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Dusit International Debuts in Maldives

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Maldives Promotion House – Dusit Thani Maldives presents the blending of Thai gracious hospitality with the unparalleled luxury setting of destination Maldives. Located on Mudhdhoo Island, Dusit Thani Maldives is a 40 minutes breathtaking seaplane ride from the International airport and 10 minutes by speed boat from the new domestic airport. This exquisite resort scheduled to open on December will deliver a unique experience to discerning well-travelled guests seeking a peaceful retreat.

Featuring a unique spacious lobby, guests will be captivated by an intimate and natural environment packaged up with perfect service. Inspired by Thai artistry the furniture is a relaxed blending of classic and contemporary.

Complemented with state of art technology, top-of-the-line amenities and small touches the spacious 100 guests villas assures total comfort and relaxation for guests. The lush tropical surrounding, dense with palm trees and indigenous flora creates a natural castaway haven, a setting for true indulgence for the Beach Villas. Some of the Beach Villas are complete with private pools.

Lagoon Villas with Pools boast a spacious deck area with a unique combination of beach and lagoon access whilst the spacious decks in Ocean Villas with Pools feature a large daybed and sala for total relaxation. For total indulgence in luxurious island living the premium two-bedroom Beach Residences and Ocean Pavilions have a larger swimming pools, indoor and outdoor dining seating options and pantries.

All villas exude vivid designs completed with modern amenities such as 46’ LED IPTV with satellite, complimentary WIFI internet connection, MP3 docking station, BOSE surround system, Inroom Bar with choices of wine, wine fridge, coffee and tea making facilities.

Dusit Thani Maldives fuses a fine selection of dining experience with uncompromising service, quality and spectacular views. All day dining restaurant, The Market is a convenient location for meal and snack including classic favorites, light options for lunches and wide international buffet selection for breakfast.

Overlooking the crystal blue waters of the sea, Benjarong, Thai restaurant is their signature restaurant. Benjarong brings a unique experience for guests who value authentic Thai flavors creatively mixed with luxury ingredients from all over the world.

The Sea grill restaurant is perfect to enjoy the best offerings of the ocean together with the highest quality steaks from all over the world. With relaxed setting of comfortable indoor and outdoor seating area Sea grill brings the best of its romantic poolside and Maldives beach view location.

Sala Bar from the second level of Benjarong provides a cool and calming backdrop of glistening lagoon. Guests can enjoy the best fresh cocktails while watching the sunset or stargazing through the lounge bedside telescopes.

Sand Bar is perfect to socialize. Mingle by the pool at the Sand Bar in late afternoon whilst enjoying creative selection of fresh cocktails. Dance away to the beats of DJ during the evening at Sand Bar. The underground wine cellar boasts an extraordinary library of wine varietals and labels from all over the world.

Dervana Spa at Dusit Thani Maldives is an exceptional wellness escape that features signature treatments including massages, facial, body treatments, manicures, pedicures as well as range of treatments incorporating local Thai influences. Six tree top treatment pods suspended on top of the trees is one of a kind in the Maldives and provides an unmatched vistas of the island and turquoise lagoon. Two treatment pods are located in the ground floor of the spa along with the spacious reception area.

A masterpiece of its kind, the swimming pool comprises 750 square meters and is the largest swimming pool in the Maldives. The pool decks are adorned with sunbeds and with the view of the lagoon and the beach. Guests are also able to enjoy diving and varieties of watersports. Guest can explore the turquoise waters with activities such as snorkelling, kite surfing, water skiing, canoeing, fishing or wake boarding.

Known for frequent sighting of dolphins and turtles Mudhdhoo island is located near Hanifaru Huraa which has been awarded by UNESCO biosphere. Dusit Thani Maldives also offers guests fully equipped fitness centre with personal trainer, yoga instructor, marine biologist, children’s play area and club facility, library and internet stations and island boutique.

The completion of Dusit Thani Maldives will mark another landmark for Dusit International. With this milestone Dusit International continues to acquire a unique portfolio of deluxe hotels, building upon Thai culture and tradition to create a personalized welcome to all guests; the delivery of an experience that enlivens the individual spirit no matter what the journey.

“This new project is our first foray into the Maldives, arguably one of the most beautiful destinations on earth. This is a very exciting addition to our growing portfolio and represents a great milestone for the Dusit brand. Dusit Thani will combine the rich flavour of Thai hospitality with the stunning tropical beauty of the MaIdives,” Chief Executive Officer of Dusit International, Mr. Chanin Donavanik said.

