Bandos Maldives Coral Gardening Project Inauguration Ceremony

On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2016, Bandos Maldives has launched a Coral Gardening Project for visitors. The Bandos house reef is one of the best in the North Malé Atoll and a point of pride for the resort. This initiative is in line with the company’s Environmental Stewardship core value.

“We have studied the Bandos house reef growth and studies indicate that coral gardening helps protect the reef and encourages growth sustainably,” states Hussein Shifau, Assistant Base Leader at Dive Bandos.

Coral Gardening Project, Bandos Maldives
Coral Gardening Project, Bandos Maldives

The Bandos Maldives Coral Gardening Program allows guests to give back while on holiday by collecting broken, but still living coral fragments from the seabed and attaching them to island-made coral tables. The “coral propagation” method is applied, where fragments of coral are transplanted to frames to create small but essential coral nursery areas.

“We are deeply committed to sustainable methods that help our marine environment,” says Resident Manager, Ismail Rasheed. “All fines for damages to coral will be donated to the coral gardening program.”

Coral Gardening Project, Bandos Maldives
Coral Gardening Project, Bandos Maldives

Bandos Maldives has also signed the Biosphere Reserve Pledge and has allocated an area of around 800sqm of the house reef as a core biosphere reserve. This reserve will be instrumental in conservation and the promotion of biosphere sustainability solutions.

Aquaculture is showing promise as an effective tool for restoring coral reefs, which are in worldwide decline. With the Bandos Maldives Coral Gardening program, a long-term plan is implemented to share learning experiences with guests, accelerate coral growth regeneration in the atoll reef, and ultimately ensure the future of this unique destination.

Cocoon Maldives introduces a new concept of hospitality

Located in Ookolhufinolhu Island in Lhaviyani Atoll, Cocoon Maldives is scheduled to open on 26th December 2016. Cocoon blends the best of Italian design with the Maldives’ stunning natural beauty, all set against the backdrop of the azure Indian Ocean. Cocoon’s interiors are exclusively designed by Lago, one of Italy’s finest design companies.

This 5-star, family-friendly, stylish resort, based on the principle of ‘affordable luxury’, is the perfect destination from which to discover the Maldives, whether you are honeymooning, scuba diving, or just looking for a place to unwind and relax.

Aerial, Cocoon Maldives
Cocoon Maldives

Inspired by the concept of lightness, Cocoon aims to regenerate the spirit and soothe the mind. Everything has been carefully planned to create a perfect atmosphere of harmony and tranquility.

The resort offers guests both privacy and a place to socialize if they wish, in the island’s clubs, restaurants and bars. Cocoon’s ‘community table’ is a place where people from all over the world sit together to break bread and cultural barriers.

Guest accommodation includes Beach Villas, Beach Suites, Family Beach Villas, Beach Suites with Pools, Lagoon Villas, Lagoon Suites, Lagoon Suites with Pools and a Presidential Suite.

Meet Hurawalhi Bars Manager — Lalith Payu

The opening of a new property is the pinnacle of any hospitality manager’s career. The excitement of new concepts and the bond that forms among team members with the coming together of a new resort is a magical experience. Hurawalhi Maldives is no exception: its 5-star character combined with the beauty of the island is a major draw not only for guests but also for the people who will soon call it ‘home’.

The recruitment is underway and in addition to a number of new faces, we are thrilled that Hurawalhi guests will be taken care of by quite a few team members who developed their expertise at the sister resorts Kuredu and Komandoo. One such individual is Lalith Payu who has been entrusted the Bars Manager role. His dedication to delighting patrons ensured he was one of the first talents to be selected for the opening of Hurawalhi Maldives. Lalith’s eye for detail and his charming social graces, paired with the luxury surroundings of Hurawalhi, is a winning cocktail in itself.

Lalith’s experience has seen him work at the 5-star Mövenpick Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, the Wateredge Inn in the UK and several other properties; yet although Lalith’s heart is scattered around various places of the world, it is the Lhaviyani Atoll where he is happiest. Having said that, it is our pleasure that we can help him climb the career ladder and introduce his talents and joyful character to Hurawalhi guests.

