The resort to celebration all things aviation is Equator Village. Not only set in the epicentre of Maldives aeronautics past and present, but itself originally an airbase. The villas themselves used to be officer quarters and the dining room the officer’s club. The classic post-war style is still in evidence and the property features a number of reminders of its high flying pedigree. RAF veterans still make regular pilgrimages for reunions to the resort. I especially enjoyed this nostalgic collection of videos taken of Gan way back before the tourism industry had brought foreign guests by the planeload.
For the full story, check out my previous post about the base’s history (as well as some of the other historical highlights of Gan.
- “Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.” – Sideways
Pinot Noir Day today. If you are wondering why we should be celebrating such a specific varietal, then check out the clip from the Oscar winning film “Sideways” at bottom (excerpt above). I guess Miles’ sentiments echo some of my inspirations behind Maldives Complete. It really takes time to coax the Maldives “into its fullest expression” in an informative website.
And if you want to sample the most haunting, most brilliant , most thrilling and most subtle Pinot, then you need to visit Huvafenfushi for its Romani 1999. The bottle (shown by sommelier Indica above and in the photo below) will run you $30,000.
You don’t need industrial grade, high-tech equipment to see the aquatic sights of the Maldives. The simplest and most ancient of transports can provide a romantic ride through the panorama of paradise. Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa offers rickshaw rides for $30 USD per couple for a tour around the resort beach and its massive jetty.
The magic of the Maldives is right at the surface. The landscape doesn’t tower above you and the seascape doesn’t plummet to the depths. Most of the vibrant colour and life takes place within 10 metres in either direction.
The Maldives features a number of different vessels from glass bottomed boats to full fledge submarines to share the undersea world with the land lubbers without getting wet. There’s pretty good sized and diverse fleet of vessels providing a glimpse into the aquatic world. So much that I’m adding a tag for “Glass Bottom” with this post.
The Best Dives semi-submersible at Olhuveli has a fun look. A bit “Yellow Submarine” Peter Max aesthetic. But its real distinction comes at night time. Not be because its bright red colour makes it easier to see. But because it comes equipped with strong underwater lights to allow for night times cruises. A good deal of the ocean creatures are nocturnal. So even if you are an active snorkeler, the Olhuveli boat provides an opportunity to see things you haven’t seen before. The resort runs regular night as well as day excursions.
“Sky of blue. And sea of green” – Ringo Starr
While the summer winds down in the Northern Hemisphere, Maldives remains an Endless Summer. The dramatic photos capture some gnarly moments on the board, the year round Maldives really comes to life in video.
- “Billabong Girls” – Courtney Conlogue (USA), Catherine Clark (USA), Alessa Quizon (USA), Felicity Palmateer (Australia), Ellie-jean Coffey (Australia), Paige Hareb (New Zealand), Justine Dupont (France) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
- “Nobody Surf” – Monyca Eleogram (USA), Stephanie Gilmore (Australia), Kelia Moniz (USA), Zoe Cros (Australia)
- “KALOEA Surfer Girls” – Eve Riviere (Australia) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
- Angelika Timanina (Russia)
“Roxy Surf Team” – Kassia Meador (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia), Rosy Hodge (South Africa), Monyca Byrne-Wickey (USA), Kelia Moniz (USA), Bruna Schmitz (Brazil)
Kristie Murray (Australia) – Thulusdhoo
Dhigufaru might be the “beachiest” island, but Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa is definitely the beachiest activity center. Hakuraa Huraa boasts its own impressive expanse of brilliant white sand (and when the tide goes out it more than doubles in size). Here is there impressive line-up of beach activity…
- Beach Rugby – A few resorts play some beach rugby (eg. Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, JA Manafaru), but no one has a permanent pitch with goals and line markers in the sand (see above).
- Beach Cricket – I’ve seen cricket played in the Maldives, but not Beach Cricket. Again, a permanent bowling area in concrete has been set in the beach.
- Beach Darts – I’ve only seen this at a few resorts.
- Beach Volleyball – Ok, lots of resorts have this too and Hakuraa Huraa’s is a nice set up.
- Beach Badminton – You can find this at several resort, but most resort that do offer badminton offer a hard surface court. The beach would make it harder to run, but could make for some crafty strategy (getting someone out of position is all the more valuable) as well as some heroic diving saves.
- Beach Football – And this is common, but not to be left out here.
I’m pretty flexible on the quality of my villa (I’ve always said that you could sleep in a cardboard box in the Maldives and it would be a 5-star experience) and don’t need many amenities or recreational distractions laid on (happy to put on my snorkel in fins any time I’m a bit bored), but I do enjoy my food. Mind you, it doesn’t take much to lay out a decent spread in the Maldives – freshly caught reef fish, tropical fruits, a simple pasta station (or egg station for breakfast). But I do appreciate it when the resorts treat me to something a bit tasty.
Medhufushi features quite possibly the best value buffet in the Maldives. The resort positions itself as 4-star, but the food punches way above its weight class and is absolutely 5-star cuisine. Reminded me of Mirihi back when it was a 4.5 star, but served up gourmet food. But Mirihi is now 3 times the price of Medhuifushi! And there are a couple of 5-star properties (including some where people raved about the food in the reviews) that were nowhere near as good as Medhufushi.
Here are just a few notes of the fine dining we enjoyed during our brief stay…
- Chicken Laksa – Possibly my favourite soup of the trip. Rich and flavourful. Made to order with vegetables and eggs in the bowl that the broth is served over.
- Tom Yam Seafood Broth – More delectable soup.
- Tuna Sashimi – Not the sushi which you can find at 4-star buffets but it mostly rice in seaweed wrap. But rather prime slices of fresh tuna.
- Tenderloin – Perfectly cooked medium-rare at the roast station.
- Tandouri Chicken – With Nan bread cooked fresh in front of you.
- Curry Variety – Another “Best of the Maldives” post coming on this. My favourite was “Beetroot Curry”.
- Rice Pudding – With Sultanas almost like my mom makes (she uses raisins). Second best rice pudding I have had in the Maldives
- Ice Cream – Variety to rival super-luxury property Soneva. Here are a few of the flavours set out during our short stay – Earl Grey Tea, Passion Fruit & Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Carmelised Banana, Raspberry and Lime Sorbet, Lime Sorbet, Kiwi Sorbet, Apple Sorbet (Lori got just a bit addicted to their ice cream bar).
- Coconut Cake – Why isn’t this served more extensively??
- Mango Yogurt – And this too…why isn’t this more prevalent on the buffets?
- Mas Huni – Hard to say whether it is the “best” in the Maldives, but it is the only resort that serves *two* types of Mas Huni.
Feel free to bring a big appetite to Medhufushi even if your wallet is a bit small.