Best of the Maldives: Ocean View Office –Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - water villa deck office

A bit belated Labor Day post as I myself was on holiday yesterday (not the Maldives sadly). With remote working becoming the new default, high powered professionals (the work-hard-play-hard set who have always been a big market segment in the Maldives) can now extend their stay by keeping just enough tabs on the work back home. I’ve actually taken that approach for years. People wonder why I would want to interrupt paradise with thinking about work. I just see it as an investment…by doing 5% work during my stay, I can often extend my stay at least 50% (at 10x return of parardise time).

If I was heading out to the Maldives during a particularly busy time, I would consider Hideaway Beach where their water villa features a desk right by the water. Now that’s a corner office! Note: do be careful though (especially if you are mixing work with pina coladas) not drop your computer in the water. You might laugh, but I actually did this in the Maldives at our water villa a few years back. I picked up my backpack that I carried it in and hadn’t zipped it properly and it popped out, bounced on the deck and plunged into the water (fortunately, I was insured, backed up and had brought a spare with me).

Best of the Maldives: Star Gazing Lounger – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah - roof deck

Spy the friendly skies.

We have been spending many an evening recently lying flat on our backs star-gazing especially watching the always dramatic mid-August Perseids meteor shower (the biggest meteor shower of the year). It is such a special occasion that we blow up our air mattress and put it out on the lawn with pillows and a duvet so we will be comfy in the cool English night. We recently returned from a camping stay-cation with friends on the south coast of the UK (the closest we could come to a seaside surrogate to our annual Maldives visit) and introduced them to the super supine approach to contemplating the celestial firmament.

In the spirit of “everything is better in the Maldives”, Anantara Kihavah has installed the ultimate star gazing loungers atop their suitably named “Sky” lounge (also suitable for sunsets and ocean vistas). If only I could find someone to serve me tropical cocktails in my backyard.

Plane Sailing

A number of people are wary of staying near Male for fear of hearing airplanes taking off, but actually the planes you hear the most are the iconic seaplanes. I have actually found the whir of the seaplane engines part of the exotic allure of the destination. Shades of Fantasy Island’s exclamation “Da plane, da plane!” These turboprops have long been a favourite photo prop for the Maldives fashionista crowd.

With the collapse of the aviation industry with the global pandemic, despite living near one of the world’s busiest airports (Heathrow), the skies have been relatively empty for months. Now the contrails are starting to return to up above taking people back to far flung destinations and it’s almost a special occasion when we see one. Today is National Aviation Day (USA) so a chance to celebrate these distinctive steel birds taking guests to the far away dream destinations.

  1. Nicole Elgin (USA) – Drift Thelu Veliga


  2. Nancy (Thailand) – Sun Island


  3. Mai Ka (Poland) – Heritance Aarah


  4. Urvashi Rautela (India) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  5. Olga (Russia) – Dhigali


  6. Urvi Shetty (India) – Kandima


  7. Beth Walkemeyer (Australia) – W Maldives

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  8. Lisa Homsy (Canada) – Kandolhu


  9. Sakshi Malik (India) – LUX South Ari Atoll


  10. Svetlana Lewis (Russia) – Furaveri


  11. Dashama (USA) – Angsana Velavaru


  12. Anna Bella (Russia) – Fushifaru


  13. Sky Kiki Jung (Thailand) – Centara Ras Fushi


  14. Carolina Dargel (Belarus) – NIYAMA


  15. Maria (Russia) – Furaveri


  16. Karina Zhosan (Ukraine) – Conrad Rangali


  17. Alena Omovych (Russia) – Furaveri


  18. Sanja Papić Ognjanović (Panama) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  19. Hofit Golan and Josephine Forsberg (Israel) – Hideaway Beach


