A blue ocean shift for Villa Resorts

Leading Maldivian hotel brand Villa Hotels & Resorts has announced its transformation to Villa Resorts, debuting the refreshed brand at ILTM Cannes ahead of its official relaunch in April 2023.

Beyond a simplified name and new visual identity for the parent brand, each resort has been repositioned behind a unique Resort Concept, encompassing improved products, elevated service, innovative programming and brilliant communication to create real value for guests.

Since 1986, Villa Resorts has developed and successfully run more than 1,100 rooms distributed across its five private island resorts: 5* Sun Island, 5* Paradise Island, 5* Royal Island, 4* Holiday Island, and 3* Fun Island. Two brand new islands are also in development, expanding the group’s portfolio to seven properties.

Now, as the next generation of the family-owned and locally-run business takes the helm, Villa Resorts is making itself ready for the next generation of travellers.

Working in partnership with Luxury Branding, the leading luxury hospitality consultancy, Villa Resorts has undertaken a brand-led transformation of its entire company.

At the heart of the organisation, a new Vision, Purpose and Values serve as its guiding lights, ensuring that progress is rooted in a shared ideology.

As one of only a few brands in the Maldives that is owned, operated and wholly run by locals, Villa Resorts is driven by the personal vocation of returning its guests to a stronger place in their lives. This important purpose is accomplished through the natural beauty of the destination combined with the native warmth of its people.

The Villa Hotels & Resorts name has been simplified to Villa Resorts, with the new visual identity paying homage to the history and wonder of the islands.

At resort level, the ‘Villa’ prefix plays the role of parent brand and the suffix (e.g. Park, Nautica, Haven etc.) that follows represents the resort concept. The combined word marks provide a recognisable yet flexible framework for a growing a family of sub-brands.

Each of the resort sub-brands is invested with its own unique personality, reflected in bespoke typography, imagery, colour palettes and styles of communication. This approach allows each property to make the most of its distinct character and strengths while clearly belonging to the Villa family.

In April 2023, the Villa Resorts master brand will relaunch with a new website, designed and built by Journey, and the rebrand of two of its existing resorts. Paradise Island will transform into Villa Nautica, a maritime celebration of Quayside Life. Expressing refinement and exclusivity of taste, Villa Nautica’s polished environment brings to life a chic nautical experience through its modern, urban-style interiors. Complemented by exceptional scuba diving and other water sports, the resort embraces the seafarer lifestyle with a glamorous twist.

Simultaneously, Sun Island will transform into Villa Park, a lush and never-ending Lagoon Pleasureground teeming with experiences. Its refreshed design is anchored in bold colours that embrace the island’s vibrant jungle and azure lagoons. Recently named Maldives’ Leading Green Resort 2022 at the World Travel Awards, the team continues to spearhead sustainability efforts with new concepts such as ZERO – Villa Park’s hidden gem of a restaurant set amidst the palms, serving fresh produce grown in the island’s gardens.

Rooms, restaurants and public areas have been upgraded and refurbished with stunning interiors by London-based design studio, House Nine. Led by Jojo Barr, her team of trusted and skilled crafts and tradesmen have translated the new Resort Concepts for each island into beautiful and functioning physical environments.

F&B concepts have undergone comprehensive modernisation under the guidance and training of Food Concepts 360, led by Michelin-starred Irish chef Conrad Gallagher, who has collaborated with the Executive Chefs on each island to conceptualise and deliver refreshed dining experiences.

Sandstone, a label of award-winning South African wines and MCC exclusive to Villa Resorts, has been curated by world-renowned sommelier Kent Scheermeyer. The name, Sandstone, celebrates the merging of two countries and two landscapes, from the stone mountains of the Cape’s vineyards to the sandy shores of the Maldives. The Sandstone collection comprises two whites, a sauvignon blanc and chardonnay; two reds, a pinot noir and merlot; as well as a rosé. The collection also includes a Méthode Cap Classique and a rosé sparkling wine.

In collaboration with Cape Town coffee roastery, Deluxe Coffeeworks, Villa Resorts has developed its own coffee brand: Press & Pot. Villa Resorts ethically sources and imports its own green beans and roasts them on-site at Villa Nautica for distribution across all of the brand’s islands. On-site, Press & Pot coffee is served by expertly trained baristas, and sold through various retail channels for guests to enjoy at home.

In Q4 2023, Holiday Island will reopen as the group’s luxury flagship, Villa Haven, following a complete remodelling. Anchored in nature, this Humble Heaven transcends the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, with 68 sea-facing villas – all with private pools – creating an intimate and secluded island experience. The design is raw, resourceful and reserved, celebrating nature’s beautiful basics with extensive use of sustainable materials that showcase native Maldivian creativity.

At each resort, original and fresh local programming takes the form of exciting new signature experiences; distinct to each island and designed to activate the new Resort Concepts.

Service too has been an important focus, a process that commenced with a renewal of the brand’s vision, purpose and values. Villa Resorts is partnering with Forbes Travel Guide to translate this genuine ideology and service philosophy into world-class brand standards and quality assessments.

In late 2025, Royal Island will transform into Villa Village, a resort that celebrates authentic Maldivian culture.

Fun Island is scheduled to reopen in 2027, debuting a new luxury concept following a full renovation, and Villa Eden, a luxury eco resort, is being developed on the island of Maanenfushi.

Ibrahim Siyad Qasim, Group Managing Director, Villa Shipping and Trading Company, commented on the rebrand: “Today, we open a new chapter in the history of our proudly Maldivian resort company; a company that was founded by my father almost four decades ago. In 2019, with the guidance and support of our partner, Luxury Branding, we embarked on Project Blue Ocean, an ambitious top to bottom, inside to out transformation of our business. It represents a shift from competing towards creating, and signals my aspiration to lead our company to new levels of guest satisfaction and growth. I am honoured to be stewarding Villa Resorts through its next chapter of development and, together with my siblings, proud to introduce our company and welcome you into our family.”

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