One person’s trash is another’s person’s treasure, but Soneva Fushi’s “Maker Place” works to turn all their trash into everyone’s treasure:
- “Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ original barefoot luxury resort, has revealed a ground-breaking new addition to its portfolio of sustainable innovations. Makers’ Place is a fully carbon-neutral island studio that recycles waste plastic and aluminum into works of art, as well as practical objects and building materials. The Makers’ Place studio was built in collaboration with British artist Alexander James Hamilton, an advocate for sustainability and founder of the Distil Ennui Studio™, whose practice spans sculpture, painting, photography, film, lighting and installation.”
One of the advantages of their rustic chic aesthetic is that adapting bits and bobs of all types works in easily.
For a destination with a “No Shoes, No News” vibe, a shoe caddy would seem a bit out of place, but actually I quite welcomed this distinctive amenity at Ritz Carlton Maldives. I wear shoes to transfer, and the heat means I sweat. Jetting off to such a swanky place as the Maldives (and the Ritz no less), I bring my nicer clothes. And the soft leather would lose shape and appearance if I didn’t put a shoe tree in them when I took them off. Not everyone wear flip flips and if you want to wear some nice shoes for your gourmet meal, you can keep your fine footwear in pristine shape.
One of the first words people think of to describe the destination of the Maldives is “natural”. And (short of going full grass thatch hut), the most natural material is wood. I have a bit of a soft-spot for wood. Our house is filled with burr-wood furniture and natural grain finishes. I had a tradition of giving my godson a wood gift every Christmas. Amilla Maldives imbues this [natural] aesthetic with an extensive collection of wood items in each villa – desk accessories, cocktail utensils, room instructions. And to remember your trip, your own complementary luggage tags (see above). We’ve been using them for the past year and not only are they stylish, but they are also especially sturdy with their wire cable attachment.
Cora Cora has decorated its villas with a bit of local artistry with a unique painting on everyone depicting some activity at the resort. The portraits were all painted by Maldivian artist Shameen who is now in residence at the resort (stay tuned).
One of the shorthand acid tests I use as an indicator of property quality is it beach chairs – 3 star properties have plastic beach/lounge chairs, 4 star have wooden ones, 5 star have wooden ones with cushions. And super premiums go that bit extra in comfort and distinction. With One & Only Reethi Rah, it is embellishing such beachware with Missoni’s style:
· “Missoni’s maximalist design has made it to the Maldives. The venerable Italian fashion house just gave the beach club at the One&Only Reethi Rah resort a colorful makeover. The reimagined alfresco space captures the essence of the tropical surroundings through a vibrant spectrum of blues, greens and whites. Naturally, you can expect plenty of Missoni’s signature patterns, too. Designed by Alberto Caliri, the creative director of Missoni’s home collection, the club is equipped with custom furniture showcasing the label’s recognizable motifs. Everything from the loungers and cabanas to the popsicle stand and DJ booth has been given the Missoni treatment. Guests can even make use of Missoni-designed paddleboards, bicycles and golf carts.”
I love the way the Missoni pattern evokes the tapestry of blues in the adjacent lagoon. If I win the lottery, I’ve always wanted a Missoni upholstered Roche Bobois ‘Composition’ sofa. Until then, at least I can get a bit of lounging on Missoni in the Maldives.
A couple of resorts (Madifushi, Hakura Huraa) have the “tented” style villas, but none so extensive nor beachfronty as Sirru Fen Fushi’s new Beach Tented Villa with Private Pool:
- “Set on their own private pocket of beach, the new villas are designed provide a safari-style stay whilst mirroring the beauty and diversity of the island’s verdant flora and fauna. Natural wooden frames are swathed in white fabric, which can be rolled up completely to offer unparalleled views of the turquoise ocean beyond from floor-to-ceiling windows.”
There is something about the soft, flowing textures of the cloth crown that is so suited to the natural aesthetic of the Maldives especially the soothing undulation of the ocean right next to it.
I grew up spoiled by soft sand. Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts USA was renowned for its miles of flour soft white sand (kept clean and fine by an off-shore sand bar which acted like a filter of hard and soft debris). The brilliant white sand of the Maldives makes for great posts of the card and Instagram types. But on closer inspection with one’s sensitive piggy toes, one quickly realises that crushed coral (which is what the sand is comprised of) can be quite sharp (with plenty of broken coral bits washed up to really pierce your soles.
We have found a number of islands with soft sand (eg. Gili Lankanfushi, Safari Island, Mirihi), but we’ve not come across a property with plush icing sugar texture as Maafushivaru. I’d be wary of awarding such a kudo on just my experience, but I was convinced with veteran Maldives aficionado Francisco, who has visited over 40 resorts, made the same assertion.
Now Maafushivaru is in the diminutive island category which means they have less area to maintain. But maintain it they do. They had a team of a several groundskeepers raking the beach early every morning to sift out the shards and broken shells that had come in with the night time tide. Another aspect to tis distinction was the first impression made by the reception’s especially plush and floor like a rich, sand cashmere shag carpet whose softness you sink into.
The first story of the Maldives which first captivated my interest in this aquatic paradise was a work colleague describing to me how they spotted an island neighbouring their resort and just *waded* over to it. They were staying at Rihiveli which has two islands you can wade to. Now Soneva Jani extends this ambulatory island hopping to three plot-of-sand destinations to Kudafushi, Budafushi and a further tiny one in the lagoon off its Crab Shack. The easiest way to stroll to that Robinson Caruso experience.
For those looking to burn a bit of their kid’s energy so they will be a bit more like the tranquil seas around them, Emerald’s Dolphin kids club features an in-ground trampoline (which makes it a bit safer than raised units where any tumbles fall that much further).
If you prefer a final run around the island before departing or just want to work off some holiday(s) excess, Ritz Carlton Maldives features an inspired “Jogging Station” on one of its main paths. You can grab a towel to wipe off with or a glass of cold water a bit like the aid stations on the side of marathon routes.