Connect with us

An Insider

Hussain Shahid: Soul of Kandooma



By Shamman Zahir

Hussain Shahid, who has an abundance of experience spanning over 22 years, is the torch bearer for the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) model at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, ensuring a sense of belonging for every team member; that there is something for everyone.

Maldives Insider had the pleasure to take a look back on how his career has led him to this point.

As a Glion Institute graduate with his MBA, Shahid highlights the importance of having a vision. Knowing what you want and communicating your goals, even if it’s in the form of Personal Development Planning (PDP).

Apart from music and arts as his past time, a recreational runner since the pandemic, pushed on by his daughter, Shahid considers it important to value your health.

Maldives Insider: Tell us briefly how you got started in your career.

Hussain Shahid: I was a musician, a drummer. After finishing school, I was approached and was asked if I would like to go play with a band. At the time my father did not approve. So that was my first trip to a resort. After completing SEC (presently CHSE), I started working at the Ministry of Trade in the Foreign Investment Services Bureau. I was one of the first interactions with those that came to the bureau. So it’s no surprise that I was acquainted with a lot of foreign investors. I worked in the government and continued to play in resorts for a time. It became exhausting to do both; coming back late and having to go to work at 7:30 in the morning. My career took a turn with Sonu Shivdasani (founder of Soneva resorts), whom I met whilst working at the trade ministry. It was also due to the circumstances; I had my first daughter and not having the time to earn more or part time — proven by how hard it was to juggle two gigs before as well, music and my job. Even so, I still needed to earn more to provide for my family. I was told by Sonu to go see Salil in his office after hearing my interest to work in hospitality, it turned out it was to do simple tasks, similar to the ones I already do. The trade minister at the time, Abdulla Yameen, understood and valued me as well. The decision was mostly influenced by my situation at the time. Fast forward, doing admin work for Soneva was the start. From then on to being the Training Manager at Soneva Gili, a period of two years in Oman at Six Senses Zighy Bay for exposure and the experience of living as an expatriate, Assistant Director of Human Resources at Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa – Addu Atoll, Director of Human Resources at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, and the Executive Assistant Manager today.

Shahid at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman.

MI: What interested you to start working in this area?

HS: Compulsion, mostly. Not having a choice and having to find a way led me here. At the time as I’ve mentioned, I was working at the Trade Ministry. Even with a possible increment, the expenses to be made far outweighed the income. Times were very different in the ’90s. There was no Aasanda or National Social Protection Agency (NSPA). One fortunate thing led to another and I found myself working in the hotel industry.

MI: What has your experience been working with international hotel chains?

HS: One word, professionalism. From the appraisal performance management system being used in all of its aspects, proper training and investing in their staff, trust and respect to the chain of command in instances of decision making, exposure opportunity abroad to attending conferences and learning events!

Shahid at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman.

MI: What is a memorable moment in your career?

HS: There are a couple, one of which is the farewell from Soneva – at Six Senses Zighy Bay. After having spent a decade with them with so much passion, that one was truly special.

MI: Tell us a bit about what it’s like to be the Executive Assistant Manager (EAM)?

HS: Being the EAM, you’re the resort manager working alongside the General Manager dealing with matters of every nature. In the hospitality industry, the public holidays and Fridays aren’t the same as a 9-5 job. It’s always on the go. The scenarios for every day are different. It is also important to have an open-door policy with your staff. To be accessible and approachable. The trunk represents those at the helm, but the roots below are every member of the team. Without the roots, the tree won’t survive.

Shahid at Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa.

MI: What is your message to the youth or those entering this field?

HS: We as locals lack commitment and vision – the true passion in work! Commit yourself to the job. Career hopping is good when done in terms. As a former HR professional, I look at a term as a year at the very least, six months if the job is seasonal. A good example, an internship candidate, having completed it, there were no jobs open at the time. But having completed the internship gave him the gateway to his first job. This was back in 2016. Over six years, he is at his eighth or ninth job with little to no progress. You need to have career maturity and stick to your vision to see progress and rise through the ranks.

Shahid at Soneva Gili (now Gili Lankanfushi).

MI: What is the next step in your career?

HS: Having managed as the acting GM in the past, I would like to, at the right time, have the opportunity to prove myself and eventually manage a property in the Maldives, close to my family.

An Insider

Oriana Migliaccio: The Marine Guardian Transforming Conservation in the Maldives



At the heart of Anantara’s commitment to tailored luxury and authentic experiences lies the passionate work of Oriana Migliaccio, a marine biologist whose devotion to oceanic preservation resonates deeply in the sky-blue waters of the Maldives. Oriana, a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer with a PhD in Life and Biomolecular Sciences, embodies the spirit of discovery and conservation at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort, and Naladhu Private Island Maldives.

Raised on the sun-kissed shores of Naples, Italy, Oriana’s early years were steeped in the wonders of the Mediterranean Sea, a rich biodiversity hotspot. She frequently spent winter breaks at the aquarium. “It is this deep love for the marine world that got me interested from an early age in pursuing a career in marine biology,” she reflects. Following her passion, Oriana earned her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Marine Biology in Italy. Her journey then took her to the Maldives for an additional master’s in Tropical Marine Biology, where the allure of tropical environments steered her focus towards specialising in coral reef biology and conservation. This newfound dedication culminated in earning her PhD in the United Kingdom, solidifying her commitment to preserving marine ecosystems.

