You don’t get much more fresh or more local than reef fish caught with your own hands a few hours earlier in the ocean just yards away. While many resorts will grill up the catch from your fishing excursion, Park Hyatt Hadahaa lets you take the “by my own hands” vibe a step further with a fish cooking class so you can take it all the way from sea to seasoning yourself…
- “Learn how to create the perfect marinade and discover the secrets behind grinding and mixing traditional Maldivian spices used to prepare local fish. Our chef offers this culinary class amid the Maldivian surroundings of The Island Grill.”
The class is available on request from 3:00 – 4:00 pm at The Island Grill with a $75 USD per person charge.
Kandima’s “Kandiland” kids club features “Mini Picasso” sessions every Sunday and Wednesday from 2:00 – 3:00 pm at its Kula Art Studio led by none other than young Maldivian artist Aima Musko.
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…
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.”
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”