Great News For Surf Enthusiasts

The government of Maldives has terminated the development of the boutique surf resort —The Patina Thanburudhoo in Kaafu Atoll, home to world-class surf spots; Sultans and Honkeys.

The Tourism Ministry cited slow development in canceling the contract with Singapore-based Telos Investment. “This will allow local surfers, surfers from around the world and organizers of surf competition to use the island in the best possible way,” noted the Ministry of Tourism, and pledged to keep the island open to the public as a “surf heritage site.”

The Maldives Surfing Association (MSA) fought the decision to build a boutique surf resort in Thanburudhoo Island. Local surfers stood up against surf exclusivity, warning that developing a surf resort on the island will halve the number of breaks open to local surfers and particularly impact safari operators due to the limited access. The Maldives government is planning the construction of a bridge in Malé’s Raalhugandu, and the MSA has no doubt it will destroy the atoll’s best surf breaks where 90 percent of Maldivian surfers ride their share of waves.

Thanburudhoo island, which is 30 minutes away from the capital, is owned by the Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) Welfare Company. It was leased to Telos in August 2012. Local surfers have welcomed “the end of surf exclusivity.”

Maamigili Getting Ready To Host Maldives Whale Shark Festival

Maamigili, the largest island in South Ari Atoll, is gearing up to host the 3rd annual Maldives Whale Shark Festival (MWSF).

With less than 10 days for the festival, which will take place on the 29th of this month, local artists and some of the organizers are already in South Ari Atoll prepping for the event.

Mahibadhoo Bodu Beru Performances as part of MWSFEST14
Mahibadhoo Bodu Beru Performances as part of MWSFEST14

7 local islands will be participating in this year’s event which will see a special performance by famous singer Unoosha. She will be performing as part of the event’s finale to help raise awareness on the conservation of whale sharks in the area. This year, MWSF has been scheduled to coincide with International Whale Shark Day.

Dhigurah with their award winning Festival Mascot for MWSFEST14
Dhigurah with their award winning Festival Mascot for MWSFEST14

Unlike previous years, a science fest will be held prior to the event. ScienceFEST will take place on the afternoon and evening of Friday 28th August on the island of Dhigurah, which was the first island to host MWSF. So, in addition to celebrating what is unique about the Marine Protected Area of the South Ari Atoll we will be supporting the sharing of vital resources and knowledge between Conservationists, Marine Biologists and Educators in the Maldives.

A Young Artist from Dhangethi Models her Festival Costume Design at for MWSFEST14
A Young Artist from Dhangethi Models her Festival Costume Design at for MWSFEST14

“This is an opportunity to learn more about this incredible creature and by working together, to showcase the outstanding natural beauty and artistic culture of the Maldives to a global audience”. Chloe Osborne, Festival Co-Director 2015.

Dhidhoo Performers in preparation for the Festival Procession for MWSFEST14
Dhidhoo Performers in preparation for the Festival Procession for MWSFEST14

Maldives.com is proud to be the online partner of this very important event which has been playing a important role in bringing communities together to celebrate marine diversity and natural beauty of South Ari Atoll and the Maldives. Information on Maldives Whale Shark Festival Initiated in 2013 by Maldives Whale Shark Research Program (MWSRP), with the support of UK based artist Chloe Osborne and in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Festival is designed to provide the island communities of South Ari Atoll with the opportunity to celebrate the whale shark and the marine diversity of their atoll whilst fostering environmental sustainability and conservation at a grass roots level. Seeding the idea of an international collaboration between marine biologists and artists as well as by promoting the use of community art as a key tool for social and environmental education and engagement, the project seeks to boost local and national awareness and tourism to support future generations. MWSFEST14 The MWSF is a collaboration between marine biologists, conservationists, artists, schools and island communities and aims to: – Celebrate the marine diversity of South Ari Atoll and its marine protected area (SAMPA) – Promote environmental awareness and conservation – Bring communities together through creative workshops – Support and showcase Maldivian culture through storytelling and craftsmanship – Contribute to the national cultural calendar – Invest in eco-tourism and support civic participation – Catalyze knowledge transfer between scientific researchers, island councils, educators, artists, students and community members to safeguard the future of the whale shark and it’s natural habitat Previous and Future Festivals – The first Festival was held in 2013 and was hosted by the island community of Dhigurah – The second Festival was held in 2014 and was hosted by the island community of Dhangethi. The Festival in 2015 will be the 3rd Annual Maldives Whale Shark Festival and will be hosted by the island community of Maamigili – Sponsor dependent, the 4th Annual Whale Shark Festival will be hosted in 2016 by the island community of Fenfushi

Review — How to do barefoot luxury in real style

Review — “I want my guests to emerge from the natural jungle into a landscaped garden,” says Paul Vincent Benedict Brown in his clipped English accent. He makes me stop and open my eyes to this subtle yet dramatic change in landscape, marking the natural entrance of Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island, one of the world’s most exclusive private islands.

Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz

Approaching by private speedboat, Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island looks just like every other small Maldivian island, a speck of green jungle surrounded by white sand and crystal clear ocean. Except, once you step on it, you realize that everything on this island is pure luxury. Even the sand is just that little bit finer and whiter and I soon lose track of my flip flops as I follow a barefoot Mr Brown on a whirlwind tour of this luxury resort hidden in the heart of a 1.4 hectare island.

There are 4 plus 1 villas created by award winning architect Guz Wilkinson. The spacious bedrooms sleep a total of 12 guests, each villa has pool access, with two villas, “my twins”, as Brown calls them, sharing one pool. And there is enough space to accommodate the security personnel if you chose to bring it.

Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz

My guided tour of the resort is a flurry of wow effects. Super-sized flat screens emerging magically from stands that look like old fashioned travelling trunks, curtains opening via remote control to reveal uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, a beach-side sculpture of jumping dolphins made from driftwood, bespoke furniture and art works, light fittings that look like art works, shell doorknobs, bathrooms to die for with backlit showers, outdoor baths and full-sized Acqua di Parma toiletries.

“Everything has to be full sized,” says Paul Vincent Benedict Brown, who was appointed as General Manager of Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island in June 2014. “It’s all about the guest here. If my guests want to have a spa treatment at 3 am, they can have it,” he says. Breakfast is from 2 am to 2 am, in other words, whenever. Wow!

Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz

Mr Brown certainly knows how to give his guests the royal treatment. He was trained in the Household of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and learned what guests want from a tropical luxury resort whilst working in LA for a Hollywood movie tycoon who had a beach house in Malibu.

“I can transform any space into an outdoor dining room or outdoor spa treatment room,” he says pointing out various spots under the canopy of native vegetation that provides cooling shade without obstructing views of the surrounding Indian Ocean. It’s all about my guests, they get whatever they want, he repeats his mantra.

Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz

There is also a small traditional old coral stone mosque valued by many of Mr Brown’s guests, amongst them no doubt those arriving by private jet from Saudi Arabia or Qatar, some are repeat visitors.

Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz

Like a stage choreographer Mr Brown has reserved the ultimate wow effect to last. Palm Residence, the split-level master residence. There’s a huge master bedroom, living and dining areas complete with a discreetly hidden work station he pulls out of the wall like a magician, indoor and outdoor showers with floor to ceiling views of the native jungle and ocean, a private Jacuzzi, a private infinity pool, a private library, a cocktail bar and an exclusive wine cellar. Wow!

Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island photo by Kerstin Pilz

All-inclusive luxury comes with a five-figure price tag a night. For that you get all of the above plus your private butler, your private chef, dive instructors and spa therapists on demand and a tailor made experience.

At the end of our tour Mr Brown checks his watch. It was a quick 50 minute tour he says, as if we’ve set some kind of record. If you are paying a small fortune for the privilege of an all-inclusive private island holiday, you certainly would want Mr Brown to be in charge of it.

Throughout our tour he’s discreetly instructed his staff, whom he addresses in his very formal English way as ‘Mr’ and their surnames, on how to improve their service. His magic has worked and my flip flops have reappeared on the jetty, just where the fine sand ends and my walk back into reality begins. Wow!

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The Somerset Hotel

The Somerset Hotel is a refreshingly hip, designed with island sophistication in mind, and proudly personalized in both service and style.

A virtual personification of Malé, The Somerset reflects the city’s dynamic sightseeing, shopping and café culture, harmoniously juxtaposed with laid-back island life. Somerset guests can enjoy all the creature comforts expected of a top-class city hotel, authentically paired with unmistakably sunny Maldivian hospitality.

Perfectly positioned for guests to enjoy all that the bustling capital has to offer – whether city minded island hoppers, business travelers or transit tourists – the hotel is tucked away on a quiet street, yet conveniently located within walking distance to the boat jetties, local markets, cultural sights and vibrant restaurant and shopping scenes.

Somerset guests are invited on a cultural discovery; to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of Malé while confident and comfortable with the hotel as a base. At Somerset Hotel — a candy coloured city skyline meets azure waters and island vistas; humdrum city sounds are interspersed with the beat of lapping waterfront waves.

