Best of the Maldives: Babymoon – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives babymoon Getty Images non-commercial embedding

As Baby New Year brings us 2015, Park Hyatt Hadahaa brings us an inspired new package to bring baby to the Maldives this year. Their new “Babymoon” bridges two of the Maldives’ most dinstinctive allures – honeymoons and families

“The six-day Babymoon offering has been specially designed to prepare, relax and reinvigorate expecting mothers, with pampering treatments taking place at the hotel’s luxurious Vindhun Spa…Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa’s new Babymoon package is available at £413.00 per couple for 6 days and includes a pregnancy massage, aqua yoga, head and shoulder massage, pregnancy Yoga and breathing, Abhyangyam massage, and a hydrating facial”

Happy New Year Maldives fans!

Best of the Maldives: Water Villa Foliage – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - water villa foliage

The charm of the water villa is to nearly literally immerse you into the signature Maldivian seascape. But you do sacrifice a bit of that complimentary tropical isle landscape of lush foliage. Park Hyatt Hadahaa’s water villas, however, bring a touch of that island paradise onto your own private nook with a mini-garden of dense greenery on the deck. The sizeable planter provides a very softening and natural touch to the otherwise hard edges and surfaces of characteristics of water villas. Reclining on the adjacent settee, I felt that I was on my own personal deserted island.


Best of the Maldives: Aqua Yoga – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - aqua yoga 1

Bouncing around in the water takes a more controlled, purposeful and therapeutic dimension at Park Hyatt Hadahaa. Their Vidhun Spa offers its own special Aqua Yoga programme.

The developer and teacher of this innovative activity is spa yoga teacher Deeksha (see photos). Like many activities (especially those that involve a bit of pain and effort), her charisma and energy mutes the discomfort and difficulty. She personally turns the pool into an effervescent jacuzzi of can-do with her bubbly personality.

Water is such an immersive part of the Maldives experience, I love it when resorts take activities into the water. The cool and refreshing water provides a crisp contrast to the soothing heat of the ever present sunshine. But when it comes to yoga, the aqueous venue provides extra benefits. First, the natural buoyancy of your body in water facilitates a whole range of yoga moves for a beginner that would require guru level balance and proficiency to achieve standing on land. Secondly, water provides a natural source of resistance. Instead of bands or other devices to provide strength building resistance, Deeksha has devised a number of gentle movements in the water where the water itself is your resistance.

The whole concept does raise the potential for an entirely new range of yoga moves…

  • Downward Facing Dogfish
  • Dolphin Plank
  • Eagle Ray Pose
  • Half Frogfish

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - aqua yoga 2

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - aqua yoga 3

in water

Best of the Maldives: iPads – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

PArk Hyatt Hadahaa - ipad apps

My wife can live without her computer in the Maldives and even her phone, but her tablet is still standard equipment. It’s handy light reading and comfortable way to check on email and update her Facebook posts in the comfort of her lounger.

Park Hyatt Hadahaa has embraced the iPad with its own rich resort app. And each room is equipped with their very own iPad which includes useful information such as dining menus, activities, spa menus, island map, etc.

Paradise?…There’s an app for that.

Best of the Maldives: Island Creation Excursion – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - island formation excursion 1

The exhilaration of the Maldives begins well before you land. It actually begins about 30,000 feet above the Indian Ocean about 20 minutes before arrival at Male airport. As you cross the first of the northern most islands, you are treated to an ultramartine vista that seems like you are descending on different planet with some bizarre aqueous landscape.

The Maldives are defined by their geography. They occupy a rare “Goldilocks” point right at the sea level’s edge. Not mostly below the water (like the Great Barrier Reef and Red Sea reefs), and not relatively high above the water (like the South Pacific islands). But right AT the water surface’s edge. As a result of this topographical anomaly, the islands paint a cobalt tapestry of colours. You can’t help but ask ‘how did all of this come about?

The magical formations didn’t happen over night. They are the products of eons of plate tectonics, volcanic eruption, implosion, erosion, and coral formation. Many resort marine biologists cover this subject as a part of their routine bar presentations. But Park Hyatt Hadahaa has taken this odyssey a literal step further with their Island Creation excursion.

The guide walks you through millennia by taking to to an island that is partially submerged and then to another less so, all the way through the various phases of island formation until you finish at a large inhabited one. They show how different formations are representative of different stages of island (or thila or reef, etc.) development. A gee-whiz geology lesson.

