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Michelin-starred chef Jan Van de Voorde takes helm at Dusit Thani Maldives

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he recently appointed Executive Chef and F&B expert is dedicated to expanding the range of  cuisine offered at the luxury resort.

Dusit Thani Maldives has announced the appointment of Jan Van de Voorde as the new Executive Chef.  

“We are delighted to welcome Jan Van de Voorde to the Dusit Thani Maldives team,” said Mr.  Jean-Louis, General Manager of Dusit Thani Maldives. “With his extensive experience and  passion for the industry, he is the ideal candidate to lead our food and beverage department’s  efforts as we strive to provide the utmost experience to our guests.” 

Bringing a wealth of expertise and creativity from his background in Michelin-starred restaurants  in Belgium and the Netherlands, Chef Jan will lead the Culinary and Food and Beverage  Departments in his new role. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Dusit Thani Maldives and to enhance the culinary  experience at this stunning resort,” Chef Jan remarked. “I am passionate about using local  ingredients and crafting innovative dishes that highlight the flavours of the Maldives.” 

Chef Jan has built a career focused on delivering exceptional guest satisfaction, adept problem solving, effective food cost control, and meticulous HACCP hygiene management. His expertise  extends to Nikkei cuisine and encompasses strong management skills, including team  leadership, decision-making, and budgeting. 

Before joining Dusit Thani Maldives, Chef Jan held executive chef positions at Centara Grand  Beach Resort Krabi, Dhigali Maldives Resort, and Holiday Inn Resort Pattaya. In these roles, he  achieved significant success in reducing food costs, enhancing guest satisfaction scores, and  introducing new culinary concepts. 

Chef Jan is a graduate of Ter Groene Poorte hotel school in Bruges, Belgium, where he  obtained his Bachelor’s in Hotel Management in 1992. He is fluent in Dutch, French, and  English, with basic proficiency in German and Thai. 

Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll – Maldives’ first UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – Dusit Thani Maldives is just 35 minutes by seaplane from the capital city, Malé, or a 25-minute  domestic flight and 10 minutes by speedboat from Dharavandhoo Airport. 

Encircled by white sandy beaches, a stunning 360-degree living house reef, and a turquoise  lagoon, the resort comprises 94 luxury villas and residences, five restaurants and bars, Baan  Sanook Kids Club, and Dusit’s signature Devarana Wellness, which features spa treatments  inspired by ancient Thai healing principles and a wide range of healthy, invigorating, and  meaningful activities for guests to enjoy. 

For more information about Dusit Thani Resort Maldives, please visit the resort’s official website or contact resmaldives@dusit.com. 

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News

Soneva Secret whispers: Bespoke luxury unveiled in Haa Dhaalu Atoll

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Soneva, the hospitality group synonymous with sustainable luxury, has unveiled its newest masterpiece: Soneva Secret. Nestled in the Maldives’ pristine Haa Dhaalu Atoll, Soneva Secret promises an unparalleled level of bespoke experiences.

Three decades in the making, the resort elevates personalized service to new heights. Accessible by seaplane or speedboat, Soneva Secret boasts 14 stunning beach and overwater villas. These havens seamlessly blend with the breathtaking natural beauty, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

Unparalleled Service and Bespoke Culinary Experiences

Guests are treated to unparalleled attention with dedicated teams assigned to each villa. A “barefoot guardian” and “barefoot assistant” cater to every need, while a private chef curates bespoke menus for in-villa dining or unforgettable al fresco experiences at scenic island locations.

Six unique villa types are available, including the Crusoe and Castaway Villas, meticulously designed to harmonize with the untouched environment. Encounters with manta rays, dolphins, and even whale sharks promise unforgettable memories.

Soneve Secret 1

Luxury Beyond Accommodation

Soneva Secret goes beyond luxurious accommodations. Guests can embark on curated experiences, from indulging in gourmet delights at the unique “Out of This World” dining tower to enjoying toes-in-the-sand dining at the “So Primitive” firepit.

The resort’s central hub, The Living Room, offers casual dining, a well-stocked library, a boutique, and Soneva’s renowned ice cream, chocolate, cheese, and charcuterie rooms.

Tailored Adventures and Sustainability Efforts

Guests can choose from a variety of tailored tours and experiences, from sunset dolphin cruises to guided snorkeling with marine biologists. The resort’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its construction and operations. Fresh herbs and vegetables are grown on-site, promoting a paddock-to-plate dining experience. Additionally, Soneva Secret utilizes water production facilities and solar energy to minimize its environmental footprint.

Partnering with the Soneva Foundation Coral Restoration project, the resort houses a coral nursery, actively contributing to the rejuvenation of the marine ecosystem. Environmentally conscious mosquito traps ensure a comfortable stay while protecting the local environment.

Soneva Secret offers a haven of bespoke luxury, exceptional service, and unforgettable experiences, all while prioritizing the preservation of its idyllic island setting.

