Best of the Maldives: Beach Front Kids Club – SAii Lagoon

SAii Lagoon - beach front kids club

The Maldives have come a long way from when it was mostly a destination for divers and honeymooners neither of which brought along little ones. Now (except for a few resorts positioning themselves as “adult only” or “children restricted”), the vast majority of resorts not only welcome children, but cater to them with a range of treats and activities some of which make the adults envious. The centrepiece of family-friendliness is the pervasive “kids club”. These havens of youthful and safe play spaces include all sorts of exciting features, but even the most lavishly equipped and designed tend to be tucked away somewhere in the interior of the island. SAii Lagoon’s Koimala & Maalimi’s Junior Beach Club and Camp has treated its young guests to seaside venue as picturesque as the one their parent’s are enjoying with keenly savoured peace and quiet.

   

Best of the Maldives: Co-Working – The Crossroads

SAii Lagoon - coworking

The remote working revolution, powered by the pandemic lock-down, has transformed the extent to which people can unshackle themselves from the location (and time) constraints of doing their job. Some people have taken advantage of their new found freedom to work in the cozy idyll of a shed at the bottom of their garden. But others have taken the workplace revamp to the extremes extending their Maldives holidays by doing a bit of work abroad.

“Residences” and long-term stays (ie. months) have risen dramatically here. A good Internet connection and a growing standardisation of teleconferencing as the default mode of doing business make this increasingly feasible and appealing. It used to be that face-to-face included was the default and you did teleconferencing when you really had to, but now the situation has flipped).

To further help you whistle while you work, SAii Lagoon has introduced the first ever co-working space in the Maldives:

  • “Crossroads Maldives is set to open the Maldives first-ever co-working space in the Maldives located at The Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives..‘Your SPACE’ at CROSSROADS Maldives would be the first of its kind in the Maldives where freelancers, remote workers, start-ups, and other independent professionals can work together in the communal setting. Offering flexible membership levels from hot desk to designated desks and spaces, members would be able to enjoy complimentary return transfers from Malé, free Wi-Fi, secretarial services including printing, scanning, mail delivery, meeting room booking and self-service coffee and tea. Additional benefits include exclusive discounts from the diverse range of dining and shopping outlets at The Marina.”

Other resorts have added enhanced work spaces in the villas (now tagged with the new tag of “Remote Working”), but SAii Lagoon and Hard Rock have introduced a space dedicated to such working in their Crossroad centre. That way one can get some privacy and other business support services for getting some vital work done (hopefully, so you can stay even longer in paradise with all the fires put out at home).

This is a bit of a special topic for me as one of my other websites/blogs has been looking at the concept of remote and flexible working long before it became trendy – Dynamic Work. As it happens, I am posting this piece from another island paradise, the Galapagos, where Lori and I are taking our Maldives-honed diving skills for a different type of diving adventure and our first ever live-aboard experience.

Why have a faux background on your Zoom call, when you can have the real thing?

  

Best of the Maldives: Unicorns – SAii Lagoon

SAii Lagoon - unicorn party

· “Always be yourself. Unless You can be a Unicorn. Then Always be a Unicorn”

Happy Halloween! An occasion where all sorts of mystical creatures emerge.  After more than 20 years of visiting the Maldives, I might not have seen a whale shark yet, but I have seen a unicorn. Not just once, but twice. At the Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon’s kids club who host an “awesome Unicorn Party”. Then, later at the main restaurant buffer Unicorn Froot Loops not only provided another encountered with this mystical creature, but also satisfied my American-bred addiction to high-fructose corn-syrup.

SAii Lagoon - unicorn cereal

Best of the Maldives: Crab Biryani – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock

Hard Rock - crab biryani

Ocean Indian cuisine in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon’s Ministry of Crab serves up a true delicacy crab biryani which we thoroughly enjoyed during our visit there:

  • “Cooked with 1.5kg of the finest Mud crab from Sri Lanka, this is the largest deshelled crab dish on our menu and preserves the ideologies of the traditional biryani with our own take on it. Each clay pot serves 6, includes 12 eggs and is accompanied with a Fresh Mint Sambol, hand ground on our Miris Gala and the Classic Malay pickle.”

I do love when resorts bring local flavours to luxury ingredients. With this post, I am adding a “Crab” tag so that this crustacean can take its place alongside its culinary crustacean, Lobster.

