LUX North Male Atoll lets your yacht stop over at its Overwater Retreat which is fitted out with its own private boat jetty. The most luxurious arrival since the now defunct helipads at Anantara and Maafushivaru.
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is not about “visiting” the Maldives, but “passing through”. There are two major groups of these stopovers
- Flight layovers
- Cruise stops
What you can do is very dependent on how much time you have. The more time, the further down the list of alternatives below you can go…
- MALE AIRPORT (more than 1 hour) – Velana airport has a number of things to do itself including eateries, lounges and spa treatments:
- Moonima Spa (domestic terminal): Really fine little facility and all things considered a reasonable value for a range of packages it offered.
- Hulhule Island Hotel (5 minute walk): Pool use fee and restaurant with elevated ocean view.
- MALE VISITS (more than 2 hours) – With the opening of the new bridge, getting over to the capital city of Male is easier than ever (no more ferries needed), but you still require a shuttle or taxi ride over and the extra logistics will require having a bit of time on hand. Here’s my report when I made a day visit there.
- HULHUMALE VISITS (more than 3 hours) – Adjacent to the Male airport island of Humale is the newly created and developed island of Hulhumale. It also takes either a taxi or bus ride of about 15 minutes so requires a bit more time available to get over there, but it includes lots of new restaurants, public beaches, shopping and provides a taste of modern Maldivian city life not quite so bustling as Male itself.
- MALE EXCURSIONS (more than 4 hours) – A number of companies offer trips and excursions around the Male area based out of Male, but again, the duration and logistics required would mean having even more time on hand). The best place to start looking into excursions from the Male area is the TripAdvisor “Things To Do” list which includes comprehensive details and often useful reviews.
- DAY VISIT RESORT (more than 5 hours) – A number of properties in the Male area do allow day visitors which enable you to see one of the legendary “drops of sand in the middle of the ocean” resorts in person and sample some of their trademark activities like snorkelling their house reef or enjoying their manicured beaches. However, these day passes typically entail a not cheap fee. Hulhumale Tours and Excursions features specific packages for visiting local resort islands (they also offer their other excursions for visits to local islands, diving and waters sports) which is a pretty comprehensive list of near-to-Male resorts that offer this service:
- Adaaran Club Rannalhi
- Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
- Adaaran Prestige Vadoo
- Centara Ras Fushi
- Cinnamon Dhonveli
- Club Med Kani
- Malahini Kuda Bandos
- Summer Island
Other islands which have featured day passes in the past or are reported to offer such visits (always best to contact the resort to confirm their current policy and protocol) include:
- Paradise Island
Secret Paradise also offers a range of excursions including snorkel trips which I have featured previously.
Havana ho-ho-ho na-na…
The Christmas and New Years holidays have a distinctive Latin vibe a Raffles Meradhoo with their “Raffles Revolution 2000”:
- “Inspired by our colonial design, a revolution of love and the coming of a new decade, join us for a one of a kind New Year celebration in the Maldives as the color and clamour of Cuba takes center stage. Legendary Cuban sounds of Chino Pons & band fuses magical rumba and salsa rhythms along with the bliss of movement dance rituals of Yesenia Selier as guests are lured in by the enticing beats of Rob & Flo by Aqua Monaco to the countdown.”
Dance workshops by Yesenia Selier (photo above), and music by Chino putting the sizzle into the salsa and the ay ‘kurumba’ into the rumba.
Most resorts don a bit of Yuletide adornment for the festive season, but Jumeirah Vittaveli has done theirs with a distinctively aquatic style with a giant sea-faring Christmas tree and a red-nosed jet ski drawing Santa’s sleigh:
- “Santa surprised everyone with an entrance in style today at Jumeirah Vittaveli. He took to the air and flew in by parasail; then his helpers picked him up on a floating sleigh, pulled by motorized reindeer! Guests were excited to meet Father Christmas at Samsara Beach and children got the chance to take a photo on Santa’s lap, before a bag full of goodies was given to everyone.”
Homes festooned with Christmas lights to herald Santa’s arrival around the world, but if you don’t want him disturbing your tropical holiday with his festive cheer, then the two little green and red light on the outside of LUX North Male Atoll’s villas are its “do not disturb” system. Just flip the switch inside that illuminates them. You can choose between a silent night or a bearing gifts ye traverse afar. Merry Christmas everyone.
For the squinting crowd whose arms are not long enough to hold a menu far away enough to see it, the romance of under-the-stars candlelight might add to the romance, but it also means you can’t figure out what you can order for dinner. Resorts have come up with a various solutions to this problem including the fiddly clip-on mini light or the serve holding a torch. But Faarufushi has introduced electronic menu tablets with soft back lighting to provide optimal visibility.
One of the most innovative features I’ve come across in 2019 is Dhigali’s Resort App. The resort describes:
- “We are very excited to announce the new Dhigali App (An application which can be downloaded to your mobile or Ipad from the app store, using a QR code . The App allows our guests to find information about our resort including our fact Sheet, resort map, daily activities, SPA, and dining options.”
Sort of a pocket concierge. I’ve already showcased the brilliant “Buggy Tracker” function which integrates with screens scattered around the island if you don’t have your device with you.
I have decided to offer my expertise up to resorts who would like input and consulting on their customer experience. I’ve had just too many “what were they thinking??” moments. I’m not talking about petty kibitzing like you find on TripAdvisor reviews. Anyone following this blog know how charitable a fanboy I am of all Maldives resorts.
I just see so many examples of how a resort is set up or run that just don’t seem to have paid enough consideration to the guest experience. And when I say “guest experience”, I am specifically referring to the “Maldives guest experience” which is a very distinct category. People coming to the Maldives have some very specific expectations which are central to their ultimate satisfaction.
Too often is seems that the bean counters or some designer/architect in love with their sketches are calling the shots. I sort of do a casual version of this consultancy on my tours as I find myself the guest of many dinners and drinks with GMs and Marketing Directors eagerly picking my brain for insights and perspectives. I can understand the compromises in the lower price tiers, but all too often I do find myself see very simple tricks that were missed.
- Customer Experience – I think that getting one of the world’s experts on Maldives resorts to have a basic review of your plans to catch details that might have gotten missed would be a worthwhile step for many resorts that clearly invest so much money into their premier properties. Sometimes simple considerations can undermine the impact of thousands of dollars of investment in a simple feature.
- Save Money – An oversight in design costs both revenue and operating expense. Revenue as the reviews come in that little bit less enthralled leading to even a few on-the-fence prospective guests choosing one of the many other competing options in the Maldives. Operating Expense as the property eventually figures out the problem and decides to redo the aspect costing money to remove and replace.
- Sales and Marketing Career – This whole Maldives differentiation is not just an expensive hobby for me, but the “differentiation” part of central to my day job. I’ve successfully driven sales and marketing for a billion dollar business unit, received recognition from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for business promotion, and received the American Association of Travel Agent’s Award for the most successful destination promotional campaign.
- Maldives Resort Expertise – But my real credential in the area of Maldives resort customer experience is…my customer experience. Two decades of researching and visiting more resorts than anyone else on the planet (the first person to stay at 100 Maldives resorts). I may not have seen it all, but when it comes to the Maldives resorts, there are few people who have seen more than me.
- “You have picked up on some amazing parts or USP’s there and this will help me immensely in the sales process as we also talk lots about hidden ‘rabbit holes’ and the small amazing nuances that we offer against the competition.” – Scott Le Roi, Director of Sales & Marketing, Reethi Rah.
- “Maldives specialist, out of the box thinker and prolific writer on the non-mundane and oft missed subjects about Maldivian resorts.” – Amit Majumbder, Manager, Jumeirah Vittaveli
- “If you want to know what’s the “best” in Maldives – the ‘Best of…’ every imaginable topic, read this blog by Maldives Complete, you won’t feel bored! ” – Oceanholic Maldives
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have a quick chat about how I might be able to assist. It will cost less than you think and benefit your project more than you might realise.
Eleven years and going strong. Still the second most frequently asked question I get is “Why do you do it?” (or you could say, “Why do I KEEP doing it?” It’s a big expense with no income. Well, George Orwell penned a piece “Why I Write” (thanks Isley) which highlighted a number of points which I think do apply to my 2000+ post (and going) writing…
- Sheer egoism – Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, wilful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.
- Aesthetic enthusiasm – Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
- Historical impulse – Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.
Happy 11th Anniversary to Maldives Complete. Time for another taking stock of where we have been.
The big milestone of the year was being the first people ever to stay at 100 Maldives resorts. We have also visited every atoll which has more than 2 resorts (the resort atolls that we have not yet hit are Vaavu, Shaviyani, Thaa and Laamu).
In many ways, it is the culmination of years of striving for a complete compendium of useful and accessible information about the Maldives resorts underpinned by before assiduous regular research as well as expansive first hand experience.
Another year has passed without the addition of any significant functionality. That implies to me that the site is pretty “feature complete” (as they say in the software sector). On one hand, I haven’t had to dig into major overhaul work of new capability. On the other hand, more resorts than ever (and opening faster than ever with a record 13 new openings) which means more details to keep up with. Also, having written 1,574 “Best of the Maldives” posts, it is a bit harder identifying distinctive, new features (though with 283 of my “Not Yet Seens” still not yet seen, there’s plenty of possibilities and still the innovation keeps flowing bringing more and more creative aspects to this destination of superlatives).