Nika Island writes new chapter of ‘Nostalgia’ with traditional poetry, music

Since the inception, Nika Island Resort and Spa has focused on creating a unique destination. It has remained as the place to be, a place where local heritage meets Italian lifestyle and culture.

Nika is the island where nothing has changed. An everlasting thing of beauty that is not subject to the impact of the ever-expanding hospitality industry that is shaping the country. Nika represents “the Maldives that used to be”, an ‘idyll’ in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

An island with strong personality, Nika has a spirit, a soul and a mood of its own. You feel it while walking around the manicured gardens surrounding the coral-stone villas. You perceive it while sipping an espresso while watching neighbouring local islands pop up from the shades of blue at the horizon.

Nika turned into a resort back in 1983. Since its inception, the philosophy and values that shaped this unique boutique resort have remained the same: privacy, natural sophistication, and good taste and culture.

Nika wrote a new chapter in the history of the Maldives hospitality industry, and today, after 35 years of operation, it’s working on spreading the concepts of Maldivian beauty and Italian lifestyle that are part of Nika’s DNA.

As part of this initiative, a project called “Nostalgia” was born. It’s a mix of values and ideas that are the natural extension of the soul of Nika island.

“The etymology of the word nostalgia derives from Classic Greek consisting of ‘nóstos’ meaning ‘homecoming’, and ‘álgos’ meaning ‘pain’ or ‘ache’. Literally, Nostalgia is associated with a yearning for the past, its lost traditions and events, especially the ‘good old days’ or a ‘warm childhood’,” Edoardo Caccin, the resort’s External Director, said.

“It’s the perfect title for Nika’s project: culture and local heritage are components on which Nika has been building its reputation. It’s a moral obligation to preserve and revamp all the elements that make Nika – and the Maldives – a unique destination in the world.”

Heritage, culture and creativity are the main pillars of the project.

The first edition of Nostalgia focused on the almost lost tradition of stone carving, which is seen from the old Friday Mosque in capital Male.

Mohamed Imran, the founder of Gadheemee Collection, is becoming a familiar face at Nika. During Nostalgia events, Imran always shares with the curious crowd of guests and locals the importance of this art for the country and what he is currently doing to revamp local heritage.

For the latest chapter of Nostalgia, the Maldivian sculptor carved few tritons (known as Sangu in local Dhivehi language) out of a block of sandstone (locally known as veligaa). Nika’s community was invited to reproduce the pattern on the sculptures of these iconic Maldivian shells using Italian espresso.

“This is a beautiful metaphor. Maldives and Italy merged together in a piece of art; two cultures mix their values and tell a new story. This is Nika island and this is Nostalgia,” Edoardo said.

The second chapter of Nostalgia focused on poetry and music.

“Storytelling is the backbone of this initiative,” explained Edoardo. “That’s why for the second chapter of Nostalgia we opened the doors of Nika to the traditional band of Vajidhudoo. I think that before being musicians, they are storytellers. We invited them to sing their stories and music with Nika’s community.”

The group bases its entire musical production on traditional stories that belong to the culture of the people of the Maldives.

Music and poetry have the power to express ideas, feelings and culture by the use of style and rhythm. Vajidhudoo succeeded in this goal, playing both local and international instruments while singing songs related to local traditions.

With a night show, Nika along with Gadheemee Collection and Vajidhudoo managed to bring back memories of local traditions, to entertain the community and to instil awareness about Maldivian heritage; “the Maldives that used to be”.

What will the next theme of Nostalgia be?

Located in North Ari Atoll, Nika is is a milestone of the Maldives hospitality industry.

The deserted island of Kudafolhudhu turned into a resort back in 1983. Since its inception, the philosophy and values that shaped this unique boutique resort are the same: privacy, natural sophistication and local heritage.

All of its 43 villas have been built according to the traditional Maldivian architectural style. Being one of the first resorts built in the country, everything on the island has been built using coral blocks, coconut palm trunks and palm leaves. A collection of antiques and unique Maldivian pieces of art decorate the interiors of all the villas.

Nika is a perfect example of a boutique hotel that breaks the dynamics of big international brands that are reshaping the Maldivian hospitality industry. Nika is a heady mix of Italian lifestyle and Maldivian traditions; a unique platform where heritage and natural beauty meet together.

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