  20. Julia Raz (United Kingdom


  21. Mary Nova (Russia) – NIYAMA


  22. Parlikah (Thailand) – Six Senses Laamu


  23. Alexandra Sotnik (Russia) – Meedhupparu


  24. Rosanna Cordoba (Columbia) – Conrad Rangali


  25. Siobhan (Ireland) – Sirru Fen Fushi


  26. Aditi Rao Hydari (India) – Soneva Fushi


  27. Adriana Hughes (OAE) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  28. Helen Owen (USA) – Six Senses Laamu


  29. Belle Lucia (Australia) – Cocoon


  30. Arinka Nazarova and Ekaterina (Russia) – Paradise Island


  31. Olga Titova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  32. Fer Espiritu (Mexico) – Vommuli


  33. Claudia Padgett (United Kingdom) – Soneva Fushi


  34. Zaki (Russia) – Furaveri


  35. Viktoriya Kabochkina (Russia) – Drift Thelu Veliga


  36. Anyuta Rai (Russia) – Hurawalhi


  37. Alena Yurzina (Russia) – NIYAMA


  38. Miss Huinii (South Korea) – Vommuli


  39. Wendy Gates (USA) – Velaa


  40. Natasha Ivanovs (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  41. Maria Martelo Perez and Irina Dreyt (Columbia) – One & Only Reethi Rah


  42. Talia Richman (Australia) – Finolhu


  43. Ming Arinmas (Thailand) W Maldives


  44. Nudee Thoedsukbodee (Thailand) – Cheval Blanc Randheli


  45. Anna Barykina (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  46. Camila Storchi (Brazil) – Sun Island


Best of the Maldives: Accessibility Aesthetic – Joali

Joali - accessibility 1

Both Lori and I work with disabled individuals and we are sensitised to the accessibility that is provided for them. Fortunately, we live in an age where accessibility is the norm. Not just to help those with disabilities, but helping a range of people facing their own mobility issues like the elderly or parents with prams and so on. There is something to be said for this norm just being integrated into the infrastructure in a pedestrian manner. Still, I was impressed that the aesthetic obsessives at Joali applied some of their style sense to the accessibility features as well. A few examples shown here are the marble accessibility ramp leading into the main bar (below) and the funky restroom symbols (above).

Joali - accessibility 2

Best of the Maldives: TV Easel – Faarufushi

Faarufushi - TV easel

Not a lot of people want to take time away from gazing at paradise to stare at the boob tube (some Maldive purists even object to having TVs in villas as all though they are handy when the rainstorms occasionally hit), but they are often cleverly dual purposed as displays to bring a collection of videos from around the island into your room. Faarufushi provides an extra aesthetic touch to its artistic videos displaying them on a stylish easel which highlights the allure of the scenes of paradise.

“Yellow Exploration”, 2020

Yellow Exploration 1

If I can’t get the Maldives, I’ll bring the Maldives to me. And if I can’t find an obvious thing in the Maldives (#20), I get go get that too.

My partner in paradise, Lori, and I celebrated our 35th anniversary last week. The traditional gift for that semi-decennial milestone is coral. Every year we are in the Maldives in July celebrating our anniversary there, and this year, with the coronavirus issues, was the one year, coral year, that we had to stay home. Still such obstacles did not stymie Lori. She immediately admired Stephanie Kilgast’s work that I highlighted a couple of weeks about in my latest instalment of the “Haven’t Seen Yet” series.

She chose the piece “Yellow Exploration (Octopus) – 2020”. Her card to me read: “The piece reminds me of the joy I felt while watching that little octopus from the within the underwater restaurant at You & Me in 2019.” She went on to talk about the corals’ resilience and hardiness, and the octopus’s intelligence and magic all of which our adventuresome marriage shared.

Yellow Exploration 2

Maldives Mask

Maldives Mask 2

The fashion accessory of the season if not the entire 2020 year is the now must-have (in more ways than one) face mask. While some decry this ostensible inconvenience, I think it is a whole new opportunity to rock some stylish fashion.

My friend Sylvia is making these in her back room. They come with a nose clip and an inner pocket to insert a filter if you want extra protection. I found this material at my local haberdashery, so naturally I commissioned an Indian Ocean one with the Maldives Islands front and center.  Lori opted for a Wrasse-inspired designed (see bottom).

Email me if you would like Sylvia to make one for you. She is doing so to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis).

Maldives Mask 3

Maldives mask

Maldives mask 4

Guesthouses and Liveaboards Budget Options

Guesthouses and Liveaboards

A whole category of Maldives offerings that I’ve not yet seen are the guesthouses and liveaboard/yacht options. I have researched them quite a bit. And Hotellier Maldives asked me to share a few perspective from my investigation for people considering these alteratives. The result is the recently published article “Bunking with the Billionaires on a Budget – Part 2”.

