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Banyan Tree marks Earth Day with 25th anniversary commemorative book launch

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Banyan Tree Holdings is celebrating Earth Day 2020 with the launch of a commemorative book traversing the emotional architecture underpinning the world-leading independent, multi-branded hospitality group’s 25-year sustainability journey.

Its story is one of transformation: a promise that became a commitment, turning an idea into an ideal and impacting many lives made better by the organisation’s core philosophy: Embracing the Environment, Empowering People.

Named after one of the most venerated trees in Asia, banyan trees can live for centuries, standing firmly, resilient against time and tide, a symbol of constancy in an ever-changing world. Its vast canopy provides shelter for weary travellers whilst its roots are deeply entrenched in its foundation, holding true to meaningful heritage with the memories of time gone by.

The book, titled Rooted in Sustainability, highlights not only the journey of Banyan Tree as a company, but the realisation of a concept, which at first is unbeknown to its founders, Executive Chairman Ho Kwon Ping, Senior Vice President Claire Chiang and Senior Vice President Ho Kwon Cjan. Their single-minded ideal became intertwined with their vision for the brand, through an organic process of developing their own values and beliefs: tourism, as a powerful force for driving positive change in this world.

This vision led Banyan Tree’s founders to remediate an abandoned toxic tin mine in Thailand, turning it into Asia’s first integrated resort – Laguna Phuket with a thriving community and home to their flagship property, Banyan Tree Phuket.

Founded in 1994 on the core concept of sustainability, Banyan Tree Holdings seeks to create long-term value for all stakeholders and destinations across its network of properties, products and brands, through a purpose-driven mission. It sowed the seeds for the brand to flourish in new and exciting locations globally. Innovative design and thoughtful construction processes are in harmony with nature and infused with local culture for a deep sense of place, wherever it is planted.

As an industry leader championing sustainability, Banyan Tree unveils through the book some of the humble faces that make up the group’s family and showcases heartwarming accounts on cultural heritage and biodiversity protection, women empowerment and uplifting artisans’ livelihoods.

During the period of growth, it was the company’s key stakeholders – its associate workforce – who embrace stewardship of the core values that now permeate throughout the organisation. As a responsible business, Banyan Tree has perpetuated a platform for possibilities – from advancing talent development and management excellence through its Banyan Tree Management Academy, to empowering local capacity, creating programmes and opening facilities that provide potential pathways out of poverty for disadvantaged sectors of society.

Most journeys that lead to great rewards come fraught with hardship. Banyan Tree details some of its toughest challenges encountered along its path. Walking the talk, its leaders with the dedicated stakeholders including its 11,000 associates across 24 countries have stood side by side, united by diversity, and resilient against the flux of time.

Recognised for its commitment to environmental protection and community development through its Banyan Tree Global Foundation, the group’s efforts is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Banyan Tree continues to drive what we consider as emotional responses and connections; we strive to deliver exceptional experiences anchored by strong narratives which touch the hearts. One effort at a time, at every destination, with every community by walking the talk in stewarding responsible development is the central message,” Claire Chiang, co-founder and SVP of Banyan Tree Holdings and Chairperson of Banyan Tree Global Foundation, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“This book documents part of a wondrous 25-year journey that I think all Banyan Tree associates and stakeholders should be proud of. I thank each and every one of them.”

Looking ahead, Banyan Tree addresses the growing need for resilient and sustainable communities, in the face of unprecedented global change caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In line with its service culture of “I Am With You”, the company emphasises the importance of empathy and strengthening partnerships. It is about working together to achieve greater impact and creating value towards global goals, in good and bad times – especially amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Through this biography, Rooted in Sustainability, Banyan Tree provides a sustainability roadmap, which other businesses wishing to expand their scope of responsibility may consider adopting. No journey will be the same, but together we can make a difference – doing well, whilst continually doing greater good for the planet, the people and the business.

Banyan Tree operates three resorts in Maldives: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru in North Male Atoll, and Angsana Velavaru in Dhaalu atoll.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru opened its door in 1995 and is the first international chain resort in the Maldives. With just 48 pool villas dotting around the island, privacy and relaxation can easily be attained. The resort has a restaurant, bar, PADI Gold Palm five-star resort dive centre and a Banyan Tree Spa. It is also home to the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, the first of its kind to be funded and built on a private resort, where guests can learn about marine conservation and partake in the many sustainability activities on offer including coral planting, reef cleaning and daily stingray feeding sessions.

Angsana Ihuru is surrounded by one of the most vibrant and well preserved coral house reefs in the Maldives. The resort has 45 villas, a restaurant and a bar, a PADI Gold Palm five-star resort dive centre and an Angsana Spa.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru are located in North Male Atoll, just 25 minutes away by speedboat from the airport. The two resorts are just five minutes by boat away from each other.

Velavaru or ‘Turtle Island’ is located in the pristine Dhaalu atoll, and accessible by a 40-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport. This 113-villa resort offers 79 island villas and 34 InOcean Villas, revealing spectacular views and direct access to the Indian Ocean.

