Maldives is Italy’s Favourite Beach Destination

The Maldives has been named the best beach destination at the 2016 Italian Travel Awards, held in Rome.

Considered the most prestigious award in the Italian tourism industry, the Maldives fended off competition from the Seychelles and Polynesia to win the prize.

A total of 43 awards were given out from 15 different categories, in the spectacular Acquario Romano in the centre of the Italian capital.

Founded by pioneering Italian investors in the 1970s, the Maldivian tourism industry now sees

1.2 million visitors arrive each year. Italy remains a strong market, with more than 65,000 Italian tourists representing 5.3 percent of the total.

After Italian visitors increased by 13 percent in 2015, Italian hotel chain Baglioni Hotels recently revealed plans to launch its first Maldives resort in early 2017, on the island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll.

The Maldives was also the recipient of the best Indian Ocean beach destination at this year’s World Travel Awards, leaving it in the running to be named the world’s best beach locale at the global awards to be held in Maldives this December.

Arena Lodge Maldives

For travelers who want to take in the sights and sounds of the Maldives, Arena Lodge Maldives is the perfect choice. The excitement of the city center is only 17 km away. Visitors to the hotel can take pleasure in touring the city’s top attractions: Cocoa Thila Dive Site, Guraidhoo Kandu South, Last Stops.

At Arena Lodge Maldives, every effort is made to make guests feel comfortable. To do so, the hotel provides the best in services and amenities. A selection of top-class facilities such as free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour room service, room service, airport transfer, babysitting can be enjoyed at the hotel.

In addition, all guestrooms feature a variety of comforts. Many rooms even provide internet access – wireless, internet access – wireless (complimentary), non smoking rooms, air conditioning, wake-up service to please the most discerning guest. Throughout the day you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the water sports (motorized), water sports (non-motorized). Whatever your purpose of visit, Arena Lodge Maldives is an excellent choice for your stay in the Maldives.

MATATO Maldives Travel Awards 2016

Maldives Travel Awards by the Maldives Association of Travel Agents & Tour Operators (MATATO) will be organized and hosted by Think Advertising, on 22 May 2016 at Hotel Jen Malé Maldives

The (MATATO) Maldives Travel Awards is a recognized label initiated with the idea of MATATO providing the tourism sector of Maldives with recognition for their facilities and service excellence provided to guests.

Awards are presented to nominees in different categories on various sector and standard basis. The Maldives Travel Awards aim to encourage & raise service standards within the Maldivian Tourism industry.

Award Categories:

Resorts

LEADING LOCAL HOTEL/RESORT BRAND
LEADING FAMILY RESORT
LEADING LUXURY RESORT
LEADING ALL INCLUSIVE RESORT
MOST ROMANTIC RESORT
LEADING F&B RESORT
LEADING SURF RESORT
LEADING DESIGNER RESORT
LEADING DIVE RESORT
LEADING BEACH RESORT
LEADING ACTIVITY / WATER SPORTS CENTRE

Travel / Technology

LEADING MARKETING PROGRAMME
LEADING CSR PROGRAMME

Hotels

LEADING TOURIST GUESTHOUSE ISLAND
LEADING BUSINESS HOTEL

Wellness / Spa

LEADING WELLNESS & SPA RESORT
LEADING WELLNESS & SPA BRAND / CHAIN

Liveaboards

LEADING LIVEABOARD BRAND
LEADING LIVEABOARD

Aviation / Transport

LEADING DOMESTIC TRANSPORT PROVIDER
LEADING DOMESTIC AIRLINE

Dive Centers

LEADING DIVE SCHOOL / CENTER

Costa neoClassica to cruise into the Maldives this December

The new and exclusive two-week itinerary of Costa neoClassica to discover the colors of India and the beaches of the Maldives, for a unique and intense experience of culture and relaxation.

Departures from December 15, 2016 to March 10, 2017 with flights to Malé and Mumbai, and the possibility of dividing the cruise into two distinct 7-day segments.

