Haven’t Seen Yet #11

And we’re off. Flying out today for Tour #8 of Maldives resorts. I will once again be exploring the unseen pockets of paradise capturing new discoveries of special features and offerings. Perhaps, if I am lucky, I might even encounter one of the following sweet sixteen items that neither visits nor research has revealed as of yet…

  1. Mini-Dive

  2. Glass-Bottomed Row Boat – Well, a Ruth wherry, built by Tim McCann in Maryland, USA, wirth an elegant construction befitting some of the super-premium resorts’ clientele.
    Havent Seen - glass bottom row boat
  3. Sumo Tubing – Surfing or pulled by a boat


  1. Advanced Palm FoldingThere’s palm folding…and then there is geometrically designed palm-folding into a life-like sea creatures.
    Havent Seen - advanced palm folding
  2. Starry Sea Table – By Alexandre Chapelin, perhaps this should go to Rangali in recognition of the bioluminescence pictures that went viral.
    Havent Seen - starry sea table
  3. Sologamy – One of the hot wedding destinations of the world might look at this new trend – “Self-marriage or sologamy is marriage by a person to oneself. It is known as a commitment that values self-love, and self-compassion.”
    Havent Seen - sologamy
  4. Panoramic Reef Video – More resorts are offering panoramic room and resort videos, but how about the main event on the house reef like this National Geographic creation.
    Havent Seen - panoramic reef video
  5. Beachgoers Reading Room – Another gem from Hammacher Schlemmer.
    Havent Seen - beach reading room
  6. Musical Toilet – Plays music in your cubicle so no one hears you going about your business.
    Havent Seen - musical toilet
      
  7. Eco-Toilet Cistern – “So when you flush the toilet, the cistern refills through a hole in the top of the cistern, saving water and being bloody efficient. Here it is refilling” (thanks Eileen).
    Havent Seen - eco toilet cistern
  8. Dhoni Roof-Top Shelter – These were standard issue on the dive and transfer boats in Indonesia an they really provided a bit of pampered lounge area for a rooftop vista.
    Havent Seen - dhoni roof shelter
  9. Coffee Ice – For that extra “iced” coffee coldness without getting watered down.
    Havent Seen - coffee ice
  10. Ice Cream Barlour – One of our most decadently favourite drinks is a Haagen Daaz Brandy Alexander (vanilla ice cream, crème de cacao, brandy, nutmeg). The cold cocktails are emerging with places like Tipsy Scoop in New York City. I mean, OMG, “Aperol Creamsicle”!!
    Havent Seen - ice cream barlour
  11. Fruit Waffles – That “Villingili” on his Instagram feed is not Shangri-La. These and some of his other “rawtarian” delights deserve a place at a resort.
    Havent Seen - fruit waffles
  12. Food Carving Extraordinaire – I’ve seen plenty of food carving displayed at the elegant buffets of the Maldives resorts, but nothing on this guy’s level.
    Havent Seen - carved avacado
  13. Coconut Ice Lolly – Still no end of the delicacies one can concoct out of coconut, but this one is particularly apropos for the tropical sun.
    Havent Seen - coconut ice lolly
  14. Coconut Bread – A Buzzfeed tested top recipe. Time for a Maldives appearance.
    Havent Seen - coconut bread
  15. Whale Shark Car – Okay, no roads in the Maldives, but still I couldn’t resist.  With it’s long size and funky vibe, it wouldn’t be entirely out of place at LUX South Ari Atoll.
    Havent Seen - whale shark car
  16. World’s Biggest Water Hazard – Tee on one island and green on neighbouring island.  The picture below is the only one of the top “Island” holes in golf is the only one that is a proper “island” but you can wade to it (a world first for the Maldives is awaiting).
    Havent Seen - remote golf hole

Haven’t Seen Yet – Part X

Seven years…and yet, I still come across so many things I haven’t seen yet in the Maldives. With 22 sleeps to Christmas, here is a Santa List for every resort…

1. EXTREME WATERMELON CARVING – Despite some pretty amazing renditions, I still don’t feel we have hit peak watermelon in the Maldives. [ABOVE]

2. SPA SALT BED – Came upon one of these during our visit to Urbino, Italy. Massage treatment is done on a bed of salt. Allegedly, especially good for skin and respiratory ailments.
Not Seen - Salt spa bed

3. RECOVERY RETREATS – Spas have traditionally been loathe to treat cancer patients because there has been thinking that the ‘treatments’ could actually facilitate the spread of the illness. As it turns out, no clinical evidence exists to support this notion. On the contrary, many doctors are recommending spa treatments to help patients cope with the stress and discomfort of their chemo and other medical treatments. And I know from personal friends facing “big C” challenge, that there is nothing like staring your mortality in the face to inspire some carpe diem and move your bucket list items (like visiting paradise) higher in your personal priorities.
Not Seen - spa

4. LIVING PHOTOGRAPHS – “Cinemagraphs”, which many have referred to as “living photographs”, are a new way to show image and video in one. The new technique – in which one element of the image moves continuously, much like a video, while the rest of the image remains static – is making waves in advertisements and social media because it allows people to connect longer with what they are looking at”.

5. BUTTER COFFEE – The latest craze in coffee decadence with a health-benefit twist. Supposedly a good ‘treatment’ for sleep deprivation (for those long-haul red-eye flights to the Maldives.
Not Seen - butter coffee

6. SUGAR-FREE COCKTAILS – A delights for weight watchers and diabetics, but also the trendy thing in “Healthy Hedonism”.
Not Seen - health headonism

7. SHARK FIN ICE – “Shark Fin Soup”…bad! But “Shark Fin Ice”…brilliant.
Not Seen - Shark Ice

8. SLIDING-SEAT ROWING CATAMARAN – I’ve previous reflected on the fun of having a scull in the Maldives. Even an ocean-going skiff (like they now have at Hulhumale and Gaafu Dhaalu). This ocean going rowing cat seems like an even more stable, low maintenance option for a similar outing.
Not Seen - catamaran

9. PEEK THROUGH SUP – What SUP?? Why isn’t this in the Maldives? Every resort now has the trendy paddleboard. Great activity for the calm atoll waters. But with the added bonus of facilitated portal into the aquatic wonderland below.
Not Seen - see through SUP

10. SEE-THROUGH SUP – Actually, now that we are talking about it…
Not Seen - See Through SUP 2

11. INFLATABLE BOAT PLANE – Yep. For a bit higher vista (admittedly, it would likely be difficult to get a two-person version so a trained resort staff member could pilot it).

