Best of the Maldives: Toilet – Holiday Inn Male

Toto Washlet C110    Toto Washlet C110 2

 

 

 

 

 

  
If you are looking for an even shorter ‘pit stop’ in Male than a day stay, then the Holiday Inn Male offers distinctive facilities (to use a common euphemism) for that too.

Many of the bathrooms are distinctive with outdoor facilities or perhaps a water bungalow with the bath over the water, but the Holiday Inn Male actually has a distinctive toilet itself. It features the ‘Toto Washlet C110’ toilet which is the gadget lovers commode with NASA-like capabilities. It is the only toilet that I have ever used with a Control Panel.

“With the touch of a button, a nozzle extends from under the seat for soothing warm-water cleansing, virtually eliminating the need for toilet paper. The nozzle, which self cleans before and after every use, can be set to move back-and-forth for maximum comfort and optimum cleansing. The specially designed contoured seat is also heated to provide maximum comfort.”

Holiday Inn Male - Toilet

 

 

Technorati Tags:

Best of the Maldives: Short Stay – Holiday Inn Male

Holiday Inn Male - Pool 

Most people want to stay in the Maldives as long as possible. Some friends have shared that they really downshift into super-relaxed mode after the better part of a week there making a second week all the more indolent. It used to be that two week trips were not that much more expensive in total than the one week equivalent, but the shift to commercial flights from charter and the generally more expensive resort rates have made the costs more proportionate.

However sometimes travel logistics mean that just a short stay is called for (‘Male Short Stay Hotel’). I personally was just blown away by the Holiday Inn Male when we visited there on a day trip (Best for Pool Seating, Best for View). Now that they have made it even easier to just pitch up and ‘stay’ there, I really think it is the best option for someone with just a day to spend in the Maldives.

“Our hotel has developed a series of day packages, allowing travellers to use the facilities of our hotel, taking away the frustration of waiting and instead providing a pleasant and relaxing end to their stay in the Maldives.”

They have a ‘Day Use Room Package’ from $165 and a ‘Facilities Use Package’ at $75.

Best of the Maldives: Cover Story – Anantara / Naladhu

SI cover

The iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, nearly as renowned for its spectacular locations background as it is for its bathing beauty subjects in the fore, has set its shoot in the Maldives. In particular, the resorts of Anantara and Naladhu had the please of hosting the crew from SI Swimsuit 2010. The venue ties into a bit of an eco-theme. I’m not sure the models can speak very authoritatively on climate change, but they are certainly role models for consuming less…clothing.

SI shoot

 

Best of the Maldives: Promotion – Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Palm Promo

Many people think of a trip to the Maldives as a holiday *of* a lifetime, but now Coco Bodu Hithi are offering a trip *for* a lifetime.

“Would you like to win your holiday for a lifetime? Win a fabulous two week holiday on Coco Palm Bodu Hithi….EVERY YEAR…for a lifetime!!! The prize includes a stay for 2 persons at our Club Coco Palm on Coco Bodu Hithi for 2 weeks (14 nights) on half board, including airport transfers with a speedboat.  Simply take part in our competition game and collect 10 “Coco Coins”. If you collect 10 “Coco Coins” you have a very good chance to win this fabulous prize. You can enter the competition at any point in time! Browse through our new website in the time period between January 25th and March 4th, 2010 and search for hidden suitcases. You will find a new suitcase every day from Mondays to Thursdays, somewhere on our English website. Simply click onto the suitcase and remember the item that is hidden in the suitcase. Every found item equals 1 “Coco Coin”. Repeat looking for hidden suitcases until March 4th and collect 10 “Coco Coins” in total. The last hidden suitcase will give you the chance to put your    10 collected “Coco Coins” into the competition draw, by filling out the provided form.”

I’ve looked several time through the website in the past few days and I couldn’t find a single suitcase, but maybe you all be more eagle eyed.

