Best of the Maldives: Mermaid Photography – Palm Beach

Palm Beach - mermaid classes

Little Mermaid Day today celebrating the release of Disney’s “Little Mermaid” film in 1989. If you want to release your inner mermaid under da sea (sort of a reverse Ariel if you know what I mean, the Palm Beach is offering an aquatic photoshoot by one of the premier photographers of this style.

· “Imagine building a portfolio of one-of-a-kind underwater portraits in the serene, private setting of a Maldivian Atoll. A place where you’re photographing skilled underwater models against the backdrop of pristine coral reefs and large marine mammals while also funding local ocean conservation efforts…. Now you don’t have to just dream it; you can experience it. Professional underwater photographer Chiara Salomoni leads a once-in-a-lifetime 6 day, 5 night all-inclusive masterclass at the Palm Beach Island Resort in the Maldives on Lhaviyani Atoll, Nov 12th-17th, 2018. This customized workshop enables scuba-divers and photographers alike to gain technical mastery in every aspect of underwater portraiture, working in a variety of settings from pool to open-water shallows and even deep ocean scenes with marine mammals. Expert underwater models Christine Ren and Syrena, Singapore’s premier mermaid performer, will pose as the subjects and provide training on how to work safely with both non-models and models in the water. But the best part is 10% of the trip’s proceeds are reinvested locally into marine conservation projects. Travel somewhere beautiful, learn amazing new skills, and save the ocean – what’s not to love?”

That’s why is hotter, Under the water!

Best of the Maldives: Map Theme Decor – Hurawalhi

Hurawalhi - map theme decor

Something about a map that has detailed artistry and exotic allure. It tells an aerial pictorial story of some part of the planet. Ocean maps are often the most enchanting with their sinuous coastlines and patterns of inlets and isles.

Naturally, maps of the Maldives are bursting with this adventurous charm. Huawalhi has a employed one of the more antiquarian depictions of the “Laquedives” as a design highlight in its villas. Blotter, cases, lampshades, etc. use segments of these ancient charts. Very reminiscent of one of our favourite designers, Alviero Martini’s “1ª Classe’ line of fashion and accessories.

Hurawalhi - map theme decor 2

World Travel Market 2018

WTM 2018 1

Maldives Complete made it to yet another World Travel Market at the Excel Centre in London this week. Maldives resorts, agents, cruises and promoters were there in force. With all the giant, illuminated backdrop tableaus, it was the closest thing to a day visit to the Maldives on a November day in London.

I got a chance to catch up with long-time friends and associates like Barefoot Resort Marketing Director Raffaella Colleoni and Grand Park Kodhipparu General Manager Raffaele Solferino (please, Raffles Resort, hire these two executives!) – see above.

I also got an opportunity to meet some of the folks behind some of the newer properties – eg. Emerald, Carpe Diem, Kuredhivaru, Hard Rock, SAii Lagoon, Rahaa. Emerald in particular has some incredibly attractive pricing and may be doing some extra special offers at its launch. And Hard Rock with SAii Lagoon is going to be a real game-changer opening up entirely new ways of holidaying in the Maldives and experiencing this paradise.

The other revelation to me was the deals for some pretty swish cruising. ScubaSpa is a live-aboard-cum-spa on a luxury cruiser and gourmet meals for the price of a good 4+ star resort. You can choose any number of days that you want to travel to tailor the timings (and costs) to your preferences. And Carpe Diem has a deal of $1200 for a week on their yacht including meals and 3 dives each day. We’ve often considered doing a cruise. We’ve seen so many of the Maldives resorts, we thought it would be a great way to explore some of the deserted islands, remote lagoons and sand bars in the middle of the ocean. We’ve sailed in the Mediterranean and there is an adventurous charm to anchoring in some remote place with no civilisation in sight.

WTM 2018 2

Best of the Maldives: Sound Therapy – Hurawalhi

Hurawalhi’s Duniye Spa goes far beyond the ubiquitous sound track of ambient recording featuring soft acoustic instrumentals often mixed with a smattering of nature sounds like whale calls or water lapping. They offer a variety of “Sound Therapy” sessions and techniques including a collection of ringing bowls (see below) and a rain stick (see above). Our family really appreciated this distinctive offering as Chase (our son) has his degree in “Sound Art and Design” and Lori is a professional classical musician, so we are quite familiar with the salutary effects of soothing sounds.

 

Hurawalhi - sound therapy

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Hurawalhi - sound therapy 3

Best of the Maldives: Ayurveda – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - Ayurveda

The National Ayurveda Day is celebrated every year on the occasion of Dhanwantari Jayanti. Most Maldives spas include at least one Ayurveda treatment, but Taj Exotica’s has an entire menu of Ayurvedu treatments at its Jiva Spa…

  • Consultation – 30 minutes
  • Abhyanga (including Snana) – 90 minutes
  • Udvartana (including Snana) – 75 minutes
  • Mukhaleoa – 60 minutes
  • Dinacharya (including Snana) – 120 minutes
  • Kati Basti / Prushtha Basti – 45 minutes
  • Pichu – 30 minutes

Snana is a medicated traditional bath experience.

   

Best of the Maldives: Competitive Bed Decorating – Vadoo

Vadoo - bed decorating

I’ve featured a number of Bed Decorating distinctions over the year and I keep a Pinterest board that includes a broader range of contenders. In fact, I first proposed holding a bed decorating competition 3 years ago.  In the controlled environment of an adjudicated competition, the Maldives Housekeepers Forum Competition, it was Vadoo who took home the top prize seeing off a king-sized field of competition…

  • “More than 50 housekeepers from over 25 resorts and hotel operators participated in the competition; including Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, Velaa Private Island, Kurumba Maldives, Meeru Island Resort & Spa, Centara Hotels and Resorts, Baros Maldives, NIYAMA Private Islands, Bandos Maldives and Hulhulé Island Hotel. Other hotels and resorts which competed in the competition are Hotel Jen, Naladhu Private Island Maldives, Anantara Maldives Resorts, Hurawalhi Island Resort, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, Veligandu Island Resort & Spa, Komandoo Maldives Resort, Coco Collection and W Maldives.”

Vadoo’s gold medal team comprised of Hasaan Majeed and Ahmed Hafiz (see above). Runner-ups were Baros and Hulhule Island Hotel.

Vadoo - bed decorating 4

Vadoo - bed decorating 3

Vadoo - bed decorating 2

Best of the Maldives: Koari – AaaVeee

AaaVeee - Koari decor

One resort that is always dressed in traditional Maldivian garb is AaaVeee. The entire resort is not just inspired by local Maldivian design, but most of the infrastructure was produced in the Maldives itself. In fact, a good number of things like chairs and tables were made on the island by Maldivians using materials from the island itself.

Perhaps the most “Maldivian” aspect is the ubiquitous “koari” adornments. “Koari” means “cone” and is a traditional form of decoration found on the islands. It is a cone made out of palm thatch placed atop a tall pole. I’ve already posted about the koari used to mark the navigation channel to the resort, but it is also used at the reception jetty (see above), in the lagoon (directly below) and various other places across the island. The resort’s chef even baked a “Koari Kake” (below).

AaaVeee - koari entrance

AaaVeee - koari water

AaaVeee - Koari chocolate