The ocean surrounds Vakkaru Maldives and is one major reason many people return to the five-star resort again and again. Set on its own white-sand island, Vakkaru is in the middle of the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2017 and home to a rich diversity of marine life, including manta rays, sharks and a variety of fish species. Guests are able to explore this fascinating underwater world through a variety of activities including snorkelling and diving on the house reef, in blue holes or nearby Hanifaru Bay, whilst learning about the life aquatic from the resort’s resident marine biologist.
This summer, however, Vakkaru takes a deeper dive into ocean conservation with a unique week-long residency by Oliver Steeds OBE. Oliver is a former investigative journalist and the founder and mission director of Nekton, a science-based organisation that works with ocean nations to protect the seas and increase humanity’s knowledge of marine life.
With marine conservation at the forefront of the climate-biodiversity crises, this new experience brings together a pioneering figure in environmental research with one of the Maldives’ best resorts. During the week, guests of all ages can participate in a variety of activities to learn more about ocean life and its conservation in the Maldives, with workshops, cinema screenings and two expeditions, as well as sustainably sourced dinners and cocktail evenings.
From 27 August to 2 September 2022, A Deep Sea Odyssey will include two Young Ambassadors of the Ocean workshops designed for budding coral reef scientists and aquanauts aged between 7-11 and 12-15. Hosted by Oliver at the resort’s Parrotfish and Coconut Clubs for kids, these workshops will teach youngsters about the threats to coral and what it takes to become a Mission Director running expeditions to explore the deep sea. Budding aquanauts will also learn how submersible pilots operate, and how to protect healthy coral reefs.
Oliver will also lead a beach walk for kids and adults to discover the island’s land and seascape, and draw on films from his expeditions to inspire a love for the sea and a passion to protect it. These workshops will continue to run after Oliver’s residency at the Vakkaru’s kids’ clubs respectively, as part of the resort’s commitment to offering a dynamic kids programme that informs younger generations of the importance of conserving and protecting marine life.
Two sea-going expeditions, on board a yacht and speedboat, will take guests to various stop-offs around the atoll to snorkel or dive with Oliver and Vakkaru’s resident marine biologist. During the evening, Oliver will play host to beachside movie nights, screening documentaries such as Seaspiracy, Chasing Coral and Blue Planet.
The week will begin with a cocktail evening for adults, with bespoke marine-inspired cocktails from Vakkaru’s mixology team, while two dinners – one in the island’s Organic Garden, the other by a beach bonfire – will be informal occasions to speak to Oliver and learn more about his work and passions.
A portion of revenue generated from the various sustainably sourced dinners and other activities hosted during Oliver’s residency at Vakkaru will go towards the Baa Atoll Conservation Fund which helps finance projects designed to conserve the environment in Baa Atoll, as well as support local livelihood activities.
“Exploration is the discovery of new knowledge that can help humanity move forward,” says Oliver Steeds. “The ocean is the beating heart of our planet, it’s the most important part of the planet, but it’s the least known. There’s never been a more important time to explore the ocean.”
“We are honoured to welcome Oliver Steeds for a week-long residency at Vakkaru Maldives this summer,” says Vakkaru’s General Manager, Iain McCormack. “Educational and fun, A Deep Sea Odyssey will be a chance for guests to learn more about the Maldives’ beautiful marine life from a real expert in his field. And all from the luxurious comfort of our beautiful five-star resort – a truly immersive experience in the best sense. With the growing post-lockdown desire for meaningful, experiential travel, Oliver’s residency promises to be a rewarding holiday that will stay in the mind of our guests for years to come.”
Stay a minimum of six nights at Vakkaru during Oliver Steeds’ residency. Prices start from US$1,185++ per night in an Overwater Villa, inclusive of breakfast and dinner, plus complimentary stay and meals for up to two children under 12 years old.
For more information visit www.vakkarumaldives.com.
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 https://www.parkhotelgroup.com/north-male-atoll/grand-park-kodhipparu-maldives/offers/winter-getaway/ to book your holiday with a flair of fun, freedom, and serenity that is promised to make you keep coming back for more!
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.
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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