The Maldives stands as an aspirational haven, drawing international travellers to its shores for its breathtaking beaches, crystal-clear lagoons, and luxurious private island resorts.
Yet, amidst this natural beauty, the allure of the country’s rich culture has often remained just beyond reach. However, a new era has dawned with the emergence of CROSSROADS Maldives, a groundbreaking multi-island, integrated development in the heart of the Indian Ocean. This visionary project is on a mission to unveil the authentic heritage, history, and communities that render the Maldives a captivating destination like no other.
Situated in the enchanting South Malé Atoll, overlooking the vibrant Emboodhoo Lagoon and a mere 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, CROSSROADS Maldives transcends its role as a honeymooners’ paradise, extending its embrace to encompass inquisitive explorers, transiting day trippers, and local Maldivian families seeking respite.
A Cultural Oasis Amidst Paradise
In striking contrast to the opulence of many five-star Maldivian resorts, CROSSROADS Maldives offers an array of facilities catering to diverse travellers. Its expansive landscape is home to a public park, a cultural centre, and an environmental hub.
A picturesque stroll along the 800-metre beachside promenade known as The Marina @ CROSSROADS reveals a plethora of dining establishments, bars, boutique retailers, wellness sanctuaries, and thrilling water sports, all seamlessly woven together with a 30-berth yacht marina. In an ode to the nation’s roots, Authentic Maldives beckons visitors with traditional handicrafts, a collective of enterprising Maldivian artisans backed by the Ministry of Economic Development.
The local tapestry extends further with Island Breeze, a designer of beachwear that embodies the Maldivian lifestyle, Okean Marina, a fashion boutique, and Sky Studio, an esteemed photography enterprise.
A Tapestry of Art and Culture
The advent of the Bodumas Gallery has bestowed a sanctuary upon culture enthusiasts. This haven serves as a dynamic platform to showcase the talents of Maldivian artists, hosting a vibrant rotation of exhibitions and collaborative pop-up events. Fridays at The Marina @ CROSSROADS metamorphose into a spirited Street Market, an avenue where a kaleidoscope of local vendors proffers an eclectic assortment, ranging from accessories to delectable snacks.
Diving into Discovery
Enthusiasts of marine wonders will find solace at the Marine Discovery Centre, an educational epicentre that unveils the secrets of the underwater realm. This immersive space boasts interactive exhibits and engaging activities overseen by resident marine biologists. Guests can partake in coral propagation initiatives and release programmes for clownfish.
For those with an adventurous spirit, eco-sensitive scuba diving expeditions and captivating tuna discovery journeys offer intimate encounters with local marine life. Meanwhile, the Maldives Discovery Centre imparts a profound understanding of the nation’s human legacy. It unravels a tapestry woven by myriad influences, crafting the extraordinary Maldivian culture. Engaging classes empower visitors to acquire native skills, including palm leaf weaving, henna artistry, and boduberu drumming.
CROSSROADS Maldives has orchestrated a symphony of new epicurean experiences that resonate with the country’s cultural essence. Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, an iconic resort steeped in music-themed allure, presents the “Tuna Walk,” a truly original beachfront dining experience.
Couples are transported into the heart of Maldivian tradition as they witness the ceremonial hauling ashore and culinary preparation of the local catch by accomplished chefs. A delectable seafood feast beneath the celestial expanse follows, with an expert videographer poised to encapsulate every cherished moment.
Families are enveloped in nostalgia with “Tiny Feet on the Sand,” an intergenerational beach picnic that honours timeless traditions. This heartwarming experience mirrors the Maldivian practice of introducing newborns to the sand and sea, accompanied by the rhythmic cadence of boduberu drums. Now, parents and children can partake in this age-old ritual, etching enduring memories against the backdrop of the Maldivian shoreline.
SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, a free-spirited lifestyle haven, welcomes gastronomes to indulge in “Badhige,” a farm-to-table culinary odyssey. This innovative concept spotlights farm-fresh ingredients, including line-caught fish and an array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs harvested from an organic garden.
These treasures are transformed into delectable creations, invoking the essence of a Maldivian home. Diners can relish ceviche crafted with reef fish and homegrown herbs, tuna tataki accentuated with masmirus (a traditional chilli and fish paste), marinated Indian Ocean snapper enriched with garden herbs, and an array of sweet temptations.
Kalhu Odi Restaurant provides a fully immersive Maldivian dining experience, weaving heritage into every facet of its gastronomic journey. Each table pays homage to a coral atoll, while seats are woven in the distinctive thundu kunaa design. Culinary artisans create regional delicacies such as masburi (grilled tuna marinated with a special spice paste), farumas riha (Maldivian curry in a rich coconut sauce), and theluli rehi (crispy fried bait fish infused with aromatic spices).
“The Maldives is a crossroads of the world – an archipelago of paradisiacal islands where seafarers from across the globe have converged for centuries to trade knowledge and culture. Now, CROSSROADS Maldives rekindles this spirit of exploration, inviting globetrotters to uncover the authentic heart and soul of Maldivian culture. Whether for hours, days, or weeks, our all-encompassing lifestyle destination unveils the enchanting essence of this nation,” affirms Tolga Unan, Managing Director of Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and The Marina @ CROSSROADS.
CROSSROADS Maldives emerges as a beacon, not merely as a luxurious retreat, but as a profound journey into the heart of Maldivian culture. It transcends the confines of traditional tourism, offering a tapestry of experiences that span art, history, cuisine, and connection. With each visit, this paradisiacal oasis leaves an indelible mark, an immersive voyage that enriches the soul and redefines the very essence of exploration.