Earth Day today. Time to give back to the planet that gives us all so much. In the Maldives, probably the biggest initiative to strengthen the planet are the reef building initiatives to restore coral stressed by rising sea temperatures as well as outbreaks of COTS. Dozens of resorts invest in these reef regeneration projects, but I’ve never seen so many different approaches than Summer Island.
I’ve already written about their submerged Underwater Objects as well as their Coral Pops. They have also built a series of artificial reefs, the most recent being 15m x 2m x 4m constructed out of limestone rocks. Their latest innovation is a series of Coral Ropes. These serve as a coral nursery to incubate coral growth. Less than 2.5% die, and the ones that live are transplanted to the new artificial reefs:
- “Three pipes are completely winded in rope (needed over 500 meters) and 2 in fishing nets that were removed from the surrounding reefs. The plateau is hovering (we placed buoys inside the pipes) and it’s 6 meters long & 2 meters wide. The pipes are full of Durban dancing shrimps, Bruun’s cleaning partner shrimps and banded boxer shrimps. In between the ropes we already fixed a lot of coral fragments that are all alive AND growing ! Basically a home for a lot of life and we made it hovering so that if there were any crowns of thorns, the corals won’t be eaten by these damn creatures ! Underneath are limestone rocks where lion fish and octopii are hiding.”
Viki Odintcova, Irina Dreyt and Galina Dub all Instagramming from Reethi Rah last month
“Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas Voted Most Instagrammable Hotel in the World” according to Luxury Travel Advisor. That the Maldives tops is the world in photo blogging is no surprise. Nor is the selection of Kihavah in the online poll. It’s one of my favourites and its sparkling white necklace of talcum soft beach plus the combination of upper deck elevation at its “Sky” bar and the undersea perspective of its “Sea” restaurant provide a wealth of Kodak Photo Spots to selfie from.
But opinion polls are notoriously inaccurate especially online ones. All sorts of biases and skews come into play. So a more interesting question is “What is the most Instagrammed resort?” At least in the Maldives, the Maldives Complete fashionista database has some pretty comprehensive information applicable to this question. Tracking the top fashionshoot models, travel bloggers and celebrities and their Instagram posts for two years now, I have some pretty solid data about which resort attracts the posts with the most Followers.
There are two different parameters we can look at with the data available:
- Most Instagrammers – One & Only Reethi Rah: Which resorts have attracted the most Instagrammers (prominent ones which are usually over 10,000 Followers as a cut off). Reethi Rah maintains its long established distinction as a top haven for celebrity guests. It rises above the others in that it is the only resort to have a top 5 spot in both “Instagrammers” and “Instagram Followers” (#4).
- Most Instagram Followers – Velaa: Which resorts have attracted the most aggregate Instagram Followers (based on the Instagrammers who have posted from there). Velaa snatches the top spot primarily on the strength of Jennifer Lopez’ 69m Followers. But even without JLo, Velaa would still command a medal position 3rd place. Given that Velaa (and Cheval Blanc Randheli) make a top 5 with a very modest number of Instagrammers in total indicates that they are a lure for the big hitters.
Planted in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there is never any shortage of subcontinent inspired dishes on the Maldives buffets especially the ubiquitous curry. Reef fish is the obviously the more local staple. But I have never seen such variety in curry variety than I did at Medhufushi. Each night they had no less than 3 different curries. Our first night was beetroot curry, cucumber curry and chicken curry.
My other pet gourmet craving is gazpacho and Finolhu’s “Crab Shack” produced one of the best I have sampled (London, Maldives or anywhere in the world). It is contender for longest dish name “Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Herbed Poached Egg and Baby Cress with Alaskan King Crab”. $28
Happy Thai New Year! And what a year it has been for Thai visitors to the Maldives. Thailand is the fastest growing country of origin for Maldives visitors with a 233% growth (!) making it the 5th highest Asian source (while being only the 10th largest Asian nation). Amari, Anantara, Centara and Dusit Thani are all Thai based properties with multiple properties in the Maldives.
For a truly Thai treat, Anantara and Amilla Fushi both offer the distinctively Thai Tok Sen Thai therapy…
- Tok Sen Ancient Thai Therapy, which originates from Buddhist Monks, creates healing vibrations through rhythmic pressure on Thai acu-points applied with a special wooden tapper to relax stiff bodies, providing pain relief and deep release for the body and mind.
Lori had some of this work on her feet years ago when we were visiting Prague. It about sent her to the ceiling. If there was a Mohs hardness scale for massage treatments, it would look something like this (going from softest to hardest)…
- Sports Massage
- Deep Tissue
- Hot Stone
- Tok Sen
So for those really tough knots from a particularly enthusiastic new years celebration, ask for some Tok Sen.
You can take away a custom box of sweet concoction at One & Only Reethi Rah starting with your favourite fruit on a stick and then smothered with your choice of decadent toppings from its new Sweet Paradise eaterie:
- “Then satisfy that sweet craving with a visit to our newest venue, Sweet Paradise, where chefs are waiting to hear what flavour, which toppings, and how many scoops you’ll have today.”
You can enjoy gourmet delicacy anywhere on the island at Park Hyatt Hadahaa with their custom bento box:
- “Select from our special menu and design your own set lunch to be enjoyed under the glorious Maldivian sun while lounging by the main pool, on the main beach or at The Bar.”
Price: US$49 per person, Time: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm.
Amilla Fushi offer not by the pool refreshment, but also a distinctive within the pool table d’isle. If the diminutive islands of the Maldives aren’t tiny enough for you, then this island-in-island oasis might just offer the littoral intimacy you crave.
Gili Lankanfushi is concocting its own magical wands of tasty wizardry with its custom recipe Pool Pops.
- “This is a popsicle from Fini Foni – our popsicle and ice cream bar at the pool side. Popsicles are chargeable, but during the afternoons we do offer it as a poolside Gili Refreshment. We do have different Gili Refreshment at the poolside available for guests throughout the day.”
The menu includes the following lollygagging lollies…
- Paleta Passion (photo above)
- Gili Spa
- Power Bar
- Sun & Sea
- Bodu Beru
- Pina Colada
- Sangria Al Espagina
- Fini Bubbly
- Ghiaccioli Mojito
- Weekly Special
Their icy assortment makes a double “Finally Seen”:
- Frozen Juice Pops (#6 from post #5)
- Poptails (#7 from post #5)
I’ve even added the new Tag “Frozen” hoping more will come out of the freezers.
For this year’s Easter treats, One & Only Reethi Rah went beyond eggs an bunnies with a complete Harry Potter themed celebration. The “Hogwarts Open Day”
- “It’s Easter Sunday and time for the traditional Reethi Rah Easter Egg Hunt with a magical twist! … This Easter the island is transformed into a Harry Potter Magical World!”
I hope the Easter bunny left lots Chocoballs, Pepper Imps, Jelly Slugs, Peppermint Toads, Exploding Bonbons, and Ice Mice in your Easter basket (though, you might want to skip the “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans” as they come in every flavour including spinach, liver, tripe, sprout, curry, grass, and even vomit). And it would be great for exploring the reefs if they actually had some Gillyweed on hand!