More resorts feature more artistry from local creatives, and some bring these pieces into the villas, but Oaga features a veritable museum of distinctive art in its Veyoge Gallery Pool Villa room category. And if you are looking for an inspired memento of your ‘night at the museum’, you can purchase the pieces displayed. And even if you don’t buy one, your stay benefits the local artists who graced your space:
- “Suvāsthi Gallery Art: Revel in the art exhibited on the wall, part of our in-house art collection from Maldivian artists. All the displayed art is acquirable via our Suvāsthi Retail Gallery. Fun fact: For each night spent in this villa, an allocation will be made to the contributing artist community.”
All-inclusive is becoming very de rigeur in the Maldives these days. But not the “AI” with cheap, constrain your budget, drink off-brand booze to your heart’s content stereotype, but “luxury AI” where the quality of the property and the “inclusions” are high. And in the luxury destination of the Maldives, the 5-star properties are regularly including everything under the sunshine to make the package even more appealing. Sun Siyam Iru Veli has gone beyond just “everything under the sun” to include under the water too with 3 dives included in its AI offering:
- “Within the premium all-inclusive package offered by Sun Siyam Iru Veli, up to three dives per person per week are included for certified divers as an alternative to spa credit. Guests must present a valid diving license and medical record if applicable. Boat charges and equipment hire fees do apply.”
We love all things coconutty and Amilla Maldives features another item for our basket of tropically inspired items:
- “Our soaps are hand-made in Amilla Fushi with home-made pure coconut oil, powdered herbs handpicked from our gardens and natural essential oils”
You can lather yourself with the essence of Amilla for weeks after your return.
The remote working revolution, powered by the pandemic lock-down, has transformed the extent to which people can unshackle themselves from the location (and time) constraints of doing their job. Some people have taken advantage of their new found freedom to work in the cozy idyll of a shed at the bottom of their garden. But others have taken the workplace revamp to the extremes extending their Maldives holidays by doing a bit of work abroad.
“Residences” and long-term stays (ie. months) have risen dramatically here. A good Internet connection and a growing standardisation of teleconferencing as the default mode of doing business make this increasingly feasible and appealing. It used to be that face-to-face included was the default and you did teleconferencing when you really had to, but now the situation has flipped).
To further help you whistle while you work, SAii Lagoon has introduced the first ever co-working space in the Maldives:
- “Crossroads Maldives is set to open the Maldives first-ever co-working space in the Maldives located at The Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives..‘Your SPACE’ at CROSSROADS Maldives would be the first of its kind in the Maldives where freelancers, remote workers, start-ups, and other independent professionals can work together in the communal setting. Offering flexible membership levels from hot desk to designated desks and spaces, members would be able to enjoy complimentary return transfers from Malé, free Wi-Fi, secretarial services including printing, scanning, mail delivery, meeting room booking and self-service coffee and tea. Additional benefits include exclusive discounts from the diverse range of dining and shopping outlets at The Marina.”
Other resorts have added enhanced work spaces in the villas (now tagged with the new tag of “Remote Working”), but SAii Lagoon and Hard Rock have introduced a space dedicated to such working in their Crossroad centre. That way one can get some privacy and other business support services for getting some vital work done (hopefully, so you can stay even longer in paradise with all the fires put out at home).
This is a bit of a special topic for me as one of my other websites/blogs has been looking at the concept of remote and flexible working long before it became trendy – Dynamic Work. As it happens, I am posting this piece from another island paradise, the Galapagos, where Lori and I are taking our Maldives-honed diving skills for a different type of diving adventure and our first ever live-aboard experience.
Why have a faux background on your Zoom call, when you can have the real thing?
Mari-time, Mar-itime…How does your garden grow? With help from a lucky aquatic gardener at Coco Palm Dhuniu Kolhu. The resort is advertising for a “coral reef gardener” to work for a three placement:
- · “A lucky winner will be flown out to the luxurious Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu resort in September, where they will help the Marine Educator with managing and fostering coral growth in the surrounding house reefs…applicants must submit a link to a 2-3-minute video and a 500-word cover letter explaining why they think they would be a good fit for the role. Applicants do not need to have previous experience, but they must be over the age of 18 years, be a competent open water swimmer and keen to gain experience in this field.”
Working in an octopus’ garden has 12 May deadline for application.
International Book Day today. And no better place to be in the Maldives than the home of Maldives own resort bibliophile Malsa Maaz, overseer of Soneva Jani’s bookshop. Yes, the Soneva sister property, Soneva Fushi pioneered the bookseller concept, but Soneva Jani adds the extra distinction of being over water (like most of Soneva Jani) so you can browse with azure vistas around you. The other distinction is that the “Barefoot Bookseller” is a Maldivian herself. Maldives Complete was fortunate to catch up with her during its recent tour and she provided an exclusive interview with her own riveting story. For many of us, the pandemic lockdowns resulted in more reading than ever, and for Malsa it changed her life…
- Where are you from in the Maldives?
I am from Malé, the capital city of the Maldives. I grew up and finished high school there.
