Bamboo Bike Rides Into The Maldives

“Obee” from Singapore’s Bamboobee has crossed the Bay of Bengal and landed in Gili Lankanfushi Maldives. Gili Lankanfushi is one of the most exclusive resorts in the Maldives. The eco-friendly bike made from sustainable sources of Bamboo has found a niche amongst the environmentally conscious hotel industry. Ibis Hotel and Jen Hotel (former Traders Hotel) are some of the hotels in Singapore where you can experience a ride on the Bamboo bike.

<strong>Cycling in the Maldives</strong>

The use of bicycles is not a new idea to the island nation. It is widely known that the Sultans rode them, and so did the cabinet ministers and the elite. Bicycles were the only mode of transportation until the introduction of cars in the late 60s and early 70s.

The police force had previously purchased 500 bicycles to be used for patrol. A number of island resorts offer bicycles and bike tours such as Hideaway Beach Resort &amp; Spa, Soneva Fushi and Sun Island Resort &amp; Spa.

In the 70s key events such as Independence Day or Republic Day are marked with bike rides around the capital. In 2010 when climate change awareness events in collaboration with 350.org was held in Malé, along with the world famous underwater cabinet meeting, the entire cabinet members marked the day with a bike ride in the capital Malé. More recently in September 2014, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Maldives and the Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives, held a bicycle ride in Hulhumalé, with the purpose of raising awareness and engaging the community on the issue of climate change through promoting the use of bicycles or non-motorised vehicles as a means of transportation in the Maldives.

<strong>Bamboobee</strong>

The Singapore company – Bamboobee, designs and produces its own bamboo bicycle products and accessories, since it began its operations online on April 2013, has sold more than 200 bicycles, with a premium price of each costing USD$1200 to USD$3300.

Obee, Bamboo bike
Obee, Bamboo bike

<strong>What are Bamboobee Bikes?</strong>

Bamboo is strong and durable, having higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel. Bamboo also regenerates fast and can be continuously re-harvested every 3 years­ this means the supply of bamboo can be more constant and regular and sustainable.

As a raw material for bicycles, and given the right engineering, bamboo bicycles can perhaps be a more natural looking and long lasting mode of transportation for a country like Maldives where the islands are so tiny that everything is affected by the salt carried by the sea breeze. For Bamboobee, its advantage is that it uses the lost Chinese practice of using honey wax to strengthen its bamboo.

<strong>The story of Bamboo Bikes</strong>

Bamboo bicycles have been around for a long time, with the first recorded bamboo bicycle showcased in London in the year 1894.

In the last 20 years however, there seems to be a surge of bike builders offering these bamboo transportation to the wider masses; From Craig Calfee of Calfee Design headquartered in California, USA, to Flavio Deslandes, a Brazilian industrial designer based in Denmark, and here in Asia a Singaporean by the name of Sunny Chuah, the founder of Bamboobee.

Asia’s bamboo bike builders also include Kawayan Tech Bamboo Bikes based in Quezon City, Philippines, Bambike based in Manila, Philippines, Bamboo Bicycles Beijing based in Beijing, China, and Burma Bike Partnership based in Burma, or what is also known as Myanmar.

Each of the abovementioned bamboo bike builders have a different history, business structure and purpose, and of course their designs vary as well. In a way, this gives consumers a wider range of options to choose a bamboo bicycle that suits ones preference, taste and budget.

<em>With additional contribution by Nor Lastrina Hamid, Bumble Bee at Bamboobee.</em>

Lastrina is also a volunteer-coordinator with 350 Singapore. 350 Singapore was founded by Young NTUC in March 2010. It is the Singapore chapter to the global 350.org movement. 350 is widely believed by many scientists to be the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million.

Pascal Billon Appointed as General Manager of Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

Pascal Billon who is known for being versatile and accomplished as a senior professional was the general manager of Lily Beach Resort & Spa at Huvahendhoo, Maldives.

Pascal Billon, General Manager, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Pascal Billon, General Manager, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

Previously, he was also the CEO for Baltic Management Hospitality in Russia, a company created by a Russian entrepreneur who is known to have developed numerous luxury resort in Russia under the infamous Starwood brand.

He was also the operation manager for Dolce Stiges in Spain, Dolce Chantilly, Dolce Frégate Provence closer to Paris and GM for Starwood Hotels.

