Best of the Maldives: Ornate Eagle Ray – OZEN Maadhoo


  

The best of the “Best of the Maldives” posts are about discoveries that a rare, exciting and “wow”. And you don’t come any more so than the Ornate Eagle Ray we watched swimming in the water villa lagoon of OZEN Maadhoo. It was a fitting crescendo to a superb 2022 Tour. As Lori went out to the deck of our water villa she spotted this fellow cruising by. She grabbed her phone and followed him to the end of the jetty until she could get a good angle to shoot this footage. This was the first time we had ever seen this spectacularly mottled ray in over two decades of snorkeling, diving and jetty strolling in the Maldives. The Maadhoo Dive Manager Udo Goergen said in his many years there, he had only seen them a few times.

  

Best of the Maldives: 2 Channel Reef – OBLU Helengeli

OBLU Helengeli - 2 channels

I’ve already elaborated on the benefits of a channel house reef with its flow from the open ocean to the inner atoll often providing a highway for big creatures. OBLU by Atmosphere (Helengeli) features TWO channel house reefs as its extended shapes extends from the atoll edge into the inside. It’s rare find due to plateaus taking reefs far from island and making them less accessible.

Best of the Maldives: Baked Alaska – Fihalhohi

Baked Alaska is quite simply my favourite dessert. It sits in the pantheon of luxurious sweets. Despite its ice cream so suited for the hot climate and being one of the titans of luxurious sweets, I was surprised to not come across it in the Maldives before. And yet, the humble, value-priced Fihalhohi was the resort to feature it in my visits. I did do a bit of due diligence research and a Google search found a TripAdvisor review in 2017 reporting baked Alaska at Halaveli (it wasn’t there when we visited in 2013) as well as a picture of one at Outrigger Konotta in 2019.

Best of the Maldives: Heritage Curation – Cora Cora

Cora Cora - curation

  • “A Thousand Years of Receive Visitors – To Change and Be Changed: Maldivian history is defined by travel and transformation. The archipelago’s location has historically made it an easy discover for settlers from the subcontinent. Their arrival throughout the millennia alongside the bloom of trade across the Indian Ocean, resulted in interactions responsible for embedding the objects her in The Dutch Onion – and producing today’s diverse Maldivian communities.”

I already written the about museum on Maamagili, but the work continues under the new management of Cora Cora. The extensive collection of heritage is not just a showpiece assembling a few artifacts for the cultural curiosity of the guests, but instead an ongoing research, excavation, restoration project that continues to literally unearth treasures from the Maldives’ distant past.

The work is conducted at their Collection Centre where they continue to examine and catalogue pieces found on the island. During my visit, experts in ancient Chinese porcelain visiting to the resort with the primary objective of examining the trove of artifacts. The resort is still moving an ancient mosque uncovered during construction and is reconstructing it. In fact, a entirely new bathing tank found and excavated when the Cora Cora property was developed.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on some of the intriguing details of this archaeological work.

Cora Cora - musuem

Best of the Maldives: “Camo” Shark – Amilla

Amilla - camo shark 1

International Shark Day today. A time to celebrate those wonderful elasmobranchs. And but Amilla features a particularly distinctive one. It appears to be its own species with a variegated skin patter, but as marine biologists have clarified that it is just an individual with a genetic skin condition. A bit like shark vitiligo.

Amilla - camo shark 2

Best of the Maldives: Outdoor Second Home – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru outdoor second home

One of our favourite aspects of visiting the Maldives is sitting al fresco in the (nearly) always temperate air with the equatorial warmth livened by the cool ocean breezes. A number of luxury resort feature outdoor cabanas. And other feature second buildings for children’s (or other guest’s) quarters. But Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru features an outdoor open-air “villa” that is so extensive that it is like an alternative “outdoor” residence. The two-story construction includes dining area, lounge seating as well as an area to just hang out and look out of the ocean. Also, an excellent segregated working area if you want to take your work away from and not disturb the rest of the family.

Best of the Maldives: Private Spa – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - private spa outside

When we first started visiting the Maldives, most resorts didn’t have spas and a few had resident massage therapists on contract who would do a treatment on a table tucked in some makeshift area in the inner part of the island. Eventually, the resorts matured to the point where pretty much every one had a dedicated spa facility. As the resorts grew increasingly luxurious, new spacious residences often featured spaces where guests could get treatments in the comfort of their own villa. But for those who want that much more privacy for their treatments (even from their own fellow guests), JA Manafaru’s Royal Island Suite (which is more like a compound than a villa) includes its very own spa building. The personal spa facility includes a steam room, sauna and massage treatment room.

JA Manafaru - private spa 2

Best of the Maldives: Perimenopause/Menopause Retreat – Amilla

Amilla - Menopause Retreat

Today is June’s New Moon and it fall right in the middle of Amilla’s newly introduced “moon” of it own. There are “honeymoons” for starting the chapter of your life with your “honey”, “babymoons” for starting the family one, and now Amilla has introduced the first ever Maldives “menomoon” for ladies embarking on that “The Big Change”. Which is an especially apt name as the root “meno-“ in “menopause” comes from the Greek word “menos” meaning “month”, and the word “month” comes from the Old Norse word “menon” meaning “moon” (which is itself, coincidentally, “meno”). So really, it is a “moonmoon”.

And if my experience with Lori going through that “certain age” is any indication, then if there is ever a time a women could use an idyllic retreat, it is then.

Amilla describes:

  • “Even though it is a natural stage in life, many women find it daunting to navigate changes in their hormones during perimenopause and menopause, and all that comes with it – hot flushes, mood swings, lack of sleep, brain fog, weight gain around the middle, anxiety and dwindling confidence. But help is at hand! Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences is the first resort in the Maldives (and one of just a handful of resorts around the world) to have created a women’s perimenopause and menopause retreat…The three Perimenopause/Menopause Retreats at Amilla Maldives Resort will run between June 23rd to July 7th, 2022. It will be led by renowned naturopath and wellness coach, Claire O’Sullivan. The five-day journey has been developed to give women the tools they need to adapt to the changes in their bodies in a healthy and positive way, enabling them to tune into themselves rather than fight nature. With these tools, they will address physical, emotional and lifestyle issues, improving their habits and renewing their energy.”