Paradise Postcards from the Edge

Ria Michelle (USA) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

There might not be a “Maldives Fanatic Day”, but there is a “National Swimming Pool Day”. And if there is one posing spot that the Maldives fashionistas are fanatical about it is the pool. You can be in the pool or beside the pool. Lounging, standing or floating. But the quintessential pose on every photographer’s check list is the “Pool Edge Recline”. The classic rendition includes arched back, tilted head, raised knee nearest the camera and pointed toes. But as the diverse Maldives display, there remain countless variations. And here are more than a few (dozen) examples…

  1. Ria Michelle (USA) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi [ABOVE]
  2. Alana Mamaeva (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Alana Mamaeva (Russia) - One & Only Reethi Rah
  3. Brooke Hogan (Australia) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Brooke Hogan (Australia) - Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  4. Yong (Laos) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Yong (Laos) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
  5. Julianna Mizon (United Kingdom) – Soneva Jani
    Julianna Mizon (United Kingdom) - Soneva Jani
  6. Emily Campbell (Australia) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Emily Campbell (Australia) - Club Med Finolhu Villas
  7. Karri Nicholas (Australia) – Amilla Fushi
    Karri Nicholas (Australia) - Amilla Fushi
  8. Katherine Legg Bondi (Australia) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Katherine Legg Bondi (Australia) - LUX South Ari Atoll
  9. Liria Dedvukaj Sinishtaj (Albania) – The Residence
    Liria Dedvukaj Sinishtaj (Albania) - The Residence
  10. Jenny Phm (Vietnam) – Conrad Rangali
    Jenny Phm (Vietnam) - Conrad Rangali
  11. Valeriya Samchileeva (Ukraine) – Olhuveli
    Valeriya Samchileeva (Ukraine) - Olhuveli
  12. Oxana K (Russia) – NIYAMA
    Oxana K (Russia) – NIYAMA
  13. Milana Koroleva (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Milana Koroleva (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli - 2
  14. Mari Danica Reynes (Philippines) – Vadoo
    Mari Danica Reynes (Philippines) - Vadoo
  15. Katya Ogo (Russia) – Safari Island
    Katya Ogo (Russia) - Safari Island
  16. June Lau (United Kingdom) – Maalifushi
    June Lau (United Kingdom) - Maalifushi
  17. Toni Garrn (USA) The Residence
    Toni Garrn (USA) The Residence
  18. Marina Mantega (Brazil) – NIYAMA
    Marina Mantega (Brazil) - NIYAMA
  19. Maggi Apa Bhavilai (Thailand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Maggi Apa Bhavilai (Thailand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas

  20. Galit Levi (Israel) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Galit Levi (Israel) – One & Only Reethi Rah
  21. Annette Rian Skjølberg (Norway) – Anantara Kihavah
    Annette Rian Skjølberg (Norway) – Anantara Kihavah
  22. Karenin G. (Switzerland) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Karenin G. (Switzerland) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
  23. Raquel Mattar de Faria (Brazil) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Raquel Mattar de Faria (Cheval Blanc Randheli) – Ayada
  24. Milana Dubovska (Russia) – Olhuveli
    Milana Dubovska (Russia) – Olhuveli
  25. Alia Bhaat (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Alia Bhaat (India) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
  26. Erin Victoria Holland (Australia) – Amilla Fushi
    Erin Victoria Holland (Australia) – Amilla Fushi
  27. Vik Voynikova (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu
    Vik Voynikova (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu

  28. Gabriela Vieria (Brazil) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Gabriela Vieria (Brazil) – One & Only Reethi Rah
  29. Jacqueline Fernandez (Sri Lanka) – Conrad Rangali
    Jacqueline Fernandez (Sri Lanka) – Conrad Rangali
  30. Jill Limatan (Peru) – Viceroy
    Jill Ltn (na) – Viceroy
  31. Bipasha Basu (India) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Bipasha Basu (India) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  32. Margaret MacPherson (Australia) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Margaret MacPherson (Australia) – Club Med Finolhu Villas

  33. Nikki Phillips (New Zealand) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Nikki Phillips (New Zealand) – Cocoa Island
  34. Daria Akoeva (Russia) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
    Daria Akoeva (Russia) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Best of the Maldives: W Retreat – Pool Float

W Retreat - float

Eid Mubarack! If you need to just lie down after all the feasting, then W Retreat offers literally the biggest armada of pool floats to lull you to a gently bobbing repose.

When we visited the Maldives with our children years ago, Lori and I would read by the pool while they splashed about (perhaps the very first beginnings of Maldives Complete was my research into which resorts had pools which the kids adored). If we had the W’s Canopy Float (see photo above), I could have enjoyed my reading in the pool rather than beside the pool. Especially with the sun-protecting canopy which keeps the light from being too harshly bright on the eyes while reading.

