Best of the Maldives: Custom Beachwear – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah NEO boutique custom beachwear

 

In today’s Miss Universe pagent, contestants will dazzle not only with their natural beauty but with a range of fashion and costumes the most famous of which is the swimming costumes. You too can shine in your own swimwear competition at One & Only Reethi Rah who offer a swimsuit customization service…

“Ever wish you could skip the packing before your holiday and not have to think about what to wear on the beach? Guests will be treated to this luxury thanks to the collaboration with designer swimwear brand Babajaan. Launched in November, NEO Beach Boutique [will let you] customise your purchases by choosing the fabrics, embroidery, beading and chain details you like, so you can be sure you’ll be the only one of the beach wearing them. The Panama hats are traditionally woven by an Ecuadoran weaver, pressed to your desired shape and decorated with the ribbons and trimmings of your choice.”

Lori has bought a number of fashion items travelling in the Maldives from jewellery to dresses and wraps. Often you find things that just evoke the distinctive colours and imagery of this tropical paradise. Reethi lets you combine a bit of that tropical air with your own personal flair.

 

One and Only Reethi Rah NEO beach boutique

Best of the Maldives: Resident Local Artist – Sun Island

Sun Island Azum artist

This weekend kicks off the holiday shopping season in the USA starting with the infamous post-Thanksgiving ‘Black Friday’. Guests of Sun Island can get their own jump on filling their Santa sacks with any number of treasures at Azym’s workshop. Azym is the resident artist there and wields his paintbrush in his shop there packed floor to ceiling with pieces such as pictures, bowls, frames and all manner of assorted decorative arts.

I find that local artwork is quite variable in quality not just in the Maldives , but at just about any tourist destination that you visit. Some will be quite amateurish and tawdry pieces, but sometimes you can find some real gems of talent and style. I would definitely class Azym as the latter. He captures the Maldivian blues that are bright but not garish. His depictions are simple without being crude.

And because they are made right there, so you can order something customised as a special memento to your stay and favourite memories. A certain part of the island or vista perhaps.

Happy shopping!

 

Sun Island artist

 

Sun Island artist 2

Best of the Maldives: Boulevard – Kanuhura

Kanuhura boulevard

 

Turn on those lights! The starting pistol to American Christmas season might be ‘Black Friday’, but in the UK it is tonight’s ceremonial lighting of Oxford Street, the biggest shopping street in London.

The closest equivalent to Oxford Street in the Maldives is the Manhattan-inspired ’Fifth Avenue’ straight through the middle of Kanuhura island. Extended by jetties to the water villas and the welcome jetty on either side, the boulevard stretches for over 400 metres. It makes for a dramatic vista. But perhaps even more enticing for the plastic-toting visitors are the posh shops that line it in the centre that inspire its name. They even have their very own private label fashion. If you can’t get there before Christmas, at least you can take a 360 degree virtual tour here to get in the shopping spirit.

Holiday Shopping

Vadoo mug 1   Vadoo mug 2

 

This weekend in the USA is sort of the unofficial starting pistol for the Christmas shopping season. While purists bemoan the creep of holiday decorations, promos and music into the days before Thanksgiving, discretion dictates that one holds off until one has woken from one’s turkey-induced slumber before melting the credit card.

Finding the right gifts is a challenge during Maldive ‘holidays’ as well. One of my pet peeves, as I’ve already written, are resorts that don’t take even more money off me by offering me more enticing mementos and gifts. But some resorts do really provide some notable shopping options. In fact, I’ve now broken out a separate ‘Shopping’ tag in the Blog and hence a devoted section in the ‘Best of Maldives’ page featuring the posts so far – Shoe Shopping at Reethi Rah, Dive Centre Shirts at Palm Beach, Wood Craft and Fashion Boutique at Kanuhura, and Largest Shop at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.

I also have a gift / memento tip – the resort/fish mug. I found the one shown in the pictures above at Vadoo, but I have spotted them at other gift boutiques around the Maldives. The mug is really nicely done. A classic island aerial portrait on one side. I always put the aerial shot of the island I am next visiting as my PC wallpaper to get me geared up for the trip. The aerial views really capture so much of what the Maldives experience is about. Also, it has classic fish spotter chart on the opposite side that we spend so much time pouring over at the end of a day’s diving or snorkelling. Finally, it is finished off with a lovely aquatic blue on the handle and inside.

Best of the Maldives: Dive Centre Shirts – Palm Beach

Palm Beach dive shirts 2

 

Today is the biggest shopping day of the year in the world It is the biggest shopping day in the biggest consumer economy in the world. ‘Black Friday’ as in dubbed. ‘Black’ as in both ‘in the black’ (like the stores P&L’s expect to be at the end, and ‘black’ as in horrendously frenetic.

My wife has a ritual of buying a t-shirt from every dive centre that she has dived from. Some are basic and some are better. As I have previously written, one of my pet peeves is when resorts don’t have nice t-shirts for sale. The pedestrian white shirts with dodgy appliqué graphics of fish just don’t do it for me. Get some decent cotton, a subtle colour and do some subtle styling.

That is what the Palm Beach Dive Centre has done. Not surprising with the Italian characteristic flair for style. They had the most extensive array of tops we have ever come upon in the Maldives. All with appealing colours. All of the decoration is embroidered tastefully.

You may not think of the Maldives for holiday shopping any more than you would think of Target for romance, but this MSNBC report dispels that myth as well.

