Happy Valentines Day! Sweetheart around the world will be inscribing their love in hearts made from cards, chocolate, emojis, hands, and any number of creative materials. In the Maldives, the power soft, brilliant white coral sands that make up and define this paradise also make a handy canvas for romance…
Even after a decade of exploring the Maldives in person and online, with my 14th edition of the “Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives” series there is still no shortage of candidates keep on popping up. If you think you have seen it all in the Maldives…no you haven’t.
- Baby Shark Abs Workout – Ok, some resort NEEDS to offer this in their kids club AND their adult fitness classes! [ABOVE]
- Whale Shark Kites – Or octopus, or manta ray, or sting ray, or dolphin, or turtle.
- Sunshine Guarantee – Offer for free rooms (or some system) for ay vacation more than 50% rain (or could do, if you have more than one day of rain, then each additional day is complimentary for a future visit).
- Plot of Sand and a Palm Tree – When people ask me to describe the Maldives, I respond, “You know that iconic image of a deserted island with a plot of sand and a single palm teee? That’s the Maldives. A thousand of those.” And while the image captures the diminutive, tropical, aquatic topology of the Maldives, curiously, I have never actually come across a sand bank with a single palm tree on it. If a resort would transplant a palm tree, they would have instance Instagram bait.
- Faux-fluencer Photoshoot – Some resort needs to host Celeste Barber to do all the classic Maldives Instagram poses (eg. lying on the edge of the infinity pool, walking up the water villa ladder, pink flamingo float, coconut drink, sitting on a palm tree, backfloat, wallowing in the shallow water, etc).
- Underwater Photo Spot Frame – Photo frames have popped up all over the Maldives resorts, but none where all the action is – underwater.
- Vilebrequin Outlet – One of the finest makes of swimwear in the world with styles just perfect for the Maldives.
- Bird Baths – The enchanting tropical birds from the ubiquitous Makana to Rihiveli’s famous Crab Plover bring a colourful creature dimension to enjoying the natural charm and beauty of the Maldives destination. On a number of occasions we have found the Makanas visiting our pool for a fresh water drink. Which made us think that the tiny desert islands must be a classic case of “water, water everywhere, but not drop to drink.” So why hasn’t a resort set out a stylish birdbath to both help the feathered friends out and provide an attraction where guest can observe them regularly. Many resorts still do (controversial) fish feeding to show the marine creatures up close, so why not the ornithological ones? (thanks Lori)
- Naturist Holday – A friend of mine works at UK travel agency, Eton Travel, which among other things is a UK leader in naturist holidays (yep, hanging out with it all hanging out). She said that the UK has 5 million naturists and it is one of the rapidly growing segments. There is an obvious reason why naturism hasn’t hit the Maldives and that is because nudity is prohibited (mind you, that hasn’t stopped a slew of exhibitionist Instagrammers). But the resorts have always been given some discretion about how non-Muslim visitors want to behave (like drinking alcohol and eating pork) and so perhaps there is something that could be done in this area. One concern would be to shield the Maldivian staff from exposure to such, well exposure. But maybe the resort could give their local staff a holiday for a week where they devoted the property to a special naturist week, or the resort could limit the naturism to a nearby picnic island.
- Spa Sommelier – “After guests perceive the aromas of a selection of oils and taste several wines from our Abadía Retuerta winery, the Spa Sommelier analyses their tastes and aromatic preferences and recommends the best spa experience for their individual wellness needs.”
- Seaweed Flavoured Butter – Flavoured butter is becoming a bit of a thing with variations such as Moose Maple Butter, Abernethy Smoked Butter, Ampersand Cultured Butter, and the appropriately luxurious Black Truffle Butter. But I think the mist apropos flavor would be Le Beurre Bordier’s Seaweed Butter.
- Maldivian Harvested Sea Salt – Use on tables, in spas and sell in boutiques.
