Best of the Maldives: Pakora Station – Olhuveli

Olhuveli - pakora station

I always delight in finding things at resorts that I haven’t come across before in other resorts. I especially delight in finding things I had never come across ever in my life. So it was with Olhuveli’s “Pakora”, a kind of ghee-fried fritter. London and the UK is not short of Indian cuisine, but I have never had a pakora in decades of living here. Not to mention visiting the Indian Ocean neighbour for nearly as long. And not only did the resort offer the treat, but they had a special “Pakora Station” which made several variations on the culinary theme fresh to order.

I’ve also decide to add a “Station” tag to the blog to highlight the distinctive “fresh, made to order” preparations available at buffets around the Maldives.

स्वादिष्ट.

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Stand – Finolhu

Finolhu - coconut stand 1

Coconuts are the bounty of the Maldivian plots of sand. On nearly any island, some staff member will – often a gardener with a machete for clearing – will grab you one, open up a whole with a few well-placed hacks and let you sip its succulent coconut water. When you’re done, he will also slice the fruit open so you can nibble on the tender coconut meat inside. A modest gift of a few dollars is always appreciated in return. Finolhu has parked up a more stylish outlet for noshing on some nucifera. An iconic VW bus in pastel robin’s egg blue with a coconut stand right by the pool so you can sample with tropical treat whenever the mood strikes.

Best of the Maldives: Oktoberfest – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli - Oktoberfest

München in the Maldives. Jumeirah Vittaveli celebrated a colourful festival of its own during this eponymous month – Oktoberfest.

  • “Jumeirah Vittaveli is proud to announce their collaboration with an authentic Bavarian costume designer – Daniel Fendler has been designing stylish ‘Tracht’ for more than 15 years…Guests visiting beachside restaurant MU Beach Bar & Grill will be welcomed by waitresses and waiters decked out in authentic Bavarian garb – from Dirndl, over apron, to Lederhosen for the gentlemen. With the mood properly set for a fun day in the sun, the resort’s ‘Bierzelt-Bedienungen’ (waiters/waitresses) will serve guests a selection of authentic Bavarian dishes such as Nuernberger, Frankfurter or Kasseler Rippchen, accompanied by a traditional refreshing German drink.”

In fact, we recently helped host an Oktoberfest in our back garden. It is such a lively tradition focused on food, beer and music.

Prost! O’zapft.

Best of the Maldives: Artists Collective – Kandima

Kandima - artists 1

Today’s post is also sort of a “Finally Seen”. I’ve been telling resorts for years that they should commission Aima Musko to do art pieces for their villa.  She is one of the finest artistic talents in the Maldives and I can proudly say that I was Aimee’s very first customer to buy one of her paintings. Well, finally, Aimee – and a number of other fellow Maldivian artists – are being assembled by a resort, Kandima for their KULA ‘programme’ (they refer to it as an ‘exhibition’, but it is really more like a resident festival):

  • “KULA means ‘Colours’ in Dhivehi and it is our vision that this programme will support the full spectrum of the contemporary creative arts, from local crafts, fashion, digital photography, videography to music, and open up new horizons for the local art community like never before. The entire resort will be a glorious art gallery and thanks to collaboration with MAC (Maldives Artists Community, a local art NGO with over 100 members), Kandima Maldives is set to host regular exhibitions and exciting performances by local artists. There will be live art demonstrations and guests can unleash their inner Picasso with classes at Kandima’s very own Art Studio. Set on the edge of a natural lake, it will be one of the most peaceful locations on the island, giving both guests and artists the inspiration and calm space they need to create their masterpiece!”

Colour me delighted.

