Best of the Maldives: Tented Jungle Villas – Sirru Fen Fushi

Sirru Fen Fushi - tented villas 1

With the new year, it’s time for out with the old and in with the new. The gingerbread hued tented villas were introduced by the old Madivaru resort, but it has been defunct for a while, but in its place the new Sirru Fen Fushi has introduced its own tented villas. The “tents” make the structures seem all the more natural and intimate with the surroundings. A tented safari in Africa (ideally on the Zambezi) is on our bucket list, but at Sirru Fen Fushi you can do a tented snorkel safari!

Sirru Fen Fushi - tented villas 2

Sirru Fen Fushi - tented villas 3

Best of the Maldives: Toasters – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - toaster

The traditional 6th anniversary gift is iron. And probably the most stereotypical gift is the ubiquitous toaster. Mind you, if I received the retro red Dualit model, I wouldn’t complain. It features in the Huvafenfushi villas with kitchens lending a distinctive counter colour to a handy option for a light bite.

A toast to 6 years of Maldives Complete!

Best of the Maldives: Nautical Lodging – Cocoa Island

Cocoa Isand dhoni villas

 

Instead of construction inspired from overseas, Cocoa Island features villas inspired from over the sea. These dhoni-inspired delights are the centrepiece of the all-water villa resort. The design makes if one of the most captivating resorts. Cocoa was one of the top resorts recommended to me by one of the Maldivian government ministers on my last visit and it is regularly featured in distinctive hotel lists like “The 100 Most Amazing, Unique, and Beautiful Hotels In The World” (one of the best lists I have come across and has inspired a short Italy getaway for Lori and I next month).

Best of the Maldives: Private Dining Jetty – Velaa

Velaa - private dining jetty

One of the finest delights of the Maldives is dining over the ocean. Forget dining by the ocean (though there is that too), but dining right on top of it is standard fare there. If you want your own private setting atop the water, then the famous Maldives water villas provide an exquisite platform. But typically, you are limited to dining off a tray from room service. Some fancier villas do have dining tables on their decks, but Velaa has a special deck for its dining table. Complete with curtained shelter (to provide either added privacy or to shield ocean breezes if they kick up a bit too much for your liking) and canopy top (to shield from too much sun glare or even a passing rain shower).

Best of the Maldives: Private Ocean Swimming – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - private swimming area water villa

 

Like glass floors, private back areas are another prominently requested feature for Maldive villas. Especially for modest Middle Eastern women who prefer not to wear skimpy beach clothes in public view. Also, the numerous honeymooners that flock here like a little privacy to take the ‘P’ out of ‘PDA’.

Most villas in the Maldives have some sort of private back area, but they differ widely. From just enough space for an outdoor shower to expansive, walled gardens with private pools and other amenities. That is why I include a picture of the back areas in the Room Type Profiles.

Now water villas have the entire ocean for their ‘back area’. Great for sunsets, marine life watching, handy snorkelling, and lovely ocean views. Regardless of the screens, walls and configuration, not super for privacy (at least from the ocean side). But Gili Lankanfushi has private ocean swimming areas on its water villas. Areas of the sea walled off 360 degrees that you can swim or whatever in. Sort of its own version of private ‘water closet’ altogether where you don’t just see the lagoon, but you are in it.

Don’t get too bold in the ostensibly private setting. The water is eztremely clear and people could probably see a bit of what is going on from the adjacent walkway at least some of whatever is under water.

Best of the Maldives: Bog View – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru bog view

 

The Maldives are sort of pioneers in the ‘Windows’ department. Underwater windows, but also Overwater windows. Also, known as ‘glass floors’. These features have become so common and popular, that I added a field for them in the ‘Room Type’ database.

Resorts feature glass floors in many of the top water villa rooms as well as spas and restaurants. But perhaps the most unusual place is the bathroom. Maybe not so surprising. With the prevailing ‘no shoes, no news’ ethos, there’s no daily newspaper for your morning constitutional. So a front row seat to watch the aquatic wonders below is a decadent alternative.

When I first saw this feature in a toilet, I thought it would be unique, but my research has uncovered several like the one from Six Senses Laamu below. But I’ve given the wipe of the squeegee to Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru whose footside window is larger and the largest I have found.

 

Six Senses Laamu toilet glass floor