After a day of snorkelling, diving, exploring and soaking up the sun, Lori and I are usually ready to collapse under the stars after dinner. A number of resorts will feature entertainment in the evening and in many cases, the DJ or Boduberu is just too uninspiring to get us up onto our weary feet. And even if we can do, many of the resort bars and lounges have limited dance floor designed more for gentle swaying and bopping around the handbags. Lori and I both study ballroom and Latin dancing and we hadn’t found a resort where the music extended to such diverse genres and offered the room for really stretching out our heel leads and cha-cha-cha’s. Until we visited Sun Siyam Irufushi.
Their main bar, The Water’s Edge, boasts a 20m diameter dance floor with plenty of room to stretch out your dancing legs. Especially, since we had it to ourselves (well, until our ice breaking spurred several other couples to join in the romantic fun).
But the key to good dancing is good music and that’s what really got us going. The music led by Philippine duo “Intonation Band” (though I think they also go by the name “Desperado”). Not just a gigging band ushered in for the evening, but residents of Irufushi for 2 years. The duo consists of Henri and Rodelle (see photo above) who both play a range of instruments.
It’s not just the range of sounds, but the selection of songs. They will play virtually any request for you. They have an iPad app which allows them to download music and lyrics for an extensive library of favourites. We were able to get a cha-cha-cha, rumba, tango, waltz, even some jazz tunes (today is Jazz Day, by the way). The band was able to not just sight read the music very adeptly, but also sing along as well. The finale was Cat Stevens’ “How Can I Tell You” which is Lori’s “our song” (played at our wedding, etc.). Hard to imagine a more romantic finish to the evening dancing under the stars to your favourite song played live, in your favourite part of the world with your favourite person. Bravissimi!
If there is one activity that evokes indolent leisure time it is the cruise classic – shuffleboard. Of course, in the Maldives everything is just that little bit more relaxed. So why push a big disk with a big pole when you can use a little on a shuffled board table at Sun Siyam Irufushi. It’s located at the resort bar so you can even order a cocktail and even pull up a chair if that sound like too much exertion for you.
Chile National Day. Chile can take pride today in many of its contributions to the world not least of which are its world class wines. Often found in the value bins of the supermarket wine section, the country’s hot sunny days with modest precipitation and cooling breezes make it a proper paradise for viticulture. It produces a wide range of not only well-priced, but exceptional quality varietal wines including sleek Cabernets and clean Chardonnays. And to toast Chile today you need a word with the Sun Siyam Irufushi sommelier.
Their collection includes one of the most distinctive wines from the Andean slopes and a pioneer of Chilean ultra-premium Wines, Montes Alpha M (see photo at bottom)…
“This extraordinary wine represents a dream come true for the original founders of Montes: to produce a ‘first growth’ that can stand alongside the world’s other finest wines. Production of Montes Alpha M is extremely limited and vintages are only released if our head winemaker Aurelio Montes considers that the quality of the wine is up to demanding standards. Aurelio goes as far as painstakingly selecting individual grapes rather than bunches at harvest time, in his aim for supreme quality, eliminating variables that might compromise quality. Coming from the best vines at our Finca de Apalta estate, considered by many to be Chile´s best red wine terroir, Montes Alpha M has become the icon benchmark for other Chilean wineries to follow. Montes Alpha M is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Merlot (10%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%). Basically it is Bordeaux blend with intense dark red in color. It is a powerful wine with beautiful soft, rounded tannins. The wine is elegant and has a very well-defined character. The inclusion of Petit Verdot adds an extra element of complexity. There is a pleasant and harmonious marriage of fruit and French oak. It is perfectly balanced, full-bodied and voluptuous mid-palate with a rewarding, lingering aftertaste of mature grapes and a level of acidity that reflects its superb structure. Wine maker tried their best level to bring the wines up-to the Bordeaux wine standard. 2006 Montes Alpha ‘’M’’ is one of most popular wine in the luxury wine cellar dinner at The Sun Siyam Irufushi Maldives. It is for guest experience to match the Bordeaux chateaux with Chilean Montes Alpha ‘’M’’ 2006. This wine will be able to keep for more than 20 years. “
