Best of the Maldives: Wishing Tree – Ayada

Ayada - wish tree

Wish trees are found in many traditions, but one of the most prominent is the Japanese O-mikuji (literally “sacred lot”). Wishes are written on small strips of paper and hung in a tree. They can be hung directly on branches (or other frame) or inserted into a small container for safe keeping. My parents presented us with a Wish Tree at our pre-wedding celebration party where guest wrote wishes for the betrothed couple and hung them on decorated branches. Ayada has introduced this tradition with the romantic twist of placing the wishes in tiny, heart-shaped glass bottles (thanks Paola).  So if you want your Valentines wishes to last forever, you can give your love a message in a bottle on a tropical island.

Best of the Maldives: Leaf Fish – Ayada

When you first start diving, the big bold animals are the most alluring – sleek sharks, hovering turtles, soaring mantas. Over time, you start to get more enchanted by the more elusive creatures – tiny nudibranchs, camouflaged stone fish, hidden octopi. The dive becomes more of a treasure hunt than a safari.

One of the classic, masters of disguise is the leaf fish. If your bucket list includes one of these elusive creatures, then one treasure map is provide by Alexander Von Mende who points us to Mafzoo Giri in the Gaafu Alifu atoll:  “You will find a large coral block at around 15m that hosts no less than six residing leaf fish behind a dizzying wall of glass fish.” And if you want the most convenient access, the closest resort is Ayada.

Best of the Maldives: Soft Closets – Ayada

Ayada - soft closets 2

Selecting possibly the most distinctive wardrobe in the Maldives wasn’t hard. In fact…it was amazingly soft. Ayada’s villas are decorated with white cloth armoires are a part of their soft, breezy décor styling. Sort of a Bedouin-chic befitting its occi-oriental crossover motif. Even the shoe holder and vertical storage pockets are cotton.


Ayada - soft closets 1

Best of the Maldives: Couples Scrub – Ayada

Ayada - couples scrub

After all that beach posing, every power couple will want to power wash in style before tonight’s big New Year’s Eve celebrations. Fortunately, Ayada offers a special couples scrub spa treatment. Couples massages are pretty commonplace, but a couples scrub I haven’t seen as elaborately done as at Ayada. Complete with Esta brand cleansers. 

Best of the Maldives: Turkish Refreshment – Ayada

Ayada - Turkish lounge

Today is International Coffee Day. And for those who want to celebrate with a cup of extra high test, the quintessence of caffeinated elixir is considered by many aficionados to be the Turkish concoction where the consistency is more stew than broth.

The Turkish even have a traditional saying which underscores the sanctity of this buzzing beverage – “Bir kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir.” It means “A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship.” It is used to remind us that friendships should not be taken lightly and we should invest in them for a long term commitment.

And an afternoon refreshment at Ayada’s lounge is just the place to leisurely enjoy that friendship. Packed with Ottoman ottomans and the Turkish delights of Turkish Delight, you can also partake of a wide range of teas and shisha as well.

Best of the Maldives: Turkish Drinks – Ayada

Ayada - Raki


A toast to Turkey…Today is Turkey Republic Day. And the epicentre of all things Turkish in the Maldives, Ayada, no surprise, offers up a delectable array of Ottoman offerings.

You can raise a glass of Turkish Wine which includes such vintages as Villa Doluca Shiraz, Cotes D’Avanos (see below). And for afters it stocks three different varieties of “Raki” (a digestif sort of like French Pastis or Greek Ouzo) that is served in a somewhat elaborate and traditional way…

“The resort stocks the top two brands in Turkey, Yeni Rak? and Tekirda?, with both the Gold and Ala offerings. Our Raki is served traditionally, mixed with a little chilled still water in a glass slipped into a copper well surrounded by crushed ice to keep the beverage perfectly chilled (reference picture attached). We also have available ?algam, purple carrot juice which has been fermented for several weeks in wooden barrels along with cracked bulgur wheat and salt, certainly an acquired taste, that is often times served alongside Raki as a perfect accompaniment alongside a plate of freshly cut fruits.”



Ayada - Turkish wine