Milaidhoo Maldives invites guests to swim with Manta Rays

In Baa Atoll the summer months of June to November mean only one thing: manta ray season. This is when mantas (Manta alfredi), in their hundreds, migrate to the atoll’s plankton-rich waters for astounding animal-viewing opportunities unequalled anywhere else on the planet. The recently-opened Milaidhoo Maldives is perfectly located for prime manta ray viewing, being only about 12-minutes by speedboat from Hanifaru Bay, which is known as the biggest manta feeding station in the world.

During the season Milaidhoo offers trips to snorkel with mantas up to three times a week, with the timings being coordinated with Hanifaru Bay park rangers to ensure guests enjoy the most rewarding sighting opportunities. Guests can go in group trips or book a private excursion, perhaps adding on a picnic on a deserted sandbank or a cruise to a local island for a truly memorable day.  The resort’s resident marine biologist will be happy to join excursions to make this a meaningful learning experience.

Hanifaru Bay is a protected marine reserve which is carefully managed with entry limited to a small number of visitors every day to conserve the environment. Known as the world’s largest manta ray feeding station, it’s also famous for being nursery grounds for grey sharks and stingrays and is one of the very few places in the world where whale sharks congregate to mate.  It’s best known for its concentration of reef manta rays, where on good days it’s possible to see and swim alongside a hundred mantas.

Manta Rays, Milaidhoo Maldives
Manta Rays, Milaidhoo Maldives

For the newly opened Milaidhoo Maldives, this is particularly exciting as this will be the luxury resort’s first year to greet these spectacular seasonal visitors. Preparations to make this as meaningful an experience as possible for guests are being made with passion, from arranging personalised alerts to creating bespoke manta watching tours. The staff at the Ocean Stories Aquatic Centre are ready to teach guests about the gentle giants of the ocean and how to ensure encounters are safe for the animal. The team have identified several secret spots outside of the marine reserve for yet more private and personal one-on-one manta snorkelling.  Divers can enjoy spectacular scuba diving at special dive sites within Baa atoll where manta rays can also often be found.

To make this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity even more tempting, Milaidhoo has launched a special summer offer of 40% off its published rates.

What are manta rays? Not to be confused with the much more common sting rays, manta rays are peaceful, large (from 4m up to 8m in size) filter feeders, sucking in plankton. Listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they’re not always easy to find in the wild. Hanifaru Bay, and certain ‘cleaning stations’ within the Baa atoll offer some of the best places in the world to see manta rays from June to November.

Aerial, Milaidhoo Maldives
Milaidhoo Maldives

Maldivian-owned Milaidhoo Island Maldives opened in November 2016 and is proudly rooted in the local island traditions, curating a bespoke selection of experiences to showcase the destination. Set on a tiny island in the Baa Atoll’s beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, each of Milaidhoo’s 50 private villas have been designed by a local Maldivian architect and each thatched-roof villa features generous private pools and is serviced by Island Hosts. The villas are just a short, barefoot stroll away to three world-class restaurants, incredible watersports, fitness, spa, yoga and world-class diving. Milaidhoo is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Manta season has kicked off around Olhuveli Beach and Spa Maldives

The Maldives is one of the world’s hotspots for manta ray activity and is home to the largest and most studied populations on the planet. In fact, this archipelago is one of the best places to visit if you want to enjoy diving with mantas. But you might like to know that there is a precise relation between the location you intend visiting and the period of the year you choose.

The reason is that manta rays are filter feeders and eat huge amounts of plankton. While planning your trip, it is important to understand which is the right location to meet mantas, depending on the time of the year.

A haven of natural tranquility, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives is a top destination for seeing some of the world’s rarest sea creatures. Until November, enjoy the ‘manta ray season’, offering divers, snorkelers and even dry-land spectators an even greater chance of spotting one of nature’s unusual creatures.

They thrive in the Maldives’ waters. Especially during the summer months when the higher level of plankton in the water and prevailing winds and currents of the hot weather entice rays of all sizes to migrate to Olhuveli’s tempting shores. One of the most exciting experiences Olhuveli offers with manta rays is seeing them from the jetty at dusk, when its spotlights entice shoals of frenzied fishy activity.

These muscular creatures flip in and out of the water. A wonderful experience for those wanting to watch nature’s theatre played out to the backdrop of a perfect sunset.

