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Ahmed Tholal makes mark in hospitality: Safeguarding excellence as Assistant VP for Security at Atmosphere Core



Meet Ahmed Tholal the Assistant Vice President – Security at Atmosphere Core. Following his dedicated service in the Maldives National Defence Force from 2004 to 2012, he transitioned into the hospitality industry, specialising in security management.

Throughout his career, Ahmed has accumulated extensive expertise while working at prestigious luxury resorts in the Maldives. In this interview, he graciously shares his remarkable journey in the hospitality sector, sheds light on his team management approach at Atmosphere Core and imparts valuable advice for aspiring hospitality professionals.

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?

I grew up on an island called Sh. Kanditheemu, and up until I completed GCE ‘O LEVEL, I lived there. The island is 258.78 km north of the country’s capital, Malé. Sh. Kanditheemu island lies on the North West of the atoll near the Miladhunmadulhu-Thiladhunmathi atoll borders.

Could you please elaborate on your experience with Atmosphere Core?

As the Assistant Vice President of Security at Atmosphere Core, I have the privilege of leading a team of dedicated professionals who embody our company’s core values.  We approach our work with an emotionally sincere commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our business, employees, assets, and data.

At Atmosphere Core, we believe in the power of intelligently simple solutions. By developing comprehensive strategies and managing our team effectively, we navigate complex security challenges efficiently.  Our goal is to provide clarity and ease of understanding to all stakeholders involved.

We constantly explore new technologies, methodologies, and best practices to enhance our security measures. By embracing creativity and pushing boundaries, we aim to stay ahead of emerging threats and provide cutting-edge solutions.

We understand the critical nature of security breaches and their potential impact on individuals and the organisation as a whole. Therefore, we prioritise swift and professional responses, ensuring the prevention of harm and the maintenance of a safe environment.

What was it like transitioning from the Maldives National Defence Force to the hospitality industry?

My previous endeavours in the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and my role as a Security Manager have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.

Through my time in the MNDF and previous positions, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in security practices, crisis management, and leadership. These experiences have provided me with a solid foundation that allows me to excel in my current role.

In my continuous pursuit of excellence, I have actively sought opportunities to expand my skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards. Completing the IHG Hotel Security Manager Certification Course APAC 2013 and engaging in Hotel Safety and Security training at ROCAM International have further enhanced my knowledge and equipped me with advanced capabilities in the field.

I am truly grateful for the diverse experiences and educational opportunities that have shaped my professional journey. They have not only enriched my understanding of security practices but also allowed me to develop the skills necessary to effectively protect our business, employees, assets, and data at Atmosphere Core.

What is your vision for the team?  

Since becoming a member of the Atmosphere family more than a year ago, this company has become an integral part of my life.  As the Assistant Vice President for Security at Atmosphere Core, I have a clear vision in mind. I am committed to fostering a strong sense of teamwork, providing comprehensive training, and guiding our security managers in developing exceptional organisational skills. Together, we undertake visibly impactful and highly complex endeavours, ensuring the smooth operation of daily security measures.

I always emphasise to my team the importance of our collective effort.  I encourage them by saying, “Let’s go for it! Let’s prioritise the well-being of our associates and our people, knowing that by doing so, they will in turn take exceptional care of our guests.”  This belief in nurturing a supportive and caring environment is crucial to our success as a team.

At Atmosphere Core, we understand that the foundation of exceptional guest experiences lies in the commitment and dedication of our associates.  By fostering a culture that values our team members and prioritises their well-being, we create an atmosphere where they can provide exceptional service to our guests.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting a career in the hospitality industry?

Embarking on my journey in the hotel industry as a safety and security officer was just the beginning.  Through hard work and unwavering passion, I have now reached a position that I once dreamed of.  As someone who has experienced this growth first-hand, I humbly request all newcomers to the hotel industry to work diligently with pride, set ambitious goals with passion, seize every training opportunity, and stay focused on their ultimate destination.

Atmosphere Core, representing Atmosphere Core Private Limited, offers world-class hospitality inspired by the ‘Joy Of Giving’ philosophy. Atmosphere Core operates eight resorts in the Maldives within a powerful brand portfolio comprising THE OZEN COLLECTION, Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, and COLOURS OF OBLU.

The company is poised for strong growth in South Asia, with three THE OZEN COLLECTION properties in the pipeline. OZEN MANSION KOLKATA opening in Q1 2024 in India, OZEN PRIVÉ ATHIRI GILI set for Q4 2024 in the Maldives, and OZEN SECLUDED TANGALLE in Sri Lanka.


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.

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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.

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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

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