At Taj Exotica, every day (well, every arrival day) features the fragrant Valentinesque blossoms. Each guest is welcomed with a shower of petals. You don’t have to be a bride emerging from the church or pampered by adoring sweetheart, just a fresh arrival to paradise by Taj.
Every arrival at a resort typically includes some special welcome treat. Anything from a fruit basket to gourmet delicacies, a bottle of wine to useful gifts or a ready-to-go cocktail. At Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, the younger set get just as colourfully and creatively constructed welcomes as the parents complete with custom chocolate name plate. Mind you, it might take hours of swimming to burn off the sugar rush!
Welcome to the future!
Maldives has been introducing a range of eco-sustainable initiatives, but Club Med Finolhu Villas actually introduces you to their resort with an imposing eco-investment – a solar panel jetty.
In a part of the world with so little real estate but so much sunshine, the pressing question is ‘where do you find the space to put solar cells.’ Well, resorts face the same question for their villas and the answer has been, something the Maldives has plenty of, over the water. So their welcome jetty and their water villa jetties are rooved with large solar arrays. It’s not only eco-friendly, but it’s a great way to provide a shaded walkway (no more burning your toes on hot timber) and has a stylish design flair to boot.
The resort describes the initiatives as…
“First ever 100 percent solar-powered high-end resort, developed by Global Pvt Ltd. Nearly 6,500 square meters of the resort, which will be operated by Club Med, feature solar panels capable of producing up to 1100 Kilowatts at power peak when the island really only needs around 600 Kilowatts at peak load.”
One of the things that I have decided to add to the Resort Profiles after this tour is a picture of the “Welcome Jetty”. It is a feature that does vary dramatically from resort to resort. I don’t think that prospective guests will choose their resort on it, but I think it is one of those details that provides a glimpse into the style and character of the property. Club Med Finolhu Villas certainly stands out in this regard with a greeting of style and innovation.
If you are inspired to be your own concoct your own cocktail creations, then arrival at Kurumba will start your holiday on the right foot. They provide all the fresh ingredients to make your own mojito precisely to your liking when you walk into your room. We loved the concept because it spurred us to indulge in a way we wouldn’t have otherwise done. When you arrive, it doesn’t feel appropriate to raid the mini-bar right off the bat. And if you did, all you can really do is have a simple drink like a beer, glass of wine or neat liquor. But the layout inspired us to create an especially refreshing and interesting drink to accompany our unpacking and settling in.
Origami Day today. If you are impressed with what the Japanese can do by folding paper, then you should see what the Maldivians do folding palm leaves.
One of the iconic welcome gifts in the travel world is the Hawaiian aloha lei. More than just a greeting, it is an immediate generous gift of hospitality. In keeping with its ‘everything Maldivian’, guests arriving at Jumeriah – both its Vittaveli and Dhevanafushi properties are greeted with an artistic folded palm leaf pendant (hung on a palm leaf chord).
Nearly all of the resorts have special greetings for arriving and departing guests, but One & Only Reethi Rah shares a distinctive greeting every time you bump into one of their staff. It is a subtle gesture of placing one’s right-hand on one’s chest. American’s will recognize it as the “pledge of allegiance” pose. And it is sort of a gesture of the staff’s allegiance to your exceptional experience. But more simply, it’s token of affectionate respect expressing the heart they put into all their efforts on your behalf. It’s almost like you are one of the family with your special ritual.
Welcome drinks range from refreshing tropical fruit drinks to some more creative concoctions, but Anantara Kihavah Villas greeting features a liberal range of libations. They set up a cocktail bar at the welcome area where they will serve you a tropical cocktail of your choosing.
Greetings with a twist!
If there is anything that needs cleaning in the “no shoes” world of the Maldives and needs a bit of pampering after long haul travel, it is the piggy toes. Here Charmaine is treating Lori to a signature welcome by One & Only Reethi Rah. Foot washing is also a gesture of great respect and hospitality in many cultures with even Biblical references.
Even getting free gifts right can be tricky. We often feel bad when the resort management has left a traditional complmentary greeting in our room and it’s something for some reason or another we can’t enjoy. Sometimes it’s not something we fancy at the moment or just isn’t our preference.
The same can be true in the bathroom, that trove of complementary items. We still often bring our own shampoo and conditioner because we’re not certain that the resorts will supply some to our liking.
Soneva Fushi makes sure that all of its generosity hits the mark from the moment they first greet you at the airport lounge. As well as offering you refreshment and sorting out your registration, the hostess also presents you will samples of Soneva’s fragrances (lemon grass and peppermint for shampoo, conditioner and lotion) and bath salts (lemongrass and rosemary). You get to sample their fragrance and choose the one that you would like your room will be equipped with.
They also ask you for your choice of bottle of red, white or champagne for a welcome libation.
There’s an old adage in customer service…”Ask the customer what they want, and give it to them.”
When Jumeirah came to the Maldives a few years ago, I think the expectations were that the two properties (Vittaveli and Dhevanafushi) would be all Dubai bling. Even I held these preconceived notions and was delighted when the properties took a much more subtle approach to Maldives chic with natural and local design inspiration.
Our arrival at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi this summer did indulge us in just a taste of Jumeirah’s guilded style, though, with their most distinctive welcome platter. White chocolate with pistachio, velvet macaroons, coffee bean chocs, peanut brittle truffle. And all of these delicacies topped with a hint of gold leaf.
One tick box to a super-premium (5-plus stars) is distinctive welcome treat on arrival at the room (the first and last impressions are so powerful). In general, the “rating” of a resort can be belied by its welcome refreshment…
- 3 star = nothing
- 4 = fruit
- 5 = something prepared
- 5+ = something special prepared.
Super deluxe is all about those special touches, and Dhevanafushi dazzles with its extra-special golden touch.