12. SELF –PROPELLED AQUANAUT SUIT – Another Hammacher-Schlemmer gem…
Not Seen - aquanaut suit

13. MERMAID TOWEL – Anything mermaid deserves a place on the shelves of the resort gift shops.
Not Seen - mermaid towel

14. MERMAID BLANKETS – Maybe a bit warm for the toasty temps of the Maldives, but still an irresistible item for a Maldive gift shop.
Not Seen - mermaid blanket

15. RECYCLED BAG SHOES – Actually made from plastic bag refuse from the Maldives, some gift shop should have these in stock.
Not Seen - recycled baf shoes

16. DRONE FISHING – For the aspiring fishermen with less stable sea legs.

17. ‘JAWS’ CINEMATIC COURAGE CHALLENGE – Lots of resorts have cozy outdoor cinemas on the beach now. How about moving those ‘seats’ a bit further out into the lagoon?? Sort of an extra “immersive” dimension to the cinematic experience. And if a wrasse comes up to nibble on your sunburnt toes, then this
Not Seen - Jaws challenge

18. SHARK CHAIR – This needs to at least be in some Kids Club.
Not Seen - shark chair

19. SHARK PUMPS – And when you aren’t putting your feet up…
Not Seen - shark shoes

20. ALL GLASS FLOOR VILLA – There are some pretty big glass floors in the Maldives, but I don’t think we have reach peak floor yet either.
Not Seen - glass floor

21. UNDERWATER LOUNGE – In all fairness, the “underwater lounges” in the Maldives are really lounges that are just under water. They are not lounges that are *UNDER* water.  Smile

22. CONVERTIBLE OUTDOOR SLEEPING – The dazzling skies, clear of light and air pollution, are one of the natural treats of the Maldives. Our family loves to sit on the beach after a resort dinner ad just stare up at all the stars. The downside is getting yourself up of the ground as you drift away more and more in your relaxed state. A villa lounger can be an improvement, especially if you grab a large beach towel to cuddle under in the cool night sea air. But this solution seems the most alluring of all. (thanks Paola)
Not Seen - convertible bedroom

And Yet Still More Haven’t Seen Yet – Part 7

Fish hanging seat

After 70+ resorts and nearly two decades of touring the Maldives, you would think that I had seen it all about now. And yet in my web and other worldly wanderings, I’ve still come across another couple dozen curiosities that that are just crying out for the right home in the Maldives…

1. Fish Hanging Chairs – The newer properties are getting more arty and edgy, and the hanging swing seat has long been a staple for relaxing in the ocean breezes. [ABOVE]

2. Corner-Turning Sliding Glass Doors – It’s all about the scenery in the Maldives, and resorts are making villas more and more open to bring in the outdoors.
Sliding window walls

3. Shark SuitWhy put on a boring one-piece of the same geometric design that every Instagrammer in the world is wearing when you can wear this. Do just watch the shark…be the shark!
Shark swimsuit

4. Fashion Fins – Just because…
High heel fins

5. Bird’s Eye Perspective Resort Map – A few resorts (eg. Anantara, Baros), have 3D(ish) aerial resort maps. Four Seasons has a birds eye perspective, but more cartoonish, than photorealistic. I would like to see one of these throw backs proper Victorian vintage maps.
Birdseye map

6. Hand-held Underwater Propulsion – A number of resorts have seabobs, but these toned down versions seem more appropriate for gentler exploration (thanks Momo).

clip_image007

7. Underwater Drone – Another way to explore the reef without getting wet.
Underwater drone

8. Underwater GeoCache – A few geocaches have hit the resorts islands, but the obvious fun is undersea.
Underwater geocache

9. Underwater Yoga – I was going to do an April Fools post on this idea…until I found out it is no joke.
Underwater yoga

10. Pedal Board – Not a “paddle” board…”pedal” board.

11. Water Motorcycling – While the very notion will send the heebie-jeebies up the spine of most Maldives aficionados, in the spirit of “completeness” this couldn’t go without a mention. Not too much different to a jet ski in noise and disruption, really. And with a number of adrenalin sports hitting the Maldives (eg. power boarding) and a number of Red Bull events, it’s not so crazy a notion.

12. Aqua Lily Pad – On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, for the more sedentary…
Aqua lily pad

13. Activity Pinwheel – For the more indecisive. If even making a decision is too much of an effort on a Maldives holiday, I found this handy device in Copenhagen.
Activity pinwheel

14. Hemp Milk – Hot new thing in the epicenter of global coffee culture (Seattle).
Hemp milk

15. Paradise Island– Perfect toast to the “plot of sand with a palm tree” aesthetic that defines the Maldives.
Paradise Island cocktail

16. Ice Figurines – More fun with ice shapes.
Ice figurines

16. Chocolate Ball Reveal – For all of the glitzy gourmet presentations, nothing comes too close to this one.

17. Pineapple Lolly – Form and function in this fruit art.
Pineapple lolly

18. Yogurt Parfait Popsicles – And yet another option in the cold refreshment department with a bit of a healthy slant.
Forzen yogurt lolly

19. Cocktail Slushies – Or less healthy if you prefer…
Cocktail slushes

 

20. Ceiling Stars – While bed decorating gets more and more imaginative, how about a different surprise custom decoration for guests returning to their bedrooms? You turn out the lights and “Happy Honeymoon” is written in stars across the ceiling. Resorts can use light adhesive like blue tack to they are removable and reusable.
Ceiling stars

21. Wave Power Generator – Not so great for the inner atoll resorts that are shielded from such waves by the outer reefs, but an intriguing possibility for even more eco-sustainability in the outer atoll regions (thanks Paola).

22. Ocean-scraper – Okay, now I admit that we are getting silly.
Ocean-scraper

23. Underwater Police – Maybe this will deter the coral-standers and rogue fishermen (thanks again Paola).
Underwater police

24. Mermaid School – Not a “school of mermaids”, but “mermaid school”. I’ve had “swim with a mermaid”, but Sirenas Mediterranean Academy takes the aquatic dramatisation a step further.
Mermaid school

  

Advent Calendar (24) of More Not Seen Yets #9

Underwater biking

Digging the Advent Calendars out of the attic today. A colourful tradition to count down the final days to Christmas. The British versions feature little treats, usually chocolates, as a sort of methadone palliative to hold people over until the big extravaganza of gifts and gorging.

It’s also about time for my semi-annual “Haven’t Seen” piece (Edition 9!) So I’ve assembled a collection of 24 luxury innovation as a sort of mini-gift to resort managers. Including a few items on the end which make their own great gifts for the Maldives lover…

1. Underwater Bicycling [above] – (thanks Momo)

2. Local Honey – I guess never thought there might be bees in the Maldives, but my visit to J Resort Alidhoo showed me that there was (picture below of bee hive from my visit there). People love to buy local products and honey is a very popular natural sweetener there.
Honey tree

3. Lobster Curry – No “Haven’t Seen” post is complete without the latest crustacean omission. And of all the lobster cuisine, how can a place in the middle of the INDIAN ocean not have lobster curry.
Lobster curry

4. Proper Lobster Chowder – Made with potatoes and cream, it’s possibly a bit heavy for the warm weather, but you can make it more light and it is one of the seafood classics.
Lobster chowder

