Fashionista foreigners are the only style icons gracing the Maldives fashion-scape. Next Top Model has arrived in the country with the grand final hosted by resort Hudhuranfushi. Maldives Insider reported on the gala event which was dominated by beauty originating from these islands renowned for beauty with not just models, but also local designers displaying their style and flair:
“The top 10 contestants awed judges and invitees at the grand finale held at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort. Jamsheedha along with Dheena Aboobakur, Nadhuha Amir, Mariyam Malsa Hassan, Hanan Mohamed Rasheed, Bunaanath Yoosuf, Aminath Saina Ahmed, Fathimath Mirusha, Hawwa Inasha Gayyoom and Khadhyjath Shafeega wore beachwear by local designer Wimla and evening wear by Azu, while Yumna Rushdhee’s YR Collection of jewellery also made an appearance. The 19-year-old Jamsheedha, whose dream is to become a pilot, won the local edition of Top Model of the World franchise, securing the chance to represent the Maldives at the grand finale of Top Model of the World 2018 to be held in Grenada in September.”
For Mohamed Asim, it is not just a job, not just posting, not just a career, not even a passion…it is his life. He is not only one of the few Maldivian native GMs, but he is definitely the first one still serving.
He doesn’t just ‘manage’ the property, he lives it. He surfs the Lohi surf break. He dives. He has his own Flickr stream with nearly 100 images to share his avid photography documenting so many facets of Maldive life and Adaaran Hudhuranfushi highlights. He first cut his teeth in ‘food and beverage’ operation when he entered the Maldive tourism industry in its earliest days so he even mixes it up in the resort kitchen from time to time.
Asim has decades of experience and despite numerous assignments and bountiful opportunity to travel and work just about anywhere in the world, he can think of no better place to be than the Maldives. I can think of no better legacy of the Maldives increasingly proud and world leading tourism industry.
The One Show on BBC this week did a piece on bananas (minute 11:00 of the BBC iPlayer recording available for the next two weeks to UK residents) which highlighted their delicious diversity. And if you want personally explore their rich variety, then Adaaran Hudhuranfushi is the place to visit. In their own produce garden they grow 6 different varieties of bananas all which are served fresh in the restaurants.
We were able to enjoy them with lunch in treacle sauce during our visit (see below). But if you want to see some truly artistic banana creations, check out Laughing Squid.
The official arrival of spring is a milestone to start working on that garden. And if you are into gardening, then the resort with the ‘biggest’ appeal would be Adaaran Hudhuranfushi.
Hudhuranfushi has the largest produce garden of any resort in the Maldives. So you are guaranteed a massive selection of fresh produce at the buffet. Such diverse produce as squash-like ‘snake goat’ (see picture below). Gardening is big thing in terms of scale and heritage at Hudhuranfushi. Before it was a resort island, it was an agricultural island.
Guests are welcome to tour the massive complex, but a guide is recommended to highlight all the distinctive things growing there (and to help keep from getting lost).
Once you get going on your surf board and can stay up longer and longer, when you want to go longer still, then you need to head over to Adaraan Hudhuranfushi. Their ‘Lohis’ search break is renowned not just in the Maldives, but the world over. It is the best ‘Left Hand Break’ in the Maldives and the 8th best spot in the world. Enthusiasts report that you can get a 14 second run which is a relative eternity. In fact, you might get coaching tips from the resort General Manager Asim Mohamed himself as he is a regular on the waves there. He has even included some great action shots on his Flickr site. And even if ‘falling off’ is more your forte, you can still enjoy the long runs from the superbly positioned beach bar (where my wife snapped the pic at top).
Need a rest after all that clubbing?…that pillow just the right hardness from your throbbing head?
Goldilocks wouldn’t have any problems finding a pillow ‘just right’ at Adaaran’s Prestige resorts – Vadoo and Hudhuranfushi. Both offer a Pillow Service delivered to your villa by a butler with a choice of 7 different types…
I was particularly taken by the last one. After 15 years working at Microsoft, here was a product that I had never encountered.
A rich tropical forest tapestry blankets Adaaran Hudhuranfushi with a colourful and quirky canopy. The sand paths have a grander arboreal arch to them than most islands.
And the diversity is stunning. There are several giant Banyans around the resort. Our favourite was the ‘Kasakue’ or ‘Screw Pine’ (see picture above). We see these all over the Maldives with their bizarre root systems reaching down into the sand giving rise to their nickname – ‘Walking Trees’. Being one of our favourite tree, we keep an eye out to them and some of the best examples we saw at Hudhuranfushi.
Another place where they had great selection was their resort garden (one of the biggest in the Maldives) where they features unusual specimens like the ‘Num Num’ tree which produces a fruit at the base of its trunk used for traditional cooking (see picture at bottom). A very appropriate name for a delicacy producing tree I’d say. Hudhuranfushi also has it’s own Banana Grove that features 7 different varieties of bananas.
My wife’s favourite was the abundant ‘Temple Trees’ that bloom all year round with white and yellow flowers (see picture directly below). They are called ‘Temple Trees’ because worshippers would pick the flowers and take them to temples as a part of Buddhist tradition in the region.
I’m not going out on a limb to say if you appreciate the bio-diversity of a thriving tropical forest, then Hudhuranfushi is a treeat for you (I am not ashamed of these puns).
Immediately on arrival, the staff managers provided a quick briefing to everyone about the island. I really appreciated this welcome because it helped me to get oriented less stressfully. Often when we arrive, we have to wait for an evening drinks orientation and until then we are a bit at loss as to what we should do or plan. Sitting with a lovely drink after a day of travel was smart timing for this introduction. This care to provide a helpful welcome is even more extensive for the water villa guests where they have developed a welcome dock and room at the end of the villa jetty.
Hudhuranfushi is yet another fairly large island and my first question to Patrick De Krester (see photo above) is ‘what does the extra size get you?’ as a guest. Some people feel that you lose some of the ‘tiny island’ experience. Patrick really had some of the best answers of my week seeing many big islands. First, the long seafront contributed to one of its distinctions as one of the best ‘left hand break’ surf sites in the world (more on that in a later post). Also, the interior of the island was rich in mature and diverse tropical trees which created a towering canopy over many of the sand paths. Finally, the very centre has a bountiful food garden that you can tour. In fact, I would call it more of a plantation. Obviously, as a result, the island restaurants make plentiful use of the extensive array of home grown produce.
As it happens the General Manager Asim Mohamed has a particular interest in the culinary side as he first cut his teeth in ‘food and beverage’ operation when he entered the Maldive tourism industry in its earliest days. He has decades of experience and despite numerous assignments and bountiful opportunity to travel and work just about anywhere in the world, he can think of no better place to be than the Maldives. Drinks with him in the evening was a history lesson in the development of tourism in the Maldives.
Asim gave me a real appreciation for the great work that the resort staff and management do. Unlike most resorts in the world, one is not just running a guest and property operation, but you are running a mini-society. Even small islands like Fiji and Bora Bora have access to the national grid, sewage, supply chain, water supply, local labour force, etc. In the Maldives, the resorts are virtually self-contained: their own power generation, sewage treatment, water desalinization, mini-town for staff to have a reasonable life away from work, special supply considerations.
Hudhuranfushi has the substance and experience to make turn its size to advantage in many unsung and satisfying ways.