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World Travel Awards touches down in the Maldives

World Travel Awards has arrived in the Maldives as the finishing touches are put together in preparation of the Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017.

The prestigious event will take place this Saturday, July 8th, at the five star Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, with hospitality leaders from across the region expected to attend to discover who among them has been voted the pinnacle of the travel industry.

Maldivian Idol hosts Moosa Waseem and Aminath Lamha Latheef – two of the most familiar faces on Maldivian television - will compere the event, which will also allow attendees to get in touch with authentic Maldivian culture through traditional dances such as Bandiya and Maafathi.

The main act for the evening will be performed by the legendary Maldivian singer Unoosha.

Speaking ahead of the event, WTA president Graham Cooke, said: “It will be our pleasure to welcome guests to Sun Aqua Vilu Reef.

“With just days to go until the event, we are putting the finishing touches in place and we look forward to greeting all our guests at what is a wonderful resort in a picturesque tourist hotspot.”

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef offers 103 luxurious rooms and suites - all of which come with deep soaking tubs, complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service.

Beyond the bedrooms, guest can indulge in a signature spice-scented scrub at the spa or borrow a book to read while soaking up the sun on the pristine beach.

When night falls, sample one of Sun Aqua Vilu Reef’s restaurants serving a range of international cuisine, before enjoying a sundowner cocktail while listening to DJ spun tunes.

Evgenia Boyankova, group director of business development at Sun Siyam Resorts, added: “We are getting ready for World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony with great excitement.

“Myself and the team look forward to welcoming the participants to our boutique resort where Maldivian hospitality, culture and luxury is unrivalled, this Saturday.”

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others

Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

Grand Park Kodhipparu opens in the Maldives

Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives, has become the latest all-villa luxury resort to opened in the Indian Ocean. 

A one-island-one-resort concept with luxury villas, world-class experiences, incredible dining choices and wide-ranging facilities, the new destination resort is truly a paradise. 

With so much to discover, every second counts which is why Grand Park Kodhipparu is ready to whisk guests away the minute they arrive in Male. Located on the North Male Atoll, Grand Park Kodhipparu can be accessed with a 20-minute speedboat ride, ensuring that no time is wasted when it comes to enjoying paradise. 

Each of the 120 villas and communal areas at Grand Park Kodhipparu have been carefully designed by renowned hospitality experts Hirsch Bedner Associates and draw inspiration from the natural beauty of the Maldives its marine life and unique local craft and culture. 

Guestrooms are light and contemporary with a rustic feel featuring timber flooring, handmade carpets and textured walls. Bespoke lighting and custom-made tiling and cushions provide a sense of relaxed luxury that blends perfectly with the surroundings. The public areas, including the main lobby, bar and restaurants feature high ceilings, wooden pillars and open walls, allowing the beauty of the island to form the perfect backdrop without the need for ostentation.

“The Maldives is a coveted holiday destination renowned for its pristine beaches and stunning breathtaking views. Grand Park Kodhipparu, with its variety of villas and host of facilities is designed to make paradise more accessible to a wider group of sophisticated travellers. We are very excited to extend our service philosophy of ‘Loving Hospitality’ to guests looking for an unforgettable Maldivian experience,” said Raffaele Solferino, general manager, Grand Park Kodhipparu.

With 120 luxurious villas, of which 65 feature private pools, Grand Park Kodhipparu offers guests a variety of choices. The restaurants and bars at Grand Park Kodhipparu are designed to maximise the natural beauty of Maldives with the menus at each of the three dining outlets carefully curated to deliver a memorable experience. 

Situated next to the ocean, The Edge all-day dining restaurant will serve a changing selection of buffet dishes from breakfast through to dinner and guests can enjoy an unblocked view of the horizon from the indoor lounge seating or enjoy the stunning scenery while dining at the overwater private pods. Adjacent to the infinity pool, Breeze Poolside Dining & Bar is perfect for light bites throughout the day.

At sunset, it transforms into a laidback resort bar offering an elevated experience with inventive cocktails and classic cigars. 

Nestled in an intimate space away from the other resort facilities, Firedoor sets the stage for a special celebration, with a selection of prime grilled meats and fresh seafood prepared from the impressive Josper Grill. 

Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives is managed by the award-winning Park Hotel Group and a joint venture between Chip Eng Seng Corporation and Park Hotel Group.

