Review — Maldives luxury, it all began at Kurumba

Review — The thick grove of over 500 palm trees, gives little hint of the 5 star, 180 room luxury resort hidden in its shade. Kurumba is Dhivehi for coconut and synonymous with the birthplace of the multi million dollar tourist industry of Maldives.

It all started with a few thatch covered coral structures without doors or ceiling fans, quickly put together to accommodate the first batch of foreign tourists in 1972 brought by an Italian travel agent, Giorgio Corbin. Only a few years earlier a UN agency had concluded that the Maldives offered no prospects for tourism development. The obstacles were simply too large.

Old Kurumba Maldives
Guest at Kurumba Maldives, Vihamanafushi Island

A chance meeting between the adventurous Corbin, who’d been searching the world for unspoiled tropical islands, and Ahmed Naseem, then a junior member of the Maldives embassy in Colombo, changed the history of the Maldives forever. When Corbin arrived in Male by freighter with Naseem from Sri Lanka 44 years ago, he found a capital city that didn’t have a bank, no telephones, no regular electricity service, no guesthouses, no sealed roads, no proper airport and no immigration office. But it had everything he’d been searching for.

Corbin’s arrival was well timed. The country’s economy was reeling after Sri Lanka had unexpectedly reduced the quota of fish to be imported from Maldives. The government quickly realised that tourism could be a new way to earn much needed foreign exchange. Accommodating the first guests on an uninhabited island, where they could expose their sun-starved flesh and ring in the tropical sunset with an alcoholic beverage without offending the local Muslim population, set the trend for the future ‘one-island-one resort’ concept that is unique to the Maldives.

Old Kurumba Maldives
Second phase of Kurumba Maldives

Corbin’s guests, who arrived by chartered Sri Lankan air force plane, wanted simplicity, sand, sun and fish. And that’s about all Naseem and his friend U M Maniku, the founder of Universal Enterprises, now the country’s largest resort operator, had to offer. “We knew nothing about tourism,” Maniku recalls. “It was tourists who helped us build the industry here. We listened to them and gave them what they wanted.” That’s still the prevailing philosophy at Kurumba. The resort is proud of its many return guests who value the personalised interactions with staff. Some have been coming for 20 years.

But it has been a steep learning curve. The first guests wouldn’t have been aware of how Maniku and his friends, young, inexperienced and passionate, struggled to pull it all off. That Italians liked pasta and generally disliked the spicy local food was easily understood, but who had any idea how to cook western food? Maniku recalls translating an English recipe book page by page into Dhivehi for the local kitchen staff. To meet the request of an Italian woman who demanded ‘acqua minerale’, Maniku asked a pharmacist in Malé to mix up some minerals into a powder which he then added to filtered water and hand bottled using his father’s bottling machine. The signora was delighted.

Being resourceful and making due with limited, local resources, is a time honoured tradition in a country made up of a string of remote coral atolls that have existed in geographical isolation for many centuries before tourism arrived.

Dhoni, Kurumba Maldives
Excursions from Kurumba Maldives

Sourcing ingredients was one of the first challenges the resort needed to overcome. In the beginning guests would bring their own sandwiches for fear of having to eat nothing but grilled fish, rice and bananas. On days of rough weather when the small dinghy couldn’t make it across from Malé, they had to make due with what was available on the island, native leaf vegetables mixed with grated coconut.

Herbs and salad are still grown on the island as part of its commitment to sustainability, but the opening of the new airport in 1981 allowed Kurumba to gradually take dining to another level. Today there are eight restaurants specialising in different cuisines, from Indian, to Asian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, French and Italian. My angus beefsteak from Australia at the stunning Thila restaurant is cooked to perfection.

Dhoni, Kurumba Maldives
Local fishermen catching bait for a fishing trip, Kurumba Maldives

Looking across from Thila restaurant to the crowded concrete jungle of Malé and watching international planes land at Hulhule airport island, it’s hard to imagine the resort’s humble beginnings, when guests had to wade ashore through the surf from a small dinghy. Today guests arrive in a two-storey air conditioned speedboat and the original coconut plantation is a manicured garden.

