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Keeping it simple, Glenn on a mission to ‘surprise’ guests at LUX* South Ari Atoll

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For a young boy from a small country town in New Zealand, an opportunity to travel to the United States came with a sense of excitement and a wee bit nervousness. Glenn Daniels took the year-long Rotary scholarship and saw his world open up in more ways than one. In the States, he had the opportunity to meet new people, immerse himself in new cultures, and most importantly serve as a true ambassador of his country.

That scholarship and another diploma he did after returning to New Zealand laid the foundation for Glenn to enter into the tourism and hospitality industry. From a porter at a hotel in New Zealand to be the General Manager at one of the most sought after luxury resorts in Maldives, Glenn’s 28-year long career has been marked by successes as well as challenges.

Maldives Insider sits with Glenn in the fresh setting of the recently upgraded LUX* South Ari Atoll to hear the story of his journey.

The tourism industry is a wonderful thing to be part of, and Maldives is as best as it can ever be.

 

Maldives Insider: What interested you to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism?

Glenn Daniels: My father was a detective back in New Zealand. During his annual leave, he drove tour buses and took people on holidays. He loved it and I got to hear him talk about it.

When I was 16, I was offered a Rotary scholarship to study in the United States. It was there I met all these different people and travelled to all these different states. I came from a small country town of just 5,000 people, and that opened up my world. I found out that I loved talking to people, meeting new people and being an ambassador for New Zealand.

When I came back from the States, I went back to high school and decided that I wanted to get into tourism. So I did a diploma in tourism. It has since been a great journey!

Glenn speaks at the relaunch party held at LUX* South Ari Atoll in September. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: What were your earliest experiences in the industry?

I took up my first hotel job when I was 17 years old and moved up from there. My father knew a few people in the industry who could let me have some experience and for me to do some internships. I entered into the field as an outside porter for the THC Milford Sound. I drove a two-tonne truck in which I carried all the bins from the kitchen and took the rubbish to the dump, and cut firewood for the hotel.

From there, I moved up to the room’s division and did pretty much everything except work in the kitchen as a chef. I’m a terrible cook. So I always leave that to the experts.

I worked for 15 years in New Zealand for three different hotels. I worked at a couple of corporate hotels, but I have always found my heart in resort-style properties. So after my last posting in New Zealand, which was at this place called Hanmer Springs, my wife and I decided in 2006 that it was time for me to take the next step. I ended up going to Australia to work as the General Manager at Ayres Rock, which is a very isolated place with temperatures of 40-45 degrees celsius. After two and a half years there, I transferred to the Great Barrier Reef, and worked at the Heron Island.

I left Australia in 2008 and went to Fiji to work as the Resort Manager for the Worldmark Resort Denarau Island. That was a great experience because I was exposed to a whole new culture, which was amazing and very strong, and beautiful people as well. During the three years I spent in Fiji, I enjoyed my life as well as the challenges that came with it.

 

MI: What tempted you to come to the Maldives?

GD: I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge and I understood the logistics. I probably did not understand quite as much as I know now, but I had some idea because I did a little research before I got here.

I first worked for Universal Resorts, which was a great company to work for. They were the pioneers of the tourism industry here in the Maldives, and that aspect alone gave me a sense of pride and honour. They provided an environment where you can learn and understand a lot about the industry. I was the General Manager at Universal’s Velassaru Maldives resort from September 2011 to April 2013. I went back to Australia for six months and came back to the Maldives for the relaunch of LUX* South Ari Atoll.

Maldives, for me, is a whole bucket list of different experiences for anyone with a genuine interest in the tourism industry. Being able to run a five-star, lovely resort in the Maldives is really the pinnacle of one’s career. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do that in my career. I am also a guest here and I am being looked after very well. It has been a great experience so far.

 

MI: What is your experience as the General Manager for LUX* South Ari Atoll?

GD: Working for a company like LUX* has been very rewarding. They think a little bit of out the box. I love the freshness and the funkiness of the product that I have the opportunity to lead. Even before I joined LUX*, I knew that the training given to staff and the focus on service here at LUX* is second to none.

It has been an incredibly busy 18 months since I got here and probably the most challenging experience I have ever had in my 28-year long career. But that is probably why these have been the most rewarding times of my entire career as well. It was very challenging to try and complete the upgrade in just three months, but we did it. It was truly a team effort. We have an incredible team comprising of local and expats, and we are consistently assisted by the amazing team at our head office in Mauritius.

We now have this lovely new product that we are very excited about. Now we have to get guests to come and see it as well. We are encouraged more than ever to do so because of the incredibly positive feedback we have received from our guests after the upgrade.