Dusit International has gained more than 60 years experience in the hotel and hospitality field. Founded in 1948 by Honorary Chairperson, Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, whose first hotel was the Princess on Bangkok’s New Road; Dusit has since acquired a unique portfolio of deluxe hotels, building upon Thai culture and tradition to create a personalised welcome for all guests, made distinctive under the Dusit brand promise: the delivery of an ‘experience that enlivens the individual spirit no matter what the journey. Dusit International comprises five hotel brands: Dusit Thani Hotels & Resorts, Dusit’s second generation dusitD2 hotels & resorts, Dusit Princess Hotels & Resorts, Dusit Devarana Hotels & Resorts, and Dusit Residence Serviced Apartments. It also operates its own signature Devarana Spa.

Culture

Palace for the prince: Muleeage’s century-long journey through history

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It was ‘honeymoon season’ in Suez. Sultan Haji Imadudeen was reigning on a throne of love in Egypt. But back home, those were darker times, as Maldives continued to borrow from Bohra merchants of Mumbai. After all, the wedding expenses of the monarch had to be paid by the state.

Imadudeen has appointed his younger brother, Dhoshee Manippulhu of Maandhooge, as the regent to take care of the state’s affairs, but it was Prince Ibrahim Dhoshimeynakilegefaan of Athireege who ruled. Prince Ibrahim’s son, Abdul Majeed Didi of Athireege, took charge of stabilising the nation.

Backed by the British masters and business elites in Male’, Abdul Majeed Didi began hatching a secret plan. Finally, by the early hours of March 10, 1910, onlookers could understand that something was happening in Muleege. Beeru Mohamed Fulhu, who was at the Friday Mosque, saw the door being opened and Mohamed Shamsudeen being escorted out by his brother-in-law Abdul Majeed Didi and Sayyid Kilegefaanu, also known as Khatheeb Seedhi. The two men accompanied Shamshudeen to Boduganduvaru, the royal palace, and placed him on the throne as Sultan Shamsudeen Iskandhar, Al-Salitc. As Shamsudeen was the brother-in-law of both men, the aim behind the plan could mean more than just stabilising the nation; there might have been personal motives and interests.

After appointing Shamsudeen the sultan, Khatheeb Seedhi told him that no one was ever going to challenge his reign. He said that Shamshudeen was not going to leave the throne unless he wished to do so.

Khatheeb Sidi’s saying became true, as Shamsudeen remained in power for the next 31 years, six months and 28 days. That was until he left behind all the privileges of a king for the sake of his beloved son Hassan Izzuddeen, for whom he built Henveyru Ganduvaru or Muleeage from where he started his journey to become the sultan at one midnight. As the famous public speaker and poet Ibrahim Shihab later said, the sultan abdicated for the only son he ever had.

Muleeage, the presidential palace which is now 105 years old, was originally built for Shamsudeen’s son and the then Crown Prince Hassan Izzudeen. The palace was originally named as Henveyru Ganduvaru. It was a symbol of the king’s love for his son.

The origin of this address goes back to the era of the heroic Sultan Hassan Izzudeen, also known as Dhonbandaarain. This plot of land was first used to build a thatch hut when Muhammad Manik of Mulee shifted his family to the capital city. The house was later inherited by Dhonbandaarain and then by Ibrahim Noorahdeen and then by his son Shamsudeen. Hassan Izzudeen was born to Shamsudeen and Sithi Didi, daughter of Bodu Sidi of Kalhuhurage.

When Izzudeen was studying in Ceylon, Shamsudeen decided to build the house before his son returned home. Shamsudeen decided to build it as a palace for the crown prince.

Fully funded by state coffers, the project was commissioned in 1914. Ahmed Dhoshimeyna Kiligefaanu of Athireege was assigned as the project manager. Architects and builders were brought from Ceylon. Architecture and the design was that of the Victorian era with a touch of colonial architectural design. Furniture too was imported from Ceylon. Few transoms were designed by Easa Mohamed Fulhu from the island of Kela in Haa Alif Atoll.

The palace was opened on December 7, 1919, with a special Mauloodh, a cultural prayer.

