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Stories from GM: Amilla Maldives’ journey amid Covid-19

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By Jason Kruse

Lots of people have been asking me about how we came up with some of the most robust Covid-prevention protocols in the Maldives. Well, I’d like to start by saying there was no playbook for any of this.

Covid-19 caught the world by surprise. We went into a temporary hiatus back in March, but a few guests decided to stay with us in our island quarantine bubble for the next few months. That’s the great thing about having a resort on a private island of its own – we can carefully monitor absolutely everyone who comes in and out, thereby massively reducing risk of transmission. The only people arriving are a controlled number of guests and staff.

Some of our team members went home when the borders reopened in July but myself and many other Islanders have remained on our island this entire time. You might have read about all the things we got up to during lockdown on the Amilla blog, but we decided we had two choices – to sit back and do nothing or to stand up and fight. So, we decided to come up with as many ingenious and inventive ways as possible of enhancing our island with the focus on improving our guest experience, and being more sustainable in our approach.

Everybody got stuck in, it was amazing to see so much spirit! We had spa therapists working in the gardens, butlers building a hen house, we all switched jobs to build and create new things in order to help put us in as strong a position as possible for when we reopened, from creating an organic garden and banana plantation to artwork made from driftwood and aquaponics projects! And during this whole time right up to today, we didn’t even visit any local islands, to avoid any chance of community spread.

When we made the decision to reopen, we carefully considered the government of the Maldives’ guidelines as well as the latest advice from the WHO. We decided we wanted to take our precautions to the next level so that we could assure our guests, our team and our owners that Amilla Maldives will remain Covid-free to the very best of our abilities. But we also needed to ensure we delivered guests that sense of escapism and luxury they so dearly needed (in 2020 more than ever). Not the easiest things to juggle.

We formed a Covid Taskforce with members of the management team who were left on the island, liaised with medical professionals and government officials, recruited a Safety Manager and appointed NSURE to provide hygiene training for all our team members and help establish best practices. Being a Maldivian-owned and managed island, we don’t have the resources of a glitzy global head office. So, we also looked to learn from other resorts and hotels which were developing some good practices and managing risks while reducing the impact on their guests’ experiences.

Armed with all this information and recommendations, we set forth to welcome our guests, offering complimentary PCR tests on arrival for everyone aged over 12 months old, including all team members returning to the island. That’s right, we decided the best form of Covid prevention is testing, testing, testing (at our own cost). This is before the Maldives started requiring all arrivals to the country to have taken a PCR test at home.

Our guests and staff would keep their masks the whole time on whenever they were in communal areas like our restaurants. We took away cutlery and had contactless menus too.

But after a short time, we realised that guests perceived our ‘compromised’ hospitality as compromised service. Obviously, we didn’t want that because everyone comes here for an unparalleled sense of getting away from it all.

We knew during the process we’d have to be adaptable to our guests’ needs (and the constant updates on safety and hygiene requirements), so when the government switched to asking all guests to present a PCR test on arrival in the Maldives we realised if we then also did a complimentary second test on arrival on our island, we could be confident they are very, very unlikely to have Covid-19. That means we could do away with masks once they got the all-clear, because our island is kind of its own quarantine bubble, with everyone coming in and out being tested. We added some extra precautions too, but not many that are visible to guests.

So now, guests arriving at Amilla Maldives are welcomed to their Villa or Residence, then our trained team member or Resort Doctor does a quick PCR test. The samples are packed in special transport containers and sent by seaplane to Male (our capital) to be processed.

While awaiting the test results, guests are free to use most the resort facilities with some basic social distancing protocols in place. Until we receive the results, our guests and the restaurant staff wear masks, they use just one of our restaurants and we give them a separate team of housekeepers and ‘katheebs’ (butlers) who live and work in a ‘quarantine bubble’, separate from the other team members.

That’s just to make sure that if in the worst-case scenario a guest tests positive, it can be contained quickly as they are in a separate ‘bubble’ to the majority of people on the island. We also use enhanced disinfecting protocols.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that since transmission is much worse in high population density areas, a lot of people are reassured by the fact Amilla is one of the country’s largest islands with 23.5 hectares of space (most of it is undeveloped beautiful jungle) and only a selected number of Villas and Residences (which have a great deal of space between them and extensive private indoor and outdoor facilities – in fact, they amongst the largest Villas in the Maldives). So, these factors also help a lot with risk reduction and reassurance.

The PCR results come back fast and as soon as our guests receive their negative results, they are no longer required to wear masks and can roam the entire island. (Bear in mind this is their second PCR test as the Maldives government requires everyone flying to the Maldives to present a negative PCR test on arrival, taken a maximum of 72 hours before flying).

This facilitates a rare situation whereby our guests can holiday with a sense of pre-Covid ‘normality’, while being reassured by the knowledge everyone on the island has been tested twice. Plus, the abundance of space and fresh air combined with our robust hygiene protocols help make Amilla Maldives even safer.

We are proud to have a thought out Covid-prevention protocol that does not compromise on our guest experience, and so far, remain extremely successful in keeping Covid-19 from coming ashore to Our Island Home, Amilla Fushi.

Note: Jason Kruse is the General Manager at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences.

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Discover ultimate privacy at Nika Maldives

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Imagine a place where the world fades away, leaving you with nothing but the gentle sound of waves and the soft touch of sand beneath your feet. A place where privacy is not just a promise, but a guarantee. Welcome to Nika island Resort & Spa, Maldives, the only resort that offers private beaches for an unparalleled experience of seclusion and tranquility.

