Soneva, the luxury resorts operator with award-winning properties in the Maldives and Thailand, is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary with a 12 month campaign starting from this month.
To mark the occasion, renowned French filmmaker Bruno Aveillan has created a new series of films that focus on the driving force behind Soneva’s success: its people.
The films, available to view on Soneva’s youtube channel, take an in-depth look at some of the fascinating individuals who represent every facet of the Soneva brand, from the dedicated guardians of the islands’ natural beauty to the skilled creatives whose diverse talents shape the unforgettable Soneva experience.
An acclaimed filmmaker, photographer and artist, Aveillan is considered one of the most in-demand directors on the planet, working with world-renowned brands that include Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Chanel and Time Warner.
A recipient of more than 200 awards, including multiple Gold Lions at Cannes, Gold Clio Awards and Grand Prix Stratégie, Aveillan’s name has become a by-word for modern cinematographic excellence.
A staunch Soneva enthusiast since his first stay at Soneva Fushi, Aveillan was also behind the lens for Soneva’s 2018/19 Festival of Colour campaign, which brought to life the diverse array of unique guest experiences, visiting experts and activities taking place throughout the year, inspired by the vibrant palette of hues at Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva Kiri.
The director’s latest film series focuses on Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll, which was the first Soneva resort to open its doors back in 1995, setting a new standard in sustainable luxury and transforming the hospitality sector in the Maldives archipelago and beyond.
Featuring one four-minute long brand film and 10 shorter videos, the series was shot against the backdrop of Soneva Fushi’s idyllic natural beauty and is bathed in the island’s sublime golden sunlight.
“By directing this new opus for this enchanting place, I had the great opportunity to meet what perhaps constitutes the absolute treasure of this pure jewel on earth: its human beings,” says Aveillan.
“Day by day, these people make the dream happen, shaping the soul and creating the legend of Soneva. Happy birthday, dearest Soneva!”
The films star some of Soneva Fushi’s best-loved Hosts, many of whom have been with the resort since the very beginning.
Both Shantha, Soneva Fushi’s chocolate maestro, and talented head Pastry Chef, and Rocket, the island’s sustainable fisherman, joined the Soneva family back in 1995. Kudafari’s connection with the resort dates back even further – he was the caretaker of Kunfunadhoo who helped founders Sonu and Eva discover the island, and his pet rabbit was the ancestor of all the famous bunnies who now call Soneva Fushi their home.
Living proof that Soneva Fushi is one of the world’s most romantic destinations, husband and wife Hosts, Shameem and Aju, reveal the story of how they first met and fell in love on the island.
Skilled sommeliers Charles and Mariko explain the passions that drive them, while tailor Ali introduces his son, who now works for Soneva, too.
Viewers also get to meet Construction Director Ahmed and Resort Housekeeper Abdulla, and discover more about their key role in creating and maintaining the beautiful natural setting and spectacular architecture that are synonymous with the Soneva brand.
“2020 is a very special year for Soneva so we decided to create a film series to commemorate our landmark 25th anniversary and show our appreciation for our extended Soneva family,” says Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva.
“With a plethora of awards, including several Gold Cannes Lions, London International Awards and New York Clios, we were very lucky that acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Bruno Aveillan agreed to direct it. A Soneva enthusiast himself, Bruno has created several short films for us over the years, such as ‘The Boy with the Coconut’, and, more recently, our ‘Festival of Colours’ film series. We are delighted with the final cut and cannot wait to share the series with the world so that people can get to know some of the of the remarkable individuals who have played a role in our success.”
Soneva is a pioneering family of hospitality properties and products, offering holistic encounters in luxurious and inspiring environments – from world class resorts to outstanding natural locations. Combining luxury with a conscientious approach to sustainability and the environment, and proactively changing the nature of hospitality, it delivers intuitive service and meaningful experiences to the guests.
To view Soneva’s full 25th anniversary campaign including a curated collection of videos by Bruno Aveillan, and Soneva’s gallery of old photos since 1995, please visit: https://soneva.com/25-years-of-soneva
Abdulla Wisam: A journey of excellence and growth in the Maldivian hospitality industry
In the heart of the stunning Maldives, where luxury resorts and crystal-clear waters come together to create a paradise on Earth, there are individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that every guest’s experience is nothing short of exceptional. One such individual is Abdulla Wisam, whose remarkable journey in the hospitality industry is a testament to his dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to providing the best possible service to guests.