  • Some guest houses cost as little as $50/night. For certain types of travellers, being on an inhabited island has added dividends of being able to explore and interact with the local community and experience their island life. But these offerings also have a number of constraints that you should be aware of and do limit their appeal to some visitors.”
  • “Liveaboards have long been a cheap option for divers to bunk while going from dive site to dive site. But in the Maldives, the cruising options have gotten quite sophisticated and expansive. You can find quite well appointed bedrooms in lovely vessels serving delicious food. Some boats even offer spa services onboard.”

Haven’t Seen Yet – 16

Havent Seen Yet - dolphine fruit cup

How fun is that above? (thanks Cori)

Missing our annual trip to the Maldives is not fun though.  SO I guess we will just have to continue to wallow in digital vicariousness.

Usually, this time of year we are in the Maldives on our annual research tour. I don’t think I’ve ever missed them more (especially sitting here looking out the window at the dreary rain in my woolly jumper). Right now I would be scouring the resort islands for new and distinctive features I still haven’t seen in my two decades of visits. And at the end, I would traditionally issue by bi-annual “Haven’t Seen Yet” update. Well, I may not be able to see more things yet, but I certainly have found a number of things that should be there:

  1. Aquatic Geode – These blue agate slices are simply so reminiscent of the Maldives tapestry of blues. Our daughter bought me a set of them to use as drink coasters, but they are simply lovely décor in their own right.
    Havent Seen Yet - blue geode slice
  2. Geode Towel – Love the colours and design. The tapestry of blue depicted on a pool-side tapestry.
    Havent Seen Yet - geode towel
  3. Beach Towel Cover – Clever way to make a beach towel better and hard loungers better.
    Havent Seen Yet - beach lounger cover
  4. Blue Tang Cloth – I came across this fabric looking for some material to have a custom COVID19 face mask sewn for me. Resorts could produce all manner of items for the resort or the gift boutique like face masks, sarongs, shirts, etc.
    Havent Seen Yet - blue tang cloth
  5. Colour Changing Swim Shorts – To impersonate a colour-camo-changing octopus, you can get your own pair of swim trucks which change colour when they get wet.


  6. Claudio Lugli Tropical Fish Shirt – I love these shirts, but unfortunately their tropical fish line is out of stock now. Maybe some resort can convince them to do another run.
    Havent Seen Yet - tropical fish shirt
  7. Whale Shark Legging and Top – NuWave’s leggings and top are great to not just see the whale shark in, but to *be* the whale shark.
    Havent Seen Yet - whale shark leggings
  8. Sharkasm T-Shirt – Loving it. No, seriously.
    Havent Seen Yet - sharkasm
  9. Silver Shark Bracelet – From the same makers as the Sharkasm shirt (Ocean Dose) is a charming rope bracelet with a shark charm (and available in 6 different colours).
    Havent Seen Yet - silver shark bracelet
  10. Shark Slippers – Wing-Tipped reef shark for the fishy cushy fashion statement.
    Havent een Yet - shark slippers
  11. Whale Shark Plush Toy – I love the whale size of this cuddly toy. Unfortunate about the “blow hole” painted on the top of the head (“whale sharks” are “sharks” not “whales” and so they don’t have blow holes).
    Havent Seen Yet - whale shark plush toy
  12. Ocean Sole – An exceptionally charming and innovative up-cycling company at its Indian Ocean neighbor Kenya. They gather up hundreds of discarded plastic flip-flops on the beaches and transform them into stunning, playful figures.
    Havent Seen Yet - ocean sole
  13. Shark Wine Goblets – For the more adult galeophiles to hold and savour…
    Havent Seen Yet - shark glasses
  14. Motorized Pool Lounger – Many pool loungers come with cup holders for your drink but not the self-propulsion to return you especially to the swim-up bar for a re-fill.


  15. Kayak Sail – Something to catch those gentle ocean breezes and make an outing even more lazy.
    Havent Seen Yet - paddleboard sail
  16. Water Boggan – Or less someone else do the work of pulling your around on the water on a matt that you can lie on, stand on or do jumping jacks on.

