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Roaring success of the newly rebranded, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli



Rein van Zandvoort – OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli, Maldives opened its doors on November 2015 as the second resort by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts. OBLU showcases contemporary Maldivian architectural design with a trendy, fresh & vibrant color palette. It is Rein W.M van Zandvoort who is at the helm of the resort as the general manager.

With his instrumental success in the launch the group’s first resort, at Atmosphere Kanifushi, it’s no surprise that the company tasked the experienced and talented, van Zandvoort as the general manager (GM) for the launch of the newly rebranded, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli. Helengeli resort flaunts genuine value as the key essence by delivering top class service, cuisine and an overall unique but quality product.

van Zandvoort has worked for nine years in the Maldives with immense experience in pre-openings and management of successful resorts. There is no room for doubt about his ability and wealth of experience and capacity to deliver with the OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli island resort.

We were honored to interview, pick his brain and grasp a more than few pointers from the experienced and talented GM, on his unique set of management skills and style and his morals and ethics in a professional perspective.

Company Policy

One of the first things that Zandvoort is quick to point out is that, the management merely upholds and follows the philosophy and policy, of the parent company. Hence, whatever he is able to do is almost always is, because the company policy, allows for it. He believes that company’s joy of giving is what makes the difference to the guests.

Relationship with Staff

Zandvoort is definitely not your average general manager of a resort. His ability to relate and connect with the staff, allows for unique family like relationship between his colleagues, that in turn, enables them to work with him from their hearts rather than merely as a job. One such example of his care and concern for the staff, is shown, when he decided that third party contractors such as boat crew (not direct staff of the resort) who were not entitled to the Ramadan bonus, deserved it equally and held a dinner night and handed out Eid cards and gifts to all of them.

The Town Hall meetings that he holds with the staff are not held in a private area but somewhere that even guests can enter into and experience firsthand how the staff lives on the resorts are treated by the management. These meetings are so important to the GM, that he decided even though peak season is in November, they would still hold the meetings. It was at one of these meetings that he rolled out his new idea of a special award for persons with creative and passionate minds who strive for a difference. The award was named after the first Maldivian to sail around Maldives solo and aptly called, Gabbe Award.

It would also be impossible for guests to not notice how differently the staff of OBLU dress as well; with their unique identity and now trademark sun glasses and comfortable uniforms (and as the GM pointed out, competitors already are copying the sunglasses look). These are some reasons why the resort has an extremely low staff turnover, according to the GM.

Dealing with Guests

Guests arrive at the INIA airport and more often have to wait copious amounts of time until their boat transfer to the resort is ready. Once more moving away from the common standard, the GM decided to present food vouchers to the guests. Then, once they step on the boat, they are given cool towels and there is relaxing music playing onboard. The crew of the boat are the most significant facet of the whole experience. They are friendly and introduce themselves and explain the safety features before hand out water bottles and snacks.  The crew continue to interact with the guests throughout the 50-minute ride across the ocean, to the resort. One small mark of the success of the model being utilized by the GM for the past 8 months, is that, there already is one family who will return for the 4th time in December 2016, simply because they loved the complete experience at OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli.

The experienced GM sees guests as individuals who had to be catered according to their individual needs. Though Helengeli offers an all-inclusive package, the package products, are ever evolving and adapting and meeting the needs of the guests. As pointed out by the GM, they offer far more individual products within the package than other resorts and the package is very transparent with no hidden markers or chargers as surprises for the guests when they check out. This is unlike the traditional model of all-inclusive that most resorts practice.

OBLU at Helengeli

Traditions, Environment and Community

GM Zandvoort, has his own moral beliefs in protecting and preserving culture, traditions and the fragile environment of Maldives. In this light, he works with local communities to create traditional events such as Bodumas and music, for occasions such as Eid, that guests get to experience. This allows local communities to express their talents and skills as well as revive their culture. The GM believes that a lot of modern day resorts have very little Maldivian culture or tradition to show.  He is also on the verge of establishing a charity program with the local communities in the very near future.

