Best of the Maldives: Ice Buckets – Finolhu

Finolhu - ice bucket

Black Friday and the American Christmas shopping season has started.  Thanksgiving yesterday serves as sort of a starting pistol for the Yankee yuletide season.  While there are plenty of impatient transgressions, it’s generally considered a bit of poor form to decorate, play carols or otherwise engage in Krimbo merriment until after sleeping off an excess of poultry consumption. 

EVERYONE comes home for Thanksgiving.  More so than for Christmas.  Hence the term “Homecoming” (as in “Homecoming Queen”) which is the big, local school football game where everyone gathers to see friends who have also returned and to build up an appetite while the turkey is cooking at home.  As a result, the Friday after (Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday) is nearly always taken off from work.  So you have a house full of relatives and a day off.  What to do that everyone will enjoy?  A trip to the Mall to start Christmas shopping!  Also, it’s helpful that everyone is around to help find things everyone wants, check sizing, etc.  Hence the near hallowed tradition of “Black Friday” emerged as savvy stores scrambled to grab as much of this early spend from the Christmas fund as possible.  Their promotions and marketing just stoked the mania even further till you get the consumer madness we see today.

If you are looking for a present for me, one of the nicest items we saw this summer was Finolhu’s signature ice bucket with a powder blue explorer-chic design.  It evokes Alviero Martini’s “Premiere Classe” fashion line (that Lori and I have several pieces of).  The resort also features tissue boxes, toiletry boxes and other items and amenities, but the ice bucket is for sale at the shake shack for $200.  Dear Santa…

Float by Boat

Anastasia Reshetova and Dasha Sidorova (Russia) - Adaaran Hudhuran fushi

Happy Thanksgiving! Time for a house crowded with loved ones, eating to excess and collapsing on the couch to watch (American) football and, of course, the most famous parade in the world – the Macy’s Parade. Today west of Central Park will be the world epicentre of inimitable dirigibles. In fact, the event features variations on the balloon theme not seen anywhere in the world like “falloons” and “balloonicles”.

To celebrate, Maldives Complete has its own dazzling array of colourful floats and pneumatic treats today.  I’ve saved the “classics” – ie.  flamingos, unicorns and donuts – for another day and just focused on some of the more zany zeppelins today.  And befitting a good Thanksgiving table spread, the menu is packed with a range of birds, fruits and other taste treats.  Also, suitable for a good turkey day celebration are a collection of lay lilos for lounging later.

What if, today, we were grateful for everything?” – Charlie Brown

  1. Anastasia Reshetova and Dasha Sidorova (Russia) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi [ABOVE]
  2. Asha Luna (Canada)
    Asha Luna (Canada)

       
  3. Marianna Glushchenko (Ukraine) – Club Rannalhi
    Marianna Glushchenko (Ukraine) - Club Rannalhi
       
  4. Sailor Moona (China) – NIYAMA
    Sailor Moona (China) - NIYAMA
        
  5. Anya Talyzin (USA) – Athuruga
    Anya Talyzin (USA) - Athuruga
        
  6. Lyudmila Bovkun (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Lyudmila Bovkun (Russia) - One & Only Reethi Rah
       
  7. Jammie Panichadar and Hana Lewis (Thailand) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Jammie Panichadar and Hana Lewis (Thailand) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

       
  8. Lin Meitien (Japan) – Angaga
    Lin Meitien (Japan) - Angaga
       
  9. Joan Smalls (Puerto Rico) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Joan Smalls (Puerto Rico) - One & Only Reethi Rah

        
  10. Vladlena Kuzmina (Russia) – Vadoo
    Vladlena Kuzmina (Russia) - Vadoo
       
  11. Amanda Lynn (USA) – Six Senses Laamu
    Amanda Lynn (USA) – Six Senses Laamu

       

