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Shangri-La Maldives to Introduce the First Golf Course

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Maldives Promotion House – Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives has announced that they will be introducing the first full-sized golf course in the Maldives on 27th of this month.

According to Shangri-La the golf course will be made up of nine holes and will cover a space of seven-and-a-half hectares. The golf course is to be built on the southern end of Villingili Island, a part of the island that has been left undeveloped.

According to Minivan News who interviewed the resort, most holes par three and average 123.4 yards in length, and are set amongst the island’s natural vegetation including palms, pandanus and other tropical plants. The course includes a clubhouse, refreshment bar and a pro shop.

“It’s a recreational course, not a professional course,” Shangri-La’s Assistant Communications Manager, Cristina Acenas said. “It is accessible to beginners but advanced golfers will also enjoy it.”

They further noted that the environmental impact would be kept to a minimus. The golf course will use salt tolerant Paspalum grass for its greens which thrives on available grey water and natural environmental factors existing in the Maldives. Seashore Paspalum is used on golf courses worldwide and is said to be the most environment-friendly among the types of grass used for golf courses.

Acenas also explained that treated grey water from the island’s sewage treatment plant would be pumped into an irrigation dam constructed on site, thus no fresh water or fresh desalinated water will be used to irrigate the greens, minimising waste and the carbon footprint associated with operating a full-sized golf course. The site will also be subject to a biannual terrestrial monitoring by environmental consultants to assess fauna, flora and the impact of the course on their habitat.

The golf course is also said to be located near a turtle nesting habitat where and turtles can be seen coming to the surface all year round on this side of the island, especially on the ocean side from holes six to nine.

Approval for the course was granted by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Housing and Environment, following an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives appoints Warren Moore as Executive Chef

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives has announced the appointment of Warren Moore as the resort’s new Executive Chef. 

Chef Warren Moore hailing from South Africa, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise,  having earned his Culinary Degree at City and Guilds Culinary Institute. With over 25 years of  distinguished service in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry, Chef Warren is poised to elevate the  culinary offerings at Seaside Finolhu to new heights. 

In his previous role, Chef Warren served as Executive Chef at Jawakara Maldives, where he showcased  his culinary prowess and leadership skills. Prior to that, he spent seven years honing his craft within  various properties of the esteemed Crown and Champa Resorts Group. His culinary journey has taken  him across continents, including stints in South Africa, Mozambique, London, and the United States. 

As the Executive Chef at Seaside Finolhu, Chef Warren will oversee all culinary operations, ensuring  the highest standards of hygiene and food quality are maintained. His responsibilities include  supervising daily kitchen operations, managing food production, and leading kitchen staff with a focus  on excellence and innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Warren Moore to our team at Seaside Finolhu,” said Steven Phillips  General Manager of Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives. “His extensive experience and passion for  culinary excellence will undoubtedly enhance the dining experience for our guests and further solidify  our reputation as a gastronomic heaven in the Maldives.” 

With Chef Warren Moore at the helm, Seaside Finolhu looks forward to delivering unforgettable  culinary experiences that celebrate the rich flavours of the Maldives and beyond. 

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W Maldives promotes Ahmed Zahir and Ismail Saeed to key management positions

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W Maldives has announced the well-deserved promotions of two of its dedicated team members, Ahmed Zahir and Ismail Saeed, effective April 15th, 2024.

Ahmed Zahir, known as Coacha, has been promoted from Welcome Manager to Rooms Division Manager. Coacha’s journey at W Maldives began in December 2010 as a Welcome Agent. Over the past 13 years, he has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence, holding various roles within the Welcome department.

Known for his dedication to providing exceptional guest experiences and his outstanding interpersonal skills, Coacha is a true asset to the W Maldives team. His experience extends beyond the resort, having served as a task force member at the St. Regis Red Sea and as a pre-opening trainer. He is also actively participating in the Marriott Kurimagu Program, a program designed to cultivate Maldivian leadership in the hospitality industry. With his extensive knowledge of Welcome operations, Coacha is perfectly suited for his new role as Rooms Division Manager.

