Best of the Maldives: Glass Coffee Table – Safari Island

Safari Island - glass coffee table 1

The favorite, even iconic, holes in the boards in the Maldives are the infamous glass floors of the water villas. But, Safari Island has lifted this feature with its indoor glass table. Sure beats a coffee table boo of underwater photography to instead sit down and gaze at the real thing. It’s a nice twist so that you can linger, perhaps over a cuppa or a cocktail to real savour this special view instead of staring down at your feet.

Safari Island - glass coffee table 2

Best of the Maldives: Glass Table – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - water villa glass table

 

 

Glass floors have become a signature design feature in Maldives water villas, but Six Senses Laamu has literally raised the concept to a new level. Their Lagoon Water Villa has transparent portal into the colourful lagoon below, but by making it a table, it’s easier to sit down and enjoy the spectacle with a tropical cocktail.

Today’s post has triggered the addition of a new category tag of the best “Tables” in the blog.

Best of the Maldives: Chef’s Table – Kandooma

Kandooma chefs table

 

 

For those who like to get close to the cooking in action, but without actually getting their hands dirty, the ‘Chef’s Table’ is an intimate way to savour the smells and action of a vibrant kitchen operation. Increasingly, top restaurants are exposing their kitchens rather than sequestering them out in some back room separated from diners with some swinging doors made for comedy collisions. Now, expansive set-up counters expose the chopping, a stirring and flame-fired cooking a short glance away from your table.

Kandooma has an actual proper Chef’s Table set in the kitchen itself. It’s not just a front-row, court-side seat, but the whole ambience of the meal changes. You are less of a spectator and more of a participant (but without the hustling and dirty work). The chef’s come over and chat and sometimes show or share something they are working on.

I didn’t get to do the Chef’s Table during our visit, but I did have the treat of one at Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridges Hotel a few years back and it was a whole different dining experience. Kandooma can seat up to 14 and like most chef’s table, the menu is quite customised to your particular interests.

 

Kandooma chefs table 2

Best of the Maldives: Top Table – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi restaurant table 2

 

 

 

No collection of tree top vistas would be complete without one of the first, Soneva Fushi’s ‘Fresh in the Garden’ restaurant. Sort of Sun Island ‘Zero’ on steroids. And in the open air. Instead of a canopy of tropical plants, you get a canopy of sparkling stars. And if any provoke your curiosity in particular, the Soneva Fushi observatory is conveniently attached by an elevated walkway.

 

Soneva Fushi restaurant table

Best of the Maldives: Dining Table – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa dining table

The Maldives has all sorts of creative dining tables. We were delighted by the little sunken-under-glass zen garden design to the tables in Ocean Grill restaurant of Kurumba. Of course, there are some pretty creative places to eat, like Velassaru’s ‘sand castle’ and Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’s ‘in-pool’ dining. And the Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili cellar tables are especially whimsical befitting their surroundings. But the acid test of ‘oooh, I want one of those’ gets passed with flying colours by Park Hyatt Hadahaa with their elongated table in burl wood (I mentioned that I am a sucker for burl wood) which forms the centrepiece of their The Dining Room restaurant. Seriously, I am looking into having a similar one made for our house it impresses me so much. Sakis has another perspective on it here.

Best of the Maldives: Tables – Kanuhura

Kanuhura tsunami tables

 

Seven years ago today, one of the most profound natural disasters of modern times hit Asian with the Boxing Day Tsunami. With an epicenter in Sumatra, it still yielded deadly force thousands of miles away in the Maldives where 68 people died and 300 were injured.

Like all of the countries affected, the Maldives mourned their losses and started the process of rebuilding. Many resorts were struck which led to renovation projects. The One & Only Kanuharu were hit which, among other damage, fell many of their trees on the east side of the island. As a part of the clean up, Kanuhura’s on-island wood-workers gathered up the downed tree trunks and fashioned them into tables that are used throughout their Handhuvaru lounge. Lots of resorts have all sorts of creative designer furnishings throughout, but these simple, locally hand-hewn creations memorializing a pivotal event in the region’s history are the most compelling to me.