Ocean conservation is a core pillar for OUTRIGGER Resorts & Hotels and the newly appointed resident marine biologist at OUTRIGGER Maldives Maafushivaru Resort has ambitious plans for guest interaction and participation this World Ocean Month, which runs throughout June.
As part of OUTRIGGER Zone – the premier beach resort brand’s global conservation initiative on marine and environmental protection – guests can join in and learn about conservation activities that go beyond World Reef Day on 1 June, World Environment Day on 5 June and World Ocean Day on 8 June.
Danielle Stanley, a dual British-South African national, who grew up in Tanzania, took over her new post with OUTRIGGER Maldives Maafushivaru Resort in March. Throughout June, she and her colleagues will implement a wide-ranging variety of conservation initiatives that guests can join.
Activities include coral planting, whale shark and manta excursions, showing marine-themed documentaries, holding arts and crafts sessions, conducting a school educational visit, and inviting guests to participate in marine wildlife database and research activities.
OUTRIGGER guests help Danielle compile encounter sheets when they join the resort’s excursions to see manta rays and assorted benign sharks in the surrounding waters. She describes the surrounding seas as “one of the top seven shark sanctuaries in the world”. Sightings of whale shark, black tip, white tip, grey reef, nurse and silver tip are quite common.
Danielle adds: “I want people to shift away from negative misconceptions about sharks. They are misunderstood animals. They are truly beautiful and critically important for the health of our oceans.”
Incorporating artistic creativity into her marine work is important. For example, Danielle paints murals and invites kids at the resort to draw aquatic creatures or make art from materials they discover on the beach.
Since taking up her post at OUTRIGGER Maldives Maafushivaru Resort, Danielle has introduced Monday and Thursday evening guest presentations. These are on topics such as Maldives Megafauna, Life On Our Blue Planet, The Ocean: A Carbon Sink, Oceans and Climate Change. There are also specialist presentations on sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays and coral reefs.
Friday nights are also marine documentary nights at the resort.
Danielle, who completed a postgraduate course in marine biology at Newcastle University in England last year, has been inspired by the work of marine conservationist and author Sylvia Earle. “She’s a legend in the world of marine activism,” says Danielle.
She is also inspired by ‘shark girl’ Madison Stewart whose Project Hiu aims to repurpose shark fishing boats in the Indonesian archipelago by turning them into marine excursion vessels run by former shark fin fishermen.
Danielle is also an acclaimed underwater photographer. Her image of a diver in the waters off Tanzania trying to remove a fishing line and hook from the mouth of a whale shark was shortlisted in the Environmental Photographer of the Year Awards 2022.
Regarding World Ocean Month, she says: “I am looking forward to raising awareness on the importance of healthy marine wildlife and ecosystems for our guests, hosts and local communities here in the Maldives. It is critical that we form a sustainable connection between people and our oceans.”
People can find out more about Danielle’s outlook on the marine world in an interview she gave to the Ocean Culture website.
For further information about experiencing the barefoot luxury 81-villa OUTRIGGER Maldives Maafushivaru Resort and participating in its OUTRIGGER Zone conservation initiatives, visit the property on OUTRIGGER.com.
Vakkaru Maldives welcomes Sampath Hewawala as New Head Sommelier
Vakkaru Maldives has announced the appointment of Sampath Widana Hewawala (Sam) as the resort’s new Head Sommelier.
Sam’s appointment promises a new level of unparalleled wine experiences at Vakkaru, where he will oversee the award-winning Vakkaru Reserve wine cellar as well as orchestrate wine programmes across the resort’s six restaurants and bars. Moreover, Sam is set to elevate the team’s expertise through innovative wine educational programs.
With over a decade of experience as Head Sommelier at some of the most prestigious resorts, including One&Only Reethi Rah and Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, Sam is the epitome of excellence in his field. Holding certifications such as WSET Advanced Level 3, Court of Master Sommelier Level 1, and B & G Château Wine Certification, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the resort’s ever-evolving wine culture.
Speaking about his appointment, Sam said, “I am thrilled to join the team at Vakkaru Maldives. My mission is to create a top-tier wine philosophy that aligns with Vakkaru’s distinctive brand identity. With Vakkaru Reserve’s expansive wine portfolio, I believe our collection opens up opportunities for an innovative, immersive and high-class experience that will make Vakkaru stand out in this highly competitive industry.”
