By Jane Wilson
A young coconut tree in one hand, a bucket of water in another, and soil under my fingernails. I was planting a tree on the island of Sun Siyam Iru Fushi. I was planting memories in The Maldives. It is just one of the resort’s initiatives offered for guests to give something back.
Today’s focus on saving the environment, planting a coconut tree is a small way to make a contribution to this part of the world. It remains a permanent signature of my stay. This gesture, put into place by Iru Fushi, comes complete with a commemorative plaque carved with my name. And I’m assured that the tree will be watered and nurtured on my behalf over its life in this sunny place. And why wouldn’t I want to give something back to a place that has bestowed so many Maldives memories moments and experiences? I enjoyed treasures such as a theatre of dolphins waltzing, silhouetted against a dramatic sunset. An experience, close and personal with underwater life, vivid colors, silence and secret, and a guest appearance of silver-tip baby sharks just checking out the territory. And a scrummy floating breakfast with views to distract from any appetite. Privileged on its own island, Sun Siyam Iru Fushi successfully reset my senses: Planting Memories in the Maldives the glittery sparkles which danced on the water’s surface like the visual healing effect of Reiki, the calming rhythm of the waves which smooched with velvety sandy beaches and the warm air that stroked my skin. Peace, tranquillity, serenity.
Sun Siyam Iru Fushi
Sun Siyam Iru Fushi is a place of palm trees, flowers, and lush greenery enveloping idyllic thatched villas, leading to more stilts over the water. Authentic and luxurious, this Maldivian resort has allowed nature to take its lead. There’s even a butler to personalize your stay – a petal bath in your outdoor jacuzzi, a buggy ride to the mixology class, or to a movie under the stars.
There are 21 villas in 12 category styles. All are stylish, attic-style rooms with open-air bathrooms, modern with personal touches that make your day. The 81 over-water villas brag glass floor sections with terrace stairs directly into the sea. Privacy and plenty of space – no fights over sun loungers here! Iru Fushi offers bed & breakfast, half-board and all-inclusive plans.
The spa is like entering a sacred area, candles flicker while scented flowers perfume the air. Water channels escort the pebbled paths to 20 Asian-inspired villa treatment rooms. A unique Reflexology Path leads to the Spa. This barefoot walk imparts an acupressure effect, with rocking exercises for the arches and written reminders to drink water and be mindful as you balance along its path. And with 160 treatments offered, resident ayurvedic consultant, Doctor Ruhal, prescribes, customizes, and guides guests to therapeutic solutions. He also undertakes local research in indigenous Maldivian treatments.
The ancient wisdom of local Divehi medicine, known as `’Dhivehi beys veteran, ` is integrated into the spa’s philosophy. Practiced by islanders over centuries, traditional herbalism and age-old bodywork techniques connect guests to the local atoll way of life. And as an endearing touch, part of the proceeds from each Maldivian treatment is used for charity purposes helping to support island community initiatives.
The spa menu ranges from Maldivian treatments which center on the local resources of coconut oil and milk for body scrubs, relaxing baths, and massages to traditional Ayurveda treatments such as Shirodhara which uses herbal medicinal oil poured onto the third eye. The visionaries who practiced herbalism in the Maldives devised a treatment for the relief of body aches and joint discomforts from stress-related conditions. Named, Umbuliveyo Banun, it involves a personally prescribed herbal paste freshly picked from the island. This is applied to the affected areas and then enclosed in a wrap of banana leaves with hot stones placed on vital points. A stimulating head massage, a single stream of oil poured over the third eye and a full body massage using oil processed from local herbs complete the process.
Dining to nourish
There is a range of dining options is extensive with 14 restaurants and bars. A dedicated superfood section on the breakfast buffet, an intimate dinner on the beach by candlelight or fire theatricals, and a dextrous display of Japanese cuisine. The nature walk reveals the rich variety of vegetation on the island. The hanging roots form tunneled pathways from the old Banyan tree, fragrances of the decorative frangipani flowers, splashes of color from bougainvillea and hibiscus plants, and hidden lotus ponds. It also introduces the locals – the geckos and Asian koel. You can walk around the island in 25 minutes – that is if you are not distracted by the scurrying crabs and the unbelievable color palette on the horizon around you. But it is the pieces of decayed coral lying on the beach that remind us of the threat to the beauty and the fragility of our planet in today’s world. Planting memories in the Maldives is a tiny way to help breathe new life for the future and ensure holiday experiences such as these can be repeated and cherished for years to come.
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