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Hulhumale to get hotel, Maldives first water theme park

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

A project has begun in the satellite town of Hulhumale to build the first ever water theme park in Maldives and a city hotel.

Materials required for the project have been gathered at the site.

Housing Development Corporation (HDC), which oversees the development of Hulhumale, signed an agreement with Malaysia’s Miri Housing Development Sdn Bhd last year to develop and operate the water theme park and hotel.

Located on Nirolhu Magu next to the Youth Park, this USD 25 million new development will come with numerous attractive facilities, including different types of water slides for both adults and children such as spiral slides, speed slides and family slides, kids pool, bumper boats, water houses, water rollers, water gyro, aqua loops, fountain square and rivers.

Additionally, the water theme park will come with related commercial developments such as food and beverage outlets and a six-storey hotel.

“HDC believes that the water theme park is another important step towards realising the government’s vision to develop Hulhumalé as Youth City as it is projected to transform the landscape of the city creating a more youth friendly environment,” HDC earlier said, in a statement.

“Furthermore, it will also create an additional platform for the city to become a centre for urban tourism in the country.”

Hulhumale is home to a number of guesthouses, but the town has no hotels. A project by State Trading Organisation (STO) to build a luxury hotel in Hulhumale has also stalled.

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Club Med to launch ‘Fusions’ talent collaborations at exclusive collection Finolhu Villas

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Club Med is set to launch Fusions by Club Med for its Gentil Members (G.Ms) at Club Med’s Exclusive Collection resort, Club Med Finolhu Villas in the Maldives.

Fusions by Club Med appeals to those who desire exclusive and premium experiences during their travels. Aiming to redefine paradise, Club Med will be bringing together unparalleled connoisseurs from different fields to create out of the ordinary experiences to delight its guests.

“When you have experienced the finer things in life, when you believe travelling is a means of collecting unique, one-of-a-kind experiences… Club Med has curated and designed a series of collaborations, created to scintillate your senses and elevate your experience to the next level,” an announcement read.

“From Club Med’s blender of creativity, we are embarking on unprecedented collaborations with exceptional talents and brands across various industries. We meld their individual strengths and fortes together to bring you an unexpected treasure trove of phenomenal experiences. We immerse you in trendy, limited-time events that promises exclusivity and avant-garde moments that will forever be etched into your memories.”

Composer-pianist Tze Toh (R) and Chef Jozef Youssef

The first of this quarterly series will be launched at the Finolhu Villas on August 30, 2018 with a multi-sensory culinary experience.

Curated by world-renowned Chef Jozef Youssef and award-winning composer Tze Toh, guests can expect to be immersed in a dynamic experience that ignites their senses. The combination of music and food complements each other and stimulates not just the senses of sight and sound but taste as well. Firing imaginations and highlighting senses may boost sweetness or enhance the umami flavours of the food.

Regular guests can also look forward to this unique experience inspired by this event from September to November 2018. Indulge in a menu specially crafted by Chef Jozef and music curated by Tze and discover the unprecedented collaboration that delights the senses.

Club Med Finolhu Villas. PHOTO/ CLUB MED

Club Med, the French pioneer of luxury all-inclusive holiday experience, runs two resorts in the Maldives; Club Med Kani and Club Med Finolhu Villas.

Occupying the island of Gasfinolhu, a 40-minute boat ride from the main Velana International Airport, Club Med Finolhu Villas feature 52 villas — overwater and on the beach — that line the sunrise and sunset sides of the island. The resort sets itself from other properties in the Maldives with its “eco chic” offering; built from sustainable materials and 100 percent powered by the solar panels that line the roofs of the jetties.

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Maldives tourist arrivals post 8.1 percent growth in July

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Maldives on Thursday reported an increase of 8.1 percent in tourist arrivals in July, as the destination continues to recover from a new wave of domestic political turmoil that rocked the island nation early this year.

Maldives attracted a wave of bad publicity following the recent declaration of a state of emergency, which ended in March. However, the political turmoil was strictly restricted to the capital city, away from the resorts and local islands where holidaymakers stay in.

The political turmoil led to rare declines of 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent in tourist arrivals in April and May respectively before rebounding in June with a 10 percent growth.

Official figures for the month of July released by the tourism ministry show that a total of 122,332 tourists visited the Maldives during the month — an 8.1 percent increase over the 113,175 tourists in July 2017.

Europe, the largest regional source market, posted an overall growth of 12.8 percent over July 2017, as arrivals increased to 47,603 from 42,192.

The UK, which is the single biggest European source market, made a gain of 9.3 percent, while several other major European markets such as Italy, France and Spain also posted gains of 25.6 percent, 35.8 percent and 21.2 percent respectively. Germany also rebounded from its rare decline of 23.3 percent in June, as the second most important European source market posted a 1.5 percent growth in arrivals in July.

Russian travellers continued to show their appetite for the Maldives, as arrival numbers jumped 5.5 percent in July to reach 4,370 from 4,144 in July 2017. This strong performance last month translated into an impressive growth of 23 percent in arrivals from Russia for the past seven months of the year.

Arrivals from Asia, the second largest regional source market, also increased 6.5 percent in July.

Arrivals from China once again declined by 3.1 percent to reach 33,227 compared to the 34,276 in July 2017. This decline, which came after declines of 27.5 percent, 28 percent, 27.1 percent and 5.4 percent in March, April, May and June respectively as well as 15.8 percent in January, offset the rare gain in arrival numbers from China in February and led to an 8.6 percent decline in arrivals from the Maldives’ single biggest source market for the January-July period.

Meanwhile, almost all major contributors to Maldives tourism from South East Asia continued to post strong gains in July as well, with arrivals from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines increasing by 69.2 percent, 60 percent and 36.9 percent respectively. Arrivals from Singapore, which had been posting weak performances for the past seven months of year, also increased by 8.3 percent in July.

However, arrivals from South Asia, which has become one of the fastest growing source markets, declined by 0.4 percent in July after posting major gains for the past seven months of the year. This rare decline is due to negative growth in arrivals from all South Asian countries except India, which posted an increase of 5.7 percent.

Along with the strong performance in established markets, relatively new markets also continued their upward growth trajectory last month, as arrivals from the Americas were up 0.4 percent and Oceania up 29.4 percent.

Arrivals from the US, which last year secured a place amongst the top 10 contributors to the Maldives tourism industry, increased by 4.8 percent to reach 3,494 last month compared to the 3,334 in July 2017, while the number of visitors from Australia also increased by 32.7 percent. South Africa, which has been on the recovery, also posted an increase of 1.2 percent.

Middle East, which has proven to be a volatile market, recorded a slight gain of 1.5 percent in July — the second consecutive month of growth after a decline of 24.1 percent in May. However, arrivals from several major Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates posted negative growth of 32.4 percent, 7.1 percent and 14.7 percent respectively. Saudi Arabia (up 8.4 percent) and Qatar (up 811.9 percent) were the only major contributors from Middle East that made gains in arrivals in July.

According to the July statistics, total arrivals for the first seven months of the year increased by 10.1 percent to reach 848,847 compared to the 770,715 in the same period of last year.

In addition to the recent political turmoil, the Maldives is currently experiencing the traditionally low season.