The veteran GM explained that preserving the environment was key to the Maldives and hence for the first time in a Maldivian resort, he created Reef Guards along with Life Guards. The Reef Guard uses a jet ski to keep a watchful eye on the status of the house reef of the island and ensure that guests are not endangering themselves or the reef. These guards educate and promote safe measures when exploring the beautiful pristine waters and house reef of the island. This creates awareness and allows guests to relate far more closely with the fragility of the island nation of Maldives.

The unorthodox GM had once suggested the Ministry of Tourism if they could consider implementing a regulation that pushes all resorts to have a water bottling facility on their island. He said that in a year approximately 400,000 bottles of water are created on his resort and if 120 resorts of Maldives decided to keep a plant to utilize glass bottle water and reusable bottles rather than plastic disposable ones, it would have a huge impact on the environment and waste management of the nation. He sees every human being as a caretaker of the environment with an obligation to preserve it for future generations by doing as much as they could.

He also believes that natural island habitation and trees should be left as natural as possible. He is weary of how some resorts introduce alien species of birds and plants onto to their islands; this he says is not Maldivian.

Zandvoort the Person

Rein W.M van Zandvoort stands out, in his ability to communicate and relate to almost anyone. Within the ten years he has spent in Maldives, he adamantly reads the news and updates himself on current affairs simply so that he could engage in conversation with his colleagues, even more. This allows him to understand the staff and keep an open door policy to his office for staff to interact in a far more family like relationship than the norm. As he frequently says, the happier the staff the better service they provide the guests.

With countless new ideas to change the status quo of how resorts are run in the Maldives, he is currently working with local artist to create tradition infused sculptures to be kept on the island. This creates a new platform for Maldivian artists other than musicians and painters. He is also working on a small coffee table book on fashion and hair style and Buruga (head covering of Muslim women) styles of Maldivians.

Zandvoort sees himself as an equal to all his colleagues with the only difference being the different jobs each person does, rather than a GM that manages from an office room. It is a great pleasure to see a Maldivian resort with a leader that has visions that will advertently help preserve and protect the Maldivian tradition and culture and environment. A manager that has shown his colleagues that they each are an individual person who have the opportunity to display their individual unique talents and ideas. It is of no surprise, that the past 8 months have already been massively successful for OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli; the future looks very bright and exciting with the vastly talented and creative, Rein W.M van Zandvoort, at the wheel.


The Nautilus Maldives welcomes Christopher Terry as Executive Chef



The Nautilus Maldives has announced the appointment of Christopher Terry as their new Executive Chef. Chef Terry brings a wealth of experience and a global flair to the resort’s diverse dining experiences.

A native of Antigua and Barbuda, Chef Terry’s culinary skills encompass a wide range of cuisines, including Mediterranean, French, Caribbean, European, and Asian. This makes him a perfect fit for The Nautilus, which is known for its eclectic and unique dining options.

Throughout his 15-year career, Chef Terry has honed his craft at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury resorts, including Aman, Rosewood Resorts, and Sandals Resorts. His exceptional talent has been recognized with numerous awards, such as the Artisan Award at the Antigua & Barbuda National Youth Awards and Young Chef of the Year by the Antigua Hotel’s and Tourist Association.

Chef Terry believes in using the finest ingredients, with a focus on fresh, local produce. His culinary philosophy aligns perfectly with The Nautilus’s commitment to providing exceptional experiences and unforgettable taste journeys for its guests.

Under Chef Terry’s leadership, guests at The Nautilus can expect to explore the following:

  • Zeytoun: Offering a focus on the aromatic herbs and spices of the Mediterranean.
  • Ocaso: Blending Japanese cuisine with a modern Latin American twist.
  • Thyme: Featuring comforting international cuisine, with flavors ranging from Asian to Mediterranean.

