My recent Maldives stay at both Four Seasons properties revealed much about the gorgeous ocean besides the stunning diving. Both resorts have dedicated marine biologists on staff in their Marine Centers – both have pools with rescued turtles, both have interactive research and education programs. Very likable fact, kids can pop in on their own and learn how they can have a role in conserving the local and global marine ecosystems. There is always a biologist on hand to personalize a tour, but I love that kids can wander in and explore on their own. It is also the headquarters of the Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Program that simultaneously works to monitor, protect, rehabilitate and increase awareness of turtle conservation throughout the Maldives, as well as rear turtle hatchlings until they grow big and strong enough to protect themselves in the wild.
Four Seasons Maldives Turtle
Coral Cage – Mine! Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
The hotel properties host and support these venues, an important example of their dedication in their local home environment and to the global awareness of ever growing climate issues. The stunning azure waters surrounding Four Seasons Resorts Maldives are home to stretches of delicate coral reef. In 1998, 90% of Maldivian shallow-water corals were bleached and killed by unusually warm waters caused by an exceptionally strong El Niño. At that time, Four Seasons enlisted the help of Seamarc Pvt. Ltd to see what could be done to help these ailing reefs and generate new ones. The resulting coral propagation project has grown to become one of the most successful of its kind in the world, having transplanted over 60,000 fragments of coral between 2005 and 2009 alone.
Reefscapers offers guests the unique opportunity to participate in the building of the coral reefs. Venture out into the lagoon to witness the pioneering work of Reefscapers. You can also join a Build-a-Reef session in the Marine Discovery Centre, where you can even sponsor your very own coral frame and watch it grow on the Marine Savers website. See my coral cage above!
Hospitality is more than hosting guests, it should always include giving back to local communities and the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru Resorts are both prime examples of this endeavor.
On my recent visit to the Maldives I was thrilled to go aboard the beautiful Four Seasons Explorer Motor Yacht. Embark on the ultimate marine odyssey aboard the luxurious Four Seasons floating resort, the Explorer is an intimate yachting experience. A luxurious three deck catamaran that embarks on 3, 4 or 7-night cruises. Plus leisure, surf or manta ray charters into the undiscovered Maldives. It sails between the enchanting garden island of Four Seasons Kuda Huraa resort and the pristine hideaway of Landaa Giraavaru in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Each August it plays host to surfing’s hottest invitation only event: The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Championship Trophy.
For guests seeking a deluxe island cruise with a difference, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives offers wholly customizable luxury private charters on the country’s fastest and most luxurious livaboard. Book an all-inclusive private cruise for up to 22 guests for a minimum of three nights. Use the 128-foot yacht as a dedicated dive, surf or leisure vessel, to visit hideaway island villages and meet secluded communities, or to host breathtaking yacht parties in some of the most pristine and remote surroundings on earth.
The boat’s master chefs create custom menus for every meal, accented with your preferred selection of fine wines and spirits. Book the on-board spa therapist for relaxing therapies in tranquil island locations. Groups can also arrange exclusive snorkelling adventures in virgin waters guided by their very own marine biologist, while the boat’s expert dive team offers 12 specialty courses plus bespoke programs for anyone who wants to improve their skills — or just admire the supreme beauty of the Maldivian reefs. In addition, Tropicsurf guides can suggest a tailored surfing itinerary that takes in the secluded outer atolls, using sophisticated web forecasting to direct you to your perfect wave, for a piece of surfing nirvana.
The Cruise Director and his team organize daily programs—from island jaunts and fishing to water-skiing to wakeboarding. Savour a delectable beachside lunch or evening barbecue under a star-filled island sky. And if that’s not enough, cruising with Four Seasons Explorer also brings a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime adventures: bow-riding dolphins, spontaneous sunset snorkeling with majestic manta rays and elusive whale sharks in hidden hotspots known by the vessel’s knowledgeable team.
The Four Seasons Explorer offers ten well-appointed 215-square-foot State Rooms, the luxurious 484-square-foot Explorer Suite, two bars, an air conditioned dining room, a lounge, a library and two sun decks, creating a level of luxury unrivaled in the Maldivian cruise industry. Services include twice-daily housekeeping, free wireless internet and same-day laundry.
Choose from 10 spacious State Rooms and the palatial Explorer Suite, all of which are bright and airy and include the luxury and style you expect from Four Seasons Explorer.
All cabins are air-conditioned, with an ensuite bathroom that features a bathtub/shower. Curl up on your sofa, select something from the refrigerated private bar or enjoy a movie on the flat screen LCD TV, all in the comfort of your State Room or Explorer Suite.
Explorer Suite – Enjoy spectacular scenery from the expansive panoramic windows of your elegant Explorer Suite. Showered in sunlight from expansive windows, the Explorer Suite boasts contemporary teak furnishings and cool, subdued fabrics. Enjoy your ensuite bathroom with a full bathtub, separate shower, WC and vanity. It is connected to a walk-in wardrobe.
State Rooms – Bright and airy, the intimate State Rooms provide picturesque views from large port windows. Unwind in the air-conditioned room with one king bed or two twin beds, a comfortable couch, a writing desk, a DVD/CD player, an MP3 cable connection, a refrigerated private bar, a telephone and an in-cabin safe.
On board, on land or in the water, Four Seasons Explorer offers a wealth of leisure activities, all supported by their signature service. From water sports and island excursions to relaxing spa treatments, the personalized cruises feature something for everyone.