Costa Cruises sets its sights on the Indian Ocean, announcing the arrival, in the 2016-2017 winter season, of a totally new itinerary in the array of cruises and package tours involving this destination. From December 15, 2016 to March 10, 2017, Costa neoClassica will depart from Malé or Mumbai—easily reached via flights —on an exclusive two-week journey in the Indian Ocean, around the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and India.

Created for all those travelers who prefer exotic and fascinating destinations and who seek new worlds and cultures, the “Colors of India, between Yin and Yang” itinerary will provide a unique and intense experience to those who wish to rediscover a closeness with nature and with the spirituality of ancient and different cultures, in the comfort and security of a cruise. Not just an escape from winter towards warm and sunny beaches, but an authentic cultural experience.

The cruise offered on board Costa neoClassica includes leisurely stops and overnight stays in order to allow our guests to enjoy a complete and intense experience, with the possibility of more than one excursion in the same location. It is the perfect cruise for discovering the fascinating contrasts of faraway destinations, beautiful beaches, and unchecked nature in a land that is a crossroads of religions and spirituality.

The itinerary starts out in the Maldives, where the ship will remain for two days at Malé, among the white atolls, shimmering beaches and blue waters of the coral reef. From Malé, thanks to Costa excursions, guests will be able to sail to Paradise Island Resort, an island wholly dedicated to well-being, beauty and relaxation.

Dolphin Pool, Paradise Island Resort & Spa
Dolphin Pool, Paradise Island Resort & Spa

The next stop will be Sri Lanka, the island nation also known as Ceylon. Guests will go ashore at Colombo, where they will visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, one of the best-known attractions of the island: a 25-hectare park that the government of Sri Lanka has set aside for the care of elephants abandoned in the forest, of which there are more than 60 today.

From Colombo we head to India, with its thousand-year-old culture and its intense colors. The first stop in India will be Goa, known worldwide for its spectacular beaches and for its Portuguese colonial architecture. This territory, which is visited every year by hundreds of thousands of Indian and foreign tourists, is considered one of the 21 hotspots of biodiversity in the world. Guests will be able to choose a number of excursions, including a tour of the old city and of the capital, Panjim, and a visit to the Basilica de Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Costa neoClassica will then head for Mumbai, where it will stop for two whole days in order that its guests might fully savor the distinctive contrasts of the city. This fascinating and chaotic metropolis, capital of the state of Maharashtra, has the highest population of all of India’s cities: here Costa guests will be able to admire the main attractions, including the Banganga Tank, an immense basin fed by the underwater river Bhogwati, where the faithful go to pray.

Heading back down the Indian coast, the journey will continue to New Mangalore before arriving at Cochin, in the federal state of Kerala, one of the main maritime ports in the country, where the ship will stop for two whole days. Among the possible excursions to choose from are a visit by tuk-tuk to the village of Kumbalangi and a houseboat ride in the Kerala Backwaters, in amongst the tropical canals of the Cochin hinterland, an incredibly vast system of lagoons rich in mangrove swamps and rainforests. Costa neoClassica will then return to Malé, ending the itinerary back at the Maldives, where our guests will be able to catch their flights back to Italy.

Once again, Costa Cruises confirms its ability to create exclusive itineraries in order to satisfy the needs of its guests, who will also have the choice of dividing the cruise in two separate weeklong segments. The complete itinerary offers the additional option of embarking at Mumbai, with all the same calls.

Himmafushi Breaks at Kanbili

Just outside Himmafushi’s Kanbili Guest House live an odd couple – one with a name befitting royalty, the other…not.

They can be found just yards from the from the netted joali chairs outside the reception area, past a white beach-ful of tall palm trees, which all lean forward to get a better look at their popular neighbours.

Kanbili GH. Photo Credit: Aishath Naj
Kanbili GH. Photo Credit: Aishath Naj

One is called Sultans, the other Honky’s, the sibling surf breaks that make Himmafushi one of the best places to ride the waves on the Maldives’ prolific whitewater reefs.

