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The Coralarium by Jason deCaires Taylor opens at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi

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The Coralarium by Jason deCaires Taylor has opened at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort.

Touted as the first ever underwater art installation in the Maldives, the Sculpture Coralarium is situated in the centre of the largest developed coral lagoon in the Maldives. The artwork created by renowned environmental sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is a semi-submerged tidal gallery space that exhibits a series of sculptural artworks on the skyline, inter-tidal waterline and seabed.

The work aims to create a direct pathway to the ocean. A long swimming pool transects the island and denotes the starting point. The art installation begins by following this line into the clear shallow waters of the sea where an underwater coral pavement begins. Sea-scaped with underwater poplar trees and endemic planted corals, it heads 100m through the shallows towards the underwater realm, a symbolic pathway to another world and the starting point of the artistic intervention.

After a 50m snorkel or swim, guests encounter a submerged staircase which leads up towards a semi submerged tidal building. The building is cube shaped, six metres tall, with its front façade submerged up to median tide of three metres. The design of the walls is based on natural coral structures and is porous to allow the tides, current and marine life to pass through it and the structure to “breathe” within its location.

The complex structural formation is designed to dissipate oceanic forces whilst creating a protective space that encourages nature to colonise and seek refuge. The construction, using high grade, polished, marine stainless steel aims to reflect and mirror the surrounding blues of the coral atoll and the sky above. A mirage on the horizon, that over time will take on the patina of the sea as it becomes colonised by algae and weathers within the environment. The roof of the building houses a series of black silhouetted Jesmonite sculptures that connect both the sky above and the sea below, occupying a space between worlds.

The entrance of the building is situated above water and leads into a dry elevated viewing platform. The square gallery space exhibits a further 14 sculptures on plinths at various heights within the water column, some works completely submerged, others high above the water line, with the majority mid water interacting with both the marine and terrestrial world depending on the tidal level. The roof is perforated with a coral pattern to allow beams of light to illuminate the individual works and a series of submerged lights to illuminate the space during the night.

The sculptures themselves are hybrid forms, part-human, part-plant, part-coral. The organic forms are based on endemic species of the island and its surrounding reefs; banyan trees, screw pines, strangler ivy, mushroom and staghorn corals. Many of the works feature root systems, symbolic of the dependence of humans on the natural environment a connection to place. White calcium coral, formed of bones ingrained into the surface of works, aims to show how the reef is part of the Maldivian DNA. Leaves on the base of the plinths will provide additional marine habitat space.

The underwater realm of the installation includes a series of children looking up towards the surface of the sea posing questions about the threat of climate change and sea levels rising and the consequences for future generations. Overall the installation aims to draw all the elements of life on earth together, to portray a system where all components are dependant on each other, humans and the environment in coexistence, a levelling of relationships. The Coralarium becomes a portal or interface to the wonders of the underwater world.

Access to the Coralarium is available through guided tours in small groups lead by the resort’s resident marine biologists several times a day.

Located on the Shaviyani atoll, the stunning new Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort offers 112 luxury villas, each with a private pool. Sirru Fen Fushi, which means ‘secret water island’ in the local Dhivehi language, is set on an exceptionally lush island bursting with flora and fauna. The picturesque locale is also surrounded by powder white sand beaches, peppered with thatched-roofed villas overlooking an endless turquoise sea.

The all-villa resort is ideal for couples or families, and features  a 200-metre infinity pool as well as luxury safari-style tented villas nestled in the island’s lush interior jungle.

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is the sole hotel on the pristine atoll, and its previously untouched location has allowed marine life to flourish, with manta rays, turtles, large pods of bottlenose dolphins and spinner dolphins regular visitors in the crystal-clear waters of the 600-hectare lagoon. The nine-kilometre-long house reef, directly accessible from the beach, is home to vibrant corals and a thriving ecosystem teeming with life. Uniquely, a manta ray cleaning station at the house reef, offers guests a rare close and extended glimpse of one of the world’s most majestic marine creatures, many of which drop by in a beautiful display of aquatic symbiosis with smaller sea life.

The 112 villas are categorised based on the island’s stunning topography, and include Beach Villas, Water Villas, and Tented Jungle Villas. Copper bathroom fittings and carved wood detailing on furniture lend the villas a bohemian rustic chic vibe. Specially adapted to the Maldives, the unique tented jungle villas offer privacy and a romantic castaway vibe; other guests can also experience the verdant island interiors with glamping BBQs or jungle cinema.

