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Maldives makes splashy debut on Forbes Travel Guide’s Star Rating Awards

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Maldives has made a splashy debut on the prestigious Star Awards, picking up six of the highest awards by Forbes Travel Guide, the global expert on genuine Five-Star service.

Forbes Travel Guide on Wednesday presented a galaxy of “Stars” to the world’s most luxurious properties. A record 107 new Five-Star awards have been announced, owing to the company’s significant expansion across 16 countries.

To uncover the most outstanding properties, Forbes Travel Guide’s incognito inspectors check into a hotel for a minimum of two nights, posing as ordinary guests and paying their own way.

Then, they test up to 900 objective, exacting standards — including whether a staff member greets them curbside within 30 seconds of arrival, whether clothing left around a room is folded neatly or draped and placed within immediate view after turndown service, and whether the staff uniforms demonstrated exceptional design.

The ratings tabulate 75 per cent of a hotel’s score based on its service, whilst the remaining 25 per cent is determined by the quality of its facilities.

The 2020 awards celebrate 1,898 Star-rated properties in 73 countries; the full list can be found here. The new awards add 70 Five-Star, 120 Four-Star and 81 Recommended hotels to the annual winners list. Amongst restaurants, there are 13 new Five-Star, eight new Four-Star and two new Recommended winners. The recipients also include 24 new Five-Star and 22 new Four-Star spas.

This year sees the most extensive global expansion in Forbes Travel Guide’s 62-year history. The company spotlights new international markets, including Antigua, the Bahamas, Cambodia, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, India, Jordan, the Maldives, Mauritius, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, the Seychelles and South Africa, many of which achieved the coveted Five-Star honour.

The Maldives made a splashy debut on the list, picking up six of the highest awards. The Maldivian winners go beyond the ordinary with their offerings.

At boutique hotel Velaa Private Island, tee off on the nine-hole golf course designed by Masters champion José María Olazábal, get up close to marine life with a Seabob underwater scooter, or cool off in the spa’s one-of-a-kind snow room, the only one in the Maldives.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa recently unveiled new Beach Pavilion accommodations with private plunge pools, and the Four Seasons Explorer, a three-deck catamaran with 11 guest cabins, docks at the property.

Dive into the waters of Cheval Blanc Randheli to swim with the manta rays or snorkel at night to see biofluorescent marine life.

Design also shines at the Maldives hotels.

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort veers modern with the sleek architecture of its villas and the whale-shark-shaped Whale Bar. The spa’s Blue Hole Pool is an expansive hydrotherapy oasis that seems to melt into the ocean.

The three-island Kanuhura Maldives goes for a bohemian feel with whitewashed villas adorned with funky art and Iru bar’s beaded swings and beach teepee.

One&Only Reethi Rah puts the scenery at the forefront, from yoga in an overwater pavilion to dining in a treehouse.

Maldivian resorts that made it to the list with a Four-Star rating include Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Joali Maldives, Jumeirah Vittaveli, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa and Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Maldives. Amilla Fushi, Six Senses Laamu and Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa Maldives were also listed as Recommended hotels in the Maldives.

“It’s a privilege for Forbes Travel Guide to honour such magnificent hotels, restaurants and spas from all corners of the globe. Each deserving recipient excels at enriching people’s lives through the power of exceptional service,” Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“Our role at Forbes Travel Guide is to establish our annual star ratings with absolute independence and integrity and champion those at the very top of their game.”

More than 600 Star-Rated winners and invited VIP guests will gather to celebrate at Verified, The Forbes Travel Guide Luxury Summit at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on February 18 and 19.

As the recipients of multiple Five-Star awards, the MGM International property will be packed with inspirational speakers and discovery sessions.

The event will culminate in a gala dinner hosted by Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei, followed by an exclusive afterglow hosted by Wynn Las Vegas XS nightclub where headline DJ Dillon Francis and other exciting surprises await the 2020 award winners.

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Experience All the Magic of Easter Candyland at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi

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As the spring sunshine sparkles on the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi invites couples seeking the ultimate escapism and families looking to spend moments of togetherness this Easter break. Nestled in the picturesque Shaviyani Atoll, the private island retreat will transform into an Easter Candyland filled with sweet delights and confectionary creations. Whimsical and full of vibrancy, the extraordinary lineup of experiences promises guests of every generation an unforgettable escape, from indulgent feasts under the stars and colorful egg hunts to chocolate-infused treatments at Fairmont Spa. 

