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Healthy is no longer boring: JOALI BEING takes wellbeing focused F&B experiences to next level



Ahmed Shaheen, the esteemed Food and Beverage Manager at JOALI BEING, has transformed his humble beginnings as a room attendant at Paradise Island Resort into a remarkable career spanning over 20 years in the hospitality industry. Today, he leads the Food and Beverage team at JOALI BEING, the first luxury wellbeing island of its kind in the world, where he masterfully incorporates the island’s philosophy into every aspect of the dining experience.

Having worked with prestigious resorts such as Four Seasons Resort Maldives, W Maldives, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, and Vakkaru Maldives, Shaheen’s dedication to excellence and passion for hospitality have earned him a reputation as an industry leader.

“I’ve always believed in the power of hard work and perseverance,” Shaheen says. “My journey has taught me that with dedication and a willingness to learn, anything is possible.”

At JOALI BEING, Shaheen’s primary focus is guiding his team to create exceptional dining experiences that align with the island’s wellbeing concept.

“Our goal is to provide our guests with a holistic approach to wellbeing, and that includes the food and beverages we serve,” he explains. “Our kitchens are laid out in such a way that there’s no room for cross-contamination. We carefully curate our menus to ensure that they are not only delicious but also nourishing and in harmony with our guests’ wellbeing journey.”

JOALI BEING’s culinary journey embraces an Earth-to-Table initiative, ensuring ingredient traceability and providing fresh, locally harvested, and sustainably sourced foods that support small farms. The island’s culinary philosophy is centred around engaging with unique ingredients in a timeless and respectful manner, allowing for a deeper understanding and appreciation of their origins. Its food offerings create a harmonious path for profound discovery by immersing guests in an environment that encourages personal transformation through unforgettable and thoughtfully curated experiences.

The island’s nutritionists have skilfully crafted all food and beverage options based on its four pillars – Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy – presenting a variety of flavours and cuisines that balance health and indulgence. For guests seeking a more personalised experience, JOALI BEING offers tailored nutrition sessions and collaborative menu recommendations.

“Working closely with wellbeing experts, we develop menus that are both nutritious and indulgent. We believe that wellbeing should be enjoyable, and our culinary offerings reflect that philosophy,” Shaheen says. “Our guests can expect to find dishes that are rich in flavour, made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and designed to support their overall wellbeing.”

What sets JOALI BEING’s Food and Beverage service apart from other islands is the attention to detail and the personalised approach to dining.

“We understand that each guest has unique preferences and dietary needs, so we strive to create bespoke dining experiences that cater to their individual tastes while staying true to our philosophy and pillars,” Shaheen shares. “Our team is trained to anticipate our guests’ needs and to go above and beyond to ensure that their dining experience is nothing short of exceptional.”

As a Maldivian himself, Shaheen is passionate about inspiring the next generation of hospitality professionals in his home country. His message to young Maldivians who wish to pursue a career in tourism and hospitality is one of encouragement and determination.

“The hospitality industry offers incredible opportunities for growth and personal development,” he says. “My advice to young Maldivians is to be open to learning, embrace challenges, and never give up on your dreams.”

Shaheen’s own career is a testament to the power of perseverance and the opportunities that the hospitality industry can provide. From his early days as a room attendant to his current role as Food and Beverage Manager at JOALI BEING, Shaheen has consistently demonstrated his commitment to excellence and his passion for creating unforgettable experiences for guests.

As JOALI BEING continues to redefine luxury wellbeing in the Maldives, Ahmed Shaheen’s leadership and vision for the island’s Food and Beverage department will undoubtedly play a crucial role in its success. With his wealth of experience and unwavering dedication to his craft, Shaheen is poised to make a lasting impact on the Maldivian hospitality industry and beyond, all the while making JOALI BEING an ideal destination for your next holiday or vacation.


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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