Encompassing almost 2,000 islands in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Maldives is famous for its clear blue skies, turquoise waters and powder soft white sand beaches. With an abundance of dive sites featuring a unique underwater beauty to explore, the country has also become known as one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations.
This tranquil natural beauty of the Maldives still remains unmatched anywhere else in the world. More than a million tourists from around the world come to the Maldives every year to savour this in-explicably impeccable beauty. While several islands remain untouched, many play host to luxurious holiday resorts and palatial accommodations.
With tourism growing rapidly, there is an urgent need to preserve the Maldives’ delicate environment and ecosystem — the top selling point of a country with no other natural resources to depend on. A lot is being done to adopt and maintain a sustainable tourism approach. Resorts are also taking it upon themselves to find new ways to use renewable sources for energy and to cut down on their carbon footprint.
But there is one in particular that has perfected sustainable tourism like no other in the Maldives. Six Senses Laamu, the only resort in the relatively unexplored Laamu atoll, takes sustainable tourism to a whole new level, with environment-friendly practices and conservation efforts deeply embedded in every aspect of the resort — from design, build and service experience.
The 97 award-winning accommodations are a combination of on-land and overwater villas constructed from sustainable materials. Weathered timber jetties lead to the overwater havens secluded by high wooden enclosures. Lush forest surrounds the stylish beach villas in utmost privacy. They all offer the ultimate island lifestyle, with one or two bedrooms, private leisure and dining decks, and many well-thought out features for guest comfort.
Sea breezes drift amongst the rustic wood under high palm-thatched roofs at the villas and dining venues as well. Many of the mouthwatering dishes prepared by chefs from East and West are created using produce grown on the island. Leaf is a wonderful dining experience perched above the organic garden, while Zen offers Japanese style dining for just 12 guests. International cuisine is featured at the two-level overwater Longitude alongside the one-of-a kind glass wine cellar. Sip Sip at poolside offers a casual dining alternative with beach classics throughout the day whereas Chill Bar, open all day and night, features an authentic Vietnamese menu for lunch and a varied international menu for lunch and dinner.
True to the Six Senses’ philosophy of marrying sustainable practices with uncompromising high-end facilities, Six Senses Laamu has taken standard-setting steps and initiatives to preserve the natural environment.
“Sustainability is definitely one of our pillars, and here at this location we are committed to doing all possible to try and maintain and improve on our sustainability and marine conservation efforts,” General Manager Marteyne van Well says.
The sustainability efforts began well before the construction of the resort and continues to this day, with buildings designed to minimise the damage to the island and lagoon. Branches were cut in a controlled way, old plant matter was left to decompose, and only fallen flowers were used for decoration.
From early stages in the design, energy conservation was given a top priority. All villas have been designed to take advantage of passive cooling, while overhanging roofs create shade for the windows, reducing the need for air-conditioning. Where air-conditioning is required, only low energy consuming units are used.
To further reduce the power demand, Six Senses Laamu has installed heat and pressure recovery systems in the production of hot water and freshwater. Through the heat recovery (cogeneration) system installed in the generators, heat is prevented from escaping and being wasted during power generation. Instead, it heats the cooling agent of the generator, gets passed onto a heat exchanger attached to the generator’s radiator and is transferred to the cold freshwater from the desalination plant via stainless steel plates. To reduce energy consumption in producing freshwater from reverse osmosis, an innovative energy recovery system (ERI) has also been installed in the desalination plant; it uses the brine’s energy to pressurise seawater to the same pressure as the brine.
Six Senses Laamu is also actively looking for ways to reduce the waste generated and to dispose of it properly. The resort works with suppliers to reduce packaging; purchases are made in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging. To reduce the use of plastic bags as much as possible, bins that can be washed or jute bags are used. While no bottled water is imported by the resort, both guests and hosts are provided with re-usable glass water bottles that are bottled on the island. The resort also re-uses several materials, including office paper, kitchen oil, candle wax and waste wood.
