Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Announces Barista Cup Winner to Represent Maldives at the Grand Final of Hilton Worldwide Southeast Asia & India F&B Masters 2015/2016

As the F&B Masters competition heats up in Southeast Asia (SEA; including Sri Lanka and the Maldives), the time is nigh for rising F&B talents across Hilton Worldwide’s SEA properties to put their best food and drink forward. Rakesh Shetty of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has emerged triumphant as the Country Winner of The Barista Cup of the Hilton Worldwide SEA & India F&B Masters 2015/2016. He will represent Maldives at the grand final of the F&B Masters 2015/2016 to be held at Conrad Bangkok from February 15-16, 2016.

The annual competition, which aims to celebrate culinary creativity and original mixology, extends to Asia Pacific in 2015 through 2016, following a successful introductory run in Southeast Asia in 2014. Finals of the F&B Masters across APAC will take place in regional clusters namely: Australasia; Greater China; Japan, Korea & Micronesia, and; Southeast Asia & India.

For the 2015/2016 edition, SEA saw 157 team members across 27 properties in the region participating and competing for the honors of winning the ‘Cups’ across the five disciplines— Bar, Culinary, Pastry, Sommelier and Barista – at the SEA & India F&B Masters.

The clustered countries semifinals took off end 2015 at DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta-Diponegoro for the Singapore and Indonesia hotels; Hilton Colombo for Sri Lanka and the Maldives hotels; Millennium Hilton Bangkok for the Thailand and Myanmar hotels; and Hilton Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia and Vietnam hotels.

“Winning the competition in Sri Lanka was a very proud moment for me,” said Rakesh, the winner from Conrad Maldives.

“I reflected on what it took to get me there and it made me realize there cannot be success without time and hard work,” he added.

“The adrenaline and buzz created were through the roof,” says the F&B Masters champion for SEA, Jean-Sebastian Kling, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur. “The caliber of talent this year has been phenomenal and it is a joy to see the level of dedication, effort and thought shared throughout the competition.”

“Without a doubt, F&B Masters has proven yet again to be a fantastic platform to showcase team member talents and capabilities,” adds Jon Warmington, general manager, Hilton Kuching, also F&B Masters champion for SEA.

Follow the competition either on the respective SEA hotel’s Facebook page or by searching the hashtag #HiltonFnBstars.

BARISTA CUP WINNER, FNB MASTERS: MEDIA BRIEF Date: 18th January 2016

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is delighted to announce that our resort Cellar Master Rakesh Shetty took out the F&B Masters Barista Cup in the country level competitions held at the Hilton Colombo in November 2015.

Inspired by his first job as a barista in a coffee shop in India, Rakesh won over the judges with his inventive creation, I. A.M Latte.

Rakesh will be heading to Bangkok in February to represent Conrad Maldives in the South East Asian Finals.

Q&A with Rakesh ShettyFnB Masters Winner Rakesh Shetty, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Age: 36 years

How many years have you worked in F&B?

14 years

What types of roles you have worked in and where?

I started my hospitality career working as a Barista for eight months in one of the busiest coffee outlets in Mumbai. I then worked as waiter with the Taj Group for eight years in India and Maldives. I worked in a number of roles at varying properties including bar manager at Taj Exotica Maldives, Sommelier at one and Only Reethi Rah and now my best role yet, Cellar Master at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

It is hard work, however, I am enjoying every minute of it.

The competition

Why did you choose to take part in the barista cup?

I have never been involved in a competition like this before and since I started my career as a barista, I thought it was an appropriate choice. This was a way of getting back in touch with that part of my life and reminding myself of how I got here.

What did it feel like to win?

Winning the competition in Sri Lanka was a very proud moment for me. I reflected on what it took to get me there and it made me realize there cannot be success without time and hard work.

Advice for future participants and other baristas?

Take time to develop your skills and try to improve your product the best you can. Finding resources to develop your trade is much easier now. For example YouTube videos have helped me a lot to improve my milk frothing skills. Search for a better way to make your cappuccino.

Always Seek Knowledge.

Name of winning drink: 

FnB Masters Winner Rakesh Shetty, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

I A.M. Latte

Inspiration for the drink:

There is an increasing demand for non-dairy alternatives like soya and rice milk. I wanted to do something different and a bit upscale with almonds and Macadamia milk. Yes, it takes a lot of time to prepare, however, the best things always do.