May to November is considered the low tourist season, as these months constitute rainy season in Maldives. Between May and November, the islands boast of wet weather, making it less ideal for tourists to travel and enjoy the tropical environment.

Over the past five years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to 120. That number is set to increase as the government has announced the opening of some 20 new resorts over the next two years.

Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 450 guesthouses in operation today.

The government last year announced new steps to maintain a structured growth in tourism, including a slowdown in leasing islands for resort development and increased marketing efforts in key markets such as China and the Middle East in order to reach an ambitious target of a record 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year.

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Six Senses Laamu scores more awards for community outreach

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Six Senses Laamu has been named the 2018 winner of Green Hotelier’s Community Award, in addition to being the highly commended runner-up for Responsible Hotel of the Year title.

The 2018 Green Hotelier Award winners represent the world’s leaders in environmentally and socially responsible hotels. The awards were based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which cover 17 areas, including issues of energy use, water conservation, waste management, human rights, partnerships and more.

“Every single hotel (applicant) is deeply committed to doing their bit for people and planet, and many of them go above and beyond to have huge positive impacts for the communities and environments where they’re located. We saw so much innovation and many environmental solutions that both make sense for that hotel’s location, and also help drive the sustainability agenda forward,” Editor of Green Hotelier and awards judge Siobhan O’Neill was quoted in a statement, as saying.

Six Senses Laamu strives to align its operations with the SDGs in order to lead the way in the sustainable tourism industry and encourage others to follow suit. Protecting the ocean and its coral reefs, onsite production to reduce imports together with staff member and community development are all critically important to the Six Senses brand concept.

The Community Award focused on ways the resort provides financial and educational support to the local communities in order to drive sustainable development. Six Senses Laamu’s Sustainability Fund allocates 0.5 percent of total revenues towards projects that conserve the marine environment, ensure clean drinking water, reduce the use of plastics, or improve public infrastructure.

However, the resort is most well-known for resources allocated towards its community outreach and education programs. The Eku Eky programme brings together all 11 islands in the atoll, as well as local government agencies and international NGOs to discuss sustainable development and long-term conservation strategies. The resort’s marine team has been conducting education programmes in local schools for the past four years, has led swimming and snorkelling lessons to expose kids to wonders of their backyard coral reefs and has jointly organised two annual festivals with the theme Turtles in Laamu – Safe and Protected. These initiatives not only raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation in Laamu, but also strengthen relationships between the resort and all stakeholders in Laamu atoll.

A Six Senses marine biologist demonstrates to girls from local island of Hithadhoo how to use a mask and snorkel. PHOTO/ SIX SENSES

Six Senses Laamu was also recognised as the highly commended runner-up for Responsible Hotel of the Year award, for its commitments and achievements across all SDG categories.

“We are delighted to be recognised for our community work, which is critical to the sustainability of the resort’s operations. Without a flourishing local community, we would not be able to run our business in an environmentally-friendly or mutually beneficial way. Over the years we have been inspired by the work done by some wonderful environmentally and socially responsible hotels and I hope this award can in turn help serve as inspiration for other hotels to give back to their local community and surrounding environment,” Marteyne van Well, the General Manager of Six Senses Laamu, said.

These awards add to the resort’s accolade of Maldives Travel Awards 2017 Leading CSR Programme.

Six Senses Laamu is the only resort located in the Laamu atoll, which lies in the southern part of the Maldives. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the resort prides itself on its commitment to sustainable operations and development as outlined by Agenda 21 and Green Globe Benchmarking.

At Six Senses Laamu, most of the villas and facilities are built overwater. However, beach villas and on-land dining is an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view to the Ocean and Maldivian nature.

Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, a swimming pool with a sunken bar, an ice cream parlour, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill bar. Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both overwater and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.

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Guesthouse Association endorses fifth Guesthouses Maldives guide

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Guesthouse Association of Maldives (GAM) has officially endorsed this year’s edition of Guesthouses Maldives guide.

Speaking about the magazine, GAM President Mohamed Karam thanked the efforts done by publisher Maldives Getaways in promoting the guesthouse industry of the Maldives.

First published in 2015 by the PR firm, Guesthouses Maldives is the only magazine that focuses on the emerging guesthouse tourism in the Maldives. The magazine is published annually, as a beautiful, informative and comprehensive guide to all guesthouses across the archipelago.

Being listed in the guide is entirely free for all guesthouse establishments in the country.

All printed copies are distributed to interested parties across the Maldives, including all resorts and guesthouses. Maldives Getaways also distribute the publication at major international tourism fairs such as ITB Berlin and WTM London.

While the Guesthouses Maldives mainly focuses on photo listings of guesthouses and their facilities, the publication also features a bit of light reading materials on topics such as the history of the Maldives, its culture and other useful information. Additionally, it includes articles showcasing the developments in the industry.

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Soneva unveils ‘Change-Maker’ film series to highlight community, environmental projects

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Soneva has launched a series of short films this August that explore its sustainability and community projects, as narrated by some of Soneva’s employees across the company’s three properties in the Maldives and Thailand.

The ‘Change-Maker’ series comprises five videos shot at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, as well as four hand-drawn animated videos. The series launch is part of Soneva’s Festival of Colour’s August “Green” month, which celebrates our planet.

The nine films are being released on Soneva’s social media accounts throughout the month of August. The stories told through the films manage to highlight some of the pressing social and environmental issues facing the local communities in which Soneva operates, as well as solutions. They also introduce some of the Soneva Hosts (employees) and the important functions they have in not only serving guests, but being part of a company’s bigger purpose.

“I strongly believe that a company exists not only to make a profit, but to serve and improve the communities in which it operates. I remain a strong advocate of the overall positive impact of Travel & Tourism and the key role it plays in protecting and conserving communities and the environment. Being sustainable is also part of our DNA and we are always striving to limit the negative environmental impact of our activities – something which is both difficult as well as critical for a company which operates resorts in remote places of pristine natural beauty,” Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s CEO and Joint Creative Director, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“We may sometimes fall short of our own high standards, but we are very clear about our responsibilities as custodians of the communities we operate in.  This responsibility to one’s community is somewhat complicated for a company such as ours whose guests jet in from all over the globe. As a result our social and environmental responsibilities are as much global as they are local. This film series is a small window into our many initiatives.”

The five videos begin with ‘From Garden to Plate’, which tells the story of how the resorts’ organic and seasonal produce enable the chef’s imagination to dictate the menu. It shows how Soneva Fushi’s chefs and gardeners work hand in hand with nature to ensure Soneva’s guests enjoy only the freshest, most nutritious ingredients.

‘We Are the 4%’ highlights how very few Maldivian women work in the hospitality industry and how Soneva Jani is working hard to change that. It centres around the story of Fathimath Shaazleen, the first female Resort Manager in the Maldives, as well as that of other female Maldivian Hosts and showcases what Soneva does to ensure these women feel safe, involved and have an opportunity to advance their careers.

‘Beyond the Seagrass’, narrated by Soneva Jani’s Marine Biologist Eleanor Butler, draws attention to the harm that plastic waste and fishing nets are doing the island nation’s marine life. Eleanor also talks about the sea turtle tracking that is done by marine biologists across the country with the help of resort guests. When a guest finds an undocumented sea turtle they are allowed to name it, and so far there has been a Geraldine, a Hope, a Shelly and a Stevie.

