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Conrad Maldives announces world’s first undersea residence, The Muraka

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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island on Tuesday announced plans to open world’s first undersea residence for winter 2018.

Aptly named The Muraka or coral in local Dhivehi language, the undersea residence is the result of a significant USD 15 million investment. The structure has already been submerged, with the residence expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Muraka gives guests an intimate and immersive experience of one of the Earth’s most breathtaking marine environments. Muraka is designed to blend into its environment, giving guests’ unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean at every turn. With vibrant colours and a diverse array of marine life all around, Muraka’s residents will be able to sleep alongside the wonders of the abundant and colourful marine life that inhabit the sea.

“Driven by our inspiration to deliver innovative and transformative experiences to our global travellers, the world’s first undersea residence encourages guests to explore the Maldives from an entirely new perspective below the surface of the sea,” Ahmed Saleem, a Director at Crown Company and chief architect and designer of the undersea residence, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“The Muraka marks our second venture in underwater architecture and technology, next to Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which is celebrating its 13th anniversary this month. Through our rich history of being a trailblazer in innovative luxury hospitality, we are proud to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge design, technology and architecture.”

A sketch of the corridor of the undersea residence. PHOTO/ CONRAD

Envisioned by Crown Company Director Ahmed Saleem, and realised by Mike Murphy, leading engineer at M J Murphy Ltd., a New Zealand-based company that specialises in aquarium technology, the undersea residence is a two-level structure comprised of space above the sea level and an undersea suite designed for sleeping under the ocean’s surface. The undersea suite features a king size bedroom, living area, bathroom and spiral staircase that leads to the upper level living room. The undersea bedroom floor level sits five metres (16.4 feet) below sea level, providing uninterrupted views of the surrounding marine environment.

With the adoption of state-of-the-art technology, Muraka’s distinct design is akin to Ithaa’s with the curved acrylic dome, which boasts 180-degree panoramic views of the wonders of the Indian Ocean’s intricate marine life.

A sketch of the undersea villa’s bathroom. PHOTO/ CONRAD

Muraka’s upper level features a twin-size bedroom, bathroom, powder room, gym, butler’s quarters, private security quarters, integrated living room, kitchen, bar and dining, which features a deck that purposely faces the direction of the sunset for optimal viewing pleasure. On the opposite side of the villa sits the relaxation deck that faces the direction of sunrise and is complete with an infinity swimming pool. The upper level also contains an additional king size bedroom and bathroom, which boasts a masterfully appointed ocean-facing bathtub, ideal for soaking in views of the endless horizon.

A sketch of the undersea villa’s upper deck. PHOTO/ CONRAD

A sketch of the undersea villa’s master bathroom. PHOTO/ CONRAD

In total, Muraka can accommodate up to nine guests.

“Through our development of the world’s first undersea residence, we continue to shine a light on the Maldives as a luxury destination as well as a cultural and natural wonder for global travellers,” Stefano Ruzza, General Manager at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, said.

“We are excited to present Muraka’s unique sleeping under the sea experience to our future guests, providing them with an extraordinary seascape of the Maldives from an entirely new perspective.”

The revolutionary concept is expected to transform the Maldives experience for travellers who want to be truly immersed within the natural beauty of the Indian Ocean. As the first international hotel brand to enter the Maldivian market 20 years ago and home to the world’s first undersea restaurant Ithaa, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island continues to pioneer and innovate with the groundbreaking introduction of the undersea residence.

“We are excited to see The Muraka bring to life the contemporary design, leading innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that serve as the foundation for the Conrad brand,” Martin Rinck, Global Head for Luxury and Lifestyle Brands at Hilton, said.

“With the development of the world’s first undersea residence, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island will offer visitors the opportunity to experience the Maldives like never before.”

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is located in South Ari Atoll and is accessible by a 30-minute seaplane flight from the Maldives main airport.

As one of the Maldives’ leading resorts and one of Hilton Worldwide’s flagship properties, the award-winning Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort offers 150 villas and suites, 12 restaurants and bars, two spas — all stretched over two remote islands. It features the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, world’s first undersea restaurant made from only glass.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is home to two unique spa experiences; The Spa Retreat on Rangalifinolhu Island and the Over Water Spa on Rangali Island. Combining expertise from around the world with carefully selected products and therapies influenced by the environment, the two spas offer unique and effective experiences to suit the needs of every individual.

The luxury resort also offers the popular Conrad Concierge mobile app, which gives global luxury travellers the ability to customise details of their hotel stay before, during, and after each visit via a smartphone or tablet. Whether it is pre-selecting bath amenities or checking in while in-transit from the airport, guests can access a variety of features by using the app.

