Viki Odintcova, Irina Dreyt and Galina Dub all Instagramming from Reethi Rah last month
“Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas Voted Most Instagrammable Hotel in the World” according to Luxury Travel Advisor. That the Maldives tops is the world in photo blogging is no surprise. Nor is the selection of Kihavah in the online poll. It’s one of my favourites and its sparkling white necklace of talcum soft beach plus the combination of upper deck elevation at its “Sky” bar and the undersea perspective of its “Sea” restaurant provide a wealth of Kodak Photo Spots to selfie from.
But opinion polls are notoriously inaccurate especially online ones. All sorts of biases and skews come into play. So a more interesting question is “What is the most Instagrammed resort?” At least in the Maldives, the Maldives Complete fashionista database has some pretty comprehensive information applicable to this question. Tracking the top fashionshoot models, travel bloggers and celebrities and their Instagram posts for two years now, I have some pretty solid data about which resort attracts the posts with the most Followers.
There are two different parameters we can look at with the data available:
- Most Instagrammers – One & Only Reethi Rah: Which resorts have attracted the most Instagrammers (prominent ones which are usually over 10,000 Followers as a cut off). Reethi Rah maintains its long established distinction as a top haven for celebrity guests. It rises above the others in that it is the only resort to have a top 5 spot in both “Instagrammers” and “Instagram Followers” (#4).
- Most Instagram Followers – Velaa: Which resorts have attracted the most aggregate Instagram Followers (based on the Instagrammers who have posted from there). Velaa snatches the top spot primarily on the strength of Jennifer Lopez’ 69m Followers. But even without JLo, Velaa would still command a medal position 3rd place. Given that Velaa (and Cheval Blanc Randheli) make a top 5 with a very modest number of Instagrammers in total indicates that they are a lure for the big hitters.
Planted in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there is never any shortage of subcontinent inspired dishes on the Maldives buffets especially the ubiquitous curry. Reef fish is the obviously the more local staple. But I have never seen such variety in curry variety than I did at Medhufushi. Each night they had no less than 3 different curries. Our first night was beetroot curry, cucumber curry and chicken curry.
My other pet gourmet craving is gazpacho and Finolhu’s “Crab Shack” produced one of the best I have sampled (London, Maldives or anywhere in the world). It is contender for longest dish name “Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Herbed Poached Egg and Baby Cress with Alaskan King Crab”. $28
I am the Egg Man. Well, the “Eggs Benedict” Man. And if I keep eating rich eggs benedict for breakfast, I will soon be the walrus too. Eggs Benedict Day today (yes, seriously, there is a day for this) and a chance to call out the ultimate luxury breakfast for the ultimate luxury destination – eggs benedict. I’ve had eggs benedict at fine hotels around the world. Velaa shows how little accents can turn something conventional to something exceptional with a special touch. In their case, a sliver of black truffle on top. I have had this breakfast dish at some of the finest hotels around the world, and this one was the most impressive (not even accounting for the bonus of eating it with warm sand between my toes, the sun low over the mill pond still ocean and the palms trees swaying languidly overhead).
In honor of this eggs-ellent day, I’ve added the tag “Eggs” to the site.
Dhivehi script for “Fushi” which means “Island”
Last year, I added a new field to the Maldives Complete resort database, “Name Meaning” in Dhivehi, but I thought I would share a synopsis of all of them for Dhivehi Language Day today.
First of all, not all resorts have Dhivehi names. The non-native monikers tend to fall in one of these three categories…
- Brand Name – eg. Ayada, Conrad, Centara Grand, Dusit Thani, LUX, Robinson Club The Residence, W,
- English Names – Tend to be the older resorts, eg. Cocoon, Cocoa, Taj Coral Reef, Equator Village, Taj Exotica, Full Moon, Fun Island, Hideaway Beach, Holiday Island, Lily Beach, Paradise Island, Palm Beach, Royal, Safari Island, Summer Island, Sun Island
- Unknown – Despite some fairly extensive research and enquiries, a number of resorts are simply named after the islands that they are on whose Dhivehi meaning has long been lost, eg. Amari Havodda, Dhigali, Filitheyo, Gangehi, Hurawalhi, Komandoo, Kooddoo, Kuramathi, Kuredu, Maafushivaru, Milaidhoo, Vilamendhoo, Vilu Reef (if anyone does know the etymology of these names, please let me know!)
