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Manta rays, eagle rays, whale sharks… Oh my! – Tips from Centara Maldives experts and enthusiasts



Manta Ray – There is no denying it, the pristine turquoise waters of the Maldives captures everyone’s attention.  But for many, it is all about what is found in the waters in the Maldives that have them swimming.  With healthy coral and a serious abundance of marine life such as manta rays, eagle rays and a variety of sharks that includes whale sharks, scuba divers are flocking to feast their eyes on the underwater playground that some are very lucky to call home.  Centara Hotels & Resorts is very familiar with what is happening underwater in the Maldives with two properties from shipwrecks to underwater weddings.  The enthusiastic team from Centara Maldives – CENTARA GRAND ISLAND RESORT & SPA and CENTARA RAS FUSHI RESORT & SPA – have shared some wonderful tips and experiences to further entice you to come and dive.

“The sun plays a huge role in how vibrant the colours of the coral and the fish are. The sun rays illuminate the waters highlighting all the action, creating a perfect environment for photographers and divers” shares Nicha Duanglaithong, Centara Maldives Sales Coordinator, who has spent a great deal of time in the water.

The Dive Centre (Best Dive) Operation Manager, Mark Stevens, from Centara Grand Island has some great tips to share.  We asked Mark a few questions.

Q: What is the best advice you have for beginners to get them started? A: “If you are a beginner, just try it!  It is normal to be a little scared at first but once you have mastered a few basic skills you will love it.”

Q: What is the best part about diving in the Maldives?  A: “The coral and fish.  There is a lot of diversity with a lot of different and equally amazing dive sites.  There is a dive for everyone – from easy dives to current dives for all skill levels.”

Whale Shark - Centara

Mark Stevens also encourages divers to “become very familiar with your dive equipment. This familiarity is vital to assist in your confidence and safety while underwater.”

“We understand how important and precious this underwater ecosystem is and we want to ensure that it continues to thrive,” comments Mark Stevens.  In order to best facilitate the diving experience for you while protecting marine life and the ecosystem, our instructors, through Best Dives Maldives, provide a clear briefing on responsible diving practices that reminds snorkelers and divers to respect their underwater surroundings.

Mohamed Saajid nickname – Saitte’, Reservations Agent at Centara Grand Island and expert diver, share with us one of the best diving experiences he has had recently…”one of the perks of working in the Maldives – diving!” comments Saitte’.  “A few days back I went on a night dive to MV Kudhima wreck, located near the house reef of Centara Grand Island.  I saw a huge Moray Eel getting ready for his dinner. He located a huge parrot fish, stayed patiently waiting for his chance to grab his meal. Once the right moment came, he grabbed his meal and ate the whole fish within minutes. It was truly incredible and stunning to see these amazing predators actively seeking for their pray.”

Many will never experience the quiet moments underwater, interacting with some of the world’s most majestic creatures and Mr. Damantha Sanjeewa, Front Desk Agent at Centara Grand Island always reminds guests that “Diving is fun.  It is exhilarating.  Remember to relax while you dive.  And maybe most important enjoy the moment…and take pictures!”

While mantas, whale sharks, turtles, reef and hammerhead sharks can be found in the Maldives all year round, there are no guarantees about what will be seen on any given dive.  Diver encounters are dependent on a variety of environmental factors, however, our team of experts have creating experiences to heighten your chances of the dive of a lifetime.

Enjoying the invigorating diving that the Maldives has to offer has never been more accessible with the new additions to our ALL-INCLUSIVE packages at both properties.  Diving is now an everyday option with these amazing packages and allows you to explore all the depths of the waters.

There are a variety of courses available for you and your family while staying with us.  “We always advise beginner divers to start off with our Discover Scuba Diving programme which provides the basic knowledge and training that they need,” added our dive expert from Best Dives at Centara Ras Fushi, Ibrahim Shaan. “This is followed by gently introducing beginners into shallow water.  After this programme, divers are confident and comfortable to start exploring.”  Before you leave, you may have developed a new skill and a new love for the ocean.  Sounds pretty great to us!  See you soon in the Maldives.


