Maldives Travel Awards Judging Begins this Week

The official judging process for the MATATO Maldives Travel Awards 2016 has started this week at Hotel Jen in the capital Male’.

From October 3rd until October 9th, this year’s judging panel will shortlist three nominees for each of the 35 different categories. The finalists will then receive visits from the judges before the overall marks are determined.

These marks will then be added to the online and SMS voting, which have both been open since September 18th and will close on November 15th – shortly before the official awards ceremony.

The final results will be collated by KPMG, the Independent Service Provider of this year’s awards, who will collect the scores and votes directly from the judges and telecoms providers Ooredoo and Dhiraagu.

Award categories included this year cover resorts, hotels and guesthouses, liveaboards/diving/watersports, and transportation & technology. New categories for the 2016 edition include ‘Leading Travel Website’, ‘Leading Guest House Island’, ‘Leading Innovation in Guest-House Design’, ‘Leading F&B Outlet’, and ‘Leading Airport Lounge’.

Big winners in 2015 included Bandos Island Resort (‘Best Dive Resort’ and ‘Most Supportive Resort’), PER AQUUM resorts (‘Most Romantic Resort’ – Per Aquum Huvafenfushi; ‘Leading F & B Resort’ – Per Aquum Niyama), and Anantara resorts (‘Leading Beach Resort in the Maldives’ – Anantara Kihavah Villas; ‘Leading Wellness and Spa Resort’ – Anantara Veli Resort; ‘Leading Spa Brand’ – Anantara Spa; ‘Leading International Hotel & Resort Brand’).

The awards were launched in 2011 to recognise and celebrate the leading lights in the Maldives’ famed tourism industry. They went international for the first time in 2015, when the final event took place in Dubai.

The full list of judges for this year’s awards is as follows:

1- Dr. Hussain Sunny Umar

2- Dr. Mariyam Waseema

3- Mr. Mohamed Areef

4- Mr. Ibrahim Nasreen

5- Ms. Zeenaz Hussain

6- Mr. Ibrahim Asim

7- Ms. Aminath Shaanee

8- Mr. Mohamed Shinaz

9- Mr. Ibrahim Mahudhee

Maldives.com is proud to be an associate partner of this year’s MATATO Maldives Travel Awards.

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TME Retreats Dhigurah

TME Retreats Dhigurah is a hotel that offers the fullest sense of intimacy on the beautiful island of Dhigurah. The property is well-equipped with modern convenience as well as amenities. The hotel is located a little far from the village, but that does not hinder guests from enjoying the unique island lifestyle of the Maldives.

Guests can stroll along the refined, white sandy beach with a length of more than three kilometers. You will feel as though you have the beach all to your own. For divers, the hotel is located in the renowned diving sites such as Manta Point and Kuda Rah Thila. The area is also particularly popular for spotting whale sharks and manta rays.

Jumeirah Vittaveli Unveils 5-Bedroom Royal Residence

The lavish Royal Residence will be the perfect playground for the extraordinary traveller – opens on January 2017

Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives has announced the resort’s much anticipated Royal Residence will open in January 2017. The 5-bedroom / 6 bathroom retreat will cover 3,500 square metres and include a private beach, two pools, and a private arrival jetty.

Amit Majumder, General Manager, Jumeirah Vittaveli, said: “The Royal Residence adds another dimension of luxury to Jumeirah Vittaveli. This completely self-sufficient hideaway includes its own arrival jetty with overwater bar, an open air kitchen, restaurant, private beach, two pools, spa and gym, separate living and dining pavilion as well as separate service quarters. Guests can enjoy unrivalled privacy while still having all the activities and facilities of an award-winning resort at their fingertips. We have put much thought into planning out each little detail of the Royal Residence and I am confident that guests will be amazed by the level of service as well as privacy that they will experience when staying at this new ultimate tropical retreat.”

Entrance, Royal Residence, Jumeirah Vittaveli
Entrance, Jumeirah Vittaveli

The Royal Residence experience will begin as soon as guests arrive in the Maldives. They will receive priority customs service and a personal welcome at the airport, followed by a 20-minute luxury yacht transfer to the island. A traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru reception awaits, comprising a group of drummers and dancers who greet guests at the private jetty. The Royal Residence Manager will take everyone on a brief tour of the luxurious residence.

The journey will lead guests past a sunken lounge surrounded by a fragrant lily pond, to a full sized swimming pool looking out across the private beach. A dining room seating 10 with adjacent living room including Bang & Olufsen™ home theatre system is connected to the pool deck, with an open air Teppanyaki style live kitchen on the far end overlooking the infinite ocean. An indoor fully stocked kitchen and wine cellar by nolte™ is the domain of the personal chef, while separate service quarters house up to four additional personnel.