Ali Adil, Soneva Jani’s Astronomer narrates the next video, ‘The Mangrove Network’, which delves into the intricacies and interconnectedness of the ecosystems found on the island. He warns that if crabs or the mangroves are removed, then the island itself would perish as a result.

‘Rocket’, the last film in the series so far, introduces a Maldivian fisherman called Rocket who provides Soneva Fushi with its freshly caught fish. Rocket tells the story of how he has been with Soneva since the resort first opened 23 years ago, and how working with the resort helped him start his fishing business. Rocket fishes with line and pole, the most sustainable way to fish, and he hopes that sustainable practices will help reverse and stop further harm from coming to the Maldives’ marine environment.

Interspersed between the live video releases will be four animated films that go into more detail about Soneva’s sustainability practices and initiatives.

‘Striving for Nothing’ explains how Soneva offsets its carbon emissions, both at the resorts and through projects around the world, to ensure it is 100 percent carbon neutral. ‘Drink Water Save Lives’ is about the Soneva Drinking Water initiative that allows Soneva to be plastic bottle free, and through which it has funded clean water projects and given over 750,000 people access to clean water around the world.

‘Do You Believe in Magic’ expands upon the story in ‘From Garden to Plate’ to shed light on how Soneva grows its own produce from composting to harvesting. Finally, ‘Growing a Soneva Villa’ goes into the details surrounding the creation of a Soneva villa, from the growing and replanting of the sustainably farmed timber to the making of building blocks made of recycled waste in Soneva’s Eco Centro.

Soneva’s Festival of Colour celebrates Soneva’s diverse range of guest experiences and visiting Michelin-starred chefs, wellness experts, authors, athletes and much more across of its resorts.

Soneva, a world-leading luxury resort operator, runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.

Established in 1995, Soneva Fushi is the original Soneva. The No News, No Shoes blueprint for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 65 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, hidden amongst dense foliage.

The iconic resort has bagged several international awards for eco-friendly tourism and green initiatives, including the 2017 Green Hotelier Award for the Asia Pacific region and the Sustainable Hotel Award by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) as well as a spot in the Gold List compiled by Condé Nast Traveler China as the Best Hotel in the Maldives and amongst the best resorts in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.

Opened in December 2016, Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property and its second resort in the Maldives.

Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of 24 overwater villas and one island villa set in a 5.6 kilometre private lagoon located in the northern Noonu atoll. The resort spans five islands surrounded by pure white beaches, covered in rich tropical vegetation, offering the ultimate in privacy and luxury.

Each of the resort’s multilevel water villas has its own private pool and a retractable roof that allows guests to sleep beneath the stars. Many villas also have slides that transport guests directly from the top level into the lagoon below. Other hotel highlights include a spa, an observatory — home to the largest telescope in the Indian Ocean — and an outdoor cinema.

Since its opening, Soneva Jani has created a lot of buzz amongst luxury travellers with its exciting features such as the retractable roofs and the water slides. It has been named the Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel of the year by Jetsetter.com, the best new resort in the world by CNN, and the Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in South Asia and Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in Maldives.

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COMO Hotels appoints new sales, marketing director for Maldives

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

COMO Hotels and Resorts has appointed Fadzlon Bakar as Cluster Director of Sales and Marketing for Maldives.

Joining directly from Bali, Fadzlon’s experience in the luxury travel industry includes three years with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, and 16 years with Four Seasons. She left Four Seasons to look after the Alila Villas Soori in West Bali, which underwent a rebranding to become The Soori Bali. She was instrumental in the success of this rebrand.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Fadzlon to COMO to oversee the sales and marketing strategy for our two properties in the Maldives – COMO Cocoa Island and COMO Maalifushi,” COMO Vice President of Operations Kevin J. Abramowicz was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“Fadzlon has in-depth experience across Asia-Pacific and we have no doubt she will bring her energy and enthusiasm to two of our most successful properties.”

COMO runs two resorts in Maldives, COMO Maalifushi and COMO Cocoa Island.

COMO Maalifushi is the only resort in the pristine Thaa atoll — a 60-minute seaplane journey from the Maldives main international airport. This makes it the ultimate away-from-it-all destination with white strands of beach, inland tropical greenery and a safe, cobalt lagoon flanked by a healthy house reef.

The resort provides numerous opportunities to explore the region with instruction in sailing, diving and seasonal surfing, using a fleet of boats for fishing and a nearby white-sand island where guests can enjoy a private island picnic experience.

But while activities are numerous, this is a luxurious resort designed with relaxation front of mind. Each room’s décor is designed to bring the colours of sea, sand and sky into the heart of the residence, be it an overwater villa or a beach house set among garden palms.

COMO Maalifushi has three restaurants: Thila, for easygoing food such as wood-fired pizzas and salads; Madi, which serves a mix of local, regional and Mediterranean cuisine; and Tai, which ranks amongst the finest Japanese restaurants in the Maldives, featuring a sushi bar serving freshly caught seafood and an enviable, overwater location.

Guests can fully embrace the range of holistic Asian therapies available at the award-winning COMO Shambhala Retreat at COMO Maalifushi, which also offers yoga, a fully-equipped gym and a range of holistic wellness therapies. The guest experience at COMO Maalifushi is defined from beginning to end by COMO’s exacting, passionate service.

COMO Cocoa Island is a private island in the South Male Atoll.

Wrapped in white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, the resort is in close proximity to some of the best dive sites in the world. Yet, it is also easily accessible, for the resort is accessible by a 35-minute speedboat transfer from the international airport.

The tranquil setting is enhanced by the understated elegance of COMO Cocoa Island’s rooms, which resemble local dhoni fishing boats and feature direct access to the shallow lagoon. All have a private outdoor sun deck, as well as spacious living and sleeping areas decorated in flowing white muslin.

The pale colours contribute to the overall feeling of quiet, contemporary design. Ufaa, the resort’s restaurant, serves fresh local produce and seafood cooked in the Keralan style, while Faru bar overlooks the pristine infinity-edge pool.

COMO Cocoa Island’s spa, COMO Shambhala Retreat, offers rebalancing treatments, including Ayurveda, massages and facials.

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Constance Moofushi’s Manta crowned Maldives’ best Luxury Resort Restaurant

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Manta restaurant at Constance Moofushi Maldives has been crowned the best Luxury Resort Restaurant in Maldives.

The country award presented to the restaurant at the 2018 World Luxury Restaurant Awards Gala held at the Galgorm Resort and Spa on July 14.

Constance Moofushi, located in the South Ari Atoll and accessible by a 25-minute seaplane flight from Velana International Airport, strikes the balance between luxury and simplicity, while upholding ecological principles across the resort. A variety of beach, water and senior residences that make up the 110 villas throughout the resort embraces ecological thatched roofing. The interior embodies fresh and contemporary décor with the idyllic backdrop of the aqua lagoons of the Indian Ocean.

Two restaurants and two bars provide multiple options for a unique culinary experience tailored to all age groups. Alizée offers an à la carte menu and is situated only a few meters from the sea on the bleached sand, serving up freshly cooked food from a beach grill in a peaceful and casual atmosphere. Manta restaurant embraces a worldwide cuisine concept, where the main focus is the interaction between chefs and guests as they journey through the international buffet. The sand-floored restaurant extends out over the water, allowing guests to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape’s crystal-clear waters during their meal, adding to the ambiance.