Kurumba’s evolution from spartan village to upmarket destination was gradual. In 1986 the resort got a make over that set a new standard for the entire industry. Building a pool in a country that consists to 99% of ocean was not without controversy and challenge, getting the first desalination plant made the resort independent from rainwater tanks, a state-of the art conference centre meant that suddenly Kurumba Village attracted VIPs and international delegates.

Dhoni, Kurumba Maldives
Old Kurumba Maldives service jetty

To reflect its stellar evolution, in 2004 Kurumba Village was rebranded Kurumba Maldives. And kurumba, the coconut, is still king here. From coconut-themed signature cocktails served in the fancy Kandu bar, to a small coconut oil factory that produces 100% virgin oil used for cooking and at the Veli Spa as the base for herbal therapy treatments. It’s another of example of Kurumba’s spirit of innovation, honouring the Maldivian tradition of self-sufficiency. The Veli Spa hopes to set a new trend in reviving old Maldivian traditions, offering treatments based on Dhivehi Beys, traditional medicine based on herbal remedies that is passed down the generations by knowledgeable hakeems, Maldivian healers.

Aerial, Kurumba Maldives
Kurumba Maldives

The proximity to the airport means you can dip your toes in the water within an hour of landing. Ocean barriers made from dead coral now surround the island to protect it from erosion. It also protects less confident swimmers from the swell. But venture beyond the barriers, snorkel along the fine house reef and find a world that still looks much like it did 44 years ago when Giorgio Corbin found his paradise.

Kihaa Maldives

Kihaa’ named traditionally in local Dhivehi language as `young coconut island`with a beach length of some 1,200 meters around the Island, is a haven of peace, tranquillity and serenity. The crystal clear turquoise waters of the shallow waist-deep lagoon surrounding the island stretch as far as the eye can see. The Island’s uniquely rich and dense vegetation instils a feeling of harmony and being at one with nature. Guests may fly-in on seaplanes by a 35-minute scenic photo-flight from the international airport at Male’, the capital of the Maldives.

Coco Collection’s Wellness Retreat with Dave Catudal

Refresh your senses and get back to a healthy lifestyle at the wellness retreat to be held at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu from 10 – 15 August and at Coco Bodu Hithi from 18 – 23 August 2015. These five or seven day retreats are designed by Dave Catudal, Director of Weight Loss Retreats and Fitness Boot Camps at Lifestyle Health Retreats, with the objective of helping guests improve their mind and physique through nutrition, positive thinking and a balanced lifestyle.

Dave Catudal, Health and Wellness Director and Nutrition and Fitness Coach at PurelyB
Dave Catudal, Health and Wellness Director and Nutrition and Fitness Coach at PurelyB

Having worked together with Hollywood celebrities, top models and professional athletes, Dave is also the Health and Wellness Director as well as the Nutrition and Fitness Coach at PurelyB, a one stop destination for everything healthy and natural. In 2014, Dave emerged as a published author with “The Physique Transformation Book”, a series of educational guidebooks covering the essentials of all the key elements of health, fitness, detox and nutrition.

Coco Bodu Hithi
Coco Bodu Hithi

At Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi, guests can rejuvenate with classes aimed for abs and core conditioning of the body along with private wellness consultations to understand body types and corresponding fitness routines. Furthermore, the retreat includes different lifestyle health workshops raising awareness on health transformation diets, eating right for your body type, essentials of the modern day detox diets and anti-aging and hormone optimization diets. With the 5 day retreat at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu starting from USD 2,528 in a Beach Villa, guests of Coco Bodu Hithi can also experience the retreat starting from USD 3,158 in an Island Villa.

Sunset Beach Villas, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
Sunset Beach Villas

A High Intensity Interval Training session will also provide guests with metabolic fat-loss challenges followed by ocean fitness activities such as athletic body warm up routines, kayaking and swimming exercises. Additionally, with a resident Yogi, guests can enjoy balancing morning and sunset yoga sessions to improve core strength. At Coco Bodu Hithi, guests can indulge in superfood protein smoothie classes, an ideal addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

“The Maldives is the ideal place for a wellness retreat! When it comes to the health of our bodies, we must also exercise the health of the mind. I can’t think of a more ideal location to experience a holistic wellness retreat than the Maldives. Guests will return home with a lighter, leaner and more healthy body, and a more balanced and peaceful mind,” Dave commented.

