Maldives Four Seasons How to be a Resort Expert

My friends and family think I live a charmed five-star lifestyle. Frequent jetting off to exotic resorts and Palace hotels in enchanting cities and ancient villages. I briefly met Randy Shimabuku, GM of Four Seasons Kudaa Huraa for lunch in Palo Alto when he invited me to visit the two Four Seasons Maldives Resorts Kudaa Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru.

Four Seasons Maldives, Kudaa Huraa

There is usually champagne involved at lunch and I thought I misunderstood him…two weeks, really you are inviting me as your guest for two weeks? A far reaching trek across the world, it took me a few months to organize the time. Nothing prepared me for the beauty of the Maldives. I didn’t expect the GM to greet me at the airport in a yacht with bubbly- but Randy is the consummate hotelier. 

A peek at my luxurious lifestyle:

7:30 pm Dinner at Baraabaru Restaurant hosted by Randy and his charming wife. Savor authentic Indian cuisine with the Indian Ocean as your backdrop.

Day Two

Nothing prepared me for the beauty of the Maldives.

7:00 – 8:00 am Sunrise Yoga with Resort Yogi Salute the sun: energize mind, body and spirit. Try yoga on a floating board, it was not a graceful display!

8:30 – 9:30 am Savor a delicious start to your day with breakfast at Café Huraa.

10:30 – 11:15 am Resort Tour

11:30 – 1.00 pm Baraabaru Cooking Class with Chef Subir Chowdhury, Indian Sous Chef

Learn to cook dishes fit for a maharaja on this mouthwatering culinary journey of India. It’s fun, casual and, of course, lunch is included.

An aerial view of an assortment of Indian food at Baraabaru Indian Thali
Signature Dishes and Ingredients at m Baraabaru

3:00 – 4:00 pm Off to The Island Spa, located just a minute away via a dhoni from the Resort. Refresh, rebalance and rejuvenate with wellbeing classes and pioneering OSEA treatments. I consider it my responsibility to try everything, including spa treatments!

5:45 – 7:45 pm Sunset Fishing Cruise the sunset and catch fish the traditional way, by hook hand line and sinker. This relaxed outing often results in a large catch! Lucky fisherman may ask the chefs of our restaurant to prepare a fish to their liking for a leisurely lunch or dinner the next day. I wasn’t particularly lucky, but it was great fun nonetheless. Seeing the exuberance of the ancient well dressed Asian ladies draw in the most fish was fun in itself, they were experts!

8:00 pm Maldivian Night at Sunset Lounge – Savor the taste of the Maldives with a BBQ buffet night of the freshest seafood and succulent meat set on the beach under the stars.

Day Three

7:30 – 8:30 am Savor a delicious start to your day with breakfast at Café Huraa.

9:00 – 10:00 am Stand Up Paddle Yoga with Resort Yogi. Improve balance and core strength, enhance mindfulness and focus, perfect yogic alignment with this yoga – experience afloat on a stand-up paddle board at the lagoon

10:30 – 11:30 am Maldivian Village Tour Sail to a nearby village, where fishermen and their families have resided for generations. Stroll the narrow streets and buy local crafts as souvenirs. I loved this, seeing where the locals live, meeting kids on playgrounds. Well worth the short trip across the lagoon. Surprising to Randy, they also guided me to a private fish farm.

12:00 pm Lunch is at your leisure

2:00 – 5:00 pm Ray Talk & Marine Life Safari. Join our marine biologist for an adventure to swim among the rays of the Maldives, cruising aboard our traditional dhoni at two snorkel sites.

5:00 – 7:00 pm Dolphin Talk and Cruise. The waters near Kuda Huraa are frequented by spinner dolphins. Join our Marine Biologist for a short briefing on this marine animal. Hop on board and cruise through the atoll.

7:00 pm Kuda’s Crab Race Come one, come all, test your luck with our island’s hermit crabs!

7:30 pm Dinner is at your leisure.

Evening view of Baraabaru restaurant dining patio on the water, with tropical flower arrangements, lanterns
Baraabaru Restaurant

Day Four 8:30 – 9:30 am Savor a delicious start to your day with breakfast at Café Huraa.

10:00 – 10:30 am Visit the Marine Discovery Centre. The heart of our marine research and conservation.  It’s run by our expert team of Marine Biologists who’ll wow you with astounding facts and wondrous sea tales for starters.

Outdoor entrance to restaurant, with illuminated steps, blue sky at desk, two planters
Cafe Huraa

11:30 to 1:00 pm Heart of the House Tour Discover how we keep the lights on and the water running in the middle of nowhere on this fascinating behind-the-scenes island tour.

1:00 pm Lunch is at your leisure

Kandu Grill at night, with candlelit dining tables under a towering palm, perched on ocean and infinity pool

2:30 – 4:30 pm Discover Scuba Diving for Beginners. Learn the basics and experience the joy of weightlessness in our safe shallow lagoon. Loved this and my new underwater camera was so much fun to use!

7:30 pm Ghar Ka Khana at Baraabaru – Meaning “homestyle cooking” in Hindi. This theme promises a night of wholesome, fragrant fare from across the Indian subcontinent. From curries and kebabs, breads and biryanis, chutneys and salads to over splendid Desserts.

Day Five 8:30 – 9:30 am Savor a delicious start to your day with breakfast at Café Huraa.

Transfer via seaplane from Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa to Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. The transfer will take approximately 35 minutes.

The routine began again at Landaa- although once they read my previous schedule, the GM suggested I take a break and ride my bike around the island on my own time.

Poolside Bar

Randy, had me scheduled every hour. I would bump into him on property, he would inquire, how is it going?! My reply: I’m exhausted – you have me scheduled from 7 am and I have dinner with someone from each department every night!

