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Soneva celebrates festive traditions this holiday season



This festive season, Soneva brings back all its festive traditions to its resorts in the Maldives.

Guests can expect eggnog on a sandbank, visits from Santa and his elves for children, visiting practitioners, sporting greats, private stargazing sessions with award-winning astronomer and science communicator Lars Christiansen, and so much more throughout December.

Ring in the New Year with Soneva’s iconic Journey, each one celebrating 25 years of Soneva. Wind your way along torch-lit paths, past performers and food stations, and a countdown to 2021 with fireworks and DJs spinning tracks into the early hours of the morning.

Soneva Fushi

Younger guests can get into the festive spirit with a range of Christmas-themed activities and events in The Den, from Christmas carols, a candy cane hunt, making paper stockings, Christmas tree decorating, and Christmas storytelling with the Barefoot Bookseller.

The second season of Soneva’s Junior Master Chef lets aspiring chefs show off their culinary skills before a panel of judges with prizes to be won.

Later in December, Lana Murphy and Jonathan Näslund, who were crowned Sweden’s dance champions 10 times, are offering dance lessons to children.

Pool parties for teenagers, themed late-night Den parties, and various arts and crafts sessions await Soneva’s young guests. Quiz Nights and Carnival Games, as well as a Pirate Treasure Hunt are ideal for bringing the family together.

The former Manchester United and Arsenal player, Mikael Silvestre, will be hosting the famous Soneva football camp for children and teens from December 14 to 26.

Soneva Fushi’s new Conscious Experiences take guests on exploratory excursions to the resort’s Waste to Wealth centre, across the Indian Ocean to learn how to fish sustainably or along island paths to learn how to track and spot the local flora and fauna that call Kunfunadhoo home.

Start days in the Maldives with Meditation at Turtle Beach before a nutritious breakfast, or ‘floating breakfast’ in the privacy and comfort of your villa. Water sports, snorkelling, diving and eco-friendly surfing mean there is something for everyone who loves the ocean.

Tennis legend Jonas Bjorkman returns once again to offer exclusive coaching from December 19 to 26.

When the sun sets guests can explore the night skies through the lens of the state-of-the-art telescope with Lars Christiansen, the award-winning astronomer.

When it comes to dining, the festive season always has so much to offer, from the Christmas Eve Gala dinner, to Biodynamic Wine Tastings and pop-up Martini Bars.

The celebrations reach their peak with the 2020 Slowlife Journey on New Year’s Eve. Beginning at Bar(a)bara, and winding your way along lantern-lit paths to dine on a myriad of tantalising dishes and drinks, while acrobats, singers, musicians and performers enchant and wow. The night culminates with the countdown to 2021, fireworks and dancing into the early hours of the morning.

View the Soneva Fushi’s festive programme here. Watch 2019’s New Year’s Journey video here.

Soneva Jani

Christmas and New Year’s festivities at Soneva Jani centre around fine dining, over the lagoon, in the lagoon, and on the white sandy shores.

Start mornings with a Sunrise Dolphin Cruise and Champagne Breakfast, or indulge in the bountiful selections at Down to Earth’s buffet breakfast. Choose from Wine Lunches, Live Station Lunches in The Gathering, succulent crustaceans at the Crab Shack, or dining in the midst of the Organic Gardens.

The Christmas Eve Live Station Dinner on the sands of North Beach add tropical flair to this festive meal of grills, international favourites, Asian and traditional Maldivian dishes, while a live band followed by a DJ set the mood.

Chef Kat’s Degustation Menu will take diners on a sensory discovery of Thailand’s flavours and aromas.

When it comes to drinks, expect Sake Tastings with Sushi and Sashimi, Champagne Tasting in the Lagoon, and Sunset Cocktails and Champagne at the beach by the Crab Shack. Keeping to tradition, the New Year’s Eve Journey and countdown to 2021 on South Beach is the icing on the culinary cake.

Travel through the cosmos with private stargazing experiences with the resort’s resident astronomer, or hone your serve and smash with one-to-one tennis lessons with Coach Millis Heimklo. Hit the ‘gym’ surrounded by tall screw pines when you take on the Jungle Gym’s obstacles, think balancing beams, monkey bars, rope climbs and rings.

For the children, picnics and barbecues, ‘Beach Olympics’, Secret Santa and a special Christmas disco await. Island discoveries, arts and crafts, cupcake decoration and more from the Den team are available to keep them entertained, learning and curious.

In the realm of wellness, Soneva Jani’s spa and resident experts have much to offer.

Bill Curry, an expert in Cranial Sacral Therapy, Deep Tissue Fusion massage and Reiki, will be in residence at the resort. He is devoted to integrating breath work and relaxation from his meditation studies into all of his massage techniques and healing modalities.

Pawan, Soneva’s yoga and meditation guru, will be holding Guided Meditation for Inner Silence, Beginner’s Yoga, Pranayama and more throughout the festive calendar.

View Soneva Jani’s festive programme here. Watch 2019’s New Year’s Journey video here.

Soneva currently runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, and luxury yacht, Soneva in Aqua. The world-leading luxury resort operator also operates Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand.

Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 63 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one- to nine-bedrooms, hidden among dense foliage and located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Watch classic movies at the resort’s outdoor Cinema Paradiso. Choose from nine different dining options, five hundred wines and 11 types of pillow. Unwind at the on-site Six Senses Spa. Nature’s resources are transformed into art at the Glass Studio, while The Den gives children the freedom to live their island dream. Glorious days are spent star-gazing at the Observatory, sampling organic delicacies and exploring the coral reef.

