Best of the Maldives: Underwater TV – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - underwater television

Under water no one can hear you scream. Or sing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of your lungs. And so you can at Conrad Maldives Rangali for today’s big match:

  • “Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, a luxury five-star resort, is allowing two people the opportunity to watch the match from its Muraka villa, which is more than 16 feet beneath the Indian Ocean, and the world’s first underwater hotel residence. The package includes a two-night stay, during which the UEFA European Football Championship final will be beamed onto a screen that sits in front of a glass wall looking out onto the ocean’s abundant marine life.”

Also, perhaps most versatile underwater room in the Maldives as Ithaa serves as a restaurant and has served as a bedroom (mind you, with kick off at 1:00 am and if England play their characteristic “control” game, the subaquatic spectators mind find themselves nodding off).

   

Best of the Maldives: Terraforming – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock

The Maldives may not be moving the heavens, but they are moving the earth to provide more opportunities to welcome visitors. For some environmental activists, “terraforming” is as dirty a word as the mounds of dirt it involves. But I am more supportive of the Maldives’ use of terraforming. For a country that is nearly 1000 kilometres long, to reclaim a few kilometres for living or economic purposes seems quite a reasonable trade-off. Especially, if the aquatic regions chosen are more barren sandy lagoon than vibrant reef (and even then, work done with as eco-friendly protocols as possible). The entire Crossroad complex which currently includes Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon were constructed in this manner and eventually 7 more resort “islands” will be developed in the general area. The environmental study that was performed to prepare for this dramatic transformation of the ocean was extensive but nonetheless controversial among sceptics. For those who are accepting of this strategy to building their economy, the engineering scale and sophistication is quite impressive. The YouTube video above provides a taste of what is involved, but actually the History Channel (Asia) did a fully documentary programme on the project (see trailer below) to look out for if you get a chance to watch it.

Best of the Maldives: Solar Tracker – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - solar tracker 1

Solar power is moving from innovation to the new normal especially at higher end resorts. Thanks to their Swimsol power generation, LUX South Ari Atoll can get identify how much clean energy they are consuming:

  • “Guests can follow a live ‘solar tracker’ on their in-villas IPTV that will indicate the energy produced, diesel saved as well as the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions savings to offset the number of long-haul flights.“

LUX South Ari Atoll - solar tracker 1

Best of the Maldives Online: Fish Identification – Name That Fish

Not purely a “Maldives” site, but ever so perfect for it. “Name That Fish” couldn’t be better named itself. Here’s the concept – load your snorkeling or diving videos up their website, they run it through their AI algorithm, and al the prominent fish in the video get prominently tagged with a box identifying their species. Lori and I love our piscatorial treasure hunts in the Maldives and can’t wait to get back to the room to go through our collection of fish identification cards and books to figure out the new things we’ve seen. Now we can just let the computer do the work while we go and sip our pina coladas.

The project is the work of Jake Easterling, co-founder of Scubotics, and features over 11,000 fish in its algorithm.  The technology is especially interesting to me because it is the core of my day job.  I run a company which uses machine learning algorithms to detect variations in brain health on MRI images of multiple sclerosis patients.

Before reviewing it here on Maldives Complete I thought that I should test it myself so I uploaded one of our fish soup heave vids from a recent trip. There is no formal charge for the service, but the site requests a donation and suggest $5 which seemed reasonable to me. I uploaded it and a few days later I received an email with a link to the new video in a Dropbox location (see above as I’ve loaded on my YouTube channel). It came out superbly capturing most of the main fish visible and no errors of identification that I could spot.


Best of the Maldives: Aesthetician – Vakkaru

Vakkaru - spa aesthetician

Many top Maldivian resort spas host visiting yoga instructors and others who run special classes, but visiting practitioners are less common and I’ve not yet come across a resident aesthetician like Vakkaru’s Merana Spa is featuring:

  • “Vakkaru Maldives welcomed UK-based aesthetic practitioner Daisy Whitear to the resort for a short-term beauty residency. With over 30 years of experience within the medical aesthetic and beauty industry, the founder of Wilbury Clinic has a lifelong professional mission to help people feel beautiful both inside and out.”