The Suite Master Bedroom, Jumeirah Vittaveli
The Suite Master Bedroom, Jumeirah Vittaveli

‘The Sanctuary’ (530sqm) includes the Master Bedroom, as well as a separate indoor living area, private spa treatment room and private gym outfitted with state-of-the-art Life Fitness™ equipment. An indoor bathroom with his and hers vanities and oversized stone bathtub by Kelly Hoppen™ is complemented by an outdoor bathing area featuring a Jacuzzi with inbuilt TV. ‘The Villas’ (240 sqm & 195 sqm), one with king-size bed and one with twin bed, flank The Sanctuary and pool to the North and South – both including their own private open air deck as well as walk-in wardrobe and stone bathtub. ‘The Suite’ connects through a portico to the Royal Residence and includes one king-sized and one twin bedded room, as well as separate living room and a 49 square metre private pool.

The Suite Exterior, Jumeirah Vittaveli
The Suite, Jumeirah Vittaveli

Guests of the Royal Residence will enjoy access to all facilities of Jumeirah Vittaveli via dedicated buggy and chauffeur, including a PADI Dive base, water sports centre, four restaurants and two bars, Kuda Koli Kids’ Club with family pool, and a Talise Spa with overwater and garden treatment rooms. With its focus on understated luxury and cultural connection, Jumeirah Vittaveli offers guests a true Maldivian island experience.

MMPRC signs as Associate Partner for first Travel Trade Show of Maldives

Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has signed an MOU with Maldives Getaways Pvt Ltd to become an Associate Partner for first Travel Trade Show of Maldives (TTM).

Travel Trade Maldives (TTM) is the platform that connects the travel trade community of the Maldives to the global network of travel agents easily and instantly. Staged annually in Maldives, TTM will be the leading global event for the luxury travel trade industry of Maldives. It will be a vibrant must attend business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of hoteliers to local & International travel professionals.

TTM aims to facilitate the tourism industry of Maldives to reach the ultimate target of 2 million tourists with over $3.5 billion in receipts by the end of 2020.

More than 300 hoteliers, suppliers, related industries and travel professionals from Maldives and abroad are expected to visit TTM to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends in Maldives.

SPEED NETWORKING

Speed networking sessions bring together exhibitors and selected buyers in one-to-one meeting sessions. TTM will arrange meetings for up to 20 minutes to facilitate constructive meetings which will produce results! You can use this time to not only exchange cards and introduce but to brief products and services, discuss prices and even explore ways to work in the future.

The Venue & Dates

TTM 2017 will be held in Dharubaaruge, Male’ Maldives. TTM 2017 will be held in July 2017 from morning till evening, promising two full days of serious business.

Events & Facilities

Travel Talks – These are interactive talk sessions presented by the leading industry stakeholders of Maldives and the international travel market. These stakeholders are renowned professionals, industry experts, specialists and achievers, and research authors of the markets. The sessions will be scheduled in a flow that will not disrupt the meetings, ensuring not only business but a learning experience.

Predesigned state-of-the-art booths – Booths at TTM will be spaced and designed to meet the sole objective of hosting productive meetings. The booths will be equipped with all the necessary equipment and comfortable furniture to ensure the perfect environment. Business Centre – TTM2017 will feature a comprehensive Business Centre with the perfect environment for buyers and exhibitors to network and hold additional meetings with prospected partners. The centre will include amenities and facilities such as concierge service, printing and photocopying, free Internet and Wi-Fi, luggage storage, phone charging stations, etc.

Meal and Refreshment Zone – The show will feature a trendy full scale meal and refreshment zone serving a rich variety of foods and drinks for the participants. Photo and Art Gallery – TTM will feature a photo and art gallery that will exhibit the finest works of leading professional photographers and artists related to the travel and tourism world. The gallery will communicate breathtaking tales about Maldives, the history and the future of the tourism industry.

Closing Gala Event – TTM will host a VIP Closing Gala Event to mark the closing celebrations of the event. The Gala Event will feature keynote speakers who are international hospitality veterans; gift exchanging; a classy dinner with rich and exotic Maldivian tastes; live music by leading artists; and of course the opportunity to network with the highest executives, decision makers, and market shapers of the industry.

EXHIBITOR PROFILES

Resort and Hotels Chains and individual Resorts and Hotels, National and State Government Agencies, Industry Service Providers, Financial Institutions, Business/ Luxury Travel Agents and Tour Operators, Destination Marketing and PR Companies, Insurance Companies, Marine and Land Transport Companies, Airlines; and News and Media Corporations.

VISITOR PROFILES

International Business/Luxury Travel Agents and Tour Operators, Destination Marketing and PR Companies, Travel Bloggers, Airlines; and News and Media Corporations.

TOTAL PARTCIPANTS

150 International Travel Agents & local travel agents

100 Resorts/Hotels

50 Partners/Journalists/Bloggers/PR Specialists/Media

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.”

