“Exactly at midnight on the whole island turns off the light, and in total darkness for three minutes, a pair of lovers can once again make a frank recognition of each other or just watch the starry sky.”
On the subject of Diva and being in the awards season, a second hat tip to Diva for being ranked the highest for ‘Most Romantic’ in its ‘Travellers Choice Awards’. A big kudo since the Maldives are perhaps most famous a honeymoon destination. So they are the most romantic in an area considered one of the romantic in the world.
Johnny Mathis, general manager of Diva, commented on the prestigious recognition, “It is a fine achievement for the entire team after only one year in operation. This is indeed good news and will further boost our position as a prime destination for romance and honeymoons.”
The TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award is the third international award for Diva, since opening in 2008. It follows Diva being named the best hotel in the Indian Ocean in Condé Nast Traveller’s Hot List 2009; and ‘Hideaway of the Year Award 2008’ by prestigious German magazine, Hideaway.
With great bounty comes great responsibility and as the location of the most prevalent whale shark populations in the Maldives, Diva resort has undertaken the most ambitious effort for underwater preservation. They are supporting the development and maintenance of ‘FenMaaDhiguRan’ (English translation – Water Flower Long Sun), the Maldive’s largest marine protected reserve.
“Luxury resort Diva Maldives has become a flagship supporter of the recently designated FenMaaDhiguRan (English translation – Water Flower Long Sun), the Maldives’ first fully regulated, and largest, Marine Protected Area (MPA) – home to a globally significant population of whale sharks, not to mention some of the world’s finest dive sites. The first resort located within the MPA to commit to backing the pioneering conservation project with fundraising initiatives, Diva Maldives has introduced a voluntary gratuity charge scheme enabling guests to actively contribute to the conservation of the whale sharks and their habitat.”
The BBC also recently featured some of Diva’s effort to protect the majestic whale sharks including a video webcast of the work.
Despite all of the great features of the new Holiday Inn Male, the Maldives ‘hotel’ (as a opposed to ‘resort’) that has officially captured the ‘Best Of’ prize (repeatedly) would be the Hulhule Hotel.
Hulhule is actually a credible destination place to stay in the Maldives with a broad range of facilities and services. It has the advantage of not even needing to leave the island of the airport and as such is away from the relative hustle-bustle of the capital. It would appeal especially to a group looking for a ‘hotel’ (as a ‘resort’ might convey an unprofessional or ‘junket/jolly’ atmosphere) in this great destination that is specially suited for business meetings and conferences.
“Travel industry’s equivalent to the Oscar’s”, the World Travel Awards are the most comprehensive and most prestigious awards program in the global travel industry. Hulhulé Island Hotel commenced operations in 2000. Since then, the Hotel has been a key member of the travel and trade business in the Maldives. Hulhule Island Hotel also boasts of being the ‘Best Culinary Establishment’ at Maldives and the team is proud in having professionals such as the ‘Most Outstanding Chef’ and ‘Top Maldivian Chef’ of the last Hotel Asia Exhibition & Culinary Challenge. Last year, Hulhule Island Hotel was declared the ‘Winner’ of the ‘World Luxury Hotel Awards 2008’ held at Cape Town in October, 2008.”
Many of the bathrooms are distinctive with outdoor facilities or perhaps a water bungalow with the bath over the water, but the Holiday Inn Male actually has a distinctive toilet itself. It features the ‘Toto Washlet C110’ toilet which is the gadget lovers commode with NASA-like capabilities. It is the only toilet that I have ever used with a Control Panel.
“With the touch of a button, a nozzle extends from under the seat for soothing warm-water cleansing, virtually eliminating the need for toilet paper. The nozzle, which self cleans before and after every use, can be set to move back-and-forth for maximum comfort and optimum cleansing. The specially designed contoured seat is also heated to provide maximum comfort.”
Most people want to stay in the Maldives as long as possible. Some friends have shared that they really downshift into super-relaxed mode after the better part of a week there making a second week all the more indolent. It used to be that two week trips were not that much more expensive in total than the one week equivalent, but the shift to commercial flights from charter and the generally more expensive resort rates have made the costs more proportionate.