Following the advent of surf tourism in the archipelago a quarter of a century ago, both waves and foreign visitors travel thousands of miles to meet at the tip of Thamburudhoo island, before going their separate ways with the famous swells.

Surfer near Thamburudhoo. Photo Credit: Aishath Naj
Surfer near Thamburudhoo island. Photo Credit: Aishath Naj

Himmafushi – sitting less than a kilometre across the channel – was home to another of the Maldives’ most famous imports, Tony Hussein Hinde, the shipwrecked Australian who brought modern surfing to the country in the 1970s.

Describing the local breaks – which include the nearby ‘Pasta Point’ and Himmafushi’s own ‘Jails’ – as “like every surfing fantasy I’d ever imagined”, Hinde realised that his “sacred mission” to find the perfect paradise wave had ended.

But the island of Himmafushi, lying just an hour north of the capital by ferry (20 minutes by speed boat), is perfect for those looking for a sample of all the Maldives has to offer.  With a local community of around 1,800 people, the island has its own fish processing plant, with the impressive haul brought in each day a reminder of the strong economic currents that move beyond the surf.

Far from the harsh realities of island life initially encountered by Himmafushi’s surf pioneer, however, today’s visitors can enjoy the beauty of life on the sand and in the ocean, with all the modern comforts.

Residents at Kanbili – one of the first establishments on the island to ride the recent wave of guest house tourism – can enjoy the fabled breaks of North Malé atoll in the days, while relaxing in cool and spacious rooms (big enough to swing a surfboard in) during the evenings.

Traditional staples of island life are available to guests, with mantas, turtles and sharks every bit as common a neighbourhood sight as the surfers. Fishing trips – day or night –  are readily available, while the ingredients for beach barbecues can be plucked on demand from the ocean garden in front.

Additional extras, such as the a sun terrace – complete with jacuzzi – are welcome accompaniments after a day exploring the busy atoll.

Kanbili GH guest house. Photo Credit Aishath Naj
Kanbili GH. Photo Credit: Aishath Naj

For those who feel greater affinity with Sultans than its partner, discounted day-trips to local resorts are available, where they will meet fellow travellers paying a premium to visit the waves outside Kanbili’s windows. The nearby Four Seasons resort will host its sixth international surf championship on the Sultans break this August.

While Kanbili – with its own launch – can offer some of the cheapest airport transfers available, inexpensive local ferries leave for the capital once a day, offering the chance to add an urban adventure to the island experience.

Special for the surf, but excellent for everything, Himmafushi is ideally placed to allow visitors to enjoy all the atoll has to offer, while the Kanbili Guest House is well-positioned for the perfect break.

Kanbili GH

Kanbili GH is located on the island of Himmafushi in North Malé Atoll, 15km away from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. The property provides transfers from the airport by boat, which takes approximately 20 minutes. Free WiFi is available in public areas. Complimentary transport to the bikini beach is provided. Each room here will provide you with air conditioning, a balcony and a terrace. Private bathroom comes with a shower. You can enjoy sea view from the room. Extras include a minibar and cable channels. At Kanbili you will find a shared lounge and spa bath. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including diving, windsurfing and snorkelling. The Male City is a 45 minute ferry ride away.

Soneva reveals details of its newest resort — Soneva Jani

24 water villas and 1 island villa to open in October 2016 in the Maldives
All villas feature a retractable roof for stargazing
The resort is set in a 5.6km private lagoon

Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator, has revealed details of its newest resort, Soneva Jani, opening in October 2016 in the Maldives. The brand’s newest luxury resort offering will comprise 24 water villas and one island villa, with additional island villas planned at a later stage.

Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on the island of Medhufaru, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The highlight of the resort is its location within a 5.6 kilometer lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean. The main island is fringed by pristine beaches and blanketed with lush tropical greenery.