A couple rests facing the ocean in an overwater villa in LUX* South Ari Atoll. PHOTO/ ASAD

MI: What is the major change that came with the upgrade?

GD: We have adopted a concept called, “Lighter, brighter.” You will see that everything is much lighter now. To be honest, the hardware has now been brought up to the level where the software already was. The staff here did such fantastic things. We have introduced a new concept along with a lot of new reasons to come here. We have repositioned ourselves amongst the hotels here in the Maldives, with a very strong focus on F&B. We have seven restaurants and five bars manned by a great culinary team that do some amazing things. That is one of the unique selling points; that we have such a great offering.

But most of all, it is the small surprises that truly set us apart. I want to surprise my guests. Guests can go to a resort operated by a big international chain, which deliver on their promises every single time. But as a guest, I do not want to go to a place that delivers exactly what I expect. I want to be surprised. Here at LUX*, we do these silly little things like disco toilets, gift in a bottle, etc.

The reality is that the success of any property here in the Maldives depends on making small differences that add up to an entirely unique, personal experience for the guests. We all have turquoise waters and white sand beaches. So what is gonna differentiate us from our competitors? It really comes back to the staff and the level of service they provide to the guests.

I also say that the success of any company is that we do not take ourselves too seriously. At LUX*, we make sure that we create an environment where members of our team can excel at their jobs, but also be themselves while doing so. I think if we try and put too much structure on the staff, we lose what is special about those individuals. So here at LUX*, we encourage them to showcase their individual touch in the service they provide and have fun while at it.

 

MI: What are you thoughts about the changing travel trends and the changes in the Maldives’ tourism industry?

GD: There is no doubt that the Maldives, as a destination, has been and will go through a major transformation. As a destination, we are not the cheapest on the map. A lot of new products are coming into play, and a lot of them are doing all these different things like shoving spas and restaurants underwater. The trends are constantly changing, and that is exciting.

We obviously have a lot of challenges, especially with a lot of new beds coming into the market in a very short period. So we need to get more people into the country and more airlines to come in. There has been some positive developments, with new airports being built and the main airport undergoing a major expansion. I think all these developments bode well for the future.

But part of this change should also include us doing things differently from Fiji, Seychelles and all the other island destinations. For that, we need to come together as an industry and see what we all can do collectively to support this destination. When travellers make a choice, they do not first choose a hotel; instead, they first choose a destination and then go on to choose a property in that destination.

As an industry, we should also focus more on expanding and improving the human resources available. More locals need to trained and opportunities provided for them.

This in turn should go hand in hand with a focus on giving back to the local communities that we operate in. Since this country revolves around tourism, we need to make sure that whatever we are doing flows through, and that everyone gets the benefit. Here at LUX*, we support the Maldives Blood Services by organising blood donation camps. We also have a Tree of Wishes on the island, where our guests donate money to the local community.

Glenn speaks at the relaunch party held at LUX* South Ari Atoll in September. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: What is the one thing that defines your experience in the Maldives?

GD: I love working in the Maldives mostly because of the humbleness of the staff that I work with. You do not get that genuine experience anywhere else in the world. That makes you a better manager because you want to work harder for your staff in order to keep getting that experience. It is a very weird feeling, but I make the most memories when I get to share my daily life with my 600-strong team. I live and breathe with these guys, but I never have the same day twice.

For me, it is those little things that count, and certainly not meeting celebrities from around the world or princes. That is a false world. I love being immersed in what is genuine, and that becomes more and more important as you grow older.

 

MI: What is the next chapter of your career?

GD: It is very simple for me; as long as I enjoy what I do, I am going to keep doing it. I still love being here and coming to work every morning. So, for as long as I feel this way, I am going to keep doing it for as long as I can do it. Perhaps I might try and find a little bit of balance in life because eventually I will have to slow down a little.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to be where I am today and what I have done, especially here at LUX*. The tourism industry is a wonderful thing to be part of, and Maldives is as best as it can ever be.

Entertainment

Bollywood actress Sunny Leone enjoys holiday in Maldives at Brennia Kottefaru

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Bollywood sensation Sunny Leone has been making the most of her well-deserved break by soaking up the sun and enjoying the pristine beaches of the Maldives. The actress, known for her love of travel and self-care, recently shared a montage video on her Instagram from her vacation in the island country.

In the video, Sunny Leone can be seen donning a stylish black and white swimsuit, complemented by a beautiful flower crown. The scenic backdrop of the Maldives serves as the perfect setting for the actress to unwind and bask in the natural beauty surrounding her. Captioning the video, she expressed her delight, saying, “It’s SOOO good,” and tagged her team members.