Six Senses Laamu has created its own Earth Lab, which serves as a central waste management and recycling hub. Here, waste is separated into paper, plastic, metal, glass, organic waste and toxic waste. A compactor reduces the space required to store the waste before it is sent for recycling and proper handling, while a machine is used for crushing glass into ‘glass sand’, which is mixed with cement to make plant pots and light covers, and garden waste, which is re-used in the garden, pathways and for composting.
A composting site has been built at the Earth Lab where food waste from the kitchen and restaurants is composted together with garden waste, which is shredded using a chipping machine. To make composting as effective and odourless as possible, waste is separated in the kitchen where all the food, except meat and seafood, is collected for composting. Meat and seafood is excluded as these items decompose slower as well as to avoid attracting rodents. The composting soil generated from this activity is re-used in landscaping and gardening.
Six Senses Laamu also features an organic garden where 40 different herbs, vegetables, salad leaves and micro-herbs are grown. Items grown here are used to prepare dishes served at the Leaf restaurant, while Executive Chef Martin Davies and his culinary team have also teamed up with the gardeners to create a daily-changing menu, entirely based on fresh and organic ingredients, served by the pool at Sip Sip. The menu features a different starter, salad, pizza and dessert every day for guests to choose from.
On the marine conservation front too, Six Senses Laamu has set an example. In addition to becoming the first resort in the Maldives to establish and implement codes of conduct for dolphin watching and turtle interaction, the resort enforces a strict no-take stance on the purchase of endangered or vulnerable fish from local fishermen. Reef check, fish watch, shark watch, barnacle studies and biodiversity surveys are conducted all year round, with data submitted to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Maldives Marine Research Centre and the Olive Ridley Project.
“We make substantial financial contributions to Blue Marine and Manta Trust. We have six marine biologists in that setup; two resident, and two each from Blue Marine and Manta Trust. We also have interns in sustainability and a Sustainability Manager,” Marteyne explains.
“There are many resorts doing several good things, but maybe not with this kind of manpower behind an effort.”
Six Senses Laamu also demonstrates operational sustainability through the practice of local sensitivity and support of local communities. The resort engages the talent of locals, with over 50 percent of its staff comprising of Maldivians, especially those from the vicinity of the resort. Additionally, fresh produce such as local fish, fruit and vegetables, and services (eg. for construction or repair work) are from the surrounding area, benefiting the local economy and communities.
Throughout the year, various contributions are made to local sustainability projects. These activities utilise the resort’s human and financial resources, and are primarily funded through Six Senses Laamu Sustainability Fund, which collects 0.5 percent of revenues to be exclusively used for the support of social and environmental projects and initiatives in the Maldives. As such, the resort provides marine education to youth in all 13 schools in the Laamu atoll, and has laid the foundation with an aim to be the first plastic-free atoll in the Maldives by 2020.
“Over time, we will continue to grow and make marine conservation one of the key pillars of the resort, especially in how we share it with our staff and guests, and how we contribute to the local community,” Marteyne says.
“Four Seasons Resort Maldives Apprenticeship Programme is an outstanding vocational training scheme for young and dynamic Maldivians looking to enter the hospitality industry. I would love Six Senses to be that same educator, but in sustainability and marine conservation, so that we can create the next generation of Maldivians who are able to contribute to their communities and to their environment in making it more sustainable.”
A place with inspiring equatorial sunrises above the translucent lagoon and romantic sunsets that dissolve into the evening sea, Six Senses Laamu offers the best of a Maldivian holiday experience. With simple, yet exciting additions such as free homemade ice-creams and personalised bicycles, this palm-fringed island paradise has perfected the concept of “barefoot luxury”, giving you a sense of stepping into a different kind of reality. But what makes Six Senses Laamu truly stand out is its deep-rooted commitment to sustainability that is interwoven with every aspect of the resort — an example where hosts and guests come together to protect the island paradise for generations to come.
