Best of the Maldives: Bath Buddies – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - bath buddies 1

Water is the very essence of the Maldives. So it would seem that an ideal memento of one’s stay would be something one can enjoy when one is in the warm water relaxing. JA Manafaru’s bath buddy provide a few variants especially apropos to a Maldives stay. May favourite is the snorkel duck.

I’ve added a new tag for “Finally Seen” for those “Best of the Maldives” pieces featuring things I had called out in the “Not Yet Seen” series. In this case, #23 of this past Christmas’s post.

Absolutely ducky!

JA Manafaru - bath buddies 2

Best of the Maldives: Tub Rain Showers – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - rain shower

Rain descending from above is not typically a welcome feature of a Maldives stay, except when the rain shower is actually, literally, a “rain SHOWER”.

When we first started coming to the Maldives, massage and power showers were the luxury soakers. Shortly thereafter, “rain showers” became the table stakes default for a self-respecting super-premium resort.

Hideaway Beach resort goes even further with their rain shower offering a trifecta of distinction…

  1. Double shower – A double rain shower. No more getting chilly with having to swap in and out of who gets to be under the water. The resort’s Ocean Villas also have two person rain showers in their bathrooms.
  2. Likely the “tallest shower” in the Maldives (with it reaching several metres up to the bathroom ceiling),
  3. Tub/Shower combo – Another “finally seen” ticked off.

Hideaway Beach - tub rain shower

Best of the Maldives: Water Park – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - water park 1

If you need a little help with your leaping, then I recommend a visit to Hideaway Beach’s new water park. In fact, it looks like one of the best places to leap in the entire Maldives. Water trampoline, water slide, water bounce cushion, water climbing walls…

Consisting of six inflatables such as a trampoline, slide, balance bar, linked by floating pontoons, this will be open daily and is free of charge to all of our guests (both little and grown up!).

It even includes the Inflatable Body Launcher I called for in “Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives – Part 6”.

Geronimo!

Hideaway Beach - water park 2

Hideaway Beach - water park 3

Best of the Maldives: Indoor Cinema – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - cinema

And the Oscar for the best Cinema goes to…JA Manafaru.

About the only thing at our home that provides an idyllic comfort and relaxation on par with the Maldives is nestling down in front of our in-home cinema. When we hit a bit of discretionary income a few years back, we didn’t buy a fancy car or boat or second home. We installed a quite sophisticated home cinema – projection screen, THX 7:1 surround sound, and custom seating where we could put our feet up. You always get an ideal seat, you can drink a glass of wine and you can pause it if you need the toilet.

Today’s “Best of” gives an Oscar weekend double feature to Manafaru. As it happens, they feature double with two cinema set ups – one in the bar and one in the games area. It includes 10 foot wide screen with HD projection and surround sound.   A number of resorts now have outdoor cinemas where you can still soak up the tropical island vibe while enjoying your favourite flick.  But sometimes a bit of shelter from the elements and a space designed for viewing pleasure is the best cinematic experience.  Also, great inclement weather insurance for your Maldives holiday.

Best of the Maldives: Watermelon Carving – Komandoo

Komandoo - Watermelon carving

Happy Year of the Monkey! Chinese will be celebrating all the new year all around the world with feasts and parties. And exquisite decorations and artistry like Komandoo’s carved watermelon. Particularly appropriate with its lucky red hue. Red is considered the most auspicious of colours as children are given New Year’s gift in red envelopes, the streets are decorated with red lanterns, and diamond-shaped paper cut-outs are done with red paper.

It turns out there are also a bunch things the Chinese won’t be doing, that are considered bad luck at this time, like taking medicine (first day), eating porridge, washing hair and using sharp objects.

The Chinese celebrate with all sorts of traditions from the well-known fireworks and dragon dances, to less familiar reunion dinners and new year paintings. To fit it all in, they have 16 days of celebrations. And some will slip away for a few days holiday. And the favourite destination in the world for the Chinese is the Maldives according to a recent survey – “Maldives tops list of Chinese tourists’ favorite island spots”. Another “Best in the World” for the Maldives…”Best in the World for Chinese Tourists”.