To snorkel or dive with manta rays is an almost indescribable experience. They move through the water with such grace, gently soaring through the turquoise lagoons, over reefs bursting with life. It is truly a magical feeling to see these creatures fly through the water. Manta Rays are inquisitive by nature and if you can control your excitement and remain still, the rays will swim around you with tremendous elegance.

Manta Ray season, Olhuveli Beach and Spa MaldivesOlhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives

Nestled amid lush tropical vegetation and shaded by graceful palms. Encircled by stretches of powdery sandy beach and a vast crystal clear lagoon, a truly breathtaking island with plenty of secluded sandbanks where paradise seekers escaping from the pressures of daily modern life can forget the outside world and let go of all inhibitions.

Beautifully designed villas stand over turquoise waters, fusing modern flair with traditional architecture, white sandy beaches giving way to endless sea views that stretch for miles. It is truly a place where mind and body can relax, the senses can be invigorated and spirit will feel soothed.

Set in the turquoise heart of the Indian Ocean that is Maldives, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives is situated at the tip of South Male’ Atoll and offers one of the best luxury water villa accommodations, restaurants and recreation activities. It is made easily accessible by a 45-minute exhilarating speedboat transfer from Velana International Airport.

For more information: www.sunsiyam.com

Manta Trust expeditions aboard Four Seasons Explorer

A rare opportunity to join a thrilling seven-night research odyssey studying the Maldives’ most exciting residents, manta rays and whale sharks

If swimming with manta rays and whale sharks isn’t already on one’s bucket list, it most definitely should be. Words cannot capture the wonder of sharing the water with some of the ocean’s most majestic marine marvels – and with Four Seasons Explorer Manta Trust Expeditions, one doesn’t even need to be a diver to get in on the action.

Following the success of the annual Manta Trust Expedition, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives announces the dates for the upcoming year’s manta-focused cruises: August 17 to 24 and August 30 to September 7, 2017.

Manta Trust expeditions aboard Four Seasons ExplorerConceived in conjunction with The Manta Trust – the world’s leading manta ray charity – and escorted by its founder and world-renowned manta expert Guy Stevens, the two all-inclusive seven-day expeditions (with the option of shorter 3- and 4-night cruises within the dates) will immerse participants in every fascinating aspect of the Trust’s research and conservation efforts.

The expedition dates reflect The Manta Trust’s peak sighting predictions, based on the southwest current movements of plankton (mantas’ and whales sharks’ favourite food) through the Baa and Ari Atolls. Each exclusive expedition route will take daily climatic and environmental factors into consideration to maximise the chances of successful encounters – and with 2016’s expeditions boasting a 100 percent sighting success rate, the scene is set for some exhilarating encounters.

Manta rays and whale sharks feed at the surface of the ocean, making the expeditions suitable for divers and non-divers alike.

As honorary researchers, all expedition participants are encouraged to engage in every aspect of the conservation experience: learning how to freedive and take ID photos; contributing to data collection; helping record critical environmental information; participating in workshops and even naming any mantas new to the Trust’s database.

Hosted aboard the Maldives’ fastest and most luxurious liveaboard, Four Seasons Explorer, the all-inclusive itineraries also give participants effortless access to a side of the Maldives rarely experienced by tourists: remote snorkel hotspots, secluded cultural experiences, isolated craft village visits, deserted sandbank barbecues, castaway beach massages, uncrowded water sports and spectacular daily sunrises and sunsets, afloat in the middle of the world’s most mesmerising aquatic nation.

Manta Trust expeditions aboard Four Seasons ExplorerFor rates and bookings, contact the Reservations Department tel: (960) 66 00 888 or email: [email protected]

Four Seasons and The Maldivian Manta Ray Project (founding project of The Manta Trust)

Based at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru since 2006, The Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) is one of the world’s longest running manta ray research and conservation initiatives. It is also the founding project of The Manta Trust – the world’s leading manta ray charity – established to co-ordinate global research and conservation efforts for manta rays, their close relatives and their habitats. Thanks to the work of the MMRP at Landaa Giraavaru, the Maldivian manta ray population is one of the most intensely studied in the world, placing it at the forefront of international manta ray research and conservation: most notably, the successful 2013 listing of manta rays on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In addition to collecting data on the manta rays it encounters, MMRP also studies environmental and climatic factors, as well as tourism and human interactions, contributing vital knowledge to global research efforts.

