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Leaving their mark, carving their own path: Women associates at Marriott International Maldives



March 8 is International Women’s Day – celebrated globally to mark the social, cultural, political, and economic achievements of women, but also designed to shine a spotlight on gender parity.

Across Marriott International, on this day, the women at Marriott International who help to shape the future, are celebrated with great pride. Having women in leadership positions is a vital part of Marriott International’s strategy for growth and success. The company is focused on advancing women in their management and executive ranks, gaining their loyalty as customers, creating economic opportunity as hotel owners, and including women-owned businesses in the supply chain.

On this occasion, Rivero Delgado, Area Vice President – Singapore, Malaysia & Maldives, Marriott International said, “We understand that companies with gender and culturally diverse employees are more likely to thrive in the global marketplace. The more diverse perspectives, skills, and backgrounds we have at the table, the better we will be as a company at innovating and driving business results. At Marriott International, we have been consciously taking steps to ensure that women have confidence in applying for any role that they want – and we encourage bringing on board associates regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity; we want everyone to feel able to apply for roles that they are suitable for.”

A few women associates from Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of resorts in the Maldives shared what it’s like for a woman in the hospitality industry.


Women in Erstwhile Male Dominated Roles

Aminath, Chef de Partie – Shio

Chef Aminath is from the largest atoll in the world, Huvadhoo. She started her career as a customer service agent (front office) at the tender age of 17 and due to her young age, her company gave her the opportunity to get a scholarship to study hospitality at the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism (FHTS). Aminath is currently a Chef de Partie at Shio, the signature overwater grill restaurant at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa.

“Success is the small steps you take every day towards your main goal, it’s about discipline and consistency”, she says. “I am proud of my work at Shio, after a long time of learning the different sections of the kitchen, I can finally say that I am passionate about meat and grilling. It’s thrilling to see a beautiful steak get a golden crust and the sizzling sound. For me, JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa has given me the opportunity to learn what I love most and improve my skills as a chef and create a memorable experience for the guests. If you see most picket houses around the world or in the Maldives, only men are featured because they associate grilling and barbecue with masculinity. Marriott International is redefining the norm by creating women-only picket houses and giving us the opportunity to showcase our skills to the world. As a final word, I would like to thank Marriott International, and the team at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa for giving me the opportunity to work at Shio and giving me the freedom to do what I love.”

When asked if she has a message for all the other women reading her story, she adds, “To all the women who want to consider cooking as their career, yes it’s not easy and yes we have a lot of things to fight against, but companies are changing, the world is changing, it’s easier than before and in the future, it will be even easier for women. All I can say is that it’s worth the fight.”

Nishidha, Engineering Coordinator

Nishidha Mesta was born and raised in India and holds a degree in IT. She has worked as an Engineering Coordinator for 7 years. She currently works as an Engineering Coordinator at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa.

“As a child, my growing up years were guided by my parents and as an adult, I trust my ability to navigate through space. I have learned to appreciate life in the moment. I feel good about the work I do, contributing to the team to make our brand the customer’s favorite. I always enjoy helping my team members at work, no matter what type of work it is. I am passionate about learning new things in the technical field.

Marriott International gives you the chance to grow and offers multiple opportunities. Working as the only woman in a male-oriented technical department and being appreciated for my efforts makes me proud every day. I am challenged to be better tomorrow than I am today. Empowering women is empowering humanity. The modern woman is no longer dependent. She is strong and confident. We must respect everyone, not because of their gender, but because of their own identity.”


Empowered Maldivians on empowering others

Fathimath Bishaara Mohamed, Whatever/Whenever Agent

After a couple of roles in the Food & Beverage department at various resorts, Bisha joined W Maldives as a Whatever/Whenever Agent, her first in Front Office (Welcome). “It’s a whole new experience and so far I’m enjoying it!” she says. “Working in a resort or the hospitality industry was never on my mind when I finished my studies. I started having interest when I was an apprentice. That’s when I decided this is the life I want to have and this what I chose as my career.

When asked about her thoughts on women empowerment she says, “I hear people always saying for girls working in resort is not a good idea. It’s always girls should stay at home. I don’t believe this. To be frank, a resort is a totally safe place to work and it’s flexible. It doesn’t matter if it’s a resort or not. Everyone should get a chance to fulfill their dream. Being an independent individual within your limit is one of the best feeling anybody will ever experience.”

Mariyam Risma, Demi Chef De Partie

Mariyam started working in the hospitality industry as an apprentice in 2013. Her first role was as a Steward and she worked in the same position for 9 months before moving to the kitchen. She is currently working at W Maldives as a DCDP and speaking of why she loves her role she says, “I am here to offer our guests an authentic Maldivian experience. I love experimenting with the local flavors to create a fusion version of the dishes. In 5 years I see myself running my own restaurant in my homeland so I can give opportunities to the younger generation to learn more about creating good food.”

