“Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.” – Pirate diddy
Not just any rum bar (and not a “rumba”), but a Reggae Rum Bar at NIYAMA. Set up and run by rum aficionado Tony from Jamaica (via South Africa). Perched on the beach at the reef edge, it is the ideal spot for landlubber’s to watch seadogs hang ten or watch sunsets with their favourite grog.
Of course, rum is the foundation of my favourite resort drink – the Pina Colada. The Surf Shark didn’t do a pina colada, but instead a slight variation on it called a “Llama Colada”. But its “Zombie” cocktail had one of my all-time favourite descriptions: “The King of the Surf Shak cocktails. Strictly one per person per night” (see photo at bottom). Of course, it was so intriguing, Lori had to have one. Tony’s favourite rum is the exclusive Diplomatico which took the guile of a swashbuckler to get to the Maldives.
Here are some of the rums on offer…
- Ron Zacapa Centario
- Havana Club
- Pampero Aniversario
- El Ron Prohibido
- Ron Flor De Cana
- Pyrat Rum XO Reserve
- Clement Premier Canne Rhum
- Clement Martinique
- Captain Morgan Jamaica Rum
- Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
- Captain Morgan Cannon Ball
- Caribbean Rum with Coconut Flavour
- Plantation Rum
- Meyers Rum Original Dark
- Flor de Cana
- Cachaça Agacana
“Drinkin rum before 10.00am makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic” -Earl Dibbles JR
I’ve seen some impressive beach badminton and beach volleyball set ups in the Maldives, but Dhigufaru is the first I’ve seen with equally top flight facilities (eg. fixed ribbon line markets, night lights, padded fixed poles, etc.).
Six Nations might have concluded this weekend, but you can carry on your place kicks in paradise at Cinnamon Hakuraa Hura. They not only have one of the only rugby pitches, complete with regulation goal posts and boundary line, but it is also set on the beach beside Hakuraa Hura’s expansive lagoon. The Sri Lankan run resort has a number of Sri Lankan staff you play regularly if you are looking to join in a seaside scrum.
The Christmas-New Year period is the ultimate calendar week for lingering languor. Lori and I couldn’t make it to the Maldives, but we are still enjoying lounging by the seaside at our family’s place in North Carolina. Our feet are up and we are grazing on American junk food. But it still doesn’t compare with the dormant decadence of Hideaway Beach’s beach bed complete with candlelight and delicacies.
If you want to look out for pirates, Finolhu features the most exquisite lifeguard stand on its beach. A retro classic in robin’s egg blue with a apropos thatches roof. It even includes a set of binoculars to gaze out on the rest of the beach and ocean. Perfect for channelling your inner Baywatch. Or for the fashionistas, inner Babe Watch (it is one of the most popular posing platforms on the island).
Dhigufaru might be the “beachiest” island, but Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa is definitely the beachiest activity center. Hakuraa Huraa boasts its own impressive expanse of brilliant white sand (and when the tide goes out it more than doubles in size). Here is there impressive line-up of beach activity…
- Beach Rugby – A few resorts play some beach rugby (eg. Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, JA Manafaru), but no one has a permanent pitch with goals and line markers in the sand (see above).
- Beach Cricket – I’ve seen cricket played in the Maldives, but not Beach Cricket. Again, a permanent bowling area in concrete has been set in the beach.
- Beach Darts – I’ve only seen this at a few resorts.
- Beach Volleyball – Ok, lots of resorts have this too and Hakuraa Huraa’s is a nice set up.
- Beach Badminton – You can find this at several resort, but most resort that do offer badminton offer a hard surface court. The beach would make it harder to run, but could make for some crafty strategy (getting someone out of position is all the more valuable) as well as some heroic diving saves.
- Beach Football – And this is common, but not to be left out here.
The first thing that hits you about Dhigufaru is the beach. It leaps out of the promotional pictures when you are researching and planning your visit (see above). And its vast expanse of dazzling white hits you again as soon as you step off the seaplane.
Many resorts make bold claims about being the biggest or the best. Often these aspects are quite subjective. I might consider a “Best of the Maldives” piece if they have something substantive to hang their claims on, but sometimes I can get some real numbers for comparison sake especially for Geography superlatives (eg. Biggest Island, Lowest Population Density). So I took out my trusty calculator (spreadsheet) actually to estimate what portion of the Dhigufaru island was actually beach. The resort wasn’t making any claims about it, but I was.
By my calculations, the island is 42% beach by square metre which is the top of any active resort I can find (the runners up were Rihiveli, Gili Lankanfushi, Cocoa Island). If you are looking for that plot-of-sand-with-a-palm-tree aesthetic (pile of sand, a little vegetation, and all set in a vast ocean), then Dhigufaru is it.
Holy Ping Pong Batman! This is not just something I have not seen at any other Maldives resort…I haven’t seen it anywhere else in the world (thanks Paola). Sort of like table tennis with golf hazards. Six Senses Laamu describes…
- ”This is a ping pong table that we have made here at the resort as part of our fun & quirky concept. It is placed on the beach outside Sip Sip along with other games we have made here on the island (giant score four, jenga etc). It is not easy as it looks! The table has holes with nets on it so one would have to have great aim to play without dropping the ball in the hole.”
Beer pong returning to its ping pong origins, though contrary to the resort statement, I think there definitely should be a version where you drink a beer if your opponent sends it into one of the holes.
A real *smash* hit!
International Picnic Day today. And the Maldives resort go a bit beyond the blanket and basket. There are dinners “on” the beach, but in the Maldives you can dine “in” the beach. In luxurious style. Here are the Maldives Complete Top Ten “IN” beach dinners for your end your picnic day in paradise…
1. Dusit Thani [ABOVE]
3. LUX Maldives
5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
6. Amilla Fushi
7. Gili Lankanfushi
8. Taj Exotica
9. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
10. Anantara Veli
If you want to keep from getting pink in a carcinoma-inducing sun over-exposure way, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru offers private beach huts for guests:
- “Beach Pavilions, located on the public beach in front of the Dive / Watersport Centre. They can be used by in-house guests that do not want to stay in the privacy of their villa and we also use them for guests that arrive early and have to wait for their villa to be ready for check-in. Three beach cabanas at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and in-house guests can reserve them via our Resorts Hosts / front desk.”
We often struggle with the delicate balance of being as close to the water as possible, but having access to more sun protection than an umbrella and/or palm frond. We find ourselves moving back and forth from our beach perches back to the shelter of our villa set back further. Vabbinfaru provides sort of the best of both worlds with this bonus villas.
Sort of a home away from home away from home.