Best of the Maldives: Reefscaping – Kandooma

Kandooma reefscaping 1  Kandooma reefscaping 2

With all of the discussion in the past few posts of what the Maldives and resorts are doing for conversation and the environment, it turns out that ecologically-minded guests visiting Kandooma can turn their activism into a holiday activity.

Always wanted resorts to put up a board where people could plot their snorkelling sittings of the day and week. Kandooma has something heading in that direction with a ‘Marine Biologist Update’ which at least shares the latest aquatic goings on literally (or should I say ‘litorally’) ‘around’ the island (sorry – bad pun day).

The highlight of this update for me is their ‘Reefscaping’ project which allows guests to sponsor a ‘Reefscaping’ structure.

“The Reefscapers initiative is a synergy between the tourism industry, reef science and the local community around coral propagation projects. Coral propagation is a promising research field in the present global warming context, even though heavily debated as a possible solution, when compared to the surface of the coral reef threatened by climate change. With this in mind, Reefscapers developed in the Maldives, a new versatile technique, using light weight modules, to mitigate the adverse direct impacts to corals during tourism development. The success encountered when mitigating adverse impacts from infrastructure development has led to the continuation and development of the project using second and third generation fragments, with eventually 2000 m2 of reef created. So far, applications are mostly targeted towards aesthetic and recreation, but the technique also seems promising for erosion control and island protection. Recognizing the potential of the technique, the Maldivian government has decided to encourage the initiative by providing an island in order to carry out larger scale experiments.”

At the it says, Reefscaping has now extended to other resorts (Landaa Giravaru, Kuda Hura), but Kandooma was the first and is the most extensive.

(Pictures above from Crystal’s blog of her experience)

Best of the Maldives: Nature Conservation – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

EC3 Seed Award

I’ve been running a series of posts of the range of eco-friendly approaches various Maldive resorts are taking as the Maldives asserts itself as the most carbon progression nation on the planet. It’s not just about using the planet’s resources wisely, which many carbon reduction and intelligent design approaches have concentrated on, but it can also be about restoring, renewing and replenishing the environment.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru received the EC3 Global annual ‘Seed Award’ for its efforts to restore the reefs around the island during and after the construction. The EC3 site includes a great video on the various efforts undertaken.

“Banyan Tree’s in-house Marine Lab at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru celebrated its fifth anniversary in January 2009, making it the longest running resort-based marine research facility in the Maldives. In the past five years, the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab has been involved in major projects such as tsunami recovery efforts, working with endangered and threatened marine species, planting coral gardens, mentoring at-risk children, and sharing sustainable livelihood methods with local communities. The successes of the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab have shown that private resorts can enable stewardship and understanding of their own reefs, as well as that of the whole Maldives archipelago, protecting against phenomena such as beach erosion and coral bleaching due to climate change.”

Best of the Maldives: Eco-Friendly – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi Infrastructure

As I talked about in my last post, the drive from carbon reduction is no where more intense than in the Maldives. One of the better pieces that I’ve read about the issue was the Sunday Times article ‘Trouble in Paradise’.

While Alila Villas Hadahaa has set the bar for the villas that make up the resort, carbon footprint obviously extends to the whole infrastructure. Right now, one of the leaders in driving reductions is Soneva Fushi which has set its plan to become the first ‘carbon free’ resort. The blog on ‘Maldive Resort Workers’ reports

“The resort is already bragging about the achievements so far and points out to the cooling system for their guest rooms which uses chilled sea water drawn out from deep sea below 300m. The deep water cooling system (a 1st in Maldives) is expected once finished to replace all electrical Air conditioning units and reduce 20% of the total power demand of the island. They also claim this type of air conditioning on the island alone would save $200,000 and stop a 700k tons of carbon emission.”

The Soneva Fushi website outlines their Social and Environmental approach and initiatives in full detail.

Best of the Maldives: Eco-friendly Villas – Alila Villas Hadahaa

alila villa hadahaa design

With the country of the Maldives pledged to become the first carbon neutral sovereign state in the world, all of the resorts are ramping up their green credentials. Mind you, being a collection of tiny, remote islands has always meant that the country has had to be pretty careful about managing its limited and expensive resources.