Soneva Jani
Soneva Jani

Every water villa has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze. Like all other Soneva properties, the spacious villas feature beautifully designed interiors by Eva Shivdasani, one of Soneva’s co-founders, and are made from the highest quality sustainable materials.

“When we opened Soneva Gili more than 15 years ago, it stood out as a unique and new concept in luxury travel.  It is my belief that Soneva Jani is even more revolutionary.  There are many small details and improvements, for example at Soneva Gili, guests would often sleep on the top deck so that they could sleep under the stars. In each Soneva Jani Water Retreat or Reserve the master bedroom roof slides back at the press of a button. It closes automatically if it rains,” said Sonu Shivdasani, founder and CEO of Soneva.

Soneva Jani
Soneva Jani

“We live in an ever more crowded and developed world. Soneva Jani is one of the lowest density resorts in the world. Just 25 Villas are built in an area that stretches nearly five kilometers. It is not an island resort.  It is a lagoon with five private islands where only one of these will have development. When designing and building Soneva Jani, I was very mindful that when we open, the area should seem as natural and beautiful as the first day I laid eyes on it,” he added. “Soneva Jani is one of the most anticipated hotel openings in the Indian Ocean this year. We have already witnessed a huge amount of interest, with the first few weeks fully booked within a few days of opening the booking system to the global travel trade.”

Soneva Jani
Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani will include all of Soneva’s popular features including a Spa, a dive centre, an observatory, a children’s den, an Eco Centro, organic gardens and an outdoor Cinema Paradiso. The cinema will be the first ‘silent cinema’ in the Maldives, as guests will be given Bluetooth earphones to watch movies so as not to disturb the nesting wildlife in the area.

The resort will serve global cuisine at five dining outlets, and will feature Soneva’s ubiquitous cheese, chocolate, ice-cream and charcuterie rooms that are complimentary for all guests. Various destination and specialty dining experiences will also be available.

Soneva Jani
Soneva Jani

“Soneva Jani is a place of incredible natural beauty. The waters in the lagoon have the most vibrant shades of blue that I have not seen anywhere else in the Maldives. We have an extensive array of marine life, including turtles, rays and occasionally dolphins, and the lagoon is an excellent place for kayaking, sailing and swimming as it is calm, shallow and extends for miles and miles. The villas are stunning and include all the attention to detail that Soneva is renowned for. Construction is progressing quickly and we are on track for an opening in October 2016,” said Olivia Richli, the Pre-Opening and General Manager of Soneva Jani.

Soneva Jani includes 18 units of one-bedroom Water Retreats, four units of two-bedroom Water Retreats, one three-bedroom Water Retreat, 1 three-bedroom Water Reserve, and one four-bedroom Island Reserve.

Soneva Jani
Soneva Jani

In constructing the resort, Soneva kept its environmental impact as low as possible. The pools use seawater with UV filtration and the villas have been built over the sandy floors of the lagoon, with no damage to any part of the reef. Furthermore, solar PV will be a significant source of power generation at the resort, all waste-water will be collected and treated on-site, and water will also be produced on-site, including drinking water. Soneva’s Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre will ensure that waste is recycled, while the extensive vegetable garden will give local produce for the restaurants based on organic principles.

The resort’s soft opening is planned for October 01, 2016, while the official opening date is fixed at November 05, 2016. Bookings are now available from October 01, 2016 onwards.

Soneva Jani
Soneva Jani

In addition to Soneva Jani, Soneva owns and operates Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Soneva in Aqua, an ultra luxurious yacht offering an experiential travel experience, was launched in the Maldives in 2015 and sails out of Soneva Fushi. For more information about Soneva visit www.soneva.com

Maldives holds roadshows in India

The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), has started a 4-city roadshow – Lucknow, Chandigarh, Pune, and Hyderabad till the 20th of this month. These roadshows are a part of initiatives by MMPRC to promote Maldives tourism and are a follow-up to the Roadshows held in 2015 in the cities of India: New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai which were met with tremendous success.

