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.
What you really want to find their way home when they lag behind are your bags. Another gift that Kurumba offers a delightfully made rubber luggage tags. They are much classier than the paper tags the airlines hand out and they are also sturdier than the typical credit card plastic tags
Colourful banded creatures aren’t just found on the reefs, but can be found across the beaches of Kurumba. They also frequent the beaches and bars in aqua blue and pastel pink thanks to the resorts complimentary citronella bands to repel biting insects. I’ve never really seen a mosquito in the Maldives, but people say they are there and even one can be a nuisance especially to those sensitive to their bites. Even if they don’t both you, the bands make for colourful soft bracelets.
The Maldives is renowned for the “no shoes, no news” experience, but the newly minted Cheval Blanc Randheli resort offers the “new shoes” experience.
Yes, the sensuality of roaming barefoot throughout an island is a Maldives specialty, but for some and some situations, comfortable sandals or casual footwear would suit better. For these, Cheval Blanc provides a complimentary pair of their own stylish espadrilles on arrival (thanks Francisco and congrats on your 50th Opera…just waiting for your Maldives premiere!).
So the sensitive of foot, instead of changing the walkways, you can change the walkers. It’s sort of de rigeur for spas and posh hotels to provide complimentary slippers. But usually they are cheap terry cloth or foam flip-flop things. But One & Only Reethi Rah provides elegantly woven his-and-her slippers for your comfort and convenience. And not just one pair, but a softer open toe set for outside as well (see below).
The fashion is all minimalist modern style in the Maldives as the moment. It does suit the diminutive and natural ambience of the islands natural beauty. But Sun Island’s old school rococo elegance of its reception evokes a bygone subcontinental era of Rajs and palatial splendour. Their sofas exude this opulence as do the other rich décor in their air conditioned lounge. When my wife and I arrived, it took us by surprise for its unconventional luxury and we thoroughly enjoyed this twist on sumptuous reception. It’s not classic Maldives, but it is classic.
Advent has arrived and with it the arrival of yuletide holiday greetings. Greetings are a big deal in the Maldives with each resort often providing their own little touches and twists. Sheraton Full Moon’s welcome centre is as grand and elaborate as many resort receptions (Full Moon also has a full reception further in the island). The facility comes with a air conditioned waiting area and other amenities.
As with other resorts, many of the staff come out to greet the guest both coming a leaving. A lovely gesture, but we were particularly impressed when about a haf dozen staff came out at 5:00 in the morning (we had an early seaplane to catch) simply to wave good-bye to us.
Sometimes the greeting is distinguished by the arrival jetty itself. Iru Fushi also has a cultural twist to its welcome and a Maldivian one at that. Its arrival jetty is fashioned into a classic Maldivian dhoni.