In my research, my favourite response was from the Assistant Director of Marketing Communications & Social Media at Atmosphere Kanifushi…
- · “Fushi is from a variety of names specifically given to islands depending on their type/formation (eg: fushi, gili, finolhu, dhoo). Fushi is associated with larger islands, with vegetation (as Kanifushi is). The word Kani, is of old Maldivian terminology – there are other islands such as Kanifinolhu etc. its specific meaning varies in context, typically associated with water vapor-like droplets/ salt mist – we assume this may have been because Kanifushi is situated on the edge of Lhaviyani Atoll so waves crash on the Atoll Reef on the islands South-East side and caused quite a bit of salty mist sprayed throughout the day over the island – which however is not apparent at the moment as a resort, but may have been in the past. There is no exact literal meaning of older island names however – especially considering the island has been around for quite some time, however was never fully inhabited by any communities.” – Ali Abdulla
Like the infamous adage that Eskimos have dozens of words for “snow” and the Chinese have a similar lot for “rice”, no surprise that the Maldivians have a multitude of words for subtly different “islands”.
The Maldives Complete list of Dihvehi resort names…
- Amilla Fushi – Island Home
- Anantara Dhigu – Tall
- Anantara Veli – Sand
- Atmosphere Kanifushi – Sea Mist Island
- Centara Ras Fushi – Royal Island
- Cinnamon Dhonveli – Fair Sand
- Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa – Reef Over Water
- Club Med Kani – Large Island
- Constance Moofushi – Root Island
- Dhigufaru – Long Reef
- Embudhoo – Island of ‘Ximenia Americana’ (a plant)
- Finolhu – Sandbank
- Four Seasons Kuda Huraa – Small Island
- Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru – Parrotfish Shifting Sands
- Fushifaru – Reef Island
- Gili Lankanfushi – Small Island in a Lagoon
- Huvafen Fushi – Dream Island
- Iru Fushi – Sun Island
- Kandima – (Boat) Channel
- Kandolhu – (flower found on the island)
- Kanuhura – Corner Island
- Kihaa – Young Coconut
- Kudafushi – Little Island
- Kurumba – Coconut
- Medhu Fushi – Middle Island
- Meedhupparu -“island that someone saw”
- Meeru – Delicious
- Mirihi – Yellow Maldivian Flower
- Nika – Banyan Tree
- NIYAMA – Bon Voyage
- Olhuveli – (type of sand formation)
- Reethi Beach – Beautiful Beach
- Reethi Rah – Beautiful Island
- Rihiveli Beach – Silver Sand
- Soneva Fushi – Island
- Soneva Jani – Wisdom
- Thudu Fushi – The Point Island
- Vakarufalhi – Plank of a Coconut Tree
- Velaa – Turtle
- Velavaru – Turtle Island
- Veligandu – Sandbank
Happy Thai New Year! And what a year it has been for Thai visitors to the Maldives. Thailand is the fastest growing country of origin for Maldives visitors with a 233% growth (!) making it the 5th highest Asian source (while being only the 10th largest Asian nation). Amari, Anantara, Centara and Dusit Thani are all Thai based properties with multiple properties in the Maldives.
For a truly Thai treat, Anantara and Amilla Fushi both offer the distinctively Thai Tok Sen Thai therapy…
- Tok Sen Ancient Thai Therapy, which originates from Buddhist Monks, creates healing vibrations through rhythmic pressure on Thai acu-points applied with a special wooden tapper to relax stiff bodies, providing pain relief and deep release for the body and mind.
Lori had some of this work on her feet years ago when we were visiting Prague. It about sent her to the ceiling. If there was a Mohs hardness scale for massage treatments, it would look something like this (going from softest to hardest)…
- Sports Massage
- Deep Tissue
- Hot Stone
- Tok Sen
So for those really tough knots from a particularly enthusiastic new years celebration, ask for some Tok Sen.
You can take away a custom box of sweet concoction at One & Only Reethi Rah starting with your favourite fruit on a stick and then smothered with your choice of decadent toppings from its new Sweet Paradise eaterie:
- “Then satisfy that sweet craving with a visit to our newest venue, Sweet Paradise, where chefs are waiting to hear what flavour, which toppings, and how many scoops you’ll have today.”
You can enjoy gourmet delicacy anywhere on the island at Park Hyatt Hadahaa with their custom bento box:
- “Select from our special menu and design your own set lunch to be enjoyed under the glorious Maldivian sun while lounging by the main pool, on the main beach or at The Bar.”
Price: US$49 per person, Time: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm.