Best of the Maldives: Eco Event – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

60 Earth Hour       Coco Palm Dhuni Kholu group

With such direct and high profile self-interest, the Maldives have not only been leading the calls for environmental action, but have been leading the way with their own actions. I have covered many of these pioneering initiatives recently (Eco-Friendly Villas, Nature Conservation, Eco-Friendly Resort, Reefscaping, Marine Protected Reserve). Yesterday, 27th March, marked ’60 Earth Hour’ – “global event organized by WWF (World Wildlife Fund), inviting individuals, businesses, governments and communities to turn off their non-essential lighting and power for one hour, to show their support for action on climate change.”

Not only did Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu mark the hour by switching off all lights, but they actually switched off all the islands generators and power. They further celebrated the occasion with tree planting that brought together the resort staff and the guests.

Coco Palm Dhuni Kholu tree planting

Best of the Maldives: Night Time Romance – Nika

Nika night time dinner

While Diva might be the overall romantic resort of choice, for that special night time seduction, Nika goes the extra mile. Well, the extra minutes. If the mere 37 rooms was not private enough, then…

“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.”

Best of the Maldives: Romance – LUX Maldives

Travelers Choice Awards 2010

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.

Also, an honorable mention to Anatara Veli and Chaaya Reef Elliadoo who came in right after Diva.

Best of the Maldives: Largest Marine Protected Reserve – LUX Maldives

BBC Fast Track

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.

Scuba Diva Maldives recently wrote

“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.

Best of the Maldives: Hotel – Hulhule

World Travel Awards

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.”

Best of the Maldives: Toilet – Holiday Inn Male

Toto Washlet C110    Toto Washlet C110 2

 

 

 

 

 

  
If you are looking for an even shorter ‘pit stop’ in Male than a day stay, then the Holiday Inn Male offers distinctive facilities (to use a common euphemism) for that too.

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.”

Holiday Inn Male - Toilet

 

 

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Best of the Maldives: Short Stay – Holiday Inn Male

Holiday Inn Male - Pool 

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.

Best of the Maldives: Cover Story – Anantara / Naladhu

SI cover

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.

SI shoot

 

Best of the Maldives: Promotion – Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Palm Promo

Many people think of a trip to the Maldives as a holiday *of* a lifetime, but now Coco Bodu Hithi are offering a trip *for* a lifetime.

“Would you like to win your holiday for a lifetime? Win a fabulous two week holiday on Coco Palm Bodu Hithi….EVERY YEAR…for a lifetime!!! The prize includes a stay for 2 persons at our Club Coco Palm on Coco Bodu Hithi for 2 weeks (14 nights) on half board, including airport transfers with a speedboat.  Simply take part in our competition game and collect 10 “Coco Coins”. If you collect 10 “Coco Coins” you have a very good chance to win this fabulous prize. You can enter the competition at any point in time! Browse through our new website in the time period between January 25th and March 4th, 2010 and search for hidden suitcases. You will find a new suitcase every day from Mondays to Thursdays, somewhere on our English website. Simply click onto the suitcase and remember the item that is hidden in the suitcase. Every found item equals 1 “Coco Coin”. Repeat looking for hidden suitcases until March 4th and collect 10 “Coco Coins” in total. The last hidden suitcase will give you the chance to put your    10 collected “Coco Coins” into the competition draw, by filling out the provided form.”

I’ve looked several time through the website in the past few days and I couldn’t find a single suitcase, but maybe you all be more eagle eyed.

Best of the Maldives: Reefscaping – Kandooma

Kandooma reefscaping 1  Kandooma reefscaping 2

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.”

At the it says, Reefscaping has now extended to other resorts (Landaa Giravaru, Kuda Hura), but Kandooma was the first and is the most extensive.

(Pictures above from Crystal’s blog of her experience)