Best of the Maldives: Massage Workshop – Amilla Fushi

Amilla Fushi - massage workshop

If World Gin Day got the better of you, and in fact all such celebrations seem to leave you worse for wear, you might want to take enrol in Amilla Fushi’s massage workshop. Nearly all resorts these days can give you a massage, but Amilla will teach you how to massage. The one-hour session is complimentary.

Give me a fish…

 

Best of the Maldives: Football Camp – Amilla Fushi

Amilla Fushi - football

More “fullback” than “full bodied”, Amilla Fushi introduced its own training programme for guests (who are a bit too young to sample the wine cellar) of a football training camp:

  • Designed and developed by former professional football players, Jason and Glen Trifiro, FUTBOLTEC focuses on the techniques of young footballers in a professional and enjoyable learning environment. Sign up your kids for an exclusive 3-day football camp and let them participate on a field where players have the freedom to play and creativity is the most important thing. Choose from Junior camp for players aged 5-11 years old or Senior camp for players aged 12-16 years old. Each player will receive 9 hours of experienced coaching, training shirt, shorts, socks and training equipment.”

Best of the Maldives: Ballet Instruction – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - ballet 1

Dance is for everyone. Whether just swaying to the romantic ballads at the resort disco or practicing more classical form with Shangri-La Villingili’s innovative ballet programme.

  • “Reveal the ballerina in you or just discover a new dance fitness routine with our Ballet Master. The celebrated ballerina, Karis Scarlette, a former performer of the Royal Ballet in London and a qualified teacher from the Royal Opera House, will be our Master in Residence, passing on the joy of ballet through inspiring and fun ballet classes for all ages.”

Instruction possibilities include:

  • Ballet Fitness – 60 mins – Complimentary
  • Mini Ballet – 30 mins, parents to be on hand to assist with little ones. Timings: 8 a.m. or 5 p.m.
  • One-to-One Private Session – 60 min – $200 per person / 90 mins – $300 per person
  • Private Sunset Guided Meditation & Stretching by the Beach – 30 mins – $150 for two guests

Shangri-La Villingili - ballet 2

Shangri-La Villingili - ballet 3

Best of the Maldives: Art Studio – Finolhu

Finolhu - art studio

For a heartfelt gift, you can make your own. Especially at one of the many Christmas workshops that are traditional this time of year. My church’s annual workshop was where I learned half my craft skills (straw stars, clove oranges, yuletide wreaths).  A number of resorts offer various artistic studios (pottery, painting, glass making), but Finolhu have one of the most comprehensive that I have seen with a wide variety of media.  The also have a festive Christmas workshop schedule (including ceramics) for all those budding Santa’s elves who prefer the sunny tropics to the frozen Arctic.

Best of the Maldives: TRX Training – Amilla Fushi

Amilla Fushi - TRX training 1

If you need a bit of help waistline effects of sumptuous holiday treats, then Amilla Fushi can firm up both your body and your discipline…

  • “TheTRX was birthed in the Navy SEALS, a 60minutes suspension training body weight exercise that develops strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability simultaneously. TRX is a fabulous training tool that leverage gravity together with your body weight to increase fitness, strengthen and tone muscles. An intense full body workout just for you.”

Sir, yes sir!  TRX, a treat!  

Amilla Fushi - TRX training 2

Best of the Maldives: Pastry Class – W Retreat

W Retreat - pastry class

Just before the coffee, is the dessert course and the W Maldives is taking those to treats to an equally artistic level. Star chef Julien Alvarex visited the resort to share his ganache guidance and coulis coaching to not just staff, but guests as well…

  • “W Maldives has partnered with World’s Best Pastry Chef Julien Alvarez to host a series of culinary events on its tropical playground in September 2017. His signature style incorporates unique design of desserts, amazing combination of colours, tastes and impressive decoration techniques.”

Béatrice Peltre once said, “Dessert is to a meal what a dress is to a woman,” if that’s the case, then W Retreat is the must-have haute couture this season.

W Retreat - pastry class 2

W Retreat - pastry class 3

Best of the Maldives: PADI Free Diving – Anantara

Anantara - PADI free diving

Free diving is becoming quite a popular pursuit both around the world and in the Maldives. The reef-protected atolls provide exceptionally calm waters to practice plunging the depths. Anantara steps up with its own dedicated centre and the first to provide the popular PADI certification.

