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Diva Maldives Opens Their First Marine Biology Centre



Maldives Promotion House – In order to provide a much needed contribution to the research conducted on the year around presence of whale sharks in South Ari Atoll, former largest Marine Protected Area in Maldives, Diva has opened a dedicated Marine Biology Centre on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu.

While Dhidhoofinolhu is also home to a rich ecosystem, the reefs and the marine life of South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) will be overseen by the newly appointed resident marine biologist of Diva, Chiara Fumagalli.

Chiara has brought her Italian expertise to Diva after gaining an international experience in various locations. She has worked at Cape Verde, in the Atlantic Ocean, Vanuatu, in the Pacific and several Maldivian islands in the Indian Ocean.

Her introduction to Maldives was in 2001 when she becomes a PADI Dive Master. “Maldives are every marine biologist’s dream, due to their incredible biodiversity and the chance to work in this country has always been one of the most exciting challenges of my life,” she said.

“Diva Maldives in particular, due to its position in the South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area offers the unique opportunity to observe and work on whale sharks. The team at Diva is very keen on developing awareness on the protection and conservation of this still little-known and charismatic animal” Chiara added.

Chiara holds the position of Community Liaison Secretary for SAMPA C.I.C. by promoting and advising on environmental awareness topics amongst the local communities and the government agencies involved in managing the Marine Protected Area.

According to Diva the centre is located at the heart of the island. Moreover the Marine Biology Centre serves both as an interactive and learning gathering where the guest’s marine experience is enriched through a direct involvement in the on-going research as well as leading all the upcoming activities related to the recently established SAMPA C.I.C.

Among the various activities for guests of all ages, the Centre offers a space to learn what helps in preserving these endangered species and boasts the unique opportunity to use a special software called I3S.

The software was originally developed by the US space agency NASA to observe changing patterns of stars, now aptly adjusted to identify distances between spots on the whale sharks skin pattern in a given area and consequently their uniqueness.

The Centre uses this software to provide regular updates on the research conducted within the SAMPA and most importantly allows all the guests of the resort to see whether the whale shark they have seen during one of their excursions has been seen before.

Latest addition to the list of whale sharks currently tracked was the recent amazing discovery of one of the Diva’s guest who identified an unknown whale shark never seen before thanks to I3S software.

“It was a small animal, only about 3.5 to 4.5 m long, of unknown sex unfortunately. The shark was in very good health, with no signs of injury. The size of the shark shows its young age” Chiara confirmed.

In contact with the Ecocean’s team based in Australia, both teams have confirmed the unmatched event and coded the shark as WS159 – Stephanie, named after the guest who reported it.

To bring all the guests closer to the marine life of Diva, the Centre organizes a weekly educational day to raise and deepen the awareness around the resident community of whale sharks.

The full day program starts at the Centre with interactive presentations and briefings about whale sharks, sea shells, reef fish and carries on with a boat trip with the Marine Biologist. The trip is focused on dedicated reef snorkelling and whale sharks spotting.

The trip continues on a traditional Maldivian island where the guests have the opportunity to meet a few of the oldest fishermen of the village who share with them the timeless whale sharks fishing techniques in use before the establishment of the original Marine Protected Area together with a typical Maldivian snacks-lunch.

Once back on the island, the team rendezvous at the Centre, where the guests can identify the whale sharks spotted during the day with the I3S, under the guidance of the marine biologist.


Crossroads Maldives appoints Frederic Lebegue as General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel  Maldives



Crossroads Maldives has announced the appointment of Mr. Frederic Lebegue as the  General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. With a distinguished career spanning over four  decades, Mr. Lebegue brings a wealth of experience and an impressive track record of success  in the dynamic realm of the hospitality industry. 

Hailing from France, Mr. Lebegue is renowned for his value-driven leadership approach, and his  ability to foster development within diverse multicultural teams. His illustrious career includes  pivotal leadership roles at esteemed properties such as Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa,  Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, and Harmonie Golf & Beach Estate in Mauritius, as  Cluster General Manager, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa Fiji Islands, Double Tree by Hilton Fiji,  Sonaisali Island as Cluster General Manager, and Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort, and Conrad Bali  in Indonesia, as General Manager. 

His invaluable expertise has also significantly contributed to the Maldives tourism industry,  notably during his tenure as General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Maldives (JA Manafaru Maldives), and as the Director of Operations at Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island. Mr. Lebegue’s  ability to orchestrate high-performing teams that resonate with the unique rhythm of Hard Rock  culture and the wealth of Maldives’ experience he brings as a seasoned senior hospitality  professional are truly remarkable. 