Experience All the Magic of Easter Candyland at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi
As the spring sunshine sparkles on the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi invites couples seeking the ultimate escapism and families looking to spend moments of togetherness this Easter break. Nestled in the picturesque Shaviyani Atoll, the private island retreat will transform into an Easter Candyland filled with sweet delights and confectionary creations. Whimsical and full of vibrancy, the extraordinary lineup of experiences promises guests of every generation an unforgettable escape, from indulgent feasts under the stars and colorful egg hunts to chocolate-infused treatments at Fairmont Spa.
From 24 March to 12 April, the resort presents an immersive calendar of events and activities where guests can celebrate special moments in elevated luxury, savor exquisite culinary journeys, embark on new adventures, and make memories that will last for a lifetime.
“Easter is a time of renewal and joyful reconnection, and our team has curated a program of experiences that celebrates the joy of Easter and the spirit of togetherness,” says Steven Stefaniuk, General Manager at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi.
Dining is a sensational experience in this idyllic island paradise. Guests can savor local and global flavors at the beachfront Raha Market, indulge in Asian favorites at Kata, enjoy a spectacular by-the-sea dining experience at Azure, and taste a range of creative cocktails at Onu Onu. On 31 March, the island will host an extravagant Easter-themed lunch and pool party featuring a range of global Easter favorites and mouth-watering desserts, complete with fun activities, live music, and entertainment.
Parents can watch in delight as their little ones spark their curiosity and imagination at the Kids’ Club and discover various Candyland-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, cupcake and cookie decorating, and egg and face painting. Furthermore, budding eco-warriors can participate in repurposing plastic waste into bespoke souvenirs at the Sustainability Lab and join ocean life conservation activities with the Marine Biology team.
Guests can restore their inner balance and achieve renewed energy with the offerings of award-winning Fairmont Spa, including nature-inspired wellbeing sessions and the ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ treatment that soothes the body in smooth and revitalizing sensations. Moreover, active travelers can participate in sunrise yoga, beach game challenges, water sports, and interactive coaching with LUX Tennis.
In the mood for adventure? Dive into one of the flourishing dive sites in Shaviyani Atoll with the resort’s dive partner, Sub Oceanic, snorkel the 9-km-long house reef to discover over 250 species of marine life, or join a sunset cruise in search of dozens of playful dolphins that love to leap out from the sea.
Timeless Family Fun Package – Children Under 12 Stay and Dine for Free
The resort presents the ‘Timeless Family Fun’ package with a complimentary meal plan upgrade, Easter treats and amenities, and delightful dining experiences for the whole family. Book a 4-night stay or more in one of the resort’s spacious pool villas, offering the perfect blend of privacy and togetherness, and enjoy:
- Complimentary upgrade from Bed & Breakfast to Half-Board package
- Children below 12 years of age stay and dine for free
- Easter Sunday Lunch and Egg Hunt activity
- Floating breakfast once during the stay
- Family-style beach dinner once during the stay
- Guided tour of the Sustainability Lab and underwater Coralarium
- 25% discount on spa treatments
Celebrate Earth Week with Nature’s Embrace at Oaga Art Resort
Join Oaga Art Resort from March 21st to 27th, 2024, for a week dedicated to connecting with the beauty and wonder of our planet. Immerse yourself in a program filled with creative activities, meaningful experiences, and a deep appreciation for Earth’s magic.
Unwind with Earth-inspired creativity:
March 21st, as the world celebrates Poetry Day, start your day with a poetic breakfast, followed by a lunchtime fusion of traditional Maldivian Boduberu beats and poetry called ‘Farihi’. In the evening, enjoy some poetry reading and a captivating performance by local duo “Something Lovely”.
On March 22nd, tap your feet to the lively rhythms of a Boduberu jam session at lunch. As the stars emerge, witness the artistry of a sand artist create their magic on the Raa Baa deck.
Connect with nature in a mindful way:
March 23rd, as part of Earth Hour, join a peaceful candlelit Earth Meditation and sound healing session. Later, light your own candle and take part in an art installation under the moonlight. Savour a delicious Earth-conscious buffet and enjoy unplugged music around a bonfire.
