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JOALI BEING inspires new generation of female leaders



To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, JOALI BEING conducted a series of virtual educational sessions with MAPS College Maldives and Maldives National University. Students from these higher education institutions, representing a number of academic fields, joined the special event.

Led by in-house experts, the virtual sessions aimed to inspire a new generation of female leaders in hospitality by showcasing the range of opportunities that are available to them. JOALI BEING’s very own female achievers gave the young women real-world insights into a variety of departments – from culinary and wellbeing, to butler service and environmental conservation.

“Women’s emancipation is one of the core values of JOALI, and we support this brand mission through several initiatives in the Maldives,” notes General Manager of JOALI BEING, Özgür Cengīz. “Being a luxury hospitality brand, this particular event was especially close to our hearts. These young women are a vital part of the future of our industry. Hopefully, some of them will even become leaders at our own wellbeing retreat.”

At the conclusion of the session, the audience received a wonderful surprise. Melany Martinez Thomas, Director of Wellbeing at JOALI BEING, announced that in 2022 the resort will offer five internships across three divisions – wellbeing, F&B and rooms, as well as a chance to gain work experience with the Olive Ridley Project.

These prestigious work opportunities promise to be an incredible learning journey. Guided by experienced JOALI team members, the chosen interns will pick up skills that are sure to prove invaluable for a career in hospitality. While the six-month internships are open to all, female candidates will be prioritised.

“Along with education, getting the right exposure or opportunity at the right time can also be life-changing,” says Melany. “We are committed to helping empower women in the Maldives by hiring local women at all levels and contributing to NGOs that work towards women-centric causes.”

JOALI currently supports female emancipation in a variety of ways. At the community level, the brand works with Maldivian organisations to aid the training of girls in local schools. It has also implemented a policy to on-board more local women as team members. Last but certainly not least, the team has structured its internal processes in a manner that encourages female employees to grow and flourish.

The virtual panel for International Women’s Day featured an impressive line-up of speakers. The audience received knowledge and guidance from a number of female team members at JOALI BEING – from the Director of Wellbeing to a budding local butler.

Introduction to JOALI BEING by Melany Martinez Thomas, Director of Wellbeing. Equipped with nearly 20 years of experience in luxury hospitality around the globe, with a focus on spa and wellness, Melany set the context for the event. She introduced the audience to JOALI BEING, the first nature immersive wellbeing retreat in the Maldives, and explained the resort’s wellbeing philosophy and work culture, placing them within an international hospitality context.

A graduate from the Canadian College of Holistic Health in Toronto, Melany holds an MBA from the University of Cumbria, U.K. Her impressive career has included roles with SLH hotels, Relais & Châteaux, Aman Resorts, Kempinski hotels and independent properties in Thailand, Costa Rica and Europe. At JOALI BEING, she supports clients in achieving their goal of creating a sustainable wellness lifestyle, full of vitality and joy.

Wellbeing Culinary Experience with Julia Soria, Executive Pastry Chef. With a specialisation in fine dining, Chef Julia has been in the gastronomic industry for over a decade. Known for her strong interpersonal skills, she explained to students the importance of interacting effectively with people from diverse cultures – a must to succeed in high-pressure, time-bound work environments. She also focused on the relationship between wellbeing and F&B.

With a professional journey spanning countries like Japan, Morocco, Italy and Mexico, Chef Julia brings diverse influences into the JOALI BEING kitchen. Her flair for creativity and zest for learning are at the heart of her successful culinary career.

Introduction to Nutrition by Pranathi Bollapragada, Resident Nutritionist. Inspired daily by the values of her family, Pranathi finds immense fulfilment in helping people to lead healthier, happier lives. She emphasised the importance of nutrition in everyday life and highlighted how the right qualification can equip students for a rewarding career in this field.

With a master’s degree in food and nutrition, Pranathi is an advocate of diets that are balanced and nourishing. At JOALI BEING, she skilfully integrates a modern clinical approach with principles from Ayurveda and Naturopathy to create a personalised nutrition plan for each guest.

Introduction to the Olive Ridley Project with Olivia Forster, Sea Turtle Biologist. With a master’s degree in conservation and biodiversity from the University of Exeter, U.K., Olivia has worked in turtle conservation in North Cyprus and the Maldives. She has a passion for sharing knowledge with young people and has even served as a consultant for wildlife-focused children’s books. Her talk put the spotlight on environmental conservation and its role in ethical hospitality.

Olivia first came to the Maldives as a volunteer for a local NGO, where she co-managed a sea turtle rescue & rehabilitation centre and a coral gardening programme. She joined the Olive Ridley Project last year as a Sea Turtle Biologist for Raa Atoll, based at JOALI BEING, where she carries out population research and educational outreach.

Jadugar Butler Service with Mauvy Mahir, budding local butler. Born and raised in the Maldives, Mauvy is set to graduate soon from Maldives National University (one of the institutions that participated in the special event for International Women’s Day). As a butler at JOALI BEING, she shared her personal journey and ambitions with the audience. Being in the same shoes, many of the young women students could identify closely with her experiences.

Mauvy started her career as a service associate and found her ultimate dream job in 2020 when she became a butler at a Maldivian resort. Now part of the team at JOALI BEING, she is a Jadugar. Meaning “magician” in the local language, this term is used to describe the brand’s personal butlers, who are known for their almost-magical ability to make guest requests come true.

JOALI BEING invites wellbeing seekers to reconnect with themselves and with the beauty of nature. Based on the belief that understanding is the key to creating and sustaining wellbeing, the island’s Learning Centre offers a series of educational workshops and experiential classes with wellbeing experts, culinary maestros and herbalists. This distinctive wellbeing retreat is home to a total of 68 exclusive guest villas with pools, consisting of 33 beach villas and 35 water villas.

With 13 categories to choose from, guests can opt for one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom villas and residences. JOALI BEING features unique transformational spaces that allow guests to immerse in elemental therapies and healing experiences. Nature is at the centre of life at JOALI BEING, with the retreat being completely committed to nature immersive and responsible travel – the pathway to true “weightlessness”.

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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