Best of the Maldives: Wristband Keys – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - wristband key

One of the top joys of the Maldives – throw on your swimsuit, grab your snorkeling gear and head out to the house reef.

Oh wait, don’t forget the villa key. Now where to put it (swimsuits don’t really have many secure pockets). Instead of the typical credit-card style proximity keys, NIYAMA has key band for guests. It’s completely waterproof so they can wear it in the pool, on the housereef or wherever.  (thanks again Paola)

Particularly good for people who wouldn’t remember their own head if it wasn’t attached to them.

Best of the Maldives: Ice Ball – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - Chefs Special ice ball

No, not “Ice Ball” as in a “Frozen”-themed formal dance.

I love creations with ice. The cold is the contrast that sets off the tropical sun. I’m even adding a new category tag for “ice” now that I have collected a few fine examples.

Most treats in the Maldives are served refreshingly over ice. But NIYAMA’s signature sashimi is served under ice.

Offered in NIYAMA’s “Asian Avant-garde” Nest restaurant which Per Aquum describes as “savage-chic” (great name).

Chef Jayadi Suwito explains, “My goal for this menu was to push and tease. Guests will find dishes from Asia’s most celebrated cuisines like Thai, Cantonese, Japanese – but they will also get a chance to discover lesser known culinary traditions with must-try sensational dishes from places like Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar.”

I tend to ignore the vast majority of press releases that I receive, but I must commend the PR who wordcrafted this gem describing the “Ice Ball” experience…

“A short trek from your luxury villa where you’ve cast away in the Dhaalu Atoll, you emerge in the heart of the jungle. Beneath the ancient branches of the banyan trees, you walk the planks of wooden pathways and wind through the forest trunks. Ascend spiralled stairs and step through the canopy along bridges flanked by bamboo rails. Leaves dance in an ecstatic shimmy. Tropical birds call out with sirens echoing through the treetops. Then a chilled sculpture of sashimi arrives in a globe of ice, a modern vessel for one of many Asian delicacies you will savour in your expedition at one of the Indian Ocean’s leading dining destinations.”

Leaves dance in ecstatic shimmy” – Nnnn-ice!

Best of the Maldives: Pool View – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - float centre for dive training

Another translucent pool of blueness to peer into (as well as another great lead by adjunct correspondent, Paola). NIYAMA’s “FLOAT” centre for dive training. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of folks taking intro-to-SCUBA courses in the pools and lagoons while other family members look on or take photos. NIYAMA’s unique set up provides the perfect setting for those Instagram pix of the first breaths underwater.

8 Out-Standing Dining Rooms

NIYAMA - Subsix

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. NIYAMASubsix

2. TAJ EXOTICAOcean Pavilion
Taj Exotica - Ocean Pavillion

3. BAREFOOTBlack Pearl
Barefoot - Black Pearl

4. JUMEIRAH DHEVANAFUSHIJohara
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - Johara

5. BAROSPiano Bar
Baros - Piano Bar

6. ANGSANA VELAVARUAzzurro
Angsana Velavaru - Azzurro

7. KANDOLHUSunset Pavilion
Kandolhu - Sunset Pavillion

8. GILI LANKANFUSHIWedding Pavilion
Gili Lankanfushi - Wedding Pavillion

Best of the Maldives: Intraceuticals – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - Intraceuticals

Many visitors come to the Maldives to feel the fresh clean air on their skin. NIYAMA spa’s new “Intraceutical” treatments now provide that the therapeutic effect of that air…under the skin. The announcement describes…

“Revolutionary for oxygen treatments, Intraceuticals uses a machine that applies oxygen under pressure to deliver a special serum of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, essential vitamins, antioxidants, and peptides to the skin. The unique technology and specially formulated procedure of an Intraceuticals Treatment leaves skin looking noticeably brighter, firmer and more flawless immediately following the treatment. Depending on individual skin types, treatments can also be focused to address concerns such as wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation or blemishes.”

Best of the Maldives: 3D Simulator – Niyama

Niyama 3D simulator

Some of you figured out that Monday’s post had a little simulation in the graphics department. However, if you like your resort experience enhanced with a touch of electronic simulation, the NIYMA is the destination for you. It has a simulator room which a collection of games that include…

  • Golf – 10 golf courses
  • Laser Shooting – 10 shooting games
  • Basketball – shooting baskets
  • Baseball – pitching
  • Ice hockey – penalty shooting (goal target & shot speed)
  • American Football – kicking and throwing
  • Soccer – penalty shooting

Prices range from $35 for 30 minutes to $200 for unlimited use (during opening hours 10:00 am – 11:00 pm) during guest’s stay.

Wii on steroids.

Best of the Maldives: African Cuisine – NIYAMA

NIYAMA Tribal

If you like you food as freshly ‘roasted’ as your coffee, then the Tribal restaurant at the newly inaugurated NIYAMA resort offers ‘modern campfire dining.’ Sort of like W Retreat’s ‘Fire’ restaurant on steroids.

I was first alerted to Tribal by one of my Maldive friends in the industry who visited it just before opening. He reported to me that for “first time I was at a loss for words in a long time.”

“Modern campfire dining. Sand floors. Tiki torches. Local inspiration meets global flair. Tastes from South America to Africa to Asia cooked in the outdoor kitchen. Entrees seared over open flames. Tribal gatherings — a dash of adventure, a pinch of fun.”

The concept reminds me of one of my most memorable holiday meals of all time. On safari in the Kruger staying at the Londolozi game reserve, our jeep pullied into the bush after a long afternoon of looking at the ‘Big 5’. As night settled on the South African plain, we arrived at a roaring campfire already preparing the night’s meal of roasted leg of impala (prompting hilarious jokes from me to the kids about 3-legged impalas for the rest of the trip that I’m sure they never got tired of).

I’ve always thought that the African safari industry is a real role model the Maldives’ tourism development. Africa has created a super premium product out of stunning natural beauty and exceptional wildlife encounters. The ‘resorts’ (ie. ‘lodges’) are packed with 5-star luxury, while maintaining the rustic, natural ambience of the surroundings. They have been drawing big ticket tourists for decades longer that the Maldives and have plenty of know-how about packaging and promoting this experience for top dollar. In fact, it was my own personal background working with African tourism that contributed to my starting Maldives Complete in the first place.

It’s no surprise then that Tribal’s own culinary theme has a heavy African slant with menu items such as “Warhog Cutlets smothered in cape mustard, Loin of African Karoo lamb with wild bush rosemary and garlic, Nile Perch Tikin Xic (prepared the traditional Maya style), Bush Pig and cabbage soup, Warm Ostrich Babotie, Mekong River Squid, and African Cast Iron Potjies such as Springbok slow cooked for 6 hours over coals with root vegetables.” (quoted from a superb interview with the Tribal Chef Ken Gundu on the Linara travel blog).

Akubekuhle! (‘Cheers’ in Zulu)

 

NIYAMA Tribal sign