Review — Star gazing in Thulusdhoo

Photo by Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed
Photo by Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed

Review — For backpackers and surfers who want to experience a different side of Maldives, one which does not require spending thousands of dollars on high-end resorts, the island of Thulusdhoo in North Malé Atoll is a great alternative. The island is inhabited and is as beautiful as any other Maldivian island. This means, not only do you get to enjoy the pearly white beaches and turquoise waters, but you also get to see the real people of Maldives. It has a decent number of affordable guest houses and all the facilities that an ordinary holiday-maker would require.

Aerial view of Thulusdhoo – Photo by Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed
Aerial view of Thulusdhoo – Photo by Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed

Thulusdhoo is a favorite spot for surfers because of its amazing surf point, Cokes-named after island’s famous Coca Cola bottling plant, the only Coca Cola plant in the world that makes the famous beverage from desalinated water. Daily ferries commute between the capital Malé and Thulusdhoo and the journey takes only an hour, which makes visiting the island extremely convenient.

Photo contributed by Canopus Maldives
Photo contributed by Canopus Maldives

Besides swimming, surfing, snorkeling and fishing, there is another fun thing to do in Thulusdhoo-stargazing. Yes, Stargazing! The reason I recommend stargazing in Thulusdhoo is because there is a large area of barren land on one side of the island.

Photo by Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed
Photo by Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed

Lying there, on the white sandy ground, on a clear night is the best feeling in the world. With no sound or light pollution, the Milky Way is so beautifully visible to the naked eye. On a clear night, there are so many shooting stars you’ll want to make a wish and fall asleep right there, to the sight of an endless sky full of glistening gems.

Every place is unique and has a special magic. Surfing and stargazing in Thulusdhoo is pretty magical. You just have to visit and find out.

Photo contributed by Canopus Maldives
Photo contributed by Canopus Maldives

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Yoga Master Kat Harding launches SUP yoga at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

The yogis at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa will be enjoying a few lessons themselves this summer. Kat Harding – Australia’s first qualified Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor – is coming island-side to train Kuda Huraa’s mat masters in the art of paddleboard-based poses. Kat will also be available for exclusive guest sessions from August 3 to 9, 2015, the week of the annual Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy: a WSL specialty event between six world champion surfers. Doyenne of SUP yoga and all-round yoga guru, Kat Harding is set to unite – and elevate – Kuda Huraa’s surf and Spa offering, expanding the opportunity for guests to strengthen their connection, both within their core and with the ocean.

“SUP Yoga is an amazing experience where you are able to synchronise the movements of your body with the ocean,” explains Kat. “Its appeal is in its natural rawness, floating gracefully and using your own strength to balance as you move and flow with the water underneath you.”

Kat Harding, SUP Yoga, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
SUP Yoga, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

While yoga’s origins date back thousands of years – and is practised to unite mind, body and spirit through breath – SUP Yoga is a relatively new hybrid, uniting yoga traditions with surfing and wellbeing through the paddleboard. It’s a discipline that engages the whole body, building strength, flexibility and focus while imparting an incredible sense of joy and freedom.

Kat hails from Noosa, Australia – home of Kuda Huraa’s surf partners, Tropicsurf – continuing the surf pedigree and easy laid-back vibe that the Resort has become synonymous with. Kat’s own yoga journey began as a teen with a Christmas gift of a yoga DVD. Her love of movement flourished, inspiring her to travel and experiment with various yoga disciplines; train as a yoga teacher with Laxmi Yoga (Sally Parkes) in London and Spain; and go on to qualify as Australia’s first SUP yoga instructor. Trained in vinyasa, hatha, dynamic, yin and prana flow yoga, she combines her passions for yoga, surfing, healthy living and nature on the paddleboard. She’s also an ebook co-author, blogger, Fire and Shine luminary, Wanderlust Festival presenter and hosts Australia’s only luxury SUP yoga retreats.

Kat Harding, SUP Yoga, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
SUP Yoga, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

“It’s a real honour to have Kat on board to help us launch SUP Yoga,” concludes Sanju Upadhyay, Manager of The Island Spa. “As a discipline it incorporates the best of Kuda Huraa – ocean-inspired activities, yoga and healthy outdoor living – while our warm, shallow lagoon makes the ideal practice ground. Our yogis and guests are in for a real treat.”

To be one of the first to experience SUP Yoga at Kuda Huraa, contact Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa on tel: (960) 66 44 888, fax: (960) 66 44 800 or email [email protected], or book online.http://www.fourseasons.com/maldiveskh

Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort Now Open

The spectacularly spacious Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort opened its doors and welcomed its first guests on August 1st.

The first guests, a family from Dubai, arrived after a 30-minute luxury speedboat transfer from Kaadedhdhoo Airport in the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll in the south of the Maldives.

Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort's first guests
First guests arrive and cut the ribbon to the sound of Maldivian drums, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

The guests were welcomed ashore at the resort’s jetty by Darren Edmonstone the Outrigger Managing Director for Asia Pacific and the resort’s General Manager, Pascal Billon.

After a traditional Maldivian welcome ceremony with drums and dancing, the father of the family cut the ribbon to open a new chapter in Outrigger Resorts’ expansion, which has seen the company open premier-class beachfront properties in Mauritius, Phuket and Fiji, as well as the Maldives, in the last three years.

Aerial, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Aerial, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

“Outrigger hosts and supporting contractors in the Maldives have done a terrific job in the run up to our opening today,” said Mr Edmonstone. “I’m confident our large and wonderfully well appointed Beach and Ocean Pool Villas will become a major talking point in the Maldivian tourism scene.”

The 53 key all-villa property comprises 24 Beach Pool Villas (211 sqm), seven Two-Bedroom Pool Villas (282 sqm), 21 Ocean Pool Villas (225 sqm), and the Presidential Villa (600 sqm).

The turquoise waters off the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort feature a well-formed reef with abundant coral diversity and a great variety of marine life including turtles and eagle rays and regular sightings of dolphins.

On day two of opening, the Outrigger welcomed guests from China, Korea and the USA.

Double Beach Pool Villa Exterior, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Two Bedroom Beach Pool Villas, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

“We have very special dining, water sports and excursion options ready for all our guests, no matter where they come from,” said Mr Billon. “The Outrigger on Konotta Island is shaping up to be a perfect holiday destination for a wide variety of international guests who are seeking an iconic Maldives holiday.”

Special limited period opening rates for the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort are available on outriggermaldives.com for stays up to October 31, 2015. Or Email: [email protected] Tel: +960 684 7771

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi unfolds over 52 acres of natural perfection, a world away from the everyday, yet just a 45-minute awe-inspiring seaplane ride from the capital, Malé. Warm crystal-clear waters wait to embrace you. Soft sands call you to kick off your shoes.

Iru Fushi is located in the northernmost reaches of the Maldivian archipelago, at the heart of Noonu Atoll. Noonu is a community of islands, each with its own distinct allure – a hidden cove here, a lush grove of palm trees there, a lagoon seemingly made just for you. Still others are dotted with villages where traditional ways of life are still proudly preserved, waiting to enchant.

Maalifushi by COMO

Maalifushi by COMO is the first luxury resort in the Maldives to open in the pristine Thaa Atoll in the archipelago’s southwest.

With overwater villas and beach suites, Maalifushi is therefore the ultimate away-from-it-all destination for families, couples, surfers and divers. There are some excellent breaks nearby as well as a string of uninhabited private islands, where there are seasonal hammerhead and manta ray sightings.

Hulhule Island Hotel

Hulhule Island Hotel, the only hotel located on the International airport island — Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, is a modern and exotic hotel catering to the diversified needs of guests.

Set in a heavenly ambiance of turquoise blue waters, the Maldives airport hotel is a place perfect for the guests on leisure as well as on business. It is a happening place to be in; as well it is a tranquil haven at various locations within the hotel.

Hulhule Island Hotel is less than 5 minutes travel by road from the airport and complimentary hotel shuttles are available round the clock for the convenience of the guests.

The hotel is conveniently located on the island having the airport for seaplane transfers, international and domestic flights. Malé which is just a 10 minutes boat ride away has attractions like the cultural sites, the lively and buzzing fish market and local markets – making it easier for guests to get acquainted with the Maldivian way of life. Hulhule Island Hotel also provides scheduled transfers between HIH and Malé by ferry for the guests to visit the capital city and this service is also provided complimentary.

The guests wishing to add flavor to their special day or wanting to take the plunge into the sky blue water and bask at the white sandy beach area or just transiting through the Isle of Maldives or on a business trip – Hulhule Island Hotel is liked by each of the segment of guests.

Hulhule Island Hotel opens the door to a world of exemplary service and lets you enjoy every moment of your stay whilst pampering you in exquisite luxury.

Hulhule Island Hotel is the place where elegance blends uniquely creating an ambiance of tranquility – it is large enough to find a quiet seclusion and small enough to share with loved ones.

The hotel boasts of a range of luxury accommodation and facilities designed to suit the taste of avid guests. All the guest rooms have a panoramic view of the breath taking Indian Ocean in different shades of blue. Surrounded by the unblemished natural exquisiteness of the Maldives, Hulhule Island Hotel has a wide range of guest facilities on offer whilst maintaining extremely high standards for the comfort of international traveller.

The facilities and the features are wonderful but the service is even better as the team of Hulhule Island Hotel truly lives up to their promise.