  12. Ama Peters (United Kingdom) – Maafushivaru
    Ama Peters (United Kingdom) - Maafushivaru
      
  13. Zarah (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu
    Zarah (Australia) - Six Senses Laamu
       
  14. Est Are (Nigeria) – Maafushivaru
    Est Are (Nigeria) - Maafushivaru
       
  15. Iryn Irynich (Russia) – NIYAMA
    Iryn Irynich (Russia) - NIYAMA
       
  16. Daniella Lugassy (Israel) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Daniela Lopez Osorio (Columbia) – Bandos - 2
      
  17. Milana Koroleva (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Milana Koroleva (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
      
  18. Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – Huvafenfushi
    Yulia Schastlivaya (Russia) – Huvafenfushi
        
  19. Goda G (Lithuania) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
    Goda G (Lithuania) - Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
       
  20. Maria Eleni Dimou (Greece) – Lily Beach
    Maria Eleni Dimou (Greece) - Lily Beach
      
  21. Diana Dryn (Ukraine) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Diana Dryn (Ukraine) - LUX South Ari Atoll
       
  22. Wendy (Australia) – NIYAMA
    Wendy (Australia) - NIYAMA
        
  23. Oksana R. (Russia) – Thoddoo
    Oksana R. (Russia) - Thoddoo
       
  24. Estrella (Hong Kong) – Outrigger Konotta
    Estrella (Hong Kong) - Outrigger Konotta

        
  25. Silvie Meis (Germany) – W Maldives
    Silvie Meis (Germany) - W Retreat
        
  26. Cecilia Jacobson (Sweden) – Coco Prive Kuda Hithi
    Cecilia Jacobson (Sweden) - Coco Prive Kuda Hithi
      
  27. Nobluk (Thailand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Nobluk (Thailand) - Club Med Finolhu Villas
       
  28. Malena Kara (Russia) – Club Rannalhi
    Malena Kara (Russia) - Club Rannalhi

         
  29. Yulia Len (Russia) – Outrigger Konotta
    Yulia Len (Russia) Outrigger Konotta

      
  30. Sophia Chong (Singapore) Sheraton Full Moon
    Sophia Chong (Singapore) Sheraton Full Moon

Best of the Maldives: Best for Laundry – Club Med Kani

Club Med Kani laundry

It’s not just the fashionistas, but also the fashion itself that needs a good wash. With the sun-drenched sweat, salt-water spray, and copiously applied suntan lotion, clothes are lucky to last a full day in the tropical conditions. Then you have a variety of outfits from snorkelling swimwear (suit and rashguards), lounge-by-the-pool wear, to some breezy comfort clothes for drinks and dinner time.

Most resorts do offer laundry services, but that can start to add up in costs. You can hand wash some underwear in the sink with some hand soap, but it’s a faff, takes forever to dry and doesn’t come out fluffy fresh. It sounds silly but one thing that we missed the most on our longest stay (17 days) was a washing machine to do some laundry. If only we were at Club Med Kani, they offer a complimentary laundry facility with washers, dryers and ironing all at your convenience.

Babe Shower

With the warm tropical air and cool ocean breezes, you do as much as possible outside in the Maldives. Certainly, al fresco dining every chance you get. Not to mention, beach versions of every sport there is. Outdoor showers would probably make a list of Top Ten things you only do (or primarily do) in the Maldives. You often will take a couple of refreshing soaks during the day. One after your morning dive or snorkel, one after your afternoon in the sun to freshen up for dinner.

With the glistening water droplets streaming down, it’s also a popular photoshoot Kodak Photo Spot with the fashionista crowd. Here is Maldives Complete the not-so-dirty thirty of the shower set.