Visit www.cocoboduhithi.com and www.cocopalm.com for more information on the packages available to embark on a healthy journey for a better living.

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives Presents ‘Let It Glow’

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives presents Let It Glow, a newly restyled concept that unleashes a fresh new take on luxury travel.

Part of W Hotels Worldwide, the Retreat reflects a unique vision of the Maldives that cater to the worldly travelers seeking unforgettably exuberant experiences.

Upper Deck, Wonderful Beach Oasis, W Retreat & Spa Maldives
Upper Deck, Wonderful Beach Oasis, W Retreat & Spa Maldives

Curated by cutting-edge trend influencers, now and beyond, of Angela Chang, Director of Design, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific; Tahir Sultan, well known fashion designer; Alec Monopoly, famous street artist; Tara Stilles, yogi and W Hotels’ FIT consultant; Su-Man Hsu, the most in demand celebrity facialist; and renowned DJs such as Scarlett Etienne, Silky and Erica Rhone, to name a few. Trendsetters also include talents from W Retreat & Spa – Maldives such as Paul Lewis, Director of Cuisine; Vikas Kumar, B&F Director; and W Insider Chunky Mathew, W Hotels’ version of the traditional concierge.

“We are thrilled to work with this eclectic group of trendsetters, who came together and fused their imaginations to create a buzzing new energy on the island,” Jean-Louis Ripoche, Complex General Manager, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives and Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa commented. “Together, they have drawn inspiration from the stunning natural surroundings to create a unique vision of the luxury playground, catering to a new generation of worldly travelers always seeking unforgettably exuberant experiences.”

Fabulous Lagoon Oasis Bathroom, W Retreat & Spa Maldives
Fabulous Lagoon Oasis Bathroom, W Retreat & Spa Maldives

Luxury Playground, Reborn

Led by Angela Chang, the new look of the Retreat evokes a sensory experience that reflects the perfect blend of W’s innovative architectural design and contemporary aesthetics. At the same time, the colours, materials and glowing elements convey the unique, vibrant and playful personality of the island. Borrowing from the Indian Ocean’s colourful marine life, twinkling stars and fluorescent plankton, the newly styled Retreat pulses to the concept of ‘Infinite Days, Infinite Nights’.

Ideally located on the seaside with breath-taking scenery, the restyled Wonderful Beach Oasis retreats bring to life the synergy of the beach and Indian Ocean. A red palette is used throughout, with a red wooden Ming chair design by Neri & Hu for Stellar Works, as well as red patterns of jellyfish and corals on signature pillows. Bespoke design elements encompass a soft look and touch, including glowing rope lamps designed by Christian Haas for a gentle ambient light, and a red cotton hand-knotted hammock handcrafted from recycled material by communities in Nicaragua.

Fish Restaurant, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Fish Restaurant, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives

Set over the Indian Ocean, the newly designed Fabulous Lagoon Oasis and Spectacular Ocean Oasis overwater retreats capture the energy of the Maldives’ underwater sea life with blue and white tones. Signature items include a white super-sized stingray rocking chair designed by Thomas Pedersen as a modern interpretation of the classic rocking chair, a jellyfish see-through coffee table, stunning Medusa bedside lights designed by Roxy Towry-Russel, a glowing starfish pillow and an Italian designer trolley bar that highlights the cocktail culture of the W brand.

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives features 78 private retreats and suites, including 28 Wonderful Beach Oasis, 25 Spectacular Ocean Oasis, 21 Fabulous Lagoon Oasis, 3 WOW Ocean Escape and 1 Extreme WOW Ocean Haven (the W brand’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). Each chic and spacious retreat features a king-sized signature W bed, deluxe Bose sound system , 42-inch television, wine refrigerator, delightful Munchie Box (the W brand’s reinterpretation of the staid mini bar), sumptuous Bliss bath amenities, infinity plunge pool and sundeck.