Best of the Maldives: Personal Fragrance – SAii Lagoon

SAii Lagoon - MIY 1

Instagram can save the sights and sounds of your trip to paradise, but how to do preserve the scents? The tropical flowers, the salty sea air, the crisp coral sands. I asked that question with my #26 of installment #5 of “Haven’t Seen Yet”, but thanks to SAii Lagoon “M.I.Y” (ie. “Mix It Yourself”) bar, I can finally tick that one off.

The M.I.Y. boutique lets you prepare a customised bouquet from their extensive array of aroma’s in the “Aroma Lab”. “M.I.Y.” is also a reverse acronym for “Yim” Thai word “Yim”, meaning “to smile”. So, the Aroma Lab motto is, “Make a scent that makes you smile.”

The process includes product testing to ensure your skin’s suitability and affinity with the customised formula. You can wear the final olfactory cocktail directly or have it added to you shampoo and soap in your room as well throughout your stay. Finally, each formula is kept for when you return to SAii Lagoon.

Makes scents to me!

SAii Lagoon - MIY 2

Best of the Maldives: Snorkel Safety Ring – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock

SAii Lagoon - safety ring

One of the appeals of snorkeling and swimming in the Maldives is the mill pond calm waters of the sea stilled by the atoll reef topology. But any body of water, including your bathtub, can be a drowning risk. Not surprisingly, for a country 99% water, the biggest cause of fatality for guests to the country is drowning. Perhaps seduced by the placid feel, people can literally get in over their head. To help reduce the risk of snorkellers getting into trouble (or just to provide a place where they can stop and rest and maybe chat easily with their snorkel buddy), Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon have placed hi-vis floatation rings at the lagoon snorkeling spot (where they have placed a few underwater items to attract fish and provide visual interest in an area which is, and always has been, most sandy shoals.

Best of the Maldives: Reception Large Chair – SAii Lagoon

SAii Lagoon - large chair

While you’ve got a whole holiday of stretching out and lounging, too often reception area have pretty basic seating, I guess, to prepare you for the shock of sitting in a confined seat for hours on the plane. But SAii Lagoon has the biggest reception chairs we’ve ever gotten swallowed up in (photo above). It reminded me of the feature item in Copenhagen’s renowned Design Museum which itself jumbo sized (photo below with Lori as well). Great for bringing out the kid in you (or at least looking like it on Instagram…and it makes those holiday extra pounds look less prominent).

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Best of the Maldives: Terraforming – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock

The Maldives may not be moving the heavens, but they are moving the earth to provide more opportunities to welcome visitors. For some environmental activists, “terraforming” is as dirty a word as the mounds of dirt it involves. But I am more supportive of the Maldives’ use of terraforming. For a country that is nearly 1000 kilometres long, to reclaim a few kilometres for living or economic purposes seems quite a reasonable trade-off. Especially, if the aquatic regions chosen are more barren sandy lagoon than vibrant reef (and even then, work done with as eco-friendly protocols as possible). The entire Crossroad complex which currently includes Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon were constructed in this manner and eventually 7 more resort “islands” will be developed in the general area. The environmental study that was performed to prepare for this dramatic transformation of the ocean was extensive but nonetheless controversial among sceptics. For those who are accepting of this strategy to building their economy, the engineering scale and sophistication is quite impressive. The YouTube video above provides a taste of what is involved, but actually the History Channel (Asia) did a fully documentary programme on the project (see trailer below) to look out for if you get a chance to watch it.

Best of the Maldives: Maldives Discovery Centre – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock / The Crossroads

Hard Rock - Crossroads Maldives discovery center 1

If you want an overview of the Maldives destination with more an experience than a guide book, then Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon (actually sited at The Crossroads):

  • “The Maldives have long been the crossroads of the world, where cultures meet, and where explorers, traders and pioneers from a myriad of different cultures have weighed anchor and helped to define the extraordinary culture and heritage of the islands. This unique attraction space, covering 500 square metres, uses stunning designs and interactive displays to explore the Maldives rich history, marine biodiversity and how local arts and crafts have shaped the islands’ unique cultural identity. This unforgettable educational experience works closely with the local community to promote their way of life and showcase the handicrafts of this remarkable island nation.”

The exhibit is a proper professional museum with slick presentation and exhibits of everything above and below the water. We received a tour of this interactive and artistic gallery by its manager Iyran. It is so packed with educational displays that even local Maldivian school children visit it.

The Crossroad - Maldives Discovery Centre