With more than 100,000 votes cast for over 1,000 entrants in 78 categories, the World Luxury Restaurant Awards recognise restaurants across the globe for their culinary excellence and memorable experiences, as well as assessing the quality of the atmosphere and service. The awards aim to provide luxury restaurants with increased recognition as well as introduce them to potential new guests, both local and international. Votes come from both guests and industry experts, thus providing a balanced and unbiased outcome based on the food experience as a whole.

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Sheraton Maldives offers special deals

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

There is also a ‘2+2 Special: Deluxe Room and Water Bungalow’ deal, which allows guests who book a minimum of four nights in a Deluxe Room to get a complimentary upgrade to Water Bungalow for the rest of the two nights. The deal includes:

  • Daily breakfast at Feast for two
  • Two nights stay on island in Deluxe Room and two nights stay overwater at Water Bungalow
  • Complimentary WiFi throughout your stay
  • Access to ‘Sheraton Fitness’ throughout your stay
  • Complimentary snorkelling gear, canoe and stand-up paddle
  • Complimentary morning sunrise yoga classes with fitness instructor on select days in the week

Sheraton Maldives also has a ‘Wellness and Stay Renewal Package for 2’, under which guests who book a minimum of three nights at a private Overwater Suite or Ocean Pool Villa can experience a three-day spa detox programme, sunrise yoga and fitness sessions. The package includes:

  • Three-day detox programme with Shine Spa for two
  • Complimentary speedboat transfer to and from international airport upon check-in and check-out
  • All-day use of Shine Spa facilities (steam room, sauna, showers)
  • Complimentary water sports for rental (kayak, paddle-board, snorkelling gear) and free snorkelling introduction session
  • Complimentary morning sunrise yoga sessions with fitness instructor

Conveniently located just 15-20 minutes away from the main Velana International Airport and a kilometre away from the nearest inhabited island, Sheraton Maldives is a tropical paradise located on its very own private island and a heaven for those seeking stunning white sandy beaches and warm turquoise lagoons. The resort offers a total of 176 guest rooms in different categories and located both overwater and land.

Part of Sheraton Maldives appeal is the varied dining options available to its guests. From casual al fresco snacks to its international array of restaurants, visitors will find the perfect dining experience to suit their mood.

Located on its very own island, Shine Spa for Sheraton features six treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms and relaxation lounge. The spa offers various treatments to rejuvenate your skin and calm your mind, including signature massages such as traditional Thai, aromatic body, deep ocean and many more. With ingredients derived from the natural Maldivian environment, spa therapists at the resort harnesses the healing power of nature to relax and renew you.

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Hideaway Beach’s Samsara named best Luxury Waterside Restaurant in Indian Ocean

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Samsara Asian Fusion offers serene surroundings coupled with an exquisite fusion of Thai, Indian and Japanese influences. It boasts a romantic location of an open-air terrace perched on stilts above the blue lagoon. With outstanding fine dining and a teppanyaki table that will excite the taste buds, Samsara is a pleasure to be experienced more than once.

Located in the northernmost Haa Alif atoll, Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa is accessible by a 50-minute domestic flight followed by a 15-minute speedboat ride.

The five-star resort offers guests the luxury of space and privacy across 297,000 square metres. The 103 luxury villas fall into eight categories ranging from beachfront to over-water. Each villa has been carefully positioned to offer peace, comfort and privacy to guests.

Home to the first fully-functional marina in the Maldives, due to its unique reef system, Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa boasts an enviable dive spot close by. The resort offers an extensive programme of wellness and sporting experiences, vast culinary offering, and one of the largest spas in the Maldives.

With more than 100,000 votes cast for over 1,000 entrants in 78 categories, the World Luxury Restaurant Awards recognise restaurants across the globe for their culinary excellence and memorable experiences, as well as assessing the quality of the atmosphere and service. The awards aim to provide luxury restaurants with increased recognition as well as introduce them to potential new guests, both local and international. Votes come from both guests and industry experts, thus providing a balanced and unbiased outcome based on the food experience as a whole.

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Intl airport in Maldives proposed ultra-luxury tourism zone welcomes maiden flight

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

An international airport being developed in a proposed ultra-luxury tourism zone in Maldives welcomed its maiden flight on Tuesday as it prepares to begin scheduled operations next month.

A test flight operated by Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian landed at the airport being built on the island of Maafaru in the northern Noonu atoll at 3.45pm with several dignitaries onboard, including tourism minister Moosa Zameer and top aviation officials.

After meeting top officials at the project site, minister Zameer told reporters that Maafaru International airport will serve as the main gateway to the proposed ultra-luxury tourism zone. It will help boost tourism related investments in the zone, which will house the most luxury tourist establishments in the Indian Ocean, he added.

“This is a very significant project for President Abdulla Yameen’s administration,” Zameer said.

The minister stressed that scheduled flights to the airport will begin in mid-September, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) funded project expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has earlier extended a grant of USD 60 million for the project, which involves developing a 2.2-kilometre runway along with state-of-the-art facilities to cater international flight operations and private jets. A city hotel will also be built along with the airport.

The international airport is part of a joint Maldives-UAE project to develop Noonu atoll as an ultra-luxury tourism zone.

Noonu atoll is located about 180 kilometres north of capital Male, on the southern edge of the Maldives’ northernmost geographical atoll.

Existing high-end resorts in Noonu atoll include the Velaa Private Island, The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, Cheval Blanc Randheli and the recently opened Soneva Jani. Several new resorts, including those by international hotel chains, are being developed in the atoll.

Over a million tourists from across the globe visit the Indian Ocean island nation every year to holiday in one of the 120 resorts and 400 plus guesthouses located in all corners of the country. The multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main economic activity, relies heavily on the domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel.

Maldives, the most dispersed country on the planet with 1,192 islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, already has 11 airports, including three international airports. The government has contracted both local and international companies to develop additional domestic airports across the archipelago in a bid to boost tourism.

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LUX* ME Spa at LUX* South Ari Atoll crowned Maldives’ best Luxury Island Resort Spa

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

LUX* ME Spa at LUX* South Ari Atoll has been crowned the best Luxury Island Resort Spa in Maldives.

The country award was presented to the resort at the 2018 World Luxury Spa Awards Gala held at the Galgorm Resort and Spa on July 14.

The LUX* Me Spa at LUX* South Ari Atoll boasts overwater treatment villas, so guests can enjoy views of the sea during their therapy. The extended relaxation area boast views of the turquoise sea, and at the Zen wellness pavilion, guests can take part in a variety of alternative activities such as yoga, meditation, Pilates, tai chi and qigong, as part of a group or in a one-on-one session with an expert wellness concierge.

Treatments at the LUX* Me Spa include the Balinese Massages which combine slow pressure movement with stretching, the 10-hands massage, the Signature Men’s Facial with head massage, and the Shirley Page Signature Facial. The Zhengliao Chinese medicine treatment is exclusive to the spa; a healing treatment which diagnoses individuals and their treats aches and pains. The Shirley Page Absolute Relaxing Massage is also available to guests, and combines the use of organic essential oils with head massage, pressure points and deep tissue drainage to leave guests feeling relaxed.