When asked about how she empowers women, she says, “By being a cheerleader for them. By advocating female colleagues whenever there is a chance. Specially, supporting women-run businesses. Over these last 9 years in this industry, I have trained female colleagues in the kitchen. I always tell everyone it is very important to be independent and I always support woman to be independent and free.”


Expatriate Women providing a Traditional Thakuru (Butler) Service

Laurie Cayla, Thakuru (Butler)

Laurie, from France, is a Butler at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort. She graduated with an International Management Master Degree in tourism & hospitality and took advantage of her studies to expand the international dimension of her profile by working in several countries since the last 7 years. She has mainly been working in the luxury hospitality and airline industries.

“I applied to work as a Thakuru in Maldives for several reasons. First of all, I had been missing Maldives since I left the country 4 years ago. This country is unique and very different from what I have known so far, especially with it’s stunning landscape. I am always looking for unconventional experiences that can greatly enrich my overall knowledge and skill set. Being a Thakuru means embracing a customer facing role, the closest way to apprehend the guest relations. There is no routine, each and every day is different. It is a position that takes me outside my comfort zone and therefore makes me be proactive in learning.”

When speaking of the challenge of being a woman in a foreign country she says, “I do consider the island lifestyle in a Resort as a challenge, but in a positive manner. It is more than just a new job, it is a whole new life that has to be built around this work environment. A different way to live compared to the cities, a different culture, a new language and no points of reference. It can make one feel lonely sometimes, even though one is surrounded by an amazing crowd of caring people willing to make me feel home and safe. An expatriation requires a lot of understanding, patience and flexibility. Being both a woman and a foreigner is a double challenge, the aim is not only improving one’s professional skills but managing to be seen as valuable as anyone else.”

Daira Sedova, Thakuru (Butler)

Daria Sedova, from Moscow, Russia is a Butler at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort. She holds two diplomas in foreign languages and Marketing. As a student she got the experience of working at different international events and conferences and in 2018 she joined the Royal Caribbean cruise ship – that was how her international career began.

“I have always been so passionate to work with people, to make them happy, to solve their problems. I was looking forward to join an international team again, and as the Russian market in the Maldives has been growing, my language skills appeared to be a nice advantage. So I did my research and found a very exciting opportunity to become a part of the Marriott International family. For me to be a Thakuru means a lot, this is how I can grow and become more professional and open minded day by day. A butler has to communicate with all the departments to make sure everything is properly prepared and completed to ensure guest experiences are optimal. And it is a unique role, where you can put all your strength and talents to create unforgettable experiences and memories for people who chose our resort for their holidays, waiting to come to paradise.”

When speaking of the challenge of being a woman in a foreign country she says, “As I have already worked in the international community, for me to join the team is a new journey, but not a challenge. I am so proud and happy to arrive at the island and to get the best and warmest possible welcome. The main challenge for me is to cooperate with local men as we have differences in the culture, as a European lady, I have been raised in feminist time, so I am used to equality of gender. But now it is not a big difficulty, it only means that I have to work on myself and look deeper to understand new people and their mind sets”


Maldivian Women in Leadership Roles

Shalinee Ahmed, Market Director, Sales

Born in Maldives, Shalinee started off her 20 year long career at a communication company. As she believed that the best opportunities for employment and more importantly, personal growth lay in the midst of the hospitality industry she did not stop looking for them. She wanted to excel in everything she did and therefore, she wanted to join a company that could pave her way for that possibility. She kept actively looking for a position in a company that was known to be focused on their employees’ development. Sure enough, she was able to grasp an entry position in Universal Resorts as a Contracting Executive.

She eagerly started her journey at Universal Resorts and made her way up and build her 20-year long career with the company.

Her journey eventually led her to Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa as a Market Director of Sales and she considers every step of the way that has led her to where she is today, to be a career highlight for her. All the small steps that were taken along the way – from her very first job in the hospitality industry, to all the experiences that she is able to carry till today, to all the wonderful people she has met from across the globe – are all career highlights for her.

As much as she loves her home in the beautiful islands, she has set different goals for her next step in her career. For her to broaden her experience in the hospitality field, she strives to seek her calling in a different destination.

She considers working at Sheraton Maldives Resort & Spa as already realising two of her goals. The style and way of operating is a learning curve as it would be for any new organisation that you would work for where under such circumstances personal growth would be inevitable. She is very pleased to be a part of such a wonderful organisation and considers the resort community to be very professional and accommodating.

When asked what it is like for a woman to be working in the hospitality industry she said, “It is challenging for women to be working in any industry and it is also encouraging for us women to see an increase in equal opportunities within the hospitality industry based on the skillset. This is an industry that can offer numerous opportunities in different areas to grow, both professionally and personally, from learning new skills to meeting people from different countries and cultures, which is a learning experience within itself. There are countless opportunities available where you can excel and grow.”

