Best of the Maldives: Towel Swans – Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - towel swans

Another twist on a Japanese art form are the increasingly elaborate origami-esque towel sculptures. The terry cloth swan is now appearing at a number of resorts (including our blockbuster bed decoration at Zitahli Kudafunafaru). But Sun Siyam Irufushi has taken the cygnet sculpting to a new level with it petal adornment and highlights (thanks to NikBie on TripAdvisor from his review there).

 

Best of the Maldives: Bamboo Decor – Velaa

Velaa - Bamboo decor

QI Time…
Question – What type of plant does bamboo come from?
Answer – Tree?
Buzzzzzzz…wrong.
Actually bamboo is a “grass”.
Question – How often does a bamboo plant flower?
Answer – Once a year?
Buzzzzzz…wrong.
Actually, a bamboo plant will only flower once in 65 to up to 120 years. And for good reason because once it has flowered, it then dies. Botanists don’t really know why it does this though it has a few thoeries including stabilizing selection, predator satiation and the fire cycle hypothesis.

And that’s just a few of the “Quite Interesting” aspects to Bambusoideae. Many of which will be discussed at the The World Bamboo Congress which convened today in Damyang, Korea (here’s the link if by now you think I’m just making stuff up). For example…

  • Strength – The tensile strength of plated bamboo cables is as strong as or stronger than a steel cable of the same size. Hemp rope loses 20% of its strength when wet while bamboo cables increase in strength by as much as 20% when wet.
  • Sustainability – It grows easily and cheaply (again, think “lawn of grass”, not “forest of tress”) so it easily regenerated. An acre of bamboo can sequester about 25 metric tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere per year (better in bamboo than in the oceans acidifying them and hurting the coral reefs).
  • Inspiration – The ancient bamboo toy called the “dragon fly” is the origin of the modern helicopter.

(thanks to MidAtlantic Bamboo for their fine page of fun facts about bamboo)

If you want to get into the expert level topics, here are few of the papers being presented this week…

  • “Bamboo: The Secret Weapon in Forest and Landscape Restoration”
  • “Bamboo Carbon Potential for Mitigating Climate Change”
  • “The Ghana Bamboo Bicycle Initiative”
  • “Bambusa: pioneering Latin America’s first craft beer made out of bamboo”

Yes, Bamboo Beer! We actually have a bamboo wood floor in our own bathroom (not round tubes of you are used to seeing, but a flat veneer sheared from the “logs” horizontally).  In fact, I even wear underwear made out of bamboo (still not making this stuff up…BAM”)!

No resort exploits the versatility of bamboo more than Velaa where it is a thematic element to all their design. It is used extensively as both a building material and a decoration. I’ve included photos of a few examples here from the practical (fence below) to the ornate (flower wall scone above).

Bamboozling!

 

Velaa - bamboo chandelier

 

Velaa - bamboo room lighting

 

Velaa - bamboo fence

Best of the Maldives: Bed Decorating – Zitahli Kudafunafaru

Zitahli Kudafunafaru - bed decorating 1

Winner and new champion of the hotly contested bed decorating. Custom room greeting décor has become such an extreme art form in the Maldives, I started a Pinterest page a while back to showcase the best I came across.

Room décor falls into two basic categories…

  1. Bed Decoration – The original classic involving flower petals, sheet folding and palm fronds (mostly for spelling out greetings).
  2. Towel Art – Folding towels into various sculpture.

Zitahli Kudafunfaru has set the new bar with its “Happy Anniversary” extravaganza which elegantly combined both. Mind you it was a particularly special one (30th). The only downside is that is was so beautiful that we were tempted to sleep on the sofa so as not to disturb it. Gorgeous.

 

Zitahli Kudafunafaru - bed decorating 2

Best of the Maldives: Mirrors – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - mirrors

 

 

If you want more literal self reflection, the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi is the place to go. I know I gave a nod to W Retreat’s seeing glass motif. So to fairly distinguish the two, I’m calling out Dhevanafushi’s “free standing” looking glasses. They have extensive wall mirrors too, but the more striking striking features are the framed one placed various places around the villa – The bathroom has a double sided mirror, the outdoor shower has one, the dressing room has a giant one (see photo above)

Great for vamping, less good for vampires.

Best of the Maldives: Black Sand – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - black sand

Admire the black volcanic sand imported from New Zealand on the floor, which gives a stylish counterpoint to the white sand floors throughout the rest of the resort.”

The place to celebrate New Zealand Waitangi Day today is in the Maldives is Conrad Rangali. Their distinctive plot of sand is as black as the Maldives beaches are white. The juxtaposition is sort of a geological circle of life. The black sand comes from relatively recent volcanic eruptions while the Maldives themselves are anciently defunct volcanoes.

Their marketing manager Katherine Anthony elaborates…

“Yes, the black sand in the Cheese and Wine Bar (the only place we have it) is volcanic sand from New Zealand. We liked the contrast with the white sand that we have everywhere else throughout the resort.”

Best of the Maldives: Goldfish Pond – Sun Island

Sun Island gold fish pond

 

 

 

The reflecting pool. The increasingly prevalent third ‘water’ feature on a Maldives resort (after the swimming pool and, of course, the ocean). Very often these artistic aquatic creations are found at receptions of the resort and the spa. Sun Island’s Araamu Spa has a water feature as extensive as its treatment list. Many water features around the Maldives are simply the water and some add a few reef fish, but Araamu’s is a classic gold fish pond packed with colourful fish throughout.  A glimmering land lagoon!

 

Sun Island gold fish