5. Egg Neptune – Eggs Benedict made with Lobster. Bit obvious me thinks…
Lobster eggs neptune

6. Toasted Coconut ChipsDrink nibbles are one of the tell-tale touches that often distinguish stars. Too often resorts punt with peanuts and crisps. Toasted coconut flakes are less sweet and don’t turn into coconut grit chewing them.
toast cocnut flakes

7. Video Art – Video is integrating with performance art, space design, even gourmet dining.
Dining video art

8. Coconut Reveal – Or for an old school culinary show…(thanks Paola)
Coconut cutting reveal

9. Cozies – Sweaty water (and other) bottles that get warm in the hot air. Custom designs could make for yet other gift shop item for the stockings.
Cozies

10. In-Ocean Massage – Maybe not so far as the Blue Lagoon, but how about a table in the lagoon?
In ocean massage

11. Underwater Fashion Shoot – We’ve already established that (a) the Maldives is a top destination for fashion photoshoots, and (b) its underwater wonderland is unrivalled, soooo….
Underwater fashion shoot

12. Models on Call – And with the popularity of Maldives photography, some local models could provide the subjects for some stunning fashion photography.
Maldives model beach shoot

13. Underwater Kissing Contest – The most romantic place on earth and popular destination for Chinese. Seems like the obvious venue for the “open water championships”.
Underwater kissing contests

14. Paper Napkin RosesThe Maldives ranks among the best in the world for towel art and bed art, but I think they can up their game on table/napkin art.
Paper napkin roses

15. Oar Board SUP ScullingI’ve already yearned for sculling in the mill pond still waters of the Maldives, but OarBoard offers up a solution which (a) would be easier to transport there, and (b) literally dovetail to the increasingly popular paddleboards there, and (c) be more resilient to less calm waters.
Oar Board SUP sculling

16. Kabbadi – Beach Kabbadi! This distinctly Indian sport played in a distinctly Indian Ocean way.
Beach Kabaddi

17. Floating Golf Green – I’ve long mused about exploiting the Maldives’ aquatic expanse as the ultimate water hazard. Namely, teeing off on a resort island with a hole green set up on a nearby island. Until that dream comes about, here is a min-alternative for some short range pitching practice.
floating golf green Maldives

18. Wake Surfing – While the Maldives offers some amazingly long and gentle breaks ideal for beginner and trickster surfers, in many places the ocean is just too tranquil. But wake surfing is an increasingly popular way to surf even when the surf is not so up.
Wake surfing Maldives

19. Inflatable See-Saw – No “Haven’t Seen” piece is complete without a whimsical blow-up of pool/water toy.
Inflatable see saw Maldives

20. Water Sofa – The key thing here is the back support allowing you to sit more upright while you bob along. Perfect for catching up on that holiday reading while still immersing yourself in the aquatic landscape.
Water sofa Maldives

21. Outdoor Sleeping – Mind you Lori and I have fallen asleep under the stars on many a Maldives trip on deck lounge chairs, but setting up a proper bed (perhaps on request) with a four-posted canopy (to allow for privacy and/or breeze protection, could make the al fresco snoozing more inviting. (thanks Paola)
Outdoor bedroom

22. Wooden Hammock – For those who want the reclined swaying without all the awkward flimsiness (thanks Paola).
wooden hammock

23. Snorkel Rubber Duck – These would swim off the gift store shelves. Especially a custom order in blue (instead of yellow). Of course, only Schnabels will do.
Snorkel rubber ducky

24. Water Villa Play Set – Now you too can own your very own Maldives water villa!
Maldives water villa play set

36 TIHSYINTM (Things I Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives) #8

Wedding paddleboarding

 

“Wedding Paddleboarding”. I guess that’s something coming to the new resort The Patina Thanburudhoo (according to the picture taken from its placeholder home page above).

I’m packing my final items for our 6th Maldives tour starting in just 2 more “sleeps” (details on next post). I’m always on the lookout for things I haven’t seen yet in the 55 other resorts I have visited not to mention the countless hours of research, emailing, chatting, etc.

One marketplace as competitive as Maldives resorts is a sector of London pubs. Buzzfeed recently ran a listicle that featured bold steps various establishments are taking to make themselves stand out from the crowd and echoed many a “Best Of the Maldives” post.

Here is the latest instalment for resorts looking for that “remarkable” feature worthy of the Maldives…

  1. Glow PathPhotoluminescence is a relatively rare and spectacular sight which went a bit viral over the past year. Resorts can actually offer a nightly star-like glow (in their own shade of blue) and help guests find their find in the night time darkness.
    Glow rocks
  2. Glow-Table – For a touch of non-bio luminescence closer to home, how about a colourful glow table (I’m admittedly drawn to this creative innovation due to my fondness for the wild and rugged look of burr wood).
    Glow table
  3. Glowing Toilet Seats – For an even more practical application of glow, something to help you find late night relief without disturbing the slumber of your partner by turning the bathroom light on (especially for some villas where the bathrooms are more integrated into the villa whole or there is just a glass division).
    Glow toilet seat
  4. Underwater Pool Stool – For more grounded water seating (with a bit of its own luminescence) try the instant pool-side bar.
    Underwater glowing pool stool
  5. Rafts – Multi-purpose and sturdy air rafts could even serve as a floating bar or just your own little plot of paradise if the diminutive Maldivian island wasn’t small enough for you.
    Turbo rafts
  6. Pool Poof – Some people prefer to hog their own massive space to lie down. These Brookstone models come in more stylishly sedate colours to appease the lilo cynics).
    Lilo poofs
  7. Side-by-Side Lounger – But if you are on a more amicable basis with your companion, you might prefer the more intimate and friendly float…
    Duo lilo
  8. Hydro Hot Tub – Instead of your lounger in the water, how about water in your lounger?? Hottub + Hammock. Best combo since peanut butter and chocolate.