On the same day, a special coral planting cocktail is to take place during sunset at the beach. Witness firsthand the wonders of coral restoration as you help plant 60+ coral frames in Oaga’s reef nursery. This project, in partnership with Coralive, aims to completely restore the house reef by 2028. Savour refreshing cocktails and learn about the crucial role coral reefs play in our ecosystem while contributing to a sustainable future.
Celebrate Holi traditions with an eco-twist:
March 25th, witness the creation of a stunning sand mandala and participate in the traditional Full Moon ritual. Dance the night away at a vibrant Holi Full moon party with minimal lighting and glow-in-the-dark paint.
Reflect and reminisce under the stars:
March 26th, cuddle up for a captivating movie night featuring nature documentaries under the starlit sky.
A grand finale on World Theatre Day:
On March 27th, engage your children in a fun puppet show and enjoy a live performance by the energetic band Sky Rock. The week culminates with a special Earth-themed solo performance at the Kaa Kada dinner in celebration of World Theatre Day.
Beyond these highlights, Earth Week weaves its theme throughout Oaga’s daily activities. Whether it is to explore nature-inspired percussion in Take Notes sessions or to let your kids unleash their creativity with eco-friendly crafts in the Fiyoh Kid’s Club, there is something engaging for everyone.
Join Oaga and embark on a journey that reconnects you with nature, celebrates our planet, and leaves you feeling empowered to make a positive difference.
Hurawalhi Island Resort’s Exemplary Commitment to Marine Conservation Shines in the Maldives
Hurawalhi Island Resort, nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the Maldives, proudly reaffirms its steadfast dedication to marine conservation through pioneering initiatives aimed at safeguarding the region’s diverse marine ecosystems.
Saoirse Macklin, the esteemed Resident Marine Biologist at Hurawalhi Island Resort, emphasizes the Maldives’ distinguished status as one of the world’s most biodiverse marine environments. “At Hurawalhi, we prioritize the dissemination of knowledge and wonder about our marine world,” states Macklin. “As a Marine Biologist, it’s been a privilege to inspire and educate guests about the remarkable marine life surrounding our island.”
Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation materializes through a range of educational experiences offered to guests. From immersive Turtle Tours, shedding light on the pivotal role of seagrass in sustaining turtle populations, to awe-inspiring Manta Search excursions, each journey represents an enlightening voyage of discovery.
During these excursions, science and education take precedence, ensuring guests acquire profound insights into the intricate ecosystems enveloping the island. As the resident Marine Biologist, Macklin spearheads efforts to monitor and safeguard turtle and manta populations, employing cutting-edge photo identification techniques to meticulously track and document individual specimens during every expedition.
Hurawalhi extends a warm invitation to guests to partake in Marine Biologist-guided reef snorkeling experiences, providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore coral reef and seagrass ecosystems while championing their preservation. Participants not only revel in the splendor of the house reef but also actively engage in efforts to protect these delicate habitats.
Furthermore, Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation is evident in its ongoing projects. The resort’s diligent monitoring and maintenance of its artificial reef program adjacent to the iconic 5.8 Underwater Restaurant aim to rejuvenate and revitalize reef systems. In 2021, a total of 114 artificial reef frames were transplanted, laying the groundwork for reef regeneration.
Recent initiatives include the creation of “festive frames,” crafted by guests during the holiday season, with regular updates fostering continued guest involvement in conservation endeavors. Annual monitoring of benthic habitats and species abundance by the Marine Biologist team is pivotal, collecting data to track changes in habitats and biodiversity over time. This scientific endeavor provides valuable insights into the health of Hurawalhi’s marine life and serves as a cornerstone for future conservation efforts.
The data collected holds immense potential, serving as a catalyst for initiatives aimed at securing protected status for Hurawalhi and its surrounding waters. Through collaboration with government-led conservation programs and local stakeholders, the resort aspires to designate Hurawalhi as a protected area, ensuring its continued vitality and resilience.
In the face of unprecedented challenges to ocean conservation, Hurawalhi remains resolute in its mission to preserve and protect the marine marvels of the Maldives. Through collective understanding and concerted action, the resort endeavors to safeguard these invaluable ecosystems for generations to come.
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