World Tourism Day today! And one of the best portrayals of the world of Maldivian tourism is BBC’s “Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby” series (available on iPlayer in the UK for another year) hosted by Joali and Joali Being resorts. Yes, the show does have much of the contrived, shilling lifestyle porn vibe to it. But what makes it distinctive is its “peek behind the scenes”. And while the “work” that the two bubbly hosts roll their sleeves up to do is also a bit contrived (Monica Galetti less so then tv personality Rob Rinder because Monica is an actual chef), it is still a lovely portrayal of the efforts made by the staff to keep the property running smoothly. And I must say that the tour of Joali’s staff area was most impressive and surely one of the finest areas in the Maldives. Stay tuned for some added posts about a few distinctive aspect’s of Joali’s operations revealed by the show.
Rain doesn’t have to ruin your day in the Maldives. For the youngsters at Joali, the Muramas kids club (ages 4-12) has a Rainbow Stairs Room. A colourful and unique play area for jumping around, tumbling or just chilling out until the rain passes and the real rainbows come out.
The resort Joali is not just the “art” resort, but is also the “state of the art” resort. Fancy electronics and fixtures are not unusual in the high end Maldives properties. But nonetheless, sometimes the more swish switches are actually difficult to figure out what each one does. Sometimes when Lori and I want to turn off or on a specific light, we find ourselves embarking on a mini-treasure hunt trying different switches till we land on the right one. That is why we were de-lighted to see Joali’s controls. The wall fixtures were explicitly labelled. And if that wasn’t clear enough, they also provide an in-room ipad console which controls every device in the villa.
My biggest laugh this week was a gem of a line in the bio-pic flick “Judy” (about Judy Garland) which during a visit to London says, “You ever tried a crumpet?…Mm?…It’s like a pancake that’s had the living sh*t kicked out of it” (I couldn’t have put it better…if you visit London, don’t order the “crumpets” no matter how daintily British they sound). As an American by upbringing, we take our pancakes extremely seriously. I have yet to find the level of griddle cake quality in the UK that is standard fare in the USA. And, the same is true for most of the chewy circles serves at some of the resort buffets. Until we came to Joali. They have a special a la carte pancake menu including some savoury versions that are simply delicious:
- Spiced Jaggery, fresh coconut
- Cinnamon, prunes, honey
- Banana, yoghurt, strawberry, mint
- Chocolate, walnut
- Exotic tropical fruit
- Mixed berry, sweet mascarpone
- Savory tuna tapenade, olives, remoulade
- Sweet corn, cherry tomato salsa, crispy bacon
I had the spiced Jaggery (an unrefined sugar in Asia) and it was truly delicious (see photo above). Or as Lori and I would say for recipes we like, “a do-again”. A more-ish classic dish with a distinctly Maldivian twist.
For many maps are quite practical items, but I’ve always been captivated by their aesthetics. Capturing a sliver of the world in a useful snapshot from a birds eye view. No surprise that the art immersion resort of Joali even turned their creative eye to a map of their art collection. How apropos that the map of art installations be a work of art itself.
Both Lori and I work with disabled individuals and we are sensitised to the accessibility that is provided for them. Fortunately, we live in an age where accessibility is the norm. Not just to help those with disabilities, but helping a range of people facing their own mobility issues like the elderly or parents with prams and so on. There is something to be said for this norm just being integrated into the infrastructure in a pedestrian manner. Still, I was impressed that the aesthetic obsessives at Joali applied some of their style sense to the accessibility features as well. A few examples shown here are the marble accessibility ramp leading into the main bar (below) and the funky restroom symbols (above).
For your yoghurt, pancakes, porridge or whatever. They evoked fond memories of the iconic American restaurant chain “IHOP” (International House of Pancakes) which not only served maple syrup with its famous pancakes, but raspberry, strawberry and blueberry (!) to drizzle over your stack.
At Joali, you have an even more extensive selection of…
- Passion Fruit
Joali not only features art immersion at its museum quality property, but it also features immersion art. Creative commissions are found not only in every nook and cranny of the island, but also deep under the water of the resort house reef. A number of resorts have installed underwater sculptures and other items of visual interest in the lagoon for snorkeling exploration, Joali is the first diver-oriented installation. Visitors can descend 12 metres to enjoy Misha Kahn’s subaquatic art:
- Misha Kahn couldn’t hold himself back to create his biggest scale work for Joali Maldives. He has worked in the island with his team and the locals to create the under the water coral sculpture garden using mosaic combinations of vibrant and pale colored tiles in order to reflect the coral bleaching occurring in the oceans.
Photo courtesy of Mosshops00
If you are hunting for a whole basket of breakfast egg options, the Joali offers more specialty egg dishes a la carte than any resort we have visited. Of course, the ubiquitous egg station at resorts offers a variety of custom preparations, but they tend to be basic frying and omelette options. Joali offers a range of eggs benedict as well as omelettes with some unique recipes and ingredients:
- Chicken Benedict
- Eggs Avacado
- Benedict with Benefits
- Russian Rhapsody
- Smoked Salmon Benny
- Mykonos Omelette
- Veggie Omelette
- Chef’s Omelette
- Pan Fried Top Eggs