Lalith will showcase his talents as a master mixologist in Coco Bar, Aquarium Bar and the Champagne Pavilion – three very different venues with equally stunning oceanfront vistas, charm and intimate ambience. He will also oversee the beverage service in Canneli and 5.8 Undersea Restaurants.

On behalf of the whole Hurawalhi team, we say welcome Lalith and a heartfelt congratulation!

Dusit Thani Maldives wins Gold Travel Weekly Magellan Award

Dusit Thani Maldives, a Thai-inspired 5-star luxury resort, recently won, for the second year running, the coveted Gold medal in the luxury hotel/resort category of the prestigious Travel Weekly Magellan Awards.

Arranged by US-based publication Travel Weekly, an influential B2B news resource for the travel industry, The Magellan Awards are judged and overseen by a unique panel of top travel professionals representing the best names and most accomplished leaders from the industry. Entries do not compete with one another, instead, they are judged against a standard of excellence based on the extensive experience of Travel Weekly.

Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll – Maldives’ first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – Dusit Thani Maldives comprises 94 luxury villas set on stilts overlooking pristine white sands and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Ocean Villa Terrace, Dusit Thani Maldives
Ocean Villa Terrace, Dusit Thani Maldives

Guests can dive and snorkel, swim in the oversized infinity swimming pool or indulge in a serene treatment at one of Devarana Spa’s treetop treatment pods. Gastronomes, meanwhile, are well catered for at the resort’s five award-winning restaurants and bars, including the signature Thai-inspired restaurant, Benjarong, which serves modern interpretations of classic Thai dishes in a stunning setting right over the water.

Joachim Schuette, General Manager at Dusit Thani Maldives, said: “We are delighted to receive this prestigious award for the second year running, as it truly highlights our continuous commitment to enhancing our resort and creating even more memorable experiences for our guests.”

HPL appoints IHG to manage InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort

Singapore-based Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) has inked a management agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to manage an 83-room resort that will be open in Maldives in three to five years’ time.

This will be the third resort that IHG will be managing for HPL. It will mark the first time that IHG will bring its global luxury brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, to the Maldives, said Jan Smits, IHG’s chief executive for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA).

The management contract for the upcoming InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort with HPL was inked on Monday. Construction has yet to begin, and neither HPL nor IHG would provide a number on the project’s development value.

The other two existing HPL resorts managed by IHG are: Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, comprising 160 villas, which opened in December 2009; and the 148-room Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu which opened in March 2010.

Holiday Inn Resort® Kandooma Maldives
Holiday Inn Resort® Kandooma Maldives

The latest Maldives signing brings IHG’s resort development pipeline to 13 across the AMEA region, reflecting a significant expansion programme, said Mr Smits.

Currently, the hotel and resort management chain operates 37 existing resorts across three brands (InterContinental, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza) in the AMEA region.

HPL’s new resort will be located on Maamunagau island, at the southern point of Raa Atoll (also known as the North Maalhosmadulu Atoll). International travellers can take a seaplane directly to the resort from Malé’s Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.

Besides enjoying the clear lagoon and pristine white beach, guests will have a range of food and beverage offerings to choose from at the resort’s bar and restaurants.

“Young travellers may indulge in specially tailored meals from the InterContinental Planet Trekkers Menu before going off for an afternoon of fun at the Planet Trekkers Kids Club,” IHG said.

InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort will also feature a Club Lounge, pool and spa where guests can lounge and relax. The range of water sports include snorkeling, canoeing and jet skiing at the nearby sea sports centre.

Stephen Lau, chairman, HPL Hotels & Resorts, said: “We see huge potential to grow our resorts business in the Maldives, and Maamunagau island is the perfect setting to develop a luxury InterContinental resort.”

As part of HPL’s growth strategy, “we continuously seek the right opportunity to expand our portfolio across the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region”, he added.

