The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands has announced its festive journey looking ahead to a season of joyful and heart-warming experiences.
The theme of this year’s celebrations pays tribute to the beauty of the sun, and all that the greatest star bestows through its solar cycles. For those looking to embrace the holidays in warmer climes, the Indian Ocean retreat in the coveted Fari Islands will gift its guests with treats for all the senses, from glittering gourmet trails, celestial spa indulgence, to magical sunset performances.
A programme of theatre begins on the 22nd December with a sparkling evening of light, transforming the resort’s Eau Bar in to an evolving dreamscape for the season. While the Christmas tree is switched on, guests will ring in the celebrations with signature Sangu cocktails in hand, looking ahead to a radiant line-up running until the 9th January 2024.
For the epicures, a journey of gourmet treats will provide culinary theatre across the destination’s jaw-dropping dining venues and curated by the resort’s stable of exceptional talent. Celebratory gastronomy will mark holiday days starting with the Christmas Eve cocktail reception at sundown, a prelude to a night of epicurean splendour at La Locanda. A Christmas Day Dim Sum brunch at Summer Pavilion introduces an Asian flavour to the festivities, followed by a Chef’s Table and sake pairing menu at the resort’s IWAU Japanese restaurant. New Year’s Day never tasted so good as a barbecue brunch of dreams is prepared on an open grill at the resort’s Beach Shack.
Peppered throughout, a decadent series of dining experiences will span lobster feasts under the stars, Champagne dinners with Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart and Taittinger, and pop-up dining events with the resort’s popular Arabesque restaurant. Bringing the festive frosting, exclusive masterclasses will include Panettone and ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate culinary labs, gingerbread workshops, and from the home of the ‘Behind the Bar’ series – mixology experiences in the footsteps of some of the world’s best bartenders.
For those looking to learn, move and explore, festive programming will ensure a breadth of activities. With Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, the resort’s marine naturalists will be on hand to guide exploration in to the big blue, including the ‘Cities under the Sea’ and turtle snorkelling experiences. Above sea-level guests can board a luxury sunset cruise to explore sun-dappled waters at golden hour, or at dawn a more traditional past time of fishing by Maldivian Dhoni boat. On land, a sunset painting and champagne soiree at the Beach Shack will ensure memories captured for a life-time, and to keep the blood pumping, sunrise cardio tennis sessions on the resort’s high spec tennis courts – no stranger to a Wimbledon champion!
If looking to re-set and re-charge, the design masterpiece spa, perched masterly over its sparkling lagoon will provide unadulterated wellness with Bamford. In addition to its menu of holistic treatments, spa-seekers will enjoy workshops to master gua sha self-massage, while in the Mystique Garden, sunrise yoga can be practiced at the foot of the resort’s 98-foot-tall banyan tree, and for those looking to soar, aerial yoga takes practice to another level.
For junior guests, Santa Claus will arrive in a festive surprise to greet families on Christmas Day, followed by a magical parade through the Mystique Garden. Leaving his legacy for the holidays, Santa’s Workshop will keep children aged four to twelve entertained at the Indian Ocean’s first Ritz Kids. Little ones won’t want to leave the futuristic indoor-outdoor space including playgrounds, napping pods, an area for video games and movies, and a pool with jets and slides. Daily festive workshops will include gingerbread house decorating, Christmas wreath making, and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program’s fascinating learning for junior guests, where joining marine scientists they will explore the micro world of organisms living in the ocean. For teens, beach water polo, tennis and football camps will keep inspire a healthy dose of competition.
Dazzling performances and headline events will run throughout the season transforming Eau Bar’s iconic spherical pool in to an aquatic stage. A floating string quartet and dance performance by candlelight on Christmas Eve will set an enchanting tone, while a performance-art fantasy in the ‘Twilight Gateways’ show on the 29th December, will open a series of floating doors to spellbinding acts, and a soundtrack of ethereal beats at sundown. Another night, another awe-inspiring set, will transport guests to a surrealist moonlit concerto. As 2023 comes to a close, the resort’s New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner will cast a golden glow in a spectacular culmination of culinary excellence and entertainment. An evening of three chapters will create a dreamscape of aerial dancers, gilded performers and fireworks with champagne flowing until the dawn of 2024.
