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]
6. Amilla Fushi
10. Anantara Veli
- “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.
If you want the buff beach bod, then you might want to head to Jumeirah Vittaveli for some beach bootcamp on the beach gym they have set up there. Here is another “finally seen” as I had first seen such apparatus during a holiday in Spain a few years ago where they were quite popular for working out in the sun and counteracting the effects of too many sangrias the night before.
“Choose your film from a selection of more than 100 to watch on a private screen, with the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore and soft powder sand beneath your feet. Lie back on loungers or beanbags and let us create a unique luxury cinema experience complete with popcorn, ice cream, canapés, sparkling wine, beers and soft drinks served to you on the beach.”
Lori and I have our own little home cinema in the UK. It is one of the greatest treats. You can stretch out on the sofa, and you can pause the movie to ask a question or refill your wine glass. Frankly, we love watching movies and it’s one of the very few things that we might “miss” when we visit the Maldives. Sure, some resorts have public theatres (but that would involve syncing our schedule to the playing times) and most resorts have TVs (but that would involve secluding ourselves in our room when paradise is just outside the door. Moofushi’s approach seems to be an inspired best of all possible worlds.
The smaller “table” version of tennis is almost always set in covered areas and pavilions at the Maldives resorts. Usually in entertainment buildings. But Soneva Fushi has given the full first class treatment to its “ping pong” pavilion – natural construction, thatches roof, Maldivian-style lounger chairs for spectators. All set on natural soft sand which might slow your panther-like reactions, but keep the game more comfortable and more “outdoors” as you toes sink into the warm sand.