Billon who is fluent in French, English and Russian, is a member of the French Culinary Academy and holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality.

Aerial view, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Aerial view, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

Asia Pacific,Outrigger managing director, Darren Edmonstone said “Outrigger is very pleased to have a seasoned professional such as Pascal, who has extensive Maldives experience, come on board.” Adding “His work at the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort will help move Outrigger towards our aim of being the premier beachfront resort brand in the world.”

Billon who will work from Outrigger’s Asia Pacific Corporate Office in Phuket will report to William Visser, Vice President Operations, Asia Pacific, during the Konotta Resort renovation.

Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort is located in Huvadhoo Atoll, is the largest atoll in the world. The resort is set to open mid of next year.

23 new hotel properties set to open end of 2016 in the Maldives

Following the recently launched integrated resort development project, the government of the Maldives plans to kickstart the guest house concept by planning to 23 new hotel properties in three and four star sector, with 2100 beds.

water villa concept rendering
Water Villa concept rendering

The aim is to attract moderately affluent guests to the island nation from different regions of the world.

The project work is set to begin at the end of the year on Thumburi and Hulhiyandhoo island.

The hotel complexes is estimated to complete by the end of 2016, with a connecting bridge between the two islands.

Renowned Chef Jereme Leung introduces dining concept at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

With the opening of Ufaa by Chinese Chef Jereme Leung on 27th September, the resort now owns 12 restaurant. The restaurant being the first authentic Chinese restaurant at the island nation offers modern twist of Chinese with western influences in its décor, menu, tea, and wine selection.

Ufaa by Jereme Leung Chefs Cooking, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Ufaa by Jereme Leung Chefs Cooking, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

“Ufaa” translated to happiness in the Maldivian (Dhivehi) language, follows an innovative culinary concept, featuring multi-functional spaces, with settings for all moods and an alternative evening menu that updates each month suiting for the island’s surroundings. The dishes are influenced by famous culinary provinces of Chinese such as Shannxi, Liaoning, Guandong, Zhejiang and Changsha.

The pioneer of contemporary Chinese cooking, the creative mastermind brings home-grown cuisine with exciting combination of quintessential Chinese cooking, the immensely successful restaurateur creates an exciting combination of quintessential Chinese cooking method and ingenious presentation style. The sorts of specialties offered at the Tea House with a dumpling counter includes flavorous Xiao Long Bao. Even with the feel of traditional Chinese restaurant feel, citing also to the ideal location. Substances such as goose oil, avocado and caviar are interfused with traditional Chinese staples to create the perfect blend of cultures and tastes.

Contemporary Chinese cuisine by Jereme Leung brings you delicious Hot Pot on the beaches of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Ufaa
Contemporary Chinese cuisine by Jereme Leung brings you delicious Hot Pot on the beaches of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Ufaa

The ground floor tea house at Ufaa features spaces where guests can mingle over a game of Mahjong or a bit of karaoke in one of the restaurant’s custom-built karaoke and Mahjong rooms.

Conrad Maldives Rangali is an unrivaled dining destination in the Maldives region, offering a priceless ambrosian experience beyond imaginable.

Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives to manufacture own bottled water

The five-star luxury resort Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives, offering “Platinum Plus” holiday plans, as of 1 November 2014, Kanifushi guests will be provided water freshly purified on its premise and in premium reusable glass carafes that use a full onbound seal to guarantee optimal hygienic standards. It is forecasted to save roughly 40,000 plastic bottles per month or almost 500,000 per year. With the use of the a novel EcoPure water bottling plant, the resort will eliminate the need to purchase water for guests from the outside.

The sunset pool bar from above, Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives
The sunset pool bar from above, Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives

Director of Sales and Marketing at Atmosphere, Dinesh Bhaskar said “The introduction of the on-site purification plant will make a significant improvement to the resort’s environmental footprint”.

Further adding “Though we recycle all plastics at the resort to ensure we remain as green as possible, the use of the glass bottles will negate the need for the plastic alternatives to be created in the first place. Our production process will also save around five litres of fresh water per bottle in comparison to the usual bottling process.”

The Maldives with a highly vulnerable ecosystem, entirely relying on it tourism industry which generates 28% of the country’s GDP, by policies that protect the ecosystems that the country is heavily dependant upon to ascertain future prosperity. The use of filtration systems which is used by that of Kanifushi is estimated to save 20mn plastic bottles in the island nation per annum.