From Ocean To Table

Epicurean at every turn, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives boasts an overwater signature restaurant, all-day dining venue; BBQ restaurant; sunset and pool bar; and 15 Below, the only underground nightclub in the Maldives, literally located 15-steps below the island’s surface, offering more than 90 varieties of vodka and glowing cocktails.

15 Below, the only underground night club, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
15 Below, the only underground night club in the Maldives, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives
Glowing cocktails, 15 Below - underground nightclub, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Glowing cocktails, 15 Below – underground nightclub, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives

Director of Cuisine Paul Lewis takes the helm in creating culinary concepts, Fish, the newly restyled and elegant speciality overwater venue, features ‘Ocean To Table’ cuisine with a strong focus on the freshness of the local catch prepared with a SouthEast Asian flair. Signature dishes include Tuna Chutoro, Chili and Ginger Aioli; Abalone, Orange Miso Marmalade and Tempura Crumb; Sea Urchin with Black Vinegar Pearl; and Bone Marrow Mantau with Braised Octopus. Set by the beach, Fire offers a romantic and casual dining experience. With a combination of BBQ alternatives such as charcoal grill, tandoor and spit roast, this venue highlights top quality premium meat, poultry and park in a steak house and chop shop format. The award winning restaurant Kitchen features a unique and modern reinvention of the bistro, offering Pan Asian dishes with a focus on Southeast Asian cuisine.

Fire Restaurant, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Fire Restaurant, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives
Kitchen Restaurant, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Kitchen Restaurant, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives

Propagating the contemporary cocktail culture, W Mixologists concoct signature drinks and fresh cocktails, with offerings developed by Vikas Kumar in collaboration with Grant Collins, one of the best mixologists worldwide. WET the glamorous outdoor lounge and pool bar electrifies the moment with a large collection of innovative cocktails largely based on Maldivian and tropical ingredients. A sense of sophistication takes over during twilight at SIP, the sunset bar, featuring champagne, martinis, home brewed infused spirits and spectacular glowing cocktails Chilled beats, pulsing energy and decadent drinks continue well into the night at 15 Below, the place to mix and mingle, and see and be seen.

Passion Points

True to W Hotels’ signature programming that mixes pioneering design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment, the newly restyled W retreat & Spa – Maldives offers such lifestyle experiences thoroughly infused with the brand’s sensibility. The sumptuous talent wardrobe has been designed by famous fashion designer Tahir Sultan, whose innovation set him apart as one of the region’s premiere “Prê-à-Couture’ designers at Dubai Fashion Forward 2014. Visiting the Maldives, Tahir found his muse in the rich aquatic life, turquoise oceans and whispering white sands. Staying true to his own design ideology, Tahir meshes the W Collection with graphic printing technology, pure fabrics and rich embellishments, which take their reference from shimmering fish scales and pearls, and the blasts of colours from the corals and reefs. Tahir’s every ensemble resonates with his signature finesse and style, yet speaks of function, with a touch of playfulness.

Other holistic lifestyle initiatives include the residency of renowned DJs, such as Scarlett Etienne, Silky and Erica Rhone, staples in underground and mainstream nightlife scenes; live street art by Alec Monopoly on the W Maldives’ speedboat and The W Store using glowing paints. As part of the global collaboration for the W brand’s FIT approach, W Hotels in collaboration with Tara Stiles launched a wellness program including in-room videos and unique retreat packages. Other lifestyle initiatives also include the ‘five star signature facial’ by guest celebrity facial specialist Su Man Hsu. In addition, W Insider Chunky Mathew provides guests with the inside knowledge of the Maldives, going above and beyond to create exceptionally meaningful experiences.

