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Sheer Perfection at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

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This guest blog is written by Trish Lucarino. She is the CEO & Founder of Principessa Beauty, have major wanderlust and an affinity for all the finer things in life. 
 Our trip to Jumeirah Dhevanafushi last year was probably the most incredible vacation we will ever have the pleasure of going on! Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness has obviously not been here.

There are simply no words or pictures that can do justice to this resort. It’s luxury to the power of ten! This was our 3rd trip to the Maldives and we have loved every single resort we have been to which are Shangri La, One & Only, Alila, Huvafen Fushi & Six Senses Laamu. I’m always astonished when I find people able to find anything wrong with any of these places. They are all perfect and some are just more perfect than others.

My hubby and I are always in search of the perfect resort/destination and I have to say we found it at Dhevanafushi. This place has it all! Best location, service, food, spa, villas. They didn’t miss a thing here. Like all resorts in the Maldives they pick you up at the airport to transport you to the resort. The yacht was the nicest one we have been on yet and you get fresh towels and water for the voyage.

We weren’t sure what to expect as we knew we had been upgraded to their brand new ocean pearls water villas. The main Island is beautiful and quite small and then the ocean pearls are 5 minute speed boat away with their own restaurant, infinity pool etc. It’s not an Island; it’s are just a cluster of ridiculously amazing villas and amenities suspended above the Indian Ocean.
 They treated us literally like kings and queens. In fact, one of the only other guests at the Ocean Pearls while we were there was a Royal Family, I think from the Kingdom of Bahrain? However, when we first got there we had the whole place to ourselves it seemed? We were the only ones at the restaurant and infinity pool and after Roger & Ajung spoiled us rotten we moved the party to the infinity pool. Roger made us the most amazing Margaritas I have ever had, they plugged in our ipod and we had our own private pool party. Completely amazing!! They were so awesome and accommodating!

The food was absolutely incredible. When we first arrived the menu was a little confusing and limited but they had just opened so I’m sure they have perfected it by now. They allowed us to order from the room menu that was much more expansive and it was absolutely perfect. No request was denied and all the food was some of the best we have ever had and we are huge foodies! One time over on the main Island we went for dinner at the restaurant there and had amazing seafood ravioli & incredible risotto. We asked the Chef at the Ocean Pearls restaurant if he could do it because it wasn’t on the menu. He didn’t have the ingredients but said he would do it for us the next day. The next day at lunch they couldn’t wait to show us what they had done and it was out of the world. Even better than the other restaurant and custom made just for us. Thank you Chef!

 We did yoga every morning, sometimes the yoga instructor would take the speed boat over and we would do it by the infinity pool. One morning there was a beautiful rainbow over the Indian Ocean in front of us and it was hard to believe we weren’t in heaven! Most mornings we took the speed boat over to the main island and did it in the yoga pavilion which was completely surreal! If this isn’t the best way to start out your day in paradise I don’t know what is?
 We are also spa junkies. The spa at Dhevanafushi was one of the most surreal, zen, beautiful spas I have seen anywhere in the world. To top it off my masseuse Ari had the most magic hands on the planet. I truly thought I’d died and gone to heaven! It had huge vaulted ceilings and tons of floor to ceiling windows. They slide open and you can listen to the sounds of the Ocean during your treatment. I simply can’t imagine anything better…
The gym was equally amazing! It’s a beautiful white building on stilts suspended above the ocean with high ceilings lots of glass and top notch equipment. I was on the treadmill and my hubby was on the elliptical and he spotted a turtle right out front. I never would have seen it and it was the 3rd turtle he spotted on the trip (the other two we swam with!) so I started calling him the turtle whisperer. Below is the view from the treadmill.
 
 Speaking of swimming with turtles we were lucky enough to get to do so twice on this trip! It’s always been a huge dream of mine and has always eluded us. I was so happy as they are incredibly beautiful and so cool. They were so close we could touch them and we got to swim with them for quite a while. One morning we were walking along the dock to breaky our friend spotted an octopus in the water. I have no idea how he spotted it because it had camouflaged itself.

