Anantara Kihavah entices with Award-Winning Gourmet Dining 6 Metres Below at the World’s Best Underwater Hotel Restaurant

With 79 grandiose one bedroom pool villas and expansive residences unravelling over two, three and four bedrooms, the best underwater restaurant on earth and a 3:1 staff-guest ratio, Anantara Kihavah Villas in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve is one of the Maldives most resplendent resorts. For the ultimate adventures above and below the water, guests staying here go from their luxurious Overwater Pool Villa with glass-bottomed bathtubs to an underwater restaurant, aptly named SEA, for award-winning gourmet dining and degustation dinners.

Anantara Kihavah Villas Wins World Travel Award 2015 for Best Underwater Hotel Restaurant WorldwideThe mirrored interior reflects the surrounding Indian Ocean marine life as you dine on European cuisine and indulge in paired wine suggestions from the resident Wine Guru. Voted by World Travel Awards 2015 as the World’s Best Underwater Hotel Restaurant, SEA doubles as a restaurant and the world’s only underwater wine cellar, with coveted 360 labels in its collection.

Anantara Kihavah Villas_ Sea restaurant table for two“This incredible restaurant offers the unreal experience of dining under water—no diving gear necessary,” explains General Manager Jean-Marc Ma-Poon. “We’re very honoured and proud to have been acknowledged by World Travel Awards as the World’s Best Underwater Hotel Restaurant. Our underwater dining adventure is right in the heart of Baa Atoll and the only one in the world on the edge of a natural reef. With more than 100 species of marine life swimming around, no matter what the time of day it is, guests can be sure of great views, with delicious cuisine and an enviable wine selection as well!”

an underwater restaurant, aptly named SEASEA serves lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast on request, while taking in the 360-degree view of the Indian Ocean’s mesmerizing marine life around you. Four-course degustation menus are served under the winning combination of Senior Wine Guru Nilesh Bootun’s expertise of varietals and vines, and the culinary ‘Haute & Nouvelle Cuisine’ experience of the resort’s new Executive Chef, Lamberto Valdez.

Imbibing with the Finest

Where else can you tour the vineyards of the world six metres underwater? For the second consecutive year, Anantara Kihavah Villa’s acclaimed underwater restaurant SEA received the prestigious three star accolade from World of Fine Wines Magazine. In the publication’s World’s Best Wine Lists, over 4,000 restaurants from around the globe were considered for the awards, with just 896 restaurants bestowed a one, two, or three-star accolade, and only 300 wine lists making it into the top three-star category.

an underwater restaurant, aptly named SEAThe wine awards have quickly become some of the most prestigious awards within the restaurant community. According to World Sommelier Champion Gerard Basset, the awards are the pinnacle for a restaurant wine list: “These exciting new global awards are rapidly becoming as coveted as Michelin Stars.” The esteemed panel of senior judges this year included some of the world’s greatest experts, including Alder Yarrow, Elin McCoy, Ch’ng Poh Tiong, Andrew Jefford, Andreas Larsson, Francis Percival, Tom Stevenson and The World of Fine Wine Editor Neil Beckett.

The World of Fine Wines publication comments, “Few restaurants in the world can claim to offer its guests a view as distractingly gorgeous as that offered by Sea Underwater Wine Cellar and Restaurant. In such a setting, the food and wine needs to be special if it’s to be anything more than a supporting player. But a glance at the fine international cuisine and extensive collection of bottles suggests a remarkable gastronomic as well as visual spectacle—a spectacle where Michel Picard Puligny-Montrachet 2010 is matched with Atlantic salmon mi-cuit, crisp potatoes galette, snow peas tendrils, and an orange and miso reduction.”

Anantara Kihavah’s Senior Wine Guru, Nilesh Bootun, takes great pride and pleasure sharing his passion for wines says, “Our Wine List enables oenophiles to embark in a journey with amazing adventures from Old World to New World by discovering some prestigious selection among 360 labels, handpicked from 20 renowned wine producing countries including the new horizons such as India, China, Thailand and Turkey. Personal taste always varies from each individual but the preference of enjoying young wines (ready to drink) to vintage treasures (at their peak) would be definitely possible with the 90 year of wine history (from 1924 to 2014) having a selection from each decade.”

Dreaming Over the Ocean

Also voted by World Travel Awards 2015 as the Leaving Villa Resort in the Maldives, poised over a lagoon with sweeping ocean views are 40 Overwater Pool Villas, arranged in a grand circular formation and interlinked by an overwater bicycle pathway. A tall arched doorway reveals vaulted ceilings and dark hardwood floors, leading to the main bedroom where each villas opens up onto a wraparound deck, and it’s there that Anantara Kihavah Villas epitomises Maldivian luxury. Furnished with a queen-size daybed that swings from the ceiling, hammocks that hang over the lagoon and a ladder that drops you straight into the water, this is where your dreams take a holiday.

