Soneva has launched the new AquaTerra center at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll. The new, state-of-the-art conservation, education and science facility will further strengthen the resort’s focus on sustainability, supporting its ongoing efforts to understand, conserve and regenerate the surrounding natural environment, both at sea and on land.
Serving as the hub for the resort’s conservation efforts, including the Soneva Foundation Coral Restoration Programme, AquaTerra will educate Soneva’s guests about the local ecosystem through inspirational experiences, and host cutting-edge scientific research through partnerships with universities and visiting scientists.
“At Soneva, we will never stop striving to be more sustainable and continue to pioneer initiatives that protect our natural environment and precious resources,” says Sonu Shivdasani, co-founder and CEO of Soneva, who was recently honoured as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to tourism, sustainability and charity. “AquaTerra not only enables us to offer our guests a one-of-a-kind experience and a variety of learning opportunities around terrestrial and marine conservation, but also strengthens our own conservation efforts, enabling us to collaborate with scientists from around the world.”
AquaTerra is the nerve center for the Soneva Foundation Coral Restoration Program, which launched in 2021 and aims to restore the coral reef systems around Soneva Fushi and create a coral hub for the Maldives. Working in partnership with Swiss environmental organisation Coralive, the project uses Mineral Accretion Technology (MAT) to channel low-voltage electricity through submerged coral tables, which speeds up the corals’ growth rate. The new centre also houses a spawning and rearing laboratory, developed with the team from Coral Spawning Lab, to conduct assisted evolution and create heat-resilient super corals, and a 3D-Printing laboratory to produce coral substrate. Later in 2023, Soneva Foundation will also fund the installation of a micro-fragmenting laboratory, created with micro-fragmenting expert Dr David Vaughan, with 28 outdoor tanks that can produce up to 100,000 corals per year, as well as live streaming cameras with fish recognition software at the coral nursery, to combine with live data from a SmartBuoy.
The centre will also support the efforts of Soneva’s Terrestrial Biology team. This includes its ground-breaking work on eliminating mosquitoes at Soneva’s Maldivian island resorts using sustainable and environmentally friendly mosquito management traps, with no harmful chemical fogging. The team is also working on a new project to tackle the hairy caterpillars that live on the islands’ Indian almond trees. Soneva is collaborating with McGill University in Canada and the Canadian National Research Institute on a hyperspectral mapping project, with the aim of creating an algorithm that programs a T30 DJI Agricultural Drone to spray leaves with ultra-low volumes of neem oil, which will be the first of its kind in the world.
AquaTerra will be used as the location for a range of short educational courses for young Sonevians through the Soneva Academy, and will be hosting visiting scientists and Masters and PhD students to conduct part of their research at Soneva Fushi. To see the centre’s conservation efforts first-hand, Soneva Fushi’s guests can combine a behind-the-scenes tour of AquaTerra with a guided snorkel at the house reef or a tour around Soneva Fushi’s gardens and Eco Centro Waste to Wealth Centre. To support the Coral Restoration Program, guests are also able to adopt a coral table to help regenerate the reef over the next decade. Priced from US $1,000 per table, each table is personalized with a carved name tag, and sponsors receive a certificate and an exclusive photo of their coral table.
For more information about Soneva, visit www.soneva.com.
Experience All the Magic of Easter Candyland at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi
As the spring sunshine sparkles on the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi invites couples seeking the ultimate escapism and families looking to spend moments of togetherness this Easter break. Nestled in the picturesque Shaviyani Atoll, the private island retreat will transform into an Easter Candyland filled with sweet delights and confectionary creations. Whimsical and full of vibrancy, the extraordinary lineup of experiences promises guests of every generation an unforgettable escape, from indulgent feasts under the stars and colorful egg hunts to chocolate-infused treatments at Fairmont Spa.
From 24 March to 12 April, the resort presents an immersive calendar of events and activities where guests can celebrate special moments in elevated luxury, savor exquisite culinary journeys, embark on new adventures, and make memories that will last for a lifetime.
“Easter is a time of renewal and joyful reconnection, and our team has curated a program of experiences that celebrates the joy of Easter and the spirit of togetherness,” says Steven Stefaniuk, General Manager at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi.
Dining is a sensational experience in this idyllic island paradise. Guests can savor local and global flavors at the beachfront Raha Market, indulge in Asian favorites at Kata, enjoy a spectacular by-the-sea dining experience at Azure, and taste a range of creative cocktails at Onu Onu. On 31 March, the island will host an extravagant Easter-themed lunch and pool party featuring a range of global Easter favorites and mouth-watering desserts, complete with fun activities, live music, and entertainment.
Parents can watch in delight as their little ones spark their curiosity and imagination at the Kids’ Club and discover various Candyland-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, cupcake and cookie decorating, and egg and face painting. Furthermore, budding eco-warriors can participate in repurposing plastic waste into bespoke souvenirs at the Sustainability Lab and join ocean life conservation activities with the Marine Biology team.
Guests can restore their inner balance and achieve renewed energy with the offerings of award-winning Fairmont Spa, including nature-inspired wellbeing sessions and the ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ treatment that soothes the body in smooth and revitalizing sensations. Moreover, active travelers can participate in sunrise yoga, beach game challenges, water sports, and interactive coaching with LUX Tennis.
In the mood for adventure? Dive into one of the flourishing dive sites in Shaviyani Atoll with the resort’s dive partner, Sub Oceanic, snorkel the 9-km-long house reef to discover over 250 species of marine life, or join a sunset cruise in search of dozens of playful dolphins that love to leap out from the sea.
