Best of the Maldives: Largest Fans – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantarah Kihavah Villas - fan 2

I might be one of the world’s biggest fans *of* the Maldives, but I am not the biggest fan *in* the Maldives. That distinction would go to Anantara Kihavah Villas’ appropriately dubbed “Big Ass Fan” [sic] in its Salt restaurant (“Element” model)…

“Big Ass Fans gently and silently move air throughout dining rooms to ensure customers are consistently comfortable—without fluttering napkins or distracting from table conversation. Big Ass Fans work hand-in-hand with AC systems to provide an additional 10°F (5.6°C) cooling effect and evenly distribute conditioned air throughout the space. Because of the perceived cooling felt by air movement, managers can utilize the energy-efficient fans to maintain occupant comfort with a higher AC set point, saving money without sacrificing comfort.”

Lori growing up in the South (USA), we are big fan fans.  We have ceiling fans in everyone of our bedrooms.  Even on not-so-hot days, they simply stir the air a bit giving it a bit of movement and freshness.

If the nearly 20 blades weren’t enough, the kitchen also largest extraction fan I’ve ever seen (see picture below) as well towering over 30 feet high.

Anantara Kihavah Villas - extraction fan

Anantara Kihavah Villas - fan 1

Best of the Maldives: Mixed Media Bed Art – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah - bed decorating

The Maldives mattress medium just gets more and more sophisticated. The latest artistic talent to showcase is Anantara Kihavah Villas’ mixed medium artistry (thanks Paola). I’m particularly fond of their use of the pink bougainvillea, the underwater scene is especially a propos, and their towel palm tree is the first I have seen using towels in a pictorial rendition.

These bed decorations are ultimately a form of performance art. As evanescent as the blossoms which compose them.

Anantara Kihavah Villas - ocean scene

Anantara Kihavah Villas - palm tree

Best of the Maldives: Pirate Cruise – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah Villas - pirate cruise

Ahoy me Hearties! Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen for an Anantara Kihavah Villas pirate cruise in honour of Speak Like A Pirate Day today…

“The Pirate Cruise is a weekly activity offered in the kids club priced at USD 30 per kid. This includes a 45 minute cruise in a speed boat around Baa Atoll and it’s possible to see the dolphins. All the kids are face painted like pirates and are given a Pirate Hat to wear on the cruise. One of kids club team members is also dress up in pirate costume – which is the photo you saw on Instagram [see photo above]. After the trip, an edited video of the excursion will be given to the parents. During the festive season this is elaborated to become a Pirate Picnic on a private island with fun beach games, treasure hunt and snorkeling.”

Avast ye landlubbers!

Best of the Maldives: Slumber Guru – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah Villas - slumber guru

A break from all of the intense Olympic activity with Relaxation Day today. And if you need more than a special day to help you relax, then head to Anantara Kihavah Villas for a bit of coaching and coaxing from their “Slumber Guru” service…

“The Slumber Guru escorts guests to their villa where a silky milk bath awaits them in their candlelit bathroom and tranquil background music sets the tone for an evening of rest and relaxation. The pampering continues with a massage on the villa’s private deck, with a choice of Lavender or Ylang Ylang essential oils. Before guests retreat to bed, the Slumber Guru serves infused herbal tea or hot chocolate and homemade cookies, evoking nostalgic childhood memories. The guests’ choice of pillows from the Pillow Menu are misted and lavender silk eye masks and ear plugs ensure that no light or sound disturb their rest. With a softly spoken “Good night, sweet dreams” the Slumber Guru turns off the lights and tip-toes outside leaving one to drift off into a deep and restoring sleep. While a good night’s sleep is priceless, the cost is $200 per couple.”

Best of the Maldives: Windsurfing – Anantara

Anantara - windsurfing 1

Olympic Day today. Celebrated since 1947 to promote the ideals of the Olympic movement of sport bringing people together from across the world. The day also focuses on getting people to try new athletic endeavours. If you are looking to exploit the calm Maldive waters to just try your hand at the Olympic sport of Windsurfing (aka Sailboarding) or want to ride the waters to an Olympics standard, the the Anantara resorts provide the best windsurfing kit around.

I conferred with Maldive veteran and expert Catherine Watkinson who is both an active contributor to the TripAdvisor Maldives Forum and whose son is an accomplished windsurfer. The genesis of this post here was a posting she made to TA commenting on the troubles her son had finding top grade kit. Most of the gear you find in the Maldives is designed for beginners. That post prompted an investigation by us to find the best kit out there. The tops came out as Anantarta who described their inventory…

“We do offer a big range of top brand equipment, sails from North Sails and Neil Pryde and boards JP Australia and Mistral. Having sails from size 1.9 to 7.3 and board sizes from 094 to 205. Different harness sizes also available, gloves and booties. New equipment has been ordered from the brand Starboard.”

Catherine and her son comments, “These are good quality brands and would suit all levels of windsurfer from beginner (including children) up to the experienced wave sailor or free sailor. If we had been visiting these islands with our son we would not have needed to have flown windsurfing equipment out with us – he would have been very happy with what these [Anantara] islands have to offer.”


Anantara - windsurfing 2

Best of the Maldives: Arrival Bar Drinks – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah - arrival bar drinks



Welcome drinks range from refreshing tropical fruit drinks to some more creative concoctions, but Anantara Kihavah Villas greeting features a liberal range of libations. They set up a cocktail bar at the welcome area where they will serve you a tropical cocktail of your choosing.

Greetings with a twist!