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Bandos Maldives Easter Eggstravaganza: A Celebration of Fun and Adventure

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Bandos Maldives is thrilled to announce the Easter Eggstravaganza, set to take place on March 30th, 2024. This  vibrant celebration promises an unforgettable Easter experience for guests of all ages. The event will feature an  array of exciting activities designed to bring joy and excitement to the holiday festivities. 

Guests are invited to step right up to the Kokko Club Playground and immerse themselves in a world of fun at our  Mini Carnival. Additionally, participants can test their luck and skill at the Blackout Bingo Bonanza, where dabbing  their way to victory awaits. 

For those with a creative spirit, our Easter Art painting session offers the perfect opportunity to unleash their artistic talents and paint their way into spring. Meanwhile, adventure seekers can embark on a thrilling Bunny Trail  Adventure, joining the epic Bunny Hunt Challenge to locate all the hidden bunnies lurking around the Kokko Club. 

At Bandos Maldives, we are committed to providing our guests with extraordinary experiences, and the Bandos  Easter Eggstravaganza is no exception. This Easter, make memories that last a lifetime at Bandos Maldives. Don’t  miss out on the excitement! 

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Baros Maldives: The Perfect Setting for a Joyful Easter in the Maldives

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Baros is a treasure nestled in the Indian Ocean, just waiting to be discovered. This Easter, uncover the myriad of delights on offer for guests celebrating the holiday on our pristine island shores. 

From sunrise dolphin cruises to underwater marvels, serene spa journeys and delicious culinary sensations, every moment on Baros is a magical surprise. From 29th March to 4th April 2024, the Baros team has curated a special program of Easter celebration. Choose from a wide range of specially crafted experiences and curate your very own Easter escape of a lifetime. 

Baros delights the senses. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from snorkelling, diving and exciting excursions to unparalleled destination dining experiences and sensational spa moments. 

Guests are invited to harvest fresh and exotic ingredients from Baros’s Chef’s Garden for a unique meal preparation under the expert guidance of our award-winning chefs. Alternatively, they can immerse themselves in the allure of a specially curated menu, set by the seashore under a tapestry of stars. Every dish is a culinary masterpiece, creating unforgettable moments. 

For adventure on the high seas, guests can spend the day exploring five traditional fishing methods across multiple stunning locations on a fishing extravaganza. Or set sail on Baros’s luxury yacht, Serenity for a sunrise frolic with playful dolphins. 

At Baros, guests are welcomed to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Maldivian culture as local traditions come alive. Delve into the rich history and customs of our island sanctuary as you tantalise your senses with local delicacies, participate in interactive experiences and listen to captivating narratives from a local historian. 

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The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands Announces 2024 Masters of Crafts Program With Stellar Line-Up of Guest Experiences

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The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is set to  welcome a shining season of global talent in its signature Masters of Crafts program for the second year  running. Working with some of the world’s most talented masters of food and drink, wellness, adventure  and environmental innovation, the resort’s curation of considered guest experiences has transformative  travel at its heart. From epicurean journeys with Michelin Star chefs and award-winning bartenders, retreats  guided by leading names in wellness, to adventure and learning with surf icons and environmental thought  leaders, 2024 guarantees extraordinary memories of a lifetime.  

The series, which last year included two Michelin Star British chef Tom Sellers with decorated bartenders  from Singapore’s Vijay Mudaliar of Native, to Malaysia’s Jungle Bird and celebrity crystal healer Emma  Knowles, will run throughout 2024 bringing a star-studded choice of dates to the luxury travel agenda. 

The resort’s signature Behind the Bar series is set to impress in 2024. Opening on the 8th March and running  through to the 6th December, this exclusive program promises an exquisite fusion of international mixology  talent, sustainability-focused concepts, and a celebration of local ingredients. Guests will have access to  some of the world’s most decorated drinksmiths with a line-up including; Stockholm’s Hampus Thunholm  from Röda Huset, 8th-13th March, Paul Aguilar & Maros Dzurus from HIMKOK, 5th-6th April, Republic from Singapore, 24th – 25th July, Bangkok’s Matteo Cadeddu from Opium, 9th-10th August, New York’s  Harrison Ginsberg from Overstory, 18th-19th September, Berlin’s Damien Guichard from Wax On, 22nd, 23rd November and Paris’ Hyacinthe Lescoet from The Cambridge Public House, 5th-6th December.

This Easter, from 27th March – 2nd April, New York based meditation practitioner and contemplative  guide Kirat Randhawa, will inspire guests to approach life through a different lens. Randhawa will share  practical tools for self-care on a journey of discovery where transformative sessions and empowering  wellness practices will include; cultivating stillness, igniting and welcoming reflection, inviting expansion,  practicing reinforcement and deepening integration.  