Happy Shopping!

 

Palm Beach dive shirts

Best of the Maldives: Wood Craft – Kanuhura

Kanuhura wood 2

The ‘traditional’ gift for 6th anniversary might be iron, but the USA has adapted a ‘Modern’ version of the anniversary gifts which specifies ‘wood objects’ as the gift of choice. And so if you are looking for an appropriate gift to celebrate this milestone of blogging, then Kanuhura is your first place to check out.

Wood is a thematic element throughout the resort. It extends the overall aesthetic which focuses on Nature. Every room features a wooden piece of wall sculpture (see picture below). My favourite use of wood is the coffee tables in the Handhuvaru Bar which are carved from trees downed by the tsunami which hit the island.

All of the pieces are made at the Haruge Maldivian Cultural Center at the resort using traditional artisan techniques. You can watch them working at the centre or during Maldivian Feast nights (cooked by women from local island) and the artisans come out and do demonstrations during the meal.

If you want to purchase a bit of Kanuhura to take home with you, then the same artisan workshop that creates all of these pieces also produces various items for sale. They sell various plates, serving items and other pieces made from Kanuhura wood.

 

 

Kanuhura wood 3

 

Kanuhura wood

Best of the Maldives: Surf Shack – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa surf shack 1

 

Plenty of great surf spots in the Maldives (even more if you do kite surfing), and a number of resorts offer surfing equipment and instruction, but there is only one ‘Surf Shack’ around – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa’s TropicSurf.

The Surf Shack sells a whole range of surf gear. It also provides video analysis as part of its instruction offerings. But it really just has a whole surfing vibe to it.

A great example of its surfing vibe and great offerings is its recently announced its ‘Champion Trophy Package’. Maldives.Net reports…

“The Maldives is set to host the world’s most exclusive surfing event this August. The event organized by Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, will feature six world champions, a leading five-star surfing resort, a luxurious 39-metre three-deck catamaran, and the perfect reef break waves. Conceived in conjunction with luxury surf pioneers Tropicsurf, the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will see the sport’s biggest legends such as four-time world champion Mark Richards compete across three disciplines that showcase the evolution of modern surfing.”

So if you are a hang-ten pro or a even bit clueless on the surfing front (like this lot), then head over to the Surf Shack.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa surf shack 2

Best of the Maldives: Biggest Shop – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru shop

 

Last chance for Christmas shopping today!

We traditionally spend our family Christmas Eve going into the big metropolis of London for a bit of last minute shopping. Picking up stocking stuffers, treats for Christmas day and meal, and just soaking up the Yuletide atmosphere. Actually, it is a great day for shopping because the crowds are tapering off. Many folks are now travelling to far flung families or getting their homes ready. We found this out when one year, in a particularly frenetic advent, we had not made it by for the kids to see Santa. So we went into Harrods (between Selfridges the two best grottoes in London) and were delighted and astonished to find that the often 2-3 hour queue was only 30 minutes on Christmas Eve.

If you have left your Maldivian Christmas shopping to the last minute, the Harrods of the Maldives has to be Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’s gift shop. While many boutiques are little more than closets stuffed with conventional stuff you find at the airport, Landaa’s is 35 metres long packed with high quality and extensive variety product.

Best of all, Landaa’s gift shop sold some of the best t-shirts we have found in the Maldives. Poor (or worse yet, no) t-shirts is a real pet peeve of mine when I travel (as I note in my recent tour wrap up). The Fours Seasons shirts were high quality cotton, enticing colours (white is boring) and subtle but classy embroidered graphic.

Merry Christmas everyone! May Santa bring you lots of Maldive holiday vouchers!

Best of the Maldives: Fashion Boutique – Kanuhura

Kanuhura Fashion Issa by Daniella Helayel

 

Speaking of fashion, Kanuhura has set the bar for a resort boutique. Going far beyond the cotton batiks and printed t-shirts so commonly found in the resort gift shops, Kanuhura has commissioned its own private label fashion

“Kanuhura, a hotel in the Maldives, has tapped women’s wear brand Issa by Daniella Helayel and beauty brand Miller Harris to create a range of unique products for its eponymous shop.”

One more reason to pack next to nothing on your trip to the Maldives.

Best of the Maldives: Shoes – Reethi Rah

Reethi Rah Christian Louboutin

 

 

 
When I arrive at the Maldives, I take my shoes off in my room at the resort, set them aside…and don’t touch them again until it’s time to catch our departure transfer. I love spending the entire week shoeless. For some bizarre reason, on the last several trips I brought sandals thinking that I might slip those on, but they languished at the bottom of the suitcase untouched. I particularly love the resorts that have lots of lounges and restaurants set on sand instead of concreted over floors. That said, sometimes some resorts will have places where they have a shoes required dress code (typically for safety reasons around dining and drinking areas in case a glass gets broken).

But for others, a trip to the Maldives is a decadent luxury and for the Carrie Bradshaw types, luxury means great shoes. Appropriately enough, the resort that sort of wreaks ‘Sex in the City’ opulence – Reethi Rah – has set out its stall for the footwear of the atolls

“Christian Louboutin has partnered with One&Only Resorts to create a capsule collection of espadrilles exclusively for the group’s myriad lush havens and hideaways. In designing his first-ever resort collaboration, Louboutin took his popular espadrille and re-imagined it in three styles: The Cataribbon, The Tiburon, and The Isabelle. Priced at $375.”