Last chance to vote for Halaveli in the World Luxury Hotel Awards

There’s still one week left to cast your vote for Constance Halaveli in the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2013.

Relaxing in the pool at the Presidential Villa

Relaxing in the pool at the Presidential Villa

VOTE NOW for Constance Halaveli

Voting continues until Friday 26 July 2013.

At Halaveli we have created a sumptuous luxury experience around the natural beauty of the island where spacious water villas float above turquoise waters and elegant beach villas open onto powder white sand.

In celebrating the ‘pinnacle of achievement for luxury hotels’ we hope the World Luxury Hotel Awards will recognise Halaveli in 2013.

VOTE NOW for Constance Halaveli in the World Luxury Hotel Awards

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Winner of our Name the Sea Creature competition

Thanks to everyone who entered our Name the Sea Creature competition, to give pet names to some of the marine life found in the ocean around Halaveli.

Manta Rays at Constance Moofushi

Manta Rays at Constance Hotels and Resorts

The winner of the Valmont Fit and Tone set is:

  • Ramreka Akshay

And the winner of the bonus prize, a Constance USB memory stick is:

  • Shaheen Ruhomaully

Congratulations to you both. Please send us a direct message through Facebook so we can organise delivery of your prizes.

Watch this space for more competitions to come, or visit us on our Constance Hotels & Resorts Facebook page.

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The Moray Eel – love them or loathe them?

Marine biologist and guest blogger Robin Aiello takes a look at the much maligned Moray Eel in this month’s creature feature.

The Moray Eel

The Moray Eel

Robin will be returning to Constance Halaveli in September 2013, to run further dive courses and talks following her hugely popular visit earlier in the year.

You either love moray eels, or fear them.

Over the years moray eels have gained an unearned reputation as an aggressive, ferocious animal. In truth, however, they are reclusive and shy, preferring to flee or hide from divers by pulling into reef crevices.

How the moray breathes

Despite their long, snake-like appearance, moray eels are fish – not snakes. And like all fish, they need to have fresh seawater pass over their gills to breath. But, since morays are relatively sedentary fish, hiding in ambush to catch prey like crabs, octopus and fish, they have developed another way to ‘breathe’ – they gulp water by opening and closing their mouths. Many people misinterpret this behaviour as ferocious and a sign of aggression – but it is merely the eel’s way of breathing.

Their elongated, serpentine shape allows these fish to swim through the complex reef framework of nooks and crannies. To avoid getting cut and scraped by sharp coral, they produce huge amounts of mucus to coat their smooth, scaleless skin.

Marine biologist, Robin Aiello

Marine biologist, Robin Aiello

How moray eels catch their prey

When you look at the head of a moray eel their ‘beady’ little eyes seem disproportionately small. In fact, morays have very poor eyesight, and are nearly blind. So how do they find their food? By following their nose. They have a highly developed sense of smell and large tubular nostrils for smelling prey. They also have very good hearing, which helps them to hunt.

But what I personally think is the most amazing thing about morays eels is how they catch and eat their prey. In addition to several rows of razor sharp teeth, these fish have a unique weapon that, so far, scientists have not found in any other animal – a second set of jaws!

These jaws, called pharyngeal jaws, lie inside the fish’s throat, and when the mouth is opened to attack, they are propelled forward into the mouth to grasp the prey. As the mouth closes again, they pull back into the throat, taking the prey with them! How weird and amazing is that?

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Top tips for food and wine pairing

Matching the perfect wine with the perfect food to bring out the subtle, distinctive flavours of both is a delicate skill.

Chablis, “Terroir de Courgis”

Chablis, “Terroir de Courgis”

Here Constance Halaveli sommelier Cedric Jacobs selects his favourite wines and, with the help of executive chef at Halaveli Holger Joost, pairs them with a selection of delectable dishes.

1. Chablis, “Terroir de Courgis”, Patrick Piuze, 2010, France, Burgundy

I will always remember the first time I tasted this wine, I was in Bordeaux in 2011 for a famous wine exposition and a friend of Jerome Faure brought a few bottles from this producer to be blind-tasted. When the results came back, it was like I was back in school with my lecturer warning me that Chablis can be confused with wine from the Loire Valley due to the proximity of Terroir.

Courgis is the western city of the Chablis appellation and very close to Pouilly Fumé – a total confusion, yet an incredible discovery.

100 per cent Chardonnay – The hint of gunflint, citrus & exotic fruit and minerality could confuse the drinker with a Sauvignon Blanc. Showing an amazing purity in the mouth, a juicy, rich mineral wine with a perfect respect of the fruit.

Food Pairing:

Some time ago, the executive chef prepared prawns in 3 textures (seared, sous vide and tartar) served with mango salsa for me to taste. This would have been the perfect wine to drink to respect both of the wine and dish.

Chef Pairing:

Tiger Prawns in 3 textures (seared, sous vide and tartar) with mango and palm heart salsa curry emulsion.

