JA Manafaru Maldives appoints Karen Merrick as General Manager

JA Resorts & Hotels has appointed Scottish national Karen Merrick to take over the operation of its multi award-winning private island resort in Maldives, JA Manafaru.

Karen is the second female General Manager in the JA Resorts & Hotels’ portfolio of eight properties, and currently one of few female General Managers in the Maldives.

She joins the JA Manafaru team to maintain the island’s longstanding popularity with international guests and to communicate the unique soul of the island with her innate understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage.

This will be Karen’s fifth leadership role in the Maldives, having previously served at iconic Maldivian resorts such as Soneva Fushi, LUX* South Ari Atoll, The Rania Experience, and Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives. She also has a personal connection to the area with a home on the southernmost atoll of Addu with her Maldivian husband Alim.

Karen’s career spans 30 years across a variety of boutique hotels in the Indian Ocean and Europe.

Prior to joining JA Resorts & Hotels, Karen has spent the last three years running the Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia. Her previous tenures include The Taaras Resort & Spa in Malaysia, Kemang Icon by Alila in Indonesia, and Ackergill Tower in Scotland.

At JA Manafaru, Karen will be leading a team of 350 associates in the idyllic five-star luxury island resort. Her aim is to bring the Maldivian culture to life on the island and ensure that guests experience both seamless five-star service whilst also enjoying the freedom to roam as an explorer on the raw, remote beauty of the island.

Fringed with exquisite powder beaches in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives, the chic tropical hideaway features 84 luxurious beachfront and overwater villas and bungalows, each with their own private plunge pool.

Seven scenic dining destinations provide a culinary journey with traditional Indian Ocean cuisine, international fare and seafood feasts. China’s most renowned chef, Da Dong, brings his Michelin acclaim to White Orchid Asian restaurant with a collaborative menu launched in 2019.

World-class recreational facilities include Calm Spa, a fully equipped dive, water sports and excursion centre, plus a Marine Research Centre to conserve local ecology.

JA Manafaru is one of the Indian Ocean’s most sought-after holiday destinations and a popular choice for both couples and families. ‘Legend’ hotels by Preferred Hotels & Resorts are the ultimate collection of extraordinary properties in the world’s most remarkable destinations and JA Manafaru is the only property selected in the Maldives.

At the 2019 World Travel Awards, JA Manafaru was named as ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort 2019’, the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel Suite 2019’ and ‘Maldives’ Leading Hotel Suite 2019’. With a five-star rating on Trip Advisor, JA Manafaru was also selected for a Travellers Choice Award in 2019.

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