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Soneva Jani crowned world’s Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel, St. Regis Maldives as runner-up

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Soneva’s newest resort in Maldives, Soneva Jani has been named Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel of the year by Jetsetter.com.

Jetsetter.com, the world’s go-to brand for travellers with discerning taste, announced on Monday the winners of its annual Best of the Best hotel awards. Soneva Jani won the Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel award with another newly opened Maldives’ resort, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort named the runner-up.

Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property, which opened in late 2016. Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of 24 overwater villas and one island villa set in a 5.6 kilometre private lagoon located in the northern Noonu Atoll. The resort spans five islands surrounded by pure white beaches, covered in rich tropical vegetation, offering the ultimate in privacy and luxury.

The second placed St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort was recently included by Condé Nast Traveler amongst the best hotels opened last year. Run by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the resort opened its doors in November with just 77 villas spread across the private island in Dhaalu Atoll. The resort offers six innovative dining experiences and and overwater spa.

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli resort, which opened in November. PHOTO/ ST. REGIS

This year’s Best of the Best hotel awards by Jetsetter.com include 22 “Best” categories ranging from Over-the-Top Luxury and Best-Looking Guests to All-Inclusive and Nightlife. Each category includes a winner and one runner-up, with the winners being:

  • Best Big City Sleep: The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, New York
  • Best Style Steal: Amastan Paris
  • Best Boutique: The Dewberry, Charleston
  • Best for Romance: Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles
  • Best Design: Il Sereno Lago di Como, Italy
  • Best Game-changer: The Asbury Hotel, New Jersey
  • Best on the Beach: Le Barthélemy, St. Barts
  • Best All-Inclusive: Grand Velas Los Cabos, Mexico
  • Best Over-the-Top Luxury: Soneva Jani, Maldives
  • Best Looking Guests: 11 Howard, New York
  • Best Nightlife: Ace Hotel New Orleans
  • Best Pool Scene: Casa Cook Rhodes, Greece
  • Best Comeback: Pulitzer Amsterdam
  • Best Safari-Lodge: andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge, Zimbabwe
  • Best Business-Meets-Pleasure: The Peninsula Beijing
  • Best for Communing with Nature: Nekupe, Nicaragua
  • Best for Wellness: Amanemu, Japan
  • Best Far-Flung Escape: Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman
  • Best Grounds: Leeu Estates, South Africa
  • Best for Food: Coombeshead Farm, England
  • Best For Families: Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Hawaii
  • Audience Favourite: PUBLIC Chicago

In a statement, Jetsetter.com’s Lindsey Olander said deciding this year’s Best of the Best awards was the hardest yet. The 22 winners were selected after months of culling countless recommendations from both editors and insiders, she added.

“In an industry that keeps redefining where we should spend our every hour, choosing where we sleep, eat, and experience a destination has become more important than ever,” the statement read.

Jetsetter.com, part of the world’s largest travel site TripAdvisor, provides great hotel deals, in-the-know destination guides and useful travel tips to its more than 33 million members. From hotels to insightful stories to trip planning, Jetsetter is designed to match discerning travellers with their ideal travel experience. Each property featured is hand-selected by a team of curators and by Jetsetter’s global network of correspondents. Jetsetters can browse limited-time sales of up to 40 percent off, peruse the Jetsetter permanent collection of more than 6,500 hotels and resorts or find travel ideas and inspiration in the newly redesigned magazine.

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Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist

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Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives

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Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Weixin Pay at resorts for seamless guest experience

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CROSSROADS Maldives has introduced WeChat Pay, widely known as Weixin Pay in China, across its world-class resorts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. This payment option is made available to enhance the convenience and overall experience for guests from China, making their stay in the Maldives more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Understanding the needs of the diverse guests, CROSSROADS Maldives has integrated WeChat Pay into operations, allowing guests from China to easily and securely conduct transactions using a payment method familiar to them. The introduction of WeChat Pay is a testament to CROSSROADS Maldives’ dedication to enhancing guest satisfaction by offering exceptional experiences at every turn. What is also expected through this initiative is that the guests could benefit from better foreign exchange rates, translating to better savings on their expenditures during their stay.

The option is available for guests in-house conveniently at both resorts as well as across the Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives where a wider variety of unparalleled dining and retail experiences are available for all guests. The day visitors from China will also therefore equally benefit from this new introduction at the Maldives’ premier multi-island integrated leisure destination.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a vibrant tropical escape that offers unique and locally inspired experiences. The resort features spacious rooms and villas, a variety of dining options, and an array of recreational activities designed to cater to the desires of modern travellers. Guests can escape to the island’s SAiisational natural beauty, enjoy water sports, and indulge in spa treatments, all while relishing the personalised service that defines Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives brings the iconic Hard Rock spirit to the tranquil shores of the Maldives. This family-friendly resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, featuring music-inspired experiences, live performances, and the brand’s signature amenities. With luxurious accommodations, diverse dining options, and a plethora of activities for all ages, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives ensures an unforgettable holiday experience for every guest.

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