The villas were among the most beautiful we have ever experienced. I think they are approximately 3,000 square feet and luxuriously appointed. Perched above the Indian Ocean with your own private infinity pool, living room, dining room, two bathrooms, outdoor soaking tub and massive bedroom with huge vaulted ceilings and the largest bed I have ever seen in my life! I even got out my pink measuring tape (building a house I’m never without it) and measured the bed. It was 10 feet wide!! At night they close the curtains around the canopy and it’s so romantic and the ultimate sleeping experience ever. There is a view of the ocean and infinity pool from the bed as well!

The resort is stunningly beautiful it’s hard to fathom such a beautiful place exists on earth but it does!

This place was over the top amazing and the people were so incredible they just made the experience that much more perfect. This is one of the few places that I have actually shed tears when I had to leave.

Well done Jumeirah!

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CROSSROADS Maldives appoints Ibrahim Farhad as Director of Retail

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CROSSROADS Maldives has announced the appointment of Ibrahim Farhad as the new Director of Retail at the Maldives’ premier integrated multi-island leisure destination. Farhad, known for his extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, brings a wealth of expertise in sustainable tourism management to his new role. He will oversee the retail operations at The Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives, enhancing the leisure, dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences for visitors from around the world.

Farhad’s impressive background includes significant contributions to policy formulation and stakeholder engagement during his tenure as the Senior Policy Director at the Maldives Ministry of Tourism. In this role, he was pivotal in developing and implementing policies that promoted sustainable tourism. He collaborated closely with government agencies and international organizations to ensure regulatory compliance, and his expertise in research, analysis, quality assurance, and capacity building has been instrumental in shaping the tourism sector in the Maldives.

In his new role at CROSSROADS Maldives, Farhad will oversee the strategic development of retail spaces, ensuring they offer a diverse and high-quality visitor experience. He will collaborate with local and international partners to bring unique products to The Marina, aligning with the destination’s commitment to sustainability and cultural authenticity.

“As a native Maldivian coupled with his extensive experience and deep-rooted community connections, Farhad is a great addition to our team at CROSSROADS Maldives. I am excited to see the fresh perspectives and innovative strategies he will introduce at The Marina, which will further strengthen CROSSROADS Maldives’ position as the premier integrated multi-island leisure destination,” said Alexander Traeger, General Manager of CROSSROADS Marina and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

CROSSROADS Maldives looks forward to the innovative and sustainable approaches Farhad will bring to the retail operations, enhancing the overall experience for all visitors.

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Utheemu Ganduvaru: Portal to Maldives’ national freedom

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The Maldives, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, also offers a rich tapestry of history and culture waiting to be explored. Among the islands of Haa Alif Atoll lies Utheemu Island, home to Utheemu Ganduvaru, a historical treasure that invites travellers to delve into the storied past of the archipelago.

Utheemu Ganduvaru, the ancestral home of Muhammad Thakurufaanu, stands as a poignant reminder of the Maldives’ fight for independence. Thakurufaanu, revered as a national hero, led a successful campaign against Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. His childhood home, Utheemu Ganduvaru, offers a rare glimpse into the life and times of this legendary figure.

In 1558, the Portuguese invaded the Maldives, killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule. Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers, Ali and Hassan, left for Minicoy to prepare a campaign to liberate their country. The boat they built, Kalhuohfummi, was crucial to their efforts. Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years, landing on different islands under cover of night to evade capture, and departing before daybreak. Eventually, they landed in Malé and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Freed from Portuguese rule, the people chose Muhammad Thakurufaanu as their Sultan.

Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 years until his death in 1585. He is remembered as a considerate and just ruler, concerned for the well-being of even the poorest citizens. He is also credited with establishing the country’s first formal military unit.

Back at Utheemu Island, visitors are immediately struck by the island’s tranquil beauty and its lush, green landscape. The journey to Utheemu Ganduvaru is a step back in time, where the echoes of history are palpable. The residence itself, a traditional wooden palace, is meticulously preserved, showcasing the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of the period.

As you enter Utheemu Ganduvaru, the simplicity and elegance of the structure are apparent. Built from timber, the palace is a fine example of traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The intricate woodwork, with its detailed carvings and polished surfaces, speaks volumes about the artisanship that flourished during Thakurufaanu’s time.

The main hall, with its open layout and cool, shaded interiors, offers a sense of serenity and reflection. It was within these walls that Thakurufaanu spent his formative years, and each room tells a story of his early life and the influences that shaped his destiny. The residence includes living quarters and storage spaces, all arranged in a manner that reflects the daily life of a prominent Maldivian family in the 16th century.

