Best of the Maldives: Resort Snorkel Day – Hurawalhi / Kuredu

Hurawalhi - snorkel day

Kudos to the resort s who celebrated World Snorkeling Day yesterday…

  • Kuredu“Kuredu is pleased to announce its very first Snorkelling Day! The celebration of this wonderful sport and the magnificent coral reefs of Lhaviyani Atoll will take place on Sunday, 30th July 2017, at 15:00. Snorkelling is one of Kuredu’s major draws: both the lagoon and the reef offer a wonderful array of marine life that will most likely be one of the highlights of your Maldives’ holiday.” [see photo below]
  • Hurawalhi – “In honour of the Maldives’ reef ecosystem and in celebration of the wonderful sport that is snorkelling, Hurawalhi is excited to announce its first Snorkelling Day. Prodivers and the Marine Biology Center invite you for special afternoon snorkelling trips on Sunday, 30th July 2017. During these 1,5-hour excursions, you can expect to see a wide range of underwater sights that – if it weren’t for the snorkel in your mouth – would make your jaw drop!” [see photo above]

  Kuredu - snorkel day

Best of the Maldives: Most Experienced Group GM – Patrick de Staercke

Patrick de Staercke

Patrick de Staercke’s Maldives general management goes back nearly as far as Maldives Complete (2010). Lori and I might have stayed at more resorts than anyone, but he has managed more than anyone – 4 (Vilamendhoo, Komandoo, Hurawalhi, Kuredu). We first met Patrick in the earlier days of Maldives complete (see photo below) when Maldives Complete was just getting going, hardly anyone had heard of a blog and “social media” was still in the early adopter stage. He was one of the GMs who appreciated the site’s comprehensiveness and welcomed us very warmly. Over dinner, we mused about all sorts of possibilities for guest offerings and resort enhancements. Many managers in the hospitality industry tend to hop around globe in their career, but Patrick has made the Maldives a second home with an unmatched tenure. We always catch up briefly at the World Travel Market trade event in London, but it is great that he has provided a Maldives exclusive interview to provide a snapshot of his professional life in paradise…

  • What was your first ever job?
    Working in my student bar at colleague I was 16 years old in Seaford Colleague Sussex England. We were paid in beer just great.
  • What was your first job in hospitality?
    When I was 18 I had a job in Lausanne as waiter and pot was for 6 months and loved it.
  • What has been your favourite sighting on a house reef?
    I love octopus so cool how they change color .
  • What has been an idea (eg new dish, a new activity, a new offer) that completely failed?
    Remote control boats do not do well in sea water who knew?
  • What tropical or Maldivian treat are you most addicted to?
    Sipping cocktails in the sun and sending pictures pretending that this is what a GM does every day.
  • What treat from home do you most miss having easy access to?
    My wife and child.
  • What are your favourite parts about opening a new resort versus taking on an established one (and what is your favourite part about taking on an established one)?
    The favorite part is the end and the product you have produced gets the feedback we are getting now is just a wow. All that hard work sweat, team work, is paid off when the guests are blown away from the resort but also the service. Job well done.
  • If you had $1 million to add one single feature to Kuredu, what would it be?
    I would have to invest in two areas as they are just as important upgrading guest rooms but also staff rooms as they are the reason to a resorts success.
  • What’s one question I didn’t ask that you either wish I asked or were surprised that I didn’t ask (and what the answer)?
    ‘Do you have what it takes to make a difference?’ My proven track records show I will make a difference in enhancing both customer satisfaction and bottom line figures. What’s the secret to my success? Well that’s why I am so valued at CCR and have to keep that a secret?

Patrick de Staercke 2

Best of the Maldives: Seahorses – Kuredu

Kuredu sea grass

The Queen has been such a supporter of of all of the June Jubilee activities including rocking out at the Buckingham Palace Concert which is probably not her dream Saturday night out. Rather, one’s favourite day in June is most definitely Ladies Day at Ascot today such is her love of all things horses. And ‘horses’ in the Maldives are a bit fabled and mystical creatures themselves…sea horses that is.

It indeed exciting to see the big game of snorkel safaris (and diving). But sometimes it is just as exciting and curious to uncover the tiny creatures. A baby manta, nudibranches, leaf fish. Perhaps the most enchanting and illusive is the Sea Horse.

Sea Horses are indigenous around the world including the Indian Ocean, mostly prominently Hippocampus borboniensis, dubbed ‘Réunion seahorse’ for its prevalence in this Maldive neighbour. I have asked many a dive master and no one has ever recalled seeing one or hearing reports of any. In fact, the TripAdvisor Forum on the Maldives posed this question last year and none of the Maldives veterans and experts had ever heard of a sea horse sighting.

Part of the issue is that sea horses live in sea grass which is not that common in the sand-bottomed lagoons and reefs prevalent in the Maldives. One resort which does feature sea grass is Kuredu (see photo above) and, lo and behold, they have reported sighting sea horses a few years ago. So if you want to start a holy grail hunt for these unicorns of the shallows, then start at Kuredu. Still, a bit of a long shot…or ‘dark horse’ if you will.

 

Seahorse

Best of the Maldives: Fluro-Diving – Kuredu / Komandoo / Vakarufalhi

Kuredu Komandoo Vakarufalhi fluro-diving

   

 

For an even closer investigation into reef life, state-of-the-art ‘fluro-diving’ has come to the Maldives.