As well as a menu full of treatments that will leave guests feeling relaxed and invigorated, there are also onsite trainers who work in conjunction with London-based fitness group, SP&Co, to optimise personal strengths and weaknesses of visitors. Guests can take a complimentary Body Balance Analysis which will then create a customised programme.

Additional facilities at the spa include a Chinese teahouse and a dedicated zone for new skin and body care treatments. Guests can also continue their wellbeing journey at the resort with a wide range of healthy food and drink choices including menus for vegetarians and vegans.

Cutting-edge designer villas and world-class dining can be found only a 30-minute seaplane flight away from the main Velana International Airport, making LUX* South Ari Atoll one of the most exciting resorts in the Maldives.

With 187 private villas dotted at the water’s edge along four kilometres of powder fine beach or perched on stilts above a crystal clear lagoon, these spacious pavilions and villas bring an entirely original vibe of coastal, beach house chic to the Maldives.

Excellent eating and drinking is always a cut above the rest at LUX*, and at LUX* South Ari Atoll, there is authentic South East Asian street food in the Maldives’ only over-the-water gourmet night market and world-class Chinese cuisine at East, along with the Japanese restaurant Umami, which offers live teppanyaki and dazzling selection of sakés.

While the resort has a PADI-certified dive centre, two infinity pools, a floodlit tennis court, a fitness centre and a renowned spa which hosts a wellness concierge and a menu of indulgent treatments, what sets the property apart from its neighbours are surprises, or better known as #ReasonstogoLUX. Designed to create lasting memories for guests, these ‘reasons’ can range from island-roasted coffee in Café LUX* to impromptu movie screenings at cinema paradise and the chance to hang your wishes on the Tree of Wishes.

The World Luxury Spa Awards gives recognition and thanks to the luxury spa industry.

Setting benchmarks in quality, innovation and service for spas around the globe and established as the world’s leading Awards initiative for luxury spas, the World Luxury Spa Awards sets the spotlight on our spas, attracting the attention of global spa-goers and industry experts.

The annual awards are presented to luxury spas in 32 different categories on a country, regional, continent and global basis.

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Carpe Diem Maldives collaborates with Scripps Institution on global 100 Island Challenge

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Carpe Diem Maldives has announced plans to expand on its Dive with a Purpose marine conservation programme this September in collaboration with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the US.

The Dive with a Purpose trip in September will initiate this collaboration with a week-long dive safari, replicating the methodology of the classical field surveys Scripps undertake, using innovative imaging and data technologies to archive reefs digitally and watch how populations change through time. Recreational divers joining the cruise will learn how to take their own reef images to recreate a virtual reality of the dive using special software.

Brian Zgliczynski

During the Dive with a Purpose week on Carpe Vita from September 9-16, Dr Brian Zgliczynski, Project Director of the 100 Island Challenge, will present to Carpe Diem’s guest divers the research work involved in the project and go diving with the Carpe Diem Maldives team and guests to lesser-known dive sites in Raa atoll as they accomplish conservation tasks.

“Our 100 Island Challenge team at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is excited to collaborate with Carpe Diem Maldives in efforts to learn more from the local coral reefs and to support management and conservation efforts in the region. Our team is consummately committed to supporting such efforts through sharing of best science and perspectives from locations worldwide. In pairing each of our efforts, we see an opportunity for the Maldives to join the global comparison of the 100 island challenge,” Professor Stuart Sandin, Director at the Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

On reefs visited with Carpe Diem Cruises and on the house reef at Carpe Diem Beach Resort and Spa, coral reef science liaisons from Scripps will provide scientific context to coral reef observations through informational lectures, discussions and general conversations.

Introducing the 100 Island Challenge and establishing core sites of the 100 Island Challenge in the Raa atoll region of the resort, the September Dive with a Purpose programme will include an introduction to 3D imaging of coral reefs. The visiting scientists from Scripps will demonstrate use of 3D imaging within the context of the 100 Island Challenge, introduce workflow and approach for 3D imaging to guest divers, and create 3D models from guest-collected imagery, providing them with a 3D image as a take-home memento for participating in the dive with a purpose week.

“This collaboration with Scripps builds on the ground work we have done with various marine organisations over recent years in marine conservation and citizen science opportunities for our guests. The 100 Island Challenge is exciting for many reasons – the global participation, the quality and secured longevity of the research program and scientist involved, and we are thrilled to be making a relatively small yet significant contribution to global research. It’s meaningful for us, for our guest divers and of course, in the best interests of the environment,” Agnes van Linden, Assistant Managing Director at Carpe Diem Maldives, said.

Northern Marianas Islands, May 2014.

The 100 Island Challenge selects the locations taking a strategic approach, with an aim to capture the variability of environmental conditions that exist across modern coral reefs while assuring operational feasibility.

Starting in September this year, the reefs identified in Raa atoll will provide reliable and comparable data to complement existing research and management efforts among global partners. Scripps scientists will return in 2019 to complete the sampling and continue the research programme with Carpe Diem Maldives on the cruises and at the resort. With the professional and scientific sampling approach, the research results will contribute to a better understanding of the current state of coral reefs globally and provide invaluable insights into how and why the reefs are changing through time.

The Maldives is continuously rated as one of the top diving destinations in the world by international dive publications and awards. Made up of 26 coral atolls and crossing the equator, roughly 1,200 islands are home to some of the most beautiful, thriving reefs of rare and common coral, attracting every kind of marine life.

The one week dive safari with Scripps runs from September 9-16 on Carpe Vita. The September Dive with a Purpose week includes:

  • Seven nights on board Carpe Vita
  • Three meals daily, plus between-dive snacks
  • Three dives daily (except for on the day of arrival and day before departure)
  • Talks by visiting scientists from Scripps 100 Island challenge team
  • Use of tanks, weights and belts
  • Dive mask and fins
  • Drinking water, tea and coffee

Established in 2008, Carpe Diem showcases a collection of three luxury liveaboard cruises, each accommodating 20 guests at a time. Carpe Diem is renowned for delivering a sense of discovery and adventure while enriching guests’ knowledge. The Carpe Diem name has built significant brand recognition within the top echelons of the travel industry for diving and leisure, and is currently developing a resort in the Maldives.

For more information, please enquire with your local dive travel agent or direct with Carpe Diem Maldives at info@carpediemmaldives.com

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Kanuhura Maldives appoints Michele Mingozzi as Executive Chef, opens new sushi bar

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Kanuhura Maldives has appointed Michele Mingozzi as its new Executive Chef, as the resort launches a new culinary offering — a new Sushi Swing Bar at IRU Beach.

Chef Michele Mingozzi joins Kanuhura with strong international experience and reputation, having worked at numerous remarkable fine-dining establishments around the world, including two and three Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, Germany and London. His incredible passion for food and flavour took him to the Philippines, the Middle East, Singapore and Fiji, where he headed the kitchen for the celebrated Laucala Island Resort, owned by Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner and founder of Red Bull energy drink.

Taking over the culinary reign at Kanuhura, Chef Michele will be responsible for the resort’s eight dining outlets as well as numerous destination and special dining locations and experiences. Chef Michele will focus on high-quality, fresh food blended with Maldivian food culture with worldwide food traditions.