  1. Pia Muehlenbeck (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu [VIDEO]
  2. Aggie Lal (USA) – Six Senses Laamu
    Aggie Lal (USA) - Six Senses Laamu
      
  3. Viki Odintcova (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Viki Odintcova (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
      
  4. Josefine Forsberg (Sweden) – Hideaway Beach
    Josefine Forsberg (Sweden) - Hideaway Beach
         
  5. Marina (Russia) – Irufushi
    Marina (Russia) - Irufushi
       
  6. Tatyana Kiss (Russia) – Furaveri
    Tatyana Kiss (Russia) - Furaveri
       
  7. Viktoriya Kabochkina (Russia) – Rihiveli
    Viktoriya Kabochkina (Russia) - Drift Thelu Veliga
       
  8. McKenna Ray (USA) – Conrad Rangali
    McKenna Ray (USA) - Conrad Rangali
       
  9. Bar Zomer (Israel) – Amilla Fushi
    Bar Zomer (Israel) - Amilla Fushi
       
  10. Adelina and Alina (Tartarstan) – Soneva Jani
    Adelina and Alina (Tartarstan) - Soneva Jani

       
  11. Anastasia Reshetova (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu
    Anastasia Reshetova (Russia) - Anantara Dhigu
       
  12. Taylor Mega (Italy) – NIYAMA
    Taylor Mega (Italy) - NIYAMA
       
  13. Est Are (Nigeria) – Maafushivaru
    Est Are (Nigeria) - Maafushivaru
      
  14. Anna Ryapasova (Russia) – Dusit Thani
    Anna Ryapasova (Russia) - Dusit Thani
       
  15. Sierra Furtado (Canada) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Sierra Furtado (Canada) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
       
  16. Zemfira Jemchujnaya (Russia) – Taj Exotica
    Zemfira Jemchujnaya (Russia) - Taj Exotica
       
  17. Lera Bukinaa (Russia) – Centara Ras Fushi
    Lera Bukinaa (Russia) - Centara Ras Fushi

       
  18. Svetlana Glagoleva (Russia) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
    Svetlana Glagoleva (Russia) - Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
       
  19. Jenny Phm (Vietnam) – Six Senses Laamu
    Jenny Phm (Vietnam) – Six Senses Laamu
       
  20. Milana Koroleva (Russia) – NIYAMA
    Milana Koroleva (Russia) – NIYAMA
      
  21. Ranuga Sukrasorn (Australia) – Kuramathi
    Ranuga Sukrasorn (Australia) - Kuramathi
      
  22. Mariam Rod (Iran) – Ayada
    Mariam Rod (Iran) - Ayada
      
  23. Mini Lina (Bosnia) – Amari Havodda
    Mini Lina (Bosnia) - Amari Havodda
      
  24. Victoria Demidova (Russia) – Milaidhoo
    Victoria Demidova (Russia) - One & Only Reethi Rah
      
  25. Julia Dybowska (Poland) – JA Manafaru
    Julia Dybowska (Poland) – JA Manafaru
      
  26. Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
      
  27. Mabel (Singapore) – NIYAMA
    Mabel (Singapore) – NIYAMA
      
  28. Karri Nicholas (Australia) – Amilla Fushi
    Karri Nicholas (Australia) - Amilla Fushi
       
  29. Jessica Cabensy (USA) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
    Jessica Cabensy (USA) - Anantara Kihavah Villas  
      
  30. Julia Marchak (Ukraine) – Six Senses Laamu [VIDEO]

A post shared by Julia Marchak (@juliamarcs) on

Best of the Maldives: Triple Shower – Amilla Fushi / Finolhu

Amilla Fushi - outdoor shower

Innie, outie and innie/outie. Dual indoor and outdoor showers have become pretty much table stakes at the five-star properties. A few of the higher end properties have introduced the drench waterfall showers. But Amilla Fushi and Finolhu not only feature the drench showers, but also have a triple shower combo with outdoor showers on both the front and back decks.

Amilla Fushi - in out shower

Amilla Fushi - indoor shower

Best of the Maldives: Room Abstract Paintings – Summer Island

Summer Island - painting 1

I’ve always wondered why the Maldives resorts didn’t use more Maldivian artists for room décor. I’ve come across so many impressive talents in my decades of Maldives visits. Their renditions of the Maldivian vignettes are as personal as they are authentic. But my favourite of all resort artwork are the commissioned room paintings for the Summer Island resort revamp.

