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Planhotel Hospitality Group takes over Bathala, to reopen in 2019 under Sandies Hotels after upgrade

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Planhotel Hospitality Group has taken over Bathala Island Resort, with plans to reopen the resort in 2019 under the Swiss hotel chain’s Sandies Hotels & Resorts brand after a major upgrade.

Planhotel Hospitality Group took over Bathala from local hotel group AAA Hotels & Resorts, which had been operating it as a three-star resort since 2011.

The island of Bathala.

A major rebuilding of the property is underway, with overwater villas being built from the ground up, increasing the resort’s room inventory from just 46 beach villas to a combination of 49 beach bungalows and 24 water villas. Several new facilities are also being built, including a gym, games room and wellness centre.

Opening in February 2019, the four-star Sandies Bathala will bring a great-value all-inclusive option to the Ari Atoll. The island is located along the north-eastern rim of the atoll, just a 15-minute scenic seaplane ride from the main Velana International Airport, and it has long been a popular spot with divers from all around the globe.

The house reef surrounding the island is stunning, with colourful fish, reef sharks and turtles regularly spotted. Head beyond the reef with the experienced PADI dive crew, or venture out on a snorkelling trip where you can stop on a desert island for lunch. Bathala will also offer night snorkelling for a totally different perspective of the ocean and marine life.

Artist’s impression of the restaurant being built on Bathala.

For dining, there will be a buffet restaurant – where all your meals are included – with a fresh fish barbecue, live cooking stations and local dishes. An additional seafood restaurant will offer freshly caught seafood specialities and fresh lobster menus in a romantic setting on the beach. Guests can quench their thirst at the beach bar, which will be a great place to relax and unwind after exploring the magnificent marine life.

Accommodation options are refreshingly simple; choose to stay in a charming beach bungalow or water villa.

Artist’s impression of a water villa being built on Bathala.

Artist’s impression of a beach bungalow being built on Bathala.

Sandies Hotels & Resorts, part of the Planhotel Hospitality Group, are all-inclusive resorts in exceptional locations, including Kenya and Zanzibar. The brand’s philosophy is to create a simple and friendly atmosphere whilst providing a high level of service.

Planhotel Hospitality Group already runs two resorts in the Maldives under its luxury all-inclusive brand, Diamonds Hotels & Resorts.

The two resorts of Diamonds Thudufushi and Athuruga are located in the magnificent South Ari Atoll, and are accessible by a 20-minute seaplane flight from the main airport. These are ideal resorts to discover the Maldives from a centre of excellence, where attention to detail will make your journey unforgettable.

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Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist

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Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives

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Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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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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