Chef Terry’s creations promise to be a reflection of pure, high-quality ingredients, thoughtfully paired for a delicious dining experience.

Equipped with a degree in Culinary Arts and a Wines and Spirits certification, Chef Terry brings a spirit of curiosity and a passion for culinary innovation to The Nautilus. Inspired by the Maldives’s rich natural bounty and pristine ingredients, he aims to elevate The Nautilus’s menus with his signature Caribbean-infused creations.

To discover the epicurean journeys available at The Nautilus Maldives, visit

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Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort appoints Thaaif Ahmed appointed as Director of Sales & Marketing



 Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, part of Minor Hotels, has announced the appointment of Thaaif Ahmed as the Director of Sales & Marketing, effective 1 May 2024. 

Thaaif brings nearly two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, with a significant portfolio  of roles within Minor Hotels. His career includes serving as the Director of Sales at NH Collection  Maldives, where he played a pivotal role in driving revenue growth and fostering strategic  partnerships. 

Throughout his tenure, Thaaif has demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities and a profound  understanding of the industry landscape. His strategic prowess and collaborative approach have  consistently delivered outstanding results, making him a respected figure within the organisation. 

In his previous capacity as Cluster Director of Sales, overseeing Anantara Dhigu Resort Maldives,  Anantara Veli Resort Maldives, and Naladhu Private Island, Thaaif contributed to the success and  growth of the brand.  

As he assumes the role of Director of Sales & Marketing at Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, Thaaif is  poised to leverage his wealth of experience and expertise to drive brand positioning, enhance  revenue streams, and elevate the overall guest experience. His appointment underscores the  resort’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the hospitality sector. 

Please join Stuart De San Nicolas, Cluster General Manager of Anantara Kihavah, Avani+ Fares and  NH Collection Havodda plus Riaan Drever, General Manager of Fares in congratulating Thaaif on his  well-deserved promotion. We also express our gratitude to Paul Counihan, for his support during our  pre-opening and opening stages. Paul will transition to focus on Anantara Kihavah, our sister  property in Baa Atoll, while Thaaif assumes leadership at Avani+ Fares Maldives. 

Set on the natural tropical island of Fares and surrounded by the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’s deep  blue hues, the resort offers an abundance of aquatic adventures as well as pristine sandy beaches  for pure relaxation. With 176 stylish villas, pavilions, and studios, Avani+ Fares welcomes couples  and honeymooners, as well as families and groups, with a focus on multi-room accommodation. 

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives appoints Warren Moore as Executive Chef



Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives has announced the appointment of Warren Moore as the resort’s new Executive Chef. 

Chef Warren Moore hailing from South Africa, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise,  having earned his Culinary Degree at City and Guilds Culinary Institute. With over 25 years of  distinguished service in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry, Chef Warren is poised to elevate the  culinary offerings at Seaside Finolhu to new heights. 

In his previous role, Chef Warren served as Executive Chef at Jawakara Maldives, where he showcased  his culinary prowess and leadership skills. Prior to that, he spent seven years honing his craft within  various properties of the esteemed Crown and Champa Resorts Group. His culinary journey has taken  him across continents, including stints in South Africa, Mozambique, London, and the United States. 

As the Executive Chef at Seaside Finolhu, Chef Warren will oversee all culinary operations, ensuring  the highest standards of hygiene and food quality are maintained. His responsibilities include  supervising daily kitchen operations, managing food production, and leading kitchen staff with a focus  on excellence and innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Warren Moore to our team at Seaside Finolhu,” said Steven Phillips  General Manager of Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives. “His extensive experience and passion for  culinary excellence will undoubtedly enhance the dining experience for our guests and further solidify  our reputation as a gastronomic heaven in the Maldives.” 

With Chef Warren Moore at the helm, Seaside Finolhu looks forward to delivering unforgettable  culinary experiences that celebrate the rich flavours of the Maldives and beyond. 

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