Hoba Spa by Oaga Resorts: Experience a Maldivian meaning to your wellbeing

Experience a Maldivian meaning to your wellbeing.

‘Hoba’ is an ancient Dhivehi word meaning kindness and balance.

The Hoba Spa is a holistic wellness brand developed by Oaga Resorts, offering the essence of Maldivian healing traditions (Dhivehi Beysverikan) passed down from generations incorporated into modern day therapy techniques. The brand does not just play lip-service to the concept, as the basic architecture, names, methods and oils used are all rooted deeply to Maldivian traditions and to the bare island life in its purest sense. Love is surely in the details of this homegrown brand and space.

The Spa has been conceptualised and developed in consultation with award winning Maldivian Wellness Leader Zulfishan (Xubba) who has dedicated over 16 years for the spa industry of the Maldives. Zulfishan comes from a long line of Maldivian healers (beysverin). Her expertise is rooted in the age-old practices which has been passed on to her from generations and childhood memories of her grandmother practicing the traditional ways of healing; all of which she has poured into this concept, bringing the authentic Maldivian meaning to the spa experience.

A Warm Welcome at Bodu Ashi

A therapy session at the Hoba Spa of Oaga Art Resort starts at the Bodu Ashi, named and fashioned after the traditional entrance area with a large swing where visitors to an island home would sit and have a chat. As you enter the space, you are first greeted with the warm ambiance of the sound of the hanging brass chimes, the bustling of the banana leaves, low coral walls and the calmest island cats napping away peacefully. Then you are greeted by your Hoba healers, either a Beys Goyye’ (female) or a Beys Kalo (male) who welcome you with a cold tea and a chilled towel. Combined with the misting of your face, this sets the mood for calm throughout the rest of the journey.

The Hoba Beysverin then offer Hiy Huba intention cards based on ancient Dhivehi words, allowing you to intuitively choose your intention for the therapy prior to experiencing it. This again offers a perfect fusion between Maldivian tradition and more contemporary spa practices.

Choose Your Oil Blend at Atharuge’

Once you have enjoyed your tea, you are then escorted into the Atharuge’.

As was tradition, the ambiance is quite intimate in this dark room, lit only by candlelight inspired by oil lamps. Atharuge’ is the Dhivehi name given for the perfumery which existed within the royal palaces, and this modern day Atharuge’ offers locally sourced and handmade oils, fit for kings and queens throughout the ages.

As you walk towards the counter at the far end of the room, whiffs off the local ingredients and oils surround you. Here at the counter, you can choose from the signature oil blends and watch the Hoba Beysverin mix it in front of you.

The Atharuge’ offers premium blends such as ‘Hama Hama’ a balancing oil, ‘Mushi’ a tanning oil and ‘Huva’ a deep-healing oil. These oils are curated by Beys Goyye Zulfishan herself, in small batches and by hand, staying true to the traditional elements and processes. For example, the main ingredients that make up their “Huva” oil are Ajwain (Dhivehi: Hithidhamui), Fenugreek (Oabaiy) and Caraway (Farihidhamui). These ingredients are renown to be full of protein and nutrients to strengthen the muscles and immune system, relieve muscle tension, joint pain and nerve issues.

The base oil used for ‘Huva’ is a therapeutic medicinal coconut oil cured under a full moon. This coconut oil is especially made by a small team of Maldivian women from the island of Thinadhoo. These women pick coconuts from another island, then after husking the coconuts they scrape them by hand on a traditional Huni Gon’di, before making the oil by cooking in low heat with firewood or Dharu Un’dhun, as have been age old custom.

One of the old age techniques when making medicinal oil was to cure it under the full moon to get the healing benefits. Traditional medicine oil uses roots, the wax, leaves and seeds of plants, and Zulfishan pays testament to this with these oil blends. According to her, just to cure the oils take over sixty days per batch. She also incorporates her very own secret recipe oils where some ingredients used are known to be potent, requiring the right intentions and expert technique for it to be used in medicinal oil.

The ‘Huva’ oil is specially made to relieve muscle and nerve pains as the ingredients are known to have properties which balances and strengthens the digestive system and removes toxins from the body.

Beysfoshi Therapies

Once you have picked your signature blend of oil, you are escorted to the spa pods, each of which has been named after Nakaiy from the local monsoon calendar. From an architectural point of view, the Bodu Ashi and Atharuge’ are more traditional, however the spa pods themselves are more futuristic which adds to the fusion blend of the concept.

The therapies offered here are a mixture of Asian therapies or techniques, blending the traditional medicinal practices seamlessly with a modern contemporary touch. The awareness for what each stroke of movement does which comes from more developed massage techniques, proves to enhance the experience of using such traditional oils.

The Hoba Beysverin who perform these therapies have undergone an intensive training to become a healer, taking the “Beysverin Oath” to perform the therapies with integrity, kindness and intentional energy to nurture and heal.

The therapies offer full body experiences (both physical and mental) rooted in Maldivian tradition. For instance, the poultices used are mixed with sand and a paste made from a traditional plant called Magoo. The Hoba Mushi ritual, a therapeutic herbal scrub ends with a cleanse “the Maldivian way” at the Valhu or Well.

Hoba Spa’s hydrotherapy Fen Vadaa area is another special concept comprising of four parts; a rain shower adapted from the tropical rains of the rainy monsoon, a Vevu heated water bath, the Dhumashige Sweat Lodge blending the idea of the traditional Dhumashige where fish are cooked and the sweat lodges of South America, and finally a Valhu, or well, where you wash off.

Once you have immersed in the therapy of your choice, a warm tea back at the Bodu Ashi concludes your experience, allowing the perfect time to reflect and soak it all in.

San’dhu Moon Therapies

Hoba Spa also incorporates all the experiences from Dhulhaheyo and Beysfoshi Therapies to provide rituals which are enhanced by the phases of the moon.

Hoba Dhulhaheyo

The Hoba Dhulhaheyo experiences include Yoga, Power HOBA, HOBilates and Adu Healing (sound healing Tibetan bowls), some of which are predominantly based on the moon phases under San’dhu Moon Therapies.

The Spa also offer daily Hendhunu (morning) and Haveeru (evening) rituals, providing guests tools and techniques to either prepare for or end the day with peace.

According to Laura, the Spa Manager who has been instrumental in bringing the concept into operation, a very strong reason for creating the Hoba Spa in this manner was to really showcase to the guests what the Maldives has to offer within a spa awareness concept. She has met many people who until now had no idea about Dhivehi Beys, the Bodu Ashi, Atharuge’, the Nakaiy calendar or other elements that have been incorporated into the concept.

Laura and Zulfishan, along with their team at Hoba Spa by Oaga Resorts, strive to give life to Maldivian traditions which are otherwise waning and indeed, the use of time-tested remedial ingredients and the space they have created offer nostalgia which is sure to awaken your senses and ground you to these Maldivian soils.