Sunny Leone’s trip to the Maldives comes as a well-deserved respite after her appearance at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The talented actress attended the festival alongside the cast and crew of her film “Kennedy,” directed by renowned filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. The movie, which features Rahul Bhat alongside Sunny Leone, was selected to be screened at the Midnight Screening Section of the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, gaining recognition for its unique storytelling and captivating performances.

Known for her glamorous and versatile roles in Bollywood, Sunny Leone has been a prominent figure in the Indian film industry for years. Her journey from being a former adult film star to a successful actress has inspired many, and her talent and dedication have garnered her a loyal fan base.

Sunny Leone’s choice to spend her vacation in the Maldives is no surprise, as the tropical paradise has become a favored destination among celebrities and travel enthusiasts alike. With its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and luxurious resorts, the Maldives offers the perfect backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation.

As Sunny Leone continues to explore the stunning landscapes of the Maldives, her fans eagerly await her next venture on the big screen. With her impeccable style, charisma, and acting prowess, the actress has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the world of Bollywood and continues to captivate audiences with her talent and beauty.

Whether it’s gracing the red carpet at Cannes or enjoying a blissful holiday in the Maldives, Sunny Leone proves time and again that she knows how to live life to the fullest. Her dedication to her craft and her ability to find balance between work and leisure serve as an inspiration to many aspiring artists and fans around the world.

Sunny Leone’s love affair with the Maldives is no secret. The actress has been drawn to the idyllic archipelago time and again, finding solace in its turquoise waters and serene atmosphere. With each visit, Sunny Leone discovers new corners of this paradise, indulging in the luxurious resorts, engaging in thrilling water sports, and immersing herself in the rich marine life through scuba diving and snorkeling. Her admiration for the Maldives is evident in the way she captures its beauty in her photographs and videos, sharing glimpses of her unforgettable experiences with her fans. It’s clear that the Maldives holds a special place in Sunny Leone’s heart, and she continues to be captivated by its unparalleled charm, making it her go-to destination for moments of tranquility and sheer bliss.

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ELE | NA launches OceanFlow Therapy to honour World Ocean Day

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ELE | NA has unveiled OceanFlow therapy, a remarkable and awe-inspiring inward expedition that submerges individuals in the comforting embrace of ocean water. On the occasion of World Ocean Day, an invitation was extended to guests, urging them to embark on a life-altering encounter designed to nurture their mind, body, and soul. Exclusively available at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI and OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, this pioneering therapy presents a captivating and unmatched chance to rediscover oneself, all the while enveloped in the serene cadence of the ocean’s gentle waves.

OceanFlow therapy is a captivating fusion of various therapeutic modalities, including Watsu, Water Dance, Ayurveda, Shiatsu, Craniosacral, Manual Therapy, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, and Trigger Point Therapy. These carefully curated elements enhance the holistic Aquatic Bodywork, bringing forth refined techniques and unlocking its full therapeutic potential.

One of the remarkable benefits of OceanFlow therapy is the high magnesium content found in saltwater. As our guests immerse themselves in the ocean or simply bask in its proximity, their muscles and nerves are regulated, blood sugar levels are moderated, and sleep quality is improved. The result is a profound sense of rejuvenation, complemented by the soothing rhythm of the waves, which harmonize their circadian rhythm.

“Vitamin Sea” is not just a playful ocean pun; it highlights the essential role of saltwater as a nutrient for our body’s largest organ – our skin! Abundant in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium, saltwater boasts remarkable healing properties. It aids in reducing inflammation, safeguarding the skin, and promoting the healing of scrapes, cuts, and sores. Furthermore, saltwater enhances the flow of lymph fluid, potentially reducing the appearance of cellulite.

OceanFlow therapy is particularly effective in addressing a wide range of conditions, including stress symptoms, limited mobility, arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, chronic ailments, headaches, migraines, insomnia, post-operative rehabilitation, accidents, trauma, fear of water, and even during pregnancy. Each session, lasting for one hour, provides a dedicated space for healing and rejuvenation, followed by a further 45 minutes for quiet integration.

The therapeutic benefits of OceanFlow extend to pain management, sleep management, and stress management. By immersing themselves in this holistic approach, our guests can alleviate physical discomfort, improve their sleep patterns, and effectively manage stress levels. OceanFlow therapy facilitates a profound connection with our guests’ inner self while harnessing the therapeutic potential of saltwater and gentle manipulation.

ELE | NA is an acronym for Elements of Nature, which refers to the five elemental forces of nature – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, helps in healing as these energies flow all around and within every individual.

Offering bespoke wellness journeys under the “Wellness Your Way” program, itineraries are designed specifically for the guests’ individual needs, highlighting holistic treatments, alternative health therapies, and gourmet plant-based cuisine throughout the all-inclusive
vacation.

