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.
The Maldives radiates so much beauty…on land or sea, over water or beneath, as well as daytime or night. Most people first think about the sun drenched scenery, but the visual spectacles don’t stop with the fiery sunsets. The night time turns on its own display of lustrous luminescence. The Milky Way pageant of celestial sequins sashay across the sky. And the occasional bioluminescent displays bestow the Maldivian shorelines their own shimmering necklace.
The W Retreat is resort for night time radiance. Their recent “Resident Luminous Artist” Tom Bacher conducted “Let It Glow” painting classes where people learned the craft of playing with light. And he also worked on his own pieces (see below) which is plans to exhibit in the future.
Or you could also enjoy the luminous tonic-and-limelight just sitting back over a refreshing drink as they introduced their line of “Glow” drinks concocted with special ingredients that glow in UV lighting (see above)…
- Elderberry Glowing Cocktail – blue curacao, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, rum, gin, vodka, Cointreau, raspberry puree
- Hendricks and Berries Glow – cucumber juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup, sliced cucumber, Hendricks gin, fresh berries (blue berries, raspberries, cranberries), tonic
- Glowing Herb – lime juice, ginger syrup, sugar syrup, homemade rosemary infused gin, tonic cubes, tonic, rosemary, mint
Mind you, there are a few possibilities that I think they missed in their “Let It Glow” line up…
- “Frozen” Margarita
- Cristal-off champagne cocktail
I’ve been lauding the exquisite practice of bed decorating since the outset of this blog when the craft mostly consisted of carefully placed flower petals. Over the years, I’ve amassed a fair collection of exquisite examples (features regularly on the Maldives Complete Pinterest board as well as various distinctive examples). And the mattress masterpieces have evolved to increasing sophistication and diversity. Today’s feature is a particularly artistic creation by Anantara Kihavah Villas (thanks Paola) that I thought was particularly apt for World Oceans Day today.
Now that is a vibrant ocean bed.
JA Manafaru doesn’t just use painted grains of sand to make a stunning tableau, but also painted grains of rice to make a stunning table. And not just on the sand itself, but on the tables on the sand (of beach dinners). Actually throughout the resort too (eg. dining rooms, bars, other places of celebration). A meander through the #jamanafaru Instagram account brings up a whole gallery of masterpieces.
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.