Ismail Saeed, also known as Saito, has been promoted from Lounge Manager to Welcome Manager. Saito’s W Maldives story began in March 2010 as a Welcome Agent. He then transitioned to airport operations as a Lounge Ambassador in 2013. Throughout his tenure, Saito has displayed a strong commitment to personal growth, consistently developing his skillset. He has participated in a cross-exposure program at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, working in Housekeeping, and has also supported the resort’s Style operations in the past three months. This diverse experience across multiple departments makes Saito a perfect fit for his new role as Welcome Manager.

The appointments of Ahmed Zahir and Ismail Saeed underscore W Maldives’ commitment to nurturing talent and promoting from within. Both individuals bring a wealth of experience, dedication, and innovation to their respective roles, promising to further enhance the guest experience and uphold the resort’s reputation for excellence.

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Marriott International doubles down on luxury in the Maldives with focus on sustainability and local talent

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Marriott International is solidifying its position as a leader in Maldivian luxury hospitality, boasting seven resorts across the archipelago’s stunning atolls. In an interview with Hotelier Maldives, Oriol Montal, Managing Director, Luxury, Asia Pacific (excluding China) at Marriott International, shed light on the company’s strategy for the region.

“In Marriott International’s luxury segment, we proudly feature seven classic and distinctive luxury brand,” said Montal. “Currently, in the Maldives, we have four luxury brands present: The Ritz-Carlton, The St. Regis, JW Marriott, and W Hotels. Each brand possesses its own unique identity.”

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

Marriott International’s Maldivian portfolio leans towards high-end experiences, with distinct identities for each brand. From the heritage-rich St. Regis to the trendy W Maldives, meticulous staff selection ensures each guest encounters the brand’s unique ethos, as Montal explains: “Maintaining each brand’s identity begins with our recruitment process, where we carefully select team members who fit the brand’s culture. W Hotels favours a casual approach, while classic luxury brands demands a more formal demeanour to deliver an exceptional experience.”

Beyond luxury, Marriott International prioritizes giving back. The Marriott International Maldives Apprenticeship Program (MIMAP) recently graduated over 40 students, highlighting the company’s dedication to cultivating local talent. This initiative, a collaboration with the Maldivian government, equips apprentices with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

“For Marriott International, community impact is paramount,” said Montal. “Our comprehensive programme aims to benefit the communities where we operate. Take, for instance, the Marriott International Maldives Apprenticeship Program (MIMAP), which recently saw over 40 students graduate. This historic partnership with the Maldivian government showcases our dedication to fostering local talent.”

The first graduating class of the Marriott International Maldives Apprenticeship Program (MIMAP)

The Maldives’ tourism industry has seen a swift recovery due to its natural social distancing advantage – one island, one resort. This aligns perfectly with current luxury travel trends, where privacy and pristine environments are paramount. Moreover, the country’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, including the elimination of single-use plastics, resonates with today’s eco-conscious travelers.

Marriott International echoes this focus on environmental responsibility. With a dedicated Director of Sustainability and property-level champions, the company has set ambitious goals for water and food waste reduction in its Maldivian resorts. Additionally, guest programs like “Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy” connect travelers with local communities and conservation efforts.

Coral restoration at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

“The Maldives led the way in post-pandemic tourism reopening, setting standards adopted by many countries, which facilitated its rapid recovery,” observed Montal. “Luxury travellers now seek privacy, space, and nature, preferences that align with the Maldives’ one-island-one-resort policy. The country’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, including eliminating single-use plastics, resonates more than ever.”

Looking ahead, Marriott International’s Asia Pacific strategy prioritizes retaining its luxury leadership position. Talent acquisition and development are a cornerstone of this plan, especially in the Maldives with its upcoming resort expansions. MIMAP’s second iteration, launched in partnership with local institutions, further strengthens this commitment.

By fostering a skilled local workforce, Marriott International can ensure its continued success in the Maldives while contributing to the nation’s sustainable growth and community well-being.

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