International Picnic Day today. And the Maldives resort go a bit beyond the blanket and basket. There are dinners “on” the beach, but in the Maldives you can dine “in” the beach. In luxurious style. Here are the Maldives Complete Top Ten “IN” beach dinners for your end your picnic day in paradise…
1. Dusit Thani [ABOVE]
3. LUX Maldives
5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
6. Amilla Fushi
7. Gili Lankanfushi
8. Taj Exotica
9. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
10. Anantara Veli
Our neighbour wakes up his wife each day by bringing her a cup of coffee in bed each day. We’ve always thought that this was a touching and romantic ritual. If that sound lime more your cuppa tea than an alarm clock blaring in your ear or even a room phone ringing off the hook, then Taj Exotica will be happy to oblige. For your wake-up call, they bring your tea or coffee (according to your request) to your villa and present it with a gentle knock on the door. As a bonus service, they will also block all calls to your room until your wake up call time.
Christmas is just a few sleeps away and most of us are nestled by the fire accompanied by shot of hot toddy as the winter chill (first day of winter yesterday) hits the air. And just because you are spending your holidays in the sun-drenched tropics doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the sweet and spicy distilled delights of a toddy. Especially at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu which serves palm toddies (thanks Paola). In fact, they can be delivered to your door daily. The Christmas ‘spirit’ all year round!
I always have thought that the best part of yoga was “Savasana” (ie. “Corpse Pose”). Completely relaxing at the end of a hard session with the aroma of some essential oil. That was until I did a session at Thudufushi.
Lori and I did a session there (offered daily for free). Lori has gotten me into doing yoga in a private session each week. I’ve always preferred “lazy yoga”, aka Thai Massage, where the focus of the treatment is on muscle stretching (in a variety of contorted moves), but you just lie back and relax. My joints have always been a bit tight with all my weight training for sports and now getting older. But Lori insists I practice the yoga because she “doesn’t want to be putting my shoes and socks on for me in my old(er) age”.
Thudufushi holds their yoga sessions right outside their Serena Spa. And at the end of each session, the therapists come out and provide a final, soothing bit of stretching and massaging. Above, spa therapists Nantin and Narcy are working on Lori and Claudia Galeazzi , our yoga instructor.
World Smile Day today. And if there is one place in the world that knows how to put a smile on your face it is the Maldives. If the sheer other-worldly aquatic beauty alone doesn’t do it, then the service obsessed resorts will find some special touch guaranteed to get your grin on…
1. SUNGLASS CLEANING – Four Seasons Kuda Hura [ABOVE]
2. FOOT WASHING – One & Only Reethi Rah
3. GREETING MASSAGE – Anantara
4. ICE CREAM SERVICE – LUX South Ari Atoll
5. BIKE RETURN – One & Only Reethi Rah
6. PILLOW MENU – Anantara Kihavah Villas
7. SNACK SERVICE – Gangehi
8. BUTLER BRIGADE – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
9. TREE MOVING – One & Only Reethi Rah
10. FACE MIST SPRAYING – Kanuhura
You know how there are 500 TV channels and nothing you want to watch? Well, sometimes no matter how big a restaurant’s wine collection is, you are deflated when your favourite fermentation is not available it. And just as the latest digital television now allows you to set up your own personal playlists and download or record your favourites, One and Only Reeth Rah lets you build your own wine collection on the resort by providing a personal wine cellar. Reethi Rah has a large number of high flying repeater guests. And when they arrive, they will know just what vintages await their holiday. They can choose among their favourites. Or let them mature a bit longer until their next stay.
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.
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.
“If she is like a cat, I have litter…” – Steve Martin
And if she is like an exotic princess, I have a different type of litter.
Great leadership lifts up its staff, and great service lifts up its guests. In the case of Conrad Rangali, they take this a bit literally for some wedding ceremonies. Or should I a say ‘litterally’.
JA Manafaru doesn’t just use painted grains of sand to make a stunning tableau, but also painted grains of rice to make a stunning table. And not just on the sand itself, but on the tables on the sand (of beach dinners). Actually throughout the resort too (eg. dining rooms, bars, other places of celebration). A meander through the #jamanafaru Instagram account brings up a whole gallery of masterpieces.