There are lots of ways to cut the resort carbon footprint across the infrastructure and operations, but one prominent ways is the villas themselves. One of the earliest and most advanced in this area is Alila Villas Hadahaa

“Alila Villas Hadahaa is the first property in the Maldives to achieve the prestigious Green Globe ‘Building, Planning and Design’ benchmark and was designed to best adapt to the tropical climate and natural environment of the island. This includes rainwater harvesting, waste treatment, high roofed areas and open ceilings. To confirm their local social responsibility, the resort has just launched a “Gift-to-Share” programme.”

The eco-friendliness extended to the spa villa as Alila Villas Hadahaa also was called out for the top Eco-Spa’ in the Maldives in the 2009 Asia Spa Awards.

Best of the Maldives: House Reef Drop Off – Filitheyo

Filitheyo House Reef
One of the absolute joys of the Maldives is the snorkelling. There is plenty of debate in the diving community about the top dive spots in the world. The Maldives always ranks up in the elite top with the likes of the Great Barrier Reef, Cayman Islands and the Red Sea. There don’t seem to be as many ‘top’ lists or guides for ‘snorkeling’, but it would be hard to see how the Maldives could be bested for its clarity of water, comfort of water temperature, diversity and quantity of fish, and a range of other variables.

For a snorkelling neophyte, there is a sort of progression of steps one should take to build up to the main event…

  1. Sandy lagoon – Start in the white bottomed, impossibly shallow sandy lagoon. Look at the little sand gobies, garden eels, silvery goat fish ambling by, mini humbug damsels darting in and out of tiny crevasses, trigger fish munching on strewn bits of small coral croppings.
  2. House Reef – Proceed to the area of the island where the coral aggregates into an underwater sculpture garden teaming with ever more colourful and diverse fish from the classic surgeon fish, colourful wrasses, angel fish and parrot fish, perhaps a turtle or small reef shark will make an appearance.
  3. House Reef Drop-Off – But the big event to any snorkelling is the ‘drop off’. Where the depth goes from a few meters to virtual oblivion. As you swim along the precipice, it is the closest feeling to flying without being in the air that one can have. Out in this open water, the island reef is a massive canvas of aquatic colour. The bigger space affords room for schools of jacks, oriental sweet-lips and the occasional larger visitor like a Napoleon fish or a ray.

Once you visit the ‘drop off’, the rest of the snorkelling will seem rather tame though it will always have its comforts and charms.

The resort with the deepest drop off, according to Emu72 on TripAdvisor appears to be Filitheyo, “Filitheyo has the deepest drop off in the Maldives at 90m on the NE corner, and the reef remains in fairly good shape.”

I can personally attest to how great the Filitheyo house reef is and its drop off from personal experience with me pictured above here diving into its depths.

Best of the Maldives: Employer – W Resort

W Resort

A common refrain in the chorus of praises sung about the Maldives spotlight the wonderful warm people that welcome them and make the stay delightful. A great resort is a one which nurtures this natural resource of human warmth and hospitality by treating its resort employees as respectfully as the guests would hope to be treated. The resort which stands out in this regard according to the Maldives jobs website Jobs Maldives is the W Resort

“’Talents’ are what the W Hotels call their employees. This not only encompasses the skill set needed to work at a luxury hotel, but it also speaks of the individual personalities that portray the “Warmth of Cool”…Though the island is small there are several opportunities provided for the talent: W Lifestyle and Language training, Talent-of-the-Month award ceremonies, Trips to Male, Cultural excursions, fishing trips, BBQs, sport competitions with other islands, monthly birthday parties and a newly finished sport court for soccer, basketball, badminton and volleyball. Says guest Gina Johnson from Dubai, ‘You can just tell how happy, genuine and informed the staff are. You see that they take a lot of pride in their work.’”