While competitive free diving can be quite mind-bendingly difficult and hazardous, basic free-diving does open up a new way to experience this aquatic wonderland. The Anantara announcement provides an alluring description of free diving’s enchantment

  • Aquafanatics is the first PADI-certified free diving centre in the island nation…A truly liberating activity, it relies on the diver to hold their breath, leaving them free to move unhindered through the translucent Maldivian waters. With no oxygen tank bubbles to distort vision, the vivid colouration of coral life glows brighter than ever. Devoid of heavy equipment, guests move at will alongside inquisitive fish, developing a sense of belonging. With every dive guests acquire the ability to stay below a little longer, discovering more on each descent. Free diving is entwined with the cultural heritage of the islands in the Indian Ocean. Since ancient times locals have harvested sponges and clasped gleaming pearls from beneath the waves. Anantara’s professional free diving instructor, Mari Kagaya, reveals a peaceful, intrinsic underwater encounter. ‘The Maldives provide the pinnacle in free diving adventure,’ she explained. ‘Escaping the trappings of scuba gear, our encounters with sea life are graceful, natural and deeply personal. Guests discover their own hidden depths, not only of their body, but also the mind’.”

Anantara makes an astute point that free diving is not a new fad, but actually an ancient necessity as generations have used it to explore and exploit the seas which surround it for centuries. I always remember the tradition I read about when I first visited the Maldives for coming-of-age young men. Boys, often no more than 13 years old, would jump off a boat with a rope in hand, free dive into the water where a whale shark was swimming, SWIM INTO THE WHALE SHARKS MOUTH, and then OUT ITS GILLS, hence lassoing the fish. Young boys were the just small enough to pull off this crazy feat. I would certainly consider someone to have proven their “manhood” if they did such a thing. Not surprisingly, the government prohibited this practice years ago because too many young lads were drowning in the effort.

Proving one’s mettle with a PADI certification seems much more sensible to me.

Best of the Maldives: Free Diving Certification – Dusit Thani

Dusit Thani - free diving

If you yourself want a deep dive of learning with your own diploma, then Dusit Thani was the first of the Maldives resorts to offer an official free diving certification. With their $36,000 investment in specialised support and safety equipment

“Dusit Thani Maldives takes pride in launching the first official and internationally approved free-diving centre in the Maldives, an incredible addition to the selection of water sports available at the resort. Free-diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on the diver’s ability to hold his or her breath until resurfacing without the use of scuba gear. Besides experiencing the tranquillity of underwater kingdom, there are various health and fitness benefits attributed to this unique diving activity. Dusit Thani Maldives’s free-dive centre has joined forces with Apnea Total, a globally renowned free-diving organisation. The Apnea Total Free-diving Education System and Standards are followed at the centre and guests will be provided Apnea Total certifications that are recognized worldwide. Resort guests will train under the supervision of highly experienced free-dive instructors who have themselves worked and trained under record-holding free-divers. Additionally, the centre boasts world-class CRESSI equipment and the rental cost of these is included in the course price. The center offers all levels ofApnea Total courses:Free-Diver Basic, Advanced Free-Diver, and Free-Diving Master, each lasting 2 days, 3 days and up to 5 weeks respectively. The Basic course will equip guests to dive safely and comfortably down to 20 meters on a single breath and the Advanced course equips guests to dive down to 40 metres below sea level.”

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Oil Making Class – Soneva Fushi

Extracting the very essence of the magic coconut fruit is so easy a child could do it. In fact. at Soneva Fushi, children do do it at the resort’s exquisite summer camp programme

“We head to the spa, where the spa therapist will help the children make fresh coconut oil using coconuts of the island, the children are given the opportunity to take part in all aspects of making the oil.”

Sounds a bit better than the “bug juice” and frigid lake swims when I went to Camp Belknap as a child. If you want to give it a go at home, I’ve found a pretty handy video guide above.

Best of the Maldives: Ballet – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - ballet

Most live entertainment in the Maldives is either rock DJ or romantic acoustic. Given the upper crust economic brackets of most of the Maldives’ guests, I always wondered if something a bit more sophisticated wouldn’t go amiss. Like opera or ballroom dancing. Well, NIYAMA has brought one of the most sublime arts to the land of ethereal beauty and sublime grace – ballet…

“Fluidity and strength take centre stage against a backdrop of Indian Ocean. Under sparkling stars and above the crystal waters of the Maldives, the Mariinsky Ballet’s First Soloist, Xander Parish, performs for PULSE by PER AQUUM. Accompanied by dancers and soloists of the Mariinsky, the movements of Scheherazade, Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote and Carmen Suite come to life in a tidal swell. Guests at PER AQUUM Niyama will enjoy an exclusive performance on 21 August with an encore at PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi on 23 August. Budding ballerinas and ballerinos will also have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take centre stage themselves. Xander and his hand-picked ensemble, including Oksana Bondareva and Renata Shakirova, will be offering masterclasses at each resort during their visit.”

Grand jetés for grand jet setters.

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