The piece de resistance, however, is found in the bathroom. Fronted by floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with step-through access to an oversized plunge pool, it features a glass shower with intricately engraved doors and sweeping Indian Ocean views, an outdoor rainforest shower, his and hers vanities, a cream chaise lounge and a glass-bottomed bathtub that peers down into the sparkling turquoise waters; a quick glance down and you can see tropical fish, a turtle, or even a spotted eagle-rays sweep along the bottom of your tub.

Anantara Kihavah Villas offers exceptional food and wine pairing while staying in the award-winning stylish resort haven of private pool villas, just 35 minutes by seaplane with Maldivian Airways from Male. For more information on Anantara Kihavah Villas and special offers visit http://kihavah-maldives.anantara.com/special-packages.aspx

Park Hyatt Hadahaa’s Blue Journeys Dive and Activity Centre awarded PADI Green Star™

Blue Journeys Dive and Activity Centre at Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives was recently awarded the PADI Green Star™ award for its outstanding performance in initiating green business practices and supporting responsible conservation. By earning this award, Blue Journeys has established itself as a business that is both commercially and environmentally viable.

Aerial View, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

The PADI Green Star™ award recognizes dive centers and resorts that are dedicated to ensuring the sustainability and conservation of the diving industry. It identifies businesses that actively protect and care for the environment via initiatives such as energy-friendly transportation practices, use of sustainable materials, conservation leadership, water conservation and responsible energy use.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Blue Journeys has been a PADI Five Star certified dive center since August 2009, providing a full range of scuba diving education programs, equipment and experiences. PADI Five Star dive centers promote and encourage responsibility for marine environments. The center excels in offering quality services to divers by presenting a professional image and actively promoting the benefits of recreational scuba diving, snorkeling, dive travel and environmental protection.

Experience the Once-in-a-Lifetime spectacle of Coral Spawning this Easter in the Maldives

Every year following the full moon, millions of coral across the Maldives simultaneously spawn and release their eggs creating an awe-inspiring, natural phenomenon and sight to behold. This year the mass coral spawning event is expected to occur during the week after the full moon on March 23rd 2016.

Guests who visit the Maldives during Easter will be able to participate in and observe this spectacle during a special coral spawning night safari arranged by Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. Those who prefer to stay on dry land can watch it directly on the beach via a webcam placed on the house reef.

To celebrate the annual event this year, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and nearby sister resorts, Angsana Ihuru and Angsana Velavaru, will arrange full moon dinner and drinks on their beaches for guests to appreciate this natural and rare wonder.

Blackfoot Anemone Fish, Angsana Ihuru
Blackfoot Anemone Fish, Angsana Ihuru

Unknown to science until 1982, coral spawning is an incredible sight which can be detected from space, and one that is worthy of any discerning travellers’ ‘to do’ list. The exact timing of the event is still a mystery and witnessing the event requires patience and a spot of luck. Corals release their precious cargo into the water at night during the days following the March full moon but only if ocean temperatures, the tide and wind conditions are favourable.

Dr. Steven Newman, Director of Marine Conservation for Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, explains: “To have the opportunity to dive or snorkel when the coral spawning is taking place is an extraordinary experience. It only happens once a year and the fact that is difficult to predetermine exactly its timing, makes it even more incredible, it’s a spectacle worthy of anyone’s bucket list”. Dr. Newman continues: “Reproduction is governed by the tide, and usually we can see the spawning take place an hour or so after sunset, however in some cases we may have to wait until midnight, so patience is a virtue but it’s well worth the wait!”

“The natural environment and conservation of our fragile marine ecosystem are priority for us here in the Maldives, especially during this El Nino year. At our Marine Laboratory, we arrange daily activities where our guests have the opportunity to learn about the marine environment and how we can all work together to create a healthy marine ecosystem for everyone to enjoy. Our activities in connection to the coral spawning are a part of our ongoing CSR programmes at Banyan Tree and one of the highlights of the year”, Dr. Newman concludes.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Other marine environmental activities that guests can participate in at the three hotels in the Maldives include cleaning and planting of corals to support a healthy marine habitat, as well as conservation efforts to protect indigenous turtles.

The coral spawning diving at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru costs from USD$60 per person.

SPECIAL OFFER
Extend your stay and enjoy the ‘Night on Us’ offer at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information and reservations, please visit: www.banyantree.com

Maldives wins “Most Exclusive Leisure Product” at OTM 2016

Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation together with the tourism industry won the “Most Exclusive Leisure Product” award at India’s largest travel trade show which was held in Mumbai from the 18th to 20th February 2016. Maldives was one of the two destinations who won this title at the conclusion ceremony of OneWorld Travel Mart 2016. This exhibition, which is the best platform to focus on outbound tourism in India was spread over 25,000 sqm in housing the fairground.

