with images of the destination’s linen white beaches and tapestry of ocean blues and manned by a platoon of the Maldives’ resort leaders touting its alluring charms to agents, operators and media. I was able to reconnect with long time friends and connections as well as make new ones. In particular, I sat down and learned much more about Brennia Kottafaru, The Standard Huruvalhi, Outrigger Konotta, Movenpick Kuredhivaru, Rahaa and Baglioni (none of which I had ever visited).
The highlight of the event was meeting a contender for “newcomer of the year”, a resort I hadn’t even heard of – Oaga. Or “Oaga – Art Resort” to be precise. And actually, planned to be a 5-property complex built from terraformed reclamation in a North Male lagoon. Oaga is one of the most inspired concept properties I have come across for a while – “Maldivian Artistry”. Not just engaging a Maldivian artist to add some colourful touches to the property, but imbuing the entire DNA of the property with a visual aesthetic. Even their show swag was a piece of art from one of their resident artists (I got the one below done by Rahvehinn). I normally have to visit a resort to identify its truly distinctive touches, but just a short chat with the Oaga folks (including two of their founding directors – see photo above and special 360 photo provided by the Visit Maldives hosts of the booth) came up with a dozen “Best of the Maldives” pieces I could write about. They soft open later this month so keep an eye open.
Most luxury resorts in the Maldives will feature some fine fashions in their boutiques, but Amilla featured fashion on a grand scale inviting both Style Guru Kat Farmer (“Does My Bum Look 40 in This”) and Maldivian Designer Raidha Shafeeg to share their insights and creations with the guests and online fans (I learned of their collaboration at Amilla’s London event where I met Kat). The event coincided with International Women’s Month showcasing these two leaders in their fields and included a fashion show as well as the discussion above. Always keen to feature pioneering Maldivians, Maldives Compete is delighted that Raidha shared some extra perspectives in an exclusive interview:
- What are your artistic roots (eg. your earlier memories of being enthralled by creative pursuits)?
Ever since a pretty young age, I’ve been interested in art and the creative world. I liked to paint and enjoyed drawing in my free time as well since it was a big hobby of mine. As I grew up, I studied arts in the schools I attended in order to develop my craft and learn more and acquired more knowledge about the artistic world.
- What training/education in the field have you done?
I did my HND in Fashion Design and Arts at the Academy of Design (AOD) in Sri-Lanka.
- What type of fashion do you focus on?
I would say that my main focus for my brand in regards of the type of fashion focused on, would be resort-wear as well as modest wear too, I love to keep up with current trends and love incorporating it into my new designs along with my personal touches.
- What are some of the key elements of your personal style?
I would honestly say that my personal style is an outwardly representation of my own personality – I love to dress in bright colours and love to experiment with bold prints as well.
- What is one of your favourite designs?
My favourite collection that I’ve debuted so far has to be the modest wear Bee Collection’ that we released in 2018 at the Mercedes-Benz show at Sri-Lanka. It was a collection that drew its inspiration from the concept of a bee colony and its hierarchies which I ruled by the queen bee. It is a collection that promotes women empowerment and I enjoyed designing the collection very much.
- Who are some fashion designers who you admire?
One designer I admire – and have admired for a long time – has to be Italian designer Donatella Versace. I love her designs for Versace and her personal style as well.
- What advice would you give to aspiring Maldivian designers?
My advice for any aspiring Maldivian designer is try to make something long lasting and worthwhile using your creativity and always believe in yourself and genuinely enjoy and love what you’re doing and do your work passionately as that’s always a sure-fire was to success.