- Cut Fruit/Veg Crafting – A step beyond just carving to actually construction.
- 3D Decorated Cake Scene – Could a birthday cake be more appropriate for the Maldives?
- RGB Intelligent Light Faucet – Just because.
- Roll-Outside Bed – The lavish La Terraza Suite comes with a king-sized bed that can be rolled out onto the open-air at La Valise Hotel, Mexico City. (thanks Paola)
- Glass-Bottom Rooftop Swimming Pool – How can the Seychelles have a resort feature this amazing without the Maldives having it?
- Underwater Restaurant Mermaid – Resorts like Finolhu have hosted professional mermaids for photoshoots, but this underwater performance is especially enchanting.
- Deserted Island Laser Tag – Whenever you have a variation of the capture the flag game (eg. paintballing, laser tag, or simple old capture the flag) the boundaries are critical (and often a source of dispute as to whether an opponent has crossed of them). But setting up a laser tag game on an uninhabited picnic island would provide a natural boundary. Your very own Hunger Games re-enactment.
- Snorkeling Guitar Solo – An appropriate act to celebrate International Snorkeling Day.
World Toilet Day today. With a very serious message about the importance of proper sanitation. Despite the advances in the modern world, 4.5 people live without a toilet. More than half the planet. One of the aspirations of the day is to make sure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030.
To mark the occasion, Maldives Complete has assembled a list of top toilets in the Maldives when it comes to a view of nature when nature calls…
1. CONRAD RANGALI [ABOVE]
2. SONEVA FUSHI
Of all the fish soup creatures, some of the most prevalent are the Moorish Idols. Their sweeping top fin and distinctive stripes provide the sensation that you are in some giant open water tropical aquarium when you see them in their massive schools. So distinctively ubiquitous and quintessentially Maldivian, I choose a similar shot for the Profile section background. Here are ten more shots to immerse yourself in…
Off to the Maldives again today! Despite being our 9th tour of islands (after this trip we will have stayed at over 90 resort which as far as we can tell is still the most of any one in the world) and our 15th visit there overall, we still are looking forward to seeing so many things that we have not yet seen there in our two decades of visiting. In anticipation, here is my bi-annual list of “Things I Haven’t Seen In the Maldives…Yet (But Probably Should)…
- Underwater Concert – Especially for one of the resorts with an underwater restaurant [ABOVE].
- Underwater Easter Egg Hunt – Shangri-La Villingilli advertised it in their newsletter, but I’m not sure they ended up doing it as I can find nothing about it on the web and they are not responding to my enquiries. An inspired concept where guest would get different prizes based on the colour of the eggs they discovered like a bottle of champagne or a free spa treatment.
- Gold Leaf Coffee – The ultimate “Golf Blend”.
- Fish-Shaped Ice Cream Cones – No comment needed.
- Watermelon Cocktails – One of our favorite items at any Maldives meal is it ripe and juicy watermelon. Now watermelon cocktails are becoming popular so I’d be surprised not to see them at resorts soon.
- Floating Mansion Boat – Slick modernistic design, luxury yachts, and spacious mansion-sized villas all a becoming de rigeur in the super premium properties. So only a matter of time when someone puts them all together.
- Rooftop Pools – Always a big fan of a bit of an elevated vista especially in this country of such low lying landscape (thanks Paola).
- Float Pools – I’ve seen lots of floats in pools, but this is the first time I’ve seen a pool in floats.
- Whale Shark Floats – Of all the dozens of floats that launch onto the Maldives lagoons every day for an Instagram snap, how have one (or both) of these whale shark float not migrated there??
- Clear Bottom Inflatable Boat – Any clear-bottom boat is a winner in the Maldives to provide a means to observe the subaquatic sensations. This one is particularly stable and safe for the less comfortable swimmers (though only supervised as winds and currents could easily push such an inflatable into the open ocean).