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財

Best of the Maldives: Pizza – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - bling pizza

Friday night is pizza night (and a tub of Haagen Dazs). And a pizza that just sizzles with Seth Godin’s “remarkability” factor is Taj Exotica’s “$200 pizza”…

“Inspired by the thousand dollar New York Pizza, Chef Kermani came up with the brilliant idea of the two hundred dollar pizza, which became a famous sensation within the whole Taj Exotica culinary experience. This pizza has captured the hearts of so many guests; people have blogged, photographed and written about it. This four quarters, fifteen inches pizza is filled with the best ingredients hand picked from around the world. The base of this pizza is completely covered with Philadelphia cream cheese with one quarter topped only with waygu beef carpaccio and kalamata olives. Second quarter of the pizza is topped with roasted French duck and Foie Gras with Italian truffles. Another quarter is topped with Italian Porchinis, white parma ham, completely covered with parmesan cheese. The last quarter of the pizza is topped with jumbo lobster medallions with Iranian caviar topped with a finishing touch of 24-karat edible gold leaves. This pizza is served personally by the executive chef, Kermani, sprinkled with thirty years old balsamic, trickled right in front of the guest. This is followed by two glasses of champagne and a photograph with the chef. This photograph is gifted to the guests upon their departure as a part of the memorable two hundred dollar pizza experience.”

In Godin’s “Purple Cow”, he describes how “remarkability” is literally the ability to get people to “remark” about your product. The way you would ‘remark’ to your friends if you passed a purple cow in the field, “Guess what I saw?…”
In the ever escalating arms-race of the super deluxe Maldives resorts, I often challenge them to ask themselves, “What is the story that your guest is going to tell on the golf course or at the Mah Jong table?” It won’t be the pina coladas, sunsets or palm trees. For the multi-millionaire set, these things are rather pedestrian. The “$200 Pizza” does pass that test though. I don’t care how rich you are, not many folks have had a “$200 Pizza”. It is a form of metonymy where a small part of the luxurious experience encapsulates the lavish extravagance of the whole holiday. And in this age of Instagram, where unless you take a picture of it and post then it didn’t happen, bling pizza is ideal Instagram fodder.

The pizza also provides a good illustration in “impact” gift giving.  The price of a gift is governed by two variables – 1. the general expense of the item, and 2. how high is quality of the version you got.  If you want to give a great gift, focus on #2….

  1. Determine your budget
  2. Divide by 10
  3. Identify items that generally cost that amount (the one-tenth)
  4. Find a version of the item that costs 10x the norm

The pizza is great example.  A typical pizza costs around $20 in many places in the world.  So the $200 Pizza is a 10x (order of magnitude) more expensive version.  Another good example is a Christmas gift Lori got me.  I needed collar stays (the little pieces that you put in nice shirts to stiffen the collars).  I like nice shirts and so Lori got special collar stays.  The regular brass ones normally sell for about $5 or so, but Lori bought me lovely silver ones with mother-of-pearl.  They cost $50 (the 10x rule).  The exceptional versions that she found made the gift special (and when I am going to special occasions, I always use them…no one can see them, but I know I’m wearing them).

The problem is that many people focus on #1.  They want to give an impressive class of item (like a watch or a TV), but then can only afford to get a crappy version to fit their budget).  No one if happy with a crappy watch, even if it is a watch.

Lori was able to get something exceptional without breaking the budget because she got a simple type of item.   Not all people can afford the $1,000 cognac and $10,000 suite, but many Maldives visitors can splash out on a $200 pizza and enjoy having a slice (yes, pun intended) of world-class extravagant luxury.

And finally, a lobster pizza in Maldives!!

Exotic(a) pizza with extra bling!

Best of the Maldives: Tower – Velaa

Velaa - tower exterior

For a country whose highest natural elevation is no higher than your average stoop, the few places where you can get some height is a real rarity. The seascape is so uniquely exquisite, but the sea-level topology precludes much of an expansive vista overlooking it. This is why the sea plane transfers are such a special treat providing that breathtaking perspective that eludes the beachside gaze. I’m a big fan of Kandooma’s tower and whenever I am in Male I always stop by Traders’ roof top Azure lounge.

While not open for another couple of weeks, Velaa has started to post pictures of its ravishing new resort online including a number of shots of the surreal Tavaru Tower…

Tavaru houses a Teppanyaki restaurant and makes up the centerpiece of the island: a visually striking ivory-white tower where live cooking and Velaa’s extensive wine cellar take center stage.”

High standards.

Velaa - tower interior