Source: Breaking Travel News

Dusit Thani Maldives opens Ocean Dive & Sports Centre

Dusit Thani Maldives, a luxury resort situated on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll, Maldives’ first and only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, has partnered with water sports specialists Ocean Group to open the Ocean Dive & Sports Centre, a new facility offering a wide range of water sports, high quality diving equipment and excursions.

From PADI-certified scuba diving courses such as the Night Diver course and Digital Underwater Photography course, to children-friendly dive activities such as Fun Bubble Maker, the centre makes the most of the rich tropical waters which surround the resort by enabling guests to experience, first-hand, a diverse mix of marine life in its natural habitat.

The centre also offers jet skiing, Sea-Doo Seascooter snorkeling, water skiing, wakeboarding, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, ocean kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, hoverboard-style hydraflights, and more on-water activities for guests to enjoy. Excursions include snorkeling trips, manta ray spotting, traditional sunset fishing, and the sunset Dolphin Cruise.

“From the ocean’s gentle giants, whale sharks, to ‘Finding Nemo’ clownfish, the waters off Dusit Thani Maldives provide a veritable safari in the sea,” said Mr Reinhold Johann, General Manager of Dusit Thani Maldives. “The variety and quality of on-water pursuits available, mean while, ensures we have activities to suit families, honeymooners, and thrill-seekers alike.”

Hussain Zahid, founder of the Ocean Group, said, “Our mission as a company is to share premier dive and water sports experiences with fellow adventure seekers and marine lovers, and we are delighted to partner with Dusit Thani Maldives to open this new facility. Whether you go over and beyond, skim the surface, or venture deep down and under, there are no limits to your adventures when the ocean is your playground.”

The award-winning Dusit Thani Maldives blends gracious Thai hospitality with the unparalleled luxury setting of the Maldives. Encircled by white sandy beaches, a stunning 360 degree living house reef and a turquoise lagoon, the resort comprises 94 luxury villas set on stilts overlooking the ocean, five restaurants and bars, Devarana Spa, and Baan Sanook Kids Club.

Legendary Footballer, Carlos Puyol tour of Maldives

Carles Puyol, the legendary former footballer of FC Barcelona was in the Maldives with his gorgeous wife. Football has been his passion since his youth. In his desire to be the best he succeeded by being the captain of FC Barcelona, whereby he scored many goals and received numerous well deserving trophies. He attended Siyam-Mauroof Soccer Cup held at N. Kendhikulhudhoo as a special attendee of the final match and after celebrating new years at The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives it was time to say adieu.

Telegraph cites Three hotels in the Maldives that are like heaven on Earth

Flying south in a tiny seaplane from Malé airport into Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has its fair share of exciting moments, but swooping down to that bright-green island surrounded by sugar-white beach and turquoise lagoon clinches it for me. The tropical hideaway scene of a thousand postcards, Rangali is a vision of swaying palms. Read more

Underwater Restaurants in Maldives

Everyone wants a holiday in the Maldives – the ultimate holiday destination. This picture perfect archipelago is one of the most exclusive destinations in the world. A holiday in the Maldives for most people is a once in a life time experience hence choosing the perfect resort can sometimes be overwhelming.

If your idea of an ideal holiday destination involves having a truly exceptional dining experience in an underwater restaurant, here are the resorts you can chose from. These four incredible underwater restaurants offer the unreal experience of dining and drinking underwater.

SEA at Anantara Kihavah Villas (Read More)

Taking pride in it’s posh design and the world’s first underwater wine cellar that is rich of wines spanning a century, the Sea Restaurant at Kihavah Villas offers you services one can only dream of.

Kihavah Villas is located in Baa Atoll – a Biosphere Reserve and close to the famous Hanifaru Bay

Subsix at PER AQUUM Niyama (Read More)

Known as the underwater playground of Maldives, the Subsix is open for Lunch. Depending on it’s occupancy the resort also arranges a glow party with DJ once or twice a week.

with its Twin Island concept, PER AQUUM Niyama is a great destination for both honeymooners and families. The Explorer’s (international) kids club caters to the imagination of all ages.

5.8 at Hurawalhi Island Resort

The world’s largest underwater restaurant, 5.8 is located 5.8 meters below the sea at Hurawalhi.