  17. Red Shark Bikes – Or less lazy, if your prefer. A step up from the previous ocean bikes noted way back in my second instalment.

  18. Exo-Lung – Could be ideal for house reef exploration.

  19. Coral Crochet – Or resorts can commission a gorgeous crocheted version of their reef for the reception. Check out the brilliant TED (2009) talk by Margaret Wertheim on “The beautiful math of coral” – “The frilly crenulated forms that you see in corals, and kelps, and sponges and nudibranchs, is a form of geometry known as hyperbolic geometry. And the only way that mathematicians know how to model this structure is with crochet.”
    Havent Seen Yet - coral crochet2
  20. Stephanie Kilgast Art – French artist Stephanie Kilgast is inspired by a range of natural delights especially corals and some other undersea creatures.
    Havent Seen Yet - gilcart art
  21. Sea Urchin Hats – After noticing his urchins carrying rocks, shells and even hermit crabs around aquarium, a Colorado aquarium enthusiast Wilson Souza started making them custom hats. Subsequent studies by marine biologist hypothesize that sea urchins don these hats (or shells other things they come across) for much the same reason humans do – UV protection from sunlight.
    Havent Seen Yet - sea urchin hats
  22. Golsa Golchini Art – Italian artist Golsa Golchini has a few pieces just right for the Maldives.
    Havent Seen Yet - golsha art
  23. Pool Roof – Not a “Roof Pool”, but a roof made out of a pool.
    Havent Seen Yet - roof pool
  24. Natural Pools – Like this one from Soneva, but Soneva Kiri (thanks Paola)
    Havent Seen Yet - natural pools
  25. In-Water Dining

    Bora Bora takes “in water” dining a step beyond a few tables temporarily immersed in the shallows.
    Havent Seen Yet - in water dining elaborate


  26. Tipping Breakdowns – Guests are always frustrated to know whether (a) they are tipping enough (they don’t want to offend or hurt any staff), or (b) they are tipping too much (this trip has already cost us a lot). It is complicated by the addition of mandatory service charges to all bills. In principle, this should relieve the headache as some “service” has already been provided for the staff, and I suspect that ad hoc tipping dropped considerably when that change was implemented. But still, there is an enduring sense that this service charge is just a basic amount and that additional bonus gifts are both welcome and done by a number of guests.  I think was would be very helpful is if a resort shared the profile of tipping with the TripAdvisor Forum. Something along the lines of:

    As you know, all Maldives resort bill include an amount billed for service charge which is shared among the staff. Because this amount is provided by law, we reassure guests that they are not in any way obliged to leave further gratuities. And yet, many guests want to leave further gratuities. And their generosity is frustrated to an additional degree because there is no guidance as to what is “minimum”, “average” and “exceptional”. In other countries, there are more accepted conventions. For example, in the UK, a 12% tip is considered a minimum, 15% is average and more than 15% is generous. Also, since there is no convention, people don’t have an idea of just how prevalent certain gratuity practices are. As a result, I am told that it would be helpful to share “what other people are doing”. This in not in any way intended as a prescription of what “you should be doing”. It is just information that get asked for regularly.
    · XX% leave no extra gratuities at all.
    · XX% leave very modest gestures of appreciation (for example, $10 or less to an individual staff member covering the whole stay).
    · XX% leave generous extra gifts (for example, $10 to $50 per staff member covering the whole stay).
    · XX% leave crazy generous gifts (for example, more than $50 per staff member covering the whole stay).I think this information will both help guests’ peace of mind and maybe even boost gratuity given at the resort. Those who are really tight will have solace in reading “Ah, ok, I’m not alone as XX% people also don’t give tips so it’s not just me.” But others will self-select and think “Ah, I want to be one of those “generous extra gift” people so I am going to leave that amount.