You’ve come all this way for the perfect selfie backdrop so it makes sense to have yourself just as striking. Why use Instagram filters when you can refresh the real thing?

Best of the Maldives: Memorabilia – Hard Rock

Hard Rock - memorabilia 1

The heart of the Hard Rock ambience are the ubiquitous memorabilia displays of the most renowned acts in the music world. The sprawling landscape of an entire resort provides a stadium-scale palette for the mementos of performing history underscoring their very distinctive aesthetic like a ten-foot bass tower. Like the most pioneering artists themselves, Hard Rock knows what it is as an entertainment and lifestyle offering and it is not afraid to go all out in expressing it. I find the most tedious resorts to be those vanilla concoctions that try to be all things to all people and only end up being nothing special to everybody. The vibrant vibrations vibe may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who do enjoy it, few do it better.

Hard rock - memorabilia 3

Hard Rock - memorabilia 4

Hard Rock - memorabilia 5

Hard Rock - memorabilia 2

Maldives Complete Reviews

Maldives Complete reviews

If you wondering whether to lend some support to Maldives Complete through its recently launched Patreon site, have a look at what some of its fans have said to date.

Many websites of creative works feature “Review” sections to provide testimonials and endorsements. I figured this post could serve that purpose.

INDUSTRY REVIEWS:

  • There is a blog around Maldives.. and for me it is THE blog that I MUST follow and regularly check…No doubt about!!…When I look for something that I need to know about a specific resort but don’t find it around.. and even not in its own webpage.. the answer or at least a clue to get the answer is always here.” – Paola Mattana Lamperti
  • “Maldives Complete is arguably the best reference site for the Maldives. Bruce is a Maldives enthusiast and completes this with no commercial interests. He prides himself on integrity and recognises the positives and differences in all Maldives resorts and that not one resort is right for all guests. I highly recommend Maldives Complete.” – Jason Kruse General Manager Amilla
  • The Maldives Complete site is one of the best ‘go to’ places for information about the Maldives.” – Katherine Anthony, Marketing Manager, Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, former TripAdvisor Maldives Destination Expert
  • 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.
  • One of the best bloggers of the Maldives.” – Dolores Semeraro, Marketing Director, LUX Maldives
  • “I highly recommend that anyone who is planning a trip to the Maldives use the Maldives Complete search before booking a hotel.” – Chic Family Travels
  • “If you are wondering how I researched the 3 criteria for choosing the best luxury hotel in the Maldives, it was rather simple. I found a Maldives blog that has a search feature that allows you to plug in your criteria to find the your best match! I highly recommend that anyone who is planning a trip to the Maldives use the Maldives Complete search before booking a hotel”.—Chic Family Traveller
  • “It is wonderful that you put together a truly complete basis for comparison between Maldivian resorts. THANK YOU!” – Francisco Negrin, Barcelona
  • Lovely to read all the ‘Best of the Maldives’ posts on you page…quite interesting….keep posting…” – Aminath Huda, former Europe rep for MTPB
  • “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
  • “Your articles are fantastic. Really helpful , nicely done.” – Ahmed “Jay” Jihad, Head of Operations, Huvafenfushi
  • “Dolores and Dominik mentioned you and what you have done. Extraordinary.” – Shaun Dünhofen, General Manager, LUX* Maldives
  • “Your blog is fascinating. You are truly an expert on the Maldives…Your site is a great resource.” – Steve Dobson, Unusual Hotels of the World
  • “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