Comprising three main restaurants, the culinary concept at Kanuhura aims to add value to the guests’ dining experiences by implementing diverse, smaller dining outlets in different locations set across the island, including the Chef’s Herb Garden where guests can pick fresh ingredients and cook alongside the culinary team while dining under the stars at a ‘secret’ table surrounded by flickering candles at the heart of a gorgeously lush and aromatic herb garden.

The latest addition to Kanuhura’s unique dining experiences is a Sushi Swing Bar at IRU Beach. This boho chic beach bar, made of gypset-style teepees, trademark beaded swing chairs and low-level seating is perfect to watch one of nature’ finest sunsets over the sparkling lagoon accompanied by a fine cocktail or glass of wine before dinner.

Key sushi dishes from the innovative Sushi Swing Bar menu include the sumptuous Champagne Yuzu Lobster roll, Truffle Creamy Lobster Tempura roll and the Waygu Beef roll. Locally sourced tuna is used in the menu, as well as reef fish whenever possible.

Located at the heart of one of the most spectacular Maldives atolls, Kanuhura is considered one of the most iconic barefoot beach resorts in the Indian Ocean. Part of the Mauritius-based hotel and leisure group Sun Resorts, Kanuhura hosted its first guest in 1999.

A USD42 million reimagining of the resort in 2016 has positioned it for the latest trend travellers have identified as Gypset; part gypsy in their drive for freedom and jetset, reflected in their wealth and craving for luxury living. The gypset muse of Kanuhura is Erin Wasson, famous top model and face representant of Maybelline.

The new rooms are luxury villas and suites with unusual elegance and furnished with natural materials with a touch of refinement and modernism. Whether you stay on the sunrise or sunset side of the island, you will be overwhelmed by the breathtaking view of the sea. The water villas have a private terrace with private access to the lagoon.

With its eight restaurants and three bars, Kanuhura will make you discover various cuisines from all over the world such as Italy, Brazil and the Maldives. The chef also provides interactive cookery demonstrations. Those looking for tranquility and well-being will be able to visit Kokaa, the wellness and spa centre for a unique sensual experience uplifting body and mind.

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Ayada Maldives’ AySpa Spa bags two awards at World Luxury Spa Awards

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

AySpa Spa at Ayada Maldives has won two awards at the World Luxury Spa Awards.

At the 2018 World Luxury Spa Awards Gala held at the Galgorm Resort and Spa on July 14, the resort received two regional awards: Luxury Beach Resort Spa and Luxury Resort Spa in Indian Ocean Islands.

Ayada Maldives’ expansive AySpa has been exclusively designed to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. Centrally located, AySpa is a 3500 sqm haven and forms an enclave within the island vegetation and other resort facilities. Using the natural surroundings as inspiration, the spa showcases terrazzo floors with marble and timber hues to reinforce an indigenous feel to your spa experience.

AySpa includes eight spacious and tranquil treatment villas some with their own hydrotheraphy baths, a segregated steam and sauna area, a cold plunge pool, a warm vitality pool, hair dresser, manicure, pedicure salons, Maldives’ first vichy room and private Turkish Hammam including an elaborate marble plinth.

An elegant boutique provides a wide variety of products from ESPA, a world-leading total spa company building award-winning spas in five continents across the globe.

Set in the relatively unexplored Gaafu Dhaalu atoll in the south of the Maldives, Ayada Maldives offers 122 spacious villas and suites, with private pools, butler service and thoughtful five-star detailing. Traditional thatched-roof water villas stand on stilts over the resort’s peaceful lagoon, while beach villas offer absolute privacy amid tropical greenery alongside powder soft palm-lined white beaches.

Food lovers can explore the six restaurants, while those seeking complete relaxation will find their haven in the large spa which boasts a Turkish Hammam and eight private treatment villas.

The resort is noted for its gardens and tropical greenery and is ringed by a pristine coral reef where dolphins are frequent visitors. The active can explore the area on a host of excursions while at the resort they can play tennis or badminton, take up water sports, learn yoga, Pilates or Zumba or simply hit the modern gym. Outstanding diving and snorkelling opportunities surround the island on reefs that have barely been visited by humans while some of the Maldives’ best surfing breaks are just a quick speedboat journey away.

Weddings take place just before sunset in one of the most beautiful private wedding chapels in the Maldives set in a tree-lined garden, or on the beach under a gazebo draped with flowing material.

The World Luxury Spa Awards gives recognition and thanks to the luxury spa industry.

Setting benchmarks in quality, innovation and service for spas around the globe and established as the world’s leading Awards initiative for luxury spas, the World Luxury Spa Awards sets the spotlight on our spas, attracting the attention of global spa-goers and industry experts.

The annual awards are presented to luxury spas in 32 different categories on a country, regional, continent and global basis.

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Summer Island Maldives installs world’s largest 3D-printed reef system

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Summer Island Maldives on Saturday installed world’s largest 3D-printed reef system, in an effort to help protect coral reefs in the face of rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change.

In a first for the Maldives, the artificial reef, created with ceramic and concrete modules, was submerged in seven metres of water in the ‘Blue Lagoon’ part of Summer Island’s house reef, located at the end of the arrivals jetty. Fragments of coral from the resort’s existing coral nursery are being transplanted onto the 3D reef, where they will grow and colonise the structure.

Summer Island and its dive school operator Diverland Maldives partnered with designers from Reef Design Lab in Australia to implement the project, which is designed to encourage corals to grow in sandy parts of the lagoon.

The project started in a lab in Melbourne, where industrial designer Alex Goad used sophisticated computing modelling to design reef structures similar to the coral reefs found naturally in the Maldives. A large 3D printer was used to print moulds of the reef structures. Concrete was poured into ceramic moulds to make dozens of small, modular reef structures. These 220 structures were slotted and stuck together to make the new reef, like a giant LEGO set.

“This is a science project, it’s a research project,” Alex said, during a presentation about the project Saturday morning. “3D printing technology helps us to mimic the complexity of natural reef structures, so we can design artificial reefs that closely resemble those found in nature.”

Alex plans to make his modular 3D designs open source in order to allow other researchers in the Maldives to conduct similar projects.

Coral reefs across the world are under threat. Coral bleaching in the Maldives was first reported in 2015, but most areas rebounded quickly. As the unusual weather patterns associated with an El Niño event persisted throughout 2015 and worsened in 2016, reefs bleached again.

The new reef ecosystem is Summer Island’s latest initiative to protect the environment.

As part of the decision made to mark 2018 World Oceans Day on June 8, the resort discontinued the use of single-use plastic drinking straws.

In 2015, Summer Island introduced glass bottles to phase out single use plastic water bottles. Guests are now offered bottled water in reusable glass bottles, and the water is produced at the island’s own drinking water facility. Summer Island uses solar power to produce hot water and will continue to use renewable energy for the island.

Summer Island, a four-star resort located in North Male Atoll, is one of the country’s first resorts, and remains wholly Maldivian owned. It was recently refurbished, and now boasts fresh and zesty rooms, award-winning restaurants, a rustic beach bar, a dive school, and a spa offering a range of wellness treatments and massages.

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Centara’s Maldives resorts offer irresistible promotions for beach lovers

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Centara Hotels and Resorts has announced two packages to help guests enjoy its two stunning resorts in Maldives.