  27. Max Benjamin “Maldives” Diffuser – Gift from Lori from Christmas. Stocking these in the boutique makes a lot of scents!.
    Havent Seen Yet - maldives diffusers
  28. Electric Seaplane – Ok, which eco-minded resort is going to be the first to boast one of these babies??
    Havent Seen Yet - electric sea plane
  29. Mango Shaved Ice – Famous Taiwanese dessert whose tropical fruit and frozen temperature seem like a perfect treat for the Maldives.
    Havent Seen Yet - mango shaved ice

Phat Tatts

National Tattoo Day today. Fashionistas in the Maldives often come with quite a bit of colour in their complexions before they hit the sun. The tropical backdrop provides a striking frame and the skimpy swimsuits provide an effective place to show off their best ink…

  1. Lexy (Germany)
    You & Me [ABOVE]
  2. Nadiuno (Moldova) – Riu Palace


  3. Shawnna Sharmaynne (USA) – Conrad Rangali


  4. Nastya Motrii (Russia) – Bandos


  5. Sara Mecchi (Italy) – Fun Island


  6. Mareike Lerch (Germany) – Kuredu


  7. Alyona (USA) – Paradise Island


  8. Natashita (Germany) – Embudu

  9. Miss Monyy (Thailand) – Anantara Dhigu


  10. Marika Fomina (Russia) – Velassaru


  11. Tiffy Hollywood (USA) – Movenpick Kuredhivaru


  12. Maurizia Cancellieri (Italy)


  13. Giulia Maria Cinci (Italy) – Malahini Kuda Bandos


  14. Dafina Zeqiri (Italy) – You and Me


  15. Nutty (Thailand) – Club Med Kani


  16. Lily Black (Italy) – Thudufushi


  17. Anna Sladkaya (Russia) – Cocoon


  18. Felicia Aveklew (Sweden) – Dhiffushi


  19. Ksusha Krasivchik (Russia) – W Maldives


  20. Daggy Ritz (Germany) – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu


  21. Rony Labelle (Venezuela) – LUX North Male Atoll


  22. Muriel Bassi (Spain) – Samara


  23. Zoe Cristofoli (Italy) – Emerald


  24. Fairy Pai (Taiwan) – Club Med Kani


  25. Laura Sagrado (Mexico)  – Kudafushi


  26. Hanna (Ukraine) – Sun Island


  27. Francesca del Taglia (Italy) – Fulidhoo


  28. Julia Krasnoyarsk (Russia) – Adaaran Hudhuran Fushi


  29. Sofi Sugar (Russia) – Vilu Reef


  30. Mariana Gasques (Brazil) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  31. Stefanie Morela (Germany) – Cinnamon Ellaidhoo


  32. Viki Fox (Russia) – Kandima


  33. Ilona Chernetskaya (Ukraine) – Bandos


  34. Adzia (Poland) – Nilandhoo


  35. Eva Saetherr (Norway) – Sun Island


  36. Anna Grachevskaya (Russia) – Paradise Island


  37. Katrin (Russia) – Sun Island


  38. Oleksandra Likhtben (Ukraine) – Fehendhoo


  39. Sophie (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi


  40. Aneta Kożusznik (Slovakia) – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu


  41. Monya (Poland) – Carpe Diem


  42. Daisy (Austria) – Kuredu


  43. TubTim Ruby Mallika (Thailand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas


  44. Jade Tattoo (Australia) – NIYAMA


  45. Teta- Maria (United Kingdom) – Amilla Fushi


  46. Natalie Iashchuk (Russia) – LUX South Ari Atoll


  47. Irina Moroziuk (Ukraine) – Sun Aqua Vilu Reef


  48. Raissa Castro Tuchler (Brazil) – Centara Ras Fushi


  49. Rita Ora (United Kingdom) – Amilla Fushi


  50. Virginia (Dhiffushi)


  51. Jodie Stark (United Kingdom) – Kandima


  52. Olivia Bowen (United Kingdom) – Velassaru


  53. Mary Jane (Australia) – NIYAMA


  54. Diva (Ukraine) – Anantara Kihavah Villas


  55. Olesya Temofeeva (Russia) – Amari Havodda


  56. Teneile Napoli (Australia) – NIYAMA


  57. Tatyana Ponomareva (Russia) – Furaveri


  58. Bantik Boy (Russia) – OZEN by Atmosphere


  59. Chiara Biasi (Italy) – Maayafushi


  60. Laura Fremiot (Italy) – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa