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John Rogers on delivering exceptional guest experiences at newly opened LUX* North Male Atoll



It’s been said that good things come to those who wait. The notion might be a fallacy for some, but it certainly is true in this case! After a wait that took longer than expected, LUX* North Male Atoll has finally begun welcoming guests to its shores. And with that, the resort’s oversized penthouse architecture and easygoing South Beach ambience have brought a new level of luxury to the Maldives hotel scene.

At the helm of this ground-breaking opening is seasoned hotelier John Rogers, who has held roles as general manager at several award-winning luxury resorts, including eight years at La Residencia in Mallorca. Before joining the pre-opening team at LUX* North Male Atoll in October 2018 as its general manager, John oversaw all operations of the Carlisle Bay resort in Antigua and Barbuda.

Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in managing award-winning properties around the world, British-born John brings an impressive background in pre-opening, planning as well as luxury resort operations to Mauritius-based LUX* Hotels & Resorts’ second resort in the Maldives. His wealth of knowledge in five-star resort hospitality is set to ensure the continued success of LUX* Hotels & Resorts and its dedicated commitment to ensure fresh, creative and exceptional experiences in different locales around the world, with LUX* North Male Atoll now out with the promise of next level ‘Lighter, Brighter’ and extraordinary stay.

Maldives Insider sits with John as he takes charge of the mould-breaking new resort.

John Rogers (L) holds a signed plaque with the Maldives tourism minister Ali Waheed (C) and LUX* Resorts & Hotels’ Chief Operating Officer Dominik Ruhl (R) at the opening event of LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

Maldives Insider: What interested you to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism?

John Rogers: I have always dreamt of an international career. My father was in the navy, so when I was growing up, we moved every couple of years and I loved meeting new people and exploring new cultures. So, the hotel business was a natural fit for me.

MI: How would you describe your past experiences in the hospitality industry?

JR: I have worked in 17 different countries; from Hong Kong and Bali in Asia to Vancouver in North America, Zanzibar in Africa, and Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. In the beginning it was mainly big cities, but after sometime I preferred resort environments and the tropical climate. I love looking after guests, motivating a team and the incredible buzz of the industry.

Those experiences were very enjoyable. I have always been very passionate about what I do, and I enjoyed working with diverse groups of people and learning from them. Looking back at my life, I can feel that I have had amazing experiences in everywhere I had worked at.

John Rogers speaks at the opening event of LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: Can you tell us your first impressions of the Maldives?

JR: When I was based in Colombo, I came to the Maldives on holiday in 1997. It was over 20 years ago, back when Male didn’t have tall buildings and the airport was very basic. I stayed in a resort in the southern part of the country. I could tell even then that it was a unique country. I absolutely fell in love with the incredible blues, the pure paradisiacal islands, and most importantly the people and their culture and heritage.

After 20 years, I’m back in the Maldives. Progress happens everywhere and the Maldives is no different. The airport is much more developed, and Male is crowded with taller and taller buildings. There are many new hotels opening up. But the people and their hospitality remains the same.

LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: How would you describe the experience of setting up and opening a brand-new resort in the Maldives? What are the challenges and the opportunities?

JR: Setting up a resort in a secluded is never easy, but LUX* being a well-established operator and my vast experience in opening hotels go a long way in making sure everything is as it should be. The biggest challenge in the Maldives is logistics. It’s not like you can run down to a shop and grab something you need urgently. There’s a lot of planning involved to make sure things get done on time and the right people are recruited trained well before the opening. Apart from that, it’s being good fun.

I think we are in a very good position. In fact, we have been very busy. Right after our opening in February, we had the Chinese New Year, so we had a lot of Chinese guests for the first two weeks. That was a good thing for the hotel and the staff as our team members were busy from day  one and had the chance to fine tune the details. That has continued.

Aerial View of Glow restaurant at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

Beach Rouge restaurant and bar at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: What sets LUX* North Male Atoll apart from the others in the same market segment?

JR: We are a smaller hotel, so there’s that boutique feel. We are also luxurious, with bigger rooms and more facilities and services. The architectural design aspects that you see here are very unique, even for the Maldives. Our over-sized penthouse residences come with a private rooftop terrace which sets us apart from the others by offering extra customisable space for our guests.

But the most important aspect of our USPs is our focus on creating unique experiences for our guests. We are incredibly lucky to be part of LUX*, which gives a strong emphasis on delivering unique experiences to the guests. At LUX* North Male Atoll, we offer several signature experiences such as Cinema Paradiso at your rooftop terrace and special snorkelling sessions our house reef which is a rare combination of reef and caves. The combination of long stretches of powder soft white sand beach and a house reef just off the island is unique too; not many resorts have that.

A water villa at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

The open air deck of a water villa at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: What’s being done to build upon the successful launch of LUX* North Male Atoll?

JR: We had a very successful opening event, ‘First on the Island, where we invited travel partners, media and influencers from all around the world for a first-hand experience of our resort. The event helped put us on the map and build a strong social media presence for us, thanks to our active sales and marketing as well as PR team.

