Best of the Maldives: Mens Grooming – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah shave

Holidays are when you often take a break from the hassle of personal grooming. Sometime you even go the whole time neglecting it returning with the ‘holiday beard’. But if you are in the need of a bit of holiday man-scaping, then One & Only Reethi Rah’sBarber and Blade” spa provides a classic grooming and shaving studio with treatments as soothing as the Maldives ocean breezes…

  • “Appointments take place within the private rooms dedicated to gentlemen’s grooming equipped with sleek leather barber chairs, specially designed for One&Only Reethi Rah by Anderson/Miller Ltd. The studio allows guests to feel comfortable and relaxed whilst a dedicated team of grooming experts are on hand to provide a bespoke grooming routine – ensuring that all gentlemen look and feel their best. Barber and Blade exclusively offers Gentlemen’s Tonic products…The treatment menu features basic shaves to beard designs, colouring services and four signature grooming experiences, including the 70-minute Ultimate One&Only Wet Shave.”

The barber shave is a bit of a dying art in with the advent of advanced razors, but they remain one of the few decadent “beauty” treatments men get to enjoy. No matter how many blades you have on your Mach X razor, you will never get as close as a trained professional who is not having to negotiate through a mirror. Furthermore, one of the keys to a close and comfortable shave is the preparation – steaming towel and creamy balm to soften the skin and whiskers. Something few men shaving take enough time to do. And having the hot towel on your face in a chair is as relaxing as it is soothing.

I treated all my groomsmen to a classic shave on my wedding day and we had as much fun (and looked as almost as smart) as the bridesmaids who enjoyed the beauty parlor. And on our recent trip sailing in the Greek isles, we came upon an old school barber offering shaves and it was one of the decadent high points of the holiday sitting in the chair being pampered while listening to the sounds of the bustling port town outside.

Shear luxury.

Best of the Maldives: Sheep – Finolhu

Finolhu - sheep on a beach

Hug a Sheep Day today!  Aka “I love ewe” day for all ovinophiles If you hadn’t herd, Finolhu has adopted the fluffy cloven-hoofed ruminants as their resort mascot in a nod to their location in the eponymous Baa Atoll (or should be say “Baaaaaa Atoll”). Various woolly figures are found all over the island (see photos). So maybe skip the lamb curry today out of respect.

Finolhu - sheep 3

Finolhu - golden sheep

Finolhu - sheep 2

Best of the Maldives: Pakora Station – Olhuveli

Olhuveli - pakora station

I always delight in finding things at resorts that I haven’t come across before in other resorts. I especially delight in finding things I had never come across ever in my life. So it was with Olhuveli’s “Pakora”, a kind of ghee-fried fritter. London and the UK is not short of Indian cuisine, but I have never had a pakora in decades of living here. Not to mention visiting the Indian Ocean neighbour for nearly as long. And not only did the resort offer the treat, but they had a special “Pakora Station” which made several variations on the culinary theme fresh to order.

I’ve also decide to add a “Station” tag to the blog to highlight the distinctive “fresh, made to order” preparations available at buffets around the Maldives.

स्वादिष्ट.

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Stand – Finolhu

Finolhu - coconut stand 1

Coconuts are the bounty of the Maldivian plots of sand. On nearly any island, some staff member will – often a gardener with a machete for clearing – will grab you one, open up a whole with a few well-placed hacks and let you sip its succulent coconut water. When you’re done, he will also slice the fruit open so you can nibble on the tender coconut meat inside. A modest gift of a few dollars is always appreciated in return. Finolhu has parked up a more stylish outlet for noshing on some nucifera. An iconic VW bus in pastel robin’s egg blue with a coconut stand right by the pool so you can sample with tropical treat whenever the mood strikes.

Best of the Maldives: Oktoberfest – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli - Oktoberfest

München in the Maldives. Jumeirah Vittaveli celebrated a colourful festival of its own during this eponymous month – Oktoberfest.

  • “Jumeirah Vittaveli is proud to announce their collaboration with an authentic Bavarian costume designer – Daniel Fendler has been designing stylish ‘Tracht’ for more than 15 years…Guests visiting beachside restaurant MU Beach Bar & Grill will be welcomed by waitresses and waiters decked out in authentic Bavarian garb – from Dirndl, over apron, to Lederhosen for the gentlemen. With the mood properly set for a fun day in the sun, the resort’s ‘Bierzelt-Bedienungen’ (waiters/waitresses) will serve guests a selection of authentic Bavarian dishes such as Nuernberger, Frankfurter or Kasseler Rippchen, accompanied by a traditional refreshing German drink.”

In fact, we recently helped host an Oktoberfest in our back garden. It is such a lively tradition focused on food, beer and music.

Prost! O’zapft.