Hurwalhi – set to open at the end of 2016 is a premium all-inclusive and adults-only Resort that is perfect for your honeymoon, wedding, or beach holiday.

P.S: Did you spot the shark on this picture? yup, it is real!

Ithaa at Conrad Maldives Rangali (Read More)

Described as the world’s first undersea Restaurant, Ithaa (local name for mother-of-pearl) is located 5 metres below sea level at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.


The Adventurous Hanifaru bay, Maldives

Hanifaru bay – a reef famous for being a nursery for sharks and sting rays. It is a place where the mighty whale sharks come to mate and a park for the ever graceful manta rays come to feed and play.

Hanifaru bay was chosen as a Marine Protected Area and is an important area of the Biosphere Reserve in Baa Atoll, Maldives. This site is strictly a “Look but Do Not Touch” Zone meaning Diving is prohibited. Over the years, Hanifaru Bay has become one of the world’s largest manta ray feeding destinations and has long been famous among underwater photographers.

The manta ray is known as an opportunistic feeder and they dine on plankton and small fishes. While feeding they constantly swim in small circles. These circular movements allow them to dine easily without many of their victims getting away.

So imagine what happens when the season changes and large concentration of tiny organisms that together make up the plankton gets trapped in Hanifaru Lagoon. When these planktons wash over the corals and sway on the surface at the mercy of the ocean current, it attracts large groups of manta rays. When they arrive and together form one large group, their natural feeding patterns are spontaneously replaced by a feeding frenzy behavior and this is when Chaos begins.

Video Credit: Biosphere Reserve Facebook Page

According to one dive instructor sometimes the destination attracts as many as 200 to 250 rays and when that happens, they no longer get to swirl in circles. Instead they spiral out and the circle breaks down.

Best Time of Year

May to November is considered as the best season to visit the Hanifaru bay. This is known as the South West Monsoon that causes massive buildup of plankton in the area which draws in hundreds of Manta Rays accompanied by whale sharks.

Resorts Closest to Hanifaru bay

Hanifaru bay is located in Baa atoll in the Maldives. Here is a list of some of the resorts located around this area

Anantara Kihavah Villas
Coco Palm Dhunikolhu
Dusit Thani Maldives
Royal Island Resort and Spa
Soneva Fushi Resort

Video Credit: National Geographic

Jumeirah Vittaveli announces opening of Royal Residence

Jumeirah Vittaveli is set to unveil its much anticipated Royal Residence in January 2017.

The 5-bedroom / 6-bathroom retreat will cover 3,500 square metres and include a private beach, two pools, and a private arrival jetty.

“The Royal Residence adds another dimension of luxury to Jumeirah Vittaveli. This completely self-sufficient hideaway includes its own arrival jetty with overwater bar, an open air kitchen, restaurant, private beach, two pools, spa and gym, separate living and dining pavilion as well as separate service quarters. Guests can enjoy unrivalled privacy while still having all the activities and facilities of an award-winning resort at their fingertips,” said Amit Majumder, General Manager of Jumeirah Vittaveli.

“We have put much thought into planning out each little detail of the Royal Residence and I am confident that guests will be amazed by the level of service as well as privacy that they will experience when staying at this new ultimate tropical retreat.”

According to the resort, the Royal Residence experience will begin as soon as guests arrive in the Maldives. Read more

Maldives begins charging Green Tax from guesthouses

A guesthouse in Maafushi, home to most of the guesthouses in the country
The Maldives commenced a daily Green Tax of USD 3 for guesthouses beginning October 1.

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) stated that a daily tax of USD 3 will be charged from tourists staying at guesthouses under the amendment made to the Maldives’ Tourism Act on June 29.

The Green Tax was introduced last November and until now had been charged from tourists staying at resorts, hotels and safari cruises at a daily rate of USD 6. The tax, which is charged from all expatriates in the Maldives except those with resident visas, had not been imposed on guesthouses previously.

In a circular, MIRA stipulated that the Green Tax must be submitted to the authority monthly with November 28 as the next deadline.

According to MIRA’s statistics released last month, Green Tax had brought in a revenue of USD 27 million in August.

20 new resorts to be unveiled in 2017

The Maldives government announced on Wednesday that twenty new resorts will be unveiled next year.

