Best of the Maldives: Chinese Therapy – Adaaran Club Rannalhi

Club Rannalhi chinese therapy

 

Looking for am apropos hangover cure from your Chinese New Year celebrations? Well, you might want to stop by the ‘Traditional Chinese Therapy Centre’ at Club Rannalhi.

Liu Yaping offers a range of treatments which are mostly variations of acupressure massage such as “Tui Na” and “Chinese cupping”. Most treatments run about $60 for an hour session

Disclaimer – I am not a fan the many disastrous environmental effects of many traditional Chinese therapies that call for ingredients of rare species like tigers, rhinos and most relevant in the Maldives is manta gills. Most holistic therapies are harmless placebos which provide comfort. But when a billion people with increasing amounts of money start wanting these obscure ingredients, the side effects for the planet can be tragic. Fortunately, Club Rannalhi’s therapy centre does not offer any of these ingredients based on endangered species in its treatment offerings.

While other resorts have spas offering Chinese treatments (eg. Shangri-La Villingili, Olhuveli, Soneva Fushi, Meedhupparu), the Rannali centre is the only one who specialises in just this area.

Best of the Maldives: Indigenous Massage – Shangri-La

Shangri-La Villingili Cowry Shell Experience

All that working out got you achy and depleted? Well then, sounds like you need a spa appointment.

Something different? Something that evokes the very paradise you are savouring each day? How about Shangri-La Villingili’sCowrie Shell Experience’ treatment?

When I lived in Africa, you used to see cowry shells used extensively. Used in religious rituals. Used in jewellery. They are seen as symbols of womanhood, fertility, birth and wealth.

Historically, cowries were used as currency and, in fact, the very first cowries used as such came from the Maldives. Furthermore, the Shangri-La Villingili’s ‘Chi’ spa uses locally produced coconut oil. Lots of resorts offer Ayurvedic style treatments which are indigenous to the sub-continent region (as does Shangri-La), but the cowry shells are a nice touch with their own mystical properties and heritage.

Shangri-La describes in its ‘Sense of Place’ line of treatments…

“Indigenous treatments inspired by the history of the treasures found in the Maldives Ocean, the name Kandu Boli, meaning “sea shell”, draws its energy from the ocean. Experience the touch of the unique Cowrie Shell Massage of the body, face and scalp combined with our Maldivian Coconut Oil made by a local community. Nurturing to the soul, relaxing to the body and calming to the mind… Surrender to Villingili’s Cowrie Shell Experiences…”

Best of the Maldives: Spa Arrival – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa spa dhoni

My recent visit to several prime resorts in the Maldives uncovered a wealth (65) of distinctive features that I will be exploring in depth over the coming months. I thought I would start off with a taster selection over the coming week for each resort.

The first resort on the itinerary was Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Every spa treatment is a treat. And the best Maldive ones build up the anticipation with lovely receptions infused with incense and ambient tones that start the process of transporting you away mind and body to another place. Four Seasons Kuda Huraa takes this ‘transporting’ quite literally to a whole new level with its shuttle service to its spa. The Kuda Huraa spa sits by itself on a small little island just off shore from the main island. You could take a short swim over I guess, but the quaint ‘Kuda Dhoni’ (‘Little Boat’) ride over is just the thing to shift gears from the resort to your own little special sanctuary.

And the destination is worthy of mention. It is certainly one of the top massages we have had (the therapist was very attentive to a neck pain and spent extra time on that area that was very effective).

Maldives Kurumba Visit – Day 7: Kurumba wrap

Kurumba staff

Well, we say goodbye to our now beloved Maldives and our new dear friend, Kurumba. I started the week with a ‘first impressions’ post and thought that I would finish with a wrap up review. As the week went on I certainly began to appreciate more and more about the resort, though a few things did start to irritate me.

The irritations first. I’ve already mentioned in my ‘Meal Plan’ post my frustrations with dining locations so I won’t belabour that point. One of our favourite locations was the ocean side bar. Great room, drinks, service. The only thing to fault it was the tiresome and repetitive muzac. Our kids played a game to bet when the next playing of Kanye West’s ‘American Boy’ was coming around again. Seriously, for a place this classy, it deserves classy music to set the atmosphere (they had a live band mid week which was excellent actually). I recommend something simple and acoustic like a gentle jazz piano or Spanish acoustic guitar.

Now, the extra good stuff. First and foremost has to be the extra good staff (two of which are Operations Manager Ankush and Guest Relations Eilidh in the photo above) . And the Maldives generally has a superior standard of service anyway. Certainly, everyone was very friendly and attentive. In fact, we met a couple from Wales who had been to Kurumba several times and always come back because they are convinced that the resort has the best staff in the Maldives. That is a pretty tall and subjective claim, but I have no specific argument against it. But above and the call of duty examples included Myat Su who lent us her personal memory stick to help us fix a computer problem. The games they have stocked for use included Scrabble and Chinese Checkers (two of our family favourites) that were a real godsend (and directly boosted bar sales for two nights).

Also deserving of special mention is the landscaping. The more time I spent and explored, the more I appreciated the landscaping. Really impeccable and colourful. I liked that the foliage between the beach villas and the water was just enough to provide colour, shade and visual interest, but not so dense as to actually obstruct the view (a problem that I often bemoan with other resorts). They even have a nursery where they cultivate tons of orchids and other flowers for use on the resort that you can go into an explore. Also, the design feature of the numerous, rectangular pools was a lovely touch.

Finally, the Aquum spa was excellent. I am a bit of a Thai massage connoisseur and therapist Dinny executed several complex moves that I had never before had. Our daughter doesn’t dive so we treat her to a spa treatment instead and she reported that therapist Lyle gave one of the best massages that she had ever had. They also had very good spa music.

All and all, I would highly recommend Kurumba without reservation as a value for money, top quality resort. Be aware of the impact its proximity to Male and the prevalence of concrete walkways and dining areas has. A couple types of visitor that I think would find Kurumba especially appealing would be mobility constrained and larger groups. The concrete actually works in favour of people with mobility issues and Kurumba has ramp access nearly everywhere. Also, I think groups (extended families, corporate team/groups) would work well at Kurumba because there is such a range of offerings and choices that there is something satisfying for everyone. Some of the more boutique resorts in the Maldives are amazing in certain special ways, but sometimes those ‘ways’ are not everyone’s cup of tea.

If you like lots of choice, great food, great service, great gardens, convenience to Male, then Kurumba could very well be a top choice for you.

Best of the Maldives: Spa – Huvafen Fushi

In the spirit of the Ithaa restaurant at the Conrad Hilton Rangali, the Huvafen Fushi resort has opened an underwater spa. A number of spas have delightful settings on jetties and beaches right near the water, but if you truly want to be immersed in the aquatic serenity of the atolls, the Lime Spa.