From 23rd-27th May an immersive wellness retreat brings together global gurus of practice with The  Essence of Balance – Elemental Harmony. A week-long program will follow a journey driven by the  spiritual power of the number five and the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and spirit. Guiding a cosmic  dance are five practitioners each custodians of an elemental force.  

California-based international yoga teacher Josh Kramer brings the grounding element of earth with his  celebrated practice blending Iyengar and vinyasa flow. Movement instructor and founder of the Jacy Method, Jacy Cunningham introduces his powerful method of physical movement representing the  adaptability of water, while sound healer and Reiki master Nicole Rutsch will harness the intellect of air  and the power of nature’s vibrations. New York’s Jackie Stewart will channel transcendence of spirit with guided meditation, while guests will be nourished by Nicole Berrie, founder of cult wellness guide,  Bonberi, with a plant-based menu of her most celebrated dishes representing the transformative element of  fire.  

In a Summer of Renewal, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is committed to ensuring that all guests  ‘Leave Better’. From 19th-23rd July, celebrity healer and founder of the sound healing school The Copper  Vessel, Susy Markoe Schieffelin, will take residency with a soothing practice guided by the moon. Under  Maldivian skies guests will bathe in Susy’s signature sound baths as enjoyed by millions worldwide, with her clients including Google, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and solo artist LeAnn Rimes. From 15th-20th August the Summer transformation continues with movement guidance from celebrated practitioner and  founder of Project Woman, Abi Adams. During two programs guests will embark on an emotional journey and exploration of hormonal balance with tools of meridian dance, rhythm meditation, music, yoga and  creative writing.  

A first for the resort, 2024 sees the introduction of two retreats partnering with championship surf heroes Nic von Rupp and Victor Bernardo. During the Maldives’ optimum surf season of June and July, the exhilarating escapes led by von Rupp and Bernardo will allow guests to ride and master the four most  popular waves in the North Malé Atoll comprising Chicken, Cokes Surf Break, Honkeys and Jailbreak.  

With his trademark touch of Portuguese flair and German strength, Nic Von Rupp is one of the top ‘big  wave’ surfers in the world. Two-time finalist of ‘World Surf League Big Wave Performance of the Year’,  von Rupp spends his time in pursuit of the world’s largest swells and will take the helm at The Ritz-Carlton  Maldives, Fari Islands from 4th-13th June. Brazilian big wave surfer Victor Bernardo was born on a board,  surfing from the age of four and with global accolades under his belt, he is one to watch on the free surfer  circuit. Bernardo will lead a guest retreat from 1st-7th July

Growing its stable of exceptional gastronomic experiences, 2024 will see pop-up residencies with an  impressive circle of culinary friends. From 27th July-3rdAugust, two Michelin Star and one Michelin Green  Star, Chef Bruno Verjus brings a taste of his Paris restaurant Table by Bruno Verjus to the Fari Islands.  For two nights only, an exquisite menu from the home of the famed ‘tarte au chocolat avec caviar’ will be  created and served under the stars at the resort’s Beach Shack. Guests will also have the opportunity to join  Verjus in an exclusive masterclass, and for the winning bidders of the Marriott Bonvoy Moments’ package, the chance to embark on a big game fishing excursion.  

From 10th-12th August Chef Pam Soontornyanakij, newly crowned Asia’s Best Female Chef 2024, will  bring her celebrated mastery from Bangkok’s Potong. The first and youngest female chef to receive both a  Michelin Star and ‘Opening of the Year’ award from the Michelin guide in the same year will present a  bespoke menu of her progressive Thai-Chinese cuisine in an exclusive two-night residency at Summer  Pavilion.

Chef Rolf Fliegaulkf, founder and executive chef of Switzerland’s Ecco will take over the resort’s Beach  Shack for two nights from 12th-14th November. The two Michelin Star and 18 Gault Millau points’  Fliegaulkf will unveil a creative menu bursting with exquisite flavour pairings demonstrating his signature  approach of ‘purist aroma cuisine’. 

The resort’s Visiting Heroes for 2024 bring inspired interactions with conservationists and environmental  thought leaders. From 8th-18th April legendary ocean explorer, film maker and conservationist Jean-Michel  Cousteau will be returning to the resort in continuation of the Ambassadors of the Environment program  and to provide a truly unique residency. Cousteau will host several presentations focused on marine biology,  lead a number of dives with guests including coral regeneration, and chair a thought-provoking panel  discussion alongside marine biologists and representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change,  Environment, and Energy. An exclusive Marriott Bonvoy Moments’ experience will be available to two  lucky guests via bid application, closing on the 23rd March. 

Joining the Visiting Heroes series, climate activist and Forbes 30 under 30 for social impact, Saad  Amer will play a pivotal role in the development of the resort’s sustainability agenda this year. A UN  consultant and named ‘most influential voice in ESG’ by WWD, Amer will be launching new sustainability  initiatives while undertaking educational programming with local islands and schools as part of the resort’s Community Footprints program. Dates for guest presentations and exclusive panel sessions will be announced soon. 

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