- What was the first book you remember loving?
The very first book series I remember falling in love with was the Magical Faraway Tree collection by Enid Blyton. The story revolved around three children who discover the Enchanted Woods with its magical folk. Enid Blyton’s books such as the Famous Five and Secret Seven were quite popular with Maldivian children and were readily available in the school library or bookshops.
- What did you study?
For my Bachelor of Arts, I studied Archaeology and Anthropology and I have just finished my Master of Research in Engaged Anthropology in the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. I focused on documenting the Maldivian cultural heritage and learnt a few traditional arts & crafts such as coconut thatch weaving and lace embroidery weaving using traditional tools. It is a brilliant discipline that allows me to work just about anywhere.
- How did you learn about the bookseller role?
Over the first lockdown, I joined a lot of bookclub groups where I saw an article about a dream job selling books in paradise. I didn’t even realise it was the Maldives at first! But I was still studying at the point, so I couldn’t apply then. Few months later, as I was finishing my thesis, I saw the job role advertised again on a local news article and it said they were looking for a local candidate. It was perfect timing – so I applied as quickly as I could and now here I am!
- What was a question that they asked you in the interview?
I was asked about my previous work experiences and how I would utilise them in the Barefoot Bookseller role. My answer: I was working whilst in university to support myself and have experience in research, retail, hospitality and F&B. All of that work experience and studying a humanities degree has allowed me to improve my people skills especially when it comes to communication and engagement which the Barefoot Bookseller would require.
- What is your favourite non-fiction book about the Maldives?
The Maldives Islanders and Folk Tales of the Maldives by Spanish anthropologist Xavier Romero-Frias. He has lived and done fieldwork in the Maldives for a number of years and has contributed to documenting our unique cultural heritage and history.
- What book have you re-read (the most)?
Probably Pride and Prejudice! Elizabeth Bennett is one of my favourite literary characters of all time and I somehow always associate with her as she is not scared of breaking barriers. That inspires me – so I always end up re-reading it whenever I feel like I need a little motivation boost.
- What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – recommended to me by a lot of guests. I am also reading The Apollo Murders which is a space mystery thriller by my favourite astronaut Chris Hadfield.
- What is the most popular book requested recently?
I have had a lot of requests for the new Bill Gates book – How to Avoid a Climate Disaster and we should hopefully have it in stock soon.
As I noted a number of times, I originally thought of doing a website about the Maldives called “Maldives for Families”. When we first started visiting this paradise, it was a haven for divers and honeymooners, but we thought it was a superb destination for families. Well, our instincts have played out with all top resorts catering strongly to the family vacationer with kids clubs, family activities and a increasing number of rooming options for families to be together. But, Nika has gone all the way by making family room options for every single room category. Perhaps this family-friendly extreme is no surprise since the resort itself has been a family business since its founding.
Instagram can save the sights and sounds of your trip to paradise, but how to do preserve the scents? The tropical flowers, the salty sea air, the crisp coral sands. I asked that question with my #26 of installment #5 of “Haven’t Seen Yet”, but thanks to SAii Lagoon “M.I.Y” (ie. “Mix It Yourself”) bar, I can finally tick that one off.
The M.I.Y. boutique lets you prepare a customised bouquet from their extensive array of aroma’s in the “Aroma Lab”. “M.I.Y.” is also a reverse acronym for “Yim” Thai word “Yim”, meaning “to smile”. So, the Aroma Lab motto is, “Make a scent that makes you smile.”
The process includes product testing to ensure your skin’s suitability and affinity with the customised formula. You can wear the final olfactory cocktail directly or have it added to you shampoo and soap in your room as well throughout your stay. Finally, each formula is kept for when you return to SAii Lagoon.
Makes scents to me!
For your own personalised memorabilia to express your individual tropical style, LUX North Male features its own Panama hat station. You can choose from a wide range of hot weather headgear and even get is customised with your name.
For a scent that is not just reminiscent of the Maldives experience, but evokes your Maldives experience, Amilla’s Javvu spa features its own “Alchemy Bar”. There you can concoct your own magic potions to conjure up the golden moments from your visit. You are guided by a recipe book that shares its properties and other information about it (see sheet on “Moringa” below). Many of the ingredients are grown right on the island.
Travel Trade Maldives featured an interview with Spa and Wellness Manager, Laura Pagano, who developed the concept:
- “It’s an interactive laboratory where we teach our guests to make their beauty potions and bath products, so it brings a special touch to their experience. During lockdown, the first thing we made was a bath sachet from herbs like lemongrass and neem growing on the island, then we started making our own sea-salt. Then from the dried herbs we realised we could make powders. From there realised can make face masks, teas and more – the possibilities are endless. There were only seven of us ladies working on the island, so we used to have our own girls’ nights with our own homemade face masks, moisturisers, hair masks etc. We even made our own deodorant because we were running out of it in the shop! It’s the best deodorant I’ve ever used, I swear. I’ve been using it since my garden work and it really works, nobody was running away from me!”