Saturday, 13 May 2017

MALDIVES: Maldives Has Become An Increasingly Popular Honeymoon Destination

Whether it’s for a honeymoon or an amorous escape, the Maldives with its 26 atolls, almost 1,200 islands, and over 120 luxury escapes to choose from, it comes as no surprise that the Maldives has become an increasingly popular honeymoon destination.

Brides magazine by leading travel company CondĂ© Nast – host to some of the biggest publications such as Vogue and The New Yorker – has published winners of the Brides 2017 Honeymoon Awards. The Maldives was ranked in the fourth spot from an extravagant list that included 20 of the most romantic honeymoon destinations in the world.

“The lush, picture-perfect islands that make up this Indian Ocean archipelago are light-years beyond your average beach destination,” described Brides magazine.

Naming some of the private-island resorts in the Maldives – the likes of Soneva Jani, St. Regis Maldives Vommuli, and Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah – the magazine described the islands as being “ringed by colorful coral reefs teeming with fish and the occasional shark.”

It suggested travellers, especially those seeking the perfect honeymoon destinations, to visit the Maldives and “spend your days snorkelling, scuba diving, and lounging on the deck of your overwater villa; by night, dine by candlelight on freshly caught fish and organic veggies, then follow that with a stargazing sesh with a NASA-worthy telescope.”

Winners of the 2017 Brides Honeymoon Awards showcase a wide diversity of destinations that have made the list including French Polynesia, Italy, The Hawaiian Islands, Greece, Bali, Mexico, Thailand, Fiji, South Africa, France, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, Seychelles, Australia, New Zealand, St. Barth, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

In its pursuit of discovering the most romantic hot spots of the world, Brides teamed up with A-list agents at Virtuoso, a global network of more than 15,000 luxury-travel specialists. Given the endless romantic destinations, countless hotel options paired with limited vacation time, Brides magazine explained that “picking the perfect honeymoon is no easy feat.”

Sun Siyam Resorts has unveiled ‘Uncover Asia’ – offering travellers 5% off on all room types when a Sun Siyam Resort in Maldives is booked together with Sun Aqua Pasikudah in Sri Lanka. The Uncover Asia package is valid for guests travelling anytime between May 9 and November 1.

In addition, guests booking with the Sun Siyam Irufushi Maldives from May 9 to September 30 are eligible for another special offer; free dining plan upgrades where guests benefit from a complimentary upgrade to the next dining plan.

According to the resort, guests booking bed and breakfast can indulge themselves in free dinner, while guests booking half-board are upgraded and provided with free lunch. Guests booking full-board get a free upgrade to the all-inclusive package, the resort said.

The Sun Siyam brand currently operates boutique luxury resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka; Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives, Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Maldives and Sun Aqua Pasikudah, Sri Lanka.

Lily Beach Resort and Spa has appointed Patrice Aira as the new Resort Manager. A French national from Toulouse, Patrice joined the Lily Beach team in March.

Patrice started his career as a busboy in the dining room of Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle and worked up the ladder in the food and beverages division of several hotels before he was appointed the Resort Manager at Four Seasons Resort in Mauritius.

“The Maldives is the epitome of paradise. In addition to the natural allure, I wanted to experience the Maldives’ hospitality industry first hand,” he said about the Maldives.

“Plus, the proximity of Sri Lanka and India brings about a nice mix of cultures that I was curious to discover.”

Patrice also worked as a Consultant for Richey International Ltd. and an Auditor for MKG QUALITING before his latest appointment at Lily Beach.

“When I arrived at the resort, I was amazed by the shades of blue that were surrounding the island. Also, the friendly faces that you see right upon the arrival… it’s a truly welcoming feeling,” he said.

“Everyone is loyal and focused on providing personalised service from the bottom of their heart. I’ve never seen anything like that before. What also reveals that Lily Beach stands head over shoulders above several other holiday destinations is the fact that so many of our guests feel like at home here and keep returning to the resort year after year, he said, explaining what makes Lily Beach a fascinating island.

