Maldives is renowned for that marooned on a deserted island aesthetic. The recently revamped Bathala resort introduced a sort of dhoni-houseboat styled villa that is quite literally (or littorally) a “Beach” spa. Sort of a shipwrecked version of Cocoa Island.
The luxury Maldives properties pride themselves on catering to any guest’s whim or need including all sorts of dietary preferences despite being isolated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Some things can just be flown in, but others require more work on the ground. That is the case with truly kosher foods which are not just about avoiding certain prohibited food, but also about preparing the kosher items in a kosher way ideally removed from the preparation of other food which might taint it. Irufushi is the only resort I have found that offers kosher foods explicitly, but now Soneva Fushi has invested in a dedicated kosher prep kitchen to provide the tightest conformity to kosher requirements. Maldives Insider reports
- “Soneva Fushi is the first luxury resort in the Maldives to have a dedicated kosher kitchen, which also doubles as an allergy kitchen. The kosher kitchen is a separate air conditioned kitchen where the resort’s specialty chefs will produce kosher meals. All the equipment is brand new, and will only be used for the said purpose. The resort carries kosher chicken, beef and sausages which are shipped directly from Holland by a kosher meat producer.”
- “Discover Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa’s secret mojito recipe from our skilled barmen, as well as learning a few other favourites, then sit back and enjoy your exotic creations while watching a stunning Maldivian sunset.”
One of my favourite hangouts for my first stint as a travel writer and destination research in Togo, West Africa was the Café des Artes. The little tea shop displays and sold a variety of works from local artists including distinctive tapestries by an artist named Helga whose pieces are the pride of my African art collection. That local creativity set in a relaxing place to sip cold drinks and nibble treats all came flooding back to me when I stepped into Kandima’s Art Café. The joint sits adjacent to the resort’s art studio (so you can pop in for a coffee break while working on your Maldives masterpiece). The floor-to-ceiling windows look out over one of the rare inland lakes to be found on a resort island while also adds to the visual aesthetic. And if that’s not enough inspiration, the cafe serves cakes as artistic as the surroundings themselves.
Every day in the Maldives is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (and a whale-sized bit of Pisces too), though if you fall under a different sign, you can still find just the right holiday experience on the zodiac constellation at Mirihi. The Island Chief reports:
- “Air Experience (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra) – Zodiac Attributes: Air signs tend to be fun loving, free-spirits who are intrigued and fascinated by the world around them. Guests who book the ‘Air’ package will be invited to enjoy a private, beach movie night under the twinkling stars. Islanders will have a selection of iconic films to choose from, whilst they relax, toes in sand, on scattered cushions and beanbags. Those booking this experience will also delight in a planet-gazing lesson, where an expert member of staff will be on hand to teach guests how to use Mirihi’s very own high-strength telescope, whilst explaining the unique constellations in the night sky. Air package starts from $4,700 per couple for seven nights in a Water Villa on a half board basis including seaplane transfers.”
Not sure why Aquarius isn’t included in the “Water Experience”.
The latest surf-faring air transfer in the Maldives with a distinctly piscatorial picture scheme is FlyMe’s “yellow tuna” inspired seaplane…
- FlyMe is bringing four Twin Otter 300 series planes and plan to begin their operations by October. The colourful and newly designed Flyme’s seaplane livery is inspired by the yellowfin tuna, the most widely-caught, and possible the most well-known, tuna species in the Maldives.”
The flying fish in the Maldives are the biggest in the world…
When we think of coral reefs, we often think of the hard corals whose calcium carbonate exoskeletons are the stuff that this destination is made out of. But just as dazzling to the undersea adventurer are the colourful soft corals that line walls and often caves on the reefs. And the best dive spot for soft corals seems to be Becky’s Caves according to a number of experts I’ve conferred with. It is a site for Advanced divers as the sub-aquatic display, described as “lots of soft corals all coming out like grapes” starts at 22 metres deep. The nearest resort, JA Manafaru’s “Sun Diving School” describes it as
- “This reef is the north side of Madulu Island. The top reef starts from 7 meters and drops down until 20-25 meters depth, showing all its beauty. It is a real wall reef, where you can meet napoleon fishes, red snappers and morays, lion fishes and different kind of nudibranches in the small overhangs. At the depth of 20 meters, one huge recess of the reef shows on one side a wall completely covered of soft corals of different colors; from yellow, pink, white to orange, a real universe of colors! Bring with you your torch and your camera: one fantastic dive for everybody but one rare show to see!”
When we were first considering going to the Maldives two decades ago, our friends described their trip and how they were on their resort island and saw another even smaller island across the water. They waded out a bit further to get a better look and before long they hade waded all the way across the lagoon to it (Rihiveli Beach). This one anecdote stuck in my mind more than others and seemed to capture the plot-of-sand-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean vibe more than any other illustration of the Maldives.
Since, then I’ve been on the constant lookout for miniscule islands as a part of the distinctive Maldivian aesthetic. With this post, I’ve even introduced a tag for it, “Mini Island”. The latest is this little sandbank with a touch of greenery and a small thatched cabana at The Residence Dhigurah. With the jetty passing so near, it might just be the closest of the detached mini-isles (thanks Francisco – long time fan of the original “mini island” at Rihiveli).