- “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” —Anne Herbert
Anne Herbert’s quote above seems to capture the ethos of Nika’s “kind island” initiative:
- “NIKA ISLAND will be the first kind island in the Maldives…An island not subject to the ravages of time, nor to the dynamics of massive tourism that are redefining the Maldives. A land that embraces the value of kindness by translating it into concrete social projects that benefit the ecosystem itself: an ambitious alchemical experiment with simply unrepeatable contours. International Kindness Movement is a network that to date has reached 300,000 participants and spreads kindness, restoring the highest human, spiritual, cultural, environmental and social values to the territory in which it operates, through the promotion of a healthy and conscious lifestyle.”
Nika is becoming an Ambassador of Kindness as a part of the International Kindness Movement which describes them in their charter as follows:
- “The Ambassadors of Kindness are: Friendly, Understanding, Positive, Kind, Inspirational, Grateful, Compassionate, Resilient, Passionate, Patient, Empathetic, Respectful, Determined, Forgiving, Humble, Honest, Courageous. As an Ambassador of Kindness, you will be undertaking to support the ongoing kindness campaign. Whilst it is about the promotion of events leading up to World Kindness Week in November, it’s also about engaging the whole village to create a better environment within the greater community by promoting the good work that is being done in all sectors of the Village.”
Some of this might seem rather obvious and superfluous (isn’t every resort going to be “kind”), but I think that just mission statements and campaigns can inspire and focus organisations to make that extra effort and take those extra initiatives to walk the walk.
My kind of island!
As I noted a number of times, I originally thought of doing a website about the Maldives called “Maldives for Families”. When we first started visiting this paradise, it was a haven for divers and honeymooners, but we thought it was a superb destination for families. Well, our instincts have played out with all top resorts catering strongly to the family vacationer with kids clubs, family activities and a increasing number of rooming options for families to be together. But, Nika has gone all the way by making family room options for every single room category. Perhaps this family-friendly extreme is no surprise since the resort itself has been a family business since its founding.
Wine complements the finest treats especially when matched expertly to complement the spirit and essence of the sensory banquet. The Nika resort has extended this concept to new extents (or depths) with their innovative “Coral Pairing” (thanks Paola):
- “Nika Island Resort and Spa has hosted an original experiment, pairing an array of native corals with wine. Titled “Metafore” and held with the technical support of leading winer supplier Grape Expectations, the event witnessed white, red and black corals being paired with a special selection of wines according to their colour, pattern and biological peculiarities. The experiment allowed Nika not only to offer its guests a curious selection of wines, but also to bridge the art of wine making with coral, a typical Maldivian thing of beauty. Edoardo Caccin, External Director at Nika explains: ‘a metaphor is a literary figure of speech used to describe a subject by comparing it to something else. The comparison gives the qualities of one thing to another that is usually unrelated. We asked ourselves: if coral could be wine, which wine would it be?’ Dora Dzurjak, Grape Expectations’ sommelier and wine educator, guided Nika’s guests through witty and ambitious associations. The beautiful and sophisticated pattern of Brain Coral was paired with the white wine Weinhaus Ress Rheingau Riesling Trocken. As far as red wine was involved, Dora made a match between Sileni estates The Plateau Pinot Noir and the Organ Pipe Coral. The sommelier’s inspiration came from its unique hard skeleton of calcium carbonate containing many organ pipe-like tubes.”
Zymology and Zooxanthellae!
World Wish Day today. Wishes are a great practice of positive thinking. They can be personal (eg. birthday wishes blowing out a candle), or interpersonal (best wishes on a special day). Our wedding featured a Buddhist wish tree where guests wrote their wishes to the new couple on silk ribbons and tied the to the tree. According to tradition, the wind would then blow the wishes into the air so they might come true (my Mom wrote “one boy and one girl” which we got so maybe there is something to this ritual).
One of my favourite books growing up was John Ciardi’s “The Wish-Tree”. It recounts the story of a boy who wishes desperately for a puppy the eve of his birthday and then goes on to experience a surreal dream (I guess all dreams are ‘surreal’) that reveals insights into the responsibilities of such dreams.
