Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Maldivian Goodness

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru MaldivesOn our way to Maldives, we stopped for a few hours in Colombo. This gave us an opportunity to try out a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast. I am glad we did, because it was fantastic!

The 'milk rice' cakes, called Kiri Bath is made of rice cooked in coconut milk, before being served in diamond-shaped cakes. The other interesting item was the chili-onion chutney mixed with Maldive fish called Lunu Miris and a fiery chicken curry that was completely delectible!

We had time to shop for gemstones before catching our connection to Male. Tea lovers can find a lot of variety from this old outpost from the ancient Spice Route. I have to be back here with more time to explore the secrets of the Emerald Isle, now that the years of internal strife have come to an end.

Sri Lankan BreakfastNow for the concluding part of our dream vacation in the Maldives...

The Spa at Four Seasons Landaa Giravaaru is an indulgence worth exploring. Over-the-water treatment rooms open to the ocean with glass floors afford the most extraordinary massage experience. The menu is predominantly Indian Ayurvedic treatments, but they also include Balinese and Thai staples. Ayurvedic treatments including such exotic varieties as the tantric kundalini ritual and the devi bhavani for women.

Dhoni Ride in the MaldivesI settled for their signature Landaa massage that combines Thai and Balinese techniques. Lying down, I watched the brightly colored tropical fish swim around in the coral reef below me as the therapist did her magic a heavenly 60 minutes that seemed to end only too quickly.

My wife went back to the spa for a couple of complimentary yoga classes and consultation. Even the Kids Club had a session at the spa where they were taught kiddy yoga!

Dhoni Ride in the MaldivesOne afternoon, we took a dhoni ride to the oceans on a dolphin tour. While the dolphins never made an appearance on that day, the ride on a traditionally designed boat to the deep water was fun. The ocean was a deep blue and we went past many unhabited islands, each a vision in white and green from the distance.

Landaa Giraavaru MaldivesThe Kids Club was the highlight for my 7-year old daughter. She would pore over the agenda for the next day in the booklet they had provided her, and all she wanted to do was go back there. The young lady who looked after the kids, Sana, was fantastic with the kids. Turns out Priyanka Gandhi was vacationing there too, and our daughters - the only two Indians around - made friends. Programs at the Kids Club during the week included a crazy coconut tree climb - a demo for the kids, beach scavenger hunt, sand castle competition, crab races, arts and craft, wet-n-wild, pizza making, and cookie decorating.

Landaa Giraavaru MaldivesThere were outdoor ping-pong tables, an excellent gym, watersports, snorkelling, diving, and even a marine research center at our resort. We even spent some time reading travellers' accounts of Maldives during the 16th century at the library.

Graham, the friendly Chief Engineer responsible for keeping the lights on in this resort, took us on a behind-the-scenes tour one day. It was fascinating to see how much goes into keeping a luxury resort operational 24x7. Especially when the resort is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean where everything - including water and electricity - has to be generated or shipped from thousands of miles away. It was impressive seeing people busy at the heavy-duty laundry, the power generating stations, the employee quarters, and the dock where ships with diesel visit twice a week.

Landaa Giraavaru MaldivesAll fresh water for the resort, including the swimming pools, come from the de-salination plant. The employees are virtually prisoners in this resort given that there is not much else to do outside in their personal time! I had a far greater appreciation of the lives of those who work for the hospitality industry in these far-flung hotels and resorts.

The cool thing is they are a truely multi-national workforce. There were people from Indonesia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan and Sri Lanka along with locals from Maldives. Graham himself is a New Zealander who has now been living at the Four Seasons resort for over three years with his wife.

Previous post in this series: Dining at Landaa Giraavaru

2 comments:

Shweta said...

You have a great blog there...

a few days back I saw Bourdain's srilanka visit...it was easily one of my fav episodes...srilanka is a beautiful country..great beaches, great food and greta people...what more does a traveller look for!!

Shantanu said...

@Shweta: Thanks! I enjoy Anthony Bourdain too. His book as well as the series on Travel & Living.