The on-island of default has been electric buggies since the very outset of the Maldives resort industry, but getting to the island was a different story. All manner of petrol driven buses and cars transferred people from the main international terminal to the domestic terminal, sea plane terminal or other further transfer. But Sirru Fen Fushi has introduced a fully electric fleet of transfer vehicles:
“Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi private island has partners with electric car brand, Polestar, to offer sustainable airport transfers. Guests will be transports from Male Airport to the seaplane lounge in a Polestar 2, before embarking on the seaplane journey to the island.”
Our most recent car is a fully electric – the MG ZS EV. It was not too expensive (£20,000), cheap to charge (on overnight off-peak rates), very low maintenance (hardly any moving parts and the parts that are there are no subject to little, dirty gas explosions constantly), not to mention the eco-friendly lack of exhaust.
The Ritz Carlton Maldives kids club has come up with a way to turn all that energy from the holiday sugar-rush to productive use. The “Ritz Kids” features as a stationary bike where the pedals drive a blender to make healthy and refreshing fruit smoothies. The inspired concept made me think of a brilliant way to limit device use by children – rig one of these up to a generator and let your child use their phone as much as they like…as long as they charge it with pedal power. It could nurture a generation of Tour de France champions.
The holiday season is full of special treats like gingerbread houses and egg nog that you only get on this special occasion. The delicacies reminded me of one of my favourite resort treats in the Maldives, Soneva Jani “Souffle Station” (!). It featured one of its Soneva Stars visiting chefs Marianne Lumb from the UK who prepared custom souffles to guests at the main restaurant. A coup le souffle from a coup of a soufflé.
Looking to spice up your holiday? Milaidhoo is turning the season of Pumpkin Spice Latte and Spiced Mulled Wine into a daily spice treat featuring all sorts of inspirations from the Maldives’ heritage as a hub in the ancient spice route. The spicey line-up includes spiced mince pies, cultural show with live spice market, spice themed shawarma station, and spiced body wraps:
· “The inspiration for this year’s festive season theme refers to over 5,000 years ago when the Maldives became a key port of call for traders sailing from Indonesia and India to Arabia with cargoes of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, ginger and pepper. The Maldivians bartered coconuts, sun-dried fish, cordage, cowrie shells and sails woven from coconut fibre for spice, rice, ceramics and silks. Locally made cargo boats, called Ba’theli in the local language, sailed throughout the archipelago with these goods, spreading knowledge about different lands, their customs and cuisine…This festive season Milaidhoo guests will be taken on a sensory experience filled with engaging activities, from getting a taste of the authentic Maldivian culture and experiences to trying out new spiced dishes, learning the craft cocktails through a cocktail masterclass session to experiencing the live stations preparing seasonings and curry powders adapted for any individual’s own tastes. Some of the highlights of this year’s festive season programme include an Arabic souk-themed dining experience featuring fragrant scents, sounds and colours, experiencing the history of the spices, wellness experiences centred around self-care, including herbal and natural products to promote healing, a most exciting “Milaidhoo Mystery Spice Challenge” event and blind tasting Spice and Wine sessions. Additionally, there will be various dining highlights at Ba’theli restaurant, the only restaurant in the world set on a boat in a lagoon featuring gourmet dishes of inspired island cuisine from the Maldivian Spice Route.”
Stations are the best of both world of buffets and a la carte – the easy and prompt access of buffets with a chance to visually see your food options, combined with the personalisation and reduced food waste of a la carte. And if there is one Maldivian favourite that is very personal to us it is the breakfast delicacy of mashuni. Lori has it nearly every day when we visit. If it’s not on the buffet or menu, she asks the chef if he can make (which he usually can). And she likes it with just the right amount of chili and coconut. So Emerald’s mashuni station was ideal for her.
She said it was the “best Mashuni ever”. Possibly echoing my standard reply to the most frequently asked question I get of “What is the best resort?” I always say, “The is no ‘best resort’…just the best resort for you.” So maybe there is no “best mashuni”, but there is the “best mashuni for you” at Emerald.
One of the motivations for pouring myself into Maldives Complete is that when we do visit, we feel more like members of the community than just passing visitors. Another special touch by Amilla Maldives to make all guests feel that way the moment they step onto the island are their personalised “license plates” on the buggies to their rooms. This extra personal gesture has inspired me to add a new tag for “Customisation”.
So why am I going full speed ahead into year 15? People continue to be surprised that I don’t make a penny out of Maldives Complete…it is one big, expensive hobby for all intents and purposes. That might sound dismissive, but Seth Godin thankfully has a more eloquent perspective on it:
“Some people say “hobby” like it’s a bad thing. In a race for more, it seems as though doing something you don’t get paid for, something that requires patience and skill–well, some people don’t get it…A generation or two ago, hobbies were things like paint by number or candlemaking, or perhaps a woodshop. That’s changing. Not simply because computers allow us to be far more professional, but because the very nature of the output is different. This might be the golden age for a new kind of hobby, one that’s about community, leadership and producing public goods, not private ones. Because it’s so much easier to connect and because ideas multiply, the generative hobby gives us a chance to make a contribution, even (especially) when we’re not at work. Sharing ideas, leading, connecting. Perhaps “generative contribution” is a better name for it.”
Other examples of such hobbies are Wikipedia and Github. in fact, I’ve often thought of Maldives Complete as an interactive Resortipedia for the Maldives. Even the blog posts are mostly constructed to be used as referenceable info as opposed to timely broadcasts.
The 14th anniversary of Maldives Complete and time for my customary look at the site numbers and share a few perspectives informed by another year of Maldives fanboying…
Post COVID Catch-up: Our July trip represented the first time we have ever visited the Maldives twice in a 12-month period (being on the heels of our November 2021 visit). The trips gave us a chance to re-stock our “Best of the Maldives” larder for posts and generally keep packing the database with material.
Lowest Resort Increase: 4 new active resorts is consistent with the previous two years in being quite low and likely reflective of the post-COVID impact on development plans with both financing and construction logistics impacted.
No dives: Lori and I had just the month before taken a 7 day live-aboard trip in the Galapagos diving 4 times a day and seeing the some of the most astonishing underwater sights on the planet (eg. while we never saw any hammerheads at Hammerhead Point off Kuramathi, a school of 300 hammerhead sharks swam by us at Darwin Island). So we decided to just enjoy the snorkeling and the sunshine in July.
Twitter twilight?: This past year my Twitter engagement completely dropped off. This was not a big surprise as Twitter has been increasingly becoming simply a broadcast medium for very high profile individuals. In fact, the Musk acquisition might just be the final straw for me to depart this increasingly disfunctional and toxic platform.
A number of resorts feature treetop spas, but Soneva Jani’s was the first OVER treetops spa we ever visited. The location provides a breath-taking vista of the palm greenery and the tapestry of blues of the sea.