Nika guests travel deeper into Maldives island life with Nostalgia, UNDP

“Nostalgia celebrates the role that locals had for the creation of the fascinating Maldivian cultural heritage. But we asked ourselves: what does a traveller spending a stay in a luxury hotel really know about real life in the Maldives?”

This remark by Edoardo Caccin, the External Director at Nika Island Resort and Spa, to open the latest edition of its Nostalgia series sounded as a provocation. But it was not.

Nika along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) managed to reinvent the concept of island hopping, offering a meaningful experience to all curious guests willing to experience how the local communities live in the islands that make Ari Atoll.

Since the inception of its operations, Nika has been growing with the surrounding local community. A consolidated synergy, a no written agreement of cooperation and the concept of mutual support lay the foundation of island life in one of the most beautiful atolls in the country, the North Ari Atoll.

Nika shed some light on the dynamics that regulate and characterise the daily operations at the resort and in a local Island. The team at Nika avoids the word, “tourists”; instead they prefer to use the term, “travellers”.

“Our guests are looking for an authentic and real experience, with all the comfort of feeling at home,” Edoardo said.

At Nika, it’s still possible to experience the ‘real Maldives’: the entire resort is a monument that celebrates the essence of the Maldivian soul, of “The Maldives that used to be”.

With Nostalgia, a platform that aims to create awareness about the beauty and potential of the heritage of the Maldives, Nika stresses the importance of adding value to the concept of local experience. The privileged community living at Nika can experience the local culture every day; it is carved on the coral-made blocks that have been used to build the walls of all the villas and suites. The legacy of the glorious cultural past is woven in the leaves that make the conic thatched roofs that pop up from the thick vegetation of the island.

Another factor that gives a strong local touch to the resort is the community of Maldivians working at Nika. Edoardo points out that “since the beginning, we have been working with the community coming from Bodufulodhoo and Mathiveri. We made Nika together. Sixty percent of the locals employed by Nika come from these two islands that are few minutes away by Dhoni.

In order to consolidate the relations with the local community, Nika invited the team at UNDP Maldives for the latest edition of Nostalgia to organise a guided tour to the island of Bodufulodhoo. Nasheeth Thoha and Aishath Rizna from UNDP headed the special mission.

During a crowded aperitif held at Nika, the  UNDP team briefed Nika community about the role that UNDP plays at a global scale and its mandate in the Maldives. Thoha commented: “UNDP has been in the country for 40 years. Nostalgia presents a platform to tell the story of the impressive development journey UNDP took with the Maldives.”

On the following day, the UNDP team guided Nika community to Bodufolhoodhoo. During the visit, the team explained the dynamics that define life on a local Maldivian Island: what are the main obstacles that a Maldivian faces in his daily routine? What is the role of women in the Maldivian Society? How are the education and health system managed? What should be done to enhance the way local people collect and manage the waste produced on an island?

“At UNDP, we work on building resilience, helping young people realise their full potential and promote gender equality, so that women and girls can have equal rights and opportunities,” Aishath Rizna said proudly.

With this special edition of Nostalgia, Nika and UNDP managed to successfully shed light on the role that local communities play in the fragile ecosystem of a Maldivian atoll. The event was a great example of a fruitful collaboration between the private sector and a leading international organisation.

Located in North Ari Atoll, Nika is a milestone of the Maldives hospitality industry.

The deserted island of Kudafolhudhu turned into a resort back in 1983. Since its inception, the philosophy and values that shaped this unique boutique resort are the same: privacy, natural sophistication and local heritage.

All of its 43 villas have been built according to the traditional Maldivian architectural style. Being one of the first resorts built in the country, everything on the island has been built using coral blocks, coconut palm trunks and palm leaves. A collection of antiques and unique Maldivian pieces of art decorate the interiors of all the villas.

Nika is a perfect example of a boutique hotel that breaks the dynamics of big international brands that are reshaping the Maldivian hospitality industry. Nika is a heady mix of Italian lifestyle and Maldivian traditions; a unique platform where heritage and natural beauty meet together.

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