Kuda Villingili Resort marks second anniversary with luxurious upgrades and sustainable initiatives



Kuda Villingili Resort, perched on a pristine ultra-private island in the North Malé Atoll of the Maldives, celebrates its second-year anniversary in the only way that matters – by giving back to its guests!

As part of an ongoing commitment to enhancing the guest experience, each of its beach villas, including the residences, now feature private pools. This remarkable upgrade promises guests an even more lavish and secluded retreat.

Nestled within this tropical paradise are 75 exquisite villas, including 36 opulent overwater villas that sit pretty upon the crystal-clear lagoon. The resort also boasts the Maldives’ largest and sprawling freshwater pool spanning over 150 meters.

Initiatives in partnership with Green Globe, an authority in sustainable tourism certification have been aligned. With the resort’s unwavering dedication to sustainability, the integration of solar panels has been introduced in Kuda Villingili team members village. This eco-conscious initiative has led to an impressive 40% reduction in the resort’s overall energy consumption. Furthermore, implementation of a range of eco- friendly measures, including an on-site drinking water bottling facility, energy-efficient air conditioning units, and innovative power-saving systems have been put in place. With an unwavering focus on long-term sustainability, the resort continues to bolster its commitment to the environment and the local community through its dedicated conservation programs, which centre around preserving the delicate ecosystem.

Solar Installed in team members village Beach Villa’s with Private Pool                     Raalhu Bar at Chickens Break

Adding another exciting dimension to the culinary and bar experiences at the resort; the Raalhu Bar has thrown open its doors and is nestled at the vantage point of Chickens Break Surf Point. This offers guests an exclusive haven to soak in the island’s breathtaking sunset vistas. The Raalhu Bar joins the extensive range of dining options at Kuda Villingili, which includes seven restaurants offering global cuisines, a main bar, two bars designed to kick back and watch the sun slowly drop into the blue ocean, and a plush cigar and whiskey lounge.

Also freshly introduced is the all-new comprehensive ‘Redefined Ultra Luxury All- Inclusive’ package, that enables guests to immerse themselves in a carefree and indulgent vacation experience. Stays of four nights or more include bespoke experiences that give a whole new meaning to the word ultra-luxury. Guests can pick from the range of dining  experiences spread across seven distinctive restaurants, accompanied by a selection of over 100 carefully curated wine labels and a premium selection of beverages. From the moment they step foot on the island, guests are embraced by an ambiance of opulence and hospitality, as the generous all-inclusive package caters to every aspect of their stay.

Since launching in June 2021, Kuda Villingili has welcomed a diverse range of visitors, from honeymooners and families to surfing enthusiasts, multi-generational groups, and small incentive and leisure mice groups. “The resort’s convenient location, a swift 30-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, has been a key draw. To enhance the sense of space, the number of villas has been reduced from 95 villas to 75 villas, by offering spacious two – four bedroom villas that offer an expansive sense of space for each guest,” says Deepa Manuel, General Manager, Kuda Villingili Resort.

Kuda Villingiili has received an array of accolades and was honored with the coveted title of ‘The Best Culinary Resort’ at the TTM Awards 2022 and the ‘Best Surf Resort’ at TTM 2023. Kuda Villingiili’s exceptional attention to detail extends to its impeccable wine offerings, and it has also received the ‘Best Designed Regional Wine List in Asia’ by the discerning connoisseurs of the World of Fine Wine.

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Sun Siyam Resorts commemorates World Tourism Day 2023 with focus on sustainable tourism, green investment



Sun Siyam Resorts marked World Tourism Day 2023, embracing the theme of ‘Tourism and Green Investment’ with a series of heartwarming and eco-conscious activities across its five wonderful properties. This year’s celebrations centred around the commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental conservation, exemplifying Sun Siyam Resorts’ unwavering dedication to the cause of responsible travel.

Sun Siyam Iru Veli led the way with a diverse range of activities that left a lasting impression on guests and the local community. The resort welcomed students from nearby island schools, providing them with an immersive experience that included a guided tour and a wholesome lunch at Aqua. This initiative aimed to inspire young minds and foster a deeper understanding of the tourism industry. In addition to that and in alignment with Sun Siyam Resorts’ commitment to environmental conservation, guests, school students, and team members participated in a tree planting session, a video presentation celebrating the essence of World Tourism Day, and an energy conservation practice with an “Electricity Shutdown” for an hour.