The Season of Manta Rays at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

The waters of the pristine Baa Atoll around Four Seasons Resort Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru are some of the richest in the Maldives.  Declared a UNESCO World Biosphere in July 2011, the Atoll is home to nine core protected areas including Hanifaru Bay and Baathala, two renowned manta ray hotspots within easy reach of the Resort.

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru offers our guests a once-in-a-lifetime chance from June to October to get up close and personal with majestic manta rays and the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark. During this time of the year, a combination of southwestern monsoon currents and lunar tides bring large quantities of planktonic shrimp (mantas’ favourite food) to various sites around Landaa Giraavaru, attracting large numbers of manta rays.

The manta rays with wing-like pectoral fins that stretch to a length of 13 to 15 feet (4 to 4.5 metres) move gracefully through the water while feeding with their enormous mouths. Having one of the largest comparable brain sizes of any marine animal makes them highly curious, resulting in some very close snorkelling encounters.

The Season of Manta Rays at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Guests who visit the Resort during the months of June and November 2017 can also sign up for the Resort’s Manta on Call service: a thrilling experience that sees them collected from wherever they are in the Resort when mantas are spotted and whisked away in a speedboat to snorkel with them. Guests are provided with Manta Phone on which they will be called immediately when mantas are sighted.

Hot dates for a Manta Visual Feast – 2017

Guy Stevens – founder of the world-renowned Manta Trust – has identified the below hot dates for 2017 when manta rays are most likely to converge at renowned local feeding and cleaning sites:

  • June 7 to 11
  • June 22 to 26
  • July 7 to 11
  • July 21 to 25
  • August 5 to 9
  • August 19 to 23
  • September 4 to 8
  • September 18 to 22
  • October 3 to 7
  • October 17 to 21
  • November 2 to 4
  • November 16 to 21

Please note that sightings are subject to weather conditions and the temperaments of the mantas themselves.

Aerial, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Manta Watch!

Available from June 7 to November 21, 2017, the Manta Watch! package is perfect for guests who seek to experience the best of the manta season. The Manta Watch! package at Landaa Giraavaru includes:

  • Round trip airport transfers by seaplane for two
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two
  • One Manta-on-Call snorkelling excursion for two persons by speedboat
  • A personal coral frame propagation
  • One dolphin cruise and marine biologist briefing for two

The four-night package starts from USD 6,285 and it is subject to 10 percent service charge and all applicable taxes.

For rates and reservations, contact your travel consultant, book online or call the central reservations department of Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at tel: (960) 66 00 888 or email: [email protected]

Environmentally Conscious Kurumba Maldives Staff Rescue Corals

A team of volunteers joined forces with Kurumba staff on Wednesday (December 17) to rescue corals from a land reclamation project and help create the largest coral frames in the Maldives.

Thanks to the efforts of the team two massive 20ft coral frames packed with transplanted coral have been created on the house reef at Kurumba. The two adjacent frames are the largest of their kind in the Maldives and together form a new 40ft-long coral garden.

Kurumba Corals
Kurumba Corals

The group of Kurumba staff, Maldivians, expats and local NGO Save the Beach Maldives, spent the day searching underwater for live coral colonies in a section of water designated for land reclamation.

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The lagoon, which was abundant in marine life and various varieties of coral including staghorn and table coral, is due to be filled in in order to create more land for housing between the inhabited island of Hulhumale and the former resort Club Faru.

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Equipped with sturdy gloves the snorkelers and divers removed entire coral colonies by hand and placed them one-by-one in crates attached to buoys.

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They targeted resilient staghorn coral but other species including some rare black coral were also saved from the site. When the boat returned to Kurumba the corals were unloaded by the volunteers and placed on the two 20ft underwater frames.

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It is the first time such a project has been attempted in the Maldives on such a large scale. The 40ft section of transplanted coral will be kept under close observation by marine biologists.

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The volunteers used a tried-and-trusted coral transplantation technique which has already proved successful on a smaller scale at Kurumba.

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It is hoped that the recently-transplanted coral will adapt well to its new environment and eventually completely engulf the metal frames stretching 40ft across the sea bed a few metres off the shore at Kurumba Maldives.

 

Palm Beach Resort & Spa Maldives — for a Sporting Holiday

With 3 restaurants, Palm Beach Resort offers a wide choice of Italian specialties, international and local delicacies, both buffet and à la carte in the presence of breathtaking scenery of an unspoilt nature.

For its guests Palm Beach Resort offers a wide range of activities from fitness gym equipped with Techno-Gym by the sea to tennis, water sports, excursions and land sports.

