Best of the Maldives: Lifeguard Stand – Finolhu

Finolhu - life guard station

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).

Best of the Maldives: Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa – Beach Sport

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach rugby pitch

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.

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach darts

Best of the Maldives: Beachiest – Dhigufaru

Dhigufaru - beach

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.

Best of the Maldives: Alternative Ping Pong – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - ping pong table

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!

Six Senses Laamu - smash

 

“IN Beach” Dinners

Dusit Thani - beach dinner

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]

2. Dhigufaru
Dhigufaru - beach dinner

3. LUX Maldives
LUX South Ari Atoll - beach dinner

4. Velassaru
Velassaru - beach dinner

5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - in beach dinner

6. Amilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - beach dinner

7. Gili Lankanfushi
Gili Lankanfushi - beach dinner

8.  Taj Exotica
Taj Exotica - in beach dinner

9.  Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - beach dinner

10. Anantara Veli
Anantara Veli - beach dinner

Best of the Maldives: Beach Huts – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - beach hut

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.

Best of the Maldives: Beach Gym – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli boot camp 1

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.

Jumeirah Vittaveli boot camp 2

Best of the Maldives: Private Beach Cinema – Constance Moofushi

Constance Moofushi - private beach cinema

If you prefer a more intimate film night, then Constance Moofushi offers private beach cinema

“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.

Best of the Maldives: Table Tennis Pavilion – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi table tennis pavillion

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.

 

Best of the Maldives: Beach Bootcamp – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - bootcamp

 

 

National Fitness Day today in both the USA and the UK. A chance for us to work on shaping up those body shapes for our own beach photoshoots.

On the Maldives Complete Profile pages, I try to limit the material to the key things people are interested in. One of these is a picture of the Fitness Centre. A good number of folks on the Maldives TripAdvisor Forum are always when people ask about the gym or workout facilities. Why on Earth would you want to do anything with the word “work” associated with it in the indolent Maldives??

Well, on my holidays in the Maldives, workouts were one of my top priorities. Unlike when I am at home, in the Maldives, I am rested and eating well. So my body is ready for some good exercise. As a more restless individual, it gives me something to do. The climate and surroundings are idyllic which are much more invigorating for a good session than trying to motivate oneself to go out in the chilly, damp of England. The whole time can be a bit of a physical bootcamp to re-boot the body.

Like everything in the Maldives, there is usually a “Beach” version. And Jumeirah Dhevanafushi offers a superlative Beach Bootcamp. It was started by Elmer who also pioneered Zumba in the Maldives. It was a “Tabata Bootcamp” developed by the Japanese to train their Olympic athletes. A high intensity interval workout like circuit training. 20 seconds of working out followed by 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds making a 4 minute segment. I sampled it when I visited the resort (see above and directly below) and it was as challenging as any hour long session I had ever done.

The bootcamp is now offered by physical instructor Tanya Shapoval (who also guide the yoga practice – see below). Incidentally, just started practicing yoga regularly myself (ouch!).

Be fit everyone!

 

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - bootcamp 2

 

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - Tanya yoga