Gliding over to Fari Marina Village, in the surrounds of international artist James Turrell’s luminous Skyspace Amarta installation, The Fari Marina Carnival will bring together the very best of the unique Fari Islands’ destination. A celebration of gourmet delicacies from The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and neighbouring Patina resort, local crafts and live DJ, sets a vibe.
Guests can expect the festivities at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands to continue until the 9th January, before welcoming in the lunar new year. On the 6th January an Orthodox Christmas celebration will include a cocktail event at Eau Bar followed by a sumptuous gala dinner at La Locanda, with themed workshops for the kids at Ritz Kids.
For more information on The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and reservations enquiries, please visit ritzcarlton.com/Maldives
Hilton earns top honors as World’s Best Workplace and Great Place to Work
For the first time ever, Hilton has been named the No.1 World’s Best Workplace by Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work. This recognition – the culmination of eight consecutive appearances on the “World’s Best” list – also marks the first time a hospitality company has achieved the top honor in this best-in-class program.
In another first, Hilton was certified as a Great Place to Work in the Maldives earlier this year, celebrating a workplace culture where team members are encouraged to pursue their passions, draw upon their unique experiences, and be their authentic selves at work as they deliver exceptional stays for all guests.
These awards are a testament to Hilton’s continuous efforts to build an inclusive, purpose driven workplace culture that provides growth opportunities and robust support for team members to achieve their potential and thrive.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa continues to foster an environment for local talent to flourish, empowering Maldivian professionals who have developed within the group to progress along their career paths.
Key figures at the resort include Director of Operations Ahmed Anees, who is the first Maldivian professional to be elevated to this role within Hilton’s portfolio of brands in the country; Bars and Beverage Manager Ali Hamdan, and sommelier Gasim Ibrahim.
Anees’ 18 years of experience encompass a variety of roles, such managing transport, housekeeping and front office operations for both Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. His years of overseeing housekeeping also led him to co-found the Maldives Housekeepers Association, the country’s largest and sole nationally recognized association, where he advocates for training and development, and provides professional support.
Ali Hamdan joined Conrad Maldives as a bar attendant and was promoted to bartender within three years. His growth as a mixologist was enhanced by plentiful opportunities to train in various locations, from a Singaporean brewery to a Japanese sake house and the great Champagne houses of France. He is the first Maldivian mixologist certified by the International Bartenders Association.
Like Hamdan, Gasim Ibrahim began his Conrad Maldives stint as an F&B attendant, and it was there that he came under the tutelage of the head sommelier and began his education in earnest. Over a decade later, he is now one of the rare Maldivian sommeliers working in the industry and is currently completing his WSET Level 3 certification.
While at Conrad Maldives, both Hamdan and Gasim competed with distinction at the Hilton South East Asia Food & Beverage (SEA F&B) Masters, an annual series of rigorous competitions designed to showcase the best F&B talent across Hilton properties in the region on an international level.
Another valuable benefit of working with Hilton is career mobility. This facilitates the seamless exchange of skills and brings a diverse range of perspectives and expertise to the organization, which is evident in the team make-up.
Other team members such as Executive Housekeeper Hussain Visham, Front Office Manager Ali Shunaiz and Purchasing Manager Adam Ali, all of whom were previously from Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, brought their invaluable experience to Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa, and are fundamental to the smooth operations at the resort.
Similarly, HR Manager Nani Rasheed, IT Manager Naji Mohamed, Restaurant Manager Mohamed Niyaz, and Laundry Manager Abdulla Shareef all came from Conrad Maldives, and other team members, like Duty Manager Sajid Bushry, joined from overseas Hilton properties and contributed a wealth of multicultural perspectives.