Pay less for more nights

  • Enjoy blissful moments in paradise for longer, with Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives’ popular “Stay 3 Pay 2” promotion which is now extended for bookings and stays until the end of October 2018. Book your holiday online and for every three nights you stay, the third night is free! Up to two children stay free when sharing bed with parents.

Up to 30 percent off plus free transfers 

  • This truly all-inclusive offer provides free domestic flight or speedboat transfers, in addition to a 20 percent discount on rooms at both Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives and Centara Ras Fushi Resort and Spa Maldives. And if that wasn’t enough, CentaraThe1Card members get an extra 10 percent discount. Book online by October 31, 2018 for a holiday between now and October 31, 2019. Make a reservation and sign up to become a member for free at centarahotelsresorts.com

Centara makes travel to the Maldives more accessible and appealing with a choice of two distinctive resorts. Each one caters to different needs but both offer the experience of one of the world’s most incredible natural holiday destinations.

Surrounded by the blue ocean of the South Ari Atoll and distinctive with its timbered walkways and colonial-style buildings, Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives is a luxury, once-in-a-lifetime barefoot paradise with a palm-fringed beach and shimmering lagoon that offers the perfect island holiday for everyone.

With 112 spacious villas set overwater and suites blending harmoniously with the natural setting, the island has a wealth of activities and superb facilities that make this an ideal hideaway for couples and honeymooners, or a fun-filled destination for families. There are exceptional opportunities to discover the exotic life of Maldives underwater, with a house reef that is a kaleidoscope of colour for snorkelers, a shipwreck dive site just off the island and easy access to some of the most famous dive sites in the world.

Centara Ras Fushi Resort and Spa Maldives is an adults-only resort, with no one under the age of 12 years accommodated on the island. Located just 20 minutes by speedboat from the main Velana International Airport, the resort has 140 villas. Flexibility in dining plans is provided with the choice of half-board plus or all-inclusive programmes.

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Josh Kerr scores perfect 10 to win 2018 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Josh Kerr has taken out the 2018 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy in a thrilling final day of action in pumping surf at Sultans.

Josh Kerr – thruster and grand finals. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Kerr won two of the three divisions to set up a grand finale matchup with Alejo Muniz from Brazil on Saturday.

Josh Kerr with the trophy. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

The third day of the competition saw the best conditions of the event so far, with perfect clean four to six foot waves at Sultans, giving surfers opportunities for airs, turns and long draining barrels. It was fitting that the final was the heat of the event with both Kerr and Muniz trading off perfect waves, both finding epic barrels on the inside section.

Kerr got off to a blistering start in the final, posting two excellent scores early to put Muniz in a combination situation, needing two scores. Muniz did his best to come back, posting some massive rides himself, but the door was firmly closed in the last minute when Kerr scored a perfect 10 point ride to guarantee the win.

For his efforts, Kerr will be asked to return to the event and defend his title in 2019.

“This was such an incredible event to be a part of,” Kerr said.

“The waves just got better every day up until now where they are totally pumping — I never thought I’d get so barrelled here in the Maldives. I got to surf a heat with every competitor these last few days, which was really cool. Everyone was in great spirits and brought something different to the event. It was so cool to surf with Alejo today, the surfing he was doing was amazing. The concept of this event is really cool, I like surfing different boards these days so I guess this is the perfect event for me – I’m stoked to be coming back next year but probably not as much as my family, they love it here.”

Alejo Muniz – thruster and grand finals. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Spending the majority of his year competing on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) Alejo Muniz hasn’t had too much experience on traditional style board such as a twin-fin and single-fin. Muniz admits that after this week in the Maldives, he will be utilising that sort of equipment more often. It is safe to say, however, that where the former CT competitor truly shone was in the thruster division on finals day. Muniz will use this week’s experience to build on his bid to re-qualify for the CT in 2019, as he currently sits on seventh on the QS rankings.

“This has been one of the best days of my life,” Muniz said.

“Although I got second three times in this event, I couldn’t be happier to have been in those finals with some of my idols. It’s going to be tough competing on the QS after this experience – the luxury of the Resort and the pumping surf has made this the trip of a lifetime. Josh has always been one of my favourite surfers so it was cool to have a final with him — we were both just trading barrels — it was unreal. I’m really pumped up to head back to the QS, but like I said, it will be tough after this.”

Freddy Patacchia Jnr – thruster and grand finals. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Just before the grand finale kicked off, the thruster division wrapped up with former CT competitor Freddy Patacchia Jnr taking the win with an incredible display of backhand tube riding. The Hawaiian goofy-footer was searching for a solid result in the Maldives and just came short of the grand finale. He rated his thruster final against Alejo Muniz as one of the “most fun” in his career.

“It’s really funny because when I arrived here I thought I wouldn’t be taking it to seriously but as soon as you put on the contest jersey, the fire is lit,” Patacchia said.

“We are all so competitive, so after a couple of average results I was so stoked to win one of the disciplines – I knew I had to bring it. My thruster definitely felt like my best board so I put some more time into focusing today. This has been an amazing experience at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and such a cool event. It’s definitely the most fun I have had in a WSL jersey.”

CJ Hobgood – thruster and grand finals. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Coming into the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy for his second year in a row, 2001 WSL Champion CJ Hobgood was the most experienced competitor in the field. Hobgood came into the final day with a shot to the top spot, but came short in the thruster division being eliminated in the first round. The Floridian charger was just stoked he got asked to replace 2017 event winner Taj Burrow who pulled out of the event due to a knee injury.

“I definitely have to thank Mr Taj for missing out this year,” Hobgood said.

“It was definitely an honour to return to such an incredible event. It’s such a special place and we get so well looked after. I was a bit down that I didn’t do better because the waves are so pumping right now, but at the end of the day, surfing is just part of this contest, but the best part is being in paradise with friends and family.”

Fuku Areef – thruster and grand finals. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Local wildcard Abdulla ‘Fuku’ Areef was another competitor who hadn’t had much experience on the different boards and surely had his best performance on the thruster. The Maldivian surfing legend was impressive amongst the world’s best and puts this week’s experience as one of the best of his life.

“This has been such an incredible time for me,” Areef said.

“All of the pros have been so welcoming and friendly to me which was awesome – I felt very welcome surfing with them. We got so lucky with the waves as well and the best was definitely today on finals day, Sultans was pumping.”

Surfers with their family. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Unique in many ways, the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy determines a surfer’s heat time based on their age and tests skill across three different divisions: single-fin, twin-fin, and triple-fin thruster. Places are granted by invitation-only to just six surf champions in a battle for inner-circle kudos and the USD 25,000 prize winnings.

The Surfing Champions Trophy is hosted onboard Four Seasons Explorer – the Maldives’ ultimate surf vessel. Fans can get up close to the action with onboard VIP passes, while the ‘surf tour’ experience continues with shoulder-rubbing events back at Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa, which plays host to the contest’s competitors, judges and Tropicsurf partners.

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Josh Kerr continues dominance at Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Australia’s Josh Kerr has made it two for two at Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy, winning the second round twin-fin division in pumping four-to-five foot surf at Sultans.

Kerr is now sitting pretty for a finals day berth at the world’s most luxurious surfing event.

