Conrad Rangali’s latest show stopping “wow” feature finally introduces an underwater bedroom to the Maldives. Or should I say “re-introduces”. Actually, Conrad pioneered not only the first underwater restaurant (which was actually my very first “Best of the Maldives” post that kicked off all my blogging about the Maldives over a decade ago), but also experimented with converting the underwater room into a bedroom for guests to sleep in. They discontinued it as it was too difficult to transform the room into a bedroom and back to a restaurant quickly enough to make it work. For example, the guests paying an extreme amount of money to sleep there (at the time the most expensive room in the Maldives) had to wait until later in the evening to access their room when guests had finished dining there and the resort had cleared the restaurant items and set up the bedroom.
Conrad describes the master bedroom masterpiece as follows….
“The entire lower suite was built on land in Singapore, fittingly made of acrylic from Japan’s premiere aquarium manufacturer Nippura Co., and sealed with Shin Etsu Marine sealant, which was used in the construction of Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. Then the 600-ton structure was hoisted by crane onto a specialized ship that could transport it to the Maldives and moor near the reef without damaging it. It was then submerged into the ocean and held firmly in place by 10 concrete piles that ensure it will not move or shift due to a high tide or rough seas.”
The roof over Kudadoo’s over water pavilion sets a new standard for solar ambition. The Champa resorts keep upping the bar on the solar investment across their estate after their snaking jetty of panels at neighbouring Hurawalhi. The 320-kWp solar system generates enough electricity to power the entire resort:
“Committed to your well-being and that of the planet, Kudadoo reinvents sustainability – we take pride on the island being powered by the sun 100%, and on eco-conscious choices that intertwine the design, conceived by the architectural mastermind Yuji Yamazaki, and adventures to create a luxury experience that threads lightly.”
With all of these energy sustainability investments in the country, I’ve add a new “Solar” tag for all of the sun powered initiatives in this sun-drenched destination.
With the new year, it’s time for out with the old and in with the new. The gingerbread hued tented villas were introduced by the old Madivaru resort, but it has been defunct for a while, but in its place the new Sirru Fen Fushi has introduced its own tented villas. The “tents” make the structures seem all the more natural and intimate with the surroundings. A tented safari in Africa (ideally on the Zambezi) is on our bucket list, but at Sirru Fen Fushi you can do a tented snorkel safari!
Today is the 11th “Day of Christmas” according to the “12 Days of Christmas” tradition which runs from Christmas day to Epiphany Sunday (tomorrow). The Eleventh Day of Christmas today is famously brought 11 Pipers Piping. I think Kandima needed at least that many to do all the icing piping on their Gingerbread spectacle (not to mention the goodies inside).
Happy New Year 2019! Lots of New Years Resolutions. Including renewed resolve to work off the holiday goodies of the New Years Celebrations. Best to start off easy. Like a simple stroll. Or maybe a stroll with a bit of resistance…like wading through water. Cocoon’s Cube Spa has introduced a wading pool, aka “Kneipp Pool” (thanks Paola). It might seem like a pool of water for wading in the Maldives is a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle, but in fairness, the pool offers a number of advantages over the beach stroll. For example, it is completely level and does not have sharp pieces of coral to accidentally step on.
While Brits tuck into Christmas turkey leftovers and start jigsaw puzzles brought by Santa, today marks one of the biggest natural disasters in modern history and the biggest in Maldives history – the 2004 Tsunami. The tragedy touched every corner of the country and devastated a number of inhabited islands and resorts.
One silver lining was the opening up of country’s economy and politics in the aftermath. Maldives desperately need outside assistance to rebuild and the international funds stepped up but only on the condition that the country reformed some of its institutions. For example, the first democratic elections were held for decades.
One resort hit hard was Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa who lost its General Manager. In the aftermath, the resort set up “Tsunami Assembly Point”, akin to “Fire Assembly Points” for which they double as, which help the staff more quickly identify who is safe and who is missing and maybe in need of assistance.
I remember people asking me if it was safe to visit the Maldives for fear of tsunamis. For starters, such an occurance is a once in a lifetime event. And while, lighting does strike twice, the odds are so small that you are much likely to be hurt by a commonplace incident (like a car accident on the way to the airport) than any tsunamis. Furthermore, the world has learned an enormous amount and also invested considerably in anticipating (early warning systems) and responding to (things like this assembly point) ocean tsunamis even if their remote chance of happening does occur. So the danger is even more miniscule than it was before.
When I came across the assembly point, I thought it was not just an extra-careful precaution, but also a very subtle and tasteful monument to the people who sadly suffered from this bizarre calamity.
Instead of being immersed in sand, Kuramathi will slather you with mud as just one of their special baby-moon prenatal offerings…
“Kuramathi Spa is pleased to announce an upgrade to its menu this month to fine-tune the balance of mind, body and soul. A meticulous pick of choices for him and her is featured, along with the usual favourites for honeymooners, namely the ‘Kuramathi Moment’ and ‘Couples Rebirth’. Asian body rituals from India, Indonesia and Thailand let you delve into the preserved techniques instilling peace and calm. Amongst the new treatments available are the indulgent prenatal options. Mothers to be can now pick between ‘Organic Precious Moments’ and ‘Organic Prenatal Voyager’ each using fresh seaweed based ingredients in a carefully curated therapy. Engage in meditation guided by our yogi who helps ease you into the ancient discipline of yoga and the plethora of benefits it imbues.”
I love the mud treatment in particular, to get prospective parents used to having gooey substances smeared all over them and mud as a central part of their lives once they have kids…
For a treatment “in” the beach rather than just “on” it, Makunudu’s Avuun spa features a double table massage area sunken into the beach sand. The space is surrounded by a natural pavilion structure including a drawable curtain if you want privacy from view but still the proximity to the soothing sounds of the water nearby.
Not the Martha and the Muffins classic, but a new perspective on beach beauty by Six Senses Laamu who are preserving vibrant marine life even if it means much bigger landscaping budget (thanks Paola):
“It takes a lot of effort to maintain the picture perfect white beaches and powder blue turquoise lagoons at tourist resorts. Many of the resorts in the Maldives actively destroy their seagrass beds to maintain this facade. Six Senses Laamu has changed this attitude and are now actively promoting the protection of their seagrass beds as they are a haven for megafauna including green sea turtles, sting rays and baby sharks in addition to being a nursery for juvenile fish, providing oxygen, storing carbon, improving the health of adjacent coral reefs and preventing erosion of the island.”
The resort clarifies that “We have a team of gardeners at Six Senses Laamu that rakes the beach and place the dead seagrass in the jungle so that it can still contribute its nutrients to the coastal system, while also ensuring guests can use the beaches.”
For an helpful introduction to the importance of sea grass in the Maldives, check out the video below.
With all of the glitzy bling scattered around the Maldives like toddlers throwing tinsel on a Christmas tree, some of the old school décor with retro charm stand out even more distinctively. One example is Rihiveli extensive oil on wood paintings. The reception features one of the most handsome island maps I have seen, and I love the little vexillological (word of the day for you) retrospective.