Perhaps the most tragic natural disaster of the decade, the Boxing Day Tsunami, happened eponymously today. While hitting the hardest in its South Pacific epicentre, its titanic power travelled thousands of miles to the Maldives who suffered fatalities and much loss (which on a per capita basis was actually one of the hardest hit countries in its path).
One of the resorts hit hardest was Four Seasons Kuda Huraa (in fact, a work colleague was a guest on the island that day) so today’s post features on of their distinctions. In fact, it features something more Maldivian-like and completely un-tsunami-like.
A tsunami is so antithetical to the mill pond like stillness of the typical Maldivian seas. Swimming in the Maldives is like swimming in an aquarium. And, at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa you can actually ‘swim in an aquarium’ of sorts as well in its glass walled private pool (see above). However, it is only stocked with with the aquatic species Guestus Bikinius.
In the Maldives, it’s all about the water. Many yoga sessions are often at water’s edge. But Four Seasons Kuda Huraa has taken that aquatic intimacy one step further.
“Resident yogi began offering Paddle board Yoga about 5 months ago and has been doing this on a guest request basis here at Kuda Huraa.” GM Tulio Hochkoeppler
I’ve always been intrigued by those big exercise balls which provide a soft, unsteady platform which target the core muscles used for stability. If you thought balancing on land was tricky…
While FSKH’s sessions are literally as close to sea level as you can possibly have a yoga session, if you prefer the other extreme, check out Slovenian climber Martina Cufar’s nosebleed sessions.
I’m loving this beach relaxation run this week. And just when you thought you couldn’t get more relaxed on a stretch of sand, up steps the Four Seasons with their Sandbank Massage.
The excursion is limited to guests their of Four Seasons Explorer yacht.
“Guests can have their treatment on board Four Seasons Explorer or on a sandbank nearby where the boat anchors. The sandbank location really depends on the route the boat is taking hence it is not always the same one. The guest will be dropped off with the therapist on the sandbank to enjoy the treatment in privacy.”
Full range of treatments from the signature ‘Kuda Huraa Massage’ (“A blend of specialised techniques from all over Asia – Thai pressure point, Filipino hilot, Malaysian urut”) to the ‘Sun Soother’ (“Hydrating and cooling fresh aloe vera gel, toning lavender mist, and lavender lotion are featured in this tropical wrap”). Prices range from $140 for 60 minutes to $225 for 120.
A real ‘Born Free’ story in the Maldives are the turtle nurseries that a few resorts support. Our family delighted at the nursery tank that Filtheyo had and visiting it fostered our daughter Isley’s love of turtles and her adoption of them as her favourite creature to this day. But, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa have taken a page from their sister resort of Landaa Giraavaru to creative a comprehensive turtle conversation programme around their newly launched nursery and discovery center.
Kuredu may be the destination for big, monster turtles in the wild. But at the complete other end of the spectrum, Kuda Huraa is now the place to experience these charming critters up close and personal in their infancy. Taking a page from their sister resort’s (Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru) stunning Marine Discovery Centre which focuses on Mantas and Anenome Fish, Kuda Huraa has opened a comparable centre but with a focus on turtles…
“Five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles live in the Maldives, and two of these are regularly seen. The critically endangered hawksbill turtle lives on coral reefs, while the endangered green turtle feeds on seagrass, keeping the seabed healthy and productive. The Resort’s Kuda Velaa (‘Little Turtles’) Protection Programme works with island communities across the Maldives to increase awareness of turtle conservation and protect nests from poachers. The project also gives endangered green turtles a head start in life by rearing a select number of hatchlings from protected nests for up to 15 months to improve their chance of survival in the wild. For the first nine months they are kept in land-based pools before they are relocated to larger enclosures in the lagoon where they will start to forage for themselves on sea grasses, adapting them to the wild. Guests can attend daily turtle feeding sessions to learn more about Kuda Huraa’s most delicate little residents.”
Not just kids are enthralled by these terrapin tolders. In fact, this month’s Harper Bazaar features international model and actress Nargis Fakhri posing with them (see photo above) in her shoot there…
“’It’s awe-inspiring; I feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere,’ she says. Her favourite part of the Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa is the children’s activities section. She’s also thrilled about shooting with turtles, something that the Bazaar team has captured in this shoot.”
The other title for this post could be ‘Surf Buddies’.
Some Maldives visitors like the utter remoteness of many of the islands. Feeling like you are on a solitary deserted island in the middle of nowhere. While I enjoy that desolate sensation, I also enjoy the little ‘communities’ of the archipelago. Clusters of land bridged by sand spits and shallow lagoons. It was one of the first stories Andy Lees intrigued me with when describing the Maldives. He told how when walking around the island he spotted another tiny island offshore. Not too far away and the water seem quite shallow. He started walking towards it and before long he was on the other island having waded over from his resort.
My twist today is taken from the community of surfing resorts in the spirit of this week’s posts. I’ve highlighted close clusters of islands before, but in this case the islands aren’t especially close, but their water villa complexes are – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and Chaaya Island Dhonveli. As the Bing map above highlights, the two water villas come to within a couple of hundred yards of each other. On top of that, they have a handy little sand spit to provide a bit of a sand bridge for any particularly neighbourly strolls. Mind you, resorts are quite keen that you alert them if you are going to visit their island so spontaneity needs to be kept to a minimum.
Their proximity is not that surprising. Both are located on a reef plateau which provides both with rich surfing in the vicinity.
