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The Ritz-Carlton appoints Lamya Sebti as marketing director for debut Maldives resort

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The Ritz-Carlton has appointed Lamya Sebti as Director of Marketing (pre-opening) for The Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands, the upcoming debut hotel in Maldives by Marriott International’s flagship luxury brand.

Lamya is a Moroccan native with over 15 years of extensive marketing experience, having led marketing and communications for world-renowned hospitality brands such as The Ritz-Carlton by Marriott International and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts by Accor.

No stranger to Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton, Lamya joined The Ritz-Carlton Maldives pre-opening team on August 1 from her most recent post as Director of Marketing and Communications at The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain.

She previously held the post of multi-property Director of Marketing and Communications at The Ritz-Carlton, Rabat Dar Es Salam and The Ritz-Carlton, Tamuda Bay, Morocco.

Prior to that, she served as the Group Director of Marketing for MMC Catering, Groupe Lenôtre in Kuwait.

Lamya initially jointed The Ritz-Carlton brand in 2013 as a Marketing and Communications Consultant for The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Jnan Amar Polo Club, and Jnan Amar Polo Academy in Morocco.

Before joining The Ritz-Carlton, she served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Palmeraie Hotels & Resorts in Morocco, and as the Director of Marketing for Mövenpick Tower & Suites in Qatar.

Lamya holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and a Certificate in Hospitality Marketing from KEDGE Business School in Marseille, France.

Working alongside Mafalda Tavares, the Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Lamya will focus on driving and developing the marketing and communications strategies to reinforce the positioning of The Ritz-Carlton brand in the Maldives.

Located in North Male Atoll, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands will be part of Rah Falhu Huraa lagoon development, a lively integrated Marina Village and Resort Destination with world-class luxury living and recreation facilities.

Stretching over four islands, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands will feature a collection of 100 island and overwater villas. The resort’s five food and beverage options, distributed throughout the four islands, will offer guests all-day dining along with Italian, Chinese and Japanese teppanyaki specialties. Uniquely designed facilities include an experiential Kids Club, Recreation Club and Spa.

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands is 50 minutes away from the Maldives main Velana International Airport by speedboat and 10 minutes by seaplane.

Part of Marriott International, the iconic Ritz-Carlton has 101 luxury hotels and resorts in 30 countries and territories with 27,650 rooms.

Marriott already runs five resorts in the Maldives: The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa, W Maldives, The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, and the JW Marriott Maldives Resort and Spa.

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Riaan Drever appointed Cluster General Manager of Pullman Maldives Maamutaa and Mercure Maldives Kooddoo

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Pullman Maldives Maamutaa and Mercure Maldives Kooddoo, idyllic island escapes nestled in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, has announced the appointment of Mr. Riaan Drever as their new Cluster General Manager, effective July 1, 2024.

Mr. Drever brings over two decades of global hospitality expertise to his role, including an impressive 11-year tenure within the Maldives itself. Driven by a deep passion for exceeding guest expectations, he has carved a successful career overseeing luxurious resorts and spearheading innovative hospitality projects.

A true visionary leader, Mr. Drever is renowned for his commitment to excellence and dedication to blending luxurious experiences with authentic Maldivian culture. “I’m excited to continue contributing to the Maldives’ hospitality sector alongside the local team and Accor,” shared Mr. Drever, “ensuring every guest achieves their dream vacation.”

As the Maldives continues to be a top travel destination, Mr. Drever’s leadership promises to further solidify its reputation for exceptional hospitality.

Island Hopping for Every Traveler

Perfectly situated in the southern Maldivian atolls, both Pullman and Mercure cater to diverse traveler preferences. Marine enthusiasts will be captivated by the chance to encounter up to 13 different shark species!

  • Pullman Maldives Maamutaa: This five-star, all-inclusive haven boasts 18 hectares of lush greenery surrounding a natural lake. From gourmet dining to romantic cocktails and thrilling water sports, Pullman offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.
  • Mercure Maldives Kooddoo: This adults-only retreat offers a more intimate experience. Nestled on Kooddoo Island, it’s just a 50-minute domestic flight from Malé. Unwind and explore the island’s hidden gems at your own pace, indulging in delectable local flavors.

Memories Made to Last

Under Mr. Drever’s visionary leadership, Pullman Maldives Maamutaa and Mercure Maldives Kooddoo promise an unforgettable Maldivian escape. Discover endless possibilities and create memories that will last a lifetime. Book your stay today and experience paradise!

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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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People

CROSSROADS Maldives appoints Ibrahim Farhad as Director of Retail

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CROSSROADS Maldives has announced the appointment of Ibrahim Farhad as the new Director of Retail at the Maldives’ premier integrated multi-island leisure destination. Farhad, known for his extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, brings a wealth of expertise in sustainable tourism management to his new role. He will oversee the retail operations at The Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives, enhancing the leisure, dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences for visitors from around the world.

Farhad’s impressive background includes significant contributions to policy formulation and stakeholder engagement during his tenure as the Senior Policy Director at the Maldives Ministry of Tourism. In this role, he was pivotal in developing and implementing policies that promoted sustainable tourism. He collaborated closely with government agencies and international organizations to ensure regulatory compliance, and his expertise in research, analysis, quality assurance, and capacity building has been instrumental in shaping the tourism sector in the Maldives.

In his new role at CROSSROADS Maldives, Farhad will oversee the strategic development of retail spaces, ensuring they offer a diverse and high-quality visitor experience. He will collaborate with local and international partners to bring unique products to The Marina, aligning with the destination’s commitment to sustainability and cultural authenticity.

“As a native Maldivian coupled with his extensive experience and deep-rooted community connections, Farhad is a great addition to our team at CROSSROADS Maldives. I am excited to see the fresh perspectives and innovative strategies he will introduce at The Marina, which will further strengthen CROSSROADS Maldives’ position as the premier integrated multi-island leisure destination,” said Alexander Traeger, General Manager of CROSSROADS Marina and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

CROSSROADS Maldives looks forward to the innovative and sustainable approaches Farhad will bring to the retail operations, enhancing the overall experience for all visitors.

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