Kandima - artists 2

Best of the Maldives: Instagram Butler – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - Instagram butler

Yes, another you read it here first “Finally Seen” in the Maldives. Conrad Rangali has introduced the “world’s first Instagram Butler”. I’m not sure about that claim since I raised this idea nearly two years ago – #2 in Part 7. However, that was a “Social Media Concierge” and maybe no one has yet just focused on Instragram. Here are some details of their offer…

  • “Conducting tours around Rangali Island’s most photogenic locations, all the while offering advice on the best times of day to photograph and the optimal camera angles to use…Stop-offs along the way, on what the hotel calls the #Instatrail, include a traditional Maldivian swing on the beach (an undholi), and Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. But the fun isn’t limited to the walkabout. Yoga enthusiasts can take part in classes whilst at the same time receiving tips from the hotel’s resident instructor on how to strike the most Instagrammable poses. The Instagram Butler service, which the hotel believes to be the first of its kind, can also be combined with a number of special itineraries curated by the hotel in order to lend an alternative to the usual Maldivian photo-fodder of white sand beaches, curvaceous palm trees and turquoise seas.”

Ma’m, would you like filter cropping for breakfast today?

Follow Th(r)ee

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - Nataly Osmann

The anniversary of anniversaries for the photoshoot pose of poses. Nataly and Murad Osmann who inspired a generation of fashionistas and Instagrammers with their iconic “Follow Me” poses. Here is a record collection (nifty fifty) of the top examples this year for the third annual post…

  1. Nataly Osmann (Russia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  2. Xenia Van Der Woodsen (Germany) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Xenia Van Der Woodsen (Germany) – One & Only Reethi Rah
      
  3. Leonie Hanne (Germany) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Leonie Hanne (Germany) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
      
  4. Tiicha Kipza (Thailand) – Safari Island
    Tiicha Kipza (Thailand) - Safari Island
      
  5. La Bella Stella (Poland) – Milaidhoo
    La Bella Stella (Poland) - Milaidhoo
      
  6. Anna Barykina (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Anna Barykina (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  7. Chiahang Hsu (Taiwan) – The Residence
    Chiahang Hsu (Taiwan) - The Residence
      
  8. Haylsa Andersen (Australia) – Anantara Dhigu
    Haylsa Andersen (Australia) - Anantara Dhigu
       
  9. Melissa Celestine Koh (Singapore) – W Maldives
    Melissa Celestine Koh (Singapore) - W Retreat
       
  10. Sina Diwe (Germany) – Safari Island
    Sina Diwe (Germany) - Safari Island
      
  11. Jinah (Maldives) – Bandos
    Jinah (Maldives) - Bandos
      
  12. Hana Chick (Czech) – Royal Island
    Hana Chick (Czech) - Royal Island
       
  13. Hsiao Tien (Taiwan) – Maafushi
    Hsiao Tien (Taiwan) – Maafushi
       
  14. Maria (Thailand) – Veligandu
    Maria (Thailand) - Veligandu
       
  15. Yanathip Ang (Thailand) – Club Rannalhi
    Yanathip Ang (Thailand) - Club Rannalhi
  16. Ella Abdokulib (Russia) – Olhuveli
    Ella Abdokulib (Russia) - Olhuveli

       
  17. Melinda Bam (South Africa) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
    Melinda Bam (South Africa) - Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
       