Tara Stiles, W Retreat & Spa Maldives
Tara Stiles, W Retreat & Spa Maldives
Tara Stiles, W Retreat & Spa Maldives
Tara Stiles, W Retreat & Spa Maldives

‘Let It Glow’ Package

To commemorate W Retreat & Spa – Maldives restyling, the ‘Let It Glow’ packages offers;

Vibrant UV night snorkeling experience on the breathtaking house reef
‘Ocean To Table’ dinner curated by Chef Paul Lewis on Escape, the luxury two-mast yacht, under the starry Maldivian sky
Infinite glowing cocktails at 15 Below, the only underground nightclub in the Maldives
5 hour body treatments and massages at Gaathafushi, W Maldives’ private island

Rates start from US$2,285++ per night. A minimum stay of 4 nights is required.

Gaathafushi, private island, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Gaathafushi private island, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives

Digital Detox

Guests may also embark on a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ experience on Gaathafushi, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives’ very own private island. Here, they can stay overnight on their own deserted island, intact and wild, with no TV or internet; indulge in exquisite serenity, exploring the surrounding silent lagoon before hanging on the beach; and unwinding like never before with a glass of champagne and the best sunset views, while their own private chef sets up a special candlelight BBQ dinner. At night, the activity of choice includes star-gazing, before falling asleep under the thatched roof, feeling the fresh breeze of the Indian Ocean. Natural wakeup calls are attuned to the languid pace of the island, with breakfast served on the white sand beach.

AWAY Spa, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
AWAY Spa, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives

Rates start from US$1,480++ per night. A minimum stay of 5 nights is required (Including 1 night at Gaathafushi island).

AWAY Spa, W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
AWAY Spa, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives

For bookings: +960 665 0222 or [email protected]

Exploring The Underwater Realm On Board ‘Coral’

A first on Kuramathi, embark on a trip on board ‘Coral’, the resort’s very own glass-bottomed boat and glimpse through the wonders the Maldives has to offer without dipping a toe in the water. An experienced skipper will glide the boat over the stunning reefs of Rasdhoo, ‘Giri’; a famed site and lastly at the famous shipwreck in Kuramathi. Taking a total of 45 minutes, the trip lets you witness fish of every colour and size as they dart underneath the glass viewing panels on the boat.

Glass Bottom Boat, Kuramathi Island Resort
Glass Bottom Boat, Kuramathi Island Resort

Alternatively, you could choose from a guided tour with the resident marine biologist who discusses interesting sea life you may come across and answering any questions you may have. The boat follows the same journey as the normal excursion, however after the wreck, you will be taken to see the underwater coral nursery and explained what its purpose is.

Glass Bottom Boat, Kuramathi Island Resort

For those seeking a private charter of the glass-bottomed boat, the option is open as well as you get to discover secret reefs of the Rasdhoo archipelago. Allowing a capacity of 6 guests you’re bound to uncover a wealth of marine knowledge with the aid of the marine biologist who joins on this educative expedition!

Underwater, Kuramathi Island Resort

Book this experience at Aqua Sports & Fun Excursions Centre!

World Environment Day and World Ocean Day celebration at Kuramathi

The eco-friendly resort laid out an extensive program for its guests on both dates to encourage awareness of the environment and by engaging in fun, educative activities.

Aerial view, Kuramathi Island Resort
Kuramathi Island Resort

On World Environment Day, the agenda included a Nature Tour of Kuramathi guided by the Chief Engineer as he delved into the operational areas of the resort. Starting from the iconic 300 year old Banyan Tree to the powerhouse and desalination plant, the stroll consisted of spiels focused on the sustainability practices integrated in the resort operations, highlighting their importance and how cost-efficient and conservative it is, in terms of energy consumption. The tour ended with the guests getting freshly plucked coconuts from the towering palm trees of Kuramathi with a mini demonstration of the art of coconut plucking.

Earth Week, Kuramathi Island Resort
World Ocean Day, Kuramathi Island Resort

On World Ocean Day, a group of enthusiastic divers comprising of dive instructors, team members and guests took a giant stride into the lagoon with a mission; to collect as much debris as possible. Their efforts achieved fruition, as each diver bravely presented garbage in all forms, from rusty steel pipes, to old tires and plastic bottles lying about on the ocean floor. After a group photograph of their bountiful search, they celebrated by toasting each other with coconuts on the beach.