Inspired by a word that means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on a collection of five islands, and a beautiful, 5.6km lagoon.

The resort currently comprises 24 overwater villas and three island villas, with additional villas to be built in Chapter 2. Each Water Villa opens to its own stretch of sparkling lagoon and is complete with a private pool and a retractable roof to stargaze from the master bedroom, while many villas also have slides from the top deck into the water below.

Explore the glimmering galaxies from the resort’s state-of-the-art observatory or spend time indulging in a range of activities including water sports, scuba diving, wellness therapies, dolphin cruises and bicycling along the island’s many trails.


Prime Surf Season in Maldives: Niyama Welcomes Back Surf Pro Brad Gerlach and Surf Photographer Junior Gracia



At Niyama Private Islands Maldives, surfing is a way of life. And with peak surf season fast approaching, two renowned surfies – Wave-Ki founder and instructor Brad Gerlach and whiz-behind-the-lens Junior Garcia – are set to take up residence.

Niyama Private Islands Maldives is the ultimate surf destination. Guests can jet in with their boards or get fully outfitted at the Rip Curl boutique, set up camp in one the specially outfitted surf villas, then hit the waves – including Vodi, a powerful and sometimes hollow wave that breaks right on shore. Afterwards, chill time awaits at the Surf Shack with rum and reggae, or at Drift Spa with a recovery back massage and sunburn-soothing aloe vera wrap.

In residence 10 March – 20 April to offer his revolutionary method of coaching is Brad Gerlach, the world’s #2 in 1991 after dominating the leader board for the majority of the year. He is the founder of Wave-Ki, a land-based method to perfect surf skills favoured by pros like Parker Coffin, with a martial art-like focus on slow, precise movements which create kinaesthetic motor memory for improved surfing once in the water.

There to capture guests mid-wave will be photographer Junior Garcia, at the resort 8 March 8 – September 30. Originally from Brazil, and now based in Bali, Junior has spent his life chasing the ultimate wave and the ultimate shot.

“The return of Brad and Junior to Niyama is epically exciting,” says Nathan Kemp, Surf Development Director at the resort. “Their unrivalled talents, combined with the perfect surf conditions and absolutely incomparable backdrop that is the Maldives, guarantees an unforgettable experience for all who will be staying with us during this time”.

While surfing in the Maldives can be enjoyed year-round, peak season runs from March to November. Brad can be booked for private or family coaching, first on land (USD 249) then in the water (USD 447). There will also be regular group land sessions (USD 74). Packages include a year’s access to Wave-Ki online, with video lessons, live sessions and Q&As, plus the option of one-on-one virtual coaching. Sessions with Junior begin at USD 249 per hour, or USD 489 for a week.

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Bunny hop to an Easter playground at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton



Easter is the calm before the storm, the perfect time to jet off for a memorable family holiday before the summer rush floods in. Balmy, warm beaches, long spells of sunshine, colourful reef and glimmering lagoons must be on the top of your agendas for this Easter especially with the incredible line up of festivities and events lined up at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Easter here is a very special holiday filled with energy and enthusiasm for adventure-making for the toddlers, teenagers, adults, or grandparents (or all of them). The secret ingredient to it all is embedded in the brand ethos itself.

Kid-Friendly, Teen Approved, Roxity Kids Club ™ & Teen Spirit ® Club for This Easter

Who says grown-ups get to have all the fun? Kids need a place where they can have an adventure that’s exclusively theirs. Hard Rock Hotel Maldives signature, kid-friendly hangouts are part of an adult-free zone, each with its line up of exciting Easter activities. Start your day with the Bunny Dance Fitness session at the Pool Deck, where you can groove to the rhythm and get energized for the day ahead. As the sun sets, join the Easter Sundown Ritual, a harmonious celebration of the holiday spirit against the perfect tropical sunset backdrop.

Indulge in a Mexican dinner at The Elephant and The Butterfly, accompanied by live band performances that will set the stage on fire. The family favourite Easter Pool Party, is a must try on the list where you can make a splash and enjoy the beats of the Bunny DJ I-MJAN. For the little ones, there is plenty of fun with Roxity Mini Fun Fair, Easter Bunny Cookie Making, and the Roxity Easter Egg Hunting. For the ultimate thrill-seekers, take on the Easter Limbo Challenge at the Pool Deck or try your hand at the Bunny Silk Climbing Aerial Class at The Stage. With live music, delicious dining experiences, and exciting activities for all ages, Easter at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives promises to be an unforgettable melody of fun and excitement.

Koimala & Maalimi’s Junior Beach Club and Camp’s SAiiSational Easter Line-Up

Celebrate Easter with a touch of heartfelt charm at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton. Start your day with a snorkeling house reef tour, where you can explore the vibrant underwater world of the Maldives. Join Saii Lagoon for Aqua Zumba and Water Polo at the Beach Club Pool, perfect for guests of all ages to enjoy some fun in the sun. Unwind with a cocktail-making competition and pool volleyball, promising exciting prizes for those who participate. For aspiring chefs, the SAii Master Chef Competition sets the perfect stage, where they can showcase their culinary skills and win fantastic rewards.

As the day winds down, indulge in the Easter Dinner Buffet at Tera and Mray, offering a delightful dining experience with live music. With its relaxed atmosphere and genuine hospitality, Easter at SAii Lagoon Maldives promises to be a truly SAiiSational experience, where every moment is a chance to reach out to the blue and embrace the beauty of the island.

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Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting



The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance. 

The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).

In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).

Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and  immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.

A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.

Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):

  1. Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
  2. Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
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