    Jacuzzi hammock
  9. 2-Person Rocking Chair – Perhaps you prefer a drier seat to waft along to the sea breezes together. Two things the Maldives are famous for – indolence and romance. Enjoy both, literally, together.Duo rocker
  10. Swing Seat – Or you could rock alone in a simple hammock-seat. The design is actually very reminiscent of the traditional Maldivian swing seat, but a bit more comfortable and stylish.Hammock seat
  11. Sofa Swing – Or you could stretch out in something a bit more plush and roomy…Sofa hammock
  12. Zero Gravity Hammock Chair – Take it one step further – Chair + Umbrella + Hammock. Three great relaxation classics in one.
    Zero gravity hammock chair
  13. Portable Hammock – Something simpler to be able to move around like your beach chair.
    Portable hammock
  14. Science Sleep – If all those comfy seats don’t relax you enough during the day, then how about a technologically enhanced night sleep? The maker With Things describes “It Tracks your nights [monitoring your heart rate and breathing]; understands your sleep. Sleep and nap programs. Wakes you up with a scientifically validated light & sound program at the best time of your sleep cycle.”
    Techno sleep enhancer
  15. Tranquillity Pod – A sort of brute force version of Velaa’s “spa pod” with built-in massaging.
    Tranquliity pod
  16. Specialised Pillows – A few decadent resorts now have pillow menus that allow you to choose your own pillow. But these options are fairly standard variations of fabric, softness and size. How about some *really* specialised pillows like the one below (the ones below are for people who sleep on their sides).
    Side pillow 2  Side pillow 1
  17. Night Surfing – If for whatever reason you just can’t sleep (maybe too much pool napping during the day), then how about some Night Surfing. The Maldives is most famous for snorkelling and a number of resorts offer night snorkelling excursions. But it is also getting to be a world renowned destination for surfing, so…
    Night surfing
  18. Wave Skiing – Another surf-hybrid, a cross between kayaking and surfing with specially designed boat.
    Wave skiing
  19. Surf Kayaking – More of a kayak, but designed to ride the waves.
    Surf kayaking
  20. Foil Surfing – Or on the more extreme side, your own personal hydro-foil.
    Foil surfing
  21. Jet Surfing – Something for those intra-atoll islands without the great surf breaks. This one has LUX Maldives written all over it…
    Jet surfing
  22. Para-Inflatable – Inflatable rides are everywhere and many resorts offer parasailing, so what’s not to like…
    Para-inflatable
  23. Flying Underwater Wheelchair – Or you could fly…underwater. The sand and water can be a bit of an extra obstacle for the disabled, though many resorts have added a number of special facilities catering to their special requirements. None so spectacular as Sue Austin’s “flying underwater wheelchair” (yes, re-read that even though you did read it right the first time) which brings the whole “main event” of the Maldives dazzling reefs to life in the most dramatic way (looking at you Kurumba).
    Underwater flying wheelchair
  24. Swim With a Mermaid – Nearly as magical, Cheval Blanc’s sister resort at St. Barth features a “swim with mermaids” where “on a snorkelling expedition in Flamands Bay…the instructor gives the signal for Amaryllis the mermaid to appear for a game of hide-and-seek (…an expert freediver in a scaly fin suit).
    Mermaid hide-and-seek
  25. Geo-Caching – Some prefer seeking out magical treasures on land and a number of resorts offer a range of clever treasure hunts for children, but popular geo-caching is provide a treasure hunt for adults and kids alike.
    Geo-caching
  26. Locks of Love – Not only a surging trend in a number of cities, but also a gap in the romance market with dismantling of the Pont des Arts in Paris. One could treat the locks with the same substance Reefscapers uses on its reef frames and make the symbol of your love the basis for an eternal and vibrant reef. You would attach a coral regeneration fragment to it and lock it onto a chain link (also appropriately treated) set in the ocean.
    Locks of love
  27. Pool Petals – I’ve obviously had the bed petals and even bath petals, but how about pool petals?
    Pool petals
  28. Rock Pool – Pools have rock “Features”, but I haven’t seen an entire pool done in a natural motif replicating the feel of a fresh water mini-lagoon like this one at Sofitel in Tahiti for a more natural aesthetic.
    Rocky pool
  29. In-Pool CinemaSoneva Fushi pioneered the outdoor cinema which now features at a number of resorts, but this inflatable screen lets the audience combine Hollywood hits with floating in the pool.
    Inflatable cinema
  30. Lagoon Bar – I’ve featured a few in-water experiences, but Seacrets in Ocean City, Maryland shows just how far you can go with this concept.
    Lagoon bar
  31. Chill Glass – A step beyond just a “chilled” glass, but a glass that keeps your drink extra cold for extra long. As someone for whom one criterion of the perfect pina colada is how cold it is, this innovation helps guarantee a flawless freeze.
    Chill glass
  32. Frozen Cocktails – I’ve already proposed frozen juice pops, but why aren’t these there (thanks Gareth)??
    Frozen cocktails
  33. Snow Cones – A summer heat wave staple that could turn into a tropical treat with exotic fruit juices (looking at you Velaa).
    Snow cone
  34. Children’s Tasting Menu – The Michelin-starred Das Tue in Berlin features an 8-course tasting menu specifically for children “with the option to pair each course with organic grape juices (“To match the gutsiness of the gnocci with sage and Iberico ham, the sommelier suggests a cheeky Portugierer rose with hints of raspberries…” I’ve long advocated the appeal of the Maldives for families with children and this idea lets them taste a bit of gourmand gastronomy.

    Childrens tasting menu
  35. Floating Water Villas – Okay, Maldives…one word…”when?”
    Floating water villas

   

15 (More) Things I Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives – Part 7

Maldives looking for things

 

Despite all of the things that the Maldives does have, the list keeps growing of the things that the Maldives inexplicably just doesn’t have (yet). Yes, it’s time for instalment #7 (see links on bullet titles for more details)…