Izzudeen came back from Ceylon after his education to live in the palace as “Henveyru Ganduvaru Manippulhu”. He lived with privileges that don’t match with that of any other prince. As he was a highly-skilled musician, the palace became a theatre for music. Izzudeen sang with his beautiful voice whilst also playing harmonium. Boys of his dance group, widely known as “Nashaa Party” danced to his music, dressed as ladies. Boduberu too was part of the fun at the palace. It was full on partying till midnight on most days. It is said that the novel, Dhonthuhkalaage Gellunu Furaavaru (lost teenage of Dhonthuhkala), written by Muhammad Ismail Didi of Meerubahuruge, was based on an incident that happened at the palace.

The elite of Athireege took all that as inappropriate for a crown prince. Their disapproval grew and Izzudeen was considered as someone who is ineligible for the throne. The first written constitution in the history of Maldives was passed as a result. It was written in that constitution that the sultanate will only go to a grandson of Dhonbandarain, effectively removing Izzudeen from the royal inheritance path.

But the constitution was later received by the people as a burden, as new laws were introduced to a population that was not aware of such rules. It made their life miserable.

“We can’t bear this anymore,” they said, as they gathered at the Gulhakulhey Fasgandu, an open area just next to the headquarters of the army, and tore apart the document. They even attempted to bring out some ministers to be dealt with by the mob.

The country then saw increased hostile actions against the government from Izzudeen who tried to take over.

Prime Minister Hassan Fareed issued orders to arrest Izzudeen’s allies. Izzudeen went to Bodubandeyrige, then headquarters of security forces, in person to try save his allies. Shamsudeen left the throne to follow.

The prime minister, who was paving way for the change in government, used this as an opportunity to overthrow Shamsudeen. The latter was banished to Fuvahmulah, in the far south, together with his son Izzudeen.

Izzudeen died on the island after a short ailment, whilst Shamsudeen was brought back to Male’ as his health deteriorated. He died shortly thereafter. Henveyru Ganduvaru was deserted after that.

All the palaces except that of the sultan were later downgraded and Henveyru Ganduvaru became Muleeage, taking the name of the first house built at the address.

Muleeage was used for several purposes for the next 80 years before becoming the presidential palace in 1953. From 1942 to 1947, it was used to house the ministries of home affairs and defence, and the office of the head of intelligence. It also served as the headquarters of the first newspaper in the country, Sarukaaruge Khabaru.

With the first republic that came into being in 1953, Muleeage became the presidential palace, serving as the official residence of Mohamed Ameen Didi, the first president.

As the monarchy was reinstated after overthrowing Ameen and abolishing the republic in a coup, Muleeage became the office of the prime minister. Ibrahim Famuladeyrikiligefaan and Ibrahim Nasir were prime ministers who used the office. At one point during their administrations, Muleeage also housed the ministry of defence.

Presidential palace and several ministries at some point, Muleeage has been in use ever since.

Apart from this, several high profile guests of the state stayed there during their visits. Late Queen Elizabeth and her late husband, The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philips were amongst those.

Although Ibrahim Nasir, as the first president of the second republic, declared Muleeage as the presidential palace again in 1970, he didn’t use it as such. His successor, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was the first president to formally use it as his official residence. He stayed there from 1988 to 1994, before moving to Theemuge, a newly built presidential palace which later became the Supreme Court.

The first Supreme Court, which was the result of the present day constitution, was temporarily housed in Muleeage in 2008. Then came President Mohamed Nasheed who chose to make it the presidential palace yet again. It was also used as the offices of a national inquiry commission, which was setup to investigate the events surrounding Nasheed’s early departure in 2012, before becoming the presidential palace again.

In the century that has passed since Muleeage was built in its current design, it has witnessed numerous historical events in the country. It witnessed the declaration of the first republic and the reinstating of the monarchy. It hosted heads of states as well as ministers from different parts of the world. Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandi was one amongst them to be remembered.

Been a place for all that, the status of Muleeage is much more important in our history; it was the childhood home of Hassan Izzudeen, Dhonbandaarain, the heroic sultan who freed Maldives from the short-lived rule of the Malabari invaders, also known as “Holhin”. This was the place from where he came out for his battle with the flag of freedom flying over his head.

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Utheemu Ganduvaru: Portal to Maldives’ national freedom

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The Maldives, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, also offers a rich tapestry of history and culture waiting to be explored. Among the islands of Haa Alif Atoll lies Utheemu Island, home to Utheemu Ganduvaru, a historical treasure that invites travellers to delve into the storied past of the archipelago.

