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Unveiling celestial wonders: 2 decades of astronomical excellence in Maldives

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In the enchanting realm of Maldives tourism, a celestial marvel has quietly unfurled over the past two decades. It’s a saga of passion, exploration, and celestial wonder, all orbiting around one individual’s steadfast commitment to bridging the gap between humanity and the cosmos. Meet Ali Shameem, the Resort Manager of Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, nestled within the illustrious Crown and Champa Resorts Collection.

A pioneer in the field of astronomy tourism, Shameem’s cosmic journey commenced a decade ago with a transformative experience at the revered Milky Way Citizen, an astronomy school in India guided by the visionary Dr. Parag Mahjani. Enraptured by the celestial expanse, Shameem earned their inaugural certificate in Astronomy in 2010, igniting an extraordinary odyssey through the celestial realms.

Fast forward to the present, and Shameem stands as a luminary figure in Maldives tourism, having orchestrated a constellation of unforgettable astronomical experiences for visitors to the archipelago.

“From private stargazing sessions under the Maldivian night sky to Astronomical cruise dinners and special events tailored to celestial enthusiasts, I have illuminated the tourism landscape with my passion for astronomy,” noted Shameem.

But his stellar journey doesn’t end there. Collaborating with luminaries such as Dr. Giovanni Benjamin and even the legendary Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Shameem has elevated the Maldives’ astronomical offerings to astronomical heights. Inviting top astronomers from around the globe to share their expertise, he has turned the Maldives into a celestial hub where enthusiasts and novices alike can marvel at the wonders of the universe.

In recent years, Shameem has been under the tutelage of Professor Massimo Tarenghi, a distinguished Italian astronomer renowned for his pivotal role in establishing the ALMA observatory in Chile, the largest radio telescope array in the world. Leveraging this wealth of knowledge, Shameem has spearheaded the creation of an observatory at Anantara Kihavah Villas, offering guests an unparalleled glimpse into the cosmos.

With an exceptional blend of astronomical expertise and a hospitality mindset, Ali Shameem has curated an unparalleled astronomical experience that continues to captivate guests for two decades and counting. As the Maldives maintains its status as a premier destination for luxury travel, Shameem’s dedication ensures that the marvels of the universe remain an integral part of the Maldivian experience.

Currently, Shameem is spearheading a similar astronomy program at Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, with the construction of an observatory underway. Despite the project not yet being complete, Shameem and the team have initiated stargazing sessions as a gesture to enhance the guest experience. Following beachside dining experiences, guests are treated to stargazing sessions lasting between 30 minutes to an hour, immersing them in the celestial wonders of the Maldivian night sky.

Furthermore, guests are provided with an enriching educational experience encompassing various aspects of astronomy:

  • History of Astronomy: Kudadoo offers a detailed explanation of the history of astronomy, tracing its origins from ancient times and highlighting the remarkable discoveries made by ancient astronomers that have paved the way for modern-day astronomy.
  • Visual Astronomy: Using a specialized laser light, Shameem’s team intricately outlines constellations from Ancient Greek Mythology, providing guests with a comprehensive understanding of the bright stars visible in the night sky. Details such as distance, type, age, and size of the stars are meticulously explained, enriching the stargazing experience.
  • Deep Sky Astronomy: Through the utilization of a cutting-edge virtual application on an iPad, Kudadoo navigates guests through the latest discoveries in deep sky astronomy. This includes the positions of famous spacecraft, the asteroid belt, and newly discovered exoplanets. Guests are immersed in the virtual reality of the universe, expanding their knowledge and appreciation of the cosmos.

By combining immersive stargazing experiences with educational insights into the history and science of astronomy, Shameem ensures that guests at Kudadoo Maldives Private Island embark on a celestial journey like no other. As the observatory nears completion, the promise of even more extraordinary astronomical encounters beckons, reinforcing the Maldives’ reputation as a celestial sanctuary where the wonders of the universe are brought to life.

Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi, designed by Yuji Yamazaki, offers a sanctuary of serenity and luxury. With 15 exclusive Ocean Residences floating above the Indian Ocean, it redefines freedom with personal butlers available 24/7 to curate authentic experiences. From swimming with manta rays to beachside barbecues, Kudadoo blends effortless elegance with intimate luxury. Accessible

Gastronomy

BBM re-ignites culinary innovation with Master Baker Steven in Maldives

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Bestbuy Maldives (BBM) and IREKS are bringing back Master Baker Steven Selvamuthu for another exceptional training session in the Maldives from April 20th to May 5th, 2024. This collaborative effort will focus on elevating the baking skills of chefs across the Resort and Horeca establishments, merging local talents with global best practices in baking.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with IREKS and bring Chef Steven back to the Maldives,” said Praval Kumar, HoD Marketing at BBM. “This event not only enhances the local talent but also introduces them to global best practices in baking. It’s a part of our continuing commitment to nurture and develop the culinary scene in the Maldives.”

Chef Steven Selvamuthu, with his globally renowned expertise and engaging teaching style, has become a pillar of knowledge and inspiration within the Maldivian chef community. His sessions are eagerly awaited each year, valued for both the skills they impart and the enthusiasm they ignite among participants. IREKS, revered globally for its high-quality baking solutions, continues to play a crucial role in this educational initiative, enjoying the trust and confidence of the local chefs for more than two decades.

IREKS, a renowned German multinational, is recognized worldwide for its expertise in developing innovative baking ingredients. Their products cater to a health-conscious and quality-driven generation, offering a wide range of high-quality bakery flours, baking improvers, specialty bread mixes, and confectionary mixes, including Gluten-Free and Vegan options. With a focus on sustainability, IREKS promotes a diverse array of organic baking improvers and mixes, exclusively sourcing raw materials from controlled organic cultivation. IREKS is also the leading brand supporting the ‘Bread and Pastry Display Challenge’ during the Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge, May 2024. Their involvement in this prestigious event further showcases their commitment to fostering culinary excellence and innovation in the Maldives.