The whole concept reminds me of our expedition in the Grand Canyon (another one of those rare destinations where you feel that you are on another planet). You start at one end and as you progress, you don’t just get a history of the canyon, you get a history of the Earth itself.

All of the most stunning places on this planet are so because they provide a glimpse to the ancient miracle of the Earth, its majesty and its mystery. Maybe they should name this excursion ‘the Majesty Mystery Tour’.


Park Hyatt Hadahaa - island formation excursion 2

Maldives Tour 2014 – Day 4: Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa tour

As if to trumpet our arrival to one of the most eco-obsessed resorts in the Maldives, the very icon of environmental-friendliness – the dolphin – came out to greet us during our transfer to Park Hyatt Hadahaa. Not just a token welcome party, but a teeming hoard of spinner dolphins jumping, scudding and cruising up to the boat on all sides. I tried to count them, but gave up at 80.

Immediately, Hadahaa’s intimate connection with nature strikes you. The single central byway is completely shrouded from the tropical sun by a dense canopy of palm and other foliage. The resort lets the fallen fronds lay where they fall (most resorts will sweep this debris up) blanketing the surrounding undergrowth with a thick duvet of leaves. But it doesn’t seem unkempt in any way as the main path is clear and tidily edged. When you emerge on the beach, you sink ankle deep in powder white sand (the softest I’d walked since Maafushivaru).

The marquee nature attraction at Hahadaa is the house reef. Reputed to be one of the very best (certainly top 10), it didn’t take long before Lori and I donned our gear and leapt in to explore. Immediately, you could see the how it got its reputation. Hadahaa is one of the rare house reefs where the coral growth extends richly into the lagoon as well as in and amongst the water villas (lagoons and the water villas that are often built on them are often mostly expansive sandy beds). The drop off was readily accessible and teeming with both fish and coral. We came back across the lagoon on return to swim among the coral croppings there. Often such growth gives one the sense of a coral garden. Hadahaa was more like a coral jungle. In fact, a recent marine biology survey assessed that Hadahaa had over 100% coral on its reef. This mathematical anomaly results from the fact that a number of table corals had tumbled down the reef drop off and now there were literally corals growing on top of them. There were corals on top of corals.

General Manager Julian Moore explained why Hadahaa (and many of the other Gaafu Alifu islands) have such excellent reefs. The atoll is the biggest atoll not just in the Maldives, but in the world. It spans about 70 kilometers north to south and 50 kilometers east to west. It is also one of the deepest. This combination brings both a rich flow of nutrients while providing a buffer of protection from storms to islands and reefs inside the atoll.

Welcome to the jungle.

Best of the Maldives: Dining Table – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa dining table

The Maldives has all sorts of creative dining tables. We were delighted by the little sunken-under-glass zen garden design to the tables in Ocean Grill restaurant of Kurumba. Of course, there are some pretty creative places to eat, like Velassaru’s ‘sand castle’ and Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’s ‘in-pool’ dining. And the Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili cellar tables are especially whimsical befitting their surroundings. But the acid test of ‘oooh, I want one of those’ gets passed with flying colours by Park Hyatt Hadahaa with their elongated table in burl wood (I mentioned that I am a sucker for burl wood) which forms the centrepiece of their The Dining Room restaurant. Seriously, I am looking into having a similar one made for our house it impresses me so much. Sakis has another perspective on it here.

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Experience- Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Maldives flag National Day

Happy National Day!

A celebration of Maldivian independence from Portuguese rule in 1558.  Our recommendation for the resort to celebrate all things Maldivian is Park Hyatt Hadahaa. For starters, they add a bit of an authentic twist to their local island excursion. Most resorts offer day trips to local island which provide a glimpse of daily life through a cursory tour. Perhaps the chance to pick up a more native piece of handicraft. Hadahaa has put a bit more effort into introducing its guests to the Maldivian culture with it ‘Journey to the Maldivian Passions’ with 3 distinct experiences on offer..

