There’s bed decorating…and then there is bed artistry. Some of the duvet ovations at Velaa are worthy of a museum. Didn’t know whether to sleep in the bed or frame it. Anantara Kihavah is also executing similarly exquisite renditions, but I gave the nod to Velaa because I have come across more examples and their peacock above is simply masterful. I particularly like the use of blue flowers. Most bed pieces are red petals, increasingly green fronds, and sometimes yellow petals. But blue is sort of the Maldives national colour (if there was one).
While the glitterati use sand to paint themselves, artist Ahmed Shahid of JA Manafaru uses paint to adorn sand. When he is not working in the resort boutique, he creates a variety of sand compositions, but his specialty is football motifs. The resort reports “He works at the boutique. He is a very good self taught artist who makes these designs. They are made for guests, when we are aware of a football team that they support.” His proudest moment was when one of his favourite players, Luis Figo, posed with one of his creations when visiting the resort (see above).
One of the classic “wow” features of the super-deluxe properties are the glass floors in the water villas to peer down on the aquatic playground below. Soneva Fushi’s lack of water villas hasn’t stopped it from it from offering its own version of a truly ‘glass’ floor in its yoga pavilion. Down the centre of the room are glass floor panels. But instead of maritime life beneath, it has a sparkling canvas of crushed glass recycled from the island. It’s like an aquamarine carpet. Just another example of Soneva’s glass ingenuity.
One of the most striking aspects to our own house in England is its beams. We live in a 18th century hay barn and the conversion has kept as many of the original oak timber exposed as possible. This rough hewn timber style is one of Soneva Fushi’s own most defining design motifs. It exudes the all-natural, artisanal, Swiss Family Robinson aesthetic that pervades the property. Beams are up, Soni.
Turtles all the way down…
Turtles aren’t just some namesake mascot for Velaa (“Velaa” means turtle in Maldivian). They are more like its spirit animal that imbues the property from top to bottom. And everywhere in between.
From top, the entire layout of the resort is designed to look turtle shaped from an aerial view. The water villas have been arranged in an almond shape to resemble a turtle head, and 4 jetties surround the circular island to complete the chelonian outline. From below, Velaa is itself a turtle nesting ground (as we so fortunately witnessed when we visited).
But the today’s “Best Of” distinction is more about the in between bit where the essence of the turtle is stylishly reflected in every nook and cranny of the property. The most distinctive design element is its simple, chic logo motif which pervades the resort. A football-like mesh pattern of hexagons and pentagon evoking the characteristic patterns on a terrapin shell. I’ve included just a few snaps I took of the restaurant, the Tower bar, the spa. And at bottom is their cappuccino decorated with cocoa in the same distinctive pattern (thanks Belinda).
A treat for women on International Womens Day (though men will like it too) by Jumeirah Vittaveli – Aloe Vera Baked Yogurt with Berries. Created by their Executive Sous Chef Francis Cornelious (see photo below)…
“The life of a modern woman is very stressful and busy, filled with a multitude of tasks and duties that we take on willingly but that also tend to deplete our energy reserves. To counterbalance our stressful routine, we need to ensure that we take care of our body and mind, through healthy food and moments of rest and meditation. At Jumeirah Vittaveli, our creative Executive Sous Chef Francis Cornelious has created a tantalizing dessert that will assist your physical wellbeing, while utilizing unique yet commonly available ingredients.”
The focus of the creation was the health benefits (and of course the taste), but I was enchanted by the colourful artistry of glassy sweetness on top. May women around the world be treated with the same care, consideration and respect as Vittaveli’s tribute to them.
Bed art, tub art, towel art, tree art. How about Fruit Art? The creations by chef Riju Kumar at Paradise Island are a carving cornucopia of Cucurbitaceae. He does both an exquisite array of floral geometric designs (see above) as well as renditions of animals and people. He uses a variety of fruits but mostly sticking to the melon family with watermelons and pumpkins.
With these inspired works, I have created a new category of “Maldives Fruit Art” in the Maldives Complete Pinterest collection. Usually on my boards, I try to show a range of resorts. But the prolific prodigy at Paradise has filled up the collection right from the get go.
“The gardening team of LUX* South Ari Atoll worked on the Ironwood Trees of the island west point sandbank by shaping them into a Japanese Zen Garden ‘on the beach’. The idea is to have a space of silence where guests can relax and let the day go by, under the shades of the trees but without missing out on their time on the beach.“
For those less familiar with the Seuss oeuvre, I’ve featured one of the drawing from his classic “Cat in the Hat” below which not only shows the parallel inspiration, but also features Mr Cat delivering books suitable for today’s occasion. The illustration further down has some of LUX’s local residents modelling for the topiary tops.
Fah who for-aze!