Abdulla Wisam’s journey in the hospitality industry began right after completing his schooling. In 2003, he embarked on his professional career by joining Dhoveli Beach Resort & Spa, where he gained his first taste of the world of hospitality. It was here that he discovered his passion for creating memorable guest experiences and building relationships with visitors from around the world.
After his initial foray into the industry, Wisam’s career path continued to evolve. His dedication and hard work caught the attention of industry leaders, leading him to take on roles of increasing responsibility. His time at Meeru Island Resort saw him as an Outlet Cashier and Night Auditor, roles that allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the operational aspects of a resort.
Wisam’s determination and eagerness to learn led him to the iconic Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where he started as a Recreation Attendant. Over time, he showcased his exceptional skills in guest relations and management, and he was promoted to the position of Front Office Supervisor. His journey with Four Seasons served as a stepping stone for what was to come next.
In 2014, Wisam joined the W Maldives, a resort known for its luxurious offerings and unparalleled guest experiences. Starting as a Welcome Team Leader, he quickly rose through the ranks due to his impeccable guest service skills and innate leadership abilities. His promotion to Guest Experience Manager was a testament to his ability to not only meet but exceed guest expectations. He was then transferred to The St. Regis Maldives as the Assistant Front Office Manager with the pre-opening team.
As his career trajectory continued its upward trajectory, Wisam took on the role of Front Office Manager at prestigious resorts such as Milaidhoo Island, Raffles Maldives, and The Standard Maldives. These roles allowed him to refine his management style, hone his problem-solving skills, and contribute to the overall success of each resort.
Wisam’s journey eventually led him to COMO Cocoa Island, a resort renowned for its unparalleled luxury and exquisite attention to detail. Joining as the Front Office Manager, he embraced the challenges and responsibilities that came with the position. His dedication, combined with his innate ability to create genuine connections with guests, led to his promotion as the Director of Rooms.
Wisam’s journey in the Maldivian hospitality industry is a remarkable tale of perseverance, growth, and a genuine passion for creating exceptional guest experiences. His diverse roles, spanning from recreation to guest experience management, have equipped him with a holistic understanding of the industry. His commitment to continuous improvement and dedication to delivering top-tier service have not only benefited the resorts he’s been a part of but have also contributed to elevating the reputation of Maldives as a premier luxury travel destination.
As Wisam continues to shape the guest experience landscape at COMO Cocoa Island, one can only imagine the heights he will reach and the impact he will make on the ever-evolving hospitality industry of the Maldives. His journey stands as an inspiration to aspiring hoteliers and a testament to the boundless opportunities that await those who are truly passionate about their craft.
A remarkable tale of wanderlust: Naito Takashi’s 103rd journey to the Maldives
The azure waters of the Maldives have long been a magnet for travelers seeking paradise on Earth. Among these wanderers, one name stands out – Naito Takashi, a Japanese tourist whose boundless enthusiasm for the Maldives has led him to visit this tropical haven a staggering 103 times. His unwavering love for this island nation, coupled with its mesmerizing beauty, has turned his visits into a remarkable testament to the allure of the Maldives.
For the past 24 years, Naito Takashi has visited Maldives between three to five times annually, embarking on a journey that has spanned more than two decades. His tale is one of dedication, passion, and a deep-rooted connection with the captivating landscapes that the Maldives offers. Each visit is not just a vacation; it’s a renewal of his profound relationship with the natural wonders that have captured his heart.
Naito Takashi’s 103rd arrival to the Maldives was met with a warm and heartfelt welcome from none other than the Tourism Minister himself, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom. This gesture symbolizes the deep appreciation the Maldivian people have for their loyal and devoted visitors. The ceremony held aboard the M/V Blue of the Fun Azul Fleet was a fitting tribute to a traveler who has become an honorary ambassador of the Maldives.