Ingredients:

150 grams blanched almonds.
1/2 cup/50 grams macadamia nuts.
1/3 cup/40 grams pitted dates.
Espresso and 1 liter filtered water.

Soak the above items in filtered water for a minimum of 6 hours and blend and strain into a fine milk like consistency

Method:

Espresso 70 ml

Almond Macadamia Milk 160 ml

Place these ingredients in a blender for 30 secs

Pour in a tall glass filled with ice and garnish with almond flakes

About the F&B Masters

The F&B Masters is an internal competition open to employees within Hilton Worldwide properties across the Asia Pacific.

The competition was successfully held in Southeast Asia in 2014 and, with growing momentum and interest, it has now been extended across the Asia Pacific this year. The F&B Masters is a multifaceted competition that aims to discover, develop and celebrate the best food and beverage talent within Hilton Worldwide properties across the Asia Pacific.

The competition has four different categories.

  • The culinary cup
  • The pastry cup
  • The bar cup
  • The barista Cup

Three rounds of finals are staged at the hotel, country and a regional level. The competition kicked-off from July 2015 and will culminate with regional finals in February 2016. #HiltonFnBStars

Anantara Launches Healthy New You 2016

Balance Yourself and Embrace Wellness during your
Maldivian Holiday

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, the luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, invites guests to embrace health and wellness as an integral element of their luxury holiday with its 2016 Balance series of resort-based events and activities in the Maldives. Balance, Anantara’s innovative wellness concept, offers total flexibility with a variety of health, wellbeing and healing elements, along with the freedom to relax and indulge to suit each guest’s personal preferences and time, complemented by Anantara Spa’s award-winning expertise.

Aerial view, Anantara Kihavah Villas
Anantara Kihavah Villas

Inviting guests to put themselves on a path of wellness whilst being a world away from home, Anantara Resorts in the Maldives promote health and holistic wellbeing with a collection of resort events and activities. Under the Healthy New You 2016 resolution, Balance by Anantara enables you to start the year with a wellness boost that transforms into long-term lifestyle changes. Throughout the year, guests will be able to book private consultations and treatments with visiting practitioners, take healthy cooking classes and incorporate juicing into their diet, as well as leaving no excuse for idleness with Anantara’s complimentary gym kit service.

Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa
Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa

Mind – Carla Lindstrom

De-stress and be more mindful for the year ahead with Carina Lindstrom as she takes residency at Anantara Dhigu Resort and Anantara Kihavah Villas, offering subtle energy healing modalities, both ancient and modern. One of Carla’s three signature treatments is Deep Relax Body & Mind; a powerful but light touch technique that allows the mind to settle into a deep relaxed Theta state. Slow brain wave movements and a combination of energy and intuitive healing lead to improved clarity of mind and mind-body connection that can empower you to see your life differently and create a healthier view of your life, body and changes you can make.

Coach, Entrepreneur, Facilitator and Intuitive Healer, Carina Lindstrom will be at Anantara Dhigu Resort from 22 January to 23 February, and Anantara Kihavah Villas from 23 February to March 22.

Carina Lindstrom
Carina Lindstrom

Body – Toby Maguire

Experience a wealth of powerful natural benefits through ancient Eastern practices – whether your goal is to create a healthier lifestyle and more positive way of thinking, to revitalise your energy levels or to let go of stress. Visiting Practitioner Toby Maguire has been treating clients with Eastern healing arts for nearly 20 years and spent 13 years living and studying holistic modalities in South East Asia. He has worked with Olympic and Paralympic gold medalists, premier league football players and members of the England rugby team. Depending on the client’s’ needs, Toby uses a combination of acupuncture, massage, hypnotherapy, meditation, nutritional advice or life coaching to bring the body and mind back into balance.

Anantara Dhigu Over Water Thai Massage Sala
Anantara Dhigu Over Water Thai Massage Sala

Corporate Wellness Trainer and Natural Health Consultant, Toby Maguire will be at Anantara Dhigu Resort from 16 March to 13 April, and Anantara Kihavah Villas from 13 April to 28 April.