Mr Smits of IHG noted that tourism contributed more than 40 per cent of Maldives’ gross domestic product last year, and that “sentiments are positive as the country continues to be one of the world’s most highly sought after travel destinations”.

Another hotelier who has a presence in Maldives told The Business Times that room rates for Maldives resorts have generally fallen over the past year on the back of weaker demand.

Patronage by Chinese visitors, the number one market, has softened this year amid a weakening economy back home and slight fall in the yuan, among other factors. “Demand from Russia continues to be depressed due to the weak economy and rouble.

On a more positive note, demand from some other European countries has improved but resorts are coming up with more competitive packages to adjust for the weakness in the euro.” Room rates in the Maldives are denominated in US dollars.

“That said, this is still a market that a lot of operators want to go to. The ‘one resort, one island’ policy in Maldives makes resorts here very exclusive compared to say Bali and Mauritius, where you have one big island and many resorts scattered over acres and acres of coastline.”

Summer Island Appoints Mariya Shareef as Resort Manager

Mariya Shareef has become one of the few Maldivian women ever to hold position of Resort Manager at a Maldivian resort.

On 1 September, Mariya was appointed Resort Manager of Summer Island Maldives, located in Kaafu atoll.

In her new role, Mariya takes on the responsibility for the day-to-
day management of the resort, advising the Board of Directors on strategy, and helping develop and grow the Summer Island Maldives brand.

Mariya is a veteran of the Maldivian tourism industry with a career spanning fourteen years. She was previously Business Development and Marketing Manager for the Kaimoo THS group of companies, a post she held since 2013.

In this role, Mariya helped with the re-development of Summer Island Maldives and was responsible for branding and marketing the resort in the months leading up to its re-opening last year.

Commenting on the appointment, Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Managing Director of Kaimoo THS Group said:

“Mari is young, energetic and full of exciting ideas and has an excellent gauge of the innovations and developments in global tourism.

“Mari’s experience, her academic achievements, and her natural business acumen will enable Summer Island Maldives to grow and consolidate its reputation as one of the most exciting holiday hotspots in the Maldives.”

Commenting on her new appointment, Mariya Shareef said:

“Summer Island Maldives has always been close to my heart. It’s not only the beautiful island that makes it special, but also the amazing team and their hard work. I am proud to be a part of this team, and I thank the directors for trusting me in this role. It’s a pleasure, everyday, to see smiling faces and I’m confident that as a team we can continue to be one of the best resorts in the Maldives.”

Summer Island Maldives Resort prides itself on offering tourists an authentically Maldivian, barefoot slice of paradise at an affordable price.

One of the Maldives’ first resorts, and wholly Maldivian owned, Summer Island Maldives recently underwent a complete re-development. The resort now boasts fresh and zesty rooms, a spa, international restaurants, a rustic beach bar, a dive center and water sports center. Summer Island Maldives retains, though, the family-friendly, natural atmosphere that has made it such a popular destination.

Summer Island Maldives offers an all-inclusive holiday, with a variety of rooms including water villas, at 4 star prices.

Anantara Launches Once-in-a-Lifetime Manta Ray Experience

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers guests the chance to get up-close-and-personal with manta rays at the world’s largest natural manta feeding destination, during their annual migration across the Indian Ocean. For the first time, guests have the rare opportunity to freedive with the gentle giants at the protected site of Hanifaru Bay, which can attract more than 100 rays around the time of the full moon. With the season well underway, guests still have time to witness the spectacle first hand before the end of November or to plan ahead for the next season which starts in May 2017.

With a wingspan of up to 7 metres, manta rays congregate at Hanifaru Bay during the south-west monsoon and, with optimum wind and tide conditions, enter a shallow cul-de-sac in the reef to feed on microscopic plankton, small fish and crustaceans. The Anantara team works closely with the rangers who protect Hanifaru Bay to get the insider scoop on the mantas’ movements so that guests can quickly reach the site, which is located only 45 minutes from the resort, maximising their chances of spotting the rays. Scuba diving is not permitted so guests now have the choice of snorkelling or freediving.