A strong connection to nature guides guests throughout their stay, even at the resort’s contemporary dining outlets. These include an international all-day dining spot called Raha Market; an overwater Japanese restaurant, sushi bar and sea lounge named Kata, where Chef Dharmen brings creative flair to add modern and Maldivian twists to Japanese dishes; and the overwater fine dining destination, Azure, where fresh seafood and fish-market displays of daily local catches are complemented by fantastic wines and Champagnes.

It’s the same tranquil natural surroundings from which the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Maldives draws its energy and vitality. The 2,000 sqm wellness area has been adapted to Maldivian island chic in its concepts with the use of endemic herbs and Indian Ocean-inspired treatments. The architectural design features hand-carved wooden doors, with sea breeze passages designed to draw fresh sea air into the treatment rooms. A dedicated Olympic size Jacuzzi pool is provided for spa guests for pre or post treatment immersion.

Excursions

Uncover the Gems and Untold Tales of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll Through Personalised and Free-Spirited Adventures with The Nautilus Maldives

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When envisioning the Maldives, one often conjures images of pristine white sands and  luxurious resorts. However, beyond the typical tourist attractions lies a realm of adventure,  cultural immersion, and natural wonders waiting to be explored. The Nautilus Maldives, an  ultra-luxury private island hideaway, is crafting extraordinary journeys in the captivating Baa  Atoll, inviting its guests to embrace escapism through immersive cultural experiences. 

Inspired by The Nautilus’s brand hallmarks of the Art of Bohemia and Free Spirited  Adventures, guests are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and indulge in  transformative experiences. Through encounters with local personalities, guests gain an  insight into island life, delving into cultural roots, traditions, nature, language, cuisine, and  more. 

The Nautilus prides itself on tailoring bespoke experiences to suit the unique preferences of  its guests—whether adventurers, culture enthusiasts, or families seeking more than a  beachside retreat. Guests embark on one of The Nautilus’s luxurious yachts, exploring  treasured spots of the Atoll and creating unforgettable memories that will linger in their  hearts long after their journey ends. 

Discover the roots at the Kendhoo 

Nestled in the northwest of the Baa Atoll, Kendhoo carries a rich tapestry of experiences  weaving together history and culture. Once a vital hub along ancient maritime routes,  Kendhoo’s vibrant cultural landscape is shaped by centuries of influences from Indian, Arab,  and Southeast Asian merchants, as well colonial conquests. Guests can wander its streets, 

indulging in local culinary treats with distinct flavours, and exploring landmarks like the 800- year old house marking the place of prayers of Abdul Barakaath Yoosuf al Barbary, a renowned Islamic scholar. 

Weave your memories of the Maldives into art at Kihaadhoo 

On the beautiful island of Kihaadhoo, guests can immerse themselves in the therapeutic art  of coconut leaf weaving, a cherished tradition passed down through generations. Through  hands-on experiences with the island’s residents, guests can learn to create baskets, hats,  and decorative pieces, fostering a sense of cultural identity and belonging.

www.thenautilusmaldives.com 

Traditional lacquer masters at Thulhaadhoo 

Venturing to the southern tip of Baa Atoll, guests discover Thulhaadhoo island, renowned for  its exquisite craftsmanship in traditional lacquerware. Here, artisans share their secrets of this  ancient art of decorating items with vibrant colours and intricate designs inspired by the  Maldives’ marine life and lush tropics, which has been passed down through generations. 

Guests can even try their hand at creating these unique art pieces, serving as precious souvenir  of their tropical getaway. 

Exploration of the Deep Blue Waters of Dhonfanu 

At Dhonfanu, one of Baa Atoll’s premier diving spots, vibrant coral gardens and diverse marine  life awaits beneath azure waters. In season, there’s also a high chance for guests to encounter  graceful manta rays and majestic whale sharks, igniting the senses with excitement and awe. 

Delve into Poetic Ambiance of Dharavandhoo 

Guests can make a stop at Dharavandhoo island, which boasts a rich tradition of Maldivian  poetry, where locals celebrate history and folklore through the art of storytelling, expressing  emotions, beliefs, and aspirations in the most poetic ways. These enchanting verses, inspired  by the islands’ natural beauty, love, nature, and daily island life, transport listeners to a world  where ocean rhythms intertwine poetic imagery.  