Toby Maguire
Toby Maguire

Fitness – Lifestyle Health Retreats

Strengthen and revitalise your body. Refresh and empower your mind. Balance and uplift your spirit and return home looking and feeling better than ever after a Lifestyle Health Retreat at Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli. Based in Thailand, their innovative programmes combine three key, proven elements: diet and nutrition, fitness and yoga, massage and relaxation. Achieve highly successful results and deepen your yoga and fitness regimes with their daily activities on Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli’s pristine sands and turquoise waters with Yoga Retreats from 15 April to 22 April and Fitness & Weight Loss Retreats from 20 May to 27 May.

Anantara Dhigu Resort Gym
Anantara Dhigu Resort Gym

Everyday Balance Wellness & Nutrition

Motivating fitness levels while relaxing at Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli, a Kit Concierge amenity does not allow for any excuses. Offering complimentary work-out clothes and a daily laundry service, Anantara is encouraging guests to make the most of their health-related facilities and initiatives. Take only your workout shoes in your luggage and pick up your Kit Concierge work-out clothes from the resort spa at Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli. These are yours for the duration of your stay so that you can take advantage of the fully equipped Fitness Centres and Anantara’s comprehensive programme of activities under Balance Wellness. Be it morning Yoga, afternoon meditation, evening workouts or simply power walking the beaches circumnavigating the island. Alternatively at Anantara Kihavah Villas, pack only your fitness clothes and hire your running shoes at the gym.

No matter which Anantara resort you choose in the Maldives, start the day with healthy breakfast choices and a host of nutritious Balance Wellness juices. Healthy-food fanatics can sign up with Anantara’s Spice Spoons cooking classes to learn a range of Japanese detox recipes and healthy cooking techniques from our expert Chefs sharing their practical and delicious ways to eat clean.

Anantara Spice Spoons Cooking Class
Anantara Spice Spoons Cooking Class

As part of Healthy New You 2016, all guests are invited to use the #anantarabalance hashtag to share the new activities they’ve taken up or tried to improve their wellbeing and bring Balance into their lives, during and after their stay at Anantara in the Maldives. To select your Anantara Maldives resort of choice and book your Balance Wellness activities while staying in the resort, visit www.anantara.com

Pasta Point

Pasta Point is the wave-machine of the North Malé Atoll. It’s consistent, handles NE-SE winds, the waves typically stay in the 4-6 feet range, but even in 1-2 foot waves it still breaks exactly the same. The former home to the Sri Lankan Airlines Pro World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, Pasta Point takes its name from an Italian resort (Thari Village) once located there (which had a tendency for dumping leftover noodles in the surf).

The first takeoff section leads to what is termed Macaroni Bowl, which spits you out for a cutback or some top turns before the fast and shallow end section known as Lockjaws—a subtle reminder to avoid the shallow reef of this section if you want to continue enjoying your macaroni.

The best time for Pasta is between May and August (Southeast Monsoon, locally called the Hulhangu Moosun) when the south to southwest trade winds keep the winds offshore and the southern swells are most consistent.

The Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives resort now located on shore claims exclusive access to the break and only allows 30 surfers to stay there at a time.

Lhohis (Lohis)

Lhohis is named after the island Lhohifushi, later to become Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort. Being host to 5 World Qualifying Series (WQS) O’Neil ‘Deep Blue Open’ 2001-2005, Lhohis is a longer wave than Pasta.

Special surf packages are available at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi which includes accommodation, speedboat transfers and special surfing packages.

In order to enhance the surfing experience and improve the service levels to the surfers, the resort has taken numerous measures and enhancements which have helped it bag the award for the ‘Leading Surf Resort’ in the Maldives in 2015.

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Honky’s

Honky’s (Thamburudhoo Left) – Adjacent to Sultans on the eastern reef of the North Malé Atoll, this break starts small and increases in size and intensity as it wraps 90 degrees around the island. A 1.8-metre (6-foot) wave on the takeoff ends up at least 2.4 metres (8 feet) on the end section, called Fred’s Ledge. There are long rides and tubes through all sections – best on low tides unless the swell is huge. The best months for this wave are February, March and April (Which is affected by strong currents in the Southwest monsoon from May to October).

