Best of the Maldives: Coldest Gazpacho – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - ice cold gazpacho

Another one of my favourite treats is soup in general, and gazpacho specifically (I also love a good bisque). A well crafted soup is like a savoury cocktail where masterfully blended aromas, flavours and textures inspire the taste buds. One of the defining characteristics of a fine gazpacho is its cold temperature. Especially appreciated under the tropical sun. No resort gets it as ice cold as Park Hyatt Hadahaa.

Their signature bowl includes a dollop of ‘gazpacho sorbet’ scooped into the centre of the bowl to help keep the soup chilly while you eat it. I enjoyed a bowl when I visited and it remains one of my most memorable dishes of my Maldives travels.

The dish was originally created for their olive oil dinner by Monte Vibiano and now is part of its regular menu. Its olives are grown in carbon neutral groves and pressed into some of the finest extra virgin in the world.

Deliziosamente fresco!

Best of the Maldives: Ice Ball – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - Chefs Special ice ball

No, not “Ice Ball” as in a “Frozen”-themed formal dance.

I love creations with ice. The cold is the contrast that sets off the tropical sun. I’m even adding a new category tag for “ice” now that I have collected a few fine examples.

Most treats in the Maldives are served refreshingly over ice. But NIYAMA’s signature sashimi is served under ice.

Offered in NIYAMA’s “Asian Avant-garde” Nest restaurant which Per Aquum describes as “savage-chic” (great name).

Chef Jayadi Suwito explains, “My goal for this menu was to push and tease. Guests will find dishes from Asia’s most celebrated cuisines like Thai, Cantonese, Japanese – but they will also get a chance to discover lesser known culinary traditions with must-try sensational dishes from places like Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar.”

I tend to ignore the vast majority of press releases that I receive, but I must commend the PR who wordcrafted this gem describing the “Ice Ball” experience…

“A short trek from your luxury villa where you’ve cast away in the Dhaalu Atoll, you emerge in the heart of the jungle. Beneath the ancient branches of the banyan trees, you walk the planks of wooden pathways and wind through the forest trunks. Ascend spiralled stairs and step through the canopy along bridges flanked by bamboo rails. Leaves dance in an ecstatic shimmy. Tropical birds call out with sirens echoing through the treetops. Then a chilled sculpture of sashimi arrives in a globe of ice, a modern vessel for one of many Asian delicacies you will savour in your expedition at one of the Indian Ocean’s leading dining destinations.”

Leaves dance in ecstatic shimmy” – Nnnn-ice!

Best of the Maldives: Snow – Velaa

Velaa - snow room 3

Snow in the Maldives! Not the most surprising weather forecast ever, but the innovative spa feature at Velaa resort.

When it comes to spa treatments, most people think heat – steam bath, sauna, hot stones. While heating soothes, it is the contrast of heat and cold which “exercises” your cardiovascular system. Heat opens the capillaries, and cold closes them (other stimulation like a spanking which is why it leaves a red mark and why many Nordic countries incorporate birch branch whacking into their spas). A number of spas have cold water plunge pools for this purpose, but the ultimate is the “rolling around in the snow” made famous in northern climes. Velaa brings this Arctic touch to the Tropics.

Let it snow, let it snow. I am one with the wind and the sky!

Velaa - snow room 1

Velaa - snow room 2

Best of the Maldives: Charity Challenge – Anantara Dhigu

Anantara Dhigu - Ice Bucket Challenge

Never mind the scented cloths and tropical cocktails, Anantara Dhigu has introduced an even more refreshing way to cool down…

“Torsten Richter, Cluster General Manager of Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Naladhu Maldives resorts in South Male Atoll, Maldives, accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations towards medical research…The event was held at the resorts’ weekly cocktail gathering and was attended by 200 guests, with 50 guests and associates stepping under the bucket throughout the course of the evening for a brief shower with chilled Indian Ocean water.”

As a marketer, I have been intrigued by the dynamics of the whole Ice Bucket phenomenon which has spread across the world. I think there are some who seeks to inspire a fraction of the engagement and excitement that the challenge has.

Kudos to the Dhigu team for embracing the phenomenon with such gusto and creativity.  Bill Gates would be impressed.

Anantara Dhigu - Ice Bucket Challenge 2

Anantara Dhigu - Ice Bucket Challenge 3

Best of the Maldives: Cold Sorbet – Iru Fushi

Coco Palm Dhuni Kholu sorbet

One of the few things you do want kept freezing cold on your Maldives holiday is your ice cream dessert. A challenge to savouring ice cream is to enjoy it in hot weather when it is more “ice” than “cream”. Iru Fushi finesses this with their own dive into the cold

The sorbet is served in a double cup (glass).. a round one with ice cubes to keep the temperature and a small conic one fitting in.” (thanks Paola)

Best of the Maldives: Ice Fountain – One & Only Reethi Rah

Reethi Rah ice fountain

The big news of the week is the arrival of one of the most famous names in the world at the celebrity Maldivian bolt hole One & Only Reethi Rah. The Beckham family reportedly splashed out on an exceptionally lavish visit for the entire brood. With Romeo now modelling for Burberry, the whole clan is getting into the A-list scene. So big they are that Minivan News speculates that news of their stay alone could boost the Maldives tourism profile.

Hopefully, it will help to reinforce to the notion of Maldives as a great place for families. We get so many reports of honeymooning and otherwise romantic get-aways for famous couples, it’s great to see such a prominent family choose this destination.

In spite of (or perhaps because) of the Maldives’ reputation for torpid indolence, it also appears to have become a haven for top athletes like Beckham – Federer, Phelps, Ronaldo.

Perusing the glossy reporting, a number of the stories alluded to Reethi Rah’s exceptional spa including in its list of luxury amenities its ‘ice fountain’. One might think that the whole point to the Maldives is to get away from the cold. But as the Reethi Rah management describes, ‘ice’ can have many therapeutic properties especially for athletes…

Some of the advantages of the ice fountains is to use the ice to massage the body while using the shower. As it is a form of cryotherapy, multiple benefits are obtained such as:

  • Promotes healing
  • Drains lactic acid out of tired muscles
  • Boosts/activates blood circulation
  • Decreases swelling, inflammation and pain in injured tissues.
  • Acts as an analgesic, reducing muscle spasms

Most professional training rooms will have an ice bath for settling muscles down after an extreme exertion, and icing a joint is a common practice. You will also find ice baths in the finest spas as a part of a circulatory regime. The heat from the sauna/steam bath/hot-tub/birch-switches opens the capillaries and the ice cold closes them. The opening and closing repeatedly is a form of circulatory exercise.