Best of the Maldives: Largest Sand Sculptures – Sun Siyam Iru Fushi

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - sand sculptures

Growing up in a beach town (Ipswich, Massachusetts) that features a famous sand-castle contest (which we entered one year building a scene from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”), I love a bit of creative sand construction. With this post, I’ve added a new tag for “Sand Sculpture”, and these creations Sun Siyam Iru Fushi are literally the biggest yet. In fact, the biggest in the world.

  • “Renowned sand artist Nathaniel Alapide, Guinness World Record holder of the largest sand image, astounded guests with his latest masterpiece created at the breathtaking Sun Siyam Iru Fushi. Alapide, known for his intricate and mesmerizing sand art creations.”

Drone-shot Insta-ready as well…

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - sand sculpture 2

Best of the Maldives: Local Welcome Drink – Sun Siyam Iruveli

Iruveli - snack

The welcome drink to a resort is a time-honoured ritual with many variations, but Sun Siyam Iru Veli features an especially Maldivian welcome beverage. The drink is a distinctive recipe including Mint, Orange, Pineapple, Cinnamon and Ginger with a indigenous touch of water infused with Pandan leaf (called “Raanbaa” in Dhivehi) grown on the island.

Best of the Maldives: Staff Island – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

Iruveli - staff island

The Maldives is famous for its “one resort, one island” set up of most properties, but Sun Siyam Iru Veli also dedicates an entire island to its staff.

The conventional location for staff quarters is sequestered in the centre of the island (to preserve the beach and ocean views for as many guests as possible). They are typically shrouded with large, claustrophobic fences to keep views of the sausage machine out of sight from the tourists (as well as to allow the staff a bit of their own privacy).

On its own plot of land, the staff enjoy their own beaches, sea views from their quarters and a more open residential area.

With two sister properties near each other, its own two garden islands, and this dedicated staff island for one, Sun Siyam has its own little mini-atoll.

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - staff island

Best of the Maldives: Garden Islands – Sun Siyam Iru Veli / Vilu Reef

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - garden islands 3

Chef’s gardens have become fairly commonplace at Maldives resorts, but how many properties have “garden islands” of their very own? Not just one but two islands. Serving the chefs at the two nearby (within in sight) sister resort islands Sun Siyam Iru Veli and Sun Siyam Vilu Reef. The expansive scale means that Sun Siyam not only can reduce the carbon footprint of even more of their ingredients, but they can cultivate a wider range and larger quantity of food for the kitchens than the typical herb collection in chef’s gardens.

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - garden islands 2

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - garden islands 1

Best of the Maldives: Italian-Maldivian Fusion – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - italian maldivian fusion

Probably the two most popular cuisines in the Maldives – Italian and Maldivian – have been fused by head chef Victor Zanitto of Sun Siyam Iru Veli. Victor has spent 6 years in the Maldives and has explored the local cooking extensively. He says that the fusion is a natural marriage of tastes and flavours. He says that Maldivians love thin pizza with tandoori chicken, and Italians are crazy about raw fish. He has worked how to make the most of limited ingredients, ie reef fish and coconut, and he noted that even ingredients like Sri Lankan tomatoes better than those from Italy.  We enjoyed the Piedmont delicacy of panna cotta made with tropical mango.

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Palm Art Lessons – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

From our very first visit a quarter century ago received all sorts of aboriginal origami creations from staff, but during our visit to Sun Siyam Iru Veli Samaha and Nuhaz actually taught me how to these palm frond are made. They explained that they grew up honing their palm folding skills. Especially, during Eid is a traditional time for youngsters to show off their skills by fashioning the most elaborate designs.  Bodu mas are especially popular during this festive holiday. The first item that Samaha made was a “watch” and a “rose” when she was 8 years old and wrote on it with a needle. She taught me how to make the rose during our tutorial and it came out pretty good if I do say so. The resort also offers these lessons to the younger generation of guests at the resort kids club.

Best of the Maldives: Sand Bank Breakfast – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

World Food Day today. And the best place in in the world to eat any food was an experience we finally enjoyed at Sun Siyam Iru Veli this summer. We’ve fantasized about dining on a plot of sand ever since we first started visiting the Maldives two and a half decades ago. It epitomised the “plot of sand with a palm tree” isolation caricature. We’ve seen many of (exorbitant) dinners and even lunches such remote venues, but never a breakfast.

A breakfast is actually a great way to enjoy this sandbank location. Unlike a dinner which tends to have courses, the breakfast is more casual with more finger food (eg. pastries, fruit, pots of yogurt) that you can take in hand for a stroll around or wade into the sea to enjoy the sea-life nearby or the dappled azure vista beyond. And the morning has a particularly peaceful vibe to it which suits this indolent sliver of interruption to the gently surrounding waters.

Best of the Maldives: Diving AI – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - diving

All-inclusive is becoming very de rigeur in the Maldives these days. But not the “AI” with cheap, constrain your budget, drink off-brand booze to your heart’s content stereotype, but “luxury AI” where the quality of the property and the “inclusions” are high. And in the luxury destination of the Maldives, the 5-star properties are regularly including everything under the sunshine to make the package even more appealing. Sun Siyam Iru Veli has gone beyond just “everything under the sun” to include under the water too with 3 dives included in its AI offering:

  • Within the premium all-inclusive package offered by Sun Siyam Iru Veli, up to three dives per person per week are included for certified divers as an alternative to spa credit. Guests must present a valid diving license and medical record if applicable. Boat charges and equipment hire fees do apply.”