VDP des Bouches du Rhône, Villa Minna

VDP des Bouches du Rhône, Villa Minna

2. VDP des Bouches du Rhône, Villa Minna, Red, 2007, France, Provence

This wine comes from the commune of Saint Cannat, a few kilometres from Aix-en-Provence and neighbour of the small village I am from, Ventabren. I discovered the wine from Jean Paul Luc 8 years ago when I started my sommelier formation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy to bring to the middle of the Indian Ocean. Eventually, the wines arrived and my love for them did not change at all.

A bold blend between Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The nose is crammed full of black cherry, almost kirsches, and dried fig aromas. After few minutes of aeration in the glass, violets, mixed Provençal herbs and spices are showing off. The mouth is fruitful and complex offering a beautiful freshness for a 2007 vintage showing that this wine still has guts to age even more.

Food Pairing:

Halaveli cheese selection – a selection of international cheeses with dried fruit, crackers & honey.

As a typical French man I cannot refuse a piece of cheese but being in the middle of the Indian ocean I do not have access to it that easily. I discovered here a Brie from Australia, the Jindi Triple Cream, battered more than a normal one and showing an incredible complexity. I could simply spend a whole night with friends pairing these two.

Waterkloof, Sauvignon Blanc

Waterkloof, Sauvignon Blanc

3. Waterkloof, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 – South Africa, Stellenbosh

I discovered this wine in October 2012 while visiting South Africa, more precisely the Cape Wine wine exposition in Cape Town. The first contact was with Paul Boutinot, the owner of the winery, and then his son Louis, who invited us to taste his wine.

The Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc is one of my ‘Coup de Coeur’ of the year for the purity that is present in this wine. A rich and complex Sauvignon Blanc offering citrus fruit, vegetal and fennel aromas on the nose for a mineral, salty, and long lasting finish – a great complexity for an easy drinking wine.

Food Pairing:

Halaveli Sushi and Sashimi selection with pickled ginger and soy.

Minerality and saltiness lead me directly to products from the sea and one of my first experiences with the Waterkloof, and the most memorable, was with Japanese Food: Sushi, Sashimi, Californian Roll… This unctuous wine matched perfectly these Japanese specialties.

4. Mullineux, “Granit”, Syrah, 2010 – South Africa, Swartland

Like the Waterkloof, this was a discovery that happened in South Africa during my last trip. We were welcomed by Andrea and Chris Mullineux in a restaurant called “French toast” in the city of Cape Town.

The cuvée Granit is, for me, majestic. The nose offers beautiful black berries, olive, spices and meaty aromas. On the palate, the wine is fresh, lively and spicy with an amazing fruit – the feeling of literally biting into berries. A feminine, yet complex Syrah which deserves to be aged for couple of years, but can be enjoyed right now.

Food Pairing:

Tuna steak and caramelized foie gras, warm salad of Shimeji, Edamame and tomato, celeriac puree.

Living in the Maldives for the past few years, tuna, the meatiest fish of the Indian Ocean, has become one of my favourite dishes. To complement this amazing fish, The Mullineux Syrah is a perfect match, especially when the tuna steak is served with a typical olive tapenade, grilled Mediterranean vegetables and a celeriac purée.

Barolo, Attilio Ghisolfi

Barolo, Attilio Ghisolfi

5. Barolo, Attilio Ghisolfi, 2005 – Italy, Piedmont

My most recent trip was to Italy where we visited mostly the north of the country seeking out small yet amazing winemakers. I had already worked with the wines from Attilio Ghisolfi for the last 2 years (in fact, Jerome Faure discovered them during a tasting in Italy a few years back) but I wanted to meet the man behind the superb bottle.

Cherry, balsamic, olive and chamomile all together coming to your nose for an amazing mouthful, this 100 per cent Nebbiolo is similar to a Pinot Noir but with firm Tannin – This wine from Attilio Ghisolfi, after a long and delicate aging in the cellar, shows beautiful and melted tannins, with impressive fruit – Can be kept for aging for another 10 to 15 years.

Food Pairing:
Angus beef tenderloin, Asian spiced spinach, truffle potato and horseradish crème.

Red meat is the first dish that comes to my mind when having a bottle of Barolo in front of me. More exactly, a nice, juicy Angus beef tenderloin, served in its own jus with a homemade truffle potato purée and horseradish cream.

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Marine biologist journeys to the Arctic North

Marine biologist Robin Aiello visited Constance Halaveli earlier this year, where she ran a number of dive courses and talks. Currently in the Arctic North, Robin writes about her latest expedition.

Walrus' relaxing in the Arctic

Walrus’ relaxing in the Arctic

Greetings from the far north – the land of polar bears and walrus

I can assure you that right now, having just spent the past 8 hours driving a small rubber boat though thick sea ice in -1°C temperatures, I am dreaming of the warm tropical waters of Halaveli in the Maldives.