  • Identity, Faith and Celebration – Take a journey to an outlying island and explore the Maldives first hand. Your personal guide will accompany you to Kondey or Dhandhoo on our high-powered speedboat and then provide an educational tour on the intricacies of local culture, religion and festivities.
  • Artisans – We visit the source of this unique skill and meet the local artisans in their workshops to glimpse a moment of their life. Incorporating traditional values and skills of the people of the islands, handicrafts of Maldives which combine skilled craftsmanship with artistic techniques.
  • Food and Family – Meet a local host and share a moment in the daily life of a fisherman’s wife and her family devotions, and see them living in coral houses furnished with handicrafts. Discover the simple existence of Maldivians in harmony with nature, learning the women’s daily household chores, how they prepare the unique main meals from scarce wood in the smoky traditional kitchens.

Each take about 3 hours, cost about $200 per person and have a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 people.

Hadahaa’s interest in the local culture is not relegated to fancy forays, but rather are woven into the entire resort. Just this month they launched a community development initiative called ‘Hadahha Thrive’ which involves the contributions of all of the Maldivian staff…

“Currently more than 55% of the resort’s employees are Maldivian and despite most coming from the nearby islands, the remote location of Hadahaa means nearly all staff live on the island. With this in mind, Park Hyatt has begun to develop a symbiotic relationship with the neighbouring islands and has formed a committee of elected ‘Ambassadors’ to represent the different communities. Through better connectivity, shared knowledge, development of business skills, and encouragement and participation from both sides, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa hopes to create a mutually beneficial programme that inspires sustainable development projects, allows the resort to gather supplies and recruits from nearby islands, and ensures the local communities develop and prosper…Park Hyatt has selected Gemanafushi and Dhandoo as the first communities to take part in the kick-off projects, based on the number of employees from each of these neighbouring islands. The programme will initially focus on improving five key areas – Business Development…Career Development…Hospitality…Environment…Social Awareness”

Finally, at the resort itself, Hadahaa features the distinctive Battuta restaurant (photo below)…

“Here at our signature Maldivian restaurant, we provide our guests with a distinctive and authentic dining experience. Battuta’s delivers guests with a culinary journey that samples local flavours and regional spices…Nestled into the native flora of the island, guests are offered a thoroughly indigenous experience in a beautiful open space cooled by ocean breezes….An open kitchen is central to the restaurant where you can experience the ultimate regional food experience being cooked right in front of your eyes. This restaurant offers food specialties from the Maldives, India and the Middle East.”


Park Hyatt Hadahaa Battuta restaurant

Best of the Maldives: Coral – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Tim Godfrey Gaafu Alifu cave

If the underwater stars that dazzle you are star fish, starlets and feather stars, then Park Hyatt Hadahaa is the place to swim to and at.

Adrian Neville tweeted last week, “Park Hyatt house reef, the best corals of any resort bar none. But oddly the fish life is as quiet as life on the island.”

Not much better authority than Adrian Neville. And he’s just finished latest research for his upcoming edition of his must-have book on Maldives resorts ‘Resorts of the Maldives’. Check out his Twitter stream for 140-character advance tidbits.

Hadahaa is in the Gaafu Alifu atoll which Harwood and Bryning’s book “Complete Guide to Diving and Snorkeling the Maldives” describes as “The coral reefs inside the atoll are in great condition and a marvel to dive and snorkel” (see picture above).

Best of Maldives Online – Visitor Contribution: Francisco Negrin

Francisco Negrin

It just gets easier and easier to work on Maldives Complete because more and more visitors are kindly writing to me with help, suggestions, missing information, corrections. But one individual stands above all his ability to ferret out the most esoteric and obscure details – Francis Negrin.

He has identified new islands, quirky features, and buried website troves of tidbits. Sometimes I actually have come across some of these things and I think he finds it fun sport to see if he can uncover something missing in the Maldives Complete collection. We also have good chats about all sorts of Maldives topics.

And if his current trip is any indication, he stands out in his adoration of the Maldives. Many people feel blessed with one week in the Maldives though if budget and holiday time permits so many people prefer two. Francisco and his friends are going for an entire month during which include Rihiveli (“truly stunning and very very cheap. A gem . The rare find . Way way better than any resort at that price range except there is no house reef”), Cocoa Island (“Cocoa is stunning. I even cried a bit when i got here.”), Dhoni Island, (excursion to Athuruga from there) , Alila Villas Hadahaa, Kanuhura, and Anantara Kihavah.

To add to his long collection of contributions, the Cocoa Island profile is now 100% complete thanks to his snapping me a picture of the fitness centre that I have just loaded up. You too can follow along (if you can tolerate the envy) at his photo-blog