Bathrooms are so critical to buyer appeal that they are the number one room in the house for remodelling return on investment. Maldives bathrooms in the top properties have become quite lavish affairs with sculpted tubs set in pride of place with stunning views. But even the most lavish still sequester the toilet, affectionately known as the “water closet”, in pretty non-descript cells. Joali has gone to unmatched extents to model their WCs with striking style. The lavish loos are lined floor to ceiling with green Norwegian marble. And the light turns on automatically when you open the door so there is no fumbling around for the light switch in the middle of the night.
You don’t have to go deep at all or even get wet to enjoy some of the colourful reef life at LUX North Male Atoll. It’s “Barium” private dining area (located underneath The Bar) features a gigantic aquarium across an entire wall. The tank is actually a nursery for the small fish who are released onto the house reef when they get big enough.
For the ultimate undersea adventure Soneva Fushi has partnered with Nekton for a dive of a lifetime:
· “The highest bidder will travel to the Maldives and board Nekton’s manned submersible alongside Victor Vescovo, diving down to 3,000 meters below sea level where biodiversity peaks to visit an unexplored seamount in the Indian Ocean’s Midnight Zone.”
The experience also includes stays at some of the world’s most exclusive luxury resorts, including Soneva Fushi, the opportunity to conduct a live deep-sea broadcast, and the chance to help create the first maps of uncharted seamounts. The highest bidder (which starts at $125,000) will also receive a documentary film detailing the entire journey. For glimpse of the celebrity guide himself, Victor Vescovo, check out his TED talk below. [NOTE: I suspect that this experience will be postponed with the COVI19 lock-down]
As a marketeer, I love a good name and Raffles Meradhoo’s “Marine Butlers” couldn’t help but catch my eye.
The resort describes these (aquatic) service…
“Guests can even make use of their very own Raffles Marine Butler, who will guide you through the rich marine life of Maldives the resort’s two vibrant house reefs, home to scores of fish species, from fluorescent parrotfish to blacktip sharks and hawksbill turtles…The crystalline waters around our island are home to corals, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and spectacularly colourful fish. Trained by our doctor of marine biology, our Marine Butlers lead snorkeling tours of this remarkable ecosystem to reveal not just its spectacular beauty but the challenges it faces and what we are doing to secure its future…. As we have 2 house reefs with direct access from the Villas, there is no need to go out of the reef as is very deep once you pass the edge. They can go but the guest can see turtles (we have 22 identified in the resort), reef sharks, sting rays, eagle rays and a huge list of colorful fishes.’
They are basically snorkel guides, but they are:
Specially trained by Marine Biologist
Free of charge
Available with flexible timings (not set, scheduled excursions)
And not just any marine biologist as their teacher, but the one and only Giulia Pellizzato (see photo below).
I always recommend snorkel guides. They provide strong swimmer buddies who also know all the special nooks and cranny’s where resident marine life frequent so they show you lots of things that you would otherwise miss with the aquatic world’s mastery of camouflage. I love that Faarufushi is elevating the notion of snorkel guides with panache and distinction.