Expedition in Svalbard

I am up here in Svalbard, in the far North, above 79º latitude, working as the marine biologist on-board an expedition ship that is spending three months exploring the Arctic. So far, the season has been wonderful.

Polar bears and ice caps

The other day we started the morning with a male polar bear walking leisurely past our ship as we drifted in thick sea ice that spreads out as far as the eye can see. Polar bears are amazing animals with their huge paws, shaggy white coat of fur and piercing black eyes. They are just so regal and elegant – kings of the ice.

A Polar Bear

A Polar Bear

Later in the day we visited a beach with a dozen or so walrus hauled out. They are so funny – they lie for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing, then suddenly one will wiggle around, which starts a whole flurry of activity as they raise their heads, knock into one another with their tusks, until they slowly find a more comfortable position and settle back down to sleep some more.

As beautiful and dramatic as the scenery here is, I cannot wait to return to Halaveli in September to dive and snorkel the amazing reefs.

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Polar Bear

Up close and personal

 

Admiring the reflection

Admiring the reflection

 

A stroll on the ice

A stroll on the ice

The world’s most exclusive diving experience at Constance Halaveli

Visit Constance Halaveli and indulge in the most exclusive, deluxe dive experience ever conceived.

Diving at Constance

Diving at Constance

TGI Diving Maldives in collaboration with Constance Halaveli and Sultan’s of the Sea have created a diving experience that is second to none.

Step aboard the luxury 20-metre yacht for 24-hours of luxury living and incredible diving at some of the Maldives’ most exciting dive sites spread over several stunning atolls.

With up to four of you able to enjoy your stay onboard the Azimut yacht, there’ll be a personal chef, dive instructor, massage therapist and videographer to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime.

The Azimut yacht will be entirely yours for 24 hours so you can choose to sleep aboard in the sumptuous luxury of the yacht’s cabins, or return to your villa at Halaveli. To book the exclusive diving experience, email TGI Diving Maldives directly at Constance Halaveli: dive@halaveli.com

Step on board the Azimut yacht

Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by your own dive instructor, and a personal chef who will prepare a breakfast of fresh truffles, King of Kings Beluga Caviar, Alaskan King Crab Legs, smoked Wild Balik Salmon (fewer than 1,000 fillets are produced each year) and Manuka Honey.

Then it’s time to set sail and encounter the diverse marine life and stunning underwater world that surrounds Constance Halaveli. You can expect to encounter whale sharks, mantas, reef sharks, Pyramid Butterfly fish, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and more.

Visibility is excellent in the Maldives, making this a diver’s paradise whether you are experienced or just making your first foray into diving.

Post dive massage and champagne celebration

Spa at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Massage treatment

Take time out between dives as you cruise the atolls and enjoy a sumptuous massage from your onboard spa therapist or soak up the sunshine while enjoying canapés of caramelised foie gras, Waygu beef burgers, wild finger limes, wild strawberries and Fritz Knipschildt’s Chocopolagie.

Savour the memory of your dives with a glass or two of chilled Dom Perignon or Crystal Rose before a light snack of Golden Almla Caviar and oysters accompanied by a Francisco Gomez, Gold Edition Sauvignon Blanc as you cruise back towards Halaveli.

5* dinner on board or at your own desert island

Then watch the sun set while savouring a sumptuous 5* dinner prepared by your chef and served either aboard the yacht or at a table set up on Alikoi, your own private desert island under the stars.

Highlights of the six-course dinner menu will include:

  • Hand-dived Bay Scallops
  • Buda’s Hand Yuzu
  • Wild Bush limes
  • Kobe beef
  • Blue Maine Lobster
  • Dessert prepared with Hennessey XO
Diving at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Diving in The Maldives

Wines including:

  • Pomerol, Château Petrus, 1997, the most expensive red wine in the world
  • Champagne Carbon, 2006, bottled in carbon and created by artisan sommelier Phillippe Jamesse, the best sommelier of champagne

Preparing your equipment before the trip

All diving equipment from Mare’s most exclusive premium range will be selected by you before your arrival in Maldives, and fitted to your exact size and then air freighted to the Maldives to await your arrival.

Fitted premium Mares dive equipment includes:

  • Regulator: Instinct 12S
  • BCD: Hybrid Pro Tec
  • Dive Computer: Matrix or the Matrix HD Air Integrated
  • Wetsuit: Mares Reef full or shorty
  • Mares Equator booties
  • Mares X-streams fins
  • Mares Liquid Skin mask
  • Mares Eos 10R dive torch
  • Mares Strobe Beam
  • Mares Cruise Backpack Pro
  • Mares Dry Bag
  • Mares Cruise Safety
  • Nautilus life line
Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

To book the world’s most exclusive diving experience

Email TGI Diving Maldives directly at Constance Halaveli: dive@halaveli.com

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