From the high ways of water usage to the water used as highways. Maldives Complete does focus on resorts (as opposed to guest houses or general destination information like inhabited islands), but I am also trying to assemble a collection of top online links for guests to this paradise. One of my original motivations for setting up Maldives Complete was my disenchantment with the quality of websites about the Maldives. Too many sites provides a thin veneer of weak, pedestrian and dated information as a lure to get you to buy expensive holidays through them. But on Maldives Complete, the “Online” tag provides a compilation of the most useful sites.
I came upon this Wild Maldives site with ferry schedules in the Maldives TripAdvisor Forum. They describe themselves as…
- “Development and promotion of budget travel to the Maldives. From $50/night. Beach holidays, scuba diving, exotic fishing, adventure trips, transfers. Wild Maldives aims to develop and promote budget travel in the Republic of Maldives. We link travellers directly with the local service providers – guest houses, restaurants, speedboat operators, diving schools, guides, and many more. Ideal for the self-sufficient travellers, who don’t want to overpay for services they can easily attain by themselves through the internet, yet would appreciate a helping hand during their trip to an unknown faraway land.”
What I really appreciated was their interactive ferry schedule. The route calculation form provides a parameter driven filter engine that then displays the route options graphically on a Google Map. Two of my favourite web components – database interrogation and GIS (geographical information system).
I have taken a ferry a few times for some of my more obscure tour detours. For DIY and budget travellers, they would be a necessity for getting around. I’m not sure if there is some way to forge a cheaper price tag to your resort holiday with them. Everyone gets apprehensive about spending $200-300 for a seaplane transfer, but I had a boat transfer to Cocoa Island that cost me $500 (!) and the private transfer from Kurumba to Male (8 minutes) costs $80 (although they do offer cheaper alternatives). So maybe a leisurely and notably less luxurious ferry ride might just be a useful cost saver for some itineraries (though, in reality, nearly all resorts provide speedboat transfers free of charge, and if you are paying thousands for your week stay a few hundred will likely not be a big concern).
International Water Day today. And LUX South Ari Atoll’s “water closet” is really putting the party into gear with its disco décor. So often a property’s bathrooms are at worst an after-thought or at best a staid affair. LUX reminds me of the best public restroom I’ve ever seen at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield.
One of the most respectful and appreciated salutations is to greet someone by their name. That’s why brain farts when you can’t recall someone’s name are so excruciating. It’s also why the resorts, especially the higher-end ones, put a great deal of effort into learning your name.
We were touched by the gift the W Retreat presented us with on arriving at our room which was a photo they took of us by their lounge at the seaplane terminal. As the week went on we noticed that *all* the staff was greeting us by name. We then realised that the photo served an extra purpose of getting notice out of who we were so the staff could recognize us and greet us personally.
Unfortunately, getting the names right of the resorts themselves is getting increasingly challenging. I’ve regularly encountered people mistaking two resorts they have *heard* of. First of all, the resorts change their names regularly with rebranding, relaunching and refurb. That is why I added the “Alias” page to the website which has the “Previously Known As” as well as the “Island Name” (which is itself the ultimate “Previously Known As”, as in before the resort was on it). Another development leading to confusion is the growing tendency of corporate Marcom tools to lead strongly with the corporate brand. So the hotelier group name is featured most prominently. As a result, people ask about going to “Anantara” or “Cinnamon” and I have to clarify “which one?”
Here’s the Maldives Complete list of diphthongic doppelgangers to help you keep them straight…
- Kandooma, Kandima
- Amari and Amaya
- Baros and Bandos
- Hulhule and Hulhumale (UI Inn)
- Kooddoo and Kudadoo
- Maafushi and Maayafushi
- Raalhuveli and Ranvel
- SECOND NAMES
- Finolhu, Finolhu Villas
- Coco’s (eg. Coco Bodu Hithi) and Cocoa Island
- Reethi Beach and Reethi Rah (with Reethi Faru coming soon, don’t just say “Reethi”)
- Vakkaru and Vaakarufalhi
- Maafushi and Maafushivaru
- Velaa and Velavaru
- ISLAND NAMES
- Amilla Fushi on Finolhas island vs. Finolhu resort
- Six Senses Laamu on Olhuveli island vs. Olhuveli resort
For the golfers in need of a little safety net for their over water chip shots, One & Only Reethi Rah also have a floating green, but equipped with a back screen to provide a little more forgiveness to imperfect shots. They’ve also equipped the tee with an astro-turf topped platform for a stable surface…
- “The floating hole-in-one deck at the Beach Club. The golf ball used at this platform is called ‘Ecobioball’ – which is a biodegradable golf ball that contains fish food at its core. Once the golf ball is submerged in the sea, it transforms into fish food, making it ecological. Any guests are welcome to practice their swings here – available daily from 10am to 7pm, at a charge of US$ 30 for 6 Ecobioballs. Price is subject to 10% service charge and applicable GST.”
Net dividends for offshore players.
As if Velaa didn’t have enough golf course on the island, they have added a green OFF the island. With their special inflatable golf hole, guests can have a wedge masterclass on the beach with the floating green. The resort uses biodegradable balls which dissolve into fish food. This “Best of the Maldives” ticks another “finally seen” (#17, Post 19) and one step closer to my dream of a hole in the Maldives where the tee is on one island and the hole is one a neighbouring one. Like the Maldives, such a hole would be 90% water hazard. (I’m especially lovin’ the Piero-like effects on the shot below.)
The rain in the main drains plainly down the chain…at Dusit Thani’s Devarana Spa. Their buildings are fitted with decorative rain chains. Instead of boring pipes to channel the rain water of the roof and away from the structure, the rain chains provide a colourful cascade. They become a soothing water feature during the infrequent rain showers in the Maldives providing a bit of a sliver (or copper) lining to such passing storm clouds.
No fans needed to dry your swimsuits at Athuruga and Thudufushi. And no draping them over shower rails, retractable clothes lines, setting them out on deck settees (where the breezes blow them onto the sand or into the water). Diamonds has these ingenious drying boxes on the deck (see above). The grates allow the wafting ocean air to dry your garments naturally, safely and discretely (without being hung and strewn all over your lovely villa.
I have a few pet likes – I like the natural cooling wafting of a ceiling fan, I like distinctive design details, and I like natural fabrics and materials. So there wasn’t much for me not to like about Soneva Fushi’s canvas ceiling fan. With its distinctive rough-hewn ceiling timbers, Soneva has one of the most aesthetically pleasing sights for lying flat on your back in your room.
With this post, I’ve added the topic tag “Fan” for other guest with plafond propeller propensities.