Best of the Maldives: Artists Collective – Kandima

Kandima - artists 1

Today’s post is also sort of a “Finally Seen”. I’ve been telling resorts for years that they should commission Aima Musko to do art pieces for their villa.  She is one of the finest artistic talents in the Maldives and I can proudly say that I was Aimee’s very first customer to buy one of her paintings. Well, finally, Aimee – and a number of other fellow Maldivian artists – are being assembled by a resort, Kandima for their KULA ‘programme’ (they refer to it as an ‘exhibition’, but it is really more like a resident festival):

  • “KULA means ‘Colours’ in Dhivehi and it is our vision that this programme will support the full spectrum of the contemporary creative arts, from local crafts, fashion, digital photography, videography to music, and open up new horizons for the local art community like never before. The entire resort will be a glorious art gallery and thanks to collaboration with MAC (Maldives Artists Community, a local art NGO with over 100 members), Kandima Maldives is set to host regular exhibitions and exciting performances by local artists. There will be live art demonstrations and guests can unleash their inner Picasso with classes at Kandima’s very own Art Studio. Set on the edge of a natural lake, it will be one of the most peaceful locations on the island, giving both guests and artists the inspiration and calm space they need to create their masterpiece!”

Colour me delighted.

Kandima - artists 2

Best of the Maldives: Instagram Butler – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - Instagram butler

Yes, another you read it here first “Finally Seen” in the Maldives. Conrad Rangali has introduced the “world’s first Instagram Butler”. I’m not sure about that claim since I raised this idea nearly two years ago – #2 in Part 7. However, that was a “Social Media Concierge” and maybe no one has yet just focused on Instragram. Here are some details of their offer…

  • “Conducting tours around Rangali Island’s most photogenic locations, all the while offering advice on the best times of day to photograph and the optimal camera angles to use…Stop-offs along the way, on what the hotel calls the #Instatrail, include a traditional Maldivian swing on the beach (an undholi), and Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. But the fun isn’t limited to the walkabout. Yoga enthusiasts can take part in classes whilst at the same time receiving tips from the hotel’s resident instructor on how to strike the most Instagrammable poses. The Instagram Butler service, which the hotel believes to be the first of its kind, can also be combined with a number of special itineraries curated by the hotel in order to lend an alternative to the usual Maldivian photo-fodder of white sand beaches, curvaceous palm trees and turquoise seas.”

Ma’m, would you like filter cropping for breakfast today?

Best of the Maldives: Snacks – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - plane snack

Sometimes all you want is a snack. You don’t want to be beholden to restaurant schedules and so grabbing a lite-bite is a great way to handle the hunger pangs. All the more tasty when served over an azure lagoon like Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa. The resort offers a range of sacks throughout the day. They also put on snack stations at certain times like a mid-afternoon creperie.

Lots of resorts offer treats throughout the day, but what swung it for Hakuraa Huraa for me was their seaplane transfer snack-pack (see photo above). When you are flying back, they prepare a box with an assortment of sandwiches, fruit, cakes, etc. The seaplanes usually don’t even serve water (the domestic flights often have water and sometimes a little packet of nuts or biscuit). Lori and I had been a bit busy the morning before our departure getting last minutes things attended to and we didn’t really have time to go to lunch with our early afternoon flight time. So the snack was an especially welcome sustenance for journey to Male.

Best of the Maldives: Sweet Shop – Dhigufaru

Dhigufaru - sweet shop 1

National Dessert Day today. And as soon as you step off the seaplane to Dhigufaru, you feel like you have landed in dessert country. Some resorts greet you with some tropical juice, others with tasty cocktail, but Dhigufaru greets you with an entire sweet shop. Ice cream, cakes, muffins, coffees, drinks all at your disposal. And the arrival jetty is also the best entry point to the resort house reef so you can have a snack when you come in from your snorkelling safari.

Dhigufaru - sweet shop 2

Dhigufaru - sweet shop 3

Best of the Maldives: Cirque de Soleil – Finolhu

Finolhu - cirque 1

Finolhu puts the “Soleil” into the “Cirque de Soleil”. Today is International Sight day and some of the things you will see at Finolhu will make you not believe your eyes (including the occasional mermaid known to visit the island).

Finolhu has a bit of a retro Las Vegas nightlife vibe with its own resident entertainment acts high on showmanship and flair. They’ve featured hoops, silk banners, large hoops, fire dancing by a group called Area 51 which resident for three months. Then they circulate in a fresh set of artistes. When we visited a group from Mexico was there performing every night.

The resort explained that part of their contact is that during the day, the performers must work on new tricks and material. The idea is that the “artists-in-residence” have sort of a bootcamp for developing and refining their craft and act all the while sharing the fresh new work with the resort guests. Finolhu targets young groups early in their career so the booking can be a boost to their careers.

Sometimes resort (and cruise) entertainment can be a bit jaded. Circuit acts going through the motions with their gigs of tired material. But the Finolhu acts had a fresh vitality about them. All the buzz of someone pursuing their dreams and living them every day in paradise. And when they finally do hit the big time and get that headline act in Vegas, you can say you saw them in the original Circles of Sun in the Indian Ocean.

Finolhu - cirque 2