One of my favourite dining themes is over the water (if not IN the water). The Maldives offers diver menu of in-ocean dining. Now, I’m not talking about mere “over water” dining. Just about every self-respective 5-star resort has one of those. I’m talking about surrounded-by-water dining. In fact, NIYAMA’s “Subsix” (see above) goes so far as to be both in the ocean and “IN” the ocean with its underwater dining room.
For an outstanding meal out standing in the middle of the ocean, here’s the full list…
1. NIYAMA – Subsix
2. TAJ EXOTICA – Ocean Pavilion
3. BAREFOOT – Black Pearl
4. JUMEIRAH DHEVANAFUSHI – Johara
5. BAROS – Piano Bar
6. ANGSANA VELAVARU – Azzurro
7. KANDOLHU – Sunset Pavilion
8. GILI LANKANFUSHI – Wedding Pavilion
Maybe the best place for the Coco York’s next gig is the musically themed, blues enveloped “The Piano” deck. But curiously, this aquatic oasis’ name comes form its shape, not its function…
“For those who dream of being alone with their partner in a uniquely romantic setting, Baros Maldives has introduced two fantastic experiences. The choice is dinner or a massage as the sun sets, the stars twinkle and the moon glows, on a deck isolated in the middle of a sparkling lagoon. This exotic lagoon fantasy is possible at the newest addition to the delights of Baros Maldives, The Piano. The Piano is a small wooden deck, poised above the translucent waters of the lagoon. This deck is shaped like a grand piano and is available for couples who want to be alone. The only sound is the natural music of splashing waves and the whisper of the caressing breeze.”
Bed piece today. 45 years ago today John Lennon and Yoko One turned their honeymoon into a piece of performance art. Embracing the paparazzi instead of shunning them, they exploited the celebration of love for a performance art piece with a message of love called a “Bed-In” (take off of the popular sixties protest of a “sit-in”).
With the Maldives as the world center for honeymooners and celebrities, I’m sure that a resort here would have been an appealing venue for them in the modern age. And the resort they might have chosen could have been Baros. Know for its romance, its villa beds are works of art in their own right.
Distinctive vienetta canopy, lighted glass décor behind the head board. And of course the hide-away TV.
It’s official! Baros has its own plot of sand and this one is actually a “registered” sand bank. The only resort to do so with the Ministry of Agriculture.
For ocean proximity of a more active sort, Baros offers a pedalling tandem ocean kayak (1 hour session for $40)…
“This double seated kayak is different from most other kayaks; it has two methods of propulsion. One is the traditional paddling. The second method is using a unique, fully adjustable, pedaling system. The pedals are alternately pushed back and forth with the feet and legs. With this movement the Penguin shaped flippers underneath the kayak makes a sweeping motion that drives the kayak forwards. The movement is swift and silent. Hands and arms can be at rest allowing you to go further and with less effort to get the most out of your experience.”
To TV, or not to TV…that is the question.
The Emmy’s last night celebrated the very best of television, and yet one of the great debates about Maldives holidays are whether ‘TVs’ are a good thing or not. Part of the allure to this enchanting destination is its remote “get away from it all” feel. The “no shoes, no news” ethos implies no network broadcasters droning on about the depressing headlines of the day. There is a school of Maldives purists who think that any such modern contrivances have no place in the idyllic archipelago.
I’m more of the “to each his own” school. I have always focused on very individual tastes and preoccupations that people have that are catered for by 100+ different islands in the resort. We have never really watched any TV during our visits to the Maldives and never missed it. But we can appreciate the people who might. We empathise with people whose busy lives mean they never get a chance to just chill in front of a favourite show. Sometimes holiday is the only opportunity for these folks to treat themselves to a little boob-tube that we all take for granted.
One big challenge is the kids. Not just in the Maldives, but anywhere and at home. When the glowing, rectangular shrine beckons will it override all other opportunities for exploration and experience? It is a pervasive balancing act.
Baros has come up with a clever and stylish way to have your cake and eat it too on the TV front. Taking a page from the pirate world, it has devised a way to hide the electronic treasure by burying it in discrete hideaway unit (see hidden below and in use above). For families wanting to remove the temptation from the younger ones (or themselves), the unit can be tucked away out of sight. But if there is a special game on or the weather has gone a bit sour, it pops up easily for a bit of video chilling.