9 Little Things From the Maldives

When people travel to the Maldives, more often than not it is for the big things; expanses of aquamarine, sublime sunsets and captivating coral reefs.

However, with more than 100 resorts to choose from across the 26 atolls, the race is on to give guests the ultimate experience. With the world’s hospitality experts working night and day to outdo one another, it’s the fine details – from service and design to architectural quirks – that set the resorts apart.

So, here are a few of the ‘little’ things that we’ve noticed on our recent trips.

Stingrays at Coral Reef

The relaxed atmosphere of Taj Vivanta’s Coral Reef resort is accentuated by the daily feeding of the stingrays, who have become firm favourites in the island community. 5pm every day means it’s time to head to the beach and watch these normally-graceful creatures slurp up the surf, with  guests encouraged to help!!

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Champagne Phone at Finolhu

In a resort with such keen attention to detail, classy quirks can be found all over Baa Atoll’s Finolhu beach club haven. But this 1960s vintage model phone, provided exclusively to order champagne, is perhaps the best example of the retro luxury on offer.

Bicycles at Six Senses

With most islands averaging between 1 and 2 km squared, getting around your resort is never a problem. But, for those who find themselves racing to catch that sunset, or a little late for their spa appointment – bicycles are often provided, which is nice. Even nicer is YOUR own bicycle, personalised and waiting for you upon arrival at Six Senses Laamu.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Club Med Kani

Better known as a hive of activity, with an endless array of activities and entertainment, life on Club Med Kani is overseen by a towering Banyan tree around which the resort seems to revolve. The presence of nature in the midst of luxury.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Solar Power at Finolhu Villas

Designed as the first fully solar-powered resort, Club Med Finolhu Villas proudly shows off its renewable raison d’être with a corridor of panels greeting guests on their arrival. The solar streets continue up to your water villa.

Photogrpahy: Naj
Photogrpahy: Naj

Wedding Pavilion at Taj Exotica

With its wealth of dining options, even regular guests at Taj Exotica will struggle to make their way through the menu. For the more romantically-inclined however, they can spice up their meals by reserving the wedding pavilion. Its unusual stone construction puts one in mind of a sacrificial altar – though candles and fine wine is probably sufficient to demonstrate your feelings.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Pillow Menu at Naladhu

The gated island community of Naladhu is designed as the ultimate home from home – if you happen to live in a tropical paradise. With 24 room service and the personal touch spreading to the contents of the bookshelf, guests can even choose from a sample of pillows, bringing new levels of ergonomic excellence.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Wooden Hearts at Anantara Veli

Dedicated to couples, those celebrating special occasions while on Anantara Veli may well find themselves invited for cocktails in the island’s garden, after which they can leave their mark amidst the orchids.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Bathing at Dhigu

Clearly a favourite of architects, bathrooms in the Maldives never fail to impress – from liberating outdoor rain showers to cinematic views from the tub. Anantara Dhigu’s water villas are a perfect example, with the artistic simplicity of your tub almost as thought-provoking as the view beyond.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Maldives participates at the Sichuan International Travel EXPO 2016

The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) along with top industry professionals worldwide are taking part at the Sichuan International Travel EXPO (SCITE) in the Emeishan City of Leshan in Sichuan Province from 23rd September to 28th September 2016. This year buyers and sellers from 45 different countries are scheduled to appear at the Expo.

The expo which kicked off today targets on featuring the highest level, larger scale and variety of travel products of different ranges from various countries or regions.

During the SCITE expo, this year the EMEI Global Summit and the Asian Pacific Tour Operator Seminar will take place on the first day. From the 23rd to 24th September will be B2B where Buyers and Sellers will be conducting business meetings whereas starting from the 25th to 28th September the fair will be opened to general public.

To diversify and raise number of participating countries as exhibitors in SCITE, Maldives was invited to take part in this 3 rd Edition of SCITE. Eminently, Maldives is already a popular beach destination among Chinese travellers. By exhibiting in SCITE the destination can reach new potential travellers and raise awareness about the destination and in this specific, vivid and interactive approach to the market will provide Maldives with a major platform to boost visitors to the destination. Hence this expo is a great platform to showcase the products and services offered in Maldives and to conduct one on one meeting with top buyers from both domestic and international sectors.

As the Chinese Market remains the number one source market for the Maldivian tourism industry. By July 2016 a total of 194,220 Chinese tourists has spent their holidays in the Maldives. To ensure a steadier flow of tourist from the market more marketing and promotional efforts need to be carried out. Hence this expo is a great platform to showcase the products and services offered in Maldives and to conduct one on one meeting with top buyers from both domestic and international sectors.

Participation in the 3rd SCITE will ensure destination awareness to a new potential region in China. After a successful event, more Chinese travellers could be attracted to the destination.