However sometimes travel logistics mean that just a short stay is called for (‘Male Short Stay Hotel’). I personally was just blown away by the Holiday Inn Male when we visited there on a day trip (Best for Pool Seating, Best for View). Now that they have made it even easier to just pitch up and ‘stay’ there, I really think it is the best option for someone with just a day to spend in the Maldives.
“Our hotel has developed a series of day packages, allowing travellers to use the facilities of our hotel, taking away the frustration of waiting and instead providing a pleasant and relaxing end to their stay in the Maldives.”
They have a ‘Day Use Room Package’ from $165 and a ‘Facilities Use Package’ at $75.
The iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, nearly as renowned for its spectacular locations background as it is for its bathing beauty subjects in the fore, has set its shoot in the Maldives. In particular, the resorts of Anantara and Naladhu had the please of hosting the crew from SI Swimsuit 2010. The venue ties into a bit of an eco-theme. I’m not sure the models can speak very authoritatively on climate change, but they are certainly role models for consuming less…clothing.
With all of the discussion in the past few posts of what the Maldives and resorts are doing for conversation and the environment, it turns out that ecologically-minded guests visiting Kandooma can turn their activism into a holiday activity.
Always wanted resorts to put up a board where people could plot their snorkelling sittings of the day and week. Kandooma has something heading in that direction with a ‘Marine Biologist Update’ which at least shares the latest aquatic goings on literally (or should I say ‘litorally’) ‘around’ the island (sorry – bad pun day).
The highlight of this update for me is their ‘Reefscaping’ project which allows guests to sponsor a ‘Reefscaping’ structure.
“The Reefscapers initiative is a synergy between the tourism industry, reef science and the local community around coral propagation projects. Coral propagation is a promising research field in the present global warming context, even though heavily debated as a possible solution, when compared to the surface of the coral reef threatened by climate change. With this in mind, Reefscapers developed in the Maldives, a new versatile technique, using light weight modules, to mitigate the adverse direct impacts to corals during tourism development. The success encountered when mitigating adverse impacts from infrastructure development has led to the continuation and development of the project using second and third generation fragments, with eventually 2000 m2 of reef created. So far, applications are mostly targeted towards aesthetic and recreation, but the technique also seems promising for erosion control and island protection. Recognizing the potential of the technique, the Maldivian government has decided to encourage the initiative by providing an island in order to carry out larger scale experiments.”
(Pictures above from Crystal’s blog of her experience)
I’ve been running a series of posts of the range of eco-friendly approaches various Maldive resorts are taking as the Maldives asserts itself as the most carbon progression nation on the planet. It’s not just about using the planet’s resources wisely, which many carbon reduction and intelligent design approaches have concentrated on, but it can also be about restoring, renewing and replenishing the environment.
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru received the EC3 Global annual ‘Seed Award’ for its efforts to restore the reefs around the island during and after the construction. The EC3 site includes a great video on the various efforts undertaken.
“Banyan Tree’s in-house Marine Lab at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru celebrated its fifth anniversary in January 2009, making it the longest running resort-based marine research facility in the Maldives. In the past five years, the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab has been involved in major projects such as tsunami recovery efforts, working with endangered and threatened marine species, planting coral gardens, mentoring at-risk children, and sharing sustainable livelihood methods with local communities. The successes of the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab have shown that private resorts can enable stewardship and understanding of their own reefs, as well as that of the whole Maldives archipelago, protecting against phenomena such as beach erosion and coral bleaching due to climate change.”
As I talked about in my last post, the drive from carbon reduction is no where more intense than in the Maldives. One of the better pieces that I’ve read about the issue was the Sunday Times article ‘Trouble in Paradise’.
While Alila Villas Hadahaa has set the bar for the villas that make up the resort, carbon footprint obviously extends to the whole infrastructure. Right now, one of the leaders in driving reductions is Soneva Fushi which has set its plan to become the first ‘carbon free’ resort. The blog on ‘Maldive Resort Workers’ reports…
“The resort is already bragging about the achievements so far and points out to the cooling system for their guest rooms which uses chilled sea water drawn out from deep sea below 300m. The deep water cooling system (a 1st in Maldives) is expected once finished to replace all electrical Air conditioning units and reduce 20% of the total power demand of the island. They also claim this type of air conditioning on the island alone would save $200,000 and stop a 700k tons of carbon emission.”