Resort leaders are actively involved in nurturing young professionals. Anees mentors fellow Maldivian and Hilton SEA Management Trainee Hassan Visam throughout an 18-month program designed to develop him for the Duty Manager role.
Regular career workshops are a staple feature of resort activities, as are networking and coaching sessions through the Women Team Members Resource Group. Team members are also able to access specialist certifications, such as the childcare certification from Worldwide Kids that was recently awarded to the Krakengiri Kids’ Club team.
Hilton continues to build purposeful relationships within the community, empowering team members to pursue meaningful initiatives that lead to a lasting positive impact.
IT Manager Naji Mohamed champions Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiatives. These include a recent visit to Maafushi School in North Male Atoll where Team Members distributed educational children’s literature to the students and water dispensers for the school.
The resort also partnered with Maldives National University to provide internship and career opportunities for the next generation of young hospitality leaders. The first intake culminated in an intern’s successful integration as a regular member of the culinary team.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa is part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 22 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly on the hotel’s website will have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors app.
Chef David Hemmerle at InterContinental Maldives’ The Lighthouse this festive season
Chef David Hemmerle, a leading chef originally from France and now based in Moscow, will be visiting InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort and taking over The Lighthouse restaurant in December.
The Lighthouse has a 360-degree view of the resort and the sparkling Indian Ocean below, offering the finest seasonal ingredients and seafood.
The collaboration with Chef Hemmerle promises to elevate the resort’s culinary experience, providing guests with a diverse range of carefully crafted and delectable dishes that showcase Hemmerle’s culinary skills.
Known for his work in Michelin-rated restaurants in Europe and Asia, Hemmerle has over 30 years of experience in fine dining at the likes of the Four Seasons in Moscow and the Cristal Room Baccarat (Mercury Group), all of which has helped develop a deep understanding of the tastes of metropolitan gourmet cuisine, combined with a rich experience in Michelin-rated restaurants.
Chef Hemmerle will bring the flair and refinement of his homeland’s cuisine to the resort this winter, cooking with creativity & complex techniques and the finest local ingredients.
JA Resorts & Hotels welcomes Khumar Askerova as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Indian Ocean
JA Resorts & Hotels has announced the appointment of Khumar Askerova as the new Director of Sales and Marketing for the Indian Ocean region. Khumar brings with her an impressive 25 years of experience in sales and marketing within the hospitality industry, and a key appointment to the regional team.
The appointment will see Khumar overseeing sales for the company’s Indian Ocean flagship property JA Manafaru in the Maldives and two properties in the Seychelles, the boutique JA Enchanted Island and luxury villa residencies at JA Enchanted Waterfront.
Khumar is a seasoned sales specialist with a diverse background in the hospitality sector. Fluent in English, native in Russian and Azerbaijani, with a good command of Portuguese and Turkish, Khumar’s multilingual skills underscore her ability to connect with a global audience.
Khumar’s most recent role as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing at COMO Hotels saw her successfully manage a portfolio of key partners, and her expertise extends to new hotel openings, where she has played pivotal roles in the launch and success of four upper-scale Marriott hotels.
Additional Maldivian experience was gained whilst Khumar was Group Director of Sales & Marketing at Lily Beach Hotels also in the Maldives, where she led a cluster team, overseeing sales, reservations, marketing, and revenue for two islands in the Maldives.
Robert El Khoury, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at JA Resorts & Hotels comments, “We are confident that Khumar’s wealth of experience, strategic vision, and leadership qualities will contribute to the ongoing success and growth of our unique properties in the Indian Ocean. We warmly welcome her to our team and look forward to further developing our international presence with Khumar’s global expertise.”
Khumar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Baku State University. She has also obtained certificates in Executive Revenue Management & Strategic Pricing from the Institute of Hotel Management and eCornell Hotel Revenue Management Certificate.
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