Best of the Maldives: Bed Decorating Diversity – Kuramathi

Kuramathi - bed art 1

I wasn’t quite sure what to call this recognition, but I knew I need to call out Kuramathi’s exceptional touches to old fashioned relaxation. Kuramathi was the first resort that I ever posted for its distinctive bed-art marking. They have clearly made it a resort trademark, in fact taking it up a notch with the latest generation of bedroom artistes.

All of the creations shown here are the work of 24 year old room attendant Adam Naseer.  Kuramathi shared these details about his work…

  • “Adam has been working in another resort for about two years after he found out about Kuramathi on the internet and from some friends (who also work here) and decided to work for Kuramathi, this is now one year ago. He works at the Thundi area of the island and takes care of about 4 to 5 villas per day. His favourite part is decorating the bed or even the bath with towel art including flowers. It is his passion to make the guests happy and to see their smile on their face as he always receives a grateful feedback and the guests always want to have a picture with Adam and his designs. Mostly he likes to make heart shaped or honeymoon designs.”

My favourite is his birthday greeting complete with towel birthday cake (see photo at top).

For a gallery of Maldives bed decorating masterpieces, check out the Maldives Complete “Bed Art” Pinterest board.

Kuramathi - bed art 2

Kuramathi - bed art 3

Kuramathi - bed art 4

Kuramathi - bed art 5

Kuramathi - bed art 6

Kuramathi - bed art 7

Best of the Maldives: Staff Art – Amilla Fushi

Amilla Fushi - garden 2

  • What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing. You wouldn’t be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.” – David Hockney

At most resorts, the staff give at bit of themselves every day to make the visit by the guests memorable and distinctive. At Amilla Fushi, this investment is expressed indelibly in a unique exhibition of creativity and personality.

The Mystique Garden is a chef’s garden where you can enjoy special meals prepared and served for you al fresco. But your nook is more than the lush greenery of an equatorial paradise. It accented by a collection of striking art works suspended in the tropical canopy. These pieces are the works and gifts of the resort staff themselves.

When the property was near completion and the new team of staff being assembled, the management got everyone together and presented them with a challenge to design and produce pieces of sculpture to adorn the Mystique Garden. The resort provided any tools and materials that they needed. The staff were assembled into department teams as the project was a way to bring the group close together prior to the opening with a focus on thrilling the impeding guests with something out of the ordinary. The teams worked for over a month and the top pieces were selected for inclusion in this open air gallery. The pieces featured and the teams that created them are…

  • Chandelier by Management
  • Morovian Star by Engineering
  • Peace Sign by the Spa
  • Dodecahedron by the Front Office
  • Silver Mobile by Recreation

I’ve been to lots of chef gardens in the Maldives (in fact, with this post, I am adding a new tag for them “Chef Garden”, but Amilla’s is a bit extra-magical, surrounded not just by the natural beauty of the location, but also by these inspired pieces which offer a personal welcome from the hearts, minds and souls of the resort team to their guests.

Amilla Fushi - garden 1

Best of the Maldives: Turtle Rescue – Coco Bodu Hithi / Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - turtle vet

World Sea Turtle Day today. And there are few better friends to the sea turtles’ in the Maldives than the Coco resorts Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. They have been long-time supporters of the Oliver Ridley Project with fund raising and public outreach, but this past year brought a pioneering, first ever in the Maldives “marine veterinarian”. Marine Biologist Dr. Claire Petros (from the Oliver Ridley Project) was appointed to operate turtle rescue centres at the resorts. Coco resort described their work in the blog

  • Guests of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi have been incredibly generous in their efforts to support the project by donating funds directly and by purchasing signature Olive Ridley turtle toys at the resorts. In May 2016, we received the target of the funds required to start construction of the first rescue centre at Coco Palm….As planned, [the centre includes] a dedicated veterinary surgeon has joined our team to look after the rescue centre!

She provides treatment and ever surgery to ill and injured turtles at the resort turtle rescue centres. Hotellier Maldives also did a profile on her work focusing on her clinic…

  • “’My main role is to care for the injured turtles that we find around the country with the intention of being able to release them when recovered as quickly as possible.’ Injured sea turtles are not a rare sight in the Maldives waters. Though turtles are a protected species in the Maldives, their foes range from abandoned fishing nets, and people, who are hungry for their meat, eggs, and shells. Ghost nets are nets that have been discarded, abandoned or lost in the ocean. They can continue to entangle endangered and vulnerable animals such as marine turtles, birds, sharks, rays, dolphins and whales, long after they have been discarded, abandoned or lost. ‘Turtles are very attracted to ghost gear as it often contains an easy meal, but unfortunately during the process of trying to eat the fish entrapped in the nets, the turtles themselves become entangled,’ she explained. ‘Sadly, the effort to escape is so great by the animal that it exerts enough force to break its own bones and the extent of the injuries suggests that turtles may suffer for weeks before dying, or hopefully be rescued’.”

