Best of the Maldives: Bedroom Fountain – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - bedroom fountain

Art can be anything that inspires the senses. We are most familiar with visual art, but gastronomic delights can be truly artistic in the depiction of creative flavours. One medium of art we are especially familiar with is “sound art”. Not music, but actually composing artistic creations out of sounds that may or may not have any music or rhythm whatsoever. Our son, Chase (himself a veteran of a dozen visits to the Maldives with our family) is a sound artist. He recently released a work “Four Points” based on recordings around the UK shoreline. Our playlists are filled with his pieces and others he has recommended.

Most people will have enjoyed sound art in a spa where ambient pieces are often featured to paint a soothing acoustic environment. A common theme in such pieces is the sound of water. Be it gently curling seaside lapping the shore or a trickling brook or even a rainfall, something about flowing water is viscerally calming. Some resorts feature ambient recordings on their in-room sound systems. But JA Manafaru produces a live performance soundscape in their beach suites with a waterfall situated right behind the bed.

The feature reminded me of our recent stay at Shangri-La Villingili. On the second day we had quite an extensive rain shower for a few hours. But, Lori and I just flung open the French doors to the room and took a dreamy nap lying in bed with the sound of warm rain falling a few feet from us.

Best of the Maldives: Swimming Platform – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah - swimming platform

Today is International Frugal Fun Day. When I think of frugal fun, I think of my childhood of bicycling down to the local pond and swimming in the muck filled water. Maybe not the tropical paradise of the azure blue Maldives lagoons, but on a blistering August day just as satisfying. The best part was the raft you swam out to for jumping, diving and just messing about. One and Only Reethi Rah might not be the most frugal resorts (quite the contrary, in fact), but it stills brings that retro-chic nostalgia of a swimming raft. A bit more opulently kitted out with a parasol, lounger and refreshment cabinet.

Best of the Maldives: Swinging – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah Villas - hammock

Kihavah King of the Swingers for Jungle VIPs.

I was particularly impressed during my stay at Anantara Kihavah that every villa was kitted out with a high quality hammock. Most resorts I have visited have communal pendulous pallets scattered across the resort. But also each villa deck has a sofa swings (see directly below).

Communal swings do abound throughout the resort with such exceptional models as their “best of” pool swing (see second below). And they even have the increasingly de rigeur lagoon swing (see bottom).

Anantara Kihavah Villas - villa swing

Anantara Kihavah Villas - pool swings


Best of the Maldives: Moonlight Massage – Velaa

Velaa - moonlight massage

Tonight is the “Flower Moon”. Also called Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon. It marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

The perfect time for one of Velaa’s “Moonlight Massages”. It is only offered once a month on nights with a full moon. And tonight’s would seem particular apt to stimulate your own personal blossoming.

With this post, I’ve added the new tag of “Moon” for all those lunar luxuries.


Best of the Maldives: Rocking Chairs – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah Villas - rocking chair

Lapping waves, swaying palm trees, ocean breezes. There is something soothingly relaxing about gentle movement. Which is why rocking chairs sort of epitomise lazy summer days. Our family’s most prevalent activity at our beach house is sitting on the back deck in rocking chairs looking over the intercoastal waterway (North Carolina). Increasingly, you will see rockers that are just as popular as the coin-op massage chairs in airport terminal for de-stressing during your travels.

Anantara Kihavah embraces the rocking vibe with a number of especially comfortable models set out at its Sea, Salt, Sky over-water restaurant collection. The chairs have nice deep seat, especially plush cushions and 2 pillows so you can rest your head against the tall back of the chair.

Pass the iced tea!

Best of the Maldives: Airport Lounge Seating – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi airport lounge

Most Maldives visitors coming from Europe have to take the red-eye overnight long haul flights. Unless you are reclined in First Class, these flights are exhausting and you often want to collapse when you arrive. If you have to then take a seaplane transfer you are often waiting a little while at the seaplane terminal. To take the sting out of these first moments in paradise, the luxury 5-star resorts have set up special welcome lounges with extra comforts and service.

But for sheer comfort, no lounge beat Soneva Fushi’s. Not only are their settee colourful, but they a big and broad. One family that was there with us had their kids laid out napping (and Dad joining them in an ultra-reclined state).

And if those loungers aren’t comfortable enough for you, then might I suggest that seating doesn’t get much more comfortable than their massage chair that they also feature for that extra bit of en route relaxation.

Soneva Fushi airport lounge massage

Best of the Maldives: Departure Lounge – Kurumba

Kurumba - departure lounge 1

The two most important impressions you can make are the first one and the last one. Maldives resorts put so much into their first impression – elaborate greetings, welcome cocktails, scented cold towels. And for those who have a seaplane transfer before stepping foot on the island, a small village of “arrival lounges” has sprouted at the seaplane terminal to give waiting guests a comfortable if not luxurious space to start their Maldivian chill out.

But when it is (depressingly) time to say goodbye, all too many just take a swipe of your credit card and have you sit by your luggage in reception.

A few resorts also have “arrival/departure” facilities on their island. For people who arrive before the room is ready or who have to check out of their room before their transfer is ready. These rooms have air conditioning, comfortable seating, some refreshments, changing areas, etc. You still are in a public place and often jockeying a bit with other waiting guests.

Kurumba puts the “lounge” in “departure lounge”. The room is almost entirely bed-like loungers. And they are all discreetly separated my gossamer linen dividers to provide a modest sense of seclusion. So you can extend your relaxation even more with a lie down or nap awaiting your transfer.

And just like arriving guest, the staff bring you cold towel. Making the sorrow of parting just a bit sweeter.

Kurumba - departure lounge 2

Best of the Maldives: Over Water Decks – AaaVee

AaaVeee overwater decks

You don’t need a water villa to enjoy the over water lounging at AaaVeee. This fresh new face in the Maldives resort crowd has added special decks that any can use for that over-water lounging vibe…

Perched majestically in 3 sturdy decks above the sea, these 3 nature discovery decks set on stilts overlooking the calm blue lagoon, scenic beach, peaceful islands and the ocean, boasts simply stunning views of dazzling sunsets. You could sunbath on these quiet comfortable wooden sunbeds while chilling with the excellent drinks which we provide.”

Best of the Maldives: Bed Height – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi - bed

World Sleep Day (good chance to sleep off all those green Guinness’s from yesterday).

Cushiest cushion we have slumbered on in the Maldives is Soneva Fushi. Their mattress is nearly 2 feet thick. But just the right firmness too. Combined with its classic four-poster frame, the bed comes to nearly my hip (and I am a tall person). You literally do have to climb into bed. There is a regal comfort to sleeping a bit elevated I find. This mattress would make it hard for even a princess to feel a pea.



Best of the Maldives: Largest Round Tub – Zitahli Kudafunafaru

Zitahli Kudafunafaru - tub

If size does matter to you, then the Zitahli Kudafunafaru tub is the soak for you. Not just wide, but deep. At nearly 2 metres, I am not a small guy and I could barely keep my head above water. It was like a little indoor swimming pool (small children could do laps in this pool).

It’s all part of the Kudafunafaru expansiveness. The villas a quite substantial for their relatively modest 4.5 rack rates (the resort is in the top 5 for lowest cost per square metre in the 4.5 star category). Like a giant ceramic caldron to simmer away whatever the stresses remain after a day of lounging in the Maldivian sun.