Mr. Lebegue has consistently demonstrated his expertise in driving commercial, financial, and  sustainable performance. His accomplishments extend beyond the conventional notes,  encompassing successful tenures at renowned properties, large-scale renovation projects,  innovative team development strategies, and the implementation of resonant corporate social  responsibility programs. Beyond the spotlight of his professional accolades, Mr. Lebegue is not  just a maestro in the hospitality industry; he is a dedicated advocate for community initiatives.  As a board member actively engaged with various foundations supporting education and  sustainability goals, he sets a standard that perfectly harmonizes with the ethos of the Hard  Rock brand as well as one of the core pillars of sustainability goals for the brand – Save the  Planet.  

“We are turning up the volume of excitement as Mr. Lebegue joins us at Hard Rock Hotel  Maldives. His extensive experience, strategic vision, and unwavering commitment to excellence  will be the driving force behind the continued success and growth of our Hard Rock Hotel  Maldives,” stated Mr. Michael Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, and Graham Kiy, Area Vice  President Hotel Operations EMEA – Hard Rock International. “We eagerly anticipate the positive  impact of this much-anticipated addition to our leadership team.” 

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is gearing up for a new era of excellence under Mr. Lebegue’s  guidance, where his passion for the industry will be the main riff in delivering unparalleled  guest experiences. This appointment marks a key chord in the brand’s commitment to providing  a rockin’ stay in the heart of the Maldives.

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Rashid Ahmadzada appointed as Executive Sous Chef at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa



Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has announced the appointment of Rashid Ahmadzada as the new Executive Sous Chef. With an impressive fifteen years of culinary expertise, Rashid brings a wealth of experience and a passion for creating exceptional dishes that reflect culinary excellence. 

Before joining, Rashid served as Chef De Cuisine at JW Marriott Absheron in Azerbaijan and held various positions in well-established properties across Kazakhstan and Montenegro, consistently delivering outstanding service throughout his career. He is also known for his leadership in the kitchen, embracing his culinary team to achieve collective goals as a team. He is committed to continuously improving through active participation in various training programs and exposures. His dedication to culinary arts aligns seamlessly with Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s promises to provide unparalleled dining experiences with Back to Basic twist boasting across seven dining outlets, In Villa Dining, the curated Destination Dining, as well as banquet and catering. 

Beyond the kitchen, Rashid enjoys playing chess, curling himself in good books, and maintaining his fitness through regular exercise. Despite being away from his family, he is excited to embark on this new chapter in the Maldives, captivated by the beauty of the beach and its sunny weather.

Rashid Ahmadzada will be working alongside Executive Chef Riccardo Pinna, and both chefs are enthusiastic about elevating the culinary offerings at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Together, they aim to bring innovative and delectable dining experiences to guests, making the resort the preferred destination for not only the beauty of its island but also its culinary excellence.

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Simon Joublanc takes the helm as Executive Chef at Baglioni Maldives



Baglioni Maldives Luxury has announced the appointment of Simon Joublanc as its new Executive Chef. With a culinary career spanning over two decades and a diverse portfolio that includes renowned establishments such as Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-Starred restaurants, Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental, and Six Senses, Joublanc brings a wealth of experience and innovation to his new role.

Originally hailing from France, Joublanc discovered his passion for the culinary arts early on. His journey began with formal education in Hospitality Administration and Management at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, setting the stage for a remarkable career trajectory.

Joublanc’s dedication to his craft became evident during his tenure as Sous Chef at Gordon Ramsay’s esteemed establishments, where he honed his skills and developed a keen understanding of the finer aspects of culinary excellence. His culinary journey has taken him across continents, leaving an indelible mark on some of the world’s most renowned luxury hospitality brands.

In his new role as Executive Chef at Baglioni Maldives, Joublanc will spearhead menu designs and introduce innovative concepts aimed at elevating the overall guest experience. His responsibilities extend to providing strategic direction for all culinary operations within the resort, ensuring a seamless fusion of flavors that resonate with the resort’s commitment to luxury and excellence.

Known for fostering high-performance teams and a commitment to unique food presentation, Joublanc brings a distinctive touch to every culinary endeavor. His previous role as Executive Chef at Six Senses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia showcased his ability to seamlessly integrate local flavors with international culinary trends, creating a harmonious culinary experience for guests.

Baglioni Maldives is poised to benefit significantly from Joublanc’s culinary expertise, as the resort continues to position itself as a premier destination for luxury, relaxation, and gastronomic indulgence. Guests can anticipate an array of meticulously crafted dishes that reflect Joublanc’s dedication to culinary innovation and excellence.

The appointment of Simon Joublanc reflects Baglioni Maldives’ commitment to providing guests with an unparalleled dining experience, reaffirming its status as a top-tier luxury destination in the Maldives.

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