Monday, August 21, 2023

Discover the heart and soul of Maldivian culture

Unlike many private island resorts, this one-stop, non-stop integrated destination showcases the traditional history and heritage of the archipelago, including a choice of new activities and culinary journeys: the Tuna Walk, Tiny Feet on the Sand, and Badhige

The Tuna Walk at Hard Rock Maldives will let guests savour the freshest local seafood, cooked in a traditional Maldivian style

The Maldives is an aspirational destination where international travellers come to experience breath-taking beaches, beautiful lagoons and five-star hospitality at private island resorts. For many visitors however, the country's rich culture has remained tantalizingly out of reach. Until now…

CROSSROADS Maldives, the Indian Ocean's first and only multi-island, integrated development, is now helping curious explorers to uncover the authentic heritage, history and communities that make the Maldives such an intriguing place to visit. Nestled in the South MalĂ© Atoll, overlooking the turquoise Emboodhoo Lagoon and just 15 minutes by speedboat from Velana International Airport, this is not only a destination for honeymooners and high-end tourists – it is also a place where transiting day trippers and Maldivian families come to unwind.

In contrast to many of the Maldives' five-star resorts, this collection of idyllic islands promises a wealth of facilities for all types of traveller, including a public park, cultural centre and environmental hub. The Marina @ CROSSROADS is an 800-metre beach walk lined with restaurants, bars, retail boutiques, wellness centres, water sports and a 30-berth yacht marina. In addition to an array of international brands, shoppers can pick up traditional handicrafts at Authentic Maldives, a cooperative of Maldivian entrepreneurs promoted by the Ministry of Economic Development. Other local brands include Island Breeze, the lifestyle beachwear designer, Okean Marina, a fashion boutique, and Sky Studio, the professional photography company.

Opened earlier this year, the Bodumas Gallery is a haven for culture seekers and serves as a platform to showcase Maldivian artists, with regular exhibitions and collaborative pop-ups. And every Friday, The Marina @ CROSSROADS transforms into a vibrant Street Market, with a colourful collection of local retailers selling everything from accessories to snacks.

Curious visitors can learn authentic Maldivian arts & crafts, such as vase making, at the Maldives Discovery Centre

The Marine Discovery Centre gives guests an amazing insight into the conservation of the underwater world, with interactive exhibits and regular activities led by resident marine biologists, such as coral propagation and clownfish release programmes. Travellers can even enjoy close encounters with the local marine life through eco-sensitive scuba diving tours, tuna discovery trips and more. The Maldives Discovery Centre meanwhile, lets visitors learn about the country's human heritage and how a myriad of different influences have helped to define the country's extraordinary culture. Guests can explore and see how arts and crafts have shaped the islands' unique identity with stunning designs and interactive displays. Hands-on classes allow visitors to learn native skills such as palm leaf weaving, henna art and boduberu drumming.

Now, to underscore CROSSROADS Maldives' commitment to the country's culture, a series of new epicurean experiences have been unveiled. At Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, the iconic music-themed resort, guests can take part in the "Tuna Walk," a highly original and authentic themed beachfront dinner. Delving into the world of Maldivian tradition, couples can witness the local catch being hauled ashore and prepared in the time-honoured style by highly-skilled chefs, before savouring an ocean-fresh seafood meal under the stars. An expert videographer will be on hand to capture every moment and create lifelong memories.

For families, "Tiny Feet on the Sand" allows all ages to enjoy a seaside picnic that pays homage to the country's timeless traditions. In the Maldives, newborn babies are taken to the beach where their feet are introduced to the sand and sea, accompanied by the rhythmic beat of boduberu drums, and parents with children can now take part in this unique ceremony.

At SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, the free-spirited lifestyle resort, diners can savour "Badhige," a farm-to-table culinary concept that showcases fresh ingredients, including line-caught fish and fruit, vegetables and herbs from an organic garden, cooked in the same way as a Maldivian home. Named after the Dhivehi word for "kitchen," this original menu features ceviche with reef fish and homegrown herbs and spices, tuna tataki with masmirus (a traditional chili & fish paste), Indian Ocean snapper marinated with garden herbs, plus a choice of sweet treats such as fresh young coconut.

For the ultimate catch of the day, intrepid travellers can head out aboard a fishing boat to try their hand at hand-line fishing, just as the local people have done for centuries.

Heritage-infused dining experiences can be enjoyed at Kalhu Odi Restaurant, which specializes in time-honoured Maldivian recipes

Fully immersive Maldivian dining can also be enjoyed at Kalhu Odi Restaurant, which weaves heritage into every aspect of its gastronomic journey. Each table represents one of the country's coral atolls, seats are woven in the thundu kunaa design, and chefs prepare regional specialties such as masburi (grilled tuna marinated with a special spice paste), farumas riha (Maldivian curry in a thick coconut sauce), and theluli rehi (crispy fried bait fish infused with aromatic spices).

"The Maldives is at the crossroads of the world – an archipelago of paradise islands where, for centuries, the world's seafarers came to meet, trade and exchange knowledge. Now, CROSSROADS Maldives is reviving this spirit of exploration by inviting globetrotters to come and discover the authentic essence of Maldivian culture. Whether you're staying for a few hours, days or weeks, our one-stop, non-stop lifestyle destination will showcase the heart and soul of this enchanting country," said Tolga Unan, Managing Director, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and The Marina @CROSSROADS.

Rates start from USD 399 per night with breakfast at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and from USD 365 per night with breakfast at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

To learn more about CROSSROADS Maldives and to book your cultural vacation, email, call +960 665 1200 or visit

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