Manta Rays, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Manta Rays, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Hot on the heels of sister resort Anantara Dhigu Maldives’ announcement in May that it was opening the first PADI-accredited freediving centre in the Maldives, Anantara Kihavah is now also fully licensed. Whilst freediving has been popular in the Maldives for some time, the PADI certification offered by Elements, the water sports centre at Anantara Kihavah Villas, teaches divers proper breathing techniques and trains them on how they can enjoy the sport safely.

Coasting through the ocean with flowing, graceful movements that echo the natural motions of the Mantas that surround, freedivers experience a sense of oneness taking the Maldives’ manta experience to an entirely new level. Closer encounters, liberating mobility and the ability to glide with freedom from scuba or snorkelling equipment enhance an already unforgettable outing.

Manta Rays, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Manta Rays, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

At the helm of Anantara Kihavah’s freediving centre is Talya Davidoff. A passionate, advanced freediving instructor, Talya is also a fully qualified marine biologist and a competitive freediver with a personal best of a depth of 42 metres. Adding even greater depth to her aquatic expertise, Talya will be undergoing training with freediving world champion, Alexey Molchanov, before the South African Championships in June next year.

Talya and the Elements team at Anantara Kihavah Villas are dedicated to safeguarding the wellbeing and habitat of the manta rays and enforce the strict regulations that have been set by the local rangers. Known for its commitment towards sustainability and protecting the local environment, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas also launched a coral adoption programme when the resort opened in 2001. Over the five years to date, Anantara’s team has continued to enhance its reef initiatives to accelerate the regeneration of coral growth.

Anantara Kihavah, which offers 79 spacious private pool villas poised overwater or nestled on a private beach, is located 30 minutes from Male by seaplane and boasts an abundant and colourful house reef of its own. For guests who wish to maximise their ‘bottom time’, SEA. FIRE. SALT. SKY. offers a one-of-a-kind over and underwater dining experience.

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

To reserve a stay at the resort and experience the thrill of freediving with mantas, or to learn more about freediving, contact +960 664 4111 or [email protected]. For more information on Anantara’s Maldives resorts, visit anantara.com.

Hotel Jen Launches New Reward program in Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go

Hotel Jen Malé Maldives, Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go has introduced the Coffee Reward Card from 01st of September 2016. Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager Ms. Nina Mohamed at Hotel Jen Malé Maldives said “Today, more and more consumers want to be rewarded for their loyalty, At Hotel Jen, we pride ourselves on offering our regular customers the very best service and introducing the Coffee reward card free loyalty program is a start in one of the many great programs we have planned to commence during the year 2016-2017”.

Mr. Mohamed Mauroof F&B Manager at Hotel Jen Malé Maldives said “We’re now confident that the coffee reward card will also offer our customers to enjoy it here more at Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go and it’s a great way for us to thank our Loyal customers”.

The Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go coffee reward card will be available from Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go counter and you can get stamped for every coffee that you purchase from the outlet and on the seventh coffee you get it free on the house. And is only valid at Jen’s Kitchen On- the -Go. So on your next visit to Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go don’t forget to ask for your Coffee reward card.

About Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go

Hotel Jen’s newest café, ‘Jen’s Kitchen-On-The-Go’ was opened during the year 2015 Ramadan with a soft opening and the grand opening was on 6th August 2015. The ‘grab and go’ themed cafe’ is located in the lobby of the hotel, facing the main road Ameer Ahmed Magu, and comes with a takeaway corner, making it easier for customers who are in a hurry. Located in the hub of the corporate part of town surrounded by government offices, banks, and schools, the café is situated in the perfect spot to take a breather, and collect yourself in the midst of a hectic day. The interior of the café is cozy and casual, decorated in soft neutral tones. The smoking area is conveniently located outside whilst the inside of Café’ and Hotel lobby area has a dedicated seating for its customers. Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go is a Restaurant chain operated by Hotel Jen and currently has its outlets in Maldives and Singapore.