WATER SPORTS Take to the waves with waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, fun tubes and kayaking. Smaller waves between January and March offer optimal conditions for wakeboarding and waterskiing. All watersports are available on request, subject to currents and conditions.
SNORKELLING During daily snorkelling excursions, guests can venture out with our marine biologist, take the plunge off the back of the vessel or snorkel off the beach at any of our numerous island stop offs.
FISHING Venture out by dhoni for some bottom-line fishing, fish from the back of Four Seasons Explorer each night or indulge in handline fishing off the vessel at sunset. Trawling by tender is available on request.
EXCURSIONS Savour gourmet Four Seasons cuisine on uninhabited islands, embark on an adventure with our marine biologist, cast yourself away on a secluded sandbank or visit remote villages for cultural experiences and souvenir shopping – even enjoy a game of football or rugby on a sandy beach.
There are quite a few Specialized Journeys –
A TropicsurfSurfari aboard the uber-cool Four Seasons Explorer is undoubtedly the world’s premier surfing cruise: five-star service and style, expert guides, chasing the best wave conditions, catching secluded swells, riding remote breaks and experiencing the Maldives vast and ever-changing awe-inspiring seascapes.
SURF CRUISES Surfaris are 7 or 10 days – shared or private charters – during July and August when surf conditions are at their peak.Setting sail from Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa, surfing enthusiasts will visit rarely surfed breaks in the Outer Atolls, accompanied by two expert Tropicsurf guides, enabling the group to split in two based on wave preferences and personal ability.It’s a recreational surfer’s dream – diverse yet reliable waves give the option to challenge oneself, hone skills, or simply cruise and enjoy the ride.No experience is necessary either: it’s the perfect opportunity to learn.
Travelling with a non-surfing partner? There are plenty of parallel activities to keep them busy and ‘blissed out’ too: snorkeling, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing, deep-sea fishing, island sightseeing, beach barbecues and deserted island massages.
WAVES Sophisticated web forecasting allows the team to accurately determine swell and wind forecasts. The complex bathymetry of the atolls means there are often hidden gems that others simply do not know about.The result: surfers get to visit remote regions, ride pure and uncrowded waves, and experience the spirit and true freedom of surfing at its sublime and soulful best.
Enjoy five-star service on the high seas, with a fully equipped, five-Star PADI Dive Centre with nitrox, a stargazing telescope, a massage by a resident spa therapist and laundry service
The Maldives is renowned for its abundance of fish life, warm pristine waters and close encounters with pelagics such as manta rays and whale sharks.
As the country’s fastest-cruising live aboard, Four Seasons Explorer gives divers access to a wide variety of secluded hotspots, including exciting channel dives with sharks and rays, vibrant thilas, cleaning stations, wrecks and coral overhangs.
“INSIDER ACCESS TO THE ULTIMATE ‘SURF TOUR’ EXPERIENCE.”
Every August, Four Seasons Explorer plays host to the world’s most luxurious surfing event: The Surfing Champions Trophy (SCT).With day passes for guests to enjoy all the action onboard, it’s a rare opportunity to share an exclusive ‘surf tour’ experience with six of the sport’s biggest names.
Launched in 2011 in partnership with luxury surf pioneers, Tropicsurf, the weeklong champions-only event pits the world’s finest wave riders across three thrilling divisions – single-fin, twin-fin, and triple-fin thrusters – in a unique showcase of skill and camaraderie. And with the World Surf League onboard in 2015, the SCT is now broadcast to a global world-tour audience, shining the spotlight on the Maldivian surf scene like never before.
The boutique, invitation-only event has seen the likes of Tom Curren, Taylor Knox, Mark Occhilupo, Dave Rastovich, Martin Potter, Damien Hardman, Sunny Garcia, Taylor Jensen, Fabio Gouveia, Rochelle Ballard, Layne Beachley, Taj Burrow, Bethany Hamilton, Travis Logie and many more enjoy the stunning Maldivian breaks and stylish surrounds of Kuda Huraa – host island to all the event’s competitors, judges and guests, resulting in a buzzing surf tour vibe.
A few VIP ticket-holders also have the opportunity to join the competitors on Four Seasons Explorer for all the ocean-sprayed, up-close-and-personal action as the contest unfolds.
DIVING COURSES Four Seasons Explorer is geared towards qualified divers. It is the ideal vessel on which to hone your dive skills, increase your underwater confidence and develop specialty skills in thrilling new areas.
DAILY DIVING SCHEDULE Divers can usually expect two dives in the morning and one in the afternoon, with the option of additional sunrise, night and wreck excursions. From May to November, the currents move large quantities of plankton through the atolls, attracting manta rays and whale sharks to the eastern side of the country. From December to April, the wind reverses, resulting in 100 to 130 feet of incredible visibility and consistent, near-perfect conditions.
Dive itineraries adapt to currents and conditions, seasonal marine visitors and the diving requirements of those on board. Every cruise aboard Four Seasons Explorer is unique.
SPA Four Seasons Explorer’s resident spa therapist offers natural therapies inspired by Asia’s ancient healing principles. Retreat to the private treatment area on the upper deck – curtained for privacy yet open to the refreshing sea air – or indulge in a massage at one of the secluded beaches visited during the cruise.
Treatment highlights include the restorative and deeply relaxing Indian herbal-oil massage and the hydrating and refreshing sun-soother wrap, with fresh aloe vera and toning lavender mist.