A major acid test for me indicating the luxury level of a resort are the nibbles they serve with drinks. A little bit of savory snacks make the cocktails all the most delectable and allow us to linger longer without getting too pecking for dinner. The most basic resorts don’t offer anything, the 4-stars offer the staples of crisps and peanuts, but a luxury 5-star really needs a distinctive goodies. And Sun Siyam Vilu Reef offered us one of our favourite snacks – dried fruits. We have received various dried fruits at other resorts, but Vilu Reef and an unprecedented assortment. It turns out that they have their own food drier on premises (see photo below) so that can create dried versions of just about anything. We enjoyed the dried apples, oranges, pears, coconut with out very welcome ‘welcome drink’.
Happy Easter! If you especially appreciate the traditional flowers of this holiday, then you will be particularly grateful for the floral greeting by Cora Cora’s own mini lei with a tropical flower on a palm leaf necklace to adorn your welcome.
“And oh that blowfish blow…” – Sebastian, “Under da Sea”, The Little Mermaid
Let’s start our recounting some of our favourite tour features with the distinctively Maldivian greeting welcoming us to our very first arrival, Ritz Carlton Maldives.
I love the creativity with which the resort welcome (and also bid farewell sometimes) to their guests as they arrive to the island’s shore. The latest addition to the cavalcade of cordial choreography is Kudafushi’s fish and wave greeting. A rendition opens their video holiday greeting the staff filmed.
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.