I Heart Maldives

Hearts - beach beauty

IRed heartMaldives

The Maldives is long renowned as one of the most romantic places on Earth.  No surprise that there are hearts are everywhere you look in this corner of paramour’s paradise.  So to celebrate Valentines Day today instead of a dozen roses, a dozen hearts in paradise…

  1. Sand – Anantara Kihavah
    Anantara Kihavah - sand heart
  2. Balloons – Kurumba
    Kurumba - heart balloon
  3. Underwater – Rasdhoo Madivaru
    Rasdhoo Madivaru - diving heart
  4. Breakfast – Centara Grand
    Centara Grand - heart breakfast
  5. Fruit – Constance Moofushi
    Moofushi - fruit heart
  6. Acrobatics – Finolhu
    Finolhu - Acrobatics
  7. Dinner on the Sand – Centara Grand
    Centara Grand - sand heart
  8. Dinner in the Sand – LUX Maldives
    LUX South Ari Atoll - sand heart dinner
  9. Beach Candles – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Atmosphere Kanifushi - heart sand candles
  10. Simple Bed Décor – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
    Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - heart bed decor
  11. Fancy Bed Décor – Huvafenfushi
    Huvafenfushi - bed heart
  12. Hands – One and Only Reethi Rah
    One and Only Reethi Rah heart hands

Saving Dive It / Lie In

Maldives National Day today. Celebrating its independence from the Portuguese. Unfortunately, the country is still dependent on the rest of the world taking action on climate change. The very aspect which makes the Maldives to alluring, also makes it the most vulnerable. The country lies right on the edge of sea-level. Like the classic plot of sand with a palm tree. Nearly all of the Maldives wonder takes place a meter below (snorkelling) and a meter above (max elevation of the country) sea-level. As a result, changes in sea level have a profound impact on the country even existing at all (or just eventually becoming on big underwater reef).

Furthermore, one of its great attractions is it colourful reefs, but now these are being threatened by warmer sea waters in which the vibrant coral cannot survive. It is no surprise then that the entire country has become one of the most environmentally progressive on the planet. You start to appreciate your planet under your feet more intently when you only have a tiny patch of it to stand on.

Maldives Complete has been covering the many eco-sustainability initiatives by the various resorts for years now. Here is a top ten list of their ecological initiatives…

  1. EDUCATION– Kuramathi [ABOVE]
  2. RECYCLING – Kurumba
    Kurumba recycling 2
  3. REEFSCAPING – Kandooma, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, Kurumba
    Kandooma reefscaping labels 2
  4. SOLAR POWER – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Club Med Finolhu - solar panels 1
  5. REEF RE-GENERAT-ION – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
    Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Lotus project 2
  6. LOCAL SOURCING – Jumeirah Vittaveli
    Jumeirah Vittaveli - local sourcing
  7. VOLUNTOURISM – Soneva Fushi
    Six Senses Voluntourism
  8. WASTE REDUCTION – Soneva Fushi
    Sineva Fushi - food waste reduction
  9. MANTA RESEARCH – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru manta sculpture
  10. TURTLE RESEARCH – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Nargis Fakhri turtle

Couple Powers of 10

David And Victoria Beckham

One of the first, most frequent and highest profile power couples, David and Victoria Beckham, return to their favourite holiday haunt in the Maldives this holiday season with a few friends (eg. the Gordon Ramsay family). But “Posh and Becks” aren’t the only power couple to jet set into this tropical haven. Their holiday event is having Spice Girls band-mate, Mel C, perform for their New Year’s Eve party. 