To craft your own cultural journey across Maldivian islands, contact The Nautilus at hello@thenautilusmaldives.com and begin creating your ultimate bohemian dream escape. For more information visit www.thenautilusmaldives.com.

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InterContinental Maldives invites guests to third Manta Retreat in March 2024

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After the successful launch of the Manta Retreat in 2022, the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is gearing up for its third Manta Retreat, scheduled to take place from March 9th to 12th, 2024. This unique experience offers guests an opportunity to delve into the world of manta rays, their natural habitat, and the conservation efforts led by the Manta Trust.

The Manta Retreat, designed for travelers seeking an extra dimension to their vacations, encourages participants to explore and understand these majestic creatures while contributing to ocean conservation. The retreat will be led by Meral Hafeez, the Manta Trust base leader at InterContinental Maldives, who will guide participants through an immersive experience.

The focus of the third Manta Retreat will be on meeting the manta rays that inhabit the surrounding waters of the island, emphasizing their protection and ocean conservation. Meral Hafeez expressed her enthusiasm for sharing the wonders of Maldivian marine life, stating, “I can’t wait for everyone to experience their first manta ray and the wonders of the deep!”

This year’s retreat coincides with the Maamunagau Manta Season in March, where young manta rays gather in the resort’s lagoon, offering a unique opportunity for up-close encounters. The Maamunagau Lagoon serves as a crucial research ground for the Manta Trust team, allowing guests to actively participate in the identification and naming of manta rays through the Manta ID workshop.

The Manta Retreat package, priced at USD 1490 per guest, includes two manta ray snorkeling trips, a guided house reef snorkeling experience, the chance to name and adopt a manta ray, and various workshops covering manta rays, plankton, and coral restoration.

For certified divers, dedicated dive spots around the resort provide opportunities to observe the natural manta ray ‘spa’ at cleaning stations, showcasing the fascinating symbiosis of marine life in the Maldives.

The purpose of the Manta Retreat goes beyond education and exploration; it also serves as a fundraiser to support the valuable work of the Manta Trust. Guests staying at InterContinental Maldives can enjoy the resort’s luxurious facilities and accommodations while those not participating in the retreat have plenty of entertainment options.

To book the Manta Retreat or for more information, visit InterContinental Maldives Sustainability or contact the reservations team at reservations.icmaldives@ihg.com or on WhatsApp at +960 730 9300.

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Football legend Lukas Podolski lights up Heritance Aarah with friendly match against Maldivian youth

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In a heartwarming display of football’s unifying spirit, German legend Lukas Podolski traded the grand stadiums for the sun-kissed shores of Heritance Aarah, Maldives, to play a friendly match with a team of eager young players from Meedhu Island. The event saw Podolski donning a custom Heritance Aarah jersey and taking to the pitch alongside the spirited Maldivian children.

More than just a friendly kickabout, the match was a platform for learning and inspiration. The young athletes showcased their skills and learned new tricks from the seasoned pro. The air crackled with a distinctive camaraderie as Podolski’s guidance and encouragement blended seamlessly with the children’s infectious joy.

As a memento of this extraordinary encounter, each participant received a personally signed jersey from Podolski, adding a priceless touch to the occasion. The football star’s presence transformed the friendly match into an unforgettable experience, etching itself indelibly into the memories of the young players and their families.

Podolski later took to his Facebook, sharing photos from the event with the caption, “Football is our global game. A pleasure to meet you all thanks @oneluxury.de & @heritanceaarah #LP10 #football #strassenkicker #enjoy #love.” The post resonated with fans worldwide, celebrating the power of sports to connect people across cultures and backgrounds.

Heritance Aarah, a Premium All-Inclusive resort, offers an idyllic setting for the ultimate getaway, presenting a diverse range of experiences. From the culinary delights crafted by award-winning chefs to the exploration of the captivating over and underwater wonders of the Raa Atoll, the resort sets a remarkable tone for luxury and adventure. With five restaurants included in the Premium All-Inclusive package, exclusive bars, and access to Hatha and Baani with supplement charges, Heritance Aarah offers a holistic experience. The spa and wellness facilities, featuring a hot tub and a fitness center, further enhance the overall well-being of guests, who can also enjoy various activities.

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