long grappled with the ocean shifting the sands all over the place historically. The properties there have figured out a variety of means for reducing this erosion with sea walls, groynes and other measures to address the impact of currents.
For many guests, these protruding measures can detract a bit from the archetypal image of a round plot of sand in the middle of the ocean. Some creative resorts have made lemonade from these aesthetic lemons by dressing up these structures in a number of way (many of which I have shared and now have collected in the new tag of for “Groynes”). I like the approach by OBLU Select Sangeli to smooth the groynes (as opposed to making piles of rocks) and painting them a brilliant white to blend in with the adjacent coral sand beaches.
I’ve lauded the Taj Exotica lagoon in my tour piece (“Turquoise Extremica”), but I do think it is worthy of a special “Best of the Maldives” commendation. Theirs is one of the biggest lagoons in the entire Maldives at over 200 acres. It is the biggest we have seen since Velassaru and LUX South Ari Atoll (bigger than Velassaru and more sheltered than LUX).
But Taj Exotica doesn’t just rest on its lagoon laurels, but instead has invested in it extensively to maximise the lagoon experience. As such, it is probably the most accessorised lagoon we have come across. I already highlighted their extensive coral frame initiative (see photo bottom). It includes not only the obligatory lagoon hammock, but also a lagoon swing (see photo above). The resort also has built special over water pavilions (see below) both attached (below) and detached (above) from the island. And it has even dressed up its beach preserving groynes (see below).
The horizon to horizon stretch of cyan scenery is not just something to gaze at, but also something to immerse yourself in, ever if you don’t want to get wet.
(picture courtesy of Rainbow Cheung)
Take me away…and everyone else too!
The utter seclusion of the remote Maldives resorts attracts a big group of the “get away from it all” crowd. Especially, getting away from the crowds. Also, for the big celebrity contingent, privacy is a big plus. And of course, romantic celebrations always place a premium on intimate seclusion. Dhonakulhi even names itself “Island Hideaway”. For many, the treasure to be hidden is themselves.
Recognizing this appeal, many resorts offer pretty good degree of privacy. Maldives resorts are not packed holiday camps nor crowded beaches. And most resorts take measures to strengthen the privacy with various screens and foliage and private areas (Baros is especially effective at this). Many resorts have villas with large enclosed back areas where people can lounge in the sun or even swim in pools in complete isolation. Some even enclose their villa grounds with compound-like walls for complete shielding (eg. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Jumeirah Vittaveli)
Nika has made ‘Privacy’ the over-arching concept to the entire resort. That is all very well and good to assert, but how does one actually distinguish one’s private paradise from so many other well secreted hide-aways? The villas are indeed well segregated with private paths to their front doors and dense foliage between plots.
The one distinction Nika offers is extending this “privacy” and delineated segregation all the way into the water. First of all this means that every villa beach is a private beach. On just about every other resort, you can make the villa itself as private as you like, but the beach itself is open area that any guest can stroll on.
How does Nika pull off this feat without having oppressive beach guards or unsightly warning signs? It exemplifies a principle that is the focus of my other big blog pursuit – embracing failure. Nika has taken what is a necessary downside to so many resorts – island preserving groynes – and turned them into an asset. Many feel that these man-made structures jutting out from the beach detract from the idyllic natural feel of an island. Some make efforts to minimise the impact. But Nika has actually embraced them and exploited them to create this distinctive feature of privacy. That is because each villa is planted directly between two groynes so they form a natural delineation into the water of the villa’s beach AND swimming area. Taking an ocean dip does feel like you have you own like personal slice of paradise.
It’s not going to be the best resort for people who like to walk around the circumfrance of an island. Of course, you can always swim/snorkel/boat around the periphery (so there is no guarantee that your sunbathing will be completely free from prying eyes or that you will never see another human being).
For those who want the ‘unda da sea’ experience, house reef proximity is a big consideration for many Maldive aficionados. Being opposite Vilamendoo, the current holder of the ‘Closest House Reef’ crown, Lily Beach literally mirrors Vila’s underwater spectacle. Vila is perhaps slightly closer to the water’s edge on average around the island, but Lily’s groynes provide an entry to the house reef where you can literally jump into the drop off. Maybe not the closest all around (literally…or should I say ‘litorally’), but for those who want the absolute quickest entry into the underwater world of delights, then look to Lily.
Last one in…