Here is the Maldives Complete Top Ten List of Power Couples in paradise…

  1. David and Victoria Beckham (USA) – Amilla Fushi [ABOVE]
  2. Ashish Chowdhry and Samita Bangargi (India) – Lily Beach
    Ashish Chowdhry and Samita Bangargi (India) – Lily Beach
  3. Sam Thompson and Tiffany Watson (United Kingdom) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Sam Thompson and Tiffany Watson (United Kingdom) – LUX South Ari Atoll

  4. Richard and Amy Kotch (USA) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
    Richard and Amy Kotch (USA) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
  5. Ylianna and Michael Dadashi (USA) – Huvafenfushi
    Ylianna and Michael Dadashi (USA) - Huvafenfushi
  6. Aliaa Bhaat and Sidharth Malhotra (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Aliaa Bhaat and Sidharth Malhotra (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  7. Ana Ivanovic and Bastian Schweinsteiger (Serbia/Germany) – Huvafenfushi
    Ana Ivanovic and Bastian Schweinsteiger (Serbia - Germany) - Huvafenfushi
  8. John and Toni Terry (United Kingdom) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    John and Toni Terry (United Kingdom) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  9. Ryk Neethling and Sahar Biniaz (Australia/Iran) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Ryk Neethling and Sahar Biniaz (Australia - Iran) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  10. Sepideh Haftgoli and Max Loong (Switzerland) – NIYAMA
    Sepideh Haftgoli and Max Loong (Switzerland) - Huvafenfushi
  11. Karan Singh Grover and Bipasha Basu (India) – Jumeirah Vittaveli
    Karan Singh Grover and Bipasha Basu (India) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Spitting Distance

Cocoa Island - sand spit 2

One of the fav features of any Maldive island is the sand spit. The spit is the Kodak Photo Spot. Surrounded by the India Ocean on all but a few feet of sand. If you are planning your next photoshoot and scouting for a bit of shallow wallowing, here is a list of the top resort sand spits in the Maldives…

  • Cocoa Island [ABOVE]
  • Gangehi
    Gangehi - sand spit
  • Sun Island
    Sun Island - sand spit
  • Kuramathi
    Kuramathi - sand spit
  • Kuredu
    Kuredu - sand spit
  • Kanifushi (thanks Paola)
    Kanifushi - sand spit
  • Finolhu
    Finolhu - sand spit
  • Palm Beach
    Palm Beach - sand spit
  • Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - sand spit
  • Rihiveli
    Rihiveli - sand spit
  • Ranveli
    Ranveli - sand spit
  • Dhigufaru
    Dhigufaru - sand spit
  • Loama at Maamagili
    Loama at Maamagili

10 Smile Inspiring Services

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa sunglasses cleaner

World Smile Day today. And if there is one place in the world that knows how to put a smile on your face it is the Maldives. If the sheer other-worldly aquatic beauty alone doesn’t do it, then the service obsessed resorts will find some special touch guaranteed to get your grin on…

1. SUNGLASS CLEANING – Four Seasons Kuda Hura [ABOVE]

2. FOOT WASHING – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah foot washing

3. GREETING MASSAGE – Anantara
Anantara - greeting massage

4. ICE CREAM SERVICE – LUX South Ari Atoll
LUX Maldives ICI ice crean cart 1

5. BIKE RETURN – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah bicycle homing service Purple Passport

6. PILLOW MENU – Anantara Kihavah Villas
Anantara Kihavah Villas - pillow menu samples

7. SNACK SERVICE – Gangehi
Gangehi bruschetta

8. BUTLER BRIGADE – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi bath

9. TREE MOVING – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah palm tree moving

10. FACE MIST SPRAYING – Kanuhura
Kanuhura pool

And Yet Still More Haven’t Seen Yet – Part 7

Fish hanging seat

After 70+ resorts and nearly two decades of touring the Maldives, you would think that I had seen it all about now. And yet in my web and other worldly wanderings, I’ve still come across another couple dozen curiosities that that are just crying out for the right home in the Maldives…

1. Fish Hanging Chairs – The newer properties are getting more arty and edgy, and the hanging swing seat has long been a staple for relaxing in the ocean breezes. [ABOVE]

2. Corner-Turning Sliding Glass Doors – It’s all about the scenery in the Maldives, and resorts are making villas more and more open to bring in the outdoors.
Sliding window walls

3. Shark SuitWhy put on a boring one-piece of the same geometric design that every Instagrammer in the world is wearing when you can wear this. Do just watch the shark…be the shark!
Shark swimsuit

