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.
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).
I’m on a bit of a roll recently with all of the sculpture features. And of all the things that are better with a bit of butter, rolls are right up at the top. JA Manafaru has baked its own upper crust artistic creations with their own boulangerie menagerie.
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.