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Voting for Maldives Travel Awards Guesthouse Edition opens with 90 nominees



Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has opened voting for the Maldives Travel Awards – Guesthouse Edition.

Nominations closed on September 10, following which they were evaluated and shortlisted to eight contenders in each category based on their rating on TripAdvisor, which accounts for 40 percent of the total score.

Properties were shortlisted in 12 categories, including:

Leading Guesthouse

  1. Kaani
  2. Arena Beach
  3. Hotel UI Inn
  4. Serene sky Guesthouse
  5. Velana Beach
  6. Plumeria Sea View
  7. Crystal Sands Hotel
  8. TME Retreats Dhigura

Leading Food and Beverage Guesthouse

  1. Plumeria Sea View
  2. Crystal Sands Hotel
  3. Arena
  4. Velana Beach
  5. Kaani
  6. Season Paradise
  7. Hotel 78
  8. Castle Inn

Leading Guesthouse / Diving and Water Sports

  1. iTouch Blue and Venus Villa
  2. Maafushi Dive
  3. Active Maldives Private Limited
  4. Rasdhoo Dive Club
  5. Rasdhoo Dive Lodge
  6. Beach Stay Maldives
  7. Shamar Guesthouse and Dive
  8. Kalhu Muraka Guesthouse

Leading Eco-Friendly Guesthouse

  1. TME Retreats Dhigurah
  2. Beachwood Hotel and Spa
  3. Canopus Retreats
  4. Island Way Etos
  5. Season Paradise
  6. Coconut Tree Hulhuvilla Beach
  7. Salt Beach
  8. Serene Sky Guesthouse

Leading Business Guesthouse

  1. Lonuveli Hotel
  2. Airport Beach
  3. Hotel UI Inn
  4. Ocean Grand
  5. Clear Sky Inn Hulhumale
  6. Coconut Tree Hulhuvila Beach
  7. Eureka Airport Inn
  8. Azoush Tourist Guesthouse

Leading Heritage Guesthouse

  1. Ariston Dhangethi Inn
  2. Local Island Inn
  3. Vashafaru Inn
  4. Lagoon View Maldives
  5. Banyan Villa
  6. Hiyaa Ilaa
  7. Mirian Sky Hotel
  8. Jupiter Sunrise Lodge

Leading Adventure Guesthouse

  1. Manta Inn
  2. Asia Inn Villa Retreat
  3. Detour Beach View
  4. Reveries Diving Village
  5. Boutique Beach All-Inclusive Diving Hotel
  6. Batuta Maldives Surf View Guesthouse
  7. Stingray Beach Inn
  8. Rasdhoo Dive Club

Most Innovative Guesthouse Concept

  1. Velana Beach
  2. Season Paradise
  3. Shallow Lagoon
  4. Tropical Village
  5. Casa Mia Maldives
  6. Masaaree Boutique Hotel
  7. White Shell Island Hotel and Spa
  8. Airport Beach

Leading Guesthouse Brand

  1. Kaani
  2. Arena Beach
  3. Hotel UI Inn
  4. Plumeria Hotel and Resorts Private Limited
  5. WhiteShell Island Hotel and Spa
  6. Serene Sky Guest Maldives
  7. LVIS Blancura Hotel

Leading Transport Service Provider

  1. iCom
  2. Nasru Speed
  3. Navi Speed

Leading Guesthouse Island

  1. Maafushi
  2. Thoddoo
  3. Rasdhoo
  4. Dhigurah
  5. Keyodhoo
  6. Felidhoo
  7. Hangnaameedhoo
  8. Bodufolhudhoo

Leading Beach Island

  1. Fulidhoo
  2. Dhigurah
  3. Thoddoo
  4. Vashafaru
  5. Dharavandho
  6. Thinadhoo
  7. Dhangethi
  8. Kelaa

Additionally, MATATO will award recognitions in three categories, including:

  • Leading Business Development Partner for the Guesthouse Industry
  • Newcomer of the Year
  • Most Supportive Guesthouse

The shortlisted properties have now been put up for popular vote, which accounts for the remaining 60 percent of the final score. Votes can be cast online until October 28, and the winners will be announced at a special function to be held on October 30 in the island of Maafushi in Kaafu atoll.