The next big chapter of LUX North Male Atoll is the completion and introduction of our three-bedroom Beach Retreat and Over Water Retreat. Each of the two residences is more than 970 sqm, including over 380 sqm of open plan indoor living. The opulence and attention to detail of the design are unparalleled, the interiors feature Grecian marble, stones from India and furniture from Bali. With the design and architecture subtly inspired by the free-spirit of the super yacht, you can dock your own private yacht at the Over Water Retreat.

The Over Water Residence at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

The Beach Residence at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: What are your thoughts about the changing travel trends and the changes in the Maldives tourism industry?

JR: Every international hotel company wants to have their hotel in the Maldives which is a testament to the allure of this destination and its importance in the global travel and tourism industry. There are many new openings this year and the coming few years as well, so competition is obviously high. I believe competition itself if a great motivating factor in any business and hotel business is no exception. Maldives has over the years redefined luxury travel at a global scale, and the competition we have today has already helped us take it to next level. It’s leading to incredible innovations; astronomical towers, underwater restaurants and rooms, you name it!

A lot of travellers want to try out new hotels and new experiences. I think that’s why LUX* North Male Atoll is a fine example of how competition leads to innovation. We have developed a unique concept with our white-washed, double-storey penthouses which has brought fresh forward-thinking design for the Indian Ocean. Our bespoke experiences and unique offerings are the product of our innovative spirit and our effort to enhance guest experience. The creative culture built amongst our team helps us realise this goal.

Cafe LUX* at LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

The ‘Floating Breakfast’ at experience offered by LUX* North Male Atoll. PHOTO/ LUX*

MI: How would you describe your experience in the Maldives so far?

JR: It’s been an enjoyable experience. I’m lucky to work with people from different countries and meet with guests from different corners of the world who share amazing stories. The natural beauty of the island and the magical LUX* moments we are creating everyday to help our guests make their dreams come true make it a rewarding experience as well.


Award-winning Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives launches indulgence winter offer



Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives recently announced scooping up the title of “Best Boutique Resort in Maldives” for the second consecutive year, awarded by the Travel Trade Maldives which comes as no surprise as it is one of the best destinations to experience the unreal sunsets you will ever see while projecting extravagant character and easy-going exotica.

What’s really shaking things up this holiday season at this cozy luxury boutique island resort is that you will be spoiled for choice with one beach for every day. That is right – home to four beautiful beaches, Wai, Veli, Dhigu, and Divehi, all with their unique character – letting you sunbathe, snorkel, windsurf, and cycle overwater around the island to your heart’s content. Touching down at Kodhipparu, adventure seekers can revel in countless opportunities for wild coral reef dives, parasailing up the sky for a bird’s-eye view of the lagoon, or even simply zen out to sunrise and sunset with the resident yogi.

To celebrate the win, and to rev up the appetite with seaside excursions, the resort announced the launch of the exclusive “Kodhipparu Indulgence” offer with an unparalleled dining experience and a consequential gourmet coma that is fully worth every penny you’ve spent on your extravagant holiday.

Set your seaside expedition dreams to a reality, with attractive offerings from the resort-owned marine sports centre as well as the luxury overwater spa, that will have you wanting to extend your holiday. What’s more, you get to enjoy complimentary roundtrip speedboat transfers saving you quite a few pennies on your vacation.

The little explorers with big dreams are welcome to stay and dine free of charge sharing the room with the parents, whether it is by spending their time decorating some yummy cupcakes or catching a kiddies movie under the stars with popcorn.

If you are looking for a romantic touch, with an ample amount of floating rose petals in your pool, or a swoon-worthy proposal set up at a secret corner of the island out of bounds to others or even a candle-lit dinner on the secluded beaches with you and your beau, all you have to do is message your lifestyle host to work the magic and make it happen for you. With the Kodhipparu dedicated lifestyle host service, everything is just a message away.

As is all good things, this offer is only for a limited time period, so make use of this exclusive indulgence package at Grand Park Kodhipparu comes with an amazing 35% discount on all villa categories.

Simply head over to to book your holiday with a flair of fun, freedom, and serenity that is promised to make you keep coming back for more!

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An Insider

Abdulla Wisam: A journey of excellence and growth in the Maldivian hospitality industry



In the heart of the stunning Maldives, where luxury resorts and crystal-clear waters come together to create a paradise on Earth, there are individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that every guest’s experience is nothing short of exceptional. One such individual is Abdulla Wisam, whose remarkable journey in the hospitality industry is a testament to his dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to providing the best possible service to guests.

Abdulla Wisam’s journey in the hospitality industry began right after completing his schooling. In 2003, he embarked on his professional career by joining Dhoveli Beach Resort & Spa, where he gained his first taste of the world of hospitality. It was here that he discovered his passion for creating memorable guest experiences and building relationships with visitors from around the world.

