The Maldives’ luxury resort cuisine has evolved significantly from the country’s typical hamburgers and handmade beach BBQ lunches. Instead, island resorts throughout the nation have emerged as hotspots for Michelin-starred chefs to practice their craft and display their talents. Many chefs find the task of fusing more “basic” ingredients with haute cuisine to produce delectable dishes fascinating, and the outcomes are consistently pleasantly surprising.
Healthy eaters are aware that using fresh, organic foods that are sustainably sourced is the secret to gourmet cooking. In the Maldives, the “farm-to-table” notion is more than just a trendy culinary trend; it’s a way of life, a lifestyle that has been carried down through generations, including eating habits.
Chefs work closely with local farmers and fishermen who daily bring in fresh catch and organic food at the island resorts. Many opulent resorts are also devoting substantial areas of their land to growing food for their visitors, following the global trend that pushes for complete traceability and transparency of the items at the dining table. Every element is regional and in season.
The Greenhouse at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa has perfected sustainable farming, incorporated cutting-edge concepts, and achieved cult status for their incredibly fresh and delectable Greenhouse experience. The culinary adventure, which is appealing to the romantic to the family-friendly, encapsulates and uplifts the joyful spirit of a day in the Maldives.
Eating, with its deeply local roots, has always been central to our physical, social and even spiritual existence, but never have we been more conscious of the ways in which our food is produced and consumed. At 430sqm, The Greenhouse is one of the Maldives’ largest state-of-the-art hydroponic farms that has been purposely designed to promote sustainable farming and consumption. The Greenhouse is a blueprint for the resort’s food menus and provides a physical link between the plate and the chef’s mindset – one not just occupied with creating beautiful food, but with the origins of the ingredients used.
“This trend toward organic, sustainably-sourced meals was sparked by worries about animal cruelty, environmental sustainability, and human health, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified it. Nowadays, people are more aware, sensitive, and responsible,” says Nilesh Singh, the General Manager at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa.
“We are serious about sourcing every single ingredient from ethical sources. We grow as much as we can in our Greenhouse. The menus use only the freshest, high-quality ingredients to tempt guests on a daily basis.”
Smart sustenance. A significant step towards self-sufficiency, The Greenhouse is a semi-automated hydroponic system that produces fresh leafy vegetables for resort guests and consumption on neighbouring islands. Developed in conjunction with Singapore-based company Kok Fah Technology Farm, The Greenhouse uses a range of state-of-the-art technologies, including an automated irrigation system that captures and recycles rainwater. This produces clean vegetables that are free of pesticides, grown in a stress-free environment and particularly nutrient-rich through the use of peat moss. Various leafy vegetables, Maldivian chillies, tomatoes and herbs have already been successfully grown in The Greenhouse with plenty more to follow – the harvest target is about 30 kilograms daily and up to 11 tonnes of vegetables annually. Now that’s a lot of fibre.
Designed to promote sustainable farming and consumption, The Greenhouse is nurtured and managed by the resort’s Head Horticulturist Juby Thomas. An environmentalist by heart, she followed this career path as hydroponics being the latest technology in agriculture. For her, this is the future of farming.
“Our Greenhouse is first and the biggest among various Maldives resorts. We grow the veggies fully organically with the latest technology, ie. Hydroponically, and our greenhouse is partially automatic it controls the temperature and light intensity which makes our greenhouse smarter than others. We also harvest the rainwater. We have big tanks which stores 30,000 litres of rain water,” she says.
“One of the challenges is to have rain water all year around. Although RO water can also be used but not all plants do well. I always faced the challenges as the opportunity to learn and understand more. My goal is to have more and more varieties of plants so as to fully utilise our large greenhouse even during off season.”
Juby’s curiosity is enlivened everyday as she explores the growth process of diverse plants and vegetables on the island of Thilamaafushi. Interacting with guests during The Greenhouse tour is the highlight of her day. She recommends to taste the Crystal Summer Roll from the Harvest Table, a holistic menu that is elevated with the freshest of ingredients, bringing together the spirit of organic dining with the love for mother nature.
“The staff, the hard work, dedication and the helping nature of the staff is what makes it more rewarding,” Juby says.
But the hard work isn’t left to the staff alone – guests can also get involved, taking on some gardening in the greenhouse or utilising ingredients during cooking classes. Ideal for foodies, there’s also the Harvest Table, a weekly supper club dining experience that spotlights hydroponic farming practices while enjoying imaginative dishes with a conscience.
The Greenhouse is just one way Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is leading in the way of sustainability. When Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa welcomed its first guests in September 2021, it marked the debut of Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts in one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. The 141-villa resort lies secluded in a southern pocket of Lhaviyani Atoll on the natural island of Thilamaafushi; an eco- conscious hideaway of indigenous flora and fauna surrounded by a shimmering lagoon and coral reefs teeming with marine life. To ensure that this biodiversity is not only preserved, but thrives, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is committed to environmental consciousness in line with Marriott International’s Serve 360 sustainability policy – with a range of pioneering programmes that promote a culture of best practice throughout resort operations: coral restoration programmes, fresh drinking water in glass bottles, efficient recycling methods, and harnessing the power of the sun.
Owing to the exemplary work in their efforts to promote and practice eco-conscious holidays, the resort recently earned the prestigious BCA Green Mark GOLDPlus Award, an internationally recognised green building certification scheme tailored for the tropical climate.
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.
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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