From 24 March to 12 April, the resort presents an immersive calendar of events and activities where guests can celebrate special moments in elevated luxury, savor exquisite culinary journeys, embark on new adventures, and make memories that will last for a lifetime. 

“Easter is a time of renewal and joyful reconnection, and our team has curated a program of experiences that celebrates the joy of Easter and the spirit of togetherness,” says Steven Stefaniuk, General Manager at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi.

Dining is a sensational experience in this idyllic island paradise. Guests can savor local and global flavors at the beachfront Raha Market, indulge in Asian favorites at Kata, enjoy a spectacular by-the-sea dining experience at Azure, and taste a range of creative cocktails at Onu Onu. On 31 March, the island will host an extravagant Easter-themed lunch and pool party featuring a range of global Easter favorites and mouth-watering desserts, complete with fun activities, live music, and entertainment.

2 Fairmont Maldives Kids Club


Parents can watch in delight as their little ones spark their curiosity and imagination at the Kids’ Club and discover various Candyland-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, cupcake and cookie decorating, and egg and face painting. Furthermore, budding eco-warriors can participate in repurposing plastic waste into bespoke souvenirs at the Sustainability Lab and join ocean life conservation activities with the Marine Biology team. 

Guests can restore their inner balance and achieve renewed energy with the offerings of award-winning Fairmont Spa, including nature-inspired wellbeing sessions and the ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ treatment that soothes the body in smooth and revitalizing sensations. Moreover, active travelers can participate in sunrise yoga, beach game challenges, water sports, and interactive coaching with LUX Tennis. 

In the mood for adventure? Dive into one of the flourishing dive sites in Shaviyani Atoll with the resort’s dive partner, Sub Oceanic, snorkel the 9-km-long house reef to discover over 250 species of marine life, or join a sunset cruise in search of dozens of playful dolphins that love to leap out from the sea.

Timeless Family Fun Package – Children Under 12 Stay and Dine for Free 

The resort presents the ‘Timeless Family Fun’ package with a complimentary meal plan upgrade, Easter treats and amenities, and delightful dining experiences for the whole family. Book a 4-night stay or more in one of the resort’s spacious pool villas, offering the perfect blend of privacy and togetherness, and enjoy:

  • Complimentary upgrade from Bed & Breakfast to Half-Board package
  • Children below 12 years of age stay and dine for free    
  • Easter Sunday Lunch and Egg Hunt activity
  • Floating breakfast once during the stay  
  • Family-style beach dinner once during the stay
  • Guided tour of the Sustainability Lab and underwater Coralarium
  • 25% discount on spa treatments 

To renew and reconnect this Easter, please visit their website or email reservations.maldives@fairmont.com

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Celebrate Earth Week with Nature’s Embrace at Oaga Art Resort

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Join Oaga Art Resort from March 21st to 27th, 2024, for a week dedicated to connecting with the beauty and wonder of our planet. Immerse yourself in a program filled with creative activities, meaningful experiences, and a deep appreciation for Earth’s magic.

Unwind with Earth-inspired creativity:

March 21st, as the world celebrates Poetry Day, start your day with a poetic breakfast, followed by a lunchtime fusion of traditional Maldivian Boduberu beats and poetry called ‘Farihi’. In the evening, enjoy some poetry reading and a captivating performance by local duo “Something Lovely”.

On March 22nd, tap your feet to the lively rhythms of a Boduberu jam session at lunch. As the stars emerge, witness the artistry of a sand artist create their magic on the Raa Baa deck.

Connect with nature in a mindful way:

March 23rd, as part of Earth Hour, join a peaceful candlelit Earth Meditation and sound healing session. Later, light your own candle and take part in an art installation under the moonlight. Savour a delicious Earth-conscious buffet and enjoy unplugged music around a bonfire.