After his initial foray into the industry, Wisam’s career path continued to evolve. His dedication and hard work caught the attention of industry leaders, leading him to take on roles of increasing responsibility. His time at Meeru Island Resort saw him as an Outlet Cashier and Night Auditor, roles that allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the operational aspects of a resort.

Wisam’s determination and eagerness to learn led him to the iconic Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where he started as a Recreation Attendant. Over time, he showcased his exceptional skills in guest relations and management, and he was promoted to the position of Front Office Supervisor. His journey with Four Seasons served as a stepping stone for what was to come next.

In 2014, Wisam joined the W Maldives, a resort known for its luxurious offerings and unparalleled guest experiences. Starting as a Welcome Team Leader, he quickly rose through the ranks due to his impeccable guest service skills and innate leadership abilities. His promotion to Guest Experience Manager was a testament to his ability to not only meet but exceed guest expectations. He was then transferred to The St. Regis Maldives as the Assistant Front Office Manager with the pre-opening team.

As his career trajectory continued its upward trajectory, Wisam took on the role of Front Office Manager at prestigious resorts such as Milaidhoo Island, Raffles Maldives, and The Standard Maldives. These roles allowed him to refine his management style, hone his problem-solving skills, and contribute to the overall success of each resort.

Wisam’s journey eventually led him to COMO Cocoa Island, a resort renowned for its unparalleled luxury and exquisite attention to detail. Joining as the Front Office Manager, he embraced the challenges and responsibilities that came with the position. His dedication, combined with his innate ability to create genuine connections with guests, led to his promotion as the Director of Rooms.

Wisam’s journey in the Maldivian hospitality industry is a remarkable tale of perseverance, growth, and a genuine passion for creating exceptional guest experiences. His diverse roles, spanning from recreation to guest experience management, have equipped him with a holistic understanding of the industry. His commitment to continuous improvement and dedication to delivering top-tier service have not only benefited the resorts he’s been a part of but have also contributed to elevating the reputation of Maldives as a premier luxury travel destination.

As Wisam continues to shape the guest experience landscape at COMO Cocoa Island, one can only imagine the heights he will reach and the impact he will make on the ever-evolving hospitality industry of the Maldives. His journey stands as an inspiration to aspiring hoteliers and a testament to the boundless opportunities that await those who are truly passionate about their craft.

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Fan Club

A remarkable tale of wanderlust: Naito Takashi’s 103rd journey to the Maldives



The azure waters of the Maldives have long been a magnet for travelers seeking paradise on Earth. Among these wanderers, one name stands out – Naito Takashi, a Japanese tourist whose boundless enthusiasm for the Maldives has led him to visit this tropical haven a staggering 103 times. His unwavering love for this island nation, coupled with its mesmerizing beauty, has turned his visits into a remarkable testament to the allure of the Maldives.

For the past 24 years, Naito Takashi has visited Maldives between three to five times annually, embarking on a journey that has spanned more than two decades. His tale is one of dedication, passion, and a deep-rooted connection with the captivating landscapes that the Maldives offers. Each visit is not just a vacation; it’s a renewal of his profound relationship with the natural wonders that have captured his heart.

Naito Takashi’s 103rd arrival to the Maldives was met with a warm and heartfelt welcome from none other than the Tourism Minister himself, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom. This gesture symbolizes the deep appreciation the Maldivian people have for their loyal and devoted visitors. The ceremony held aboard the M/V Blue of the Fun Azul Fleet was a fitting tribute to a traveler who has become an honorary ambassador of the Maldives.

The M/V Blue, Fun Azul Fleet, holds special significance for Naito Takashi. As an avid diver, he has found his perfect companion in this cruise boat specialized in diving charters. The vessel offers schedules tailored to explore the best dive spots around the Maldives’ islands, making it an ideal partner for a diving enthusiast like Naito Takashi. The crystal-clear waters of the Maldives have witnessed countless underwater escapades orchestrated by this intrepid traveler.

The Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism has lauded Naito Takashi’s enduring passion for the nation’s beauty. Their tweet acknowledging his multiple visits serves as a testament to his unique and cherished relationship with the country. He has witnessed the ever-changing landscape of the Maldives, from its pristine beaches to its vibrant marine life, and has undoubtedly contributed to the thriving tourism industry.

Naito Takashi’s story also reflects the profound impact that travel can have on an individual’s life. His unwavering commitment to exploring the Maldives has not only enriched his own experiences but has also brought attention to the natural wonders of Maldives. It stands as a reminder that the act of traveling is not just about ticking off destinations from a bucket list; it’s about forming connections, fostering appreciation, and creating lasting memories.

As Naito Takashi continues his journey through the Maldives, his story resonates as an inspiration to fellow travelers and a tribute to the unyielding allure of this island paradise. His 103rd visit is not just a numerical milestone; it’s a celebration of an extraordinary bond between a traveler and a destination, a bond that has grown stronger with each passing year and promises to endure for years to come.

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