Besides hosting a regular wine tasting and wine degustation dinner at Vakkaru Reserve, Sam also introduces a new event, the Sunset Sandbank Wine Tasting, an unforgettable sensory experience in an idyllic setting of the natural sandbank. Just a mere boat ride from the resort, the pure-white sandbank located within Vakkaru’s lagoon will transform into a wine lover’s paradise. Here, Sam will curate a selection of fine wines from the Old and New Worlds, accompanied by an array of delectable cheeses and charcuterie, promising an extraordinary journey of taste and luxury at Vakkaru Maldives.
Learn from the best at Soneva with rare experiences by Daniil Medvedev and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
The legendary British sailor and international tennis icon are both set to host exclusive coaching sessions in the Maldives this November
As part of Soneva’s upcoming Winter Collection in the Maldives, tennis icon Daniil Medvedev and renowned British sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will be visiting Soneva Fushi, the award-winning barefoot luxury resort in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, to host a series of exclusive guest experiences.
From November 22 to December 1, 2023, Sonevians of all ages at can take part in one-on-one coaching sessions and friendly matches with Daniil at the resort’s openair or covered Olympic-sized tennis courts. Currently ranked world No. 3, the 27-yearold Russian player and former world No. 1 made history in 2022 by becoming the first player outside of the ‘Big Four’ to claim the top spot in over 18 years. This year alone, Daniil has already won the Rotterdam Open, Qatar Open, Dubai Tennis Championships, Miami Open as well as the Italian Open, which is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious clay tennis tournaments, and reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon.
To continue this stellar line up, from November 23 to December 1, 2023, guests at Soneva Fushi will also be able to join celebrated British sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to hear thrilling tales from his voyages and take part in one-of-a-kind sailing lessons aboard the luxury 23-metre Soneva in Aqua, exploring the waters of the Indian Ocean like never before. Sir Robin is renowned for taking on the legendary Sunday Times Golden Globe race and becoming the first man to sail non-stop solo around the world by finishing on April 22, 1969, after 312 days at sea. In 1994, he won the Jules Verne trophy, alongside Peter Blake, for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world in just 75 days. Knighted in 1995, he went on to create the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race a year later, offering amateur sailors the chance to experience the thrill of ocean racing. He also became the oldest yachtsman to complete a round-the-world solo voyage in the Velux 5 Oceans at the age of 68.
Sir Robin first sailed onboard Soneva in Aqua in 2017, experiencing Soneva’s signature hospitality combined with the freedom of a private charter first-hand. Setting sail from Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, the luxury two-bedroom yacht is available for bespoke voyages that range from serene day trips to longer, liveaboard adventures complete with an experienced crew that includes a dedicated Barefoot Guardian for 24/7 butler service, a private chef and wellness therapist.
These are just two of the many rare experiences on offer as part of the ever-evolving Soneva Stars calendar, which features culinary pop-ups by Michelin-starred chefs, coaching with sporting legends, wellness journeys by acclaimed therapists, and much more.
Marriott International names Jan Wagelaar Market Director for Revenue Strategy in the Maldives
Marriott International has announced the appointment of Jan Wagelaar as the Market Director, Revenue Strategy for its portfolio of resorts in the Maldives. With an impressive industry experience spanning over 15 years, Jan’s journey with Marriott International began in 2007 as an Inventory Manager with Marriott’s London hotels. His dedication and exceptional performance led to multiple internal promotions, and in 2014, he moved to Dubai to spearhead revenue strategy and analysis for 9 hotels, showcasing his versatility and expertise.
Most recently, Jan served as the Director of Revenue Strategy for The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore where his strategic acumen helped to consistently deliver outstanding business results across all key performance indicators (KPIs). His accomplishments were recognized with the prestigious APEC Revenue Strategy Leader of the Year for Luxury hotels award, which he won twice in 2018 and 2022.
Jan’s appointment as the Market Director, Revenue Strategy for the Maldives follows the successful tenure of Frank Ehret, who held the position for four years before moving for an internal promotion. Commenting on his appointment, Jan expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “I’m thrilled to begin my new role working along the talented sales, marketing & revenue teams for the Maldives. With seven stunning resorts in the island nation, each with its unique offerings, I am excited to collaborate with the resort teams on revenue strategies to continue driving exceptional results in the Maldives.”
Outside of his professional endeavors, Jan indulges in his passion for travel, exploring new culinary experiences at restaurants and bars. Additionally, he is an avid cyclist and takes an interest in collecting sneakers.
Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of resorts in the Maldives comprises of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, W Maldives, Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, and The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort each located on their own private island and offering the ultimate dream getaway. For further information, visit www.MarriottBonvoy.com/Maldives
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