Sultans

Sultans (Thamburudhoo Right) – Located on an uninhabited island on the eastern reef of North Malé Atoll, this is one of the most consistent waves of Malé Atoll, and never closes out, even on the biggest swells. The takeoff is a steep outside peak called Phantoms, which slingshots into a very long, walled, super-fast section called the Pinnacles, over 1 metre (4 feet) high. All three sections can be thrilling tubes. Rides are 91–137 metres (298–449 feet).JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cCUzQSUyRiUyRm1hZ2ljc2Vhd2VlZC5jb20lMkZTdWx0YW5zLVN1cmYtUmVwb3J0JTJGODY5JTJGRW1iZWQlMkYlMjIlMjB3aWR0aCUzRCUyMjgwMCUyMiUyMGhlaWdodCUzRCUyMjYwMCUyMiUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==

Just Surf Villa & Lodge

Just Surf Villa is a unique guesthouse in Maldives with private pool – on the local island Himmafushi home of the famous surf spot “Jailbreaks”. The Villa has 4 spacious rooms with ensuite bathroom and balcony. The 2 huge living rooms with all entertainment gadgets like TV, DVD, Music System and Fussball table offer enough space for a big group. Relax in the pool while the BBQ is sizzling of the fresh fish.

Our professional surf guide and photographer will make sure you catch the best waves and have professional pictures to brag back at home with. All famous breaks in the North Malé Atoll are within close reach with our Dhoni boat and Jails is even just a short walk and quick paddle away.

LUX* South Ari Atoll announces charity initiative with Maldivian Blood Services

‘By promising a luxury holiday with a difference, LUX* South Ari Atoll has heightened the festive spirits of its guests with the newly launched Tree of Wishes on the island. Inspired by an ancient Japanese festival, the weekly appointment at the LUX* Tree of Wishes offers not only a moment to gather feelings and emotions and turn them into wishes written on auspicious red ribbons, but also opens an opportunity to learn about the local communities and support them through various social initiatives.

LUX* South Ari Atoll CSR programs in the Maldives currently engage with several NGOs and among them, the Maldivian Blood Services (formerly National Thalassaemia Center). With the aim of improving the services provided to patients suffering from this hematological disorder, the resort and the Maldivian Blood Service team have signed an agreement allowing both parties to interact on a greater scale generating ways to foster cooperation among medical institutions. The charity support offered by the resort enables the Maldivian Blood Service to cater for more patients with dedicated initiatives to promote blood donation throughout the country.

Aerial View, LUX* South Ari Atoll
LUX* South Ari Atoll

Guests staying at LUX* South Ari Atoll have the opportunity to contribute by placing a voluntary donation at the Tree of Wishes. All the offerings cumulatively raised by the resort are used to support local charities but by tying a ribbon to the branches of the banyan tree, each guest becomes part of the annual Tree of Wishes Lucky Draw. During the event, one ribbon is picked at random and the lucky owner wins a free holiday at any property within the LUX* Resorts and Hotels portfolio.

‘We are thrilled to have our guests participating in this important cause with us’ says General Manager Glenn Daniels ‘as we believe that holidays are not only a moment to relax and unwind, but also a celebration of life and that embodies our commitment to support local communities’. Keeping not only its guests’ wishes at heart but also the environment we operate in, LUX* South Ari Atoll aims to translate corporate responsibility into social development and continues to deliver an inspiring lighter holiday experience.

For further information or queries, please contact Cluster Director of PR & Communications, Maldives. Dolores Semeraro – [email protected]

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas Unveils Its Annual Underwater Coral Christmas Tree

Celebrating the festive season with family and friends on sunkissed powdery white beaches by day and a starlit sky by night, guests were invited to join the team at Anantara Kihavah Villas for traditional carols as the resort’s festive lights were switched on for a fifth year, including the renowned and much-awaited underwater coral Christmas tree.

Photo Dan Kullberg, Anantara Kihavah Villas
Photo Dan Kullberg, Anantara Kihavah Villas

Christmas Corals 4 Metres Below

This year’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony illuminated the unique coral tree that has become a seasonal showcase element to the natural beauty of Anantara Kihavah Villas. Taking prime place of joy just beyond the viewing windows in the award-winning underwater restaurant Sea, the coral tree rests 4 meters below the water level, stands 2,5 metres tall by 2 meters wide, and is decorated with broken pieces of coral harvested from the ocean bed surrounding the resort.

The Indian Ocean’s abundance of marine life can be admired by descending into a connoisseur journey, indulging in an exquisite festive degustation menu paired by a vast array of new and old world wine selections from the world’s only underwater wine cellar. In addition to the neon fusiliers, parrotfish and surgeonfish all around, diners can feast their eyes day and night on the underwater coral tree displayed until 7 January 2016.

Photo Dan Kullberg, Anantara Kihavah Villas
Photo Dan Kullberg, Anantara Kihavah Villas

A Magical Wonderland of Sights, Sounds and Tastes

Crowning the resort’s festive theme, A Magical Wonderland of Sights, Sounds and Tastes, the countdown to New Year’s Eve 2016 begins with a sumptuous gala gourmet buffet on the beach. Entertainment throughout the evening will see the old year out in style and ring the new one in with suave.

Set on one of the most pristine Maldivian islands, Anantara Kihavah Villas offers unique guest experiences in unsurpassed luxury with 79 private pool villas surrounded by untouched natural beauty, poised over the water with sweeping ocean views or nestled along a pristine stretch of private beach. This luxury resort and private island is reached by a mesmerizing 30-minute seaplane journey from Male international airport. For more information on Anantara Kihavah Villas special offers visit http://kihavah-maldives.anantara.com/special-packages.aspx

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas Acknowledged as Best Luxury Diving Resort Worldwide 2015

Surrounded 99.9% by crystal clear water, The Maldives is considered to be one of the leading dive destinations in the world. Baa Atoll is a jewel in the island nation’s crown and for any novice or serious diver planning on going there, Anantara Kihavah Villas has become known as the ‘must-go-to’ dive destination.

Aerial View, Anantara Kihavah Villas

Award-Winning Luxury Diving

Renowned for the incredible density of marine life on the Anantara Kihavah Villas house reef, any dive here is sure to result in encounters with a broad variety of marine life. Recipient of Hotel of the Year Awards “Best Luxury Diving Resort Worldwide 2015”, Anantara Kihavah Villas offers an experience of diving that is second to none. Combine the Maldives Travel Award for the best beach resort in the Maldives with a thriving house reef, a professional team of divers with a resident marine biologist year round with a private Villa Hosts for every guest, and the holiday experience takes on new levels above and below the water surface.

Spectacular dives are just metres away from any of the 79 private pool villas when staying at Anantara Kihavah Villas. Javier Lazarus, manager of resort’s water sports centre, believes there are many reasons why the resort has been recognized as the best luxury diving resort worldwide in 2015.

“Our location is definitely unbeatable. Being a thila close to the Baa Atoll channel means that there is always a degree of current clearing the water, which helps corals to grow and thereby attracting bigger fish too. All of our dive groups are very small, we are often the only group diving on the reefs and we have multi-lingual teams who make sure every nationality staying with us feels at ease and comfortable in the water. But that alone isn’t enough, our diving equipment is of the highest quality from Scubapro, and we service all equipment regularly to pass quality inspections every month. We also offer personalized rental diving equipment, which means that once a guest rents it, they spend all their holiday at the resort with the same equipment.”

Anantara Kihavah Villas
Lei Zhang receiving his complimentary Discovery Dive certificate

Diving with Top Class Service

Anantara Kihavah Villas provides a comprehensive range of luxury services and serves as a gateway to the myriad of experiences in the Baa Atoll region of The Maldives – from the magical underwater world to pristine beaches and the exploration of deserted islands and secluded lagoons. Jean-Marc Ma-Poon, General Manager at Anantara Kihavah Villas, says, “We are delighted to receive such this acknowledgement for our diving and watersports. The luxury element on the water is enhanced with our comfortable boats equipped with a shower, washroom, and also Lavazza coffee and fridge for chilled drinks. Straight after an amazing dive, our guests can reminisce in style over their marine life encounters; the boat ride to and from the resort becomes just as much a part of the whole dive experience as the diving itself.

For anyone looking to really personalize their underwater adventure, we offer dives from our luxury sailing yacht – The Ocean Whisperer – and combine this with different excursions. It’s a truly unique way to experience these waters”

The Paradise of Anantara Kihavah Villas is fascinating above and underwater. When staying on the luxury resort island, listening to the ocean lapping the shore or beneath your over water villa, it’s a gentle calling to explore the waters. Suddenly, new worlds open up to you filled with colourful coral, and schools of tropical fish. So take your sense of adventure to new levels and enjoy diving in the Best Luxury Diving Resort Worldwide at Anantara Kihavah Villas.

For more information on Anantara Kihavah Villas special offers visit http://kihavah-maldives.anantara.com/special-packages.aspx