Black Friday and the American Christmas shopping season has started. Thanksgiving yesterday serves as sort of a starting pistol for the Yankee yuletide season. While there are plenty of impatient transgressions, it’s generally considered a bit of poor form to decorate, play carols or otherwise engage in Krimbo merriment until after sleeping off an excess of poultry consumption.
EVERYONE comes home for Thanksgiving. More so than for Christmas. Hence the term “Homecoming” (as in “Homecoming Queen”) which is the big, local school football game where everyone gathers to see friends who have also returned and to build up an appetite while the turkey is cooking at home. As a result, the Friday after (Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday) is nearly always taken off from work. So you have a house full of relatives and a day off. What to do that everyone will enjoy? A trip to the Mall to start Christmas shopping! Also, it’s helpful that everyone is around to help find things everyone wants, check sizing, etc. Hence the near hallowed tradition of “Black Friday” emerged as savvy stores scrambled to grab as much of this early spend from the Christmas fund as possible. Their promotions and marketing just stoked the mania even further till you get the consumer madness we see today.
If you are looking for a present for me, one of the nicest items we saw this summer was Finolhu’s signature ice bucket with a powder blue explorer-chic design. It evokes Alviero Martini’s “Premiere Classe” fashion line (that Lori and I have several pieces of). The resort also features tissue boxes, toiletry boxes and other items and amenities, but the ice bucket is for sale at the shake shack for $200. Dear Santa…
Innie, outie and innie/outie. Dual indoor and outdoor showers have become pretty much table stakes at the five-star properties. A few of the higher end properties have introduced the drench waterfall showers. But Amilla Fushi and Finolhu not only feature the drench showers, but also have a triple shower combo with outdoor showers on both the front and back decks.
At the WTM, each country invests all sorts of creativity and panache into their booths to stand out from the crowd as agents and operators mull what trips to send their clients on. But no Excursion Desk in the Maldives, where you go to decide what trips you want to go to during your stay, have the flair of Finolhu’s pink microbus. All part of the resort’s retro chic vibe.
The younger set might not be ready for a shaving, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be pampered with a bit of beauty therapy. Finolhu’s “Lush” salon features a pint-sized, fully equipped beauty parlour for budding fashionistas.
Hug a Sheep Day today! Aka “I love ewe” day for all ovinophiles If you hadn’t herd, Finolhu has adopted the fluffy cloven-hoofed ruminants as their resort mascot in a nod to their location in the eponymous Baa Atoll (or should be say “Baaaaaa Atoll”). Various woolly figures are found all over the island (see photos). So maybe skip the lamb curry today out of respect.
Coconuts are the bounty of the Maldivian plots of sand. On nearly any island, some staff member will – often a gardener with a machete for clearing – will grab you one, open up a whole with a few well-placed hacks and let you sip its succulent coconut water. When you’re done, he will also slice the fruit open so you can nibble on the tender coconut meat inside. A modest gift of a few dollars is always appreciated in return. Finolhu has parked up a more stylish outlet for noshing on some nucifera. An iconic VW bus in pastel robin’s egg blue with a coconut stand right by the pool so you can sample with tropical treat whenever the mood strikes.
Finolhu puts the “Soleil” into the “Cirque de Soleil”. Today is International Sight day and some of the things you will see at Finolhu will make you not believe your eyes (including the occasional mermaid known to visit the island).
Finolhu has a bit of a retro Las Vegas nightlife vibe with its own resident entertainment acts high on showmanship and flair. They’ve featured hoops, silk banners, large hoops, fire dancing by a group called Area 51 which resident for three months. Then they circulate in a fresh set of artistes. When we visited a group from Mexico was there performing every night.
The resort explained that part of their contact is that during the day, the performers must work on new tricks and material. The idea is that the “artists-in-residence” have sort of a bootcamp for developing and refining their craft and act all the while sharing the fresh new work with the resort guests. Finolhu targets young groups early in their career so the booking can be a boost to their careers.
Sometimes resort (and cruise) entertainment can be a bit jaded. Circuit acts going through the motions with their gigs of tired material. But the Finolhu acts had a fresh vitality about them. All the buzz of someone pursuing their dreams and living them every day in paradise. And when they finally do hit the big time and get that headline act in Vegas, you can say you saw them in the original Circles of Sun in the Indian Ocean.
Double header for the double deckers at Finolhu this week. This one is a bit more dramatic and as stunning underneath as it is on top as a waterfall cascades into the pool enveloping the in-pool bar. More “Ballers” than “Baywatch” (with more than a hint of Starship Enterprise).
If you want to look out for pirates, Finolhu features the most exquisite lifeguard stand on its beach. A retro classic in robin’s egg blue with a apropos thatches roof. It even includes a set of binoculars to gaze out on the rest of the beach and ocean. Perfect for channelling your inner Baywatch. Or for the fashionistas, inner Babe Watch (it is one of the most popular posing platforms on the island).
And Finolhu has a bagel station for people who prefer their round dough morning thing savoury not sweet. Four different varieties of bagels and more toppings than I have seen this side of New York’s West Side. Of course, smoked salmon, but the smoked shrimps were a revelation. They also had smoked tuna and smoked king fish. As well as an assortment of cold cuts and other cheeses.