Best of the Maldives: Segway – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - segway

All proper blokes like a good gadget. And this weekend brought the return of Clarkson and gang to our screen with the successor to the now toppled Top Gear – Grand Tour (from “TG” to “GT”). The GT trio have made a career out of careening around on all sorts of things on wheels including the Segway. In fact, Clarkson rides one in his advert for the new service which hosts his show (see below).

If you too want to get your gear gadgetry going, then Hideaway Beach offers Segway tours of the resort. The prices are – 30 Minutes ($30), 60 Minutes ($50), 4 Hours ($150), 8 Hours ($200.00)

And on that bombshell for bombing around the resort…

Best of the Maldives: Resort Shuttle – Club Med

Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas - shuttle

All the resorts will offer transfer from the airport to their hotels. And some hotels offer trips to sister resorts. But Club Med provides a regular, scheduled boat shuttle between its Club Med Kani and Club Med Finolhu Villas properties (departing about every 90 minutes from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm on about a 10 minute journey).

The courtesy gives guests the best of both worlds between two quite different properties. All the expansive facilities of the Kani are available free of charge to all Finolhu guests as a courtesy. Kani guests can also get guest passes to visit Finolhu.

Best of the Maldives: Airport Lounge Seating – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi airport lounge

Most Maldives visitors coming from Europe have to take the red-eye overnight long haul flights. Unless you are reclined in First Class, these flights are exhausting and you often want to collapse when you arrive. If you have to then take a seaplane transfer you are often waiting a little while at the seaplane terminal. To take the sting out of these first moments in paradise, the luxury 5-star resorts have set up special welcome lounges with extra comforts and service.

But for sheer comfort, no lounge beat Soneva Fushi’s. Not only are their settee colourful, but they a big and broad. One family that was there with us had their kids laid out napping (and Dad joining them in an ultra-reclined state).

And if those loungers aren’t comfortable enough for you, then might I suggest that seating doesn’t get much more comfortable than their massage chair that they also feature for that extra bit of en route relaxation.

Soneva Fushi airport lounge massage

Best of the Maldives: Windows Seats – Virgin Airlines

Virgin Airline glass bottom plane

With the cancellation of the Sri Lankan Airlines direct service and British Airways curtailing its own London-Male service in the summer months, most UK travel to Maldives has required the tedious stop-over. But the customer-focused Virgin Airways has not only stepped into the breach with its own daily direct service to the Maldives, but it has done with an aeronautic innovation so appropriate to the destination…glass bottomed planes.

Richard Branson himself announced, “The Maldives is a destination renowned for its spectacular seascape. People marvel at its aquatic sights underneath the surface with glass floors in many villas and they do so when they fly above this amazeballs azure archipelago. It is the perfect destination to launch our new state-of-the-art planes which lets every passenger enjoy this turquoise tapestry when they arrive.”

Using the same pressure-resistance, high tensile strength glass that the famous underwater restaurants there use, every seat is a window seat! The scenic wonder is ideal for that climactic arrival to the otherworldly archipelago as the distinctive tapestry of blues emerge in the seascape below. I much prefer these windows-full planes to the windowless planes the industry has been talking about recently. And lest you think this can’t be real, see the full details on Virgin’s website – “Virgin launches glass-bottomed plane”.

Virgin Airline glass plane

Best of the Maldives: Fashion Pop-Up – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah fashion buggy

The latest Australian fashion extends beyond its globetrotting digerati. “Pop ups” are the big new trend especially in London dining. One & Only Reethi Rah has introduced a pop-up store featuring down-under designer Camilla Franks…

“From November 2015 to April 2016, One & Only Reethi Rah guests can browse through a stunning pop-up store at NEO Beach by Australian designer Camilla Franks. Camilla is well-known for her colourful, vibrant and lively collections which combine intricate craftsmanship, prints and detail to create truly individualistic designs. The 2015 season has already seen One & Only launch its own fashion label, partner with the world-renowned fashion house Missoni to release a bespoke capsule collection and launch a Melissa Odabash pop-up store at One & Reethi Rah. A breathtaking aquamarine Issa dress will also be available at exclusively One & Only resorts including One & Only Reethi Rah this year.”