  18. Sheena (United Kingdom) – Conrad Rangali
    Sheena (United Kingdom) - Conrad Rangali
        
  19. Ana Cecília Sabbá (Brazil) –Taj Exotica
    Ana Cecília Sabbá (Brazil) -Taj Exotica
       
  20. Ali Dixon (Australia) – Kandooma
    Ali Dixon (Australia)
       
  21. Kiersten Rich (USA) – Meeru
    Kiersten Rich (USA) - Meeru
       
  22. Ale Chedraui (Spain) – Anantara Dhigu
    Ale Chedraui (Spain) - Anantara Dhigu 2
       
  23. Athina Oikonomakou (Greece) – Ayada
    Athina Oikonomakou (Greece) - Ayada
       
  24. Coco Airi (Japan) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Coco Airi (Japan) - Gili Lankanfushi
       
  25. Joey Lim (Malaysia) – W Maldives
    Joey Lim (Malaysia) - W Retreat
       
  26. My Tram (Vietnam) – Olhuveli
    My Tram (Vietnam) - Olhuveli
       
  27. Nozipho Zulu (South Africa) – Vilu Reef
    Nozipho Zulu (South Africa) - Vilu Reef
        
  28. Katusha Lobanova (Russia) – Cocoon
    Katusha Lobanova (Russia)
       
  29. Belle Lucia (Australia) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Belle Lucia (Australia) - LUX South Ari Atoll
       
  30. Lisa (USA) – Jumeirah Vittaveli
    Lisa (USA) - Jumeirah Vittaveli
       
  31. Joanago Mez (Philippines) – Embudu
    Joanago Mez (Philippines) - Embudu
       
  32. Viktoria (Azerbaijan) – Ayada
    Viktoria (Azerbaijan) – Ayada
       
  33. Yuna Yamamoto (Japan) – Embudu
    Yuna Yamamoto (Japan) – Embudu
       
  34. Chiara Bianco (Italy) – Kihaad
    Chiara Bianco (Italy) - Kihaad
       
  35. Natalie Yuen (Hong Kong) – Six Senses Laamu
    Natalie Yuen (Hong Kong) - Six Senses Laamu
       
  36. Julia (Ukraine) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Julia (Ukraine) - Club Med Finolhu Villas

       
  37. Manuela Mosca (United Kingdom) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Manuela Mosca (United Kingdom) - LUX South Ari Atoll
       
  38. Shatila Halim (Malaysia) – Maafushi
    Shatila Halim (Malaysia) - Maafushi
       
  39. Madeleine Schneider-Weiffenbach (Germany) – Six Senses Laamu
    Madeleine Schneider-Weiffenbach (Germany) - Six Senses Laamu
      
  40. Mary Shum (Russia) – Ranveli
    Mary Shum (Russia) - Ranveli
       
  41. Giulia (Italy) – Dhiggiri
    Giulia (Italy) - Dhiggiri

        
  42. June (Singapore) – Centara Grand
    June (Singapore) - Centara Grand
       
  43. Lizzie Sung (Taiwan) – Anantara Kihavah Villas
    Lizzie Sung (Taiwan) - Anantara Kihavah Villas
      
  44. Danielle Sandhu (United Kingdom) – NIYAMA
    Danielle Sandhu (United Kingdom) - Conrad Rangali
       
  45. Emily Erdbeer (Germany) – Kihaad
    Emily Erdbeer (Germany) - Kihaad 
       
  46. M&D (Poland) – Alidhoo
    M&D (Poland) – Alidhoo
       
  47. Kristin Dora (Philippines) – Centara Ras Fushi
    Kristin Dora (Philippines) - Centara Ras Fushi
       
  48. Viktoria Devil (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Viktoria Devil (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi - 2
       
  49. Sophie Eini Gatilov (Israel) – Velassaru
    Sophie Eini Gatilov (Israel) – Velassaru
      
  50. Olga Glebowska (Poland) – Royal Island
    Olga Glebowska (Poland) - Royal Island
       

 

Best of the Maldives: Snacks – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - plane snack

Sometimes all you want is a snack. You don’t want to be beholden to restaurant schedules and so grabbing a lite-bite is a great way to handle the hunger pangs. All the more tasty when served over an azure lagoon like Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa. The resort offers a range of sacks throughout the day. They also put on snack stations at certain times like a mid-afternoon creperie.

Lots of resorts offer treats throughout the day, but what swung it for Hakuraa Huraa for me was their seaplane transfer snack-pack (see photo above). When you are flying back, they prepare a box with an assortment of sandwiches, fruit, cakes, etc. The seaplanes usually don’t even serve water (the domestic flights often have water and sometimes a little packet of nuts or biscuit). Lori and I had been a bit busy the morning before our departure getting last minutes things attended to and we didn’t really have time to go to lunch with our early afternoon flight time. So the snack was an especially welcome sustenance for journey to Male.

