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Soneva Jani collaborates with renowned Swedish Chef Mathias Dahlgren to open new restaurant



With a name inspired by its breath-taking overwater location in Soneva Jani’s lagoon, Overseas by Mathias Dahlgren is the brainchild of the acclaimed Swedish chef and restaurateur.

After visiting Soneva Jani, Mathias fell in love with the location and wanted to celebrate the seafood found in the Indian Ocean and the produce grown in the resort’s organic gardens.

Located by The Gathering, the overwater al fresco restaurant and kitchen has a laid-back atmosphere with uninterrupted views towards the horizon is open for lunch and dinner.

The menu focuses on pescatarian, vegetarian and plant-based dishes, serving a selection of single plates, sharing plates and signature mains for lunch and dinner. The fish and seafood featured on the menu are sustainably caught in local waters, while the organic vegetables, herbs and fruit are freshly picked from Soneva Jani’s own organic gardens.

The menu is split mostly between seafood and vegetarian dishes, while there will be fully plant-based options.

A pre-set menu of Chef’s Choices is the highlight, letting diners try a full range of dishes which includes single plates, sharing plates, signature dishes, an open selection for the main dish and dessert. With the pre-set menu there is a possibility that items from the single dish menu can be added to the meal.

In the Chef’s Choice Dinner set menu expect snack plates like Soy Roasted Macadamia Nuts (plant-based), and Chickpea Crisp and Oyster Leaf Emulation (plant-based). Sharing plates such as Asian Mango and Buffalo Mozzarella with Thai Basil, Olive Oil and Black Pepper (vegetarian), or Sashimi of Raw Smoked Tuna, Soy Mayonnaise, Ginger, Black Radish.

Signature dishes include Charcoal Grilled Fish and Salad Wrap served like Korean Bo Ssam or Black Fermented Bean Stew, Kimchi Pickled Greens, Black Pepper Sauce (vegetarian).

The main course choices include Fried Shrimp with Spicy Glass Noodle Salad and Peanuts and the Hot and Sour Tofu with Grilled Bok Choy (plant-based).

Desserts like the plant-based Avocado, Passion Fruit, Physalis, Kaffir Lime, Vanilla and Mint, or the vegetarian Cherry Sorbet, Tonka Bean, Coconut Ice Cream and Dulce De Leche round off the meal.

There is also a Chef’s Choice lunch menu which consists of single plates, signature dishes, and dessert.

Mathias has been interested in food for as long as he can remember, having learned the connection between food, family, and the land at an early age. He trained as a chef in his hometown of Umeå and has an extensive history of running successful restaurants in Stockholm, including the legendary Bon Lloc, which he ran between 1996 and 2005 and was awarded one Michelin star.

Renowned for his culinary skills and creativity, Mathias’s food philosophy is based on what he calls “the natural cuisine”. In his own words, this builds on “a Swedish identity on a regional platform, creating cuisine that is open for local as well as global ingredients and influences. A cuisine that celebrates the fresh produce of each season.”

Through the years, Mathias has received accolades from both the food industry and international press.

Today, he is still the only Swedish chef to have been awarded the internationally acclaimed “Bocuse d’Or” (at the age of 27), which is the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world. He is also the sole chef in Sweden to have been named “Chef of Chefs” eight times by Sweden’s top gastronomic colleagues.

Mathias was president of the Swedish Bocuse D’Or Academy for many years and a former professor at University of Umeå.

He is also the author of seven cookbooks.

In 2007, he opened the eponymous Mathias Dahlgren restaurant at the Grand Hôtel, consisting of two restaurant concepts, Matbaren (“the food bar”) for more casual lunches and dinners in a contemporary setting, and Matsalen (“the dining room”) for more elegant evening dining.

In 2008, Matsalen received its first Michelin star, becoming a two-star Michelin restaurant in 2009, at which time Matbaren received one Michelin star.

In 2014, Mathias added a third, innovative concept of Matbordet, Swedish for “the dining table” within Matsalen, where guests ate right in the middle of cooking process.

At the end of 2016, Mathias chose to close Matsalen and Matbordet at the top of their game. The premises underwent an extensive renovation and on February 13, 2017, Mathias opened the new lacto-ovo vegetarian restaurant named Rutabaga, taking green cuisine to a fresh, new and delicious level.

The rutabaga is one of the few vegetables to originate in Sweden, which is why they are called ‘swedes’ in the UK. In North America, France and Italy they call them rutabagas, which comes from the original Swedish term for the vegetable: rotabagge.

He currently runs two restaurants at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, the award-winning Matbaren and the vegetarian eatery Rutabaga. He also runs the Green Rabbit rye bread bakery, with focus on rare Swedish grains, in the Norrmalm district of the city.

His establishments are lauded for serving food made using the finest fresh ingredients, along with a focus on outstanding service with a lot of charm.

Soneva Jani is located on the island of Medhufaru within a 5.6-kilometre lagoon in the Noonu atoll, and has uninterrupted ocean views in all directions.

The lagoon is 35 minutes by seaplane from Velana International Airport, and one hour by speedboat from Soneva Fushi. The recently opened Maafaru International Airport in the Noonu atoll is just a 15-minute complimentary speedboat ride from Soneva Jani.

Meaning ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani currently comprises 24 overwater villas and three island villas, with additional Water Retreats to be built in Chapter Two.

Five islands encircle the lagoon, each one with soft white sands and covered in rich tropical vegetation. Four of the five islands will remain untouched, making Soneva Jani the lowest density development in the Maldives.

The overwater villas are spaced across the expansive lagoon, offering privacy and extensive views over the Maldives’ turquoise waters. The island villas will be tucked into the lush greenery, providing the ultimate privacy, and all within steps of the beach.

Soneva Jani’s main guest facilities are located at The Gathering, the heart of the overwater villas. This dramatic three-story structure is home to the main dining outlets, in addition to the Soneva Spa, library, retail area and wine cellar. It is located next to the Maldives’ first overwater Observatory.

The Crab Shack offers a toes-in-the-sand dining experience that highlights succulently sweet Sri Lankan Mud Crabs, Alaskan King and Kamchatka crabs, and Mediterranean inspired seafood dishes. It was voted the ‘Most Romantic Restaurant in the World’ by

Facilities on the island include the overwater Cinema Paradiso and restaurant by Chef Nikki, the Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre, organic gardens, tennis courts, water sports champa and North Beach on a deserted island in the lagoon.

An Insider

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.

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Fan Club

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.

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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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