Maldives was featured in a stand space of 60 sqm designed and tailored to portray the uniqueness of the destination using eye-catching photos of the beautiful destination. There was an estimated average of 3,000 unique individuals who visited the Maldives stand. Maldives showcased the exclusive destination by participating in the stand with a total of 26 industry professionals from 15 companies. In addition, the Visit Maldives Year 2016 campaign was promoted in surplus advertising options such as, billboards, pillar wraps, lanyard design and show carry bags.

India currently holds the 5th biggest market share of the arrivals. Taking this place in November 2015, India has a recorded figure of 52,368 tourists who visited in the year 2015. This figure is a 14.9% growth compared to the arrival number recorded in the year 2014. The Indian market accounted to 4.2% of the market in 2015, and is a very important market to focus on as it promises a lot of potential.

Sala Boutique Hotel

 

A thai themed boutique hotel conveniently located in the capital city Malé.

From World Tour to Dream Island – One Night with Joss Stone at PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

As part of PULSE, PER AQUUM’s stream of immersive guest experiences, the global hospitality trendsetter presents an intimate private performance by Grammy award-winning soul singer, Joss Stone. On 28 February 2016, Joss will take to her most surreal stage ever, performing for one night only under the bright stars of the Indian Ocean at PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi.

Joss Stone, PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi
Joss Stone, PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

The stuff of dreams, guests will touch down in the Maldives only to be whisked away on a luxury speedboat to PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi, just 35 minutes from Malé, where they will be greeted with a bottle of Champagne to toast to days and nights of island fantasies. Guests can mingle with a lucky few as they savour hits from Joss’ latest album ‘Water for Your Soul’, featuring reggae rhythms, hip hop beats, and Joss’ distinctive vocals, as well as Irish fiddles, gospel choirs and flamenco guitars, along with a special pre-concert dinner.

The PULSE experience is part of Joss’ Total World Tour, an ambitious quest to play in every country across the globe, incorporating local instruments such as Bodu Beru, the Maldivian drum made from coconut tree trunks, into every performance, as well as impromptu jam sessions with local musicians.

Arrival area, PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi
PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

Joss’ mission also includes getting the low down on each country’s environmental and humanitarian issues and helping to spread the word of local charities. At PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi, home to one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, Joss will make her mark by planting coral with the resort’s resident marine biologist as part of the resort’s coral rehabilitation project. Joss will also be paying a visit to the Children’s Home, Kudakudhinge Hiya in the Villingili ward of Male, a charity which has been close to the PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi team’s heart since the resort opened nearly 12 years ago.

From R&B to R&R, rumour has it Joss will also be enjoying a subaquatic treatment at the resort’s famed LIME Spa – the world’s first underwater spa – as well as sampling the resort’s underground wine cellar, stocked with over 6,000 bottles including rare vintages. A vegetarian since birth, Joss is also likely to be spotted at Raw, the resort’s beloved overwater restaurant featuring all-organic dishes inspired by the East.

Dining, PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi
PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

To make a reservation and to see the PULSE line-up for the rest of 2016, go to www.peraquum.com/pulse or email [email protected]

Discover the story of a small island — Milaidhoo

+—Milaidhoo Island Maldives reinvents luxury

This understated yet undeniably sophisticated 5 star boutique resort spans 13 acres with its design and concept proudly rooted in Maldivian culture. Set in Baa Atoll’s beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this spectacular, secluded 50-villa island retreat is just a 30-minute seaplane flight from Maldives International Airport.

Milaidhoo Island offers reinvented luxury and spacious outdoor living epitomizing the true contemporary Maldives.

50 chapters of laidback island living

Milaidhoo Island tells the story of a destination where architectural details effortlessly mix with natural elements. Nestled in the lush tropical surroundings are twenty serene beach pool villas and thirty spacious overwater pool villas. The 50 villas are expressions of understated luxury created from the finest natural, local materials, seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor living.

Custom made for guests’ personal comfort each villa is a private haven featuring the latest technology, a dedicated host and stunning ocean views from bed to bathtub.

World-class gourmet cuisine

Brimming with the freshest ingredients, Milaidhoo Island’s three restaurants appeal to all tastes and desires. Unique to the Maldives is the groundbreaking gourmet restaurant and lounge bar inspired by three traditional Dhoni sailing boats. Spectacular settings meet heartfelt hospitality, setting the scene for an unforgettable sensory experience.