In the twin-fin final, Kerr faced off with an in-form Alejo Muniz from Brazil who had dominated his way through to the final. It was a match-up of the two standouts all day, but Kerr saved his best until last, scoring an epic heat total of 17.26, including a near perfect 9.63 — the highest of the event so far. The judges rewarded the former Championship Tour (CT) competitor for his impressive combination of tube riding, power turns and smooth flowing style.

Winner, Thruster Division, Josh Kerr (USA). PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

“I’ve been surfing on a twin-fin so much recently that I was almost more nervous surfing today because it was expected that I’d do well,” Kerr said.

“Fortunately, from my first heat today I fell into a good rhythm. Everything felt good, the waves, my board, my surfing, the setting — it all felt right. I was so pumped to get out there when we rocked up today, the surf was amazing, just clean and perfect. Coming up against Alejo was always going to be a tough battle. He is still living and breathing competitive surfing on the QS so he is probably the most prepared competitor here plus he is ripping so hard. I just seemed to have a lot going my way. I’m stoked and now I’m about to go and share a few more waves with my daughter – we’re living the dream.”

Alejo Muniz (BRA). PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

The youngest competitor in the field, Muniz is currently sitting in seventh place on the Qualifying Series (QS) with the major goal of re-qualifying for the elite Championship Tour (CT). With this being his current mindset, his competitive tenacity is evident and his performances have been impressive all through the event. Although he was a standout in the twin-fin division, he was unable to stop Kerr in the final but was still over the moon to surf against one of his heroes in perfect waves.

“Josh has always been one of my favourite surfers so sharing a twin-fin final with him was so cool,” Muniz said.

“I have barely surfed on a single-fin or a twin-fin my whole life so it has been so cool surfing on these boards since being over here – I think I’ll be surfing them a lot more now. They are so different and fun. I didn’t expect all of these guys to be that competitive and thought I might have the upper hand as I still compete, but when they paddle out, they have the fire in their eyes which is really cool to see. I’m just having an amazing time here with my family, it’s pretty much a honeymoon for my wife and I as we got married two weeks ago. Except this honeymoon has perfect waves with no one else out, which is amazing.”

Fuku Areef (MDV). PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Local wildcard Abdulla ‘Fuku’ Areef had the tough task of taking on eventual winner Josh Kerr in the second twin-fin semi-final. The Maldivian surfing legend came short of taking down Kerr but was stoked to have the experience at one of his favourite home breaks.

“I grew up watching these guys on surfing movies so it is so cool competing against them and surfing with them all week,” Areef said.

“They are all so cool and down to earth which is nice to see. I am just really soaking it all up and not worrying about the results. I love the wave at Sultans so it’s cool to get the line all to ourselves. It’s an incredible opportunity for me and I’m so grateful to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and Tropicsurf for this.”

Freddy P (HAW). PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

The opening heat of the day was totally stacked with 2001 WSL Champion coming up against Alejo Muniz and fellow former CT competitor Fred Patacchia. All three surfers had to surf out of their skin to make the heat and, in the end, it was Patacchia who was eliminated in fifth place. Freddy will be back when competition resumes with the thruster division. Floridian goofy-foot Hobgood eventually went down to Muniz in the semi-finals finishing the twin-fin division in equal third.

Twin fin division results:

  1. Josh Kerr (AUS)
  2. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
  3. CJ Hobgood (USA) equal with Abdulla Fuku Areef (MDV)
  4. Freddy Patacchia Jnr (HAW)

Leaderboard:

  • Josh Kerr (AUS) 2000pts
  • CJ Hobgood (USA) 1700pts
  • Alejo Muniz (BRA) 1700pts
  • Freddy Patacchia Jnr (HAW) 1600pts
  • Abdulla Fuku Areef (MDV) 1600pts

CJ Hobgood (USA). PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Unique in many ways, the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy determines a surfer’s heat time based on their age and tests skill across three different divisions: single-fin, twin-fin, and triple-fin thruster. Places are granted by invitation-only to just six surf champions in a battle for inner-circle kudos and the USD 25,000 prize winnings.

The Surfing Champions Trophy is hosted onboard Four Seasons Explorer – the Maldives’ ultimate surf vessel. Fans can get up close to the action with onboard VIP passes, while the ‘surf tour’ experience continues with shoulder-rubbing events back at Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa, which plays host to the contest’s competitors, judges and Tropicsurf partners.

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Maldives-Holiday

Bollywood couple Neha Dhupia, Angad Bedi holidays in Maldives

MALDIVES Diana and Bodgana at Adaaran Vadhoo in Male atoll, DOUBLE TAP IF YOU LOVE, COMMENT WITH LOVE PHOTO BY Asad

Newlywed Bollywood couple Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi are holidaying in Maldives.

The couple has been posting photos on social media of their trip to the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort. Neha shared sun-kissed photos of the couple chilling in the pool on her Instagram account. Angad posted, “Sun is up … … thumbs up”.

Located in Shaviyani atoll, the stunning new Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi offers 112 luxury villas, each with a private pool. Sirru Fen Fushi, which means ‘secret water island’ in the local Dhivehi language, is set on an exceptionally lush island bursting with flora and fauna. The picturesque locale is also surrounded by powder white sand beaches, peppered with thatched-roofed villas overlooking an endless turquoise sea.

The all-villa resort is ideal for couples or families, and features 200 metres of infinity pools as well as luxury safari-style tented villas nestled in the island’s lush interior jungle.

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi. PHOTO/ FAIRMONT

Best known for her work in Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu and Malayalam films, Neha made her acting debut in a stage play and appearing in a music video for Euphoria. She later ventured into modelling, and went on to win the 2002 Femina Miss India pageant and made it to the Top 10 of the Miss Universe competition. Neha made her screen debut in 1994 Malayalam film Minnaram. Her Bollywood debut came in 2003 with the action thriller film Qayamat: City Under Threat; she was nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for her performance in the film.

Neha subsequently starred in successful films including Kyaa Kool Hai Hum (2005) and Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) and also played supporting roles in top grossing Bollywood productions Chup Chup Ke (2006) and Singh is Kinng (2008). She won the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2017 comedy drama film Tumhari Sulu.

Angad made his Hindi film debut in 2011 with F.A.L.T.U. He is best known for his performances in works such as Ungli (2014), and PINK(2016). In 2017, he starred as lead in Amazon original series series Inside Edge. He was also seen in Tiger Zinda Hai with Salman Khan.

They tied the knot in a private ceremony in New Delhi on May 10.

Maldives is amongst the most sought after destinations by high profile personalities and celebrity travellers from around the world.

Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio and American TV personality Paris Hilton have partied in the Maldives.

The likes of English singer and television presenter Rochelle Humes and her husband Marvin, and British TV personality Billie Faiers have all declared the Maldives as their favourite part of the world for a relaxing getaway. Another British singer Perrie Edwards and English actress Millie Mackintosh have also fell in love with the white sands, turquoise waters and the blue skies of the Maldives.

Hollywood actress Gal Gadot, Bollywood personalities such as Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Alia BhattPriyanka Chopra and the Bachchan family as well as world-renowned music artists such as Robin Thicke and Justin Bieber have declared their love for the Maldives.

Sports personalities, including the likes of David BeckhamCarlos TevezArjen Robben, Miroslav Klose, Franz Beckenbauer, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de LimaCristiano RonaldoMarcel Desailly and Mohamed Salah have also spent their hard-earned vacations in the tropical paradise.

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