Tourism minister Moosa Zameer told reporters that the government is striving to meet its pledge of opening 50 resorts within five years. While the number of resorts opened over the past two years were fewer than expected, he highlighted the four resorts already unveiled this year with nine more to be opened before the year is out.

“… the target [of opening 50 new resorts] can be achieved by mid-2018. We expect to do even better than that,” said the minister, speaking to reporters during the largest conference on tourism promotion held in the Maldives.

Zameer noted that the government’s current priority is to complete the pending 200 or so unfinished islands for resort development rather than lease new islands.

The new resorts already opened this year are Furaveri Island Resort in Raa atoll, Finolhu in Baa atoll, OZEN by Maadhoo and Malahini Kuda Bandos in Kaafu atoll. Other resorts to be unveiled in 2016 are:
  • Resort in Lhaviyani atoll Huravalhi island
  • Cocoon Maldives in Lhaviyani atoll Ookolhufushi island
  • Kandinma Maldives in Dhaalu atoll
  • St Regis Maldives in Dhaalu atoll Vommuli island
  • Soneva Jani in Noonu atoll Medhufaru island
  • Mercury Maldives Kooddoo in Gaafu Alif atoll Kooddoo
  • Resort in Baa atoll Milaidhoo island
  • Four Seasons Voavah in Baa atoll Voavah island
  • Dhigufaru Island Resort in Baa atoll Dhigufaruvinagandu island
Despite the new resorts being unveiled and developed across the Maldives with a number of internationally renowned brands entering the scene, the tourism industry is currently at a low. The Maldives government had abandoned hope Wednesday of luring the previously projected 1.5 million tourists to the archipelago by the end of this year, revising the number to 1.4 million. Moreover, the number of visitors from China, the largest market for the island nation’s tourism, has also been on a decline. 

Read More

Maldives Marine Expo 2016 opens at Hulhumale’

Environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim inaugurates the Maldives Marine Expo 2016 in Hulhumale. PHOTO: HUSSAIN SHAYAAH/MIHAARU
The Maldives kicked off its annual marine industry fair “Maldives Marine Expo 2016” on Tuesday.

The third expo since the event’s creation, the fair this year is held in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale with 32 participants, including a number of international parties.

The four-day expo features various state-of-the-art facilities related to the marine sector, machineries, tools, marine vessels including boats and launches, and prominent brands of diving and water sports. Some of the items are available for sale at rates lower than the market price at the fair.

This year’s Marine Expo also offers a range of brand new activities. According to the event’s organiser and manager BLAK Pvt Ltd, visitors to the expo can participate in marine talks unlike the previous years, and sign up for water sports activities at the National Art Gallery in capital Male. Water sports will be open for visitors on Friday, the final day of the fair.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Marine Expo, environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim declared the increasing numbers of participants as a boost to the fair.

“To expand the Marine Expo, it will become an international expo in the future,” he added. “The Maldives is the most ideal destination to hold such events.”

Pledging the government’s assistance in holding such fairs in the future, the minister also stressed the importance of offering opportunities and jobs to youth in such events.

Short intro on Maldives Marine Expo
  • India, China, Russia and the United States are participating in this year’s expo.
  • The expo is open from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m.
  • Major local firms are taking part.
  • Brand new products will be unveiled to the public.
  • The expo at the Art Gallery also features submitted artwork.

Hosted by Liveaboard Association of Maldives, its president Hassan Haleem said that the expos have increased people’s recognition and trust in the Maldives’ marine industry.

He asserted the expos’ positive impact on the island nation’s economy, saying that it also helps create new local businesses.

Some of the participating firms have unveiled products entirely new to the market at the expo including launches, engines and jet skis. Several stalls are also offering hefty discounts for the items on sale.

World’s first underwater hotel to be built in Maldives

Zen Resort in Maldives, once complete, will host the world’s first underwater hotel.

The hotel will sit 6 meters below sea-level, and each and every one of its 22 rooms will offer a breathtaking view of the ocean.

It is being developed by a Polish company – Deep Ocean Technologies.

Shaped like disks, the hotel has an elevator and stairwell at its center.

The crystal clear waters and the diverse creatures that live in the waters are one of the biggest
draws that attract tourists to Maldives.

A world-renowned tourist attraction – Maldives is home to the world’s first underwater spa – located in Huvafen Fushi, underwater restaurant – located in Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. It’s also home to the largest tourism submarine.
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