Best of the Maldives: Excursion Desk – Finolhu

Finolhu - excursion desk

At the WTM, each country invests all sorts of creativity and panache into their booths to stand out from the crowd as agents and operators mull what trips to send their clients on. But no Excursion Desk in the Maldives, where you go to decide what trips you want to go to during your stay, have the flair of Finolhu’s pink microbus. All part of the resort’s retro chic vibe.

Best of the Maldives: Instagram Butler – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali - Instagram butler

Yes, another you read it here first “Finally Seen” in the Maldives. Conrad Rangali has introduced the “world’s first Instagram Butler”. I’m not sure about that claim since I raised this idea nearly two years ago – #2 in Part 7. However, that was a “Social Media Concierge” and maybe no one has yet just focused on Instragram. Here are some details of their offer…

  • “Conducting tours around Rangali Island’s most photogenic locations, all the while offering advice on the best times of day to photograph and the optimal camera angles to use…Stop-offs along the way, on what the hotel calls the #Instatrail, include a traditional Maldivian swing on the beach (an undholi), and Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. But the fun isn’t limited to the walkabout. Yoga enthusiasts can take part in classes whilst at the same time receiving tips from the hotel’s resident instructor on how to strike the most Instagrammable poses. The Instagram Butler service, which the hotel believes to be the first of its kind, can also be combined with a number of special itineraries curated by the hotel in order to lend an alternative to the usual Maldivian photo-fodder of white sand beaches, curvaceous palm trees and turquoise seas.”

Ma’m, would you like filter cropping for breakfast today?

Best of the Maldives: Snacks – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - plane snack

Sometimes all you want is a snack. You don’t want to be beholden to restaurant schedules and so grabbing a lite-bite is a great way to handle the hunger pangs. All the more tasty when served over an azure lagoon like Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa. The resort offers a range of sacks throughout the day. They also put on snack stations at certain times like a mid-afternoon creperie.

Lots of resorts offer treats throughout the day, but what swung it for Hakuraa Huraa for me was their seaplane transfer snack-pack (see photo above). When you are flying back, they prepare a box with an assortment of sandwiches, fruit, cakes, etc. The seaplanes usually don’t even serve water (the domestic flights often have water and sometimes a little packet of nuts or biscuit). Lori and I had been a bit busy the morning before our departure getting last minutes things attended to and we didn’t really have time to go to lunch with our early afternoon flight time. So the snack was an especially welcome sustenance for journey to Male.

“IN Beach” Dinners

Dusit Thani - beach dinner

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]

2. Dhigufaru
Dhigufaru - beach dinner

3. LUX Maldives
LUX South Ari Atoll - beach dinner

4. Velassaru
Velassaru - beach dinner

5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - in beach dinner

6. Amilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - beach dinner

7. Gili Lankanfushi
Gili Lankanfushi - beach dinner

8.  Taj Exotica
Taj Exotica - in beach dinner

9.  Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - beach dinner

10. Anantara Veli
Anantara Veli - beach dinner

Best of the Maldives: Wake-Up Call – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - wake up service

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.

Best of the Maldives: Toddy – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - palm toddy

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!

Best of the Maldives: Yoga Finish – Thudufushi

Thudufushi - yoga finish

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.

Namazzzzzste!

10 Smile Inspiring Services

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa sunglasses cleaner

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
One and Only Reethi Rah foot washing

3. GREETING MASSAGE – Anantara
Anantara - greeting massage

4. ICE CREAM SERVICE – LUX South Ari Atoll
LUX Maldives ICI ice crean cart 1

5. BIKE RETURN – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah bicycle homing service Purple Passport

6. PILLOW MENU – Anantara Kihavah Villas
Anantara Kihavah Villas - pillow menu samples

7. SNACK SERVICE – Gangehi
Gangehi bruschetta

8. BUTLER BRIGADE – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi bath

9. TREE MOVING – One & Only Reethi Rah
One and Only Reethi Rah palm tree moving

10. FACE MIST SPRAYING – Kanuhura
Kanuhura pool

Best of the Maldives: Private Wine Cellars – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah private wine cellar

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.

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