One of the most compelling aspects of Utheemu Ganduvaru is its connection to the larger narrative of Maldivian resistance against foreign rule. Guides at the site often recount tales of Thakurufaanu’s daring exploits and strategic brilliance. His knowledge of the archipelago’s intricate waterways and his leadership in naval battles are celebrated as key factors in the successful expulsion of the Portuguese in 1573.

Beyond its historical significance, Utheemu Ganduvaru offers visitors a deeper understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage. The site is a testament to the resilience and unity of the Maldivian people, embodying values that continue to inspire. For travellers, a visit to Utheemu Ganduvaru is an opportunity to connect with the soul of the Maldives, experiencing the essence of its history and the spirit of its people.

While on Utheemu Island, visitors can explore other points of interest, such as the island’s beaches and vibrant local community. Engaging with the locals offers additional insights into Maldivian traditions and hospitality, enriching the overall experience.

For those seeking a journey through time, Utheemu Ganduvaru in Haa Alif Atoll is a destination that should not be missed. It is a place where the past comes alive, where the legacy of a hero continues to resonate, and where the true essence of the Maldives can be discovered. As you walk through the halls of Utheemu Ganduvaru, you are not just a visitor; you are a part of a historical journey that defines the Maldivian identity.

So, when planning your next visit to the Maldives, venture beyond the beaches and dive into the rich history of these islands. Let Utheemu Ganduvaru be the highlight of your cultural exploration, offering a meaningful and memorable connection to the heart of Maldivian heritage.

Cover photo: Andreas Faessler

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Embark on a journey of pure joy at Sirru Fen Fushi

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The newly-reimagined Sirru Fen Fushi Private Lagoon Resort, a member of the esteemed Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) collection, invites you to rediscover luxury in the Maldives. Nestled on a pristine island amidst crystal-clear lagoons, this haven of effortless elegance and contemporary allure promises an unforgettable escape.

Curated Experiences Await

From the moment guests touch down in Malé, Sirru Fen Fushi curates your journey around four pillars: Taste, Wellness, Art, and Play. Savor world-class cuisine alongside authentic Maldivian flavors at revamped restaurants. Rejuvenate with holistic wellness practices like frequency sound healing and Ayurvedic treatments. Become a steward of the environment through marine conservation initiatives, or witness turtle nesting with the resort’s marine biologist.

Unparalleled Comfort and Personalized Luxury

Unwind in the unparalleled comfort of Beach, Water, and Safari Tented Villas, each designed for an intimate escape in harmony with the breathtaking surroundings. Choose experiences based on Fire, Water, Earth, and Air themes, creating lasting memories tailored to your preferences.

Joining the Leading Hotels of the World

Sirru Fen Fushi is thrilled to be part of the prestigious LHW collection. “This exclusive hideaway promises a bespoke journey of luxury and serenity,” says Deniz Omurgonulsen, Vice President of Member Experience at LHW. “We are excited to add this private island paradise to our collection.”

Rediscovering Your Inner Child

Through the Essence of Play, reconnect with your inner child. Learn Maldivian crafts, gather around fire pits for acoustic guitar evenings, or dance under the stars at Plankton Glow Parties. Every experience ignites the soul and fosters connection.

A Celebration of Local Flavors

Tantalize your taste buds and explore local flavors through various activities. Reel in the day’s catch on a fishing excursion, or witness the theatrical spectacle of a Malafaaiy Bodu Beru feast, featuring traditional cuisine, drumming, singing, and clapping.

Holistic Wellness and Artistic Inspiration

Sirru Fen Fushi fosters rejuvenation through holistic treatments and a connection to nature. Full Moon Meditations and Pool Rituals promote a transformative journey. Art is woven into the resort’s DNA, from the underwater Coralarium museum to the Sustainability Lab, where you can create meaningful keepsakes.

Protecting Paradise

Committed to preserving the archipelago’s natural wonders, the resort offers eco-conscious initiatives. Participate in coral restoration projects, explore the neighboring Maroshi island with its mud crab delicacies and vast mangrove forests, and learn the importance of marine conservation.

Experience Sirru Fen Fushi, where unforgettable memories and a deep connection with nature await. Visit: https://sirrufenfushi.com/

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