The M/V Blue, Fun Azul Fleet, holds special significance for Naito Takashi. As an avid diver, he has found his perfect companion in this cruise boat specialized in diving charters. The vessel offers schedules tailored to explore the best dive spots around the Maldives’ islands, making it an ideal partner for a diving enthusiast like Naito Takashi. The crystal-clear waters of the Maldives have witnessed countless underwater escapades orchestrated by this intrepid traveler.
The Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism has lauded Naito Takashi’s enduring passion for the nation’s beauty. Their tweet acknowledging his multiple visits serves as a testament to his unique and cherished relationship with the country. He has witnessed the ever-changing landscape of the Maldives, from its pristine beaches to its vibrant marine life, and has undoubtedly contributed to the thriving tourism industry.
Naito Takashi’s story also reflects the profound impact that travel can have on an individual’s life. His unwavering commitment to exploring the Maldives has not only enriched his own experiences but has also brought attention to the natural wonders of Maldives. It stands as a reminder that the act of traveling is not just about ticking off destinations from a bucket list; it’s about forming connections, fostering appreciation, and creating lasting memories.
As Naito Takashi continues his journey through the Maldives, his story resonates as an inspiration to fellow travelers and a tribute to the unyielding allure of this island paradise. His 103rd visit is not just a numerical milestone; it’s a celebration of an extraordinary bond between a traveler and a destination, a bond that has grown stronger with each passing year and promises to endure for years to come.
Amari Raaya Maldives opens its gates to paradise
In a grand celebration of luxury and nature’s wonders, Amari Raaya Maldives resort has officially opened its doors, welcoming its first guests to experience a slice of paradise in the Maldives. The exclusive event was attended by the resort’s management team, as well as Atul Chordia, Chairman of Panchshil Realty, the developer behind this magnificent project.
Nestled on a pristine natural island in the heart of the Maldives’ Raa Atoll, Amari Raaya promises to be a sanctuary for travelers seeking an unforgettable escape amidst the archipelago’s breathtaking beauty. From the moment guests arrived via Manta Air seaplane, they were greeted with warm hospitality and a taste of Maldivian culture, as they were presented with traditional cultural items and treated to mesmerizing Maldivian dances.
Atul Chordia, the visionary behind Panchshil Realty, and Yuthachai Charanachitta ONYX Hospitality Group’s CEO marked the official opening of the resort by cutting the ribbon, signifying the culmination of a labor of love and dedication to creating a unique haven for luxury travelers.
With 187 villas offering a variety of luxurious experiences, Amari Raaya ensures that every guest’s stay is truly exceptional. Visitors can choose from an array of accommodation options, including the Beach Villas, Beach Pool Villas, and interconnecting Family Beach Villas, perfect for creating cherished memories with loved ones.
For those seeking unparalleled luxury and seclusion, the Ocean Villas and Ocean Pool Villas provide panoramic views of the azure waters teeming with marine life. Sunset enthusiasts can revel in the breathtaking beauty of the Maldivian dusk from the privacy of their villas, opting for the Sunset Ocean Villas or Sunset Ocean Pool Villas, promising an unforgettable experience.
Amari Raaya Maldives goes beyond offering captivating villas; it has curated an extraordinary culinary journey for its guests. With eight distinct dining options, visitors can embark on a gastronomic adventure that caters to every palate. From the signature Amaya Food Gallery, serving famous street food and hawker delights, to the rooftop bar Ampers&nd, where guests can savor sunset snacks and cocktails, the resort promises to delight all epicureans. Poolside Italian favorites, freshly caught seafood infused with Maldivian and Asian flavors, and the fun and playful experience of enjoying mobile snacks and drinks served from a bus all add to the culinary magic of the resort.
In the evenings, guests can find a sense of community and immerse themselves in the local culture through live music, traditional Boduberu nights, and regular cultural events and festivities, making every moment at Amari Raaya Maldives an enriching and memorable one.
Amari Raaya Maldives is developed by Panchshil Realty, a name synonymous with excellence in luxury real estate in India. The resort is managed by Onyx Hospitality, renowned for its exceptional and personalized hospitality experiences.
With its official opening, Amari Raaya Maldives invites travelers from around the world to discover the allure of the Maldives in unparalleled comfort and style. As guests arrive at this oasis of luxury and natural splendor, they are sure to find themselves enchanted by the timeless beauty of the islands and immersed in an experience that will linger in their hearts forever.
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