“Who would have thought to find a place so perfectly placed between the ocean and the sky.” – Billabong model/surfer & singer/songwriter Catherine Clark
What a great way to describe the uniqueness of the Maldives. Describing its perfection for surfing, but really a key piece of so many things that he Maldives is world renowned for …
- Honeymoons – The romance of a plot of pure white sand and a palm trees nestled in a tranquil turquoise lagoon.
- Diving – One of the tops in the world for its endless coral reefs easily accessible by the 100+resorts.
- Snorkelling – Arguably the very best in the world for reasons very close to Catherine’s quote above.
- Children – Calm waters, shallow lagoons, contained small grounds, many activities.
One really has to add Surfing to that list things the Maldives tops the world as a top destination. Not big waves like Hawaii, but long, moderate breaks for extended rides. The pro surfing circuit regularly holds premier events in the Maldives now. I’ve had to break out a special ‘Surfing’ section from ‘Sport’ in the ‘Best of Maldives’ page because of all the special offerings resorts have brought out.
And of all of those resorts, Tropicsurf at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is quickly becoming the epicentre of the surf Mecca. Their latest project was hosting the iconic Billabong Girls for an video ‘diary’ posted by Billabong, but now on video sites and surf online mags across the net. One of the best is the extended (17 minutes) piece featured in Surfing Magazine. The link on Catherine’s quote above features her diary entry with her poetic descriptions of the Maldives, and there’s ‘Maldives Vibe’ for a simple music video of the vibrant footage.
“It’s really cool to have the pearly white beaches, then go into the icy-blue clear water that you don’t have anny where else in the world.” – Courtney Coulogne, US Women’s Surfing Champion
Perfect accompanying photo by Ahmed Amir – Full Moon over Kuda Huraa spa
This week’s full moon was at its farthest point from the Earth this year making it the smallest Full Moon of 2011. If you follow these sorts of celestial events, then you should follow the five stars to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa for their Night Spa just launched this week…
“The Island Spa’s Night Spa treatments are very different from treatments you might experience during the day. In fact, they’re probably different from anything you’ve experienced before. From the moment we collect you from your villa to the moment we bring you back, you’ll be wrapped in the nurturing embrace of the tropical evening air. Relax beneath the stars in the Night Spa’s torch-lit lounge, then indulge in one of four open-air lunar rituals devised by Sodashi to attune the body to nature’s rhythms. Each lunar ritual can be enjoyed at any time but will provide the greatest benefit during its linked lunar phase. Available from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am nightly, Night Spa treatments must be booked a minimum of 24 hours in advance.”
Their treatments include…
- Reflect – “The new moon is a time of commencement, new beginnings and renewal.”
- Nourish – “The waxing moon is a good time to nourish and strengthen the body.”
- Harmonize– “During the full moon, the body’s healing potential and the skin’s ability to absorb minerals are at their highest.”
- Release – “The waning moon is the ideal time to eliminate toxins and negativity.”
I never like to take spa treatments during the day in the Maldives because it is just less time in sunshine and being out and about in paradise. But the night time is a bit more limited to strolls through the paths and by the ocean and a great time to ratchet the stress down that further gear.
Also recommended for vampires and werewolves.
Happy 235th Birthday America!
I wanted to feature something distinctively American in honour of July 4th Independence Day. I’ve already covered basketball and I couldn’t find any hot dog stands, so I’ve settled on ‘Paddle Boarding’. Invented in Hawaii back in 1930, it has recently surged in popularity. Our north Carolina cousins have been doing it off the coast of Wilmington.
Also known as ‘Stand Up Paddling’ or ‘SUP’, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa’s Tropic Surf introduced the sport to the Maldives and offers 1 hour instruction session in its lagoon…
“This course is an enjoyable, subtle workout that improves balance, endurance and core strength. View marine life and golden sunsets in the calm lagoon. Suitable for all; no experience required.”
Plenty of great surf spots in the Maldives (even more if you do kite surfing), and a number of resorts offer surfing equipment and instruction, but there is only one ‘Surf Shack’ around – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa’s TropicSurf.
The Surf Shack sells a whole range of surf gear. It also provides video analysis as part of its instruction offerings. But it really just has a whole surfing vibe to it.
A great example of its surfing vibe and great offerings is its recently announced its ‘Champion Trophy Package’. Maldives.Net reports…
“The Maldives is set to host the world’s most exclusive surfing event this August. The event organized by Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, will feature six world champions, a leading five-star surfing resort, a luxurious 39-metre three-deck catamaran, and the perfect reef break waves. Conceived in conjunction with luxury surf pioneers Tropicsurf, the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will see the sport’s biggest legends such as four-time world champion Mark Richards compete across three disciplines that showcase the evolution of modern surfing.”
So if you are a hang-ten pro or a even bit clueless on the surfing front (like this lot), then head over to the Surf Shack.
Happy Earth Day 2011!
Maldives have always been on the vanguard of promoting the thoughtful stewardship of the planet. In the spirit of the day, I thought I would highlight Seamarc who has been pioneering ‘reefscaping’ and ‘coral regeneration’ projects across the Maldives. Resorts using their reef grafting frames include Kandooma, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Beach House at Manafaru, Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi, Reethi Rah, and Four Seasons Kuda Huraa,
“Seamarc’s unique propagation techniques; whereby broken or threatened corals are harvested, attached to portable Coral Trays and put back into the warm Maldivian waters, mean that branching corals grow faster, rapidly creating new and replenishing old habitats. The project also provides alternative employment to residents of nearby B. Fulhadhoo Island who build the structures.”
The illustration above comes from my friend and social media pioneer Hugh MacLeod. I especially like his tagline about ‘changing lives’. The more we do that for the better, the easier it will be to get everyone to agree to some difficult decisions to take care of our planet.