This year’s training sessions are set to delve into specialized topics, including popular areas such as Gluten-Free and Vegan baking options, catering to the evolving dietary preferences and health-conscious trends among consumers. Such sessions underscore BBM’s commitment to not only keeping pace with global culinary trends but also leading the way in bringing the best to Maldives.

BBM stands at the forefront of the Maldivian culinary supplies industry, partnering with global giants like Lactalis (Pauls), Lamb Weston, TWG Tea, American Specialty, San Benedetto, Mamee (chicken stock powder) and offering an expansive array of other products and ingredients. Beyond its role as a distributor, BBM is deeply invested in the culinary development of the region. Through regular training sessions, product demonstrations, and the exclusive ‘Masterclass’ series featuring Michelin Starred chefs, BBM continues to foster a vibrant culinary culture in the Maldives.

The upcoming sessions with Chef Steven are more than just training—they are a beacon for culinary excellence in the Maldives, drawing together the art and science of baking to inspire and elevate the skills of all participants. Despite the high demand and a fully booked calendar, BBM encourages resorts to inquire about possible demo slots. This flexibility reflects BBM’s commitment to inclusivity and its aim to spread culinary expertise across as many professionals as possible, enriching the overall gastronomic experience offered in the Maldives.

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News

Take time out to rejuvenate mind, body, soul at Mirihi Maldives

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Escape to Mirihi Island Maldives’ tropical shores between the 22nd and the 27th April 2024 to discover transformative experiences. Immerse yourself in a world of well-being at Mirihi Island Resort with a visiting wellness facilitators and a program of activities to relax and refresh the mind, body and soul.

Practice Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha or Lyengar Yoga with Danushkha, the Resident Yogi. These different Yoga techniques increase flexibility, boost immunity, calm the mind and promote a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Learn Yang Style Tai Chi with visiting instructor Suchan Hong founder of Sawasdee Tai Chi studio, Thailand. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition based on martial arts and is now a popular low-impact exercise suitable for all ages. This activity strengthens internal organs, enhances concentration and assists to achieve emotional balance.

Cleanse your mind and body and let your stresses float away with Reiki healing and the magic hands of Lia from Yoga Bliss with Lia – Bali. A Japanese technique which reduces stress and aids relaxation. Reiki is an energy healing modality that is gentle and safe for everyone. Reiki energy helps to clear and balance our energy pathways, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Burn those calories off in the crystal-clear lagoon waters with Water Aerobics, an ideal way to tone muscles, improve circulation and flexibility whilst the buoyancy of the water supports your body reducing stress on joints. It’s particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis or joint pain or those that simply want to enjoy the warm natural swimming pool and scenery.

Find your inner peace and serenity whilst trying your hand at Healing painting and truly indulge in a sumptuous seafood BBQ dinner on the beach, Harvester style.

In addition to these wellness offerings, guests can also enjoy snorkeling on the stunning house reef, diving, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, sound healing, being pampered at the Duniye Spa or snorkeling with whale sharks and manta rays in the surrounding atoll waters.

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Awards

THE OZEN COLLECTION vies for top Russia award

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OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI and OZEN LIFE MAADHOO both nominated for Best Romantic Resort, in Russia’s prestigious Travel Time Awards.

THE OZEN COLLECTION’s charming private islands in Malé Atoll, OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI and OZEN LIFE MAADHOO are both shortlisted in the prestigious TRAVEL TIME Awards 2023 for the ‘Best Romantic Resort in the Maldives’ category. 

“It’s not an uncommon dilemma for us at THE OZEN COLLECTION, with guests being spoiled for choice when it comes to sophisticated travel experiences. We take special care in curating romantic couples escapes and are honoured to know that it is gaining preference among Russians. This dual nomination underscores the popularity of our two ultra-luxury resorts within Russia, which is one of our top source markets.” says Falaaz Ismail, the Assistant Vice President of Sales for THE OZEN COLLECTION. 

At OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, timeless romance is amped up with engaging experiences like exquisite dine around in idyllic settings, sunset cruises and snorkelling, endless orders of champagne and a date at the exquisite underwater restaurant: M6m – Minus Six Meters, with the INDULGENCE™ Plan. Couples can savour tranquil indulgence together at the ELE|NA spa and wellness centre that’s inspired by the elements of nature. Soothing abodes for in-love couples include THE OZEN RESIDENCE which is a grandiose overwater haven and the charming Wind Villas with Pool.

Discerning travellers are invited to colour the canvas of romance at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI with exquisite gourmet experiences, sundowners at OZAR, and enchanting photoshoots against gorgeous Maldivian sunsets. They can indulge in soulful couple spa therapies at ELE|NA and enjoy memorable snorkelling in the resort’s exceptional house reef accessible from the island shores. Private bliss is the order of the day at the various romantic abodes at the resort, these include: the overwater Ocean Pool RESERVE and Suites with the option of water slides and the beachside Sunrise & Sunset Earth Pool Villas.

TRAVEL TIME Awards is organised by Travel Time magazine and is among the most highly regarded accolades within the Russian travel industry. Taking place in the Spring of 2024, this is the third round of awards to mark 2023 travel results. Winners will be selected by joint online voting of the magazine’s readers, editorial commission, travel agencies and Russian celebrities. 

OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI won Best Water Villa and Best Spa and Wellness Resort in 2023 and Best Luxury Resort in 2022 – all within the special destination awards for the Maldives.

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