MATATO President Abdulla Ghiyas speaks at a function held on Wednesday to mark the World Tourism Day. PHOTO/ IBRAHIM ASAD

Introduced this year, the Guesthouse Edition builds on the recognitions awarded to guesthouses by MATATO as part of the Maldives Travel Awards, and celebrates the outstanding performance of the guesthouse sector.

Maldives, known world over for its upmarket tourism industry, has resorts in the hundreds spread across the archipelago. The industry has in recent years expanded to introduce more affordable segments, including guesthouses and liveaboards. Some 330 guesthouses have started operations over the past five years as the number of travellers that choose to stay in guesthouses rise.

Initiated in 2012 by MATATO, Maldives Travel Awards celebrate and honour the best tourism and hospitality products in the Maldives, while fostering relationships with suppliers and local travel agents. From 20 categories in 2012, the awards have now expanded into three editions totalling 55 categories.

This year, MATATO has for the first time branched out the prestigious awards into three categories; the People’s Edition, which recognises successful pioneers and long serving individuals in the tourism industry, a Guesthouse Edition, which celebrates the outstanding performance of the up and coming guesthouse sector, and the Grand Gala, which is exclusive for winners in the categories for resorts, airlines and liveaboards.

As the first event held under the Maldives Travel Awards brand, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi hosted the People’s Edition on July 13, where 10 individuals were recognised for their immense contributions to the development of the Maldives tourism industry.

After the Guesthouse Edition next month, the Grand Gala will be held in Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort in November.

The non-profit will also combine the Grand Gala with the travel conference happening a day before at Bandos Maldives resort, bringing an international audience of industry experts.


Atmosphere Core expands in South Asia with Atmosphere Living ultra-luxury residences



Atmosphere Core, a globally renowned name in hospitality, has announced the launch of Atmosphere Living as part of its continued expansion in South Asia. Headquartered in India, this new company will offer branded ultra-luxury residences with customised end-to-end amenities and indulgences, including coffee lounges, wine cellars, private transport, and bespoke concierge services.

The global branded residences market has experienced a remarkable 150 percent growth over the past decade, and projections indicate a surge in demand. With the real estate veteran Sandeep Ahuja at the helm as Managing Director, Atmosphere Living is strategically positioned to capitaliSe on this demand.

Atmosphere Living will focus on a conscious design philosophy. All properties will be built in harmony with the environment and will incorporate features such as smart recycling, efficient waste and water management, and green energy solutions.

Sharing his insights on the launch, Salil Panigrahi, Managing Director, Atmosphere Core, said, “Atmosphere Living will bring a distinctive offering to India, and is a brand to watch out for. It will combine Ahuja’s decades of experience, knowledge, and industry network in real estate with Atmosphere’s hospitality expertise, introducing unparalleled serviced residences in India.”

Positioned in major metropolitan areas, established second-home destinations, and undiscovered scenic locales nationwide, these projects will also present lucrative investment opportunities. Elite homeowners will have the option to lease their residences back to Atmosphere Living, allowing them to be rented out for income generation.

Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, Atmosphere Living, said, “There is currently a gap in the Indian realty landscape for ultra-indulgent serviced homes catering to affluent consumers. We aim to bridge this gap by curating serviced homes that offer indulgences such as entering homes using smart key cards, 24/7 butler services, fine dining, and co-working spaces, among others. Our ultimate desire is to enable our customers to experience a life of true luxury and exclusivity.”