At ELE | NA, guests embark on a holistic journey of wellness, healing, and relaxation,
feeling rejuvenated and refreshed as a result of life-changing experiences, where local
healing traditions are combined with international beauty and spa treatments to provide a
one-of-a-kind experience.

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Kandooma’s sustainability efforts recognised at annual ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ Impact Awards

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Mark Eletr, General Manager of Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, has been recognised for efforts in sustainability at the annual InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Impact Awards, Southeast Asia & Korea.

One of just 14 accolades presented on the night, Mark and his team were recognised in front of their colleagues and peers at a glittering awards ceremony held at the InterContinental Landmark, Hanoi, in Vietnam.

On collecting the award on stage, a thrilled Mark Eletr said,

“To receive an award amongst all of you in this forum, with talented people doing great things it’s an honour. It’s a reward for the whole team, for their creativity and all these great ideas they come up with. And also for our owners who support what we want to do in this very important regard. We operate, particularly in the Maldives, in a very unique and fragile environment, and I’d like to say that as a nation, we are getting it right, but there is a long road ahead, and with what we are doing, hopefully, that sets the standard and encourages others to follow.”

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives works across many different areas in the sustainability space, from providing filtered water in reusable glass bottles to the sandbar and island clean-ups and investing in solar energy. The resort is also an eager participant in studies to measure the effectiveness of alternative renewable energy sources such as waves. Reef regeneration projects, creating an island farm and working with the natural island environment to create regenerative spaces all contribute positively to the resort’s overall goals.

“Coinciding with World Environment Day, this accolade encourages us to continue to grow in this space and to search out collaborations with organisations such as our recently announced and formalised partnership with Parley Maldives.”

“We measure most of our activities; I think this act helps drive us harder towards our goals. We share the information in an easy-to-understand format with our guests to amplify the message wider, touching and shaping opinions of guests experiencing the Maldives,” says Mark.

Two years ago (February 2021), IHG Hotels & Resorts launched ‘Journey to Tomorrow’, a series of ambitious new commitments to make a positive difference for people, communities and the planet over the next decade. Guided by IHG’s purpose to provide True Hospitality for Good, hotels and resorts work with those who stay, work and partner with them to help shape the future of responsible travel.

Journey to Tomorrow sets out five clear ambitions, building on the progress and achievements made against IHG’s 2018-2020 targets:

  1. Champion a diverse culture where everyone can thrive  – with 400,000 colleagues worldwide, we can create a future where all experience equality, inclusion and fairness.
  2. Improve the lives of 30 million people in our communities around the planet – with hotels spanning 100 countries; we’re proud to be at the heart of our communities and recognise how our global reach presents opportunities to shape a positive future.
  3. Reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science  – we know the hotel sector accounts for 1% of global carbon emissions, and we’ve set science-based targets to maximise the use of renewable energy, reduce emissions of existing hotels and to target new builds to operate at very low or zero emissions by 2030.
  4. Pioneer, the transformation to a minimal waste hospitality industry  – with only 9% of plastic currently being recycled and around one-third of food produced being wasted across the globe, we’re passionate about providing our guests with a more sustainable stay. We’ll also form partnerships to create circular solutions for major hotel items that work for the greater good.
  5. Conserve water and help secure water access in those areas at greatest risk  – demand for water often exceeds supply in many parts of the world, with the UN predicting an increase of 20-30% by 2050. So, it’s never been more critical for us to find ways to reduce our usage and work with others towards sustainable solutions that create water access for all.

Each of the ambitions and commitments in IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow plan is rooted in understanding what is most important to colleagues, guests, hotel owners and investors when it comes to operating thoughtfully and growing sustainably. Our plan also contributes to the universal framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to provide a blueprint for a better, more sustainable future for us all by 2030.

Located in the South Male atoll just 40 mins from the airport by boat, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives is a beautiful island paradise. White sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and turquoise waters form the backdrop for various leisure pursuits and some of the best diving in the Maldives. Guests can choose from Garden and Beach Villas, two-storey Beach Houses and the popular Overwater Villas for their stay. Families are well catered for with a choice of 2- and 3-bed villas and the Kandoo Kids’ Club and its full activities programme. Six food and beverage outlets ensure healthy appetites are satisfied and the flavours of the Maldives are explored. For guests who desire the ultimate in relaxation, sun loungers and hammocks are located around the island. The Kandooma Spa by COMO Shambhala offers the ultimate tranquillity and escape for body and mind. Visit www.maldives.holidayinnresorts.com

“Each and every one of us has a part to play. Working collaboratively to find new sustainable solutions, sharing ideas with colleagues, friends and guests, and supporting our local communities, I believe together we can shape the future of responsible travel.” said Mark Eletr, General Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives.

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