I especially like the Camilla Frank styled buggy decorated as a part of the offer. So you can pop over to the pop up with a pop art buggy!

Best of the Maldives: Sand Bikes – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - sand bike

The busiest travel day of the year today. At least in the USA. The day before Thanksgiving and EVERYONE is trying to get home. While Christmas might be a bigger season and holiday, more people go home for Thanksgiving than they do for Christmas. Hence the term “Homecoming”. As in “Homecoming Queen” and “King” who are part of the festivities for the typically biggest high school (American) football game of the year which is played on Turkey Day. While Mom is preparing the feast, everyone in town heads down to the game assured that every one in town, including their friends who have moved away, will be there.

As you can imagine, getting half of a America back its home base in one 24-hour burst results in a bity of transportation mayhem. Immortalised in the classic comedy film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”.

None of that stress in the Maldives even on whatever their biggest travel day of the year is. Few planes (limited to Male and a few scattered islands), absolutely no trains, and even fewer islands with automobiles. For the biggest resort islands, the transportation of choice is buggies and bikes.

We’ve been on a number of bikes (Reethi Rah, Soneva Fushi, Gili Lankfushi) and the biggest challenge is riding them in the softer sand (though for these islands most of the pathways are quite firm). Not an issue for JA Manafaru who has the specialty “Fat Man” models with extra wide tyres for both a softer ride and more ease going through softer terrain. They sort of have a vintage roadster vibe.

Coco Bodu Hithi also has them, but Manafaru had kid versions (see below).

JA Manafaru - sand bikes kids

Best of the Maldives: Buggy – Hideaway Beach, Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - buggy

The fanciest wheels in the world will be on display starting today at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the largest auto show in the world. But for the most rad roadsters in the Maldives, the show is at Hideaway Beach and Sun Siyam Irufushi. They both are bringing a bit of rad styling to the paths of the Maldives.

Pimp my ride!

Hideaway Beach - buggy

And now at Amilla Fushi too (thanks Paola)

Amilla Fushi - buggy

 

Best of the Maldives: Bike Accessories – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi bike towel

If you you prefer your luxury non-motorised vehicular transport of the self-propelled kind, then you can get no more posh than Soneva Fushi. It comes outfitted with a pouch that includes a face cloth for wiping your face if you get a bit sweaty from the pedalling as well as a handy basket for carrying paraphernalia like cameras or snorkel gear.

But the swishest feature are the vanity license plates. New guests have their initials (see below) and repeat guests and staff have their first names (wherever possible).

Modelo velo!

Soneva Fushi bike plate

Best of the Maldives: Wedding Buggy – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah wedding buggy

 

 

Do you I do? Time to pop that question with National Proposal Day today. When you start planning you nuptials, you want to book that ideal vehicle to escort you from the chapel. Maybe a posh Roller, or a vintage classic or even a horse-drawn carriage. While the transport is simple, none of those beat the elegance of the paradise surroundings if you opt for the One & Only Reethi Rah wedding buggy though!

Upper-Crust Married

Best of the Maldives: Seaplane – FlyMe

Villa Air Whaleshark plane

What’s your ride getting dressed up as for Halloween? The prize for best seaplane costume definitely goes to FlyMe’s “SEEPLANE” had its maiden flight this week.

It is appropriately based at the epicentre of everything whale shark in Maldives near the bottom of the South Ari atoll, the Villa International Airport Maamigili. In fact, the whale shark marine sanctuary goes right by the airport.

The amphibian Cessna C208 holds up to 7 passengers (plus 2 pilots). It serves all the resorts in the area for 20 minute (or longer) privately booked and scheduled excursions with a minimum of 4 people.

Seaplanes have always been a distinctive way to experience the unique, other-worldly geography of the Maldives. And if you don’t spy a whale shark swimming below, you can always have a photo-op with this aeronautic imposter.

Pimp my seaplane!

FlyMe whale shark See Plane