Black Friday and the American Christmas shopping season has started. Thanksgiving yesterday serves as sort of a starting pistol for the Yankee yuletide season. While there are plenty of impatient transgressions, it’s generally considered a bit of poor form to decorate, play carols or otherwise engage in Krimbo merriment until after sleeping off an excess of poultry consumption.
EVERYONE comes home for Thanksgiving. More so than for Christmas. Hence the term “Homecoming” (as in “Homecoming Queen”) which is the big, local school football game where everyone gathers to see friends who have also returned and to build up an appetite while the turkey is cooking at home. As a result, the Friday after (Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday) is nearly always taken off from work. So you have a house full of relatives and a day off. What to do that everyone will enjoy? A trip to the Mall to start Christmas shopping! Also, it’s helpful that everyone is around to help find things everyone wants, check sizing, etc. Hence the near hallowed tradition of “Black Friday” emerged as savvy stores scrambled to grab as much of this early spend from the Christmas fund as possible. Their promotions and marketing just stoked the mania even further till you get the consumer madness we see today.
If you are looking for a present for me, one of the nicest items we saw this summer was Finolhu’s signature ice bucket with a powder blue explorer-chic design. It evokes Alviero Martini’s “Premiere Classe” fashion line (that Lori and I have several pieces of). The resort also features tissue boxes, toiletry boxes and other items and amenities, but the ice bucket is for sale at the shake shack for $200. Dear Santa…
I’ve always wondered why the Maldives resorts didn’t use more Maldivian artists for room décor. I’ve come across so many impressive talents in my decades of Maldives visits. Their renditions of the Maldivian vignettes are as personal as they are authentic. But my favourite of all resort artwork are the commissioned room paintings for the Summer Island resort revamp.
When I entered my the first room on my resort tour this July, I was stunned by the abstract painting over the bed (see below). It had captured the paradise parfait of colour that define the vistas from any point on any island. White sand, turquoise lagoon, azure ocean, green island, robin’s egg blue sky. This distinctive striation inspired my own graphic design in the header to this blog (see top of page). Also, you can see it in the header picture of the Maldives Complete Facebook page.
Every room has its own unique piece. And the “Do Not Disturb” signs for the door were similar crafted. All the work was done by an in house artist.
Mastery in the master bedrooms.
Hug a Sheep Day today! Aka “I love ewe” day for all ovinophiles If you hadn’t herd, Finolhu has adopted the fluffy cloven-hoofed ruminants as their resort mascot in a nod to their location in the eponymous Baa Atoll (or should be say “Baaaaaa Atoll”). Various woolly figures are found all over the island (see photos). So maybe skip the lamb curry today out of respect.
- “What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing. You wouldn’t be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.” – David Hockney
At most resorts, the staff give at bit of themselves every day to make the visit by the guests memorable and distinctive. At Amilla Fushi, this investment is expressed indelibly in a unique exhibition of creativity and personality.
The Mystique Garden is a chef’s garden where you can enjoy special meals prepared and served for you al fresco. But your nook is more than the lush greenery of an equatorial paradise. It accented by a collection of striking art works suspended in the tropical canopy. These pieces are the works and gifts of the resort staff themselves.
When the property was near completion and the new team of staff being assembled, the management got everyone together and presented them with a challenge to design and produce pieces of sculpture to adorn the Mystique Garden. The resort provided any tools and materials that they needed. The staff were assembled into department teams as the project was a way to bring the group close together prior to the opening with a focus on thrilling the impeding guests with something out of the ordinary. The teams worked for over a month and the top pieces were selected for inclusion in this open air gallery. The pieces featured and the teams that created them are…
- Chandelier by Management
- Morovian Star by Engineering
- Peace Sign by the Spa
- Dodecahedron by the Front Office
- Silver Mobile by Recreation
I’ve been to lots of chef gardens in the Maldives (in fact, with this post, I am adding a new tag for them “Chef Garden”, but Amilla’s is a bit extra-magical, surrounded not just by the natural beauty of the location, but also by these inspired pieces which offer a personal welcome from the hearts, minds and souls of the resort team to their guests.
World Design Day today. Increasingly, Maldives resorts are looking to stylish design to distinguish their properties so there is vibrant portfolio of creativity found across the destination.
Today’s feature evoked my recent trip to the famous Design Museum in Denmark. One of their most famous exports exhibited is the Danish chair. A further geo-personal connection living as we do near High Wycombe, home of the Wycombe Wanderers, known affectionately as the Chairboys (we can see their training ground from our house).
The exhibit featured a wide array of quirky and inventive styles, but one that caught my eye was Gehry’s cardboard creations (see photo at bottom)…
- “The architect and designer Frank Gehry has been working with cheap and everyday y materials in new and untraditional ways on a small and large scale. In 1987, he created the very sculptural cardboard chair while working as an architect on a cardboard model. He wanted to experiment with the material and discovered that it was possible to transform huge piles of cardboard into sculptures. Little by little it turned into a chair and became one of the icons of the 20th century. And then it is sustainable.”
And you can find such museum quality pieces at in the Maldives as well. Huvafenfushi’s CUBE villa comes with its own similarly inspired chair with a name as fun as its sinuous shape – “The Vitra Wiggle”. It is accompanied by a set of cleverly nested tables as well.
The rain in the main drains plainly down the chain…at Dusit Thani’s Devarana Spa. Their buildings are fitted with decorative rain chains. Instead of boring pipes to channel the rain water of the roof and away from the structure, the rain chains provide a colourful cascade. They become a soothing water feature during the infrequent rain showers in the Maldives providing a bit of a sliver (or copper) lining to such passing storm clouds.
Selecting possibly the most distinctive wardrobe in the Maldives wasn’t hard. In fact…it was amazingly soft. Ayada’s villas are decorated with white cloth armoires are a part of their soft, breezy décor styling. Sort of a Bedouin-chic befitting its occi-oriental crossover motif. Even the shoe holder and vertical storage pockets are cotton.
From the other extreme of rustic simplicity, W Retreat is featuring a number of vibrant graffiti pieces painted by the Maldivian artist Sobah from @TOXI_CREW. He was also learning from Alec Monopoly who came to W Maldives to paint the walls of the “W The Store”. He was joined by Japanese graffiti artist Shiro to give the 15BELOW underground club a facelift (see bottom). W is always pioneering bringing a current, modern vibe to this ancient paradise for a distinctive mash up of new and natural.
On the heels of all that pirate talk, I just had to do another post on Soneva Fushi’s kids club which has its very own pirate ship inside (see photo below). My feature of the day capture’s the “The Den’s” Alice in Wonderland fantastical quality with its nested front doors (photo above) inviting you into a Lewis Carrol world of wonder and amusement.
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Kandolhu puts the water in the “water closet”.
During the past couple of decades that we have been visiting the Maldives, the tubs have gotten larger and the showers more decadent. The bathrooms have emerged from being tucked away to standing out with al fresco opulence. These days villa bathrooms have become almost mini private spas with their lavish design, bountiful space, and luxury fittings. Kandolhu resort exemplifies this trend with their over water villas whose bathrooms exemplify the flair of the resort’s contemporary design with its soaring airy motif, clean lines and crisp styling.