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - turtle clinic

Best of the Maldives: Golf Pro – Velaa

Velaa - golf pro

If you need a hand following you around the golf course with your game, Velaa resort offers its very own resident golf pro – Christopher Snape. He can wield Velaa’s armamentarium of space-age analytical tools or just join you for a round.

We caught up with Christopher to tap into a few of his tips and insights into playing in paradise…

  • How did you find yourself on a Maldives resort?
    I work for TROON golf who operate the Academy here Velaa. When I was asked by them if I was interested I practically bit their hand off at the opportunity.
  • What was the most luxurious course you have played prior to Velaa?
    Many courses, what I classify as my second home would be Praia Del Rey in Portugal where I spent 6 years as the Professional.
  • What is your favourite caddie tip for people playing the Velaa course?
    Be conservative with your approach shots, if you take on shots and don’t play them to perfection you will be punished.
  • What’s your best score playing the course?
    When we have low handicapped players in residence we play a very tough formation my best score around that formation was -2.
  • What are people most surprised about playing the Velaa course?
    The quality of the playing surfaces and the beautiful landscape

At the FOOOOREfront.

Best of the Maldives: Private Dining Decks – Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Bodu Hithi - Aqua restaurant

It’s not just the aroma of the soup, it’s the atmosphere. And one of my most enjoyable bowls was served at Coco Bodu Hithi’sAqua” fusion restaurant because of its garnish of sea sounds and sights.

For starters (literally), it and the rest of the meal was served on our own private deck. Such a set up was something I mused about way back in 2011. It makes meal time a sort of microcosm of the whole tiny island experience – dining nestled in an intimate nook surrounded by water (and there were these particularly peculiar fish circling the platform which had us reaching for our fish guides, though we still couldn’t figure out what they were).

Aqua has 360 degree water for 4 decks and then another 5 decks for 2 couples each with a 90 degree corner seat. An overwater restaurant tables are table stakes for a 5-star in the Maldives and most 4 stars have them too. But the broader platform designs mean that on a few early birds secure the coveted front row waterside seats.

The soup in question was an exquisite chilled fruit soup and seafood chowder. The Indonesian Chef Nyoman (possibly the only female head chef in the Maldives and certainly the first one I had met) had us try her special tuna Carpaccio which is prepared differently than you normally get it in Europe. But the highlight was Indonesian prawn dish, “Udanag Balado”.

Aqua is also one of the fewer places which request smart casual dress. It’s the first time I’ve had to wear long trousers to a meal in the Maldives, but it does lend an air of sophistication to the evening.

Private dining on high on the seas.

Best of the Maldives: Staff Boduberu – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - staff bodu beru

For some down island funk, JA Manafaru staff will inspire you with their home-grown boduberu. Most boduberu troupes are professional groups that tour various resorts. But Manafaru’s drummers are all staff at the resort. They perform weekly for the guests as well as enter a number of festivals and competitions. Seeing familiar faces (folks you have interacted with around the resort) performing lent a more intimate and welcome feel to the whole evening and seemed to be more effective in getting guests up and participating.

Best of the Maldives: Sunglass Cleaning – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa sunglasses cleaner

International Workers Day today is a chance to celebrate the sterling work that the Maldives resort staff provide every day of the year. They do every thing from keep us safe on snorkel trips to making sure that every whim is catered for.

One of my favourite all time roles is Four Seasons Kuda Huraa “sunglasses cleaner” which we saw when we visited there (but didn’t get a picture). He even has a name a perfect as his role…“Dr. Shade”

Mohamed Shareef, 28, has been working at the Four Seasons for almost seven years… I start work by 1:30 p.m., and I walk around and repair and clean guest sunglasses. Most people love to see Dr. Shade. I wear a stethoscope and a white coat. I have some tools. Mostly I just clean the glasses, but I can fix them if I need to.”

Workers of the World Unfog!