  1. Waterbird – Aka “Aqua Skipper”. I can’t tell which name is better.Waterbird
  2. Social Media Concierge – Someone to take care of posting those envy-worthy sunset photos of adoring looks by the waterside.
    Maldives social media concierge
  3. Bean-Bag Hammock – The best of two relaxation all-stars combined into one relaxation super-group.
    Maldives beanbag hammock
  4. Snookball – Or another ace amalgam more on the active side – Football and Pool.Maldives snookball
  5. “Pool” Table – If there is any place deserving of this billiard brilliance it is the Maldives.Maldives water pool table
  6. Lobster Pad Thai – No “Haven’t Seen Yet” piece is complete without some crustacean-based concoction glaringly omitted from the Maldivian menus. Lobster is the ultimate luxury seafood ingredient and abundant in the area so I am always surprised when resort restaurants don’t use it to upscale ordinary dishes. The latest suggestion is Lobster Pad Thai which I sampled at the London pioneer of design, cocktail and culinary innovation – Crazy Bear. Thai food is frequently found in the Maldives and Pad Thai is probably the most popular signature dish. Typically made with prawns, the swapping in of lobster instead as your crustacean of choice gives it a gourmet vibe. Thai themed Anantara and Dusit, I’m looking at you.
    Maldives lobster pad thai
  7. Sea life Adopting – Take a page out of amateur astronomy and star spotting, as well as zoology/botany. That is, if you submit a turtle that is not in the database yet, then you get to name it. For example, Four Seasons is sponsoring a turtle identification project to crowd source turtle spotting.  It would also be a nice touch if one of the Marine Biologists sent the spotter some sort of certificate of “naming”.  Naming (sometimes referred to as “adoption”) is a big money spinner for conversation groups.  People could “adopt” other residents like mantas and whale sharks that have similar identification research projects in the Maldives.
    Maldives turtle tracking project
  8. Remote Control Snack Float – I’m lounging in the sun, floating in the resort pool and even though it is blessed with an in-pool bar, it takes soooo much effort to drift in that direction…Maldives remote control snack float
  9. Silent Areas – Vilamendhoo has a “kids free”, adult only part of the island. One of the qualities that is most regularly cited and vigorously guarded (from airplane, motor boat and ebullient guests) is the peaceful “silent” tranquillity. This article (thanks Paola) “Silence is the latest trend in luxury resorts” makes me wonder whether resorts couldn’t amplify (well, the opposite of amplify really) that quality by designating certain “quiet areas” of an island. Sort of like the library section or the increasingly prevalent “quiet cars” on trains.
    Maldives silence
  10. Sound Art – Our son, Chase (himself a veteran of many Maldives trips) is a Sound Artist (a piece he did was featured at an exhibition in London and mentioned in Wired magazine). Sound Art is the use of sound to construct a number of sound sensations, experiences and environments. The iconic gentle waves and whale calls found in many spas are a popular form many people are familiar with. Many resorts invest huge amounts in design, style, décor and artwork. A more ambitious installation of sound art created to capture the zeitgeist of Maldivian tranquillity would be an innovative ambient complement.
    Maldives sound art
  11. Protected Soundscape – Some of the most beautiful sounds are found in nature. But just like the ocean, those sounds can be endangered by airplanes, engines, boats, recreational craft, etc. Many countries actually have “protected soundscapes” – areas where manmade noise levels are tightly regulated to minimise noise pollution. Chase is actually going to Japan in a month to do field recordings of a number of their soundscapes (Japan has more protected soundscapes than any other country). Maldives has been a leader in protecting marine areas so much so that an initiative is underway to make the entire country a UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserve. Being such a leader in environmental sustainability, I think it would be great for the Maldives to identify its own protected soundscape. One could ensure that sea planes and ferries deviated around it sufficiently and access could be limited to a wind powered dhoni. Our son, Chase, noted that the Maldives could create the world’s first underwater protected soundscape. Possibly with the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. His many visits of snorkelling there struck him that a particularly unique soundscape there was the underwater sounds of trigger fish crunching coral and other assorted echoes of marine life.
    Japan protected soundscape
  12. Stingray” Sun Umbrella – Stylish and ever so apropos (thanks Paola).Maldives stingray umbrella
  13. Beloved Wives Day – Especially for the increasing number of Chinese visitors, but I bet a few other nationalities could enjoy joining in the declarations.
    Maldives beloved wives day
  14. Ice Balls – Advanced version of the “Flower Cubes” (#35) with its own special maker.Maldives ice balls
  15. Heart Shaped Island – With 1900 to choose from, you would think at least one would have randomly formed into something vaguely resembling this symbol of love. People are enchanted by such islands. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi claims to be heart shaped, but it is more of an anatomical heart than an icon of romance. With all of the terraforming on resort islands, you would think that one could make a few tweaks.
    Maldives heart shaped island

      

12 Even More Things I Have Yet To See In The Maldives…from Hammacher Schlemmer (Part 6)

Maldives - not seen - reading lounger

Forget Louis Vuitton, it’s Hammacher Schlemmer who should open up their own resort. Researching a few leads on the latest “Haven’t Seen”, I tracked them down to the Hammacher Schemmler catalogue. Browsing around and I had a field day of clever gadgets and gizmos that could lend some innovative fun to many Maldive resorts…

1. Drink Pool Lounger – And a drink at hand is an extra bonus. Especially great for those resorts with pool bars. Instead of a “drive thru”, they could introduce a “float thru”. “Inflatable pool lounger with coolers built into each armrest.” $150. Best Resort for this item – Royal Island (they have an in-pool bar facing the sunset where lots of guests gather to watch the twilight spectacle sipping their cocktails).

Maldives - not seen - drink pool lounger

2. BBQ Dining Boat – I’ve seen a range of sunset cruises and dhoni dinners, but this dingy is in a league of its own. “This is the boat with a built-in barbecue grill, umbrella, and trolling motor that provides waterborne cookouts for up to 10 adults.” $50,000. Best Resort – W Retreat (masters of BBQ and style).

Maldives - not seen - BBQ dining boat

3. Sandless Beach Mat – Another Hammacher special. Military-grade technology comes to beach lounging – “Developed for military use, this is the beach mat that is impossible to cover with sand. Used in military applications to contain sand and dust when helicopters land and take off, the mat is made from two layers of patented woven polyurethane that instantly filter sand to the beach as soon as it falls on its surface.” Even comes in 4-person size. $60. Best Resort – Anantara Kihavah (with its expansive, circumambient beach)

Maldives - not seen - sandless matt

4. Reading Lounger – Yes, the Maldives make you so lazy that the labour of reading does seem to sometimes require technological assistance. “Recommended by physical therapists, this lounger provides optimal support and comfort while you lie prone or supine$170. Best Resort – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (with the highest butler ratio, the truly super-lazy might be able to get their butlers to even turn the pages for them).

Maldives - not seen - reading lounger

5. Solar Velomobile – The eco-friendly golf cart. “A solar panel built-into the roof powers the 600-watt electric motor for up to 45 miles on a single charge or 100 miles when combined with pedaling.” $9,900. Best Resort – Soneva Fushi (the eco-obsessed, large island).

Maldives - not seen - solar velomobile

6. Petiole Hammock – “Recipient of Les Découvertes award for innovation at the prestigious Maison & Objet design show, this is the handmade, self-suspended hammock. The culmination of 20 years of research and design, the hammock is made in Sweden by two artisans who painstakingly mold each piece during a process that requires four weeks to craft one hammock$35,000. Best Resort – Kandooma (fits right into the other white, canvas, arches at the resort reception and pool area).

Maldives - not seen - Petiole hamock

7. Floating Obstacle Course – “One length of the course tests balance while walking over a 2′-wide “beam” – an ideal spot for water-noodle jousting matches – while another encourages players to jump over a two-section water “pit” or descend and climb out. Twin climbing obstacles require participants to decide if climbing over their inflated beams is quicker than crawling through a handful of arches.” $13,500. Best Resort – One & Only Reethi Rah (the king of lagoon inflatable play fun).

Maldives - not seen - floating obstacle course

8. Body Launching Inflatable – “Launches a person sitting on its surface into the air when another person jumps onto the inflatable.” $600. Best Resort – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru (king of the portable inflatables).

Maldives - not seen - body launching inflatable

9. Floating Lighting Pool Fountain – “This is the floating fountain that turns a pool into an effervescent light and water display.” $100. Best Resort – W Retreat (a bit of extra musical lighting for their DJ nights).

Maldives - not seen - floating lighting pool fountain

10. Electric Motor Boat – The posh (and lazy) version of the pedalo. “The watercraft’s 12-volt electric motor drives its two-bladed propeller, providing leisurely 4-mph cruises over calm lakes or ponds, ideal for accessing secret swimming holes, fishing spots, or visiting neighboring docks.” $4,000. Best Resort – Gili Lankanfushi (an updated personal transport to their Residence Villas).

Maldives - not seen - electric motor boat

11. In Pool Exercise Glider – “This aquatic exercise apparatus takes advantage of water’s natural buoyancy and resistance to deliver an effective low-impact workout that’s gentle on joints and muscles.” $1,600. Best Resort – Club Med Kani (to take their aqua aerobics to the next level).