- Flexible Wooden Loungers – One of the give-aways to the true quality (regardless of how they have graded themselves) of a property is the quality of the loungers. At the bottom of the scale are the cheap, white, plastic jobs. The more sophisticated resorts have fancier adjustable, wheeled, cushioned wooden loungers. But the crème-de-la-crème looks to me to be this flexible design.
- Gyrotonic – We got introduced to this yoga, dance, pilates fusion by our friend Dean in Boston.
- Waterfall Table – I love innovative water features and I love creative dining tables. So you can imagine how much I love this creation…
Mother Ocean Day today which “spotlights the magnificent bodies of water that make life on Earth possible”. Few countries appreciate the ocean more than the Maldives where is makes up more of their country than any other. To mark the occasion, I’ve assembled one of the most popular ocean shots on Instagram – the Anemonefish nestled in the protectively mothering tentacles of its host. If only we landlubbers could live in harmony with the ocean as well as these Amphiprioninae live in harmony in the ocean…
With the football season winding down, the stars of the pitch will be planning a bit of premier league grade relaxation. The luxury of Maldives will be one of the top destinations for the golden boots (and wallets). Here’s a starting 11 (with an added hat tip to talent scout Bunyamin Ahmed) of footie fashionista in paradise…
- Séan Garnier (France) – Cocoon – Freestyle World Champion [ABOVE]
- Federico Fazio (Italy) – NIYAMA – AS Roma
- Ciro Immobile (Italy) – Halaveli – Lazio
- Mykola Matviyenko (Ukraine) – Paradise Island – Shakhtar Donetsk
- Fyodor Smolov (Russia) – Velaa – Krasnodar
- Tomás Rincón (Venezuela) – Constance Halaveli – Torino
- Diego Tardelli (Brazil) – Velaa – Shandong Luneng
- Kevin Bonifazi (Italy) – Havaveli – Torino
- Ricardo Goulart (Brazil) – Cheval Blanc Randheli – Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao
- Lanzafame Davide (Italy) – Safari Island – Honvéd
- Aleksandr Kokorin (Russia) – St. Regis Vommuli –
Hammocks come in a variety of styles and settings with the tropical paradise of the Maldives showcasing them all. Here is a Maldives Complete catalogue so you can find the hammock that’s right for your midday snooze swaying in the ocean breezes (partly inspired by Sakis post “The Art of Doing Nothing” which features a more artistic collection including #5 below)
- Classic Hammock – Conrad Rangali Maldives [ABOVE]
- Padded / Free Standing – Coco Bodu Hithi
- Traditional Maldivian Hammock Seat – Bandos
- Woven – Baros
- Cloth – W Retreat
- Single – Cocoa Island (thanks Paola)
- Canopy Beach Hammock
- Beach Stand – Six Senses Laamu
- Over Water Hammock – Anantara Dhigu
- Shaded Over Water Hammock – Taj Exotica
- Floating Hammock – Constance Halaveli
- Water Villa Deck Hammock – Velassaru
- Pool-Side Hammock – The Residence
- Trampoline Style Hammock – Angsana Velavaru
- Fish Net Hammock – One & Only Reethi Rah
- Pool Canopy Hammock – NIYAMA
As I discussed in my post “Maldives Methadone”, one of the most frequently discussed topic amongst Maldives addicts (known as victims of “Maldivitis”) is the question “Is there anywhere else on Earth like the Maldives?” (hopefully a little cheaper).
If you truly take the unique blend of characteristics that make the Maldives the very definition of Bounty-bar iconic paradise, then the selection is rather limited. So to extend the boundaries a little more generously, I’ve assembled a second tier collection of tropical islands that are like the Maldives in every way except elevation.
Unfortunately, adding a bit of topological height doesn’t really seem to lower the price that much. Most of the rates are comparable to top high-end 4-stars or value priced 5-star properties in the Maldives. But if you are okay with a largish pile of rocks instead a smallish plot of sand for your tropical island, then here are some Maldives cousins…