Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives announces Candice Barwell as new Director of Sales & Marketing

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives is delighted to announce that Candice Barwell has been appointed as the resort’s new Director of Sales & Marketing. Set to join the team this month, Barwell will be responsible for planning and implementing the sales and marketing strategy, optimising the hotel’s revenue and market share, and will continue to establish Shangri-La’s Villingili as one of the leading luxury resorts in the Maldives.

Barwell has over 20 years of experience in the luxury hotel and hospitality industry having worked with some of the world’s leading hotel brands across Europe and the U.A.E. She is excited to join Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts for the first time following her most recent post as Director of Sales & Marketing at Rosewood, Abu Dhabi where she achieved the highest revenue since the hotel opened in 2012. Prior to this, Barwell held the position as Complex Director of Sales overseeing Starwood Hotels and Resorts opening of three hotels in Dubai, including the Emirate’s first St Regis and W branded properties.

Barwell’s leadership skills, attention to detail, hands-on approach and wealth of experience ensure that she will be a valuable addition to the Shangri-La’s Villingili team. Commenting on her appointment, Candice Barwell enthuses: “I am delighted to be joining the dynamic team here at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa. It is certainly exciting to be part of the prestigious Shangri-La group and I look forward to working with this talented team and promoting this flagship property offering a unique experience in the Maldives.”

The brightest gem in the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, Villingili Island is a haven for those seeking their own Shangri-La. Nestled in the sheltered waters of the southernmost atoll in the archipelago of the Republic of Maldives is Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives. The heart-shaped atoll is about 18 kilometres wide and 15 kilometres long, with a stunning coral reef formation that is the largest in the country. The luxury of space makes the perfect haven for couples and families alike, ensuring each experience at the resort is personal. The resort has three restaurants, each with a distinct vibe, serving cuisine to suit all tastes.

The resort offers an extensive range of activities both on land and at sea. Most notable include CHI, The Spa, exploring the luscious tropical forest, a 9-hole golf course, the only one in the Maldives, or diving into an aquatic playground of water sport activities. The clocks are set one hour ahead on the island so that guests can enjoy an additional hour of daylight – just enough time to relax with a sun-downer at M Lounge to the sound of chilled beats.

Michael McCalman, New Executive Chef at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives

With 22 years of professional experience in the industry, including positions at independent restaurants and five star hotels, McCalman’s arrival is highly anticipated. He has held four positions within the Shangri-La brand previously, notably as Executive Chef for the opening of Shangri-La Futian in Shenzhen, China, and was instrumental in its culinary success.

Having worked as a professional Chef in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Thailand, The Maldives and the UK, McCalman’s global experience indicates his passion for discovering and working with new cuisines, and using local produce in his culinary creations. His new role at Villingili will allow him to engage this passion and bring his own mark.

Tree House Villa, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa
Tree House Villa, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa

Chef McCalman will be responsible for the hotel’s overall culinary direction and production. He will handle food costs, manage guest advocacy and maintain employee commitment. Chef McCalman will also oversee the menus and execution for the private jet terminal at Gan Airport, situated on the neighbouring island. His remit covers the restaurants Javvu, offering world cuisine in scenic settings, Dr Ali, for a memorable culinary journey through the East, and Fashala, featuring fresh seafood and local produce with a Mediterranean influence. He will also be managing the operations for in-villa dining and Dine by Design, offering bespoke gastronomic experience at unique locations around the island.

Commenting on Chef Michael’s appointment, General Manager, Allwyn Drego said: “We are delighted to welcome Chef Michael to Villingili to continue his journey with Shangri-La. His wealth of experience along with his intricate understanding of the culinary operations at five-star luxury hotels will benefit the resort and enhance its gastronomic offerings. We look forward to new culinary creations, making island dining even more memorable for our guests.”

Aerial, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages over 95 hotels under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 39,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in Mainland China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Myanmar, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at