The complete Chilean Wine Selection at The Sun Siyam Irufushi Maldives reads like a Chilean geography lesson…
- ·Aconcagua Valley
- 2012 Errazuriz ‘Estate Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%
- Casablanca Valley
- 2012 Errazuriz ‘Estate Reserva’ Chardonnay, 12.5%
- 2010 Montes ‘Alpha’ Chardonnay, 14%
- San Antonio Valley
- 2012 Emiliana Novas Sauvignon Blanc, 13%
- 2012 Emiliana Signos de Origen Chardonnay, Rousanne, Marsanne, Viognier, 14.5%
- Central Valley
- 2013 Poco Mas Chardonnay, 13%
- Maipo Valley
- 2011 Undurraga ‘Aliwen Reserva’ Chardonnay, 14%
- Rapel Valley
- 2011 Emiliana Adobe Gewurtztraminer, 14%
- Curico Valley
- 2013 Montes Classic ‘Riserva’ Sauvignon Blanc, 12.5%
- 2011 Caliterra Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, 13%
- Maule Valley
- 2008 O. Fournier ‘Centauri’ Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%
- Casablanca Valley
- 2009 Montes ‘Limited Selection’ Pinot Noir, 14%
- Central Valley
- 2013 Siete Soles Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, 12%
- 2010 Undurraga ‘Aliwen Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, 14%
- Maipo Valley
- 2009 Marques de Casa Concha ‘Concha Y Toro’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5%
- 2006 Undurraga ‘Founder’s Collection’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 14%
- Colchagua Valley
- 2012 Fuzion Shiraz, Malbec, 13%
- Rapel Valley
- 2011 Montes ‘Reserva’ Merlot, 14%
- 2009 Montes ‘Reserva’ Merlot, 14%
- 2010 Caliterra ‘Reserva’ Merlot, 13.5%
- 2007 Montes ‘Folly’ Syrah, 15%
- o 2011 Caliterra ‘Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5%
- o 2009 Montes ‘Purple Angel’ Carmenere, Petit Verdot, 14.5%
- o 2009 Montes ‘Alpha’ Carmenere, 14.5%
- o 2009 Montes ‘Alpha’ Shiraz, 14.5%
- o 2006 Montes ‘Alpha M’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, 14.5%
- · Maule Valley
- o 2007 O. Fournier ‘Centauri’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Cargignan 14%
Viva el vino!
For those with more refined tastes that Homer Simpson, today is the day to break out the ultimate tipple treat – Cognac Day (I’m not making these days up, seriously. And the Maldives really does have something to offer every day of the year). And one of the finest and rarest blends in the world is offered at Sun Siyam Irufushi – the 1888 P. Frapin. London purveyor of finest wines describes its storied background…
- “Cognac Frapin Cuvée 1888 is one of the rarest blends of cognac created in the recent years. It is selected from the most precious vines, some of which even predate 1888, passed down through the generations and a tribute to the extraordinary achievements of the company’s eponymous founder Pierre Frapin. In 1888 he replanted the vineyard, previously decimated by phylloxera, with American rootstock from Denison Texas. That same year, he was preparing to participate in the World Fair of 1889 in Paris. As Gustave Eiffel was entering the final stages of construction of his famous tower, Pierre Frapin was busy selecting the cuvee that would be awarded a gold medal. This Gold Medal is still kept in the ‘Eiffel Cellar’ at the Frapin estate in Segonzac,”
The decanter itself is part of its aesthetic distinction…
- “Fashioned from blown glass at the Cristalleries Royales de Champagne, the magnificent decanter of 1888 has a 24 carat fine gold thread made by Les Etains d’Anjou. The elaborate wooden gift box that houses Cuvée 1888 is the epitome of refinement, it is also a highly decorative object. The elegant hues of the wood are reminiscent of the warm tones of the world of cognac and Havana cigars. The small drawer nestling in the base holds a beautiful fob watch with a flick mechanism, a reproduction of a model designed in 1880, gilded with fine gold. When the lid is opened, the watch reveals a solid perfume that will create the ideal scent environment in which to savour this unique cognac: 1888. A limited edition of only 1,888 of these 700 ml decanters in wooden gift boxes has been produced.”