4. Fashion Fins – Just because…
High heel fins

5. Bird’s Eye Perspective Resort Map – A few resorts (eg. Anantara, Baros), have 3D(ish) aerial resort maps. Four Seasons has a birds eye perspective, but more cartoonish, than photorealistic. I would like to see one of these throw backs proper Victorian vintage maps.
Birdseye map

6. Hand-held Underwater Propulsion – A number of resorts have seabobs, but these toned down versions seem more appropriate for gentler exploration (thanks Momo).

clip_image007

7. Underwater Drone – Another way to explore the reef without getting wet.
Underwater drone

8. Underwater GeoCache – A few geocaches have hit the resorts islands, but the obvious fun is undersea.
Underwater geocache

9. Underwater Yoga – I was going to do an April Fools post on this idea…until I found out it is no joke.
Underwater yoga

10. Pedal Board – Not a “paddle” board…”pedal” board.

11. Water Motorcycling – While the very notion will send the heebie-jeebies up the spine of most Maldives aficionados, in the spirit of “completeness” this couldn’t go without a mention. Not too much different to a jet ski in noise and disruption, really. And with a number of adrenalin sports hitting the Maldives (eg. power boarding) and a number of Red Bull events, it’s not so crazy a notion.

12. Aqua Lily Pad – On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, for the more sedentary…
Aqua lily pad

13. Activity Pinwheel – For the more indecisive. If even making a decision is too much of an effort on a Maldives holiday, I found this handy device in Copenhagen.
Activity pinwheel

14. Hemp Milk – Hot new thing in the epicenter of global coffee culture (Seattle).
Hemp milk

15. Paradise Island– Perfect toast to the “plot of sand with a palm tree” aesthetic that defines the Maldives.
Paradise Island cocktail

16. Ice Figurines – More fun with ice shapes.
Ice figurines

16. Chocolate Ball Reveal – For all of the glitzy gourmet presentations, nothing comes too close to this one.

17. Pineapple Lolly – Form and function in this fruit art.
Pineapple lolly

18. Yogurt Parfait Popsicles – And yet another option in the cold refreshment department with a bit of a healthy slant.
Forzen yogurt lolly

19. Cocktail Slushies – Or less healthy if you prefer…
Cocktail slushes

 

20. Ceiling Stars – While bed decorating gets more and more imaginative, how about a different surprise custom decoration for guests returning to their bedrooms? You turn out the lights and “Happy Honeymoon” is written in stars across the ceiling. Resorts can use light adhesive like blue tack to they are removable and reusable.
Ceiling stars

21. Wave Power Generator – Not so great for the inner atoll resorts that are shielded from such waves by the outer reefs, but an intriguing possibility for even more eco-sustainability in the outer atoll regions (thanks Paola).

22. Ocean-scraper – Okay, now I admit that we are getting silly.
Ocean-scraper

23. Underwater Police – Maybe this will deter the coral-standers and rogue fishermen (thanks again Paola).
Underwater police

24. Mermaid School – Not a “school of mermaids”, but “mermaid school”. I’ve had “swim with a mermaid”, but Sirenas Mediterranean Academy takes the aquatic dramatisation a step further.
Mermaid school

  

14 Lagoon Accessories

Maldives lagoon

The definitive activity in the Maldives might be snorkelling, but the definitive “look” of the Maldives are its lagoons. But a lagoon is more than a pretty pictures. Here is my lakers dozen Lagoon Accessories to make the most tranquil lagoon as active and colourful as any house reef…