Now you watch it, now you don’t.
One irritation to the most discerning Maldive aficionados are the “groynes”. Water defences that extend perpendicularly to the shoreline to impede erosion. The purists feel that such structure detract from the natural beauty of the pristine beach and the azure waters. And certainly and beach without them is nicer than a beach with them. But in many cases, a beach without them would be no beach at all. The natural currents would have washed them away.
In addition to their island preserving utility, they can also have certain charms and other benefits. They can be a handy way to enter the water for snorkelling, sometimes right at the house reef “drop off”. They serve as reefs themselves attracting an array of colourful sea creatures (we have often found lots of moray eels hiding in the crevasses of these structures. They can also provide a handy romantic dining spot right over the water.
Baros has taken the extra step of making the structures themselves a bit more aesthetically pleasing by investing in wood cladding. It does give them a bit more style and visual appeal. And for some (see photo above), they too have embraced their silver linings by setting out deck chairs and making them a feature not a bug.
Pepperoni Pizza, Hot Fudge Sundae, Dry Martini. Just a few examples that of simple concoctions for classic cravings. Get choice ingredients and blend them just right and you have an irresistible temptation. Sort of like Baros – gorgeous house reef, classy décor, lush island. Stir gently with a tropical breeze. Savour.
One ingredient deliberately avoided by Baros is distraction of children. Under 8s are not allowed and there are no family rooms so few teenagers tend to come.
Baros has had more years than most to work on its special recipe. It was the 3rd resort in the Maldives (after Kurumba and Bandos) and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Quiet elegance. It doesn’t splash around a lot with flashy features. A great over water restaurant, a great house reef (probably the best hard coral we have seen since Mirihi) and attention to details of quality and privacy. A real lovers’ haven.
Nighttime arrivals aren’t the only difficult and awkward movements in the Maldives. For many disabled or mobility challenged guests, the ubiquitous sand only makes footing and moving around problematic. Not at Baros though where the resort offers the latest in beach mobility. The Daily Mail covered it in its piece “Meals by moonlight, diving with sharks and rolling on Beach Wheels in the mazy Maldives”
“My eyes also fell on another device that looked as if it had been lifted from a Nasa lunar project. Beach Wheels was an aquatic wheelchair, an Australian invention with huge tyres that allowed someone like me to glide smoothly over the sand or be dumped neatly into the sea.”
How people use the beach wheel chair?
“Disabled guests who asks for the wheel chair are provided with our Beach wheel chair. It has big air filled wheels and therefore is easy to manoeuvre on sand, even on the most soft one. One person has always to be there to push the chair.”
What people have said about it?
“People are really happy about it, as it is incredible convenient for them. We offer it also sometimes to guest, who have problems to walk or are injured – they are really impressed by this service.”
Anything surprise you about its use when you got it?
“Not really surprising but interestingly – even if it was not built for that usage – guests tell us, that they feel like being able to float in the water. It is made of very strong material like fibre glass, and therefore does not rust at all.”
If you don’t want to sit on a gigantic beach towel, then Velassaru has the biggest beach beanbags I have ever come across…”Fatboys”. Bean bags are becoming more an more popular in the Maldives as a cozy seating. We saw them at Kurumba and Kandooma. But ‘Fatboys’ are the Cadillac, or should I say ‘Hummers’ of the genre.
According to a Daily Mail feature, the Fat Boys are also at nearby sister Universal resort of Baros as well…
“With a flourish, Jihad threw open the door to our villa and our children-squeezed past us, ignoring the emperor-sized bed, the teak decor, flatscreen TV, iPod charger and the Moet et Chandon on ice, and instead headed straight for the dazzling beach beyond the veranda. 'Mummy! Daddy!' they cried, 'they've got a fat boy here!' Amanda and I glanced at each other in horror; were we now about to face an outraged and indignant parent? Fortunately, the 'fat boy' turned out to be a Fatboy, a giant waterproof cushion, a sort of amphibious beanbag equally at home on the beach or in the water, and from then on it became the most heavily used piece of kit on the island.”