World Ocean Day, World Environment Day, Kuramathi Island Resort
World Ocean Day, World Environment Day, Kuramathi Island Resort

Later that day, a special documentary was screened to showcase the importance of the day and how the environment is susceptible to the human footprint. It was a successful event and Kuramathi stands elated, and ready to host another event next year.

Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort Announces Enticing Special Opening Rates

An idyllic Maldivian sense of arrival and place enhances a truly experiential value offering from August 2015 

The Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, which opens on 1 August 2015, has announced special limited period opening rates up to 31 October 2015.

Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

The special net rates are: Beach Pool Villa US$516, Ocean Pool Villa US$726, and Two-Bedroom Beach Pool Villa US$898. All rates include 10% service and 12% GST.

For guests who stay for a minimum of four nights, the rates will include daily breakfast, three excursions to breathtakingly scenic island locations, a US$100 credit per person towards activities at the dive and activity center, and a 20-minute Navasana Spa experience for each guest.

Ocean Pool Villas, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Ocean Pool Villas, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

“This is an exciting time as we put the final touches on the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort and prepare for an August 1st opening,” said General Manager Pascal Billon.

“We encourage travelers to take advantage of our special limited period opening rates and be among the first to experience Outrigger Resorts’ newest island destination. Beach lovers can expect a superlative tropical island setting, our acclaimed Outrigger service and a choice of idyllic excursions in paradise,” Mr Billon said.

For honeymooners, the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort is offering value-added complementary features in addition to the above rates: a bath ritual with candles and rose petals, one in-villa breakfast per stay, a bottle of sparkling wine, romantic bed decoration, and 15% off one a la carte Navasana Spa treatment during the stay.

Navasana Spa, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Navasana Spa, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

To qualify, couples need only confirm their marriage was in the six months before check-in. The honeymooners’ value-added offer is available until further notice.

The Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort is located in the stunning atoll of Gaafu Dhaalu, 340 kilometres south of Malé. The Outrigger is accessible via a 55-minute flight to Kaadedhdhoo Airport, followed by a 30-minute luxury speedboat journey. Check-in takes place aboard the boat, leaving guests free to enjoy a unique sense of arrival at the idyllic island.

Dining, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

Round-trip transfers between the international airport in Maldivian capital, Male and the hotel (domestic flight and boat) will be arranged by the hotel and charged at US$490 per adult, US$245 per child (2-12 yrs), and free for babies under two years old who don’t require a separate seat. Transfer charges are inclusive of taxes. The baggage allowance is 20kg per person and 5kg for hand luggage. The domestic flight and sea transfer is compulsory and is arranged by Outrigger.

For full terms and conditions and further information about the special opening offers at Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, visit outriggermaldives.com. Email: [email protected] Tel: +960 684 7771.

LUX* Maldives Reinforces Local Support For Coral Reefs Conservation

In line with the continuous effort to safeguard the biodiversity and resilience of coral reefs throughout the South Ari Atoll, LUX* Maldives announces that its Marine Biologist Center will start implementing a coral reef monitoring project.

This new conservation project aims to preserve and protect the marine ecosystems around Dhidhoofinolhu island and increase the guest’s awareness about the importance to adopt sustainable environmental practices in order to protect coral reefs, the most diverse and vulnerable ecosystem in the ocean.

LUX* Maldives
LUX* Maldives

LUX* Maldives’ Marine Biologist Chiara Mascetti, has therefore conducted a workshop regarding coral reefs and climate changes in the Maldives with the participation of Gabriel Grimsditch, Senior Project Officer at IUCN, the world’s largest environment network. She has been trained on how to recognize coral bleaching and how to collect relevant information and data in order to “help scientists and managers at a national level, to have a better understanding and general trends of health of coral reefs and to identify which parts of the reef are healthy, recovering or damaged”, explains Gabriel Grimsditch.

“Monitoring and understanding what is happening on the reef and developing Marine Managed Areas is crucial to implement effective environmental management strategies and decide where to focus our efforts” adds Chiara Mascetti, the Marine Biologist.