Tales of tropical beauty, nature and harmony

The island may be small and intimate, but this sanctuary offers many places to meet or simply retreat. Milaidhoo Island has its own dive, marine and watersports centre, library and state-of-the-art gym. Set over the crystal clear water is the stylish island spa and open-air yoga and meditation pavilion.

Discover the story of a small island

Barefoot informality is at the very heart of this new and exclusive small, intimate and chic island. Built around nature, Milaidhoo Island offers a world-class iconic restaurant, a deeply relaxing environment, sustainable and contemporary design and genuine heartfelt hospitality.

For more information: www.milaidhoo.com

Maldives participates at FESPO 2016

Maldives is currently being represented in FESPO held in Zurich, Switzerland from 28 – 31 January 2015. Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation together (MMPRC) together with Reethi Beach Resort, Crown & Champa Resorts, Loama Resort Maldives and JA Maldives Pvt. Ltd., will be promoting the destination in the 4 day event. Moreover, Visit Maldives Year (VMY) 2016 will also be promoted at the Maldives stand.

The theme of the FESPO is “Ship Ahoy” dedicated to boat trips. FESPO is the largest holiday and travel fair in Switzerland and is increasingly becoming a key indicator for the tourism sector; it is an excellent platform and offers its visitors information for holidays and travel. The event is known to attract huge number of visitors from Switzerland and German speaking countries. FESPO 2015 attracted over 62,000 visitors including trade, media and consumers.

Switzerland is an important market to the Maldives; it is among the top 10 countries in terms of arrival to the Maldives. In 2015, 31,923 tourist arrivals were recorded from Switzerland. 2015 noted an increase of 1.4% in arrivals compared to 2014. Switzerland accounts for 2.6% of the total market share in 2015.

Maldives takes part at EMITT 2016

Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation together with the Tourism Industry is currently taking part in the East Mediterranean Tourism and Travel Exhibition (EMITT). 5 industry partners are taking part in the exhibition with the Deputy Managing Director, Mohamed Adam and Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Hamzeel of MMPRC. The fair will go on from the 28th till the 31st of January 2016.

Organized and run by ITE Turkey, EMITT has the gained profound experience and expertise in the tourism and travel sector in the past 20 years. Combining the powerful global network and experience, EMITT will continue to create a more powerful synergy for the tourism industry.

A total of 4.500 companies, organizations and resorts from around 70 countries will take part in EMITT Tourism Exhibition, which is recognized as one of the leading tourism exhibitions in the world. The exhibition which will take place in 11 halls equaling to a total exhibition space of 70 thousand meter squares at Tuyap Exhibition and Convention Center. The fair will feature national pavilions, Turkey’s vacation destinations, winter and outdoor tourism destinations, hotels and tourism centers, tour operators, agencies and hotels as participants and a wide range of vibrant vacation destinations will be introduced to visitors.

Maldives will be showcased in a stand area of 60sqm, conceptually designed to expose the uniqueness with photos of Maldivian tranquil sceneries. More advertising spaces such as floor tiles, staircase footsteps and outdoor flags, demonstrated in different locations of the fairground will be displaying and promoting the Visit Maldives Year 2016 campaign.

Turkey is the leading market of East Mediterranean Europe, holding a total of 0.8% market share. The Turkish market has been growing and showed positive growth in the past few years, and is marked as a market with good potential. In the year 2015, a total of 10,200 tourists visited Maldives from Turkey, which is an increase of 17.7% when compared to the year 2014.

Michael Wieser named CEO at Lily Hotels and Resorts

Michael Wieser has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Lily Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd, owner and operator of Lily Beach Resort & Spa and Dhonakulhi Investments Pvt Ltd, owner and operator of Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Formerly the Chief Operating Officer of Lily Hotels Pvt Ltd and Dhonakulhi Investment Pvt Ltd, the promotion will see Wieser take the helm to develop and grow the company whilst overseeing the implementation of all strategic and operational elements.

Wieser will work with his dedicated teams across luxury resorts Lily Hotels and Resorts and the Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, on products and services, e-commerce, construction, operations, quality assurance, as well as the sales and marketing. His three decades of experience spans the successful management of large-scale luxury hospitality groups, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

He was the Middle East Managing Director of the Domina Hotel Group, overseeing nine hotels in the region. During this time he was instrumental in the group’s rebranding and pioneering innovation, whilst managing a team of over 1,600 employees. Most recently, Wieser has played a key role in the $50 million renovation project of the Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, a luxury five-star property on Dhonakulhi Island, the second largest island in the Maldives.

In the lead-up to his promotion, Wieser demonstrated a track record of driving sales and profit to the newly unveiled resort, set to become one of the Indian Ocean’s most sought after addresses. Wieser brings a true passion for the industry to his new role and the belief that hotels, spas and residences should provide a sanctuary for guests to experience the true art of hospitality and luxury.