On the same day, a special coral planting cocktail is to take place during sunset at the beach. Witness firsthand the wonders of coral restoration as you help plant 60+ coral frames in Oaga’s reef nursery. This project, in partnership with Coralive, aims to completely restore the house reef by 2028. Savour refreshing cocktails and learn about the crucial role coral reefs play in our ecosystem while contributing to a sustainable future.

Celebrate Holi traditions with an eco-twist:

March 25th, witness the creation of a stunning sand mandala and participate in the traditional Full Moon ritual. Dance the night away at a vibrant Holi Full moon party with minimal lighting and glow-in-the-dark paint.

Reflect and reminisce under the stars:

March 26th, cuddle up for a captivating movie night featuring nature documentaries under the starlit sky.

A grand finale on World Theatre Day:

On March 27th, engage your children in a fun puppet show and enjoy a live performance by the energetic band Sky Rock. The week culminates with a special Earth-themed solo performance at the Kaa Kada dinner in celebration of World Theatre Day.

Beyond these highlights, Earth Week weaves its theme throughout Oaga’s daily activities. Whether it is to explore nature-inspired percussion in Take Notes sessions or to let your kids unleash their creativity with eco-friendly crafts in the Fiyoh Kid’s Club, there is something engaging for everyone.

Join Oaga and embark on a journey that reconnects you with nature, celebrates our planet, and leaves you feeling empowered to make a positive difference.

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Hurawalhi Island Resort’s Exemplary Commitment to Marine Conservation Shines in the Maldives

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Hurawalhi Island Resort, nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the Maldives, proudly reaffirms  its steadfast dedication to marine conservation through pioneering initiatives aimed at  safeguarding the region’s diverse marine ecosystems. 

Saoirse Macklin, the esteemed Resident Marine Biologist at Hurawalhi Island Resort, emphasizes  the Maldives’ distinguished status as one of the world’s most biodiverse marine environments. “At  Hurawalhi, we prioritize the dissemination of knowledge and wonder about our marine world,”  states Macklin. “As a Marine Biologist, it’s been a privilege to inspire and educate guests about the  remarkable marine life surrounding our island.” 

Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation materializes through a range of educational  experiences offered to guests. From immersive Turtle Tours, shedding light on the pivotal role of  seagrass in sustaining turtle populations, to awe-inspiring Manta Search excursions, each journey  represents an enlightening voyage of discovery. 

During these excursions, science and education take precedence, ensuring guests acquire profound  insights into the intricate ecosystems enveloping the island. As the resident Marine Biologist,  Macklin spearheads efforts to monitor and safeguard turtle and manta populations, employing  cutting-edge photo identification techniques to meticulously track and document individual  specimens during every expedition. 

Hurawalhi extends a warm invitation to guests to partake in Marine Biologist-guided reef  snorkeling experiences, providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore coral reef and seagrass  ecosystems while championing their preservation. Participants not only revel in the splendor of the  house reef but also actively engage in efforts to protect these delicate habitats. 

Furthermore, Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation is evident in its ongoing projects.  The resort’s diligent monitoring and maintenance of its artificial reef program adjacent to the  iconic 5.8 Underwater Restaurant aim to rejuvenate and revitalize reef systems. In 2021, a total of  114 artificial reef frames were transplanted, laying the groundwork for reef regeneration. 

Recent initiatives include the creation of “festive frames,” crafted by guests during the holiday  season, with regular updates fostering continued guest involvement in conservation endeavors.  Annual monitoring of benthic habitats and species abundance by the Marine Biologist team is  pivotal, collecting data to track changes in habitats and biodiversity over time. This scientific  endeavor provides valuable insights into the health of Hurawalhi’s marine life and serves as a  cornerstone for future conservation efforts. 

The data collected holds immense potential, serving as a catalyst for initiatives aimed at securing  protected status for Hurawalhi and its surrounding waters. Through collaboration with  government-led conservation programs and local stakeholders, the resort aspires to designate  Hurawalhi as a protected area, ensuring its continued vitality and resilience.

In the face of unprecedented challenges to ocean conservation, Hurawalhi remains resolute in its  mission to preserve and protect the marine marvels of the Maldives. Through collective  understanding and concerted action, the resort endeavors to safeguard these invaluable ecosystems  for generations to come. 

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