1. HAMMOCK – Anantara Dhigu
Anantara Dhigu - lagoon hammock

2. DECK – Baros
Baros - lagoon deck

3. RAFTS – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah water rafts

4. CORAL TOPIARY – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - coral topiary

5. CLIMBING WALL – Hideaway Beach
Hideaway Beach - water park

6. DINING AREA – Angsana Ihuru
Angsana Ihuru - lagoon dining

7. CATCH – Kurumba

8. SHADED DINING – Centara Ras Fushi
Centara Ras Fushi - lagoon dining

9. DIRECTIONS – Anantara Kihavah
Anantara Kihavah Villas - directions

10. WINE BAR – Kurumba
Kurumba - wine tasting

11. POOL – Velassaru
Velassaru - lagoon pool

12. VOLLEYBALL – Angsana Velavaru
Angsana Velavaru - water volleyball

13. GROYNE ISLAND – Maafushi

14. SWING – Anantara Dhigu
Anantara Dhigu - swing

13 Over Water Hammocks

Maldives lagoon hammock

After all that lagoon drinking, you might need a place to lie down for a bit. For a growing number of resorts, you won’t have to go far. One of the most popular lagoon accessory is the over water hammock. Years ago, this feature was quite distinctive, but now it is becoming (rightfully) more popular. Here is your guide to lagoon lounging in the Maldives…

1. Anantara Dhigu
Anantara Dhigu - lagoon hammock

2. Meeru
Meeru - lagoon hammock

3. Gili Lankanfushi
Gili Lankanfushi - lagoon hammock

4. Kanuhura
Kanuhura - lagoon hammock

5. Ayada
Ayada - lagoon hammock

6. The Rania Experience
The Rania Experience - lagoon hammock

7. Nika
Nika - lagoon hammock

8. Gangehi
Gangehi - hammock

9.  AaaVeee
AaaVee hammock

10.  Taj Coral Reef

11.  Six Senses Laamu

12.  Summer Island
summer-island-lagoon-hammock

13.  Vilu Reef

 

Advent Calendar (24) of More Not Seen Yets #9

Underwater biking

Digging the Advent Calendars out of the attic today. A colourful tradition to count down the final days to Christmas. The British versions feature little treats, usually chocolates, as a sort of methadone palliative to hold people over until the big extravaganza of gifts and gorging.

It’s also about time for my semi-annual “Haven’t Seen” piece (Edition 9!) So I’ve assembled a collection of 24 luxury innovation as a sort of mini-gift to resort managers. Including a few items on the end which make their own great gifts for the Maldives lover…

1. Underwater Bicycling [above] – (thanks Momo)

2. Local Honey – I guess never thought there might be bees in the Maldives, but my visit to J Resort Alidhoo showed me that there was (picture below of bee hive from my visit there). People love to buy local products and honey is a very popular natural sweetener there.
Honey tree

3. Lobster Curry – No “Haven’t Seen” post is complete without the latest crustacean omission. And of all the lobster cuisine, how can a place in the middle of the INDIAN ocean not have lobster curry.
Lobster curry

4. Proper Lobster Chowder – Made with potatoes and cream, it’s possibly a bit heavy for the warm weather, but you can make it more light and it is one of the seafood classics.
Lobster chowder

5. Egg Neptune – Eggs Benedict made with Lobster. Bit obvious me thinks…
Lobster eggs neptune

6. Toasted Coconut ChipsDrink nibbles are one of the tell-tale touches that often distinguish stars. Too often resorts punt with peanuts and crisps. Toasted coconut flakes are less sweet and don’t turn into coconut grit chewing them.
toast cocnut flakes

7. Video Art – Video is integrating with performance art, space design, even gourmet dining.
Dining video art

8. Coconut Reveal – Or for an old school culinary show…(thanks Paola)
Coconut cutting reveal

9. Cozies – Sweaty water (and other) bottles that get warm in the hot air. Custom designs could make for yet other gift shop item for the stockings.
Cozies

10. In-Ocean Massage – Maybe not so far as the Blue Lagoon, but how about a table in the lagoon?
In ocean massage

11. Underwater Fashion Shoot – We’ve already established that (a) the Maldives is a top destination for fashion photoshoots, and (b) its underwater wonderland is unrivalled, soooo….
Underwater fashion shoot

12. Models on Call – And with the popularity of Maldives photography, some local models could provide the subjects for some stunning fashion photography.
Maldives model beach shoot

13. Underwater Kissing Contest – The most romantic place on earth and popular destination for Chinese. Seems like the obvious venue for the “open water championships”.
Underwater kissing contests

14. Paper Napkin RosesThe Maldives ranks among the best in the world for towel art and bed art, but I think they can up their game on table/napkin art.
Paper napkin roses