Night dives shed a whole new light (or lack thereof) on the undersea world. Night dives never had much appeal to me because it seems to defeat the purpose of ‘seeing’ the underwater world. I always figured I could turn off all the lights in my bathroom, fill the tub and breathe through my snorkel and get pretty close to the same experience. But my more advanced diving buddy, Lori, assures me that night dives are so much more. A whole new world reveals itself in the dark hours many of which have their own tantilising illumination which you can only appreciate in the pitch black.

The Prodivers team at Kuredu, Komandoo and Vakarufalhi have taken this night time spectacle a step further by introducing ‘Fluro-diving’ to the Maldives…

“The Prodivers team, always on the lookout for new diving experiences, have launched yet another spectacular and unique underwater adventure! To boost our divers’ enjoyment and appreciation of the reef, we’ve recently introduced fluoro-diving! After exploring the trippy phenomenon and discovering which sites around Kuredu are the best to be dived with the newly acquired NightSea fluoro-sets, the well-kept secret of fluorescence night diving is now available to our divers. Experienced divers, not afraid of spooky, low-light conditions, can now intensify their night diving and sneak peek at the reef to find crazy green bubble anemones, burning red feather stars, freaky blue shrimps, brightly red scorpion fish, green glowing brain and mushroom corals and glowing green lizard fish. Fluorescent diving has so far been revealed only by 6 dive centers in the world. The Prodivers team are overwhelmed by seeing the reef in a new light, and as there is so much more to discover – don’t hesitate to join us!”

The whole concept smacks of underwater Crime Scene Investigation. Perhaps they should do an episode of ’CSI: Maldives’.

 

CSI

Best of the Maldives: Arboreal Signs – Kuredu

Kuredu tree signs

If you don’t have a tree guide book to hand but still want to know the identity and stories behind some of the striking landscape on the island, then you will appreciate Kuredu.

We often describe the Maldives as a plot of sand and a few trees. Everyone loves the sand bit, but the trees often go unmentioned and unappreciated. The palm trees are certainly a prevalent fixture, but the islands also have an arboretum of tropical curiosities like the Banyan, and (one of our favourites) the Walking Pine.

“Hernandia Nyphaeifolia – English Name: Lantern Tree…Grows up to 20 meters high and found in coasts of East Africa, Asia, and Polynesia including South Pacific. The seeds of this tree are spread by bats, the leaves, fruits, seeds and bark of the tree is said to have medicinal values. Tahitians polish the seed and make necklaces.”

Kuredu has posted a series of handsome and informative signs at prime examples of arboreal distinction across the resort which adds a bit of natural interest and insight during your strolls.

Kuredu tree signs 2

Best of the Maldives: Beach Cabana – Kuredu

Kuredu Beach hut

 

 

You can carry on sleeping on the beach during the day with Kuredu’s beach hut cabana. If the Fatboy is not enough comfort for your shore-side lounging. You can book if for half a day for $50. A number of resorts have four-posted awnings and even mattressed loungers on the beach, but Kuredu’s cabana is just a bit more protected against beeezes or sun for those who have sensitive skin and really need to stay out of it. I also thought that it would be a great place to settle into with a very small child whose sensitive skin you would want to protect and the sheltered shade might help them nap too.

Decadent daytime dozing…

Best of the Maldives: Sandcastles – Kuredu

Kuredu sandcastle 1

 

 

If you need a visit from Mr. Sandman, then Kuredu has its very own. But he has nothing to do with sleeping. Unless it is a sculpture of a sleeping lady with a horse (?) like the photo above. A whole collection of sand scuptures were created on Kuredu by on of their chefs at the Far East restaurant named Dej. His other works (which you can see on Kuredu’s Facebook gallery) include

The executions are not just masterful, but the subjects are creative concoctions in their own right. The pieces reminded me of my younger days growing up by the beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts which held celebrated annual sand castle making contest. Below is a snap from the Lori and I assistned our artist friends George Karalias and Peter Manos put together a team to build the climactic scene from the ‘Grinch That Stole Christmas’.

 

Crane sandcastle 3

Best of Maldives Online – Facebook Input: Kuredu

Kuredu Facebook

   

  

  

It’s all about the conversation.

That’s the conventional wisdom on social media. It’s all very well and good to put up your blog, Facebook page/group, and Twitter feed, but if no one engages, then you’ve sort of missed the point. The real acid test for successful social media is the ‘social’ bit. To what degree do people get involved with what you have to say? In blogs, it’s commenting and trackbacking. With Twitter, it’s Retweets and Replies. On Facebook, it’s wall posts and comments.

As such, when I was reviewing all of the Maldives resort Facebook pages, I decided to make note of the amount of non-resort comments and posts the page/group got. As I noted in my original post, the Maldives resorts average about one comment/post per day. But, the variation within that average is immense from some who get hardly anything to those like Kuredu who are a non-stop buzz.

Actually, for the period that I tallied (the month of January), Kuredu was the one resort where I simply had trouble counting all of the comments and posts, but I estimate that they we over 1,000! The next closest was Meeru with 213.

It wasn’t just the Wall activity either. As noted in yesterday’s post in Photos, Kuredu had held the runner up position for album contributions with 2,629 snaps. All of this online social activity is possibly an extension of their very strong ‘Forum’.

And not a single cat video nor motivational poster to be seen.

Best of the Maldives: Pedalo – Kuredu

Kuredu pedalo

Photo courtesy of DJ Stotty.

At Kuredu’s sporty island, even the leisure boating will get you skinny.

The Maldives don’t have many resorts for a long run or bike ride (outside Gan), but there is boundless ocean. Not your English seaside, tired old pedalo but the Cadillac of puddle pedalling with a broad white canopy. They rent for $20 for 1 hour or $35 for 2 hours.

Spinning with the spinner dolphins