Best of the Maldives: Welcome Wreath – Jumeirah Vittaveli / Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Vittaveli palm leaf pendant

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).

Best of the Maldives: Staff Greeting – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah greeting


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.

Best of the Maldives: Arrival Bar Drinks – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah - arrival bar drinks

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!

Best of the Maldives: Foot Washing – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah foot washing 2



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.

Best of the Maldives: Custom Complimentaries – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi toilettries

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.”

Best of the Maldives: Bling Welcome – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - bling goodies



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.


Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - bling goodies close up

Best of the Maldives: Mosquito Bands – Kurumba

Kurumba citronella bands

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.

Best of the Maldives: Sartorial Gift – Cheval Blanc Randheli

Cheval Blanc Randheli espadrilles

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!).

Best of the Maldives: Slippers – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah slippers


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).


One and Only Reethi Rah slippers 2