Maldives - not seen - in pool exercise glider

12. Water Skiing Chair – Getting up on water-skis for the first time can be one of the most frustrating things in life. Our kids first got up on skis in Mauritius where the boat had a bar attached to the boat, instead of a rope, to hold onto which made it more stable. This seated device looks like a great progression from bar to rope where one could then move on to standing. “This is the patented chair that is mounted to a pair of waterskis, allowing beginners and experts alike to ski from a stable seated position.” $600. Best Resort – Kurumba (with their great catering to disabled guests, this might provide adaptive water skiing for some).

Maldives - not seen - sitting water ski

27 More Things I Have Yet To See In The Maldives (Part 5)

Maldives - not seen - easy breath snorkel

After 55 resorts, I have seen more innovative and imaginative ways to enhance idyll in the sun and luxury in a paradise. And yet, despite the 100+ resorts all jockeying to distinguish themselves with something unique and different, I still have yet to see a range of intriguing and appetising things that would be right at home at the right Maldives resort. So for instalment #5…

 

1. Float Pillow – Pools at resorts are used by two groups – (a) kids playing, and (b) honeymooners canoodling. But when we visit our sister-in-law’s beach house, we spend lots of time in the pool as simple old middle-aged loungers. I think the key difference is the pool floats. Lori’s sister has a range of comfy floats that allow us to bob around relaxing in the sun. Despite her broad collections, none are as comfy as Sofloat’s “float pillow” looks. Zzzzz.

Maldives - not seen - float pillow

 

2. Floating Lounge – Not a floating “lounger”…an entire floating lounge.
Maldives - not seen - floating lounge

3. Beach Swing C-Frame – Hammocks and Bird’s Nest Seats are pretty common. This version is a portable hybrid so you can get it right down by the water’s edge.
Maldives - not seen - beach swing C frame

4. Rain Shower Bath – A while back, rain showers were one of the distinctive touches that distinguished a super-5-star from just a run-of-the-mill 5-star. Now, rain showers are fairly mainstream in the Maldives and it’s hard to call yourself a 5-star without them. The new high bar in shower decadence are the drench showers. But one way to make a normal old rain shower into something special is to…add it to the tub. Hot soak and shower together! (thanks Rebecca)
Maldives - not seen - rain show bath

5. Bottleless Water – A sci-fi way to cut down on plastic water bottles – Edible Water Bottles. So “wow”, it is just screaming out for a way for a super-deluxe resort to find a way to use is.
Maldives - not seen - bottle-less water

6. Frozen Juice Pops – This seems a bit of a basic oversight. Frozen juice pops are the first thing American mothers turn to on the hottest summer days. And the Maldives has some amazing exotic fruit juices to make them out of. I would say make a bunch and then have a staff walk along the beach and public areas handing them out to guests.Maldives - not seen - frozen juice pops 

7. Poptails – Like this “Sex on the Beach Pomegranate”.
Maldives - not seen - poptails 

8. Craft Beer – What goes better with nice, hot sunshine…a cool refreshing ale to slake the tropical thirst. And the luxury fermented hops are the craft beers. As it happens, Maldives travel specialist, Linara Travel, held its annual LT Travel Awards recently and included a category for “Best Beer Selection” and“Disappointingly, no resort received a single vote in this category. With a worldwide craft beer movement going on, no luxury resort in the Maldives has yet to embrace this movement. It is something all luxury resorts can improve on. There are better beers than Heineken and Tiger!”
Maldives - not seen - craft beer

 9. Brioche – Why is the most luxurious of breads not more prevalent at the most luxurious of destinations. Yes, you periodically find it as a part of its most common accompaniment – foie gras. But it’s potential is so much more. Brioche buns are all the rage at the gourmet burger restaurants taking over London, salmon and scrambled eggs are the best on brioche toast, and Nutella on brioche is sheer ambrosia.
Maldives - not seen - brioche

10. Lobster PizzaLobster + ordinary dish = Luxury dish (especially apropos for seaside). Like this Brown Butter Lobster and Spinach Pizza with Bacon and Fontina delicacy from Half Baked Harvest.
Maldives - not seen - lobster pizza

11. Lagoon Restaurant – Another Bora Bora inspiration (the first water bungalows in the Maldives, at Vadoo, were inspired by Bora Bora).
Maldives - not seen - lagoon restaurant

12. Aqua Balls – Bring out the water hamster from within you.
Maldives - not seen - aqua balls

13. Re-breather – 50 bars…time to come up. For people looking for ways to squeeze every moment possible from their dives, the ultimate in endurance submersion are “re-breathers”. Re-breathers are now featured at one of the guest house islands, but no resort dive centres have picked it up.
Maldives - not seen - rebreather

14. Easybreath Mask Snorkel – And why, oh why, is this EasyBreath snorkelling mask innovation not in the land of the world’s best snorkelling? (thanks Paola) Some people (like my mother-in-law) get really flustered by the whole mask-snorkel combo. Not being able to breathe through the nose, etc.
Maldives - not seen - easy breath snorkel

15. 3D Printed Crab Shells – I’m a big fan of anything that attracts interest in and enthusiasm for wildlife issues. (thanks Paola).  High fashion for the ultimate cast-off and hand-me-down dressers of the seaside.
Maldives - not seen - 3D printed crab shells

16. Wave Skiing – Surfing is quickly becoming the Maldives third big renown (after honeymooning and snorkelling/diving). For a stunning video of the state of the possible, check out champion Chuck Patterson.
Maldives - not seen - wave skiing

17. Subwinging – A cross between water-skiing and diving.
Maldives - not seen - subwinging

18. Dolphin Tow Trip – One of the highlights of our recent tour was seeing dolphins EVERYWHERE (especially in the Gaafu Alifu atoll). A couple of resorts took us on very successful dolphin boat excursions, but they entailed cruising on up to a pod and then following them a bit as the dolphins cavorted in front of the bow. When we were in Mauritius, the resort there featured a more immersive dolphin cruise. When they came upon the pod, you would don your mask and snorkel and grab a water-ski tow rope off the back of the boat. The boat would then pull you along as you looked under water. All of the dolphins playing around the boat would swim under you and you got a great view of them in their natural habitat. It wasn’t exactly “swimming with dolphins” because they really didn’t want to come an interact. But they were happy to swim by you and this set up gave you a front row seat. Also, contrary to most Flipper scenes, dolphins don’t hang around and stand still in the water much. As such, the tow line approach allowed you to keep moving while they kept swimming themselves. Here is a TripAdvisor review of one such experience in Australia which highlights both the plusses and minuses of this type of excursion. Maybe need to combine Subwinging (see directly above) with dolphin excursion. The acrylic Plana-sub is a tool designed for precisely this purpose (though we just used an ordinary tow rope when we went.
Maldives - not seen - dolphin tow trip