Set in Madhiriguraidhoo island in Lhaviyani Atoll, reachable by seaplane in 40 minutes from Malé, Palm Beach Resort & Spa is surrounded by the wonderful Indian blue ocean and 4km of white sand coves.

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Its large 138 accommodations placed along the shore with beautiful sea views are equipped with every comfort: air conditioning, separated open air bathtub and shower, typical Maldivian swing “hindoli” and furnishings, minibar, phone and safe deposit box.

Coconut Spa Center is the place to be for one who seeks relax on idyllic sandy shores enjoying luxurious treatments of the expert care of our therapists.

In a place where the Indian Ocean offers the best underwater habitat could not miss the diving center Palm Beach. Our experts will guide you safely through thilas, giris, reefs, drop-offs, corners, channels and wrecks, turtles and manta ray. Our diving center can be the best choice for learning to dive but even an equally rewarding one for further exploration by the already qualified.

Palm Beach Resort & Spa means Italian hospitality in Maldivian paradise inspiring extraordinary journeys for the soul.

OBLU by Atmosphere to open in November 2015

Following the remarkable success within just an year of opening of Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives, the five-star premium all-inclusive resort – Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts has launched a sub-brand, OBLU by Atmosphere. This “value” focused brand is envisioned to expand with the four star segment covering the entire Indian Ocean region.

“Genuine Value” is the key brand essence of OBLU by Atmosphere. All of its portfolio will deliver value for the cost conscious traveler without compromising the characteristics familiar with the Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts’ top class service and quality.

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

OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli, is scheduled to open in November 2015 as the first resort under this brand. The resort will feature contemporary Maldivian architecture in a trendy fresh vibrant color palette.

Helengeli is famed for its exotic house reef and being located in the eastern rim of the North Malé atoll, unparalleled dive locations are within the vicinity of the island. Currently the resort is going through a complete renovation to provide the brands four star all inclusive product for a luxurious holiday experience of value.

Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts aims to expand OBLU by Atmosphere operations across numerous destinations in the Indian Ocean region within the next 4-5 years.

World Luxury Hotel Award 2014 goes to Dusit Thani Maldives

Dusit Thani Maldives has won the Luxury Water Villa Resort category at the eighth annual World Luxury Hotel Awards 2014, held at The Bay Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

Established in 2006, the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards celebrates excellence in the luxury hotel sector and rewards establishments who deliver and uphold the standards of international luxury. Over 1,000 hotels from 145 countries were nominated to participate in the awards this year.

The results are based upon online voting by international tour operators, travel agents and hotel guests on a country and global basis. Entrants are judged on service delivery and effective management, and each nominated property was provided with a dedicated voting page on the awards’ website.

According to Thanos Lionsatos, Director of Sales and Marketing “It is a matter of immense pride to have received this honour from the World Luxury Hotel Awards. This is a testimony to the fact that we strive for excellence in catering to the needs of the discerning luxury market. This latest accolade encourages us to bring even more innovation to the guest experience here at the resort.”

Water Villa with Pool, Dusit Thani Maldives
Water Villa with Pool, Dusit Thani Maldives

With a unique combination of beach and lagoon access, all Water Villas at Dusit Thani Maldives provide an unmatched luxurious escape. The villas hang on stilts, allowing for breathtaking, uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean.

Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll – the Maldives’ first ever UNESCO biosphere reserve — Dusit Thani Maldives blends gracious Thai hospitality with the unparalleled luxury setting of the Maldives. The luxury island resort comprises 94 villas encircled by white sandy beaches, a stunning 360 degree house reef and a turquoise lagoon.

Guests can dive and snorkel, swim in the Maldives’ largest infinity swimming pool or indulge in a serene treatment at one of Devarana Spa’s treetop treatment pods. The sensory pleasures of dining are well-catered for, including at the signature Benjarong restaurant, where fine over-water dining is paired with authentic Thai cuisine.

Coco Collection Unveils The Lucky Winner Of 5 nights At Coco Bodu Hithi

With the festive season approaching fast, even in the warm tropics of Maldives, Coco Collection announces the lucky winner of the online contest, “Win a luxury stay for 5 nights at Coco Bodu Hithi”. Launched on 01st October 2014 to celebrate the re-vamp of the corporate websites, this contest asked eager entrants to familiarize themselves with the Coco Collection brand and individual properties and then submit their responses to related questions.