15. Oar Board SUP ScullingI’ve already yearned for sculling in the mill pond still waters of the Maldives, but OarBoard offers up a solution which (a) would be easier to transport there, and (b) literally dovetail to the increasingly popular paddleboards there, and (c) be more resilient to less calm waters.
Oar Board SUP sculling

16. Kabbadi – Beach Kabbadi! This distinctly Indian sport played in a distinctly Indian Ocean way.
Beach Kabaddi

17. Floating Golf Green – I’ve long mused about exploiting the Maldives’ aquatic expanse as the ultimate water hazard. Namely, teeing off on a resort island with a hole green set up on a nearby island. Until that dream comes about, here is a min-alternative for some short range pitching practice.
floating golf green Maldives

18. Wake Surfing – While the Maldives offers some amazingly long and gentle breaks ideal for beginner and trickster surfers, in many places the ocean is just too tranquil. But wake surfing is an increasingly popular way to surf even when the surf is not so up.
Wake surfing Maldives

19. Inflatable See-Saw – No “Haven’t Seen” piece is complete without a whimsical blow-up of pool/water toy.
Inflatable see saw Maldives

20. Water Sofa – The key thing here is the back support allowing you to sit more upright while you bob along. Perfect for catching up on that holiday reading while still immersing yourself in the aquatic landscape.
Water sofa Maldives

21. Outdoor Sleeping – Mind you Lori and I have fallen asleep under the stars on many a Maldives trip on deck lounge chairs, but setting up a proper bed (perhaps on request) with a four-posted canopy (to allow for privacy and/or breeze protection, could make the al fresco snoozing more inviting. (thanks Paola)
Outdoor bedroom

22. Wooden Hammock – For those who want the reclined swaying without all the awkward flimsiness (thanks Paola).
wooden hammock

23. Snorkel Rubber Duck – These would swim off the gift store shelves. Especially a custom order in blue (instead of yellow). Of course, only Schnabels will do.
Snorkel rubber ducky

24. Water Villa Play Set – Now you too can own your very own Maldives water villa!
Maldives water villa play set

Best Resorts for Adults

No kids allowed

Not “Adult” resorts as in “adult entertainment” (a la Jamaica’s Sandals), but more as in “grown up”.

While my vision of “Maldives for Families” (not just for honeymooners and divers) is becoming more and more the standard every day, some people prefer a tropical tranquillity not only removed from the hustle-bustle of every day life, but also segregated from the rambunctious energy and squeals of excitement that come from the younger set. With all of the resorts in the Maldives, there’s something for everyone. And there are resorts catering to a more mature vibe. Specifically, my “adult resort” list includes…

  • Komandoo – No under 18s
  • Veligandu– No under 18s (until May 2018)
  • Finolhu Villas – No under 18s
  • Anantara Dhigu – No under 18s (though under 18s from Naladhu and Veli welcome at times)
  • Robinson Club – No under 16 (from November 2017)
  • Hurawalhi– No under 15s
  • Centara Ras Fushi – no under 12s
  • Milaidhoo – No under 9s
  • Baros – No under 8s
  • Drift Thelu Veliga – No 3-10s

Some resorts also have opted for a hybrid solution making certain parts of the property limited to adults…

  • Vilamendhoo – Part of the island reserved for adults and another part that caters to children. Each has their own pool so that you can choose between splashing frolics or romantic pina colada sipping,
  • LUX South Ari Atoll – ‘Adult Sanctuary’ section of water villas.
  • Sun Siyam Irufushi – Separate pool for children and an adult-only pool.
  • Kuredu – Adult-only half (branded “Sangu” and “O” resort).
  • Summer Island – No under 15s in water villas or overwater restaurant.
  • W Retreat – No under 5s in water villas
  • Meeru – Adults only areas including Jacuzzi Beach Villas, water villas, Pavillion pool bar.

Finally, most water villas have constraints on children and some resorts (eg. Veligandu) have adult-only rooms.

Of course, you can always filter for your “maturity” preference with the Maldives Complete Finder.

Children Welcome