Maldives wins ‘Best Island’ Condé Nast Readers’ Travel Awards 2016

Maldives wins three awards at the 2016 Condé Nast Traveller, Readers’ Travel Awards in London reaffirming its position as one the world’s preferred destinations.

Maldives was selected as the winner of the ‘Best Island’ category at the Condé Nast Traveller, Readers’ Travel Awards, seeing off stiff competition from the Greek Islands, the Balearic Islands, and the Seychelles.

The ceremony was held at the Ham Yard Hotel in central London on August 30, 2016. The prestigious award was accepted by the Maldives High Commissioner to the UK, H.E. Mr. Ahmed Shiaan. After accepting the award, Mr. Shiaan said, “We are honored that the readers of the Condé Nast have chosen the Maldives as their favorite Island Destination. As a small Island Nation with only 350,000 inhabitants, these awards prove that the Maldives continues to provide the world with the best beaches, best hotels and the clearest waters in the Indian Ocean. We feel extremely proud of this recognition.”

The One & Only Hotel in Reethi Rah in the Maldives also won the “Best Hotel SPA and the Runner Up in the preferred overseas holiday hotel in the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian Ocean.

The Condé Nast Traveller is one of the UK’s leading luxury travel magazines and its Reader’s Travel Awards, which are voted for by Condé Nast Traveller readers who are some of the most widely respected in the travel industry. The UK travel market remains buoyant for the Maldives. So far nearly 60,000 British people travelled to Maldives in 2016 which represents an increase of 10% compared to the same period of last year.

Upon hearing about the awards, the Maldives Minister for Tourism Hon. Moosa Zameer remarked: “The United Kingdom remains one of our most important markets and it is gratifying for the Maldives to receive such a prestigious prize in the UK. The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, with the full support of the Maldives High Commission in London, have done lots of work to promote Maldives in the UK, and this award is a fitting recognition of this hard work. We are elated to retain our position as one the world’s safest and preferred destination.”

Outrigger Appoints John Allanson as General Manager in Maldives

PHUKET, THAILAND – Outrigger Enterprises Group has appointed John Allanson as the General Manager of the award-winning Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, an exclusive sanctuary of over-water bungalows and exquisite villas located within the crystal waters of Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. He will commence his position immediately and will report to Paul Richardson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in Outrigger’s corporate office in Hawaii.

John AllansonAllanson, a UK national, brings to Outrigger 30 years’ experience in hotel and resort management in the Maldives, Vietnam and the UK. Before joining Outrigger, he was the General Manager of the Six Senses Con Dao Resort and Spa, a five-star property on Con Dao Island, Vietnam.

Allanson also spent two years as Resort Manager in the Maldives at the Six Senses Laamu Resort and Spa, a property with 97 villas. For much of his career, Allanson has been a general manager, or in senior management positions, including food and beverage, and in various high-end UK country hotels, many of them with a spa facility.

The new Outrigger general manager has a Diploma in Management Studies and earned a scholarship to the General Managers’ Program at Cornell University. He is also a graduate of the International Management Association and a member of the Hotel and Catering International Management Association.

“John’s leadership in hotel and resort operations in Asia and UK will help Outrigger take our acclaimed hotel operations in the Maldives from good to great,” said Mr Richardson.

The Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort opened in August 2015 and offers guests a complete sense of privacy and intimate luxury. Boasting the largest average villa sizes in the Maldives, the resort features 53 spacious villas, each with a private swimming pool. The inspirational three-bedroom Grand Konotta Villa offers an enchanting oasis with floor-to-ceiling windows, an expansive sun deck and breath-taking infinity pool overlooking the pristine turquoise ocean.

The property is renowned for its innovative Maldivian cuisine, the rejuvenating Navasana Spa, ocean adventures and uncompromising Outrigger hospitality – including Outrigger Signature Experiences throughout.

In between hoteling and family duties – Allanson has two daughters and a son – Outrigger’s new general manager tries to find time for golf, diving and photography and watching his favorite soccer club, Liverpool FC on TV. He is also a cricket fan and one day hopes one day to watch England on an entire tour of Australia.