When I entered my the first room on my resort tour this July, I was stunned by the abstract painting over the bed (see below). It had captured the paradise parfait of colour that define the vistas from any point on any island. White sand, turquoise lagoon, azure ocean, green island, robin’s egg blue sky. This distinctive striation inspired my own graphic design in the header to this blog (see top of page). Also, you can see it in the header picture of the Maldives Complete Facebook page.

Every room has its own unique piece. And the “Do Not Disturb” signs for the door were similar crafted. All the work was done by an in house artist.

Mastery in the master bedrooms.

Summer Island - painting 2

Summer Island - painting room tag

Maldives Complete Logo 2.0

Maldives Complete - new logo

The Maldives keeps developing and getting better and so, we hope, does Maldives Complete. The latest refinement injects an extra bit of authentic Maldivian style and flair to the site with the contributions of up-and-coming artist Aima Musthafa (see photo below) who has redesigned its logo and design palette.

I’ve admired Aima’s work since I first discovered her in the “Cool Women” piece. I’m honoured to have been her very first customer and proud owner of her triptych “Raalhu Girl” (“Raalu” means “wave” in Dhivehi). After going abroad for some art and design studies, she has returned to her home shores to ply her creative brush and was recently was showcased in Kandima’s artist collective.

The Maldives Complete brief was to infuse the look with colour and culture of the Maldives it represented. I wanted to add the Dhivehi words for “Maldives Complete – “Furihama Dhivehi Raajje”. So Aima selected a font that would work well in both languages capturing the dynamic fluidity of the Dhivehi characters.

Part of what drives to me to this hobby is the escapism of immersing myself into the Laccadive world even though I am hunkered down five thousand miles away in damp, chilly England. I’ve always crafted the site to be saturated with local imagery so using it would be like a digital visit to this paradise. I have always used a collection of colours that evokes the vibrant tropical and aquatic tapestry of the destination. Aima formalised this palette some colours more carefully aligned in tone and complementarity (see her notes below). She then blended the native colours into a design similarly melding familiar shapes and forms. The result is a striking new emblem for all complete Maldives appreciation.

The new logo has also been an opportunity for a general cosmetic tidy-up to the site as I had to touch so may main pages. I have aligned some of the graphical elements more precisely and used Aima’s colour palette in place across the pages.

ޝުކުރިއްޔާ އައިމާ

Aima Musko artist

Maldives Complete Logo redesign

Best of the Maldives: Resort Airport – Kooddoo

In many places, being “close to the airport” is seen as a negative. The new Mercure Maldives Kooddoo actually boast its aeronautical geography with its press releases announcing: “Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort is the first ever water villa resort built on an airport island in Maldives.”

Kooddoo is an airports like Heathrow with jumbo jets roaring in and rattling the rafters every 30 seconds. Instead it gets one or two flights a day from relatively small planes. The infrequency makes it more of an event than a disturbance (“De plane, de plane!” – Tatoo, Fantasy Island). On the positive side, it makes for an incredibly convenient outside-Kaafu transfer. For most distant resorts, you can either take a seaplane that will land at your resort but many consider very loud inside and too small and cramped for some people’s liking (not to mention expensive). Or you can take small jet planes to an increasing number of mini-airports around the country, but then you still have one more transfer by speedboat to finally get to your resort. At Kooddoo, you have the comfort and cost-savings of a conventional flight and when you touch down, you are just a short buggy ride to your villa.

Kooddoo - airport island

Best of the Maldives: Excursion Desk – Finolhu

Finolhu - excursion desk

At the WTM, each country invests all sorts of creativity and panache into their booths to stand out from the crowd as agents and operators mull what trips to send their clients on. But no Excursion Desk in the Maldives, where you go to decide what trips you want to go to during your stay, have the flair of Finolhu’s pink microbus. All part of the resort’s retro chic vibe.