And if you want to make the biggest splash with a blow-up pink flamingo Instagram pic, the W has just introduced the largest in the Maldives, the mother of all pink flamingo floats (see below)…

  W Retreat - giant pink flamingo

Best of the Maldives: Dive Centre Pool – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - dive centre pool

One of the most unexpected swimming holes I’ve come across traipsing about the full extent of the Maldives was Shangri-La Villingili’s “diving pool”. I’ve seen all manner of artistically sculpted infinity pools with frothing fountains, so what was so distinctive about this simple enclosed pool tucked away in the island right next to the dive centre?  That’s just it. It’s not designed to be the centre of attention, but to make students in it the opposite of the centre of attention.

Standard operating procedure for novice divers taking a PADI course during their Maldives holiday is to go through some of the introductory activities in the resort pool. It might be safe and secure from currents, sand or murky water, but it’s considerably less so to a surrounding gallery of pool loungers encircling you like an amphitheatre. Learning to dive can be a bit of a stressful experience for some, and those students’ anxiety isn’t going to be lessened by having an audience of strangers.

The diving centre pool is only available to diving centre students. Another unusual characteristic of Villingili’s pool is that it is raised up. This means that not even the random passer-by can overlook your efforts to get to grips with operating underwater. Definitely the place to learn scuba for the self-conscious.

Best of the Maldives: Ocean Pool – Hulhumale

Hulhumale - ocean pool

Hulhumale’s “lagoon pool” ticks off another “Finally Seen”. The authentically natural swimming experience, but a bit protected and groomed (ie. sand) for some people’s comfort. We still bump into folks visiting the Maldives spooked to go in the ocean for fear of the little puppy sand sharks swimming about. Come to find out, some people don’t want to swim in any water that has any fish in it. I can’t guarantee that some enterprising piscatorial bounder hasn’t literally made the leap to check this feature out, but you should be pretty safe.

Hulhumale - ocean pool aerial

Best of the Maldives: Water Lovers – Canareef

Canareef - pool water

Perhaps the greatest allure of the Maldives is its intimacy with the ocean. The diminutive islands are nettled just at the water level so you are never far from it vertically or horizontally. Some of the bigger islands lose a bit of this aquatic intimacy. But one of the longest islands, Canareef, has as much if not more pervasive ambience of surrounding seaside. Primarily, because it is so skinny. With the shoreline only a few dozen meters away on either side of the island, the ambient noise of gentle waves permeate the air up and down the island.

And this stereo seaside is just one aspect of the resort’s water immersed motif. If you are a water lover, then Canareef is the resort for you. It features water of every size and shape…

  • Seashore – One side dramatic surf, the other side mill pond calm. Both along the longest coastline in the Maldives resorts.
  • Lakes – 3 of these relatively rare bodies of water in the Maldives
  • Pools – Also a top of the league table number.
  • Channel – A relatively rare feature in the Maldives.

Even your own Jacuzzi if you like in the Jacuzzi Villas. If water is what drew you to this destination that is 99% ocean, then Canareef tops it up just a bit further.

Best of the Maldives: In Pool Loungers – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - in pool loungers

A break from the Olympics today. And I mean a real break…sort of the opposite of the Olympics. National Lazy Day today. Like the Tweet below (which does take laziness to gold medal standard).

A great training camp for laziness is Shangri-La Villingili with their villa in-pool loungers. Like the Maldives islands themselves, the loungers are situated at that perfect elevation just above the level of the water. Just low enough to be cooled by the pool water perhaps dangling one feet in, but high enough so that you don’t have to be submerged.

Take your laziness to the next level.

Nationla Lazy Day Olympic tweet

Best of the Maldives: Hydrotherapy Pool – Cocoa Island

Cocoa Island - Hydrotherapy Pool 1

In the land of endless water spectacles, Cocoa Island’s hydrotherapy pool might just be the biggest indoor water feature in the Maldives. It certainly is the biggest hydrotherapy pool in the country, and in fact it claims to be the biggest in Asia. It’s the biggest I have seen and I am a connoisseur of spas around the world. Even Lori was impressed as she uses hydrotherapy pools professionally as a part of her therapy practice. It includes bubble loungers, drench fountain, back massager and a whole array of relaxing water jets. It is available to all guests on a complimentary basis and fresh ginger tea is on tap non-stop.

Cocoa Island - Hydrotherapy Pool 2

Cocoa Island - Hydrotherapy Pool 4

Cocoa Island - Hydrotherapy Pool 3

Cocoa Island - Hydrotherapy Pool 7

Cocoa Island - Hydrotherapy Pool 6