Today’s “Best Of” is sort of a “half” have-seen. Like the one in the 12th edition of “Haven’t Seen Yet” (#2) with the ocean inspired table at both Kandima and Kanuhura resorts. I call it “half seen” because while the style is precisely what I thought ideal for a Maldives resort, my fantasy is one constructed based on the actual topology of the island (and its underwater house reef).
When it comes to subcontinent vibe, Taj Exotica is the most authentic slice of India in the Indian Ocean. In fact, it by far the most popular resort for the Bollywood starlet with 5 out of 25 of yesterday’s list visiting Taj Exotica (no other resort has more than two). The character is not surprising as the Taj chain itself is based in India. The whole property is infused with Indian touches and flavours. For example, The Presidential overwater suite (photo above) features “Ghanta” bells considered to be an auspicious sound. Other India distinctions, I have already highlighted in previous Best of the Maldives pieces…
Taj Exotica isn’t alone with some India flavoured distinctions so with this post, I’ve added the “India” tag for all those Indo-culture fans out there.
Pretty much every resort will offer a table tennis table. Some even have elaborate outdoor pavilions, but I haven’t seen any ping pong area as stadium-eque Rihiveli Beach’s beach bar. They have set the table in a sunken area with a couple of rows of raked seating around the sides. Perfect for that family holiday grand championship tourney.
The Australian Open is in full swing this week kicking off the 2018 Grand Slam season. For a bit of Aussie tennis in the Maldives, the best courtside seats are Amilla Fushi. A number of resorts have invested on some pretty sophisticated tennis facilities, but Amilla Fushi has the biggest range of tennis amenities I have seen at their “LUX Tennis” club…
- ·Two floodlit tennis courts, nestled amid tropical trees – Amilla allows guests improve every aspect of their game through personalised tennis programmes and events. Amilla has partnered with LUX Tennis, which provides professional tennis coaches to luxury resorts and private clients worldwide for a tailored solution that manages all tennis activities.”
The “club” offers lessons and player partners with ATP Pros, exhibition matches by visiting ATP Tour players, kids instruction, ball machine (see photo below)and serve speed radar. Not to mention a range of rackets and tennis wear including shoes. A bit of above and beyond by the resort from down under.
Someone who needs no straw in the Maldives is the legendary whale shark. It cruises the ocean with it’s up to 5 foot wide mouth completely open actively sucking in seawater which it runs across filter pads on its gills which sift out plankton, fish eggs, baby shrimp, etc.
- “A tropical bar in the Maldives designed to make guests feel like they’re in the mouth of a giant whale emerged the big winner at international design awards held in London. The Whale Bar, St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, dreamed up by the Singapore and London-based design group WOW Architects l Warner Wong Design, beat out luxury hotels, residences, and restaurants around the world to be declared the most beautifully designed space at the SBID International Design Awards 2017. From the outside, the bar’s distinctive shape recalls the carcass of a giant whale shark. Inside, guests sip on cocktails against light-oak interiors, a soft neutral palette and Maldivian art.”
The whole concept reminded me of a tradition I read about when I first visited the Maldives for coming-of-age young men. Boys, often no more than 13 years old, would jump off a boat with a rope in hand, free dive into the water where a whale shark was swimming, SWIM INTO THE WHALE SHARKS MOUTH, and then OUT ITS GILLS, hence lassoing the fish. Young boys were the just small enough to pull off this crazy feat. I would certainly consider someone to have proven their “manhood” if they did such a thing. Not surprisingly, the government prohibited this practice years ago because too many young lads were drowning in the effort.
I would much rather toast my arrival at manhood at the Whale Bar, methinks.
(With this post, I’ve added the new topic tag of “Design”.)
Happy New Year 2018! Time to set resolutions for the year ahead. Usually New Year’s Resolutions are about making ourselves better, but Anantara is leading the way with its resolution to make its properties better at making the world better…
- “From January 1, every [Anantara] hotel, restaurant and bar at the resorts throughout Asia will use alternatives to plastic for people to sip their drinks through. Biodegradable and recyclable alternatives will replace the 2.5 million plastic straws that had been used every year.”
What’s your eco-resolution to live a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle?
The Christmas-New Year period is the ultimate calendar week for lingering languor. Lori and I couldn’t make it to the Maldives, but we are still enjoying lounging by the seaside at our family’s place in North Carolina. Our feet are up and we are grazing on American junk food. But it still doesn’t compare with the dormant decadence of Hideaway Beach’s beach bed complete with candlelight and delicacies.
One of my favourite artistic crafts is reminiscent of a sort of tropical Tanenbaum adorned with colourful bass instead of baubles. It is the Rihiveli Beach repeater totem recognition. Situated at the cross roads of the paths which criss-cross the tiny island, is a totem pole covered with decorated fish that include names and dates of the guests’ milestone visits.
- After 4 visits – Fish added to totem pole
- After 15 visits – Fish can be put anywhere you like on the island (like on a tree – see photo below)
The record repeater for the resort is 55.
With this post, I’m adding the new tag “Repeater” for such recognitions and celebrations.
For a heartfelt gift, you can make your own. Especially at one of the many Christmas workshops that are traditional this time of year. My church’s annual workshop was where I learned half my craft skills (straw stars, clove oranges, yuletide wreaths). A number of resorts offer various artistic studios (pottery, painting, glass making), but Finolhu have one of the most comprehensive that I have seen with a wide variety of media. The also have a festive Christmas workshop schedule (including ceramics) for all those budding Santa’s elves who prefer the sunny tropics to the frozen Arctic.