Best of the Maldives: Skydiving – Shangri-La Vilingili

Shangri-La Villingili - skydiving 1

Look! In the sunny cerulean sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s super Best Of! “Super” because skydiving in the Maldives is perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated Best of the Maldives activity to date. It was featured in the very first “Haven’t Seen Yet” post nearly a decade ago. Since then, I have been teased regularly by a number of announcements that skydiving was coming to the destination. A number of initiatives never seemed to get off the ground (quite literally). Even the company who eventually pulled it off, Sky Diving Maldives, posted about it months before details actually were forthcoming. Until finally they teamed up with Shangri-La Villingili for a landmark jump. The plane takes off from neighbouring Gan airport and you land on Villingili island. Guests were able to sail through the blue sky towards the blue water in a tandem jump for $699.

Shangri-La Villingili - skydiving 2

Shangri-La Villingili - skydiving 3

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Villa – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - underwater villa 1

Conrad Rangali’s latest show stopping “wow” feature finally introduces an underwater bedroom to the Maldives. Or should I say “re-introduces”. Actually, Conrad pioneered not only the first underwater restaurant (which was actually my very first “Best of the Maldives” post that kicked off all my blogging about the Maldives over a decade ago), but also experimented with converting the underwater room into a bedroom for guests to sleep in. They discontinued it as it was too difficult to transform the room into a bedroom and back to a restaurant quickly enough to make it work. For example, the guests paying an extreme amount of money to sleep there (at the time the most expensive room in the Maldives) had to wait until later in the evening to access their room when guests had finished dining there and the resort had cleared the restaurant items and set up the bedroom.

So in my 4th “Not Yet Seen” piece I had to add “Underwater Bedroom” back to the list. But now, it can go back to the “Finally Seen” catalogue.

Conrad describes the master bedroom masterpiece as follows….

  • “The entire lower suite was built on land in Singapore, fittingly made of acrylic from Japan’s premiere aquarium manufacturer Nippura Co., and sealed with Shin Etsu Marine sealant, which was used in the construction of Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. Then the 600-ton structure was hoisted by crane onto a specialized ship that could transport it to the Maldives and moor near the reef without damaging it. It was then submerged into the ocean and held firmly in place by 10 concrete piles that ensure it will not move or shift due to a high tide or rough seas.”

Conrad Rangali - underwater villa 2

Conrad Rangali - underwater villa 3

Best of the Maldives: Whale Shark Float – Rihiveli Dream

Rihiveli Dream - whale shark float

Black Friday today is the annual carnival of commercialism. The day after American Thanksgiving when all the families get together (“homecoming”) and have a Friday day off so they all go to the mall to get a jump on their Christmas shopping. For float aficionados, I had already added today’s feature to the resort Santa list. And now one lucky resort – Rihiveli Dream – finally features it. In fact, the whale shark float was the bequest of Maldives Complete and field correspondent Isley Lynn who stayed their this summer as a part of the artist-in-residence posting. Best Maldives Float Ever.

   

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Sculpture Gallery – Sirru Fen Fushi

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 1

International Sculpture Day today. And new resort Sirru Fen Fushi is launching a world class sculpture exhibit with the most distinctively Maldivian twist – it is underwater.

  • “The sculptural installation on Sirru Fen Fushi will offer visitors a unique, cultural eco-art attraction whilst creating the foundations of an artificial reef to enhance the underwater ecosystem. The centre piece will be the Coral Cube, the worlds first semi submerged art space, a portal to the underwater realm offering visitors ephemeral encounters with the natural beauty beneath the water’s surface, delivering an other worldly experience that illustrates the connectivity of man with nature, a hybrid organic form in harmony with its surroundings, a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature.”

This creative installation is another gratifying “Finally Seen” for me as I first suggested such an exhibition 4 years ago with Part 4 of my “Not Seen Yet” series (#7).

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 3

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 2

Best of the Maldives: Gourmet Popsicles – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - popsicle

Gili Lankanfushi is concocting its own magical wands of tasty wizardry with its custom recipe Pool Pops.

  • “This is a popsicle from Fini Foni – our popsicle and ice cream bar at the pool side. Popsicles are chargeable, but during the afternoons we do offer it as a poolside Gili Refreshment. We do have different Gili Refreshment at the poolside available for guests throughout the day.”

The menu includes the following lollygagging lollies…

  • Non-alcoholic
    • Paleta Passion (photo above)
    • Gili Spa
    • Power Bar
    • Sun & Sea
    • Bodu Beru
  • Alcoholic
    • Pina Colada
    • Sangria Al Espagina
    • Fini Bubbly
    • Ghiaccioli Mojito
  • Weekly Special
    • Fini Green

Their icy assortment makes a double “Finally Seen”:

  1. Frozen Juice Pops (#6 from post #5)
  2. Poptails (#7 from post #5)

I’ve even added the new Tag “Frozen” hoping more will come out of the freezers.

Gili Lankanfushi - popsicles

Best of the Maldives: Topological Table – Kanuhura / Kandima

Kandima Kanuhura topological table

Today’s “Best Of” is sort of a “half” have-seen. Like the one in the 12th edition of “Haven’t Seen Yet” (#2) with the ocean inspired table at both Kandima and Kanuhura resorts. I call it “half seen” because while the style is precisely what I thought ideal for a Maldives resort, my fantasy is one constructed based on the actual topology of the island (and its underwater house reef).

Best of the Maldives: Radio Station – Finolhu

 

It’s not just the sights, but also the sound of Christmas that surround you. Not just for advent, but all year round at Finolhu. And not just at the resort, but anywhere in the world where you want to tune into their vibrant soundtrack. Their Baa Baa FM features special DJs as well as a range of live shows Monday through Friday (2:00 – 6:00 pm Finolhu Time +6 GMT). When I tuned I recently, I was graced with the tunes of DJ Jaffa. Kandooma had a radio station years ago, but it stopped before I could do a piece on it.

Instagram allows you vicarious check out snaps of the Maldives’ scenery remotely, a range of webcams can provide a cinematic glimpse of tropical goings-on, blogs like Maldives Complete can keep you up-to-date on the latest developments and stories, and now you can enjoy them all serenaded by cool sounds of BaaBaa FM piped to you direct from paradise.

Finolhu - Baa Beach Club radio

Best of the Maldives: Instagram Butler – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - Instagram butler

Yes, another you read it here first “Finally Seen” in the Maldives. Conrad Rangali has introduced the “world’s first Instagram Butler”. I’m not sure about that claim since I raised this idea nearly two years ago – #2 in Part 7. However, that was a “Social Media Concierge” and maybe no one has yet just focused on Instragram. Here are some details of their offer…

  • “Conducting tours around Rangali Island’s most photogenic locations, all the while offering advice on the best times of day to photograph and the optimal camera angles to use…Stop-offs along the way, on what the hotel calls the #Instatrail, include a traditional Maldivian swing on the beach (an undholi), and Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. But the fun isn’t limited to the walkabout. Yoga enthusiasts can take part in classes whilst at the same time receiving tips from the hotel’s resident instructor on how to strike the most Instagrammable poses. The Instagram Butler service, which the hotel believes to be the first of its kind, can also be combined with a number of special itineraries curated by the hotel in order to lend an alternative to the usual Maldivian photo-fodder of white sand beaches, curvaceous palm trees and turquoise seas.”

Ma’m, would you like filter cropping for breakfast today?