Oriana’s expertise, honed in the jungles of Borneo as a Conservation Manager and Dive Leader, now flourishes in the Maldives. Her initiatives span coral reef restoration, sea turtle protection, and sustainable practices, all pivotal to the region’s marine ecosystem. A crowning achievement is her creation of the “Reef Hero” PADI specialty, a course designed to educate divers on coral conservation, nurturing a new wave of ocean stewards.

“I created the ‘Reef Hero’ course during my time as a marine biologist and dive instructor in Malaysian Borneo. This course, focusing on coral reef restoration and rehabilitation, was inspired by my diving students’ desire to positively impact the oceans they love exploring. Witnessing the adverse effects of marine issues like debris, over-fishing, pollution, and global warming, this inspired me to create guidelines that can be used by recreational divers to save coral reefs around the world.” – Oriana Migliaccio

In April 2023, Oriana joined Anantara, where her role transcends traditional boundaries, as she immerses guests in a world of marine wonders through various interactive initiatives:

  • Marine Talk on Coral Reef & Marine Life: Weekly educational sessions that spotlight the vital role of coral reefs and the importance of responsible diving.
  • Discovering Marine Biology for Kids: Fun, interactive lessons that spark young minds’ curiosity about the underwater world.
  • Workshop on Repurposing Ghost Nets: Transforming abandoned fishing nets into bracelets, raising awareness about their impact on marine life.
  • Marine Biologist Corner: An open forum for guests to engage with Oriana, deepening their understanding of marine conservation.
  • Visit the Coral Nursery: Snorkeling adventures to coral nurseries, where guests explore coral species and participate in the resort’s coral restoration efforts.
  • Coral Adoption: Encouraging guests to play an active role in coral restoration, either by planting corals or sponsoring a coral rope, and tracking their growth.

“In the Maldives, a country faced with pressing environmental challenges, sustainability and environmental conservation are not just trends. They are a necessity,” Oriana emphasises, outlining the long-term goals for sustainability and marine conservation at Anantara’s Maldives resorts. “The survival of this tropical paradise is intertwined with adopting sustainable practices and reducing the anthropogenic impact on the environment.”

Following the devastating coral bleaching event of 2016, Oriana has been instrumental in Anantara’s HARP initiative (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection), aimed at rehabilitating damaged coral reefs. With over 10,000 corals grown and planted since 2017, the project is on course to double this number, enhancing marine biodiversity. Guests are invited to become coral gardeners, contributing to the project’s success while receiving progress updates on their adopted “baby corals”.

Collaborating with esteemed organisations like the Olive Ridley Project, Manta Trust, and the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program, Oriana’s work includes a photo-ID programme for studying sea turtles, manta rays, and whale sharks. She invites guests to join as citizen scientists, aiding in data collection during their underwater explorations.

Oriana Migliaccio’s contributions reflect the essence of Anantara’s luxury experience — unique, immersive, and deeply connected to the local environment. Her passion and dedication are not just preserving the ocean’s beauty but also inspiring guests to become active participants in its conservation, ensuring its wonder endures for generations to come.

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, please visit 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

An Insider

Hamzath Ameen: Elevating human resources



In the fast-paced and thriving hospitality industry of the Maldives, where exceptional service and guest satisfaction are paramount, there are individuals who stand out for their dedication, expertise, and leadership qualities. Hamzath Ameen is making his mark as a proficient human resources professional in island resorts of the Maldives. With an impressive career trajectory and a passion for excellence, Hamzath has become a respected figure in the industry.

Hamzath Ameen was born and raised in Addu Atoll, a region known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture. Following his schooling, he pursued his higher education at Cyryx College in Male’, where he successfully completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Management. This academic foundation laid the groundwork for his future career in the dynamic world of hospitality.

Hamzath embarked on his professional journey at Dhonveli Beach Resort, where he assumed the role of Accounts Officer. This initial foray into the hospitality industry allowed him to gain valuable insights into the financial aspects of resort operations and the importance of maintaining accurate records and efficient systems.

Eager to expand his horizons and broaden his skill set, Hamzath sought opportunities at various reputable companies and resorts throughout the Maldives. His determination and exceptional work ethic caught the attention of industry professionals, leading to his appointment as the Human Resources Officer at Furaveri Island Resort. Recognizing his potential, Ameen quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager, and subsequently, Human Resources Manager.

During his tenure at Furaveri Island Resort, Hamzath made significant contributions to the establishment’s human resources department. He spearheaded various initiatives to enhance employee engagement, streamline recruitment processes, and foster a positive work culture. Under his leadership, the resort witnessed an increase in employee satisfaction and a notable reduction in turnover rates, solidifying Hamzath’s reputation as a skilled people manager.

In 2022, Hamzath accepted an exciting new opportunity and joined Rihiveli Maldives Resort as the Human Resources Manager. With his wealth of experience and proven track record, he assumed a pivotal role in overseeing the resort’s human resources functions, including recruitment, training and development, performance management, and employee relations. Hamzath’s strategic approach and ability to build strong relationships with staff and management alike have made him an invaluable asset to the resort.

Hamzath Ameen’s journey from an Accounts Officer to a respected Human Resources Manager exemplifies his commitment to personal growth and professional excellence. Through his hard work, dedication, and leadership abilities, he has successfully carved a niche for himself in the competitive Maldivian hospitality industry. Hamzath’s passion for nurturing talent, fostering positive work environments, and delivering exceptional guest experiences continues to make a lasting impact on the resorts he has served.

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.