Maldives To Hold SLOW LIFE Symposium 2014 In November

The fifth time happening this SLOW LIFE Symposium is set to be held at Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives from 13 – 16 November 2014. The focus of the event will be on the concept of Planetary Boundaries, to explore how one can speed up initiatives like ‘Natural Capital’ and ‘Social Capital to mould the order for tomorrow’s capitalism. The conference will put together 30 representatives from around the world of education, science, travel and business.

SLOW LIFE Symposium 2014
SLOW LIFE Symposium 2014

The symposium which is coordinated by the SLOW LIFE Foundation and hosted by the Soneva Group, aims to build collaborations and partnerships. Scientists, academics, NGOs, business leaders and policymakers will sit-down to discuss critical issues at the event. Issues relating to farming, fishing, food, health of oceans, along with the part of philanthropy and finance to bring solutions globally.

“This unique event brings together an extraordinary group of people who believe in the necessity of action, and it’s an absolute privilege to have been asked to host again this year, particularly as last year was such an inspiration. The incredible investment by the SLOW LIFE Foundation allows us maximum opportunity to have essential conversations that will, and have, lead directly to positive change,” said Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future and pioneer of sustainable business, who will chair the event for the second time.

The SLOW LIFE Foundation, founded by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, is a non-profit organisation that focusses on environmental and socio-economic projects to bring a meaningful positive impact.

The Soneva Group is the world leading sustainable luxury resort operator owning and managing Soneva Fushi, in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri, in Thailand.

Jennifer Hawkins and husband holidays at Cheval Blanc Randheli

Hawkins shared snapshots of the pure escapism with her husband Jake Wall, she finally revealed the pair was having the best of times at Cheval Blanc Randheli, jet skiing to a sand bank, romantic candle light dinner on a secluded sandy beach under the starry skies and Hawkins speed boating.

Cheval Blanc Randheli
Cheval Blanc Randheli

Cheval Blanc Randheli follows Cheval Blanc Courchevel in name, well known as Europe’s fanciest ski resort and a special of Hollywood stars.

Randheli is located at Noonu atoll, around 40 minutes north from Malé by seaplane and features Michelin-class dining.

The resort boasts to offer a rare experience of complete privacy with just 45 loft style villas. villas promise huge cathedral-style ceilings, a Cheval Blanc spa offers exclusively designed treatments especially for the Randheli (such as the Randheli Sun Ritual), and for Families, the Carrousel Kids and Le Paddock Teens Clubs complete the experience.

Its Culinary Art reveals five restaurants including fine dining, experiential dining, private dining, a signature Iberian Japanese restaurant, a fish restaurant, a contemporary brasserie as well as 3 bars and all day in-villa dining. A Padi certified diving centre with wide range of watersports activities and a team of experts ensure guests enjoy a choice of tailor made activities and experiences.

Opened in 2013, the new hotel consists of 45 villas in three styles – Garden Villas that are stilted but with a private tropical garden space, overwater bungalows offering several terraces over the sea, and Island Villas which feature an outdoor dining pergola.

HPL Hotels & Resorts Ends Rihiveli Beach Resort Management

HPL Resorts (Maldives) Pvt Ltd, a subordinate company of Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), has taken away its interest in M.A.T. (Maldives) Pvt Ltd, the company that owns Rihiveli Beach Resort to Castaway Maldives Pvt Ltd.

Rihiveli Beach Resort
Rihiveli Beach Resort

Since 2004, it is known that the resort has been managed by HPL Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality management company that is solely-owned by Hotel Properties Limited, the island lease for the resort expires end of 2015.

Chairman of HPL Hotels & Resorts Stephen Lau said “I would like to thank all the trade partners, business associates and staff for their invaluable support and contributions through the years.” Adding more “I am confident that Castaway Maldives Pvt Ltd will ensure the continuity of the business and the spirit of Rihiveli.”

CEO of Castaway Hotels & Escapes, Patrick Heuze said “We are honoured to be the new management company for the beautiful Rihiveli Maldives resort and we are looking forward to working with our partners and team to continue the success of this amazing property. We would also like to thank HPL Hotels & Resorts for their support during this transition and the great work they have done with this unique property.”

Hotel Properties Limited has an immense presence in the Maldives, and will continue to focus on growing opportunities that can meet the ever-changing demands of smart travellers. Currently, the group has 5 other properties, namely Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru and Six Senses Laamu.

