Best of the Maldives: Audio Immersion – Patina

Patina - musicology

Soothing music is a staple of the spa experience, but The Patina has taken audio’s therapeutic powers to new levels with its investment in IRIS “sound immersion technology”:

  • As a key component of FLOW and catalyst to the Immersion menu, cutting edge biohacking applications allow guests to explore new ways of ensuring they look and feel their very best. Pioneering IRIS sound immersion technology triggers positive brain activation through audio, using an algorithm to split out and increase sound wave information to the brain. The process stimulates the brain- boosting high frequency Beta waves (13-30 Hz) dominant in our waking state and when we are alert, attentive and focused on a demanding task. This sound evokes an active listening brain state reflecting higher engagement and reward, and associated endorphin release – described by psychologists as a ‘flow state’. Immersive sound brings neurological benefits ranging from improved motivation and performance levels to increased learning and feelings of wellbeing and personal fulfilment. By inducing deep relaxation, it has been shown to improve cardiac health by boosting heart rate variability. The sessions are delivered through patented IRIS Flow headsets in the relaxation area, either before or after immersions, to prepare or relax the body and mind, or as a complement to creative activities. Curated to showcase this unique collaboration, an exclusive IRIS x Patina Hotels playlist is now available via the IRIS – Listen Well mobile app. Simply download the app for free via App Store or Google Play, click on ‘IRIS Library’ and select ‘IRIS x Patina Hotels’ under ‘IRIS-curated playlists.”

The sound track doesn’t just complement the treatment, but the sound is the treatment.

   

Best of the Maldives: Heritage Curation – Cora Cora

Cora Cora - curation

  • “A Thousand Years of Receive Visitors – To Change and Be Changed: Maldivian history is defined by travel and transformation. The archipelago’s location has historically made it an easy discover for settlers from the subcontinent. Their arrival throughout the millennia alongside the bloom of trade across the Indian Ocean, resulted in interactions responsible for embedding the objects her in The Dutch Onion – and producing today’s diverse Maldivian communities.”

I already written the about museum on Maamagili, but the work continues under the new management of Cora Cora. The extensive collection of heritage is not just a showpiece assembling a few artifacts for the cultural curiosity of the guests, but instead an ongoing research, excavation, restoration project that continues to literally unearth treasures from the Maldives’ distant past.

The work is conducted at their Collection Centre where they continue to examine and catalogue pieces found on the island. During my visit, experts in ancient Chinese porcelain visiting to the resort with the primary objective of examining the trove of artifacts. The resort is still moving an ancient mosque uncovered during construction and is reconstructing it. In fact, a entirely new bathing tank found and excavated when the Cora Cora property was developed.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on some of the intriguing details of this archaeological work.

Cora Cora - musuem

Best of the Maldives: Maldives Discovery Centre – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock / The Crossroads

Hard Rock - Crossroads Maldives discovery center 1

If you want an overview of the Maldives destination with more an experience than a guide book, then Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon (actually sited at The Crossroads):

  • “The Maldives have long been the crossroads of the world, where cultures meet, and where explorers, traders and pioneers from a myriad of different cultures have weighed anchor and helped to define the extraordinary culture and heritage of the islands. This unique attraction space, covering 500 square metres, uses stunning designs and interactive displays to explore the Maldives rich history, marine biodiversity and how local arts and crafts have shaped the islands’ unique cultural identity. This unforgettable educational experience works closely with the local community to promote their way of life and showcase the handicrafts of this remarkable island nation.”

The exhibit is a proper professional museum with slick presentation and exhibits of everything above and below the water. We received a tour of this interactive and artistic gallery by its manager Iyran. It is so packed with educational displays that even local Maldivian school children visit it.

The Crossroad - Maldives Discovery Centre

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Climbing– Fushifaru

Fushifaru - coconut climbing 1

It takes more than a leap to get to the top of the coconut tree, but instead traditional climbing as featured by Fushifaru’s Coconut Climbing Competition. Maldives Insider reported

  • Fushifaru Maldives on Friday hosted Lhaviyani atoll’s very first Coconut Climbing Competition. With contestants from all around the atoll, including Innahura, Cocoon, Kanuhura, Hurawalhi, Kudadoo and Fushifaru, it was a fantastic day to bring everyone together to celebrate Maldivian culture. There was no better way to revive this Maldivian tradition that hasn’t taken place since 1985! The contestants were asked to climb the coconut tree all the way to the top, come down safely and then husk a coconut all under time pressureFushifaru’s very own Maldivian Coconut Climber Thoha took away the winner’s trophy as he completed his round in only 42 seconds!”

Prizes included a cash award for first and free nights at Fushifaru for second and third.

Top stuff!

