There are “Best of the Maldives” features…and then there are like “soul mate” features. Features that I just adore. Not everyone will have the same effusive reaction I had to Dhigali’s “Buggy Tracker” application, but for me it was one of the highlights of the 2019 Tour.
The Buggy Tracker is an app that is both part of the resort’s own “Digalhi Maldives” app which you can download onto your smartphone (for iPhone’s, see the AppStore or you cann scan the QR code which is on every room key) – see photo below. It is also supported with an array of monitors dotted around the island at each buggy stop. The app/screen shows a map of the island as well as an icon for the constantly circling buggy so you can see how far away it is from you (see video clip at bottom).
Why a Buggy Tracker? Because Dhigali is sort of a middle sized island. We can and did walk around it, but a complete circumparaumbulation (yes, I love that word) takes nearly half an hour. If you are on the opposite end of the island to where you want to go, you might prefer to forego the stroll and just take the buggy ride. Maybe you are particularly relaxed, maybe you refreshed or it is especially toasty and you don’t want to sweat, maybe you need to be somewhere and are running behind (eg. excursion departing). On tiny island, you just walk everywhere because you are always a couple minutes away from anywhere. On big islands, you have to call for (or wait for) a buggy. When you call, you still have to wait which can be a while if they have other pickups scheduled. On a middle sized island like Dhigali, you can find yourself constantly debating “Should we walk or should we wait for the buggy?” And if you want to take the buggy and it is an on-call service, you sometimes feel a bit lazy and guilty ringing it up for a relatively short journey.
The Buggy Tracker takes all the questioning away. You look at your app or look at the screen and you can see exactly how close the buggy is. If you see if is coming round the bend, you might pop out that minute faster to grab it rather than miss it and wait for it to come around again. If it is on the other side of the island, you might choose to just hoof it. Or if you do decide to wait, it is reassuring to know exactly how far away your ride is and not have to wonder if you are going to be there forever.
Why do I love it so much?
Innovation – The whole spirit of “Best of the Maldives” is really about innovation. Sure, a property might be able to be the biggest or the blingest by just spending the most on some feature, but more of my pieces are about creative touches and distinctive aspects that no one has done in quite the same way in the Maldives.
Technology – As a software guy for my day job, I have a special appreciation for cool applications in this area. I have a particular software soft-spot for geo-location apps. Snorkel Spotter, Dive Site Database and the Admiralty Map DeepZoom all essentially mapping apps.
Utility – The system is so simple and so useful. I love innovations that truly enhance the customer experience.
Maldivian – I always enjoy meeting the fascinating people behind the scenes of the Maldives resort operations especially the local Maldivians to bring this paradise to life. Many have such distinctive talents and contributions. The entire project was the initiative of Mohamed Furuqan, the resort’s IT manager (see photo top). We got to meet up during my stay and geek out a bit about tech. It’s also especially inspiring to see the innovation stem from a homegrown initiative supported wholeheartedly by the management.
If you want to take to the wheel, One and Only Reethi Rah offers buggies for their guests to drive themselves. They are available for rental (except for Grand Villa and Duplex guests which include a villa buggy free of charge). Of course, you can still opt for the chauffeured service on call. And when you pull up to their main restaurant, no worries about parking as they provide their own “Valet Parking” service (see below).
While the main jetty is often the focal point of to-ing and fro-ing, the biggest islands like Canareef (well, one of the longest), also lay on ground shuttles with little electric buggies to ferry people across the property itself. You can call them when you need them, but depending on how busy and far away they are, they might take a few minutes to reach you. Rather than expending any energy standing in the tropical sun, Canareef has constructed a number of sheltered buggy stops at its prime spots (eg. restaurants, spa).
Today is the biggest travel day of the year in America – the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Not all Americans trek “home” (parents’ house) for Christmas (especially if they have young children of their own waiting for Santa at their own house), but nearly everyone makes the effort for Thanksgiving. Hence the “Homecoming” tradition of “Homecoming Game” and “Homecoming Queen” (all part of the day as the town converges on the local high school football game in the morning to see old friends while, typically, Mom is home preparing the feast).
The mayhem of families scattered across a continent was immortalised in the comedy film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. In the Maldives, transport is more of a planes, boats and buggies affair. When the buggy shuttle pulls up, you know you are just about at your new home in paradise. Mind you, these buggies often only go a few hundred yards, but when the Maldives laziness sets in, then any physical activity can seem daunting.
Many resorts offer shuttles on call for covering significant distances, but sometimes you do have to wait for them to arrive. Many times you can just call from the room or restaurant and linger placidly waiting for your chauffeured ride. But Athuruga and Thudufusi have a dedicated water villa jetty shuttle always at the ready to lighten you load to and from your water villa. The silent electric buggy just zips people back and forth along the quite long jetty (the resort water villas are spread out quite a bit more than typical). But instead of facing an 100 metre trek along the jetty to your door, the shuttle will zip over to pick you up as soon as he spots you emerging from your door or stepping onto the jetty.
The latest Australian fashion extends beyond its globetrotting digerati. “Pop ups” are the big new trend especially in London dining. One & Only Reethi Rah has introduced a pop-up store featuring down-under designer Camilla Franks…
“From November 2015 to April 2016, One & Only Reethi Rah guests can browse through a stunning pop-up store at NEO Beach by Australian designer Camilla Franks. Camilla is well-known for her colourful, vibrant and lively collections which combine intricate craftsmanship, prints and detail to create truly individualistic designs. The 2015 season has already seen One & Only launch its own fashion label, partner with the world-renowned fashion house Missoni to release a bespoke capsule collection and launch a Melissa Odabash pop-up store at One & Reethi Rah. A breathtaking aquamarine Issa dress will also be available at exclusively One & Only resorts including One & Only Reethi Rah this year.”
I especially like the Camilla Frank styled buggy decorated as a part of the offer. So you can pop over to the pop up with a pop art buggy!
The fanciest wheels in the world will be on display starting today at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the largest auto show in the world. But for the most rad roadsters in the Maldives, the show is at Hideaway Beach and Sun Siyam Irufushi. They both are bringing a bit of rad styling to the paths of the Maldives.
Do you I do? Time to pop that question with National Proposal Day today. When you start planning you nuptials, you want to book that ideal vehicle to escort you from the chapel. Maybe a posh Roller, or a vintage classic or even a horse-drawn carriage. While the transport is simple, none of those beat the elegance of the paradise surroundings if you opt for the One & Only Reethi Rah wedding buggy though!