19. Videographer – Featured in the Sunday Times Style piece “Personal Services” (paywalled) which featured a number of ultra-high-end specialty services to the uber-wealthy. One which caught my eye was “Private Film Maker” which was described “I create private productions for families on holiday through my film and stage production company. There are big budget – £1.5m plus – and are educational/entertainment events spread over six days… We usually film in the Med or the Caribbean. It might be a story about the Greek gods, Christopher Columbus or a private treasure hunt. All the family and their large boat crew are dressed up in period clothes and become part of the production.” Perhaps a resort could have Raquel Azevedo’s number on speed dial, but they also might be able to fashion up a lower end version of some video production capability at hand for some simpler montages or story lines.
Maldives - not seen - videographer

20. Animated Wedding GIFs – What better way to capture the magic of this paradise?animated wedding GIF

21. Drone Deliver Champagne – You have drone photography and you have special delivery to remote villas set off in the lagoon, so why not combine the two? Or how about a drone champagne delivery to a Robinson Crusoe island experience?
Maldives - not seen - drone champagne delivery

22. Mirrored Villas – A whole collection of structures using external mirroring to reflect and amplify the picturesque surroundings was recently featured in Today. It reminded me of Boston’s iconic John Hancock Tower which achieved the same effect in its cityscape. Seems like a design feature that could make a water villa stand out (or actually, blend in if you will) and accent the stunning Maldives seascape.
Maldives - not seen - mirrored villas

23. Individually Decorated Rooms – Two iconic hotels, Crazy Bear in UK and Ice Hotel in Sweden (among others), distinguish themselves by having no room the same.  Each one is an individual creation.  Soneva Fushi comes close to this, but most of its villas are out of reach for all but the billionaire set and the villas all have similar design themes.Maldives - not seen - individually decorated rooms

24. Proteas Convertible Bunk Bed – Turn every room into a family room with a Proteus transformer bunk bed.  A longstanding advocate of the Maldives as a family destination, and as such got increasingly stung by escalating costs as the kids got bigger and bigger.
Maldives - not seen - convertible bunk bed

25. Dronies –One of the most spectacular perspectives on the Maldives is overhead and yet the complete and utter lack of any elevation whatsoever in most corners makes this impossible. In order to add an elevated perspective to guests holiday pics, a “dronies” capability would seem a sure hit.
Maldives - not seen - dronies

26. Personalised Fragrances – Not one of those middle eastern perfumery rip-offs where they sell you over-priced, counterfeit scents. Instead, a trained aromachologist equipped with a collection of oils derived from native flowers and plants. To create that special scent evoking the essence of your stay in paradise.
Maldives - not seen - personalised fragrances

27. Seabreacher – Personal submarine. “The Seabreacher operates more like a aircraft with full three-axis of control. This allows the vessel to carve left and right, jump over, dive under, and cut though the waves. The acrylic canopy and underwater view ports give pilot and passenger a near 360 degree view as they fly through the water.” Yes please.  Wow.
Maldives - not seen - seabreacher

37 More Things I Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives (Part 4)

Maldives - wedding swim suit

600+ Best Ofs and still no…

I’ve amassed such a collection of “Missing From” in the “Best of” catalogue, rather than wait till my traditional July trip wrap-up, I thought I would do a mid-term update. With last month’s announcement of Saudi development firm Best Choice’s $100 million investment in a resort on Vadinolhu island, they will have quite a generous budget to consider some broad ranging innovations….

 

ROMANCE

1. Wedding Swim Suits. Increasingly famous for not just the honeymoon, but the the actual ceremony itself with the rise of the destination wedding. While the “Trash the Dress” fad is once way to go swimming in your gown, a more elegant solution are these specially designed fashion suits.

Maldives - wedding swim suit 2

2. Proposal Coach. LUX Maldives has a wedding coach, and Reethi Rah has featured an elaborate proposal, but how about someone geared up to coach the question popping itself like a proposal planner?

Maldives - wedding proposal coach

LODGING

3. Infinite Edge Water Villa pool. Maldives water villas have infinity pools. But none I have seen so deftly feature them to provide a seamless transition to the water below like this example at Banyan Tree Ungasan. Not even Ungasan sister resorts in the Maldives, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru or Banyan Tree Madivaru.

Banyan Tree Ungasan

4.  Underwater Bedroom. After the experiment by Conrad Rangali in adapting its underwater restaurant to be a bedroom at night, this obvious combination of two Maldive resort wow factors – water villas and underwater features – seems an inevitability here. Especially with this proven design featured at The Manta Resort, on Pemba Island in Zanzibar.

Manta Resort underwater room

INFRASTRUCTURE

5. Awesome Signs. I have seen some clever and useful signage around Maldives resorts, but this BuzzFeed piece shows how far one can go with clever, fun and romantic messages all of which are classic Maldives design points.

Maldives do not disturb signs

6. Glow in the dark path. Stars in the sky, the water and the wine glass so why not the walkways with this Pro-Tec Surfacing?

Maldives - lighted path

7. Underwater Custom Sculpture. In previous “haven’t seens”, I have noted “Underwater Sculture Garden” and Soneva Fushi did feature an underwater art exhibit, but Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun illustrates how imaginative one could be.

Maldives - underwater sculpture

8. Underwater webcam. Many resorts now have webcams on site primarily to provide live weather, but the real star of the show is the underwater world so why not a camera there. The new GoPro-stype cameras make this easier and cheaper than ever. Maafushivaru was going to do it, but nothing yet.

Maldives - underwater webcam

9. Jumping fountains. The Maldives resort have all sort of water features, but the latest n water fountains are the dynamic water jets providing a lively animation to the water (sometimes choreographed to music).

Maldives - jumping water fountains

10. Heart Tubs – While Bandos spa has a heart shaped Jacuzzi, still looking for a more Pocono-esque villa tub on a similar romantic motif.

Maldives - heart tubs

11. Champagne Glass Tub – And if you want to go full-on Poconos, there is always the iconic champagne glass tub.

Maldives - champagne glass tubs

WATER ACTIVITY

12. Powerski Jetboard. There’s jet skiing. There’s a range of boarding – surf, paddle, wake, etc. But no “jet boarding” yet.

Maldives - powerski jetboard

13. Water Car-Slides. Saw these by the shore in Spain. Turbo fun.

Maldives - car water slides

14. In-Lagoon massage. Signature offering of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. Given the pre-eminence of Maldives’ own very blue lagoons and the popularity of the spas, this combo seems inevitable.

Maldives - blue lagoon Iceland

15. Water Tube Slide. Pool slides aplenty, and even a water slide at One & Only Reethi Rah, but no classic tube slide. The Dolphin Plunge at Disney, which goes underwater with clear Perspex, is particularly inspired.

Maldives - Disney Dolphin plunge

16. Lazy River. If you are going to go with water park inspiration, then the staple fixture of the “lazy river” would seem to fit right into the Maldivian pace.
Maldives - lazy river

17. Underwater Virtual House Reef Tour. The Ministry of Tourism needs to get on the phone to Google to get Google Street View Oceans to do a few Maldives reefs or some enterprising resort could take the initiative and do one themselves to lead the way.