TOP BLOG COMMENTS

  • “Absolutely amazing work you have here! Many thanks for sharing your knowledge and time. You’re definitely a top Maldives expert and I hope the country appreciates all you’re doing for that bit of Paradise. I’ve spent a few hours going thru your site, including blog posts, comments sections and the filter page. It’s great and miles ahead of anything we can find elsewhere. We’ve used your filter and I appreciate your database has most of the information needed to short list a few…Your help and dedication is second to none. Maldives is really complex for newbies, considering all the variables! I’m valuing your work more and more each minute I spend researching.”
  • “I was struggling through the choices of resorts once we decided to go to Maldives, then I stumble across your website. I wouldn’t even attempt to guess the amount of time and energy gone into develop the database and make it available for the benefit of all. This is absolutely amazing! Thank you for your time and passion.” – Deb Pandit
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  • “Bruce: We love and deeply appreciate the helpfulness website u put together.” – Wayne Lin
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  • Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I found your blog on Tripadvisor and I am reading everything, it’s amazing!” – Valeria
  • “First of all thanks a lot for the blog and sharing your knowledge and insight here,this is indeed helpful.” – Saumit Deshmukh
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  • “Love the website and the obvious effort you have put into it.” – Andrew Carter
  • “Came across your fantastic web site as we are looking for a resort with great house reef.” – Mattias“We are now on our 17th trip to Maldives.We have been waiting for 10 years for this website…Spot on.” Jeb Payce, UK
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  • “I’ve been making extensive use of your website which has been an amazing help, thanks for your efforts there. It really is one of a kind.” – JCHBScouser.

  

Maldives Complete Patreon

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I don’t know how to thank you for all your amazing help in planning our Maldives trip!” Well, from here on you can support the Maldives Complete initiative by becoming a Patreon supporter.

From the launch of the website, I have resisted having any commercial part to Maldives Complete – no ads, no sales, no sponsorship. Not only did I not want the pressures of keeping sponsors happy, but I didn’t even want the appearance of any bias. I wanted to cover ALL the resorts (not just a collection of pet ones that had juiced me with payments). And I wanted to provide an objective resource and not just a platform to plug the highest bidders. It was the predominance of such selective shill sites that contributed to me starting the site in the first place.

With the decade-plus history, the site has grown in popularity, scope, content and complexity. This expansion has increased my out-of-pocket costs for hosting and other site support. It has also increased the time required to personally maintain the site and keep the information updated. On top of this, I personally respond to dozens of emails and blog comments every week. Sometimes I have hired local schoolchildren friends to do some of the time-consuming grunt work (or help with household work to free up time for me) which just adds to my out-of-pocket expenses.

What seems to be the conventional approach for such freeware these days is to offer Patreon support. This is simply a digital donation box for people who want to register their appreciation for the material and help ensure its longevity with a more substantive contribution.

People pay premiums on their trips to agents and operators for them to help ensure that their trip is the best. They tip resort staff who work to make sure that their experience is first rate. If I have helped you in a substantial way to make your trip easier and more satisfying (as so many kind comments imply), please consider becoming a supporter. Even a small amount will not only help, but will be an encouraging endorsement for me and my work here.

Thank you for all your past and hopefully continued support.

Best of the Maldives: House Reef Platform – Kandima

Kandima - house reef platform

One of the key criteria to a great house reef is accessibility. The intra-atoll drop-of-sand islands typically have house reefs a few metres from shore. You don’t have to juggle the logistics of signing up to a resort excursion to take you to some snorkel spot. Instead, you can just dive in and the aquatic wonderland reveals itself to you instantly. It is not just the convenience of proximity, but also a bit of reassurance. Despite the fact that you might be standing metre (on the sand not the coral, please!) in merely a metre of mill pond calm water, there is still something unsettling about swimming hundreds of yards off shore. And snorkeling can take a bit of energy so if you have had a particularly extensive outing, then the last thing you relish is an extended swim back to shore.

The islands that on the outer reef tend to be on broad tables which may make for expansive lagoons, but make for either weak or distant house reefs. Some of the resorts on these islands will typically offer regularly excursions taking people to the edge in a dhoni for an easy splash onto the reef.

Kandima does sit on an outer reef plateau and it has gone a step further to support house reef snorkeling constructing a platform in the lagoon relatively close to the edge. You can use it as a base camp for your house reef expedition. Or just for some middle of the ocean swimming or sun bathing.