Poetry Day today. Just the time to share some inspired creativity from fellow Maldives veteran, in fact someone who has accompanied me from the very beginning of my Maldives odyssey – our daughter Isley. She has become a proper writer of note penning plays that have been playing to sold out theatres in London and the UK for several years. She has been working on a special film project (stay tuned) set in the Maldives itself and was invited by Soneva Fushi as an artist in residence to support her venture (the story is set quite near the Soneva island) as well as to provide a number of presentations to guests during her stay. While there, the tropical paradise and the inspiring atmosphere of Soneva prompted some side compositions which I saved till today to share:
An eco symphony White sand, clear sea Hot sun, cool breeze Blue sky, green trees And hosts like family Who truly care personally, communally, and globally Soneva Fushi Luxury Sustainably
TODAY I WAS A STARFISH
today i was a starfish on the beach akimbo flat and still as the tide came in and washed my body back to the sea reclaimed me as the animal i had forgotten to be but when the light turned the water from glass to rock i stood now dressed in grit and salt and was lost on land back home i tried again to be a starfish i took off my shoes (leather) which now felt sharp lay down on pillows (full of feathers) and with pain in my heart remembered the sand and thought: what a grossly lucky animal i am
it seems the sky is furious but no it is in fact delirious with her unbridled love for us so turbulent so serious that she pours out her feeling, fierce and full blanketing the island thus to still the jungle to a hush her tenderness so bounteous that afterwards the blossoms all peek out at us wondrous at a love so luxurious that to drown would be glorious
I saw it happen before it happened the jaunty angle of the bowl the ice cream melting out the four year old fingers and then the tears when it was all lost to the ground her brother’s little “uhoh” would not suffice nor did her mother’s reassurances and how could they of course there was another one coming but the child mourned this one she was right to I just didn’t know why at the time but later at the maker’s space I snipped dirty plastic for hours the tiny pieces needed for a new machine to transform old bottle caps into things of use and beauty and when my hands shook from gripping the tools I felt like the wobbly child and when a piece pinged away from me I felt the shock of the child and as I laughed with the dutch folks who’s scheme this was I saw in them the child because of course there’s another one coming and another and another and another which is why we must all make haste to be more like the child and sob more over waste
Stations are a commonplace feature at resort restaurants providing the freshness and customisation of a la carte with the variety of selection of a buffet. Dhigali brings the concept to the spa with their Natural Scrub Station for facials and body scrubs. Scrubs made custom for your treatment from the following ingredients:
Sand with clove, cinnamon and cardomon – Maldive rub
Fresh scrubs freshly made from fresh ingredients for fresh skin.
Mostly AI is about relaxing. Not worrying about the charges mounting as you order your next pina colada. In fact, not worrying about any of your budget as you go about enjoying your holiday. But we’ve never opted for the all-inclusive package because the things that they include don’t worry us much. We are not big drinkers and we are pretty happy managing our outlays for excursions and extras. One of those extras where we always have to be sensitive to the price list is the spa. We could go to the spa time after time enjoying the unique experience of ultimate relaxation in the surroundings of tropical sounds and atmosphere. Fortunately, Kandolhu has introduced a “Spa AI” package which includes spa treatments:
“At Kandolhu Maldives, guests now have the opportunity to further indulge in the healing powers of touch therapy with its newly refined spa program, Well Inclusive Spa. The new offering provide unlimited access to the entire range of spa treatments including VOYA body experiences, YonKa facial treatments, skincare options and a wide range of specialised massages. Skilled therapists personalise daily treatments and activities according to the guests’ wellness needs. By unlimited, no restrictions are applied from visit frequency to type of treatment. Curated instructional videos, Manduka towels and mats, specially designed wellness beverages and healthy mixed fruit plates are provided to all guests booked for this package.”
In most spas, the obligatory jacuzzi for some soothing bubble relaxation is tucked away in some back corner. I’ve enjoyed some massage treatments over the water on open pavilions, You & Me’s spa jacuzzi is the first I’ve come across with such pride of place. Sunset facing too!
Most spa pools are little plunge affairs. Sometimes resorts will put in extensive water features, but they are ornamental ponds for fish to swim in not guests. Sirru Fen Fushi’s Willow Stream Spa includes a serenity pool that is longer than many property’s main pools:
“A dedicated Olympic size Jacuzzi pool is provided for Spa Guests for pre or post treatment immersion. Our 50-meter long serenity pool is enhanced by natural sounds and light, soothing aromatherapy scent, and water temperatures varying from tropical warm to refreshing cool.”
“After your rejuvenating treatment, enjoy wellness refreshments and freshly-prepared herbal teas in our sea view relaxation lounges. Our 25-meter long serenity pool is enhanced by natural sounds and light, soothing aromatherapy scent, and water temperatures varying from tropical warm to refreshing cool. Nestled in a total of 2000sqm wellness area, it enables guests to rediscover their energy, providing indoor and outdoor spaces to reconnect you beyond the treatment experience.”
The beach residence has one around back for a bit more privacy if you prefer, or the one in the front provides a lovely seafront view during your dip. The ocean residence allows you shift to the perfect spot for catching rays (or if the kids are fighting, you can segregate them each into separate pools).