One of the most accessible lagoons is in one of the most inaccessible places in a sandbank off the island of Huralwahi. I love the charming combination of these two distinctively Maldives features. (Photos courtesy of Shahudan Ibrahim)
Everyone will be clamouring for the best seat in the house (or pub) to watch the culmination of the football season with the Tottenham vs. Man City Champions League game today (though it will be tough to match the excitement of the semis which got them both here). Fortunately, at Hurawalhi, all the guests are treated to a fine view of the periodic staff matches. Unlike most resorts, the pitch is not segregated in the back out of sight in a sequestered staff area, but front and (literally) center (of the fitness facilities) that makes it all the more encouraging for guests to join in or watch. And the grounds themselves are as high standard as the 5-star property itself with state of the art flood lit astro turf.
If you want to get to see your sharks with jet speed, then Hurawalhi offers a diving speed boat. Not a typical diving dhoni that chugs along to your dive site, but a proper speed boat that gets you there in half the time. It not only saves time just sitting on the boat when you could be back on the resort sipping pina coladas, but is handy in other ways. The dive masters got reports of a juvenile whale shark in the area and in the boat we were able to do a quick reckie to see if it was still around before proceeding home (no luck).
Many Maldives spas have relaxation areas often for chilling before or after a treatment, but Hurawalhi has a separate meditation room devoted to a higher plane of mindfulness. A range of comfortable mats and sitting adjacent to the “ringing bowls” for those who want to incorporate those into their practice.
One of my other hobbies (with accompanying website) is rowing. Small-world coincidence, one of my fellow coaches at Marlow Rowing Club, Imogen Walsh, was one of the first rowing coaches in the Maldives stationed there for a year to help develop the sport. One of my first “Haven’t Seen Yet” items is finding a resort with a sculling boat (and there still are none). But the Life Fitness “water rower” at Hurawalhi is designed to most closely simulate the action of rowing in the water with a slider seat the resistance is actually created by a small tank of water at the foot of the apparatus. State-of-the art rowing training with a striking large window view of the nearby ocean to provide that extra aesthetic water feel.
Something about a map that has detailed artistry and exotic allure. It tells an aerial pictorial story of some part of the planet. Ocean maps are often the most enchanting with their sinuous coastlines and patterns of inlets and isles.
Naturally, maps of the Maldives are bursting with this adventurous charm. Huawalhi has a employed one of the more antiquarian depictions of the “Laquedives” as a design highlight in its villas. Blotter, cases, lampshades, etc. use segments of these ancient charts. Very reminiscent of one of our favourite designers, Alviero Martini’s “1ª Classe’ line of fashion and accessories.
Hurawalhi’s Duniye Spa goes far beyond the ubiquitous sound track of ambient recording featuring soft acoustic instrumentals often mixed with a smattering of nature sounds like whale calls or water lapping. They offer a variety of “Sound Therapy” sessions and techniques including a collection of ringing bowls (see below) and a rain stick (see above). Our family really appreciated this distinctive offering as Chase (our son) has his degree in “Sound Art and Design” and Lori is a professional classical musician, so we are quite familiar with the salutary effects of soothing sounds.
While bottles are standard décor for a bar, traditionally arranged across long, mirrored shelved behind the bar, Hurawalhi’s Tattinger Champagne bar is the first time I’ve seen cork as the theme of the décor. The drinks table look like corks Stewart Little would have in his lounge. And, the bar stools were particular inspired with the stool legs made to look like muselets.
“Going green” is common practice for Maldives resorts who very existence if so dependent on and interwoven with the surrounding natural beauty. But I’ve never seen quite as much “green” as Hurawalhi’s staff compound wall. Nearly all resorts have segregated staff areas where a lot of the machinery of the resort is situated and the staff can conduct their lives freely (eg. walk around in their casual clothes instead of smart uniforms). A number of resorts make an effort to dress these walls or fences up a bit so they blend into the surrounding a bit more, but few have gone to the length of Hurawalhi with their greenery wrapped enclosure.