There was a method to his madness, I became an expert on the resort and I can advise my clients on activities and which property would suit them. Actually, I would recommend a stay at both Four Seasons.

The glamorous photos tell my story, this travel has become my lifestyle. How to be an expert? It is moving about a bit and staying in multiple hotel brands, how better to tell our lovely clients – you will LOVE this hotel for these reasons! Or when a cleint calls and says: Gwen, talk me out of this amazing property with rooms that are over $3000 a night – I reply, you must stay, you will never forget the experience, but perhaps you don’t need the star bed on the rooftop!

Only one of my diving videos- the water is gin clear!

Travel Looking Forward

Over the next few weeks we will focus on inspiring escapes, four weeks of enticing travel encouragement. One of my most favorite Journeys was to the Maldives and despite the long trek, you will want to stay longer than planned! An overnight or two in Dubai to break up the travel, and off you go to the most gorgeous water in the world!

Four Seasons Kudaa Huraa, Maldives

If 2021 offers anticipation of escape, this is a time to dream, to explore and to savor the richness of international culture. Many of my most beloved Journeys over the last few years beckon me back for more. Life as we know it, slammed shut like an empty suitcase and the world is still far from normal. With the roll out of the Covid19 vaccine and super sanitizing procedures practiced by hotels and planes, it feels travel to distant lands will take off again. Travelers armed with Purell, wipes, masks, passports and packed bags will be ready to explore and create memories. The common cry: I can’t wait to escape, to return to favored hotels, yachts, islands and places I’ve always wanted to visit. Ostensibly, we will lose at least a year of tantalizing travel.

Are you ready to design inspiring Journeys? A few locations come to mind. We have adventure experts on hand as well if you need adrenaline based escapes! Private options may be the answer when you choose to fly, stay or sail next.

Maldives. It may sound exaggerated, but it is true: there aren’t enough superlatives to fully and accurately describe the staggering natural beauty of the Maldives. From the air, nothing prepared me for the extraordinary glimpse of the turquoise seas, the oval halo of atolls and islands, in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean, crystal clear seas in a thousand shades of indigo, accented by white sugar sandy beaches…it is breathtaking! The wonder of the Maldives is awe inspiring; nothing prepares you for the beauty.

The Maldives

Underwater experiences in warm gin clear sapphire waters – dive or snorkel, float with manta rays and swim with curious turtles! The Four Seasons Maldives properties offer the highest level of luxury, it’s time to begin plotting your 2021 summer and fall escapes!  Consisting of two hotel properties, Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraaavru, I love both for various reasons, and if you need an exclusive Private Island amid the indigo seas, the Four Seasons also has a scrumptious private island home, Voavah. Oh and to top it off, a private yacht to follow the surf and the manta rays! The utmost pinnacle of experiences.

Stand alone bungalows and over water bungalows – mere feet from the sea, I loved both. Bike along palm lined baths to the spa or to your sunrise yoga. I filled my dance card with two weeks of activities and could have stayed longer! SUP, extraordinary surfing, fishing, SUP Yoga, yes I managed to do downward dog on a board and lived to share my experience! The overwater spa experience is lovely at sunset and at Landaa, the focus is on spa healing with the four pillars of Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Wellness and Planetary Wellbeing – it includes a multi award-winning team of Ayurvedic Doctors, Naturopaths and Yoga Therapists – discover individual and shared experiences designed to cultivate care for ourselves, others, the oceans and the entire planet. We could all use a week of healing after this dreadful year!

The Four Seasons Maldives

A heavenly hideaway, a sublime sanctuary offering the utmost in privacy and iconic Four Seasons pampering at the world’s first exclusive use UNESCO hideaway, Voavah. A seven-bedroom private island Maldives home, the sojourn includes a 62-foot luxury yacht: Voavah Summer and a marine territory that’s utterly your own! The private island is a welcome addition to the two luxurious Four Seasons Resorts in the Maldives. Idyllic Island experience, the days fly by and I would encourage you to add more time rather than less…paradise is far flung, but worth the Journey! Four Seasons Maldives one of many reports! Our Preferred Partner status benefits our clients.

The Four Seasons Maldives Suite Views

Bhutan. Bhutan has been ranked number one in the world for Gross National Happiness, we could all use a massive dose of Bhutanese infectious energy!  My visit with Aman Resorts to the Kingdom of Happiness was nothing short of extraordinary. Brilliant blue skies at dizzying altitudes in the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, we explored the Amankora Resorts village by village with the most extraordinary guides. Renew your spirits and cast good wishes across the Himalayan mountain peaks via vibrant fluttering prayer flags. Amankora has five lodges spread through the Kingdom and each lodge is a subtle suggestion of the white walled Dzongs.

The Bhutanese architecture is very colorful and replicated in farmhouses, temples and local shops. Amankora has kept it clean and simple, why try to compete with the majesty of the Himalayas, the bedecked local homes and the elaborately painted Temples? Make a pilgrimage between Bhutan’s Amankora Lodges —it’s not only their unique locations, their distinct architecture and amazing guides, it’s a combination of the authentic inspired lodges, the genuine cultural offerings at each location and the warm Bhutanese people that make a trip to Bhutan so memorable. The Bhutanese people are particularly quick to laugh, share their culture and welcome visitors. Bhutan has been ranked number one in the world for Gross National Happiness. Hiking, cultural and religious ceremonies, ancient paper crafts, my two weeks could have been extended – every day we encountered indigenous dances, performances and traditional ceremonies.  See my exuberant posts on Bhutan. We would make certain our brilliant favorite guide would accompany you everywhere.

Bhutan Buddha Dordenma Statue

Blessings in the New Year!