The gentle lapping of water ripples on the soft coral sand dominates the typical soundscape of the Maldivian seaside. Resort water villas are typically set in protected, tranquil lagoons so people can easily swim and snorkel straight from their deck and the so main sound you hear is the water sloshing around the support pylons below. But some islands are a bit more exposed to the larger swells of the open ocean produce more substantial waves. The move substantial crests not only create some of the world’s best surfing, but also can provide the more dramatic wave crashing commonplace around other coasts.
But Ailafushi water villas are situated in more open water though protected by a rocky breakwater a short distance out. As a result, a breezy day will produce a regular percussion of waves crashing just a stone’s throw from your deck. While the aquatic activity is reduced, the acoustic activity is enhanced. Lori and I love seaside rooms where you can lie in your bed and hear the sound of waves crashing below. We dozed at night on the loungers just listening to it, but you could hear it clearly inside the villa as well.
A water villa slide is one of the most extravagant water villa luxuries found in the top super-premium resorts, but the mid-market priced Siyam World has also introduced them to all of its water villas as well. And extraordinary thrill for the ordinary budget.
If you want to frolic in the octopus’ garden, then Soneva Jani has taken water villa slides to the next level. Not only are they higher and longer than previous water villas slides, they are installed most water villas as well as a public area on at “The Gathering” hub. About time I added a “Slide” tag. Below is Lori enjoying a thrilling ride during our stay at Soneva Jani.
I’d actually been on the lookout for something like this my latest “Not Yet Seen” draft when I came upon an outdoor sauna pod doing Christmas shopping. Not a sauna, but a steam bath at Soneva Jani with a bonus twist of being perched on the deck of one of their water villas. The room was sensibly designed with two large floor-to-ceiling walls facing the turquoise vista of the lagoon (I didn’t get to try it out to see how much the steamed glass affected the view). Still, I love the idea of relaxing in the soothing heat coming from something other than rays of sunshine while still taking in the outdoor scenery (as opposed to being sequestered away in some nook of a spa facility).
A bit belated Labor Day post as I myself was on holiday yesterday (not the Maldives sadly). With remote working becoming the new default, high powered professionals (the work-hard-play-hard set who have always been a big market segment in the Maldives) can now extend their stay by keeping just enough tabs on the work back home. I’ve actually taken that approach for years. People wonder why I would want to interrupt paradise with thinking about work. I just see it as an investment…by doing 5% work during my stay, I can often extend my stay at least 50% (at 10x return of parardise time).
If I was heading out to the Maldives during a particularly busy time, I would consider Hideaway Beach where their water villa features a desk right by the water. Now that’s a corner office! Note: do be careful though (especially if you are mixing work with pina coladas) not drop your computer in the water. You might laugh, but I actually did this in the Maldives at our water villa a few years back. I picked up my backpack that I carried it in and hadn’t zipped it properly and it popped out, bounced on the deck and plunged into the water (fortunately, I was insured, backed up and had brought a spare with me).
Gili Lankanfushi Private Reserve St. Regis Vommuli John Jacob Astor Estate
Sometimes the “Best” (and “Biggest”) of the Maldives can become an ever escalating arms race of hyperbolic luxury. One of the more curious bragging rights tussle is over the “Largest Water Villa in the Maldives”
The “traditional” Maldives villa is an earth tone thatch and most of the villas we’ve visited years ago were typically a darker wood. But in recent years, white exteriors have become more popular. First, the exterior walls were painted white. An eco-friendly form of air conditioning to help keep the lodging cooler. Today, doing a quick survey of water villas, the majority have white exteriors. With the timely “White Christmas” theme, I’ve decided to present just the whitest of white villas, those whose coral sand coloured exterior extends all the way up to the tippy top of the rooftop.
May all your Christmases be white…especially over the water of a Maldives lagoon.
If only the corals could push some button for a bit of cooling shade when they get too warm. At least guests at Velaa have that luxury with deck cabanas with tops that can be rolled out for a bit of shade or rolled back for sunshine (or starshine if you want to lie back on the deck lounger and gaze at the stars at night).
With the latest resort launched from Soneva (that’s Sonu&Eva), I’m expecting the new Soneva Jani property to open up all sorts of new possibilities. And it has literally *opened up* the universe to its guest with a stellar feature (which happened to be on my latest Haven’t Seen post #22) – a retractable roof:
“Each master bedroom will feature a retractable roof. Guests will sleep under the stars at a touch of the button, as the roof slides back to reveal the night sky.”
Soneva Fushi is the run-away leader of “Best of the Maldives” innovations and distinctions (77 compared to runner-up One & Only Reethi Rah’s 63) so I am expecting all sorts of delights to fill their latest creation. But the one that most captivates me is that all villas feature a retractable roof for stargazing!
Lori and I have fallen asleep countless times under the Maldives starscape. But eventually, you have to move inside from the hard, narrow deck loungers or sandy blanket. Now you can drift to sleep under starlight in the comfort of your villa bed. Last summer, we had a blast driving around Italy in a sporty convertible. Now you can snooze in the Maldives in your own stylish convertible.
“Raise the roof and have some fun” – All Night Long, Lionel Richie
Now you see it. The camouflage of the animal kingdom always fascinates. We came upon the king of camo a chameleon on our South Africa safari. We would never have seen it had the guide not pointed it out. In fact, even when the guide did point it out, we struggled to see it at first. And the Maldivian masters of masquerade are of course the octopi. Lori and I spent a delightful snorkel watching an octopus move around the coral croppings constantly changing his color scheme and his very skin texture to match the new coral he was next too.