Best of the Maldives: Boat Captain – Kurumba

Kurumba - boat captain

International Women’s Day today celebrates the inspirational achievements of women around the world. One such woman is Aishath Rizuna “Rizu”, the Maldive’s first female boat captain trained and appointed by Kurumba

Rizu herself comes from a line of strong and active women. Her mother and grandmother are very practical and very sporty. Her mother fixes electrical issues and out swam all the boys while her grandmother still climbs trees…

“From her background, Rizu was born and raised in Funadhoo, Shariyani Atoll. Her father is a fisherman so Rizu has sweet memories about the time when her father taught her how to swim, snorkel and fish in a traditional Dhoni boat. At the very young age of four, Rizu’s father taught her how to drive a small boat, and by the time she was a teenager she was selling small boats in the lagoon of Funadhoo. Rizu’s father (Mohamed Nazim) curiously also worked in Kurumba at a young age thirty years ago and has been a great support to Rizu’s evolving career. We are delighted with the support of our twelve male Captains, who certainly gave her all the necessary help needed for her practical training as well as her theory course. Rizu is still developing her skills and knowledge of the Maldivian oceans, which will take some time. Whilst she will continue her role as Majaa Recreation Supervisor, these additional skills can be used in the future from time to time when guests are looking for a female crew.”

Maldives Complete had the opportunity for an exclusive interview with Rizu. Special thanks to good friend and fellow blogger Eileen Brown who helped with the questions. Eileen herself was the first female to be employed as a Deck Cadet in shell Tankers (UK) Ltd and is currently one of the leading promoters of women in the UK technology sector

  • What is the best aspect of your job? – It’s always been a dream to travel around, being a boat captain allows me to fulfil my dream and that’s the most enjoyable part in my job.
  • What were your biggest challenges as you trained to become a boat captain? – The biggest challenge I had was that every single part in the boats were so new to me. I felt like I was back in school, where I had to learn everything from A to Z, but with the help of all the people around me I overcame all challenges and I am so thankful to everyone.
  • Were there any physical obstacles that you needed to overcome? – I would say it’s more mental challenges that I had to overcome more than physical ones.
  • Did your lack of physical strength hinder you much? – The thought “I am a woman and I can’t do that” never even crossed my mind and most importantly everyone around me never tried to put it in my head either.
  • What were the attitudes of your classmates as you progressed through your training? – Very helpful and positive comments from the start, from the moment I told them that I am going to take the training as a boat captain. These comments pushed me forward and it’s always great to know how much people appreciate your hard work.
  • Did you have anyone that championed and supported you? If so, was it a big advantage? – Honestly and to be fair I have to say everyone, but I am particularly thankful for the support of my Family, the Kurumba Management team including our Fleet Manager Mohamed Shameem and the whole Kurumba team for being with me.
  • Did you encounter anyone that was very against you progressing in your career? – No! Only positive feedback.
  • Now you are a captain, what are your plans to encourage other women to follow your path? – Well, it’s a choice. This opportunity came to my doorstep, why would I wait? My dream is waiting out there. There’s always one thing I would like to say now and I will always say it: “follow your dream until you reach it, never give up and take your chances”.
  • What next for you in your career after your captain job? – It’s a bit too early to decide anything right now. I am enjoying driving the boats around and working towards my dream, which is visiting each and every island in the country.

Aye, aye, Kurumba!

#PaintItPurple

 

Kurumba - Rizu childhood

Best of Maldives: Staff Profiles – Mirihi

Mirihi staff

 

 

 

May Day! May Day! Not a call for help (unless you need service from a helpful staffer), but a call to celebrate workers and the contributions they make to our lives and society. Most resorts often go to special measures to support and a highlight the distinctive quality of their staff who are essential to making a guest’s stay the most relaxing and trouble-free. Lori and I always enjoy meeting new folks from the resort and hearing their accounts of living in paradise. In many cases, this internationally renowned destination draws people from all over the world to work here.

I especially enjoyed the Mirihi email newsletter they send out to guests which features a staff profile. A recent edition included intros to Naaz (Front office Agent), Raoof (Front office Agent), Jalil (Front office Agent), Sara (Boutique Hostess), Aulam (Gardener), and Mahir (Gardener). They are all assembled in the group photo together.

On the occasion of labor day, I’ve added yet another category tag to the site – “Maldivian Staff”.

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Picture – Constance Halaveli

Marco Careo anenome fish

This week the Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year was announced with an exhibition of the top entries opening at London’s own Natural History Museum. My entry from the Maldives resorts would be Marco Care’s anemone Fish picture (above). Marco is not an itinerant pro dropping in to the locale to pick up some dazzling shots, but a regular member of the Constance Halaveli resort staff. Like most of the pieces that make it to the competition shortlist, Marco’s picture was the product of countless dives experimenting with different filters and settings. And of course waiting for that magic moment when Nemo’s cousin stares you right in the eye.

 

Marco Care