And for truly appreciating its sublime nose tingling bouquet, you can always break out Irufushi’s “Nez du Vin” kit.
- “This is a blend created by cellar master Olivier Paultes, consisting of very old Grande Champagne cognacs that are distilled on their lees and matured in the cellars of the Château de Fontpinot. Cuvée 1888 demonstrates the alluring floral notes of the Folle Blanche grape, which is no longer used for making cognac. The aromas reveal notes of dried fruit, walnuts and hazelnuts, raisins and prune with candied orange and enchanting balsamic, roasted, toasty notes of cocoa and coffee beans. The palate is a showcase of sublime harmony, floral notes mingling with the sweetness of linden and peppery overtones, sweet spices, summer flower honey and vanilla, leather and aromatic woods. Powerful yet subtle, it combines history with blending expertise resulting in a tribute to Cognac’s Grande Champagne Premier Grand Cru vineyards.”
Some Maldives guests take the “get away from it all” vibe to the extreme as they sequester themselves in their little slice of paradise and hardly emerge from their villa their entire holiday. Especially, the many celebrities who escape to the islands, privacy is a big part of the allure. This seclusion is fine for the basics of R&R, but you do miss out on some of the luxury amenities of the resort.
Unless you check into Sun Siyam Irufushi’s Celebrity Retreat. It is more like a mini-resort enclave than a mere villa. Want a refreshing dip? The expansive compound includes *two* pools. Want a different type of pool chilling? The villa has its own games room complete with personal pool table. Want a walk among the tropical flora? The villa has its own cultivated garden? Want a rejuvenating massage? The villa has its own spa in its own building complete with treatment tables and other amenities.
A resort within a resort.
Researching yesterday’s croquet piece, I was struck by the curious terminology of the game much of which seemed like a menu for exotic cocktails – Super Shot, Dambuster, Dolly Rush, Mangler, Octuple Peel, Straight Triple. It brought me back to our Sun Siyam Irufushi visit and wiling away too many hours at their “Water’s Edge” bar.
Over 90% of cocktails there are custom recipes made by Anil. As our waiter commented, “No one wants to drink Coca Cola at the Maldives”.
While I tend to stick to my ritual pina coladas during my resort visits I nonetheless always appreciate inventiveness. And Lori always seems to be interested in trying an unconventional concoction. I’ll often sample hers and more often than not the cocktails are more oddball than highball.
But Irufushi was a truly refreshing change. Their “Shanghi #1” is a resort favourite which Lori tried (bracing with a bit of fizz and not too sweet). I had a “Login” which is like a tropical mojito”
If you want to indulge in the taste of the Maldives, Maldives Complete has scooped the recipes for their top three creations…
- Sun Siyam Delight (Signature cocktail) – Vodka, Triple sec, Mango Liqueur, Fresh Passion Fruit plums, Fresh Mint Leaves, Mojito Mint Syrup and Soda Water. Shake with all the ingredients and pour into glass and add mint leaves. top up with soda water and stir well. it is very interesting refreshing cocktail.
- All Rounder (competition winning cocktails) – Vodka, Peach Liqueur, Triple Sec, Fresh strawberry, Fresh Orange Juice and Grapefruit Juice. Muddle the strawberry and add all the ingredient and shake well. it is well balance, sweet and slightly better taste and refreshing.