Families and kids were having a fantastic time during the painting competition at the Kid’s Club, the mini-olympics and beach fiesta, an exhilarating grand raffle draw. The evening concluded with a vibrant cultural show and drama performance showcasing the talents of team members added a local touch to the festivities.

Sun Siyam Vilu Reef offered a special Maldivian arrival experience for all its guests on World Tourism Day and gifted each guest with a wooden heartfelt message symbolising the warm hospitality of the Maldives. A tree planting ceremony and several beach games for the whole family were carried out as well.

The highlight of Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s celebration was a tree planting ceremony, where guests joined hands with resort staff to plant coconut trees. This symbolic act represented the resort’s ongoing commitment to offsetting its carbon footprint and preserving the natural beauty of the Maldivian landscape. A delightful cake-cutting ceremony took place at the resort’s main pavilion, fostering a sense of togetherness and unity in the pursuit of sustainable tourism. The celebration continued with a range of fun beach activities, including beach sack races, 3-leg races, and friendly tug-of-war games.

Siyam World and Sun Siyam Olhuveli dedicated the day to tree planting and coral planting sessions, aligning with their commitment to environmental conservation. Guests were treated to special screenings of the meaning of World Tourism Day, furthering their understanding of the significance of sustainable tourism.

World Tourism Day, observed annually on September 27th, is a global event aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible tourism while raising awareness about the social, cultural, and economic benefits of tourism worldwide.

Sun Siyam Resorts remains steadfast in its pledge to uphold sustainable practices and create memorable experiences that make a positive impact on the environment and local communities. The World Tourism Day celebrations are a testament to this unwavering commitment.

For more information about Sun Siyam Resorts and its sustainability initiatives, please visit the website at

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Two Michelin star chef presents culinary theatre of dreams at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas



Always looking for new ways to create extraordinary guest experiences on its secluded island paradise, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas is set to push the boat out and take its guests on an amazing culinary adventure this November as the luxury Maldivian resort welcomes a very special guest chef to its award-winning SEA Underwater Restaurant. On November 13 and 14, guests at the resort will be treated to two exceptional evenings of gastronomic delights served up by renowned two Michelin star chef, Mano Thevar.

Overseeing the gastronomic extravaganza, Chef Mano Thevar is the owner of Thevar, a two Michelin-starred Modern Indian restaurant in Singapore which specialises in a creative multi-course menu that is rooted in Indian traditions and crafted with European techniques and Japanese produce. Chef Mano is now set to take his Michelin star show on the road when he hosts the Culinary Theatre of Dreams at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas this November.

Born and raised in the diverse and vibrant surroundings of Penang, Malaysia, Chef Mano draws on his Indian heritage as he combines fresh, seasonal ingredients with modern European techniques to tantalise the palate with a delightful interplay of flavours. Having cut his teeth as a chef in Michelin-starred Guy Savoy and Waku Ghin restaurants, he opened Thevar in 2019. Chef Mano now holds the proud distinction of being the first Malaysian chef to have two Michelin stars to his name.

Taking his Michelin star show on the road, Chef Mano is set to delight diners at Anantara Kihavah this November when he hosts a Culinary Theatre of Dreams at SEA Underwater Restaurant. Situated six meters below the waves, the iconic SEA restaurant will immerse guests in a sensory journey like no other, allowing them to savour world-class cuisine while surrounded by the mesmerising aquatic world of the Maldives.

The gastronomic adventure begins on November 13, 2023 with the first of two consecutive nights of underwater dining at the resort’s iconic SEA Underwater Restaurant as part of the highly anticipated Culinary Theatre of Dreams. For USD 325++ per person, the eagerly anticipated event will showcase a unique six-course menu crafted by Chef Mano specifically for this occasion, with the option for guests to choose between wine pairing and non-wine pairing experiences.

For more information or to book, call +960 664 4111, visit us at or email

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