Rastovich to be crowned 2014 Champion in Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy

After defeating Taylor Know of USA renowned Professional free-surfer Dave ‘Rasta’ Rastovich in the Grand Final of the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy on Kuda Huraa Maldives is set to be crowned the 2014 champion.

Rastovich is Champion
Rastovich is Champion

Rastovich is believed to have said ‘If I knew contests could be this much fun, I probably would have been a contest guy, but I don’t think there is any other event that is like this one.’

Rasta is known to travel around the world searching for ultimate surf and dedicating his time to environmental causes surrounding the issues of marine mammal conservation and preservation.

Rasta said ‘Just to compete against these amazing surfers all week and for all of us to be hooting each other in the lineup has been an incredible experience.’

He also added ‘But at the same time everyone is wanting to surf at their highest level; it’s a really cool experience, because normally it’s one or the other but this event is not like that – it’s a great format in a perfect location.’

Knox said ‘We were both just starting to warm up and I was thinking another couple of sets were going to come and that we both get two more waves, but it didn’t happen.’

Adding ‘Rasta has been in such good wave rhythm all week; it seems like every time he jumps off the boat he gets a nine. We were just both chatting out there and saying how lucky we are to be here, so it’s all good.’

Knox won both the Thruster and the Twin-Fin rounds, as well as finished fifth in the Single-Fin division, which were enough for him to accrue the points to qualify for the Grand Final.

Hussein ‘Iboo’ Areef won the highly contested Domestic Champions Trophy for the third consecutive year.

Showcasing the nations depth of talent he defeated Ismail ‘Kuda Issay’ Miglal, Amid ‘Ammaday’ Agil and Mohamed ‘Billu’ Irushad.

All six former world champions after watching the local final and expressed their admiration Contest Director Ross Phillips, stating ‘The standard of surfing today in the Domestic Champions Trophy was world class. It was a tough final and Iboo was a deserving winner.’

He said ‘The Maldivian Surfing Association is forging ahead in leaps and bounds. It’s fantastic to watch surfing progress at both a performance and organisational level in the Maldives.’

The Grand Final was honored by the Tourism Minister of Maldives, Mr Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, who also attended the finals onboard the Four Seasons Explorer and gave away the surfers with their awards.

After the success of the fourth consecutive annual event Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will return again in 2015.

RESULTS: Surfing Champions Grand Final

Surfing Champions Trophy

1st Dave Rastovich (AUS) (8.60 + 9.10) 17.70pts
2nd Taylor Knox (USA) (8.17 + 4.00) 12.17pts

Domestic Champions Trophy

1st Hussain Areef ‘Iboo’ 16.00pts
2nd Ismail Miglal ‘Kuda Issay’ 15.83pts
3rd Amid Agil ‘Ammaday’ 13.84pts
4th Mohamed Irushad ‘Billu’ 11.93pts

Club Med Finolhu Villas scheduled to open early 2015

Club Med’s new property in the Indian Ocean – Club Med Finolhu Villas is set to head into a new direction. The new property is set to open in February 2015. The eco-nature adult oriented villas are believed to be the chain’s most high-end, secluded until now. The Finolhu Villas offer the perfect balance between modern luxury and the natural beauty of the Maldives. This gives the guests the choice to lodge in their newly renovated Club Med Kani or their private hideaway.

Club Med Kani is a striking example of the identity the 60-year old pioneer of the all-inclusive resort has taken in the past few years. After rebranding the company offers upscale experiences and plenty of choice at aesthetically designed properties with eco-credentials in perfect locations.

Club Med Australia and New Zealand General Manager Madeleine Clow says “We started out as huts on a beach where everyone chipped in doing the dishes.”

She also adds “Now we’re about combining our legendary comfort, welcome and relaxation with the luxury experience.”

Club Med Kani gives just that. The private island resort has its four-trident property with Club Med quintessential touches such as buffet restaurants, social pool, a plentitude of free activities, bar areas and evening entertainment.

Located on the island of Gasfinolhi 5 minutes by boat from the village of Kani, the secluded Club Med Finolhu Villas is a notch up from its existing setup. Featuring 52 villas in total of them 22 beach villas and 30 lagoon villas comes with private butlers, pools, breakfast and afternoon tea served in villas, terraces, private dinners and a restaurant. Club Med is conducting an opening deal on Finolhu Villas.