- Login (competition winning cocktail) – Vodka, Midori, Fresh Pineapple Juice, Fresh Lemon Juice, Mojito Mint and Fresh Basil Leaves. Shake all the ingredients with fresh basil leaves and strain into the glass. Serve on the rock and it is wonderful refreshing sweet herb cocktail.
The first day of spring today as we passed the Vernal Equinox. A natural cause for celebration (especially up north) as the days now get longer than the nights. This celestial event is celebrated in a number of ways from throwing coloured powder (for the Hindu Festival of Holi) to balancing an egg (ancient Chinese belief says that you can stand an egg on its end on the first day of spring since due to the sun’s equidistant position between the poles of the earth at the time of the equinox, gravitational forces are balanced out).
But spring is especially a time of sprouting and rebirth. The baby lambs have started emerging on the farms in our area. The Mirror describes, “Spring equinox is symbolic of rebirth, renewal, and growth, and in ancient Italy, it was traditional for women to plant seeds in the gardens of Adonis on this day. The custom persists in Sicily, where women plant seeds of grains – lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers – in baskets and pots. When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the flowers are placed on graves on Good Friday, symbolising the triumph of life over death.”
A number of resorts have offered tree planting on their property, but a few have stopped (running out of space) and others don’t support plaques. I appreciate that such commemoratives need to be done with taste and aesthetic sensitivity, but I do love the notion of being able to leave a positive part of yourself after your departure. Giving a people commemorative opportunities builds the sense of connection to this paradise and a reinforces an enduring empathy and support for its environmental challenges.
Sun Siyam Irufushi does support tree planting accompanied by simple wooden plaques noting the special occasion of the visit (cost is $300).
May your spring blossom with the vibrant colour of the Maldives wherever you are.
Happy Valentines Day sweethearts everywhere. But especially in that global hotbed of romantic paradise, the Maldives
Get your clothes off for a hot and steamy, sensual delight, with a touch of perfume, bubbly, and flower petals. Yes, a romantic bubble bath. Here’s a not-so-dirty dozen of the best in the Maldives…
I’ve also added a “Maldives Tub Art” board to the Maldives Complete Pinterest so I can add more sexy suds as I find them.
1. Atmosphere Kanifushi [above]
2. Cheval Blanc Randheli
4. Coco Bodu Hithi (thanks Paola)
5. One & Only Reethi Rah
6. Centara Ras Fushi
8. Anantara Kihavah
9. Amilla Fushi
10. Centara Grand
11. Loama Maamagili
12. Sun Siyam Irufushi
13. Hideaway Beach
14. Zitahli Kudafunafaru
15. Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
If you want to celebrate today’s national day of the land of the Rising Sun straight from the rise of the sun, then Sun Siyam Irufushi offers a fresh a Sashimi Bar at its breakfast buffet. Our Japan blogging son Chase (chip off the old block) would have loved this option. He savours Japanese culture, adores sushi and sashimi, and ordered it the most often when we visited the Maldives as a family. The profusion of fresh fish in the neighbourhood make this culinary favourite a treat the whole day long.
Think your nose knows the notes? Then sniff out Sun Siyam Irufushi’s olfactory oenology offering.
The “Le Nez du Vin” kits by Jean Lenoir provide a collection of the most prevalent aromas, or “notes,” in wines including “fruity” ones like pineapple and cherry, or “spicy” ones like vanilla and pepper (see list below). The resort sommelier introduces the diners to the pure essence and then serves up a wine where that fragrance features prominently. I think all but the most oenological among us have had that frustration of being told that the wine’s bouquet features “liquorice and geranium” and all we can smell is, well…wine.
For the intermediate class, check out Wine Folly’s “33 of The Most Bizarre Flavors Found in Wine” (includes a few you can sample in Le Nez like liquorice and violet). Actually, here are some of the tasting notes for Cheval Blanc’s (the resort and the chateau) 1947…”The huge nose of fruitcake, chocolate, leather, coffee, and Asian spices is mind-boggling.”