Congratulations to Gillian Lowes who won the lucky draw for the luxurious prize! Gillian Lowes, along with a companion, will receive 5 night’s complimentary accommodation in a secluded Escape Water Residence to explore the romantic and timeless charm of Coco Bodu Hithi.

Escape Water Villa, Coco Bodu Hithi
Escape Water Villa, Coco Bodu Hithi

“As an exciting contest attracting strong participation from our online community, this was an incredible opportunity for our audience to get some insight on Coco Collection as a luxury boutique hotel brand. I am delighted to congratulate Gillian on the opportunity to experience the raw beauty and warm hospitality of our chic resort, Coco Bodu Hithi. Gillian will be experiencing the seclusion of one of our Escape Water Residences, which in 2015 will see the introduction of privileged benefits such as private butler services to enhance the experience for discerning travelers.” comments Shafa Shabeer, Coco Collection’s Director of Marketing. “I thank each and every one of our participants for entering the contest and look forward to the New Year as our team prepares to roll out more surprises for guests to Rediscover Life’s Beauty.”

Beach Cinema, Coco Bodu Hithi
Beach Cinema, Coco Bodu Hithi

With the joyous announcement of this Coco Gift, Coco Collection is delighted to start the festive season off with a bang. To rekindle the merry spirits this Christmas, Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu are channeling the state of ‘Ufaa’, a Dhivehi word that translates to ‘Happiness’. Some of the festive program highlights at the Coco Collection resorts will be the Christmas tradition of opening the Gingerbread Village at Air Restaurant at Coco Bodu Hithi, while Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu invites guests to join the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. With a signature tropical ornament designed around the elements of ‘Ufaa’ that guests can expect to encounter around the resorts and Coco Collection’s online platforms, the moments spent with Coco Collection will be a celebration of a joyous Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Starting off the festivities with good vibes, Coco Collection is excited to offer guests unforgettable moments, and 2015 will be the beginning of new experiences to recognize the evolving needs of the discerning traveler.

MALDIVES – ITB Berlin 2016 Official Partner Country

ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) 2016, will be Maldives focussed as the show’s partner country in the Indian Ocean. David Rutz Head of ITB Berlin announced at the DRV (Deutscher ReiseVerband) conference in Abu Dhabi that an agreement will be signed between the Worlds leading Travel Trade Show and the Maldives at a ceremony in the next ITB Berlin, March 2015.

ITB Berlin
ITB Berlin

Speaking on the occasion, Hon. Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor, Minister of Tourism of Maldives said “As a year-round holiday destination the Maldives has become firmly established among tourists the world over.“ “ITB Berlin offers an ideal platform for presenting the tourism products for the Maldives that are available on the German and international market to trade visitors and the general public and for the country to become even more attractive in the long term.“

“The Maldives has exhibited at ITB Berlin since 1984. We are delighted that it wants to expand its presence at the show and that as the Official Partner Country it will be the focus of the international travel industry. As the partner country of ITB Berlin 2016 this island nation in the Indian Ocean sends out an important message as an emergent tourist destination,” commented David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin from Messe Berlin.

 

“Nature is our most important resource and tourism our biggest industry.“ “The tourism market will continue to grow and we will make sure this is achieved in harmony with nature” added the Minister.

Maldives will be organising the opening ceremony of ITB Berlin 2016 to be held at the City Cube Berlin, Messe Berlin’s new trade fair and conference venue on 8th March 2016. The maldives will fascinate the visitors with colorful programme of events from the 9th to 13 of March 2016.

“Tourism plays a crucial role in the development of Maldives. We are honoured to have the opportunity of becoming the Official Partner Country of the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show in the important year of ITB Berlin’s 50th anniversary. I would like to thank ITB Berlin for this important opportunity that will immensely help raise the profile of the destination Maldives on a global level. This partnership will in particular be instrumental in reviving the core markets of Europe at large including Germany.” The Minister further added that “the introduction of the newly launched Thumburi integrated resort project in Maldives will diversify the product segment and open up over 2000 beds for the mid-market segment. We hope this will be an added opportunity to increase arrivals from the European market.” The minister said highlighting the importance of being the host country of ITB Berlin.

Since the introduction of tourism in 1972 Maldives has become one of the worlds most successful holiday destinations. It now welcomes over a million tourists a year and is fast becoming an eco-tourism nation. It is most famous for its natural beauty and for its rich underwater attractions. It has become a dream destination for divers and surfers and a must go honeymoon destination with a year round tropical climate due to being located on the equator.