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Green Globe Recertification for VARU by Atmosphere

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VARU by Atmosphere has secured the prestigious Green Globe Recertification for sustainable resort operations, following a rigorous audit encompassing over 44 mandatory core criteria. Located in the North-West edge of Malé Atoll in the Maldives, the 5-star resort offers a truly Maldivian experience by incorporating aspects of local traditions and cultures, structural design – fused together with bursts of chic tropical vibes.

Green Globe recognises organisations that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainable management, social responsibility, cultural heritage, economic stability and environmental conservation. Regarding this latest certification, Mei P Pun the General Manager of VARU by Atmosphere says, “Sustainability is at the core of our philosophy ‘Joy of Giving,’ and we believe in genuine, impactful changes. The goal is to create delightful guests experiences, while remaining respectful towards the local environment and community. For example, as part of biodiversity conservation, we are working towards building a coral garden. A frame of corals has been successfully tested, and the program will be launched this year”.

Sustainability is an essential part of the long-term business growth at Atmosphere Core, the company that manages VARU by Atmosphere. There is continuous effort towards driving CORE IMPACT — across Communities, Operations, Resources and Environment. Elaborating on this approach, Mei adds, “We are progressively integrating KPIs for sustainability into our performance management planning. While goal setting is important, I also believe in making the initiatives educational, fun and purposeful for both guests and colleagues. We hope that our efforts can drive real change and become tomorrow’s standard”.

As a part of the Atmosphere Colleague Development Program (ACDP), the Learning & Development team identifies, develops and encourages potential high performers. Following dedicated mentorship, the resort recently celebrated the graduation of four colleagues through the program. This achievement proves the efficacy of ACDP in sculpting hospitality leaders.

Community initiatives by the resort team reflect a genuine desire to make meaningful contributions to society. A recent initiative is the ‘Give Back Day.’ As a part of this program, the VARU team partnered with Fivathi Orphanage to organise a special Iftar event for 90 children. Similarly, the team recently organised a trip to nearby K. Huraa island to promote hospitality opportunities in for Maldivian youth, fostering economic empowerment and a sense of belonging within the community. During the pandemic, VARU by Atmosphere stepped up to support local communities by providing essential supplies to the Health Center. Contributions included face masks, new bed sheets, towels, and testing kits that served as a lifeline.

The resort embraces its responsibility to tread lightly upon the Earth by minimising operational impact on the island ecosystem. From energy-saving measures to waste reduction strategies, every aspect of operations aligns with environmental conservation goals. Noteworthy initiatives include 99% energy-efficient LED lighting, renewable solar energy infrastructure, paperless check in, island kitchen garden and a water bottling plant to eliminate plastic waste. By botting water in-house, the resort eliminates the use of more than 100,000 plastic bottles a year. There is also a focus on reducing waste generation, and recycling in partnership with leading recycling companies in the Maldives.

Water use is also carefully audited. Guests are encouraged to participate in the Towel and Linen Reuse Programme, wherein they can opt for a change of sheets and towels every third day to save water. A wastewater treatment centre ensures that grey water is used for irrigation and gardening, thus saving a considerable amount of portable water.

The resort also prioritises centralised sourcing while favouring local supplies, such as sourcing fish directly from local fishermen, and importing specialty items only. Furthermore, the team actively engages in reef and island cleaning activities, underscoring its commitment to preserving the natural beauty of the Maldives for generations to come.

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Awards

Maldives wins in 2 categories at Marine Diving Awards in Japan

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has announced that the Maldives has been awarded 3rd place in the “Best Area Overseas Division” and 2nd place in the ” Best Overseas Destination I Want to Visit for the First Time”, in the “Marine Diving Awards 2023,” as voted by divers nationwide in Japan.

Marine Dive Fair  is Japan’s largest comprehensive diving fair, which has been leading the diving scene in Japan for over 50 years. Marine Diving Fair is one of Asia’s largest SCUBA diving exhibitions, and the Marine Diving Awards are determined by the online vote of divers across Japan. Rankings are determined after a six-month voting period. The 32nd edition of this prestigious award serves as a reference for experienced divers, as well as those who are considering starting diving in the future, and professionals in the diving industry.

The results announcement and top awards ceremony for the Marine Diving Awards 2023 takes place in April, at the stage of the Marine Diving Fair 2024 being held in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Destinations, instructors, and diving shops that ranked highly in all eight categories, including Seas Worth Diving Into, Seas to Visit in the Future, Outstanding Professional Divers, and Best Diving Shops, are honoured during this time.

The Maldives, which represents approximately 5% of the world’s coral reefs, boasts hundreds of diving sites and is home to over 2,000 marine species. Moreover, it is one of the few regions in the world where you can observe manta rays and whale sharks year-round.

Japan is a significant market for the Maldives. Prior to the pandemic, Japan was the ninth top tourist market to the Maldives. From January to March this year, 9,333 Japanese tourists arrived in the Maldives, compared to 2,271 in the same period last year. This 310% increase in arrivals compared to last year signals a great boost to the Maldives tourism industry. Japan is currently ranked 15th in tourist arrivals.

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