At Nika, your very own private beach awaits. Picture yourself enjoying a personalised BBQ under the stars or designing your own destination dining experience, tailored to your every desire. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a family feast, the possibilities are endless.

John Miller, a recent guest at Nika, shares his unforgettable experience: “Staying at Nika’s private beach villa was the ultimate privacy I’ve ever experienced. Born in London, I’ve never known such seclusion in my entire life. The resort is lush with vegetation, and the fauna and flora are simply amazing. It’s a hidden gem in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The local stories and the museum displays are fascinating.”

But the allure of Nika doesn’t end there. The resort’s dive centre offers exceptional dive courses, taking you to spectacular dive sites that reveal the breathtaking underwater world. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, the wonders beneath the surface will leave you in awe.

After a day of exploration, indulge in the Lotus Spa at Nika. Offering a range of excellent massages, from traditional local techniques to various modern varieties, the spa promises to rejuvenate your body and soul.

Nika is a small resort, yet it is brimming with entertainment and activities. From water sports to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone. It’s a sanctuary where you can ground yourself, reconnect with nature, and discover a level of privacy that is truly extraordinary.

Escape to Nika and hide away at your secret beach. Here, the ultimate privacy and relaxation await.

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Unwind and Explore: Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa Invites Families to a Rejuvenating Summer Escape

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Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa, an all-pool villa haven nestled amidst the breathtaking natural seascapes of the Indian Ocean, invites families to embrace the joy of relaxation and the spirit of adventure this summer with a slew of experiences designed to inspire playful discoveries and foster tranquil reconnections with the mind and body.

Fun for All Ages

Budding adventurers and creative little spirits alike can discover new adventures at Krakengiri Kids’ Club, one of the largest kids’ clubs in the Maldives. Led by a multilingual team of certified childcare professionals, young guests can engage in an exciting array of daily activities that combine learning and play.

Upstairs, Re:Fuel, a rooftop lounge for teens, hosts engaging milkshake-making workshops and fun family movie nights under the starry Maldivian sky.

In June, the resort offers a Holiday Camp for teens, who can personalize their wellness experiences as follows:

  • Pick up new sports such as tennis, pickleball, and badminton on the multi-purpose court with the hotel’s resident Sports Animator
  • Work out with a personal trainer at the fitness center
  • Try aerial yoga for beginners, yoga for better sleep, breathwork, and meditation with the resident yoga practitioner
  • Enjoy a restorative massage in the overwater treatment villas of Amingiri Spa.

The experience is available at USD 150++ per person for a combination of any two 30-minute sessions.

Restful Retreats

Amingiri Spa introduces Water Connect, a private in-villa pool experience guided by a certified water shiatsu specialist. The gentle movements and targeted massage techniques melt away tension and create a deeply relaxing sensation akin to being cocooned in the womb. The serene escape is available between 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at USD 150++ for 30 minutes.

Starting in June, guests can indulge in a brand-new Sleep Wellness menu designed to ease the mind and body into a state of deep and rejuvenating slumber. Guests can choose to unwind with a calming signature massage on the spa’s Skye Deck, bask in the timeless glow of an evening hammam ritual in the modern hammam room, or embrace tranquility with an in-villa session incorporating guided meditation, yoga, and breathwork.

Exclusive Offer

Guests who stay a minimum of four nights enjoy the added value of a half board meal plan and complimentary shared roundtrip speedboat transfers with Maldivian Bliss. This offer is available for stays through to December 20, 2024.

From May through to September 30, 2024, children stay and dine free: parents staying with two young children ages 11 years and below in an Overwater Suite with Pool and any of the Two-Bedroom Beach and Overwater Villas will also enjoy the half board meal plan and complimentary shared roundtrip speedboat transfers when booking Maldivian Bliss. Hilton Honors members enjoy full points for their stay. Terms and conditions apply.

Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa is part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 22 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly on the hotel’s website will have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors app.

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Maldives Madridistas: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands Nets Exclusive Football Camp Partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation

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Younger guests at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands can embrace new patterns of play this summer at an exclusive, Maldives-first Real Madrid Foundation football camp. From 4 July – 12 August, a youth coach will lead a comprehensive Real Madrid Foundation programme of daily soccer sessions for ages 5-9yrs, 10-14yrs, and 15-17yrs. The coach will be joined by an elite player ambassador from UEFA’s all-time no. 1 ranked football club toward the end of the programme.

This summer’s inaugural Patina Maldives x Real Madrid CF Foundation football camp is the first edition in an ongoing partnership, with additional future football camp dates to be confirmed. Led by a licensed Real Madrid Foundation coach, sessions will focus on developing each participant both individually and as part of the group, in order to ‘Play The Real Way’ – the training methodology that combines play, as well as sports values.

Sessions will take place on a new, purpose-built 6 a side astroturf pitch located near the Fari Marina Village at Patina Maldives.

All participants will receive an official camp football camp shirt, shorts, socks, drawstring bag, sweatbands, and cap; while those completing a minimum of four days’ coaching will also be presented with a Real Madrid Foundation participation certificate.

Real Madrid Foundation football clinics at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands are priced at USD195++ per child per session for guests of the resort. Bookings are also open to guests from neighbouring resorts, from USD250++ per child per session.

Rates at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands start from USD2,054 (approx. GBP1,620) per night based on two adults sharing a One Bedroom Pool Villa including daily breakfast, complimentary Guest Benefits, tax, and service. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information and reservations, please visit https://patinahotels.com/maldives or contact reservations.maldives@patinahotels.com. For more information on Pathways, please see here.

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