Diving, LUX* Maldives
Diving, LUX* Maldives

LUX* Maldives has also received recently the Green Fins certification which rewards diving-centers for their environmentally friendly tourism activities. Through the implementation of the Green Fins Code of Conduct, LUX* Maldives world-class PADI Diving Center Euro-Divers will ensure to promote and encourage responsible diving behaviors towards all its guests.

“LUX* Maldives has always been highly dedicated to the principles of responsible tourism to lead the way for a brighter future. We are particularly proud to strengthen our support to local institutions and national research programmes to preserve, sustain and restore our reefs, which are home to an incredible array of wildlife”, says Shaun Dünhofen, General Manager of the resort.

Turtle, Reef, LUX* Maldives
Reef, LUX* Maldives

LUX* Maldives’ Marine Biology Center also organizes all sorts of research programs and activities for guests of all ages to raise awareness about marine conservation in the South Ari Atoll of the Maldives.

LUX* Maldives
LUX* Maldives

About REGENERATE Project – IUCN

The project REGENERATE, a partnership project between IUCN, USAID and the Government of the Maldives, aims at developing a Resilience-Based Management (RBM) framework to improve the ability of policymakers and stakeholders in the Maldives to understand and address the risks from global, regional and local-scale pressures on their environment.

About Green Fins Initiative

The Green Fins initiative has been initiated by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) under the Regional Seas programme as part of the effort to increase public awareness and management practices that will benefit the conservation of coral reefs and reduce unsustainable tourism practices. It is overseen by the Coral Reef Unit of UNEP based in Bangkok in collaboration with Reef-World. Green Fins is a comprehensive approach that encourages dive centers and snorkel operators, local communities and governments to work together to reduce their environmental impacts.

Greenfins

A Hedonist’s Guide To Epicurean Dining

Living up to its reputation as the best kept secret in the Maldives; Kandolhu Island is a 5-star rated boutique resort set in the middle of the Ari Atoll. With just 30 contemporary villas, it boasts the highest restaurants to villas ratio in the Maldives with four gourmet restaurants on offer. If this isn’t enough to tempt you to make the best of your experience in the Maldives, Kandolhu delivers the perfect formula; the Ultimate Inclusions package.

Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island
Dining, Kandolhu Island

Using this add-on you can dine in any of the 4 intimate, à la carte restaurants during their opening hours. This means embarking on a culinary journey of international cuisines, ranging from Italian to Indian, Mediterranean and fresh seafood to Japanese fare. Enhance your dining experience even further with the eclectic selection of 30 International wines that are included in the package, or delight in a glass or two in your villa as the premium drinks are stocked your very own personal in-villa wine chiller.

Kandolhu Island
Kandolhu Island
Ocean Pool Villa, Kandolhu Island
Ocean Pool Villa, Kandolhu Island

That is just a small portion of what the package offers. The Ultimate Inclusion also lets you enjoy a 10% discount on any treatment at Varu Spa and offers you a choice of one private Snorkelling Tour around Kandolhu house reef with guide aboard Stingray speedboat, including the use of the Sunset Pavilion, or one Champagne + Canapé Sunset cruise, once per person per stay. What more could you ask for on your well-earned holiday in a remote island destination.

Spa, Kandolhu Island
Spa, Kandolhu Island

Ultimate Inclusions is your perfect recipe for that faultless getaway in the Maldives. Escape reality in Kandolhu, your magical sanctuary.

Water Villa, Kandolhu Island
Water Villa, Kandolhu Island

Kurumba Maldives Celebrates International Children’s Day

Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children's Day, Kurumba Maldives
Children’s Day, Kurumba Maldives