Best of the Maldives: Sweet Shop – Dhigufaru

Dhigufaru - sweet shop 1

National Dessert Day today. And as soon as you step off the seaplane to Dhigufaru, you feel like you have landed in dessert country. Some resorts greet you with some tropical juice, others with tasty cocktail, but Dhigufaru greets you with an entire sweet shop. Ice cream, cakes, muffins, coffees, drinks all at your disposal. And the arrival jetty is also the best entry point to the resort house reef so you can have a snack when you come in from your snorkelling safari.

Dhigufaru - sweet shop 2

Dhigufaru - sweet shop 3

Bed Decorators Need Spell-Check

Hanemoon

Today is the International Day of Failure. Which happens to be, along with Maldives resorts, my other specialist subject. I’ve written about as much about embracing failure as I have about quirky features at Maldivian resorts. And today I get to combine the two. Enjoy!

  1. Helengeli – According to Wikipedia, “HANE” is either “Hereditary angioneurotic edema” or “High-altitude nuclear explosion”. Neither is probably a happy occurrence to a new bride. [ABOVE]
  2. Cinnamon Dhonveli – The guests weren’t being rude when they said he’d married a cow.
    Cinnamon Dhonveli - spell check
  3. Amilla Fushi – I guess at Amilla they keep track of your achievements and this guest is now at “5”
    Amilla Fushi - congrats
  4. Atomosphere Kanifushi – I’ve posted about Babymoons, Blood Moons, Full Moons, Coconut Moons and Super Moons, but somehow I’ve missed out the basic “Happy Moon”.
    Atmosphere Kanifushi - happy moon
  5. Dhigufaru – Is the “Valentine 2” performing for a romantic duet?
    Dhigufaru - spell check
  6. Hurawalhi – Wow, a baby born on the resort itself!
    Hurawalhi - spell check
  7. J Resort Alidhoo – Unless this is some cryptic formula, this appears to be text slang for “Welcome, Oh My…”
    J Resort Alidhoo - hyphenation
  8. Kuredu – For smaller achievements, I guess this is appropriate.
    Kuredu - congratulation
  9. Meeru – But this one for really big, heavy achievements.
    Meeru - congratiuations
  10. Meeru – It’s no big holiday, it merely Christmas.
    Meeru - Christmad
  11. Mirihi – I know, I know, everyone’s a chritic these days.
    Mirihi - Chritsmas

Best of the Maldives: Cirque de Soleil – Finolhu

Finolhu - cirque 1

Finolhu puts the “Soleil” into the “Cirque de Soleil”. Today is International Sight day and some of the things you will see at Finolhu will make you not believe your eyes (including the occasional mermaid known to visit the island).

Finolhu has a bit of a retro Las Vegas nightlife vibe with its own resident entertainment acts high on showmanship and flair. They’ve featured hoops, silk banners, large hoops, fire dancing by a group called Area 51 which resident for three months. Then they circulate in a fresh set of artistes. When we visited a group from Mexico was there performing every night.

The resort explained that part of their contact is that during the day, the performers must work on new tricks and material. The idea is that the “artists-in-residence” have sort of a bootcamp for developing and refining their craft and act all the while sharing the fresh new work with the resort guests. Finolhu targets young groups early in their career so the booking can be a boost to their careers.

Sometimes resort (and cruise) entertainment can be a bit jaded. Circuit acts going through the motions with their gigs of tired material. But the Finolhu acts had a fresh vitality about them. All the buzz of someone pursuing their dreams and living them every day in paradise. And when they finally do hit the big time and get that headline act in Vegas, you can say you saw them in the original Circles of Sun in the Indian Ocean.

Finolhu - cirque 2