“It’s especially inspiring to hear that even those guests who pride themselves in never spending their holiday at the same place twice make an exception with Lily!”

Patrice has an astounding fascination for diving, He said: “I devote the majority of my spare time on the island to diving the astounding coral reefs of South Ari Atoll.” He completed his Master of Business Administration at the Ecole SupĂ©rieure Internationale de Savignac in France.

Rewind back a couple of years and for most holiday-makers, the concept of wellness rarely went beyond spas. From carefully curated massages and scrubs offered in luxurious facilities, to the occasional yoga session in the morning, the definition of wellness remained very confined and vague.

But today, the scene has shifted to more travelers looking for a true escape, not just to relax a tired body, but to calm an overly stressed mind. This is where the hospitality industry comes to play.

With lifestyles becoming more hectic day by day, people have been prioritising personal wellbeing and integrating aspects of it into their holidays. The hospitality industry, especially within tropical destinations, has been observing a shift from party-centric holidays, to soothing escapes.

Last year, the wellness industry raked in a whopping US$3.7 trillion (2016, Global Wellness Summit) within the global economy. Beyond the spas, holiday makers have been putting their trust in different ends of the wellness spectrum to embrace healthier habits.

As a word, it might be modern. But as a concept, wellness dates back to the ancient times of the Roman baths. Over the years, “spa” has created an identity for itself while “wellness” is still trying to find its true place. WHO’s definition of health, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”, is what laid the groundwork for wellness in the mid-20th century.

An estimated breakdown of the wellness industry cluster shows surprising results. While the component of “spa” contributes to the industry, other elements of the cluster have overtaken it. The cluster has separated elements that are wellness-oriented approaches and conventional medical-oriented approaches.

Beauty and anti-ageing tops the wellness cluster, with healthy eating and nutrition contributing the second largest chunk, and the spa industry ranking number 8 out of the 10 sectors.

Several institutes have predicted select wellness trends that travelers are moving towards this year, with the Global Wellness Summit identifying 8 trends for 2017 and beyond. Together with trends identified by other institutes, below are some of the key trends with huge potential for hoteliers to tap into.

The origins of spa saw men being very inclusive in the scene, yet overtime, spa and wellness became an approach that had more of a feminine touch to it. However, recent trends are showing the evolution from the “macho man” to the “modern man”, who is more accepting of escaping to a wellness holiday, with properties branding packages just for men.

A “Gentleman’s retreat” may include a more active itinerary with activities such as boxing, aqua fitness and winding down with a massage or even a skin care routine.

For more and more people, ageing gracefully is becoming a personal target in life. The mass appeal has provided a rise in preventative health care, with holiday makers seeking anti-ageing options to slow down the biological clock. A rising popularity for this is also coupled with travelers seeking stop-smoking retreats to help break bad habits and build the first steps to a healthier lifestyle. It is time for hoteliers to embrace the trend of ageing gracefully.

Long gone are the days when you see every single guest load up daily on sausages and fried eggs at the buffet breakfast! This is the age of detox, proportioning nutritious meals, ridding the body of toxins, keeping away from certain proteins such as gluten not by need, but by choice.

Holiday-makers are starting to explore more holistic resorts where dining and wellness are integrated. Fasting and ridiculously small-sized diet portions are not in the picture anymore, replaced with organic and filling meals that provide an overall satisfying experience.

Many of the predicted trends are already in play, with more resorts and retreats planning to cater to these travelers with different experiences. In September 2017, the Wellness Summit by Hotelier Maldives will bring together all the movers and shakers within the Maldivian hospitality industry, in an attempt to explore the potential to fuel the trends for the wellness industry in the Maldives, and imagine innovative directions to move forward.

The next article in the series will look into the current state of the wellness industry within the hospitality scene in Maldives, exploring the minds of key innovative leaders.