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A night of celestial wonders, luxury, and cosmic inspiration at Anantara Kihavah SKY Observatory by British astronaut Tim Peake



Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas celebrated a historic  milestone with the exclusive visit of the renowned British astronaut, Tim Peake. On the evening of November 2, Astronaut Peake hosted an exclusive space talk at SKY Observatory, the finest  overwater observatory in the Indian Ocean, housing the most powerful telescope in the Maldives. 

Perched gracefully over the pristine Maldivian waters, SKY Observatory provided an idyllic setting for  this extraordinary event, complemented by a stunning sunset. The exclusive gathering attracted a full  house of eager guests to a delightful evening that seamlessly blended science, luxury, and natural  beauty. 

The evening commenced with a lovely cocktail reception, where guests were serenaded by the soulful  tunes of a live saxophone band. Attendees savoured exquisite cocktails and canapés as they eagerly  awaited Tim Peake’s presentation. 

Tim Peake’s talk unveiled his personal journey, where he shared his path to becoming an astronaut  and narrated the rigorous training that astronauts undergo. He provided insights into life in space, the  daily challenges faced by astronauts, and the awe-inspiring experiences he encountered during his 

historic mission. He also offered a glimpse into his exciting future projects, leaving the audience both  inspired and spellbound. 

Following Tim’s presentation, an interactive Q&A session allowed guests to engage directly with the  British astronaut. The audience posed thoughtful questions, deepening their understanding of  astronauts’ unique experiences and the intricacies of space exploration. 

The event was further enriched by the presence of the resort’s three SKY gurus, Hammadh Rasheed,  Zunnoon Ahmed, and Ali Arushal, who conducted a stargazing session for the guests afterward. 

The success of the event was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, who  left with a deeper appreciation for space exploration and a memorable evening to cherish. 

The evening marked a significant moment in Anantara Kihavah’s history, showcasing the resort’s  commitment to offering unique and memorable experiences for its guests. The presence of Tim  Peake, a celebrated astronaut and highly accomplished author, added an extraordinary dimension to  the resort’s already spectacular offerings. 

Tim Peake is a renowned British astronaut who made history as the first official British astronaut to  visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his six-month mission. He  also achieved the remarkable feat of running the London Marathon from space. Beyond his  extraordinary space endeavours, Tim is also a bestselling author with his most recent book Space: A thrilling human history published earlier this month. 

An astronomer’s paradise, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy  stargazing due to its proximity to the equator. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas promises a voyage of  discovery on a private Indian Ocean Island, with Sky—an overwater observatory and luxury cocktail  bar—providing guests a chance to sip champagne under the stars and explore the Universe.

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Visit Maldives website adds atolls segment to showcase diverse regions



Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has added a new segment to the official Visit Maldives Website specified for atolls showcasing the diversity of the Maldives.

The segment, now live at provides in depth information regarding the different regions of the Maldives, divided by atolls, to refine the traveller’s experience, commencing with an in-depth exploration of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll.

With 26 atolls, the Maldives offers a wide array of unique accommodations and awe-inspiring travel experiences, and this informative section of our website will serve as a gateway to discover the hidden treasures unique to each area. This falls under MMPRC’s initiatives to encourage tourism growth in all regions of the Maldives, broadening exposure to the diverse tourism products available in the Maldives.

The goal is to elevate Visit Maldives’ digital marketing landscape by showcasing the Maldives as more than just a honeymoon destination with various accommodation options. This initiative is driven by a desire to increase awareness about the distinctive offerings within each of the Maldives’ atolls. It aims to positively shape their perception of the Sunny Side of Life brand by curating engaging content that highlights the unique features of the atolls and diverse experiences available in the islands.

Additionally, the initiative will target the affordable luxury market to promote the Maldives as the most appealing option for short holidays and weekend getaways under a unified Maldives brand umbrella.

MMPRC aims to continue exploring other atolls in the Maldives as well, encouraging growth and tourism development in all regions of the Maldives, building on the foundation we have created to promote the destination beyond the traditional paradigms of sun, sand, and sea.

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