While not every room is so individually appointed, the distinctive décor of Hard Rock’s Rock Star Villa does evoke the spirit of individually decorated rooms that I called out back in 2014 in my 5th instalment of “Haven’t Seen Yet”. The unique design aesthetic evokes world famous artistic hotels like Crazy Bear (UK), Ice Hotel (Sweden) and Atelier sul mare (Italy).
Now they need to just take it to the next step. They should honour a rock star every year with a free visit and the villa the star stays in gets christened the “So-And-So Villa”. Sort of like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star would bring a few bits of paraphernalia to contribute to the room décor (in addition to prints of photos and concert posters the resort would have already) and the villa would have the obligatory “So-And-So Slept Here”.
I’ve already featured the striking artistry of Soneva Jani’s arrival jetty, but it wasn’t until our visit there that we could appreciate the ubiquitous artistry of all its jetties. Unlike its sister resort which is primarily land oriented (and only recently added water villas), Soneva Jani has been from its inception very water oriented. So it is fitting that the byways connecting all of the (striking) constructions should itself be an aesthetic journey. Details like the Soneva signature driftwood pieces (see bottom) to the lit glass room numbers inlaid into the walkway timber as extra flair (see photo below – thanks Poala!) to the Suess-like whimsy of these central design elements.
The heart of the Hard Rock ambience are the ubiquitous memorabilia displays of the most renowned acts in the music world. The sprawling landscape of an entire resort provides a stadium-scale palette for the mementos of performing history underscoring their very distinctive aesthetic like a ten-foot bass tower. Like the most pioneering artists themselves, Hard Rock knows what it is as an entertainment and lifestyle offering and it is not afraid to go all out in expressing it. I find the most tedious resorts to be those vanilla concoctions that try to be all things to all people and only end up being nothing special to everybody. The vibrant vibrations vibe may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who do enjoy it, few do it better.
The dhoni is one of the iconic images of this iconic destination. In particular, its scimitar-like flared bow sprit give it a tell-tale aesthetic signature which lends itself to all sorts of artistic application. The latest example I have found is Rahaa’s Dhirun Bar. I especially appreciate the rooftop deck which simulates the flat-top perch on covered dhonis that we enjoy sunbathing on with an extra bit of perspective across the blue tapestry of the Laccadive vistas. I also appreciate when resorts put a bit of extra care into designing their bar areas since chilling with a tropical cocktail is such an essential and memorable part of any Maldives stay (and as such, I have added a “Bar” tag).
Joali’s kids club has the most whimsically decorated beds for little ones as each crib is designed to resemble a hot air balloon. Up, up and away to the land of nod.
Soneva Fushi has pioneered the design style of Swiss Family Robinson chic in the Maldives, but perhaps the acme of this arboreal aesthetic is its Villa 37. While the rough trunks are standard elements throughout Soneva, Villa 37 take the timber to a new dimension with a tapestry of cross sections forming the ceiling and various highlights.
Not a lot of people want to take time away from gazing at paradise to stare at the boob tube (some Maldive purists even object to having TVs in villas as all though they are handy when the rainstorms occasionally hit), but they are often cleverly dual purposed as displays to bring a collection of videos from around the island into your room. Faarufushi provides an extra aesthetic touch to its artistic videos displaying them on a stylish easel which highlights the allure of the scenes of paradise.
Geologists Day today. And all rock lovers will love a rockin’ meal at Joali’s Saoke restaurant features possibly the world’s only over-water rock garden. Striking boulders are set throughout the restaurant of Japanese fare providing a distinctive visual aesthetic.
Sake on the Rocks!
Bathrooms are so critical to buyer appeal that they are the number one room in the house for remodelling return on investment. Maldives bathrooms in the top properties have become quite lavish affairs with sculpted tubs set in pride of place with stunning views. But even the most lavish still sequester the toilet, affectionately known as the “water closet”, in pretty non-descript cells. Joali has gone to unmatched extents to model their WCs with striking style. The lavish loos are lined floor to ceiling with green Norwegian marble. And the light turns on automatically when you open the door so there is no fumbling around for the light switch in the middle of the night.
Faarufushi has made cultivating flora part of the internal décor with stylish vases holding germinating coconut saplings. When they get mature enough, they are transplanted outdoors on the resort.