On Saturday June 13th Children’s Day 2015 by welcoming 27 Maldivian children, aged between 2 and 15, from the orphanage “Kudakudhinge Hiyaa”, on Villingili Island, to enjoy an exciting afternoon of fun filled activities at the resort. This is the third year running that Kurumba has celebrated International Children’s Day along with the children of Kudakudhinge Hiyaa. After a thrilling speedboat ride from Villingili island to Kurumba, the children delighted in spotting fish and baby sharks along the jetty of the resort. Then at the Majaa Recreation Center the children enjoyed a delicious buffet and sweet treats laid on by Kurumba’s team of chefs. This was then followed by team games accompanied by Kurumba’s mascots and a piñata, culminating in the distribution of candy and a goody bag for every child. Mohamed Najmee, Operations Manager of Kurumba Maldives stated: “This year we unfortunately had to postpone the occasion due to the weather conditions, however the team was fully committed to carry out this event for the enjoyment of the children. We at Kurumba endeavor to support our local community through events and projects like this.” The Kudakudhinge Hiyaa orphanage, on Villingili Island houses children between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old. This self-supporting charity requires help from the local community and travel industry in order to continue to provide a homely, safe, caring and educational environment for these children. Kurumba Maldives has an ongoing commitment to Kudakudhinge Hiyaa and over the past 2 years has provided numerous improvements to the orphanage’s residential areas. These include upgrades to the kitchen, laundry, play areas, CCTV and installing new computers, along with providing ongoing consumables such as linen, cleaning equipment, toys and complimentary repairs and maintenance.

Kurumba Maldives
Kurumba Maldives

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa – the perfect secluded island getaway

By Amelia Kingsley

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is, by far, one of the best places I’ve been to, not only because it is one of the most spectacular, luxurious resorts in the Maldives, but because of the overall experience I had there. I was there for two days, but I could easily write a 100-page book on it. Yes! It was that amazing and I cannot stop gushing to everyone about it. If I were to sum up my experience I’d have to say I was spoiled rotten by luxury in paradise. In Hadahaa life is in slow motion, you will only see happy faces and from the moment you step on the island to the moment you leave you are pampered by the resort’s top-notch service, including private butler service.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Design and eco-friendliness

Two things that really struck me were the resort’s stunning design and untouched natural beauty. The fact that a four-year-old resort has trees that are normally found in uninhabited islands, which are hundreds of years old, is a testament to the fact that the resort was built in such a way that little or no harm was inflicted on the island’s virgin beauty. During my tour of the island I got to know and witnessed the resort’s commitment to nature and water conservation, energy efficiency and its contributions to the local community. The villas and other structures on the island have been designed to be extremely appealing and convenient. The resort certainly did not leave any room for me to complain. This charming little island is truly a treat for the eyes and the heart.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Snorkeling

Anyone who has gone diving or snorkeling in Hadahaa would definitely agree with me when I say that the world under the sea is more fascinating than the one above. I have seen several islands and resorts but untouched, living corals near the shoreline or water villas are a rare sight. On the first day, while walking on the jetty I noticed colorful living corals near the shoreline and I was instantly smitten. Even without seeing the rest of the island I knew I would want to visit Hadahaa again. Although I wanted to dive in immediately I had to contain my excitement for the following day. And when I finally did go snorkeling the next day, the overly confident me jumped off the jetty thinking that I would snorkel around the island. But unfortunately my unhealthy body, that loves anything that screams sugar and calories, refused to comply. And so I snorkeled between the jetty and the water villas. The marine life is so alive and rich that I could have stayed in the sea for the entire two days.

Snorkeling, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Spa

What better way to end the most perfect and luxurious two-day getaway than a relaxing spa treatment! My one-hour massage at the Vidhun Spa was in the morning of the day I departed from the island. The spa incorporates local elements into its treatments, most of which are given local (Dhivehi) names. I had a cup of refreshing tender coconut water and was escorted to the treatment villa which I absolutely loved, due to its privacy. There was a private shower, a toilet and a changing area. I received Vidhun’s signature Sehathu (meaning ‘health’ in Dhivehi) massage. The soothing aroma and the soft, experienced touch was something I could get used to. At the end of the one-hour massage, which to me felt like ten minutes, I hated to tear myself from the bed.

The Vidhun Spa, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is located in North Huvadhoo Atoll. Huvadhoo Atoll is one of the largest and deepest natural atolls in the world and has over 230 islands out of which only a handful are inhabited.

The reception/lounge area is an upturned Dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) structure, which gives a unique touch to the resort.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

There is a huge beach area where you can sit and watch the sunset or stargaze while sipping your favorite drinks or have a romantic dinner.

Stargazing, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa