Even with nearly 100 stays in the Maldives, my knowledge of the destination pales in comparison of the travel community whose aggregate experience is many orders of magnitude larger. A while back I did some crude attempts data mining the great store of insight in TripAdvisor reviews and Forum about the resorts most frequently suggested by Destination Experts as well as the resorts most frequently asked about. Those posts are a bit out of date now, but it was still a curious exercise. Now DE’s Stu and Nikki have done their own investigation into the stars of the family properties in the Maldives. They measured the number of reviews that were tagged as “Family” stays as an indicator of popularity for various resorts in the family segment. The results can be found above (with a link to the original document). Not surprisingly, the bottom group is comprised largely of the “Adults Only” (or “Children Restricted”) resorts.
“Stay Out of the Sun Day” today! It was established to encourage everyone to give our skin a break from the sun’s ray. If you are going to sequester yourself inside today, then you might as well be as comfy as lying on the soft white sands of the beach or a cushy lilo. Something like the giant Fatboy cushions at Finolhu’s cinema room. We have a cinema room at home and one of the best parts is being able to enjoy a blockbuster is lounging in consummate comfort while doing so. So you can tune into your favourite tropical island flick like “Swiss Family Robinson” or “Castaway” and enjoy all of the tropical scenery completely out of the sun.
One of my pet peeves when I visit a resort is if they don’t have postcards that show the resort. Postcards might seem a bit of a throwback, but we still send them to family who enjoy getting a real thing from our worldwide destinations. Aside from simply finding a good card of where you are, you can also run into a bit of kafuffle finding stamps and even a box to post them in (though all resorts will take them and post them), One & Only Reethi Rah does it all for you they provide fine postcards of the resort for you in your room *and* once you write them, they wil stamp and post them for you. Wish I was there!
If you enjoy playing around on retro icons, but prefer something a bit more masculine, then check out Finolhu’s very own man cave complete with a collection of retro games including vintage “Baywatch” pinball (see above) and the classic PacMan (see below). In fact, the whole setting is a nostalgic throw back with retro sweets, décor, and soundtrack.
Sunniest time of the year. Well, the longest amount of sunshine in the day (depending on your time zone). Not that it matters that much at the Equator where daytime doesn’t vary all that much. Still an occasion to call out another quirky resort distinction. After visiting nearly 100 resorts, Dhigufaru did strike me as the “sunniest”. Essentially, the property was developed from an existing sand bank. As a result, the foliage is less dense, less tall and less mature. Walking around you feel the sky and sunshine everywhere. Conversely, many parts of many resort islands have dense canopies that can almost feel like tunnels of greenery.
I wasn’t quite sure what to call this recognition, but I knew I need to call out Kuramathi’s exceptional touches to old fashioned relaxation. Kuramathi was the first resort that I ever posted for its distinctive bed-art marking. They have clearly made it a resort trademark, in fact taking it up a notch with the latest generation of bedroom artistes.
All of the creations shown here are the work of 24 year old room attendant Adam Naseer. Kuramathi shared these details about his work…
- “Adam has been working in another resort for about two years after he found out about Kuramathi on the internet and from some friends (who also work here) and decided to work for Kuramathi, this is now one year ago. He works at the Thundi area of the island and takes care of about 4 to 5 villas per day. His favourite part is decorating the bed or even the bath with towel art including flowers. It is his passion to make the guests happy and to see their smile on their face as he always receives a grateful feedback and the guests always want to have a picture with Adam and his designs. Mostly he likes to make heart shaped or honeymoon designs.”
My favourite is his birthday greeting complete with towel birthday cake (see photo at top).
For a gallery of Maldives bed decorating masterpieces, check out the Maldives Complete “Bed Art” Pinterest board.
If World Gin Day got the better of you, and in fact all such celebrations seem to leave you worse for wear, you might want to take enrol in Amilla Fushi’s massage workshop. Nearly all resorts these days can give you a massage, but Amilla will teach you how to massage. The one-hour session is complimentary.
Give me a fish…
World Gin Day! Gin and tonic actually originated in the tropics. Centuries ago, Europeans died regularly of malaria in places like Africa and South Asia, but they figured out that those who drank tonic water somehow seemed to not get the illness. As it turns out quinine, which gives tonic water its distinctively bitter taste, is prophylactic which supresses the malaria. When I lived in Togo, West Africa, I took quinine tablets daily to prevent malaria.
Today, tonic water is used for much more mundane purposes like a perfect complement to a glass of gin. Over a pile of ice cubes. A drink so popular that you now get special gin bars serving wide ranges of varieties. Our local, The Prince of Wales pub, has one. Lori is especially particular always preferring a Bombay Sapphire to Gordons (which has too strong of the distinctive juniper – or as Lori says, “pine needle” – taste). Now this gin aficionados have their own specialty watering hole in the Maldives at Ozen by Atmosphere:
- “The bar will be located at Ozen by Atmosphere on Maadhoo Island and will feature more than 25 gin brands, including Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Monkey 47. All drinks will be included in the resort’s Atmosphere Indulgence Plan. The bar will be open from 5pm-11pm every day except Fridays, and is located above the resort’s poolside bar, Joie de Vivre.”
If you are looking for pool big enough to fit the fashionista flotilla of floats, then your best bet is Sirru Fen Fushi with its 200 metre long chlorinated lake. That’s the length of 4 Olympic sized swimming pools laid end to end and pips the previous champion by a similar amount (thanks Paola). It extends from one side of the island pretty much complete to the other side almost like a dissecting canal (see below).