Fushifaru - coconut climbing 2

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Fusion – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi - tastmakers

A fusion closer to the Maldivian home is Soneva Fushi’s “Tastemaker” who combines Laccadive flavours with a range of Asian flavours drawn from his travels in the region:

  • “Maldivian born and bred, Chef Sobah is considered one of the pioneers of his islands’ rich culinary heritage. As a child, his family’s main source of income was from fishing, and he would help his parents sun-dry and smoke the daily catch. Today, Chef Sobah draws upon the traditional techniques of Maldivian cooking in his Soneva Fushi restaurant, Sobah’s, the first restaurant in the Maldives to offer authentic Maldivian fare with a contemporary twist.”

I’ve added a tag for “Fusion” with this post as so many of the top properties are distinguishing their fare with the flai of inventive combination.

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Cuisine Night – Makunudu

Makunudu - Maldivian cuising night 5

Over two decades I have been to countless “Maldivian Nights” at resort restaurants, but none so extensive as Makunudu’s lavish and authentic spread. Sometimes “Maldivian Night” is primarily little more than a bunch of reef fish curry. But Makunudu’s included all sort of delicacies and ingredients (the photos here provide a sample of the cuisine on offer). My favourite had to be the Fried Tapioca Chips which I had never sampled in all my years visiting despite being a huge tapioca fan.

Makunudu - Maldivian cuisine night 4

Makunudu - Maldivian cuisine night 3

Makunudu - Maldivian cuisine night 2

Makunudu - maldivian cuisine night

Makunudu - maldivian cuisine night 5

Best of the Maldives: Koari – AaaVeee

AaaVeee - Koari decor

One resort that is always dressed in traditional Maldivian garb is AaaVeee. The entire resort is not just inspired by local Maldivian design, but most of the infrastructure was produced in the Maldives itself. In fact, a good number of things like chairs and tables were made on the island by Maldivians using materials from the island itself.

Perhaps the most “Maldivian” aspect is the ubiquitous “koari” adornments. “Koari” means “cone” and is a traditional form of decoration found on the islands. It is a cone made out of palm thatch placed atop a tall pole. I’ve already posted about the koari used to mark the navigation channel to the resort, but it is also used at the reception jetty (see above), in the lagoon (directly below) and various other places across the island. The resort’s chef even baked a “Koari Kake” (below).

AaaVeee - koari entrance

AaaVeee - koari water

AaaVeee - Koari chocolate

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Warrior – Kanuhura

Kanuhura - Maldivian warrior 1

For a traditional twist on military-grade training, Kanuhura offers Maldivian Warrior training…

  • “Maldivian warrior is a bootcamp fitness course on the beach inspired by what Maldivians would have used in the past to keep fit before air-conditioned gyms came to the country. It’s a blend of calisthenics and exercises on the beach using wooden blocks, logs and heavy stones, followed by a swim in the lagoon and a run around the beach (over 3km to get round the island once).”

Kanuhura - Maldivian warrior 3

Kanuhura - Maldivian warrior 2

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Artist Exhibition – Loama Maldives at Maamigili

Loama Maldives at Maamigili - art exhibition

From the extremes of primitive to avant garde, Maldivian artists also excel at classic art forms like oils and etchings. Not surprisingly, that home of the arts, Loama Maldives at Maamigili is an opportune place to sample these masterpieces…

“Loama Art Gallery is affiliated with the National Art Gallery, Maldives, and shows contemporary art from the Maldives. It offers a valuable platform for artists to exhibit and sell their work to a local and international audience. Contemporary art in Maldives has seen significant changes in themes and style over the last few decades. On the Path of a Dream brings together the work of contemporary artists whose diverse and surprising themes examine their innate senses borne while living in the Maldives. These artists have works that span decades and explores their subjects in-depth, visiting and revisiting ideas that form the identity of people inhabiting these islands. Loama Art Gallery aims to hold four exhibitions annually and the current exhibition at the overwater art gallery features five Maldivian artists who we are proud to present”

  • Afzal Shafiu Hassan (directly below) – “although he works mostly with oil water colors. In 1994, at the age of 18, Afu began his professional career as a postages stamp designer at Maldives Post.”
  • Eagan Badheeu (above) – “Impressionist landscapes and seascapes depicting the culture and lifestyle of the Maldives are his signature subjects…He earned initial recognition in the year 2000 when his works were exhibited in ‘Funoas’ (the beginning of southwest monsoon) Art exhibition held at Esjehi Gallery in Malé.”
  • Aminath Hilmy (bottom) – “As a young girl her playground was sea hibiscus groves by the beach on Thinadhoo, Gaaf Dhaal Atoll. Her mother, Fathimath Hussain, was a Kasabu (embroidery) maker and a tailor. These skills were induced to young Aminath Hilmly and is reminiscent in her style of work…Aminath Hilmy has shown her work in Esjehi Gallery and National Art Gallery in Male.”

An this esteemed group is not alone so I have added the new category Tag “Maldivian Artist” to the blog today so you can peruse a virtual exhibition of local mastery.

A summary of the exhibit can be found here.

Loama Maldives at Maamigili - art exhibition 2

Loama Maldives at Maamigili - art exhibition 3

Best of the Maldives: Local Island Bridge – Canareef

Canareef - local island bridge

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.

Canareef - canal