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

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“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.

Culture

Celebrate ‘Year of the Dragon’ with Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island’s Lunar New Year offering

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Welcome the ‘Year of the Dragon’ in style with Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island and enjoy a series of exciting events this Lunar New Year. From exceptional culinary experiences to a range of family-friendly activities, there are limited-edition events to suit all guests, running exclusively from Friday 09 to Tuesday 13 February 2024.

For those looking to tantalise their tastebuds, the resort’s ‘Flavours of China’ experience will be sure to delight, offering a culinary journey through the best of Chinese cuisine. Three of Jumeirah Guangzhou’s renowned Chinese head chefs have crafted two set menus – a four-course menu and an eight-course menu – featuring authentic dishes bursting with flavour and colour. For those looking to further elevate their dining experience, a selection of the finest Chinese wines has been carefully curated to perfectly complement each and every dish.

Families heading to the resort to celebrate the Lunar New Year will find plenty to keep the little ones busy, with an exciting variety of seasonal family-friendly events, in addition to the resort’s existing family offering, with over 50 activities available. Whether it’s dragon mask making at MURACA Art Studio or a Chinese lantern release ceremony at Glow, the whole family will love celebrating at Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island, with playful activities designed to create last memories for all. When it comes to downtime, the resort’s spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas offer the perfect space for a family retreat, with separate living spaces and bedrooms providing plenty of space to relax in comfort and style.

For guests looking to unwind in between festivities, they can experience various rejuvenating rituals with the resort’s visiting wellness practitioner Dr. Syed Afzal. Offering personalised guided wellness experiences and holistic therapies, including one-to-one pranic healing and traditional Chinese acupuncture sessions, guests can indulge in the perfect fusion of ancient wisdom and modern wellness to ensure a relaxing start to the ‘Year of the Dragon’. Driven by a deep passion for wellbeing, Dr. Syed assists guests with reaching higher levels of relaxation, rejuvenation, and balance in the midst of paradise within the captivating overwater treatment rooms of the Talise Spa.

Marine life lovers will relish the opportunity to head out on a Dolphin Quest, witnessing the beauty of dolphins in their natural habitat, while those who are looking for a more immersive experience can opt for the Ocean Wonders Snorkelling experience. A Sunset Cruise will also set sail on Monday 12 February, giving guests the chance to experience the beautiful Maldivian sunset while sipping on bubbly to the rhythmic beats of traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru drumming.

Surrounded by a breathtaking natural landscape, Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island offers a luxurious island escape for travellers looking to get away this Lunar New Year. The resort offers 67 beach and over-water villas, each designed in a contemporary style with their own private rooftop terraces, as well as six restaurants and bars which offer Jumeirah Group’s signature dining experiences and unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.

Guests looking to explore the festivities in more detail will find the programme here, and can take advantage of up to 30% off their booking with the Jumeirah Escapes offer.

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Beach Club at SAii Lagoon Maldives to host Diwali celebrations

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Every year, the Beach Club at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton is known to deliver its popular Diwali extravagance for the guests as well as the visitors to Crossroads Maldives. This year too, The Beach Club at SAii Lagoon Maldives has announced two remarkable events that will live up to the true spirit of the Diwali the auspicious celebrations of lights, love, and harmony.

On the 11th of November mark the calendars for a Diwali Pool Party at the Beach Club from 02.00 pm until 06.00pm. Dive into the celebration as you enjoy the mesmerising beats spun by the talented DJ while relishing in the beautiful views of our pristine lagoon. Special highlights of the event include a Live Indian Chat Corner, thrilling beach games with exciting prizes, and the entrance is complimentary for children below the age of eleven. With the frequent ferry schedule from the Marina at Crossroads Maldives, this fantastic Diwali celebration is accessible to all visitors, making it a perfect destination to soak in the festivities.

As the sun sets on this magical day, continue the celebrations with a sumptuous Diwali Indian Dinner Buffet with a live performance by a sensational saxophonist performance from 18:30 to 22:00. This incredible line-up of events, promises a delectable journey through authentic Indian cuisine accompanied by the soothing melodies of the saxophone setting the perfect ambiance to elevate your weekend mood.

The Beach Club at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton is where the vibrant colours of Diwali meet the tranquil blues of the Indian Ocean, creating an enchanting atmosphere that you won’t want to miss this weekend.

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Culture

Celebrate Diwali at COMO Cocoa Island

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Celebrate the magic of Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights at COMO Cocoa Island from November 9th to 12th. Join the resort for a celebration steeped in culture and joy, as the resort illuminates the island with the spirit of togetherness.

Over the four days, indulge in a culinary journey through India’s diverse flavours with a specially curated menus by Executive Chef Kadek and his team. Starting on November 9th, savour the rich and satisfying Thali Set Dinner, offering a diverse array of dishes. A traditional Indian-style tea time will be served at Faru Bar, featuring Masala Chai paired with an Indian-style sweet tea set from November 10th to 12th. On November 11th, enjoy a sumptuous Three-Course Indian Set Lunch, complemented by the delightful treat of mango lassi. The grand finale on November 12th features a Special Diwali Set Menu, immersing you in India’s culinary heritage.

In addition, a special programme of Diwali activities have also been designed for families with little ones, ensuring a memorable experience for everyone.

Nestled in the picturesque South Malé Atoll, COMO Cocoa Island is an intimate island retreat featuring 33 overwater villas set against the backdrop of a stunning turquoise lagoon. The island boasts an exceptional house reef teeming with rich marine life, offering guests a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Maldives. The resort houses an award-winning COMO Shambhala for those seeking for relaxation, which combines the ancient healing and contemporary science

Stay at COMO Cocoa Island this Diwali and enjoy an exclusive room rate with complimentary full-board and return shared speedboat transfer for two adults. Additionally, guests can participate in an activity of their choice during their stay, which includes turtle snorkelling, a sunset cruise, or sunset fishing. Complimentary room upgrades are also available upon arrival, subject to availability.

Book direct with the resort and receive a US$150 resort credit to indulge in more unforgettable experiences during your stay.

For more information on COMO Cocoa Island, Maldives or to book the next stay, please visit https://www.comohotels.com/maldives/como-cocoa-island

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