Shalinee’s formula for success in this industry is hard work, continual learning, adaptation to changes and perseverance.

Amara Shafeeq, Marketing & Communications Manager

A native to the beautiful islands of Maldives, Amara started her journey after moving to Malaysia at an early age. After spending a few years in boarding school at Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, she moved to Kuala Lumpur for her further studies. Initially starting off with an undergraduate degree in International Business, a module in basic Marketing and the coursework that followed piqued her interest in Marketing Communications and she changed her major during her second year. This is where she discovered her creativity and natural flair for storytelling. Combining her passion for Marketing and love for the environment and conservation, she did her Bachelors dissertation on Waste Management and Recycling in Maldives; researching the lack of appropriate disposal methods in the country. Concluding her undergraduate studies, she made her way back to the motherland and got the chance to work as a Social Media Coordinator for the national Bank of Maldives, post which she moved to England for her further studies and found herself back in the islands again, in 2019.

Amara realized how truly vast the Marketing field was when she was back in the Maldives and searching for a suitable job. She wanted a job that allowed her to do what she loved whilst also being able to contribute to the environment and marine conservation. It did not take long for Amara to settle into her new environment at Sheraton Maldives and she quickly began to love everything about her job as the resort is highly focused on sustainability initiatives with their coral propagation program, plastic free initiatives, and water bottling. She was able to incorporate sustainability into her work, promoting the coral adoption program at the resort with media, making connections with likeminded people and building a rapport on a more international scale.

When asked about her career goals and what it is like for a woman working in the hospitality industry in the Maldives she said, “How important tourism is to the Maldives goes without saying. Being able to make use of my education and combine my passion for sustainability and conservation at my workplace and being able to make my contribution to the country I was born in is really rewarding. I am proud of myself and my journey. Since I am where I want to be at my career at this age I will continue to try to reach for the stars. I am truly blessed to have amazing, encouraging parents and to come from an incredibly supportive family with very strong female role models and knowing strong female colleagues as well. I have felt skeptical eyes on me when I first started working in the hospitality industry although not as bad as what I have heard other women face in this industry. My mum, my sister who always keeps me grounded, and my aunts are my biggest female inspiration. My family’s love, my mum’s unwavering support and encouragement, and my dad’s strong work ethics and discipline have shaped me into the person I am today. It brings me joy to see that more women, especially local women are finding their rightful place in this industry. I am a huge advocate for female empowerment, and I genuinely believe than women can move mountains. Having a strong and confident character goes a long way; people respect you if you really try to just be yourself and apply your skills and talent to the best of your abilities. Mindset is key; never letting someone else bring down your spirits and having confidence in yourself will take you farther than you ever think you could go.”


Award-winning Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives launches indulgence winter offer



Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives recently announced scooping up the title of “Best Boutique Resort in Maldives” for the second consecutive year, awarded by the Travel Trade Maldives which comes as no surprise as it is one of the best destinations to experience the unreal sunsets you will ever see while projecting extravagant character and easy-going exotica.

What’s really shaking things up this holiday season at this cozy luxury boutique island resort is that you will be spoiled for choice with one beach for every day. That is right – home to four beautiful beaches, Wai, Veli, Dhigu, and Divehi, all with their unique character – letting you sunbathe, snorkel, windsurf, and cycle overwater around the island to your heart’s content. Touching down at Kodhipparu, adventure seekers can revel in countless opportunities for wild coral reef dives, parasailing up the sky for a bird’s-eye view of the lagoon, or even simply zen out to sunrise and sunset with the resident yogi.

To celebrate the win, and to rev up the appetite with seaside excursions, the resort announced the launch of the exclusive “Kodhipparu Indulgence” offer with an unparalleled dining experience and a consequential gourmet coma that is fully worth every penny you’ve spent on your extravagant holiday.

Set your seaside expedition dreams to a reality, with attractive offerings from the resort-owned marine sports centre as well as the luxury overwater spa, that will have you wanting to extend your holiday. What’s more, you get to enjoy complimentary roundtrip speedboat transfers saving you quite a few pennies on your vacation.

The little explorers with big dreams are welcome to stay and dine free of charge sharing the room with the parents, whether it is by spending their time decorating some yummy cupcakes or catching a kiddies movie under the stars with popcorn.

If you are looking for a romantic touch, with an ample amount of floating rose petals in your pool, or a swoon-worthy proposal set up at a secret corner of the island out of bounds to others or even a candle-lit dinner on the secluded beaches with you and your beau, all you have to do is message your lifestyle host to work the magic and make it happen for you. With the Kodhipparu dedicated lifestyle host service, everything is just a message away.

As is all good things, this offer is only for a limited time period, so make use of this exclusive indulgence package at Grand Park Kodhipparu comes with an amazing 35% discount on all villa categories.

Simply head over to to book your holiday with a flair of fun, freedom, and serenity that is promised to make you keep coming back for more!

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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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