Timeless Family Fun Package – Children Under 12 Stay and Dine for Free
The resort presents the ‘Timeless Family Fun’ package with a complimentary meal plan upgrade, Easter treats and amenities, and delightful dining experiences for the whole family. Book a 4-night stay or more in one of the resort’s spacious pool villas, offering the perfect blend of privacy and togetherness, and enjoy:
- Complimentary upgrade from Bed & Breakfast to Half-Board package
- Children below 12 years of age stay and dine for free
- Easter Sunday Lunch and Egg Hunt activity
- Floating breakfast once during the stay
- Family-style beach dinner once during the stay
- Guided tour of the Sustainability Lab and underwater Coralarium
- 25% discount on spa treatments
Celebrate Earth Week with Nature’s Embrace at Oaga Art Resort
Join Oaga Art Resort from March 21st to 27th, 2024, for a week dedicated to connecting with the beauty and wonder of our planet. Immerse yourself in a program filled with creative activities, meaningful experiences, and a deep appreciation for Earth’s magic.
Unwind with Earth-inspired creativity:
March 21st, as the world celebrates Poetry Day, start your day with a poetic breakfast, followed by a lunchtime fusion of traditional Maldivian Boduberu beats and poetry called ‘Farihi’. In the evening, enjoy some poetry reading and a captivating performance by local duo “Something Lovely”.
On March 22nd, tap your feet to the lively rhythms of a Boduberu jam session at lunch. As the stars emerge, witness the artistry of a sand artist create their magic on the Raa Baa deck.
Connect with nature in a mindful way:
March 23rd, as part of Earth Hour, join a peaceful candlelit Earth Meditation and sound healing session. Later, light your own candle and take part in an art installation under the moonlight. Savour a delicious Earth-conscious buffet and enjoy unplugged music around a bonfire.
On the same day, a special coral planting cocktail is to take place during sunset at the beach. Witness firsthand the wonders of coral restoration as you help plant 60+ coral frames in Oaga’s reef nursery. This project, in partnership with Coralive, aims to completely restore the house reef by 2028. Savour refreshing cocktails and learn about the crucial role coral reefs play in our ecosystem while contributing to a sustainable future.
Celebrate Holi traditions with an eco-twist:
March 25th, witness the creation of a stunning sand mandala and participate in the traditional Full Moon ritual. Dance the night away at a vibrant Holi Full moon party with minimal lighting and glow-in-the-dark paint.
Reflect and reminisce under the stars:
March 26th, cuddle up for a captivating movie night featuring nature documentaries under the starlit sky.
A grand finale on World Theatre Day:
On March 27th, engage your children in a fun puppet show and enjoy a live performance by the energetic band Sky Rock. The week culminates with a special Earth-themed solo performance at the Kaa Kada dinner in celebration of World Theatre Day.
Beyond these highlights, Earth Week weaves its theme throughout Oaga’s daily activities. Whether it is to explore nature-inspired percussion in Take Notes sessions or to let your kids unleash their creativity with eco-friendly crafts in the Fiyoh Kid’s Club, there is something engaging for everyone.
Join Oaga and embark on a journey that reconnects you with nature, celebrates our planet, and leaves you feeling empowered to make a positive difference.
Hurawalhi Island Resort’s Exemplary Commitment to Marine Conservation Shines in the Maldives
Hurawalhi Island Resort, nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the Maldives, proudly reaffirms its steadfast dedication to marine conservation through pioneering initiatives aimed at safeguarding the region’s diverse marine ecosystems.
Saoirse Macklin, the esteemed Resident Marine Biologist at Hurawalhi Island Resort, emphasizes the Maldives’ distinguished status as one of the world’s most biodiverse marine environments. “At Hurawalhi, we prioritize the dissemination of knowledge and wonder about our marine world,” states Macklin. “As a Marine Biologist, it’s been a privilege to inspire and educate guests about the remarkable marine life surrounding our island.”
Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation materializes through a range of educational experiences offered to guests. From immersive Turtle Tours, shedding light on the pivotal role of seagrass in sustaining turtle populations, to awe-inspiring Manta Search excursions, each journey represents an enlightening voyage of discovery.
During these excursions, science and education take precedence, ensuring guests acquire profound insights into the intricate ecosystems enveloping the island. As the resident Marine Biologist, Macklin spearheads efforts to monitor and safeguard turtle and manta populations, employing cutting-edge photo identification techniques to meticulously track and document individual specimens during every expedition.
Hurawalhi extends a warm invitation to guests to partake in Marine Biologist-guided reef snorkeling experiences, providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore coral reef and seagrass ecosystems while championing their preservation. Participants not only revel in the splendor of the house reef but also actively engage in efforts to protect these delicate habitats.
Furthermore, Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation is evident in its ongoing projects. The resort’s diligent monitoring and maintenance of its artificial reef program adjacent to the iconic 5.8 Underwater Restaurant aim to rejuvenate and revitalize reef systems. In 2021, a total of 114 artificial reef frames were transplanted, laying the groundwork for reef regeneration.
Recent initiatives include the creation of “festive frames,” crafted by guests during the holiday season, with regular updates fostering continued guest involvement in conservation endeavors. Annual monitoring of benthic habitats and species abundance by the Marine Biologist team is pivotal, collecting data to track changes in habitats and biodiversity over time. This scientific endeavor provides valuable insights into the health of Hurawalhi’s marine life and serves as a cornerstone for future conservation efforts.
The data collected holds immense potential, serving as a catalyst for initiatives aimed at securing protected status for Hurawalhi and its surrounding waters. Through collaboration with government-led conservation programs and local stakeholders, the resort aspires to designate Hurawalhi as a protected area, ensuring its continued vitality and resilience.
In the face of unprecedented challenges to ocean conservation, Hurawalhi remains resolute in its mission to preserve and protect the marine marvels of the Maldives. Through collective understanding and concerted action, the resort endeavors to safeguard these invaluable ecosystems for generations to come.
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