Utheemu Ganduvaru, the ancestral home of Muhammad Thakurufaanu, stands as a poignant reminder of the Maldives’ fight for independence. Thakurufaanu, revered as a national hero, led a successful campaign against Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. His childhood home, Utheemu Ganduvaru, offers a rare glimpse into the life and times of this legendary figure.

In 1558, the Portuguese invaded the Maldives, killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule. Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers, Ali and Hassan, left for Minicoy to prepare a campaign to liberate their country. The boat they built, Kalhuohfummi, was crucial to their efforts. Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years, landing on different islands under cover of night to evade capture, and departing before daybreak. Eventually, they landed in Malé and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Freed from Portuguese rule, the people chose Muhammad Thakurufaanu as their Sultan.

Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 years until his death in 1585. He is remembered as a considerate and just ruler, concerned for the well-being of even the poorest citizens. He is also credited with establishing the country’s first formal military unit.

Back at Utheemu Island, visitors are immediately struck by the island’s tranquil beauty and its lush, green landscape. The journey to Utheemu Ganduvaru is a step back in time, where the echoes of history are palpable. The residence itself, a traditional wooden palace, is meticulously preserved, showcasing the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of the period.

As you enter Utheemu Ganduvaru, the simplicity and elegance of the structure are apparent. Built from timber, the palace is a fine example of traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The intricate woodwork, with its detailed carvings and polished surfaces, speaks volumes about the artisanship that flourished during Thakurufaanu’s time.

The main hall, with its open layout and cool, shaded interiors, offers a sense of serenity and reflection. It was within these walls that Thakurufaanu spent his formative years, and each room tells a story of his early life and the influences that shaped his destiny. The residence includes living quarters and storage spaces, all arranged in a manner that reflects the daily life of a prominent Maldivian family in the 16th century.

One of the most compelling aspects of Utheemu Ganduvaru is its connection to the larger narrative of Maldivian resistance against foreign rule. Guides at the site often recount tales of Thakurufaanu’s daring exploits and strategic brilliance. His knowledge of the archipelago’s intricate waterways and his leadership in naval battles are celebrated as key factors in the successful expulsion of the Portuguese in 1573.

Beyond its historical significance, Utheemu Ganduvaru offers visitors a deeper understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage. The site is a testament to the resilience and unity of the Maldivian people, embodying values that continue to inspire. For travellers, a visit to Utheemu Ganduvaru is an opportunity to connect with the soul of the Maldives, experiencing the essence of its history and the spirit of its people.

While on Utheemu Island, visitors can explore other points of interest, such as the island’s beaches and vibrant local community. Engaging with the locals offers additional insights into Maldivian traditions and hospitality, enriching the overall experience.

For those seeking a journey through time, Utheemu Ganduvaru in Haa Alif Atoll is a destination that should not be missed. It is a place where the past comes alive, where the legacy of a hero continues to resonate, and where the true essence of the Maldives can be discovered. As you walk through the halls of Utheemu Ganduvaru, you are not just a visitor; you are a part of a historical journey that defines the Maldivian identity.

So, when planning your next visit to the Maldives, venture beyond the beaches and dive into the rich history of these islands. Let Utheemu Ganduvaru be the highlight of your cultural exploration, offering a meaningful and memorable connection to the heart of Maldivian heritage.

Cover photo: Andreas Faessler

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Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives among the best hotels of 2024

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Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives has been named one of the world’s best hotels according to TripAdvisor, placing it among the top 10% globally.

This island paradise boasts a prime location just 13 kilometers from Malé, the capital of the Maldives. Reachable by a quick 20-minute speedboat ride, Cinnamon Dhonveli offers both accessibility and an abundance of activities.

Surfers flock to the world-famous Pasta Point break, while divers and beach lovers can also enjoy the vibrant underwater world and pristine sands. This exciting island caters to a variety of interests, making it a popular destination in the Maldives.

Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ summer campaign is the perfect opportunity to experience this paradise. Whether you crave adventure, culinary delights, or encounters with marine life, there’s something for everyone. Bookings of four nights or more come with a complimentary transfer and your choice of two exciting benefits:

  • Explore the vibrant capital with a Malé City Excursion.
  • Embark on a Dolphin Watching trip for an unforgettable encounter.
  • Savor a romantic four-course Beach Dinner under the stars.
  • Relax and rejuvenate with a 45-minute Spa Treatment.
  • Create lasting memories with the “1 Kid Stays Free” offer.

Don’t miss your chance to tick this dream destination off your bucket list. Visit Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives and discover why it’s among the best hotels in the world!

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