If you would like to visit a real, live wish-tree, then put Nika resort on your bucket list who have their own wish-tree story to share with guests…
- “In the past, this wonderful place [Nika] was inhabited by magical creatures who were very intelligent: fairies and elves of the sea. It was told that they had colorful wings like fish fins and that they could light up in the darkness. This big tree, just in front of you, was their home. Its name is Nika. Nika creatures had a special power: they were able to speak with fishes, plants and even with stars…but, in addition to this special power, they had also another gift: they could listen. They listened carefully to the wishes and dreams of human beings. If humans desired goodness, beauty and altruism, their dreams could come true. But only positive thoughts could be realized by Nika creatures. Recently, someone has seen these special creatures flying near Nika tree…Thanks to the fact that everyone takes care of this special island, Nika fairies and elves now are back! They came back to realize the wishes of all the people who are here to enjoy this magical and sacred place.”
May all your wishes come true (especially if the involve visiting the Maldives).
As much as people think about the underwater landscape of the Maldives, I enjoy just as much the view down on the mottled blue landscape. So it’s great when resorts offer a slightly elevated platform from which to enjoy the cerulean scene.
A number of high decks are available on resort islands, but Nika’s water villas provide a great platform from the comfort of your own vacation home and smack in the centre of the azure action. I’ve titled it “Standard Water Villa” because Six Senses Laamu also has a water villa roof deck, but it is a significantly higher cost band.
From Carolina Amora’s snap above, it looks like a nice view to me (the ocean looks good too).
Happy Father’s Day.
The “resort father” has to be Nika’s, Giampiero Bellazzi. In 1983, he took over the island that had 10 villas on it. But a resort couldn’t survive on that number so when Bellazi took over, he built more but based on the original design concept. Now his daughter Giovanna now runs it the resort as one of the truest veterans in the industry there as she grew up with the Nika resort.
My own father is a big fan of the sun. When we lived on the west coast of the USA, one of my few memories of that earliest age (pre-school) was waking up to the top of the hill to watch the sunset. Later in life we moved to the east coast in the seaside town of Ipswich, Massachusetts and watching the sunrise at the famous Crane Beach was a regular ritual for him. We wrote a small book of quotations, “Days Alive”, illustrated with an animated sun passing across the sky and celebrating the blessings of every day. For years growing up, the tradition has been to give him a card with a sunrise on it and sometimes some curious sun curio as a present. And in 2000, we were able to give him the ultimate sun gift of a trip to Conrad Maldives Rangali for a week.
If more is better in the bathroom department, then you don’t get any more bathroom than Nika’s cavernous powder room. More of a “water warehouse” than a “water closet”. The side room with room with toilet is bigger than many resort’s bathrooms. And the bathroom itself is bigger than most villas! It incorporates 3 showers (one rain inside and 2 outside front and back). Even sink is big enough to bath a small child in. It even has its own indoor garden (see photo above) included in the acreage.
The past few months have been a smorgasbord of tour posts – resort visits, tour “best ofs’, updated ‘not seens’. And every filling feast needs a bit of a digestif to cap it off. Since today (the last Sunday in August) is one of the traditional open distillery days for the Grappa makers. Grappa comes from Bassano del Grappa in the northwest Vicenza province in an area known as the Riviera del Brenta. So it comes at no surprise that the grappa abbondanza in the Maldives is that Venetian inspired resort, Nika. The Kandu Bar serves no less than six different grappas including…
- Mangilli Riserva
- Mangilli Collezione
- Mangilli Moscato
- Dolce Vita Prosecco
Lobster Day! A Father’s Day treat (in fact, my son Chase is preparing my favourite, Lobster Bisque, for me).
Maybe not the greatest day for lobsters. But at least at Nika they can luxuriate in an Olympic sized (about 10 metres by 5 metres) outdoor lobster pool instead of the conventional aquarium holding bin.
There is little that beats the literal atmosphere of dining outside in the perfect temperature surrounded by a chorus of nature’s sounds under a canopy of stars.
When we first started coming to the Maldives, the notion of dining on the beach was relatively novel. Most of the resorts had designated sheltered dining areas. We would typically ask the waiter if we could move our table out to the water’s edge and in most cases they were more than happy to do so. Now, beach dining is featured prevalently both as a special supplement experience and as regular dining areas.
Nika has given al fresco dining a fresh setting inspired by the island’s Italianate heritage and character. It has situated its main dining area (with a backup inside area for unfavourable weather) in an area that resembles some Mediterranean avenue. It features wrought-iron lamp posts which evokes a sandy Cinque Terra boulevard with people dining on gamberti and chianti late into the evening.