In the enchanting archipelago of the Maldives, where turquoise waters meet pristine white sands, lies a world of luxury and hospitality. Among those who make this paradise come alive is Mohamed Uzam, a Maldivian housekeeping expert whose passion for connecting with people and creating unforgettable experiences has led him on a remarkable journey in the hospitality industry. From humble beginnings to holding the esteemed position of Executive Housekeeper at Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa, Uzam’s story serves as an inspiration to young Maldivians pursuing a career in hospitality.
In 2006, Uzam embarked on his journey by joining Kuramathi Island Resort. Here, he received comprehensive training in housekeeping, paving the way for his role as a housekeeping supervisor. Fuelling his interest in the hospitality sector were stories from family members, who also worked in resorts, about the beauty of service and meeting people from diverse backgrounds. The allure of seeing smiles light up guests’ faces as they experienced the magic of the Maldives inspired him further.
Reflecting on the opportunities available to Maldivians in their own country, Uzam describes them as boundless, particularly in the hospitality industry. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Maldives Housekeepers Association, he is committed to nurturing and developing local talent in the field of housekeeping, ensuring that Maldivians continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the country’s tourism sector.
Uzam’s exposure to an international hotel chain brought valuable lessons that have shaped his career. One of the key takeaways was the significance of networking and forging strong relationships within the industry. As the hospitality sector thrives on collaboration and connections, these networks open doors to new opportunities and keep professionals abreast of emerging trends and developments.
Throughout his illustrious career, Uzam has had countless unforgettable experiences. As a steward of hospitality, he cherishes the moments when guests feel at home away from home and leave with memories to last a lifetime. Joining the pre-opening team of The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort and working with the renowned LUX* Resorts and Hotels brand stand as standout milestones in his career, shaping his path toward success.
Even in paradise, challenges abound. For Uzam, managing the high guest turnover at the resort remains a significant hurdle. Ensuring every guest’s room is impeccably clean and ready for new arrivals requires exceptional efficiency and attention to detail. Additionally, overseeing a large housekeeping team poses its own set of complexities, as maintaining consistently excellent service across all areas of the resort demands skilful leadership.
Uzam’s career has been punctuated by several notable milestones:
- 2021 – Promotion to Assistant Housekeeping Manager at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
- 2021 – Becoming Assistant Event Coordinator for the Maldives Housekeepers Association
- 2022 – Appointment as Housekeeping Manager at Summer Island Maldives
- 2023 – Elevation to the position of Executive Housekeeper at Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa
Each achievement is a testament to Uzam’s unwavering dedication to excellence in his profession.
To the youth aspiring to pursue a career in hospitality, Uzam imparts valuable advice. He emphasises that success is not instantaneous but the outcome of time, passion, commitment, dedication, and an unwavering work ethic. Embracing change, being open to learning, and daring to face new challenges are vital ingredients for personal and professional growth.
A typical day for Uzam begins with a meeting with his team, discussing the day’s operations and allocating tasks to housekeeping associates. After reviewing emails and attending to follow-ups, he embarks on a round-the-island tour, where the magic of housekeeping unfolds. Ensuring immaculate cleanliness and efficient completion of duties are among the top priorities as he oversees the facility’s maintenance in the assigned areas.
As the Maldives continues to be a sought-after destination for travellers seeking a piece of paradise, individuals like Mr. Uzam play a pivotal role in shaping unforgettable experiences for visitors. From humble beginnings as a housekeeping supervisor to holding the esteemed position of Executive Housekeeper, Uzam’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and commitment in carving a successful career in the hospitality industry. As he continues to inspire and nurture local talent, his legacy will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on the Maldivian hospitality landscape for generations to come.
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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