While the Maldivians have traditionally scurried from island to island by dhoni and more recently motor boat, funds from tourism have provided the resources for more permanent connections with bridges. One of the sights of our recent tour was to see the completed Male to Hulhumale bridge, one of the Maldives’ largest infrastructure projects in its history. On a more modest scale is the The Residence’s new connection to its adjacent sister property The Residence Dhigurah (and to reduce confusion, the original “The Residence” now is going by the name “The Residence Falhumaafushi”). I’ve already posted about the jetty’s charming little deserted island that flanks it at about the halfway point, but the jetty itself is also distinguished as the longest resort-to-resort jetty in the Maldives at half a kilometre (nearly twice as long as Conrad Rangali’s jetty between its two island).
With this post, I’ve added a tag for “Bridge” for all the various bridges that occasionally link the scattered islands.
Maldives resorts themselves are adorned with aesthetically enchanting white sand. One of the most distinctive are the long, narrow spits of sand jutting out into the ocean. The longest stretch of sand (as a opposed to a long beach on a long island) extends from Finolhu’s southern side for an entire 1.8 kilometres. Typically, such arenaceous promontories lead nowhere in particular except an expanse of blueness. But Finolhu’s takes you to a number of resort treats including the best parts of the house reef and the its first rate Crab and Fish Shack.
How do you make a single island into two (not like they need more numbers with 1,900 in the country)? With a canal.
To make it a segregated resort island (since “resort islands” can do things like serve alcohol which “inhabited islands” are prohibited from doing), the original Herathera resort dug a channel to separate the inhabited side of its incredibly long island from the uninhabited side which was being developed in a resort.
Now connected by a handy footbridge (see above), a large portion of the Canareef staff reside on the inhabited staff and walk to work each day. It also provides a the most handy visit to a “local island” as you can simply walk over to visit instead of devoting a whole excursion trip which most resorts offer (the bridge has a security guard to make sure only authorised staff and guest come onto the resort island).
Siamese twin island joined at the bridge.
No “Swiss Family Robinson Chic” (with a little bit of “Indiana Jones Panache”) is complete without the treetop rope bridge. In Soneva Fushi’s case, it overlooks the lush tropical canopy leading to its “Fresh in the Garden” restaurant. They also have a more solid sinuous bridge leading to its observatory if you prefer your spectacular view to be upward rather than downward.
Bridges are often icons of the places they join together. The Golden Gate. The Brooklyn Bridge. Today is the anniversary of the Budapest Bridge which has a personal connection to me as its miniature cousin graces the banks of the Thames in my hometown of Marlow.
Most cities are situated on some body of water, a river or a harbour, due to a heritage of waterway commerce. And yet with all of the water surrounding the Maldives, I had never come across a bridge until One and Only Reethi Rah. They actually have two. You can see the second one in the distance in the photo above. It is a charming Kodak moment spot with distinctive vistas in both directions.
Bridges also have their own romance about them. Pont des Arts in Paris started the now worldwide trend of “Locks of Love” where lovers attach locks and throw the key into the river. The Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, Iran is a famous as a lovers tryst as it is elegantly captivating.
Reethi is sort of a Rialto Bridge for Venice of the tropics.
At LUX* Maldives, the streets are paved with silky sand. Not just the pathways, but the major intra-island thoroughfares…across the ocean.
During low tide, one of the longest sandbanks in the Maldives connects LUX* to the neighbouring local island of Dhigurah (the sandbank is in the middle of the bottom of the picture above and Dhigurah would be further down below the edge of the picture). Guests actually need to avoid temptation of crossing it (there is a sign asking guest not to pass) because the local island is Muslim and things like women in bikinis are preferred kept in the resorts. Also, if guest loses track of the tide, then they can be stranded. But, a number of workers are from the island and walk across the isthmus land bridge to work at times.
Best commuter line ever.