Maldives - virtual house reef tour

18. Submersible Radio-Controlled Submarine. So much fun. And a great way for non-swimmers to explore the dazzling reefs with a live Go-Pro attached.

Maldives - submersible submarine

OTHER ACTIVITY

19. Non-Resort Male Snorkel Day Trip. One of the most common questions on the online travel forums is “Is there a snorkelling day trip we can take from Male?” Typically, people who have a flight stop over or more frequently a cruise anchoring.

Maldives - cruise ship

20. Zip Line. False alarm of reports that Reethi Rah had one in conjunction with their climbing wall. Having one that could be put up and taken down that went across the water to a neighboring island would be pretty cool.

Maldives - zip line

21. Nail Art – A manicure or pedicure is a cosmetic treat and they have gotten quite elaborate of late. Check out the rendition of the Maldives water villa (below left).

Maldives - nail art 2  Maldives - nail art 1

22. Opera. A number of top flight resorts have featured all sorts of cultural events from guest DJs to literary festivals. But a classic (or should I say “classical”) fare of distinctive outdoor venues is opera. From the Minack (see Lori below in the perfectly set Minack production of Madame Butterfly) to the Bregenze Festival, a dazzling landscape provides a backdrop a stirring as the music itself. As it happens, one of the world’s top artistic directors, Francisco Negrin, for opera is a massive Maldives aficionado so I’m sure you wouldn’t have to twist his arm too hard to secure his leadership of such a project.

Maldives - Madame Butterfly

23. Air Swimmers. If a resort teen club had one of these “Air Swimmers”, I would definitely try to sneak in so I could play with it.

Maldives - air swimmers

SPORT

24. In Water Spinning. Fitness craze made for the Maldives.

Maldives - water spinning

25. Beach Gym. Costa del Sol beach fitness course.

Maldives - beach gym 2  Maldives - beach gym 1

26. Paddle Tennis Court. Tennis, only smaller…just right for the diminutive Maldives islands (and for the more laid back atmosphere where you don’t want to run around as much).  Palm Beach has a beach version though.

Maldives - paddle tennis

27. Pickleball. Paddle tennis, only smaller still? Supposedly “America’s fastest growing sport”.

Maldives - pickleball

28. Surfboard Yoga. Two popular activities in the Maldives combined. And probably one of the best places in the world for the combo given the mill pon tranquil waters of the area.

Maldives - surfbaord yoga

29. Tennis Ball Boy Service – I always thought that would be cool to play tennis and have someone fetch my many stray balls and toss them to me before each serve. Plus it would feel like Wimbledon to play a game with a ball boy/girl lined up at the side of the net ready to swipe my serves into the net.

Maldives - tennis ball boys

30. Finning. Exemplary core/abs exercise.

Maldives - finning

31. Underwater Portraits – Resorts feature underwater photography for diving and portraits for weddings, so why not combine both for memorably artistic images exploiting the crystal clear turquoise settings of the Maldives’ famous lagoons?

Maldives - underwater portraiture

DINING

32. Expanding Towel Tablet. The very first gesture that a resort extends is the refreshing towel. And it carries on through much of your stay. This expanding towel table provides an especially fun variation on the presentation.

Maldives - expanding towelette

33. Maldivian Cooking Vlog. Cooking vlogs are the niche rage and a number of resorts’ blogs to feature special gourmet and local cuisine recipes, but as yet know one has pulled out the videocam to guide visitors through the culinary steps.

Maldives - cooking vlog

34. Instant Ice Cream. The innovation by the molecular cooking crowd of making while-you-wait ice cream by dipping custard into liquid nitrogen as now gone mainstream by people like Chicago’s i-Cream. A bit of drama and accented freshness (mind you I guess there is not much problem with ice cream going bad) to this “next generation” custard concoction.

Maldives - instant ice cream

DRINKS

35. Flower Cubes. Ice cubes with flowers frozen in them. Genius.

Maldives - flower ice cubes

36. Molded Cocktail Ice. Sushi Samba uses finely crushed ice which is compressed between a cup and large spoon to fashion a sort of frozen “bowl” shape into which condiments and garnishes can be sprinkled.

Maldives - molded cocktail ice

37. Kids Drink Decorations – A step beyond maraschino cherries and umbrellas…

Maldives - kids drink decorations

What I Haven’t Seen Yet – Honeymoon Package

Maldives honeymoon specials

 

 

The most frequently claimed (and most stubbornly reluctant I am to accord) is the “Best of the Maldives” for “Most Romantic”. On this last trip, Bandos pointed to its “Most Romantic” credentials (including its TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards), and Jumeirah made an impressive case for its Dhevanafushi property. Such claims always get me the most sceptical. I try to mask my cynicism when I ask “Are your sunsets more golden, your starlight more twinkling, your palms more rhythmic in their swaying??”

“Best of the Maldives” is is more rhetorical than scientific, but I do try to put some rigour into it. I try to have something objective and specific to hang my hat on as to why one’s feature is a touch more distinctive than another’s. And the more esoteric and specific the better. I will more readily accept that someone has a unique toe nail scrubber in their spa. But the the bar is so obscenely high for “Most Romantic” in the Maldives, I wonder how resorts could possibly stand out from the crowded field.

What does surprise me, and another thing I haven’t yet seen in the Maldives, is really the “uber” Honeymoon package. Perhaps it is the American “OTT” (Over-The-Top) in me, but I wonder where is the resort that has just blown the door off of a honeymoon package.

I don’t know any islands that even do the following which are popular honeymoon treats…

  • Mirrored ceilings (and other Poconos inspiration)
  • Breakfast in bed service (room service tweaked to be in bed with bed trays and the porter letting themselves in, after knocking of course).
  • In room chocolate fountain one evening (chocolate fountain at Kuramathi spa is inspired, but having it in the bedroom even more so).

Lots of resorts offer lots of the usual suspects in honeymoon packages – bottle of champagne, beach dinner, bed/table decoration, couples massage. But I don’t know any that combines them into one big ‘Honeymoon Ultimate’ package. The biggest honeymoon packages probably offer about a third of the list below which lists the most common ingredients in resort honeymoon packages.

  • Different bed decoration every night (most do one night)
  • Deserted Island picnic lunch and then dinner on another day
  • Candlelight beach dinner every night (most do one night)
  • Special couple spa treatment (with Kuramathi’s approach as a role model or perhaps Four Season Landaa Giraavaru’s romantic treatment)
  • Vow repeat/renewal/blessing
  • Champagne sunset cruise
  • Villa with private (secluded) pool
  • Reef generation frame to mark the occasion
  • Wedding photography

Maybe resorts feel that they already offer such a perfect honeymoon destination, certainly renowned as one of the tops in the world, why pour lots of money in gilding the lily. The two primary reasons would be to stand out against the huge competition from the many other resorts which share this uniformly romantic place on earth. The other obvious reason is to make money by charging for the super package.