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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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Pulse Hotels & Resorts unveils new residential project: The Coral Residences, Kandima

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Pulse Hotels & Resorts, one of the leading innovators in Maldives tourism, has introduced The Coral Residences, Kandima. Nestled on the northern end of the lush and green three-kilometre-long Kandima Integrated Island Resort in Dhaalu Atoll, this residential development is a first of its kind and promises to redefine luxury living in the Maldives.

Designed and crafted with meticulous attention to detail, The Coral Residences, Kandima, is a unique, integrated beachfront residential community with exceptional 5-star service, situated in the shimmering blue heart of the Maldives.

The Coral Residences comprises of 40 exquisitely designed two bedroom and three bedroom apartments. All apartments feature contemporary design and chic interiors, high-end finishes, state-of-the-art appliances, and unobstructed panoramic sea views across the Indian Ocean. Residence owners will enjoy exclusive access to a host of premium facilities, including a private beachfront pool, a gourmet restaurant and bar, dedicated fitness and recreation facilities and a 24-hour concierge service.

Buyers of The Coral Residences will be able to own their apartments under the new strata title ownership program. Owners’ apartments will be part a rental program, managed by Pulse Hotels & Resorts. Residents will have the access to the full range Kandima’s 5-star resort services, including its restaurants and bars, spa, recreation, and other amenities to complement their lifestyle. With its emphasis on comfort, convenience, and community, this development offers a truly elevated living experience.

“We are thrilled to introduce The Coral Residences, Kandima, to discerning local and international buyers,” said Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director of Pulse Hotels & Resorts. “With its unparalleled design and amenities, homeowners can take advantage of a limitless world of activities and experiences on offer at Kandima. We believe this development will set a new standard for luxury living in the Maldives, as well as bringing a new definition to the Maldives family vacation.”

The Coral Residences is realised by Pulse Hotels & Resorts, the creators behind The Nautilus Maldives, Kandima Maldives, and Nova Maldives. Known for their innovative hospitality concepts, Pulse Hotels & Resorts ensures that each property offers exceptional experiences and world-class service. The development has commenced and is expected to complete within Q3, 2025.

For more information, high-resolution images, and to schedule a private viewing, please contact Aishath Ihuma, Director of Business Development at +960 7788986 or aishath.ihuma@coralresidencesmaldives.com.

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Weixin Pay supported to boost Chinese tourists to Maldives

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On May 27, Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), and Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay’s Country Manager, Singapore and Regional Director, Southeast Asia, WeChat Pay, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during ITB China 2024, pledging to support more Maldivian merchants to accept WeixinPay to provide Chinese tourists with a convenient payment experience. Visit Maldives is the Official Destination Partner for this year’s edition of ITB China.

“China is a key source of tourists for the Maldives, and we greatly value the experience of Chinese visitors,” said DMD Zihuny Rasheed. “We plan on promoting the acceptance of Weixin Pay throughout the country, offering Chinese tourists the payment option they are familiar with and prefer. I have used Weixin Pay during my visit to China via linking an international card, and I can attest to the convenience of the mobile payment option.”

Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, expressed his support, “Excited that we’re introducing Weixin Pay for Chinese visitors, which is another step in establishing Maldives as their top destination. Now, it’s easier than ever for Chinese travellers to enjoy their stay, hassle-free. We look forward to further enhancing their experience,” he wrote.

According to Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay is currently being piloted at the country’s airport duty-free store, as well as in popular restaurants like Sala Thai and City Garden. Additionally, a range of hotels and resorts are participating including, JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Adaaran Select HudhuranFushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, Dhawa Ihuru Maldives, Ayada Maldives, Marriott Bonvoy, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Angsana Velavaru in Maldives with strong support from the Bank of Maldives and local merchants. Making smooth progress, the initiative is expected to have 8,000 merchants nationwide that integrate the payment option.

“Weixin Pay is committed to providing users with safe and convenient payment services. Since the visa exemption policy was implemented, more and more Weixin Pay users have chosen to travel to the island country. Through our cooperation with Visit Maldives, we aim to provide Chinese users with the same convenient experience in the travel as they experience at home,” he said.

In February 2023, an Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements signed between the Maldives and China took effect as China expands its visa-free policy to benefit more countries. Consequently, the Maldives has consistently ranked among the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists during popular travel periods such as the May Day and National Day holidays.

According to data from Visit Maldives, the country welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2023, a new national record. The Chinese market has been a key source market for the Maldives. As of 11th May 2024, it is the number one source market with 91,073 tourist arrivals.

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