Organized by the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC), 5 representative partners from the tourism industry of Maldives: Dusit Thani, Sun Siyam Resorts, Adaaran Resorts, Lily Beach Resort and Spa and Travelers Street is also participating at the Roadshow.

A lucky draw, sponsored by Sun Siyam Resorts and Dusit Thani, is being held at every road show where the winner gets a free vacation in the Maldives.

India is the sixth biggest market for the Maldivian tourism. In the first quarter of 2016, 14,171 tourists visited the Maldives from India. From January to December 2015, 52,368 Indians visited Maldives which is an increase of 14.9% compared to the year 2014.

In recent years, Maldives has become a popular travel destination with Indians. It has emerged as vacation favourite for Indian celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Karan Singh Grover, Abhishek Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Sanam Puri to name a few who regularly visits, while number of Bollywood film makers regularly shoot in the Maldives such as.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwvn-heOJVw

Maldives offers free 30-day visa on-arrival for all nationalities.

Record Number of Sea Turtles Hatchlings Release

In the late afternoon sun, fifty baby turtles, barely the size of a seashell, scurried across Dusit Thani Maldives’ white sandy beach and made their way to the turquoise Indian Ocean.

Guests lined the beach, watching the tiny creatures scramble to the water. Leading the crowd in and cheering them on was Rebecca Bull, resident Marine Biodiversity Educator who closely monitored the Green Sea Turtle eggs since their nest discovery was made. While turtles tend to return to the very same beach that they themselves were hatched, it is hoped that the emerging hatchlings will imprint on Mudhdhoo Island and return in their in their maturity to lay their own eggs.

Dusit Thani Maldives
Dusit Thani Maldives

This year, these vulnerable sea turtles set a nesting record with only four weeks into nesting season. With a total of five nests on the island, this would set a record number of nests recorded on the resort. Two of the nests have already produced the first hatchlings of the year; over 100 juvenile Green Sea Turtles, whilst the resort is expecting approximately 200 hatchlings from the other three nests. Green Sea Turtles are listed as an endangered species globally, and listed in the Mediterranean as critically endangered. Therefore this rare and special sighting will make any guest’s vacation a memorable one.

This all came about when Sea Turtle tracks were discovered one bright morning making their way up the beach. The resort appointed employees to create “Turtle Camps” and guarded over the nest during incubation. Guests of all ages who were staying at the luxury resort during this time were invited to participate in the amazing phenomenon by witnessing the release of the newly-born turtles into the ocean.

Dusit Thani Maldives is fully committed to the care and protection of Sea Turtles in Maldives. The resort raises awareness, shares information to hotel guests and takes part in Turtle Conservation by helping to protect endangered sea turtle eggs and rehabilitating injured turtles back to full health for release.

Marble

Marble is located in Male’ City, the capital Island of the Maldives, the sunny side of life. We are just 10 minutes ferry ride from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, perfect for business or transit travelers.

At convenient peaceful location, our Facilities and services include Rani Maalam Conference hall, Dining functions, Ladies Gym, Marble Café Restaurant & Sunset lounge Club house. In-house guest laundry service regularly takes one day and ironing boards are available on request. Hotel cab service up to the airport ferry jetty is available on request and WIFI internet is available hotel wide. Reception is open round the clock with concierge, call operator, cashiering and business services.

Marble Café caters for local weddings & party functions. We serve Ala carte menu, offering international cuisine, a wide variety of beverages and occasional live music.

Sunset Lounge is an exclusive clubhouse on the terrace floor ideal for sun bathing, viewing sunset & photography. The clubhouse  facilitates an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and fun games like billiards, darts, board games, reading corner, TV lounge.

Our exciting outings include diving safari trips, snorkeling, fishing, sea sports, Male’ city tour, local island visits, tourist resort visits and visit to a Bar.