Best of the Maldives: Hospitality Accreditation – Anantara

Anantara - accreditation program

Labour Day in the USA this week heralds the end of the summer breaks and back to work or to school. Or with Anantara’s new Explorer Programme…both.

They say 90% of learning takes place outside the classroom. But who’s to know just how much of what you have learned? How does it map to the key competencies of the role? Well, Anantara has combined a apprentice-like vocational programme with a certification process. This provides the candidate with the most versatility in moving to different career-progressing roles both across Maldives resorts and even overseas. Anantara announced at its June inauguration…

“The launch of Explorer, a new vocational hotel training programme, which the group has chosen to roll out in the Maldives. The modern and technically progressive progamme is the first to be accredited with international certification. It highlights MHG as a pioneering employer in the ASEAN region within vocational education that addresses the needs of the Millennial generation…Young people need opportunities to learn, but often this needs to be combined with the ability to earn a living at the same time and such opportunities are often limited or unavailable. Explorer is accredited with international certification from Australia, a leader in the field of vocational education. Successful completion is awarded with a hospitality Certificate III qualification that provides the foundation for continued learning to progress towards a Certificate IV, and ultimately a Diploma in Hospitality. The opportunity has been extended to both young internal hotel candidates and external school leaver participants who combine training with real-time remunerated work experience. MHG has also made a significant investment in high quality coaches, who have been developed internally to international accredited standards so that they can share their knowledge and leadership skills with the programme participants. Each Explorer Trainee will be provided with a tablet allowing them access to the online learning platform that complements classroom training, ensuring a fully integrated learning experience. Upon completion they will have learnt new skills and gained experience and confidence in themselves and in an industry that contributes significantly to the well-being of the Maldivian economy.”

Accreditation, coaching, technology – a tropical cocktail of success for many talented and ambitious Maldivians.

Best of the Maldives: Salt – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah Villas - salt trolley


Salt” is not just a thematic name to Anantara Kihavah Villas’ signature over-the-ocean restaurant, also its star attraction. Sort of the Thelma Ritter of the dinner table – a record 6 Academy Award nominations for “Best Supporting Actress”. ‘Salt’ restaurant is sort of salt’s “New Girl in Town” (the lead stage role for which she won the Tony Award).

The restaurant is part of the Sea, Fire, Salt, Sky is a dining concept at Kihvah providing a distinctive perspective on the Maldivian world from the elevated “Sky” roof deck down to the underwater “Sea” spectacle.

When we ate, we were presented the salt range by resident “Salt Guru” Julius (see photo above) on their “salt trolley”. They also have a Himalayan heated pink salt bowl for certain preparation. Out of the 16 varieties from all over the world – Tasmania, USA, Croatia, France – we chose the wild porcini mushroom salt…

  • Himalayan Pink
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Szechuan Pepper
  • Hiwa Kai-Hawaiian Sea
  • Alea-Hawaiian Sea
  • Porcini Mushroom
  • Salish Smoked Pacific Sea
  • Kala Namak
  • Lime Fresco
  • Murray River Pink
  • Thai Ginger
  • Cyprus Black Lava
  • Sel Gris
  • Vintage Merlot
  • Bali Coconut and Lime
  • Espresso Brava
  • Vanilla Bean

You can also buy the salts to take home (see below). They make great gifts that are unusual and more useful than trinkets or t-shirts (everyone loves a dash of salt on their food and if you are worried about your blood pressure eating here, check out this latest report “Pour on the Salt”).

Worth its salt.


Anantara Kihavah Villas - salt for sale

Maldives Tour 2014 – Day 10: Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah tour

Mary Poppins of Maldives resorts. ‘Practically perfect in every way.’ That’s Anantara Kihavah.

There are very few resorts that tick as many boxes as Kihavah does. Some islands are great, and some resorts are great. Finding great islands with great resorts on them is by definition rarer.

The crème de la crème resorts tick a number of key boxes for service, food, styling, etc., but the “Super Premiums” (aka “5+ Stars”) take all of the criteria a step further. Not only that, but they also have one special, added requirement – the “wow” item. The “wow” is not just an abstract effect of quality and style, but it is a very tangible thing that is the first thing you brag about when you get home. In the Maldives, the most common “wow” is an underwater feature, but it can be something like a marine discovery centre or some other distinctive experience.

The Kihavah “wow” is its underwater ”Sea” restaurant. In many respects, it surpasses the iconic one at Conrad. Conrad’s Ithaa restaurant is in the lagoon, while Kihavah’s Sea is perched on the precipice of its house reef drop-off. And what a drop off it is. Plunging straight down for 30 meters into the deep blue abyss. Novice snorkelers, unconfident swimmers, and of course land-lubbers don’t usually get to experience the aquatic thrill of the reef drop off, but Kihavah’s dining portal give it a drop-off everyone can experience.

And that’s where the crème de la crème islands star. With a vibrant and easily accessible house reefs. Kihavah has a particularly fine house reef which you enter straight from the jetties. In addition to its reef, I was quite fond of Kihavah’s modest size. I like the smaller islands that have an intimate and isolated feel to them. But the frosting the cake was Kihavah’s dazzling circumambient beach. One broad, soft, white strip of sand that encircles the entire island. As my wife regularly reminds me, such beauty is not without effort and Kihavah takes considerable effort to groom and primp. But instead of beach defenses (like unsightly groynes and seawalls), instead Kihavah lets nature take its course and then each year they rebuild the section of the beach (typically by the pool) which gets eroded.

Kihavah scores more “outstanding” marks in more areas than all but a few places I have visited in the Maldives. No surprise that I came away from my visit with 19 new “Best of the Maldives” candidates.

A must candidate for any Maldives connoisseur.