S Hotels & Resorts create major public park in Maldives

S Hotels and Resorts PCL, the global hospitality company from Singha Estate PCL, has signed an agreement with the Maldivian government’s Ministry of National Planning, Housing & Infrastructure to develop a new public recreational area for the residents of Malé, as it continues to give back to the communities in which it operates, in line with its deep commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The new Picnic Park will be located at CROSSROADS Maldives, the Indian Ocean’s first multi-island leisure destination. Nestled in the Embhoodoo Lagoon, just 15 minutes from the Maldives’ congested capital city, this inviting waterfront area will feature three hectares of open space and fantastic facilities for up to 500 people, including 200 metres of public beach, a mosque, large gardens, multiple barbecue areas and beach huts. Visitors will also be able to unwind and take part in a range of beach games, such as football and volleyball. Set to be opened in Q4 2022, the park will be accessible for everyone, including local people young and old, families, visiting guests and people with limited mobility.

Easily accessible from Malé via ferry, this impressive park will enable local residents to enjoy family days out and interact in a lively, social setting. They can also combine their day of relaxation with a stroll around The Marina CROSSROADS, an 800-metre lifestyle area and beach walk that features a wealth of world-class facilities, including diverse dining options, retail stores, wellness centres, water sports, diving, kids’ clubs, and a 30-berth yacht marina.

At CROSSROADS Maldives, visitors can learn all about the heritage of the archipelago, above and beneath the waves. The Maldives Discovery Centre, which is located close to the Picnic Park, allows all ages to uncover the country’s rich culture through interactive displays, and see how local arts and crafts have shaped its unique identity. The Marine Discovery Centre meanwhile, is dedicated to protecting the Maldives’ precious underwater ecosystems through important initiatives such as coral propagation and breeding programmes. Following the completion of the Picnic Park, the centre’s marine biologist will host regular talks on key issues such as climate change and zero waste to educate society about the importance of conservation.

The Picnic Park reflects S Hotels & Resorts’ deep commitment to improving the lives of people in the destinations in which it operates. Malé is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and its limited space means that there are few public places for residents to relax. The Picnic Park will alleviate this problem and create an important new social hub for families and friends to relax together and mingle with tourists.

This is an excellent example of S Hotels & Resorts’ pledge to integrate the UN’s SDGs into every aspect of its operations, including SDG11, “Sustainable Cities & Communities” and SDG14, “Life Below Water”. By incorporating social projects into its developments, the company believes that it can spread the benefits of tourism even wider. Previous initiatives have included donating medical supplies and electric vehicles to support the fight against the global pandemic in the Maldives, supporting waste management in southern Thailand by collecting over 8,000kg of marine debris in Koh Phi Phi in 2021, and supporting over 30 local families who provide longtail boat services at SAii Phi Phi Island Village.

“We are delighted to start work on the Picnic Park, which will become an important recreational facility for the people of Malé. All too often, local people do not feel the benefits of tourism. This problem is especially common in island resort areas, where visitors are often separated from their hosts. At S Hotels & Resorts, we want to do things a little differently. CROSSROADS Maldives is a fully-integrated lifestyle destination where guests can enjoy world-class tourism experiences while also connecting with the Maldivian population and learning about their culture. By weaving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into our operations, we strive to make a real difference to people’s lives and have a long-term positive impact wherever we do business,” said Dirk De Cuyper, CEO, S Hotels & Resorts.

The winner of the “Best Leisure Development Maldives (Five-Star)” title at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2021-2022, CROSSROADS Maldives is home to The Marina CROSSROADS, Picnic Park and two exceptional resorts: SAii Lagoon Maldives, a five-star lifestyle retreat, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, the iconic music-themed brand’s first Maldivian property. Construction work recently commenced on the project’s third island, which will be home to SO/ Maldives, a brand-new luxury resort.

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