Water Villa, Six Senses Laamu Water Villa, Six Senses Laamu

THE MALDIVES: Where Cultural Sensitivity Exceeds Expectations (Part 2)

Taking into consideration the cultural and religious similarities of the Maldives with the Middle East, the pristine, secluded resorts scattered around its numerous atolls offer a home away from home for multigenerational discerning families.

Ruzza pinpointed, “The Maldives is becoming more and more popular for families, even those with babies and toddlers, wanting island-living at its best, year round sunshine, warm water, water sports, top diving activities and safe environment.”

Moreover, in terms of understanding the Middle Eastern cultural specifics, he disclosed that the resort’s beach villas have been refurbished into luxurious havens of comfort and style, with features such as secluded outdoor spaces and private beach access to meet the prevailing privacy needs of the guests.

Boyankova also underscored privacy while unveiling this seasons innovations.

At The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi we have recently launched a new room category, the Family Deluxe Beach Villa with pool, while at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives we have introduced the Grand Beach Villa with pool. Both types of villas are extremely spacious.”

Arabian culture sensitivity is also reflected through the resorts’ dining options, which generally boast rich Halal-friendly menus.

While mentioning that the Middle East represents one of the resort’s top performing source markets, with increased demand from Arab families, Boyankova highlighted that guests’ preferred freedom of choice when it comes to food, which particularly The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi resort addresses with 14 Halal-certified restaurants and lounges. Moreover, this year it will even expand its culinary offerings with an upcoming Sinbad Middle Eastern cuisine restaurant.

Speaking about unique dining, Ruzza also added, “We are home to the largest amount of food and beverage outlets in the country, with Halal options upon request, which has huge appeal to the Middle Eastern traveller looking to experience new tastes.”

Switching from privacy and food options as the main drivers, which seem to have reached a satisfactory level across the Maldivian resorts, hoteliers also pay attention to individual unique needs of the families and constantly strive to innovate.

One highlight is the availability of personalised butler services. Nuaas corroborated, “Each villa is assigned to a Mr/Ms Friday personalised butler service available 24/7 to guests throughout the entire stay.”

As such, Leal also detailed that while the property keeps surprising its guests with original room decorations, female butlers are also available for the guests upon request, ready to assist with any extra requirements.

Adding to the bucket of tailor-made offerings, Marteyne van Well, general manager, Six Senses Laamu, noted that personalised wellness programmes also represent one of the top requirements among Middle Eastern visitors, which led the resort to developing an integrated wellness package, customised according to the guests’ needs, may it be cleansing, better sleep or weight loss.

PAMPERING THE YOUNGEST GUESTS

While the Maldives is well-known for unbeatable opportunities to immerse in water activities and sports for everybody to enjoy, ranging from dolphin watching and cruises aboard the traditional vessel Dhoni, to extraordinary free diving and turtle snorkelling, designated sunset excursions and underwater scooter experiences, to name a few, the local resorts have identified the necessity to create in-house entertainment programmes for the youngest guests.

As a result, most of the resorts feature children’s clubs, which not only take care of the little ones’ fun time but also pay attention to their health and education.

Listing the variety of services available for children, including an option for parents to specify any extra children-related requests upon arrival, van Well, highlighted, ”At the Den [children’s club], there is an array of all daily activities which rotate weekly and include creative, educational, wellness and group activities, games, crafts, and so on.

We have a children menu in all our restaurants and an infant menu upon request. We also provide the guests with a tricycle with a small basket to move with the little ones around.” Extending the inventory of attractive kids’ activities, she described fishing, island hopping or diving, which the children can also enjoy at the resort.

Emphasising the importance of being able to entertain and stimulate children from all over the world through cultural understanding and developing relationships, Ruzza, described, “The complimentary Majaa Kids’ Club is unlike any other with an educational element incorporated.

Little ones can be pirates one day aboard a Dhoni in the middle of the ocean to a marine biologist the next. The surroundings lends itself well to keeping children entertained.”

REPUTATION WHICH TRAVELS FAR

The global portrait of the Maldives as an unprecedented gateway to the ultimate holiday experience has been reinforced by numerous international tourism accolades, which the destination continues collecting, such as the Best Sea Destination at the Italia Travel Awards and the Best International Island Destination at Outlook Traveller Award this year.

To bring the renowned image closer to the Middle Eastern market and complementing the MMPRC’s promotional initiatives, hospitality providers use their own channels and strategies to reach the target segment.

While clarifying that individual resorts cooperate with journalists from various digital and print magazines on travel features including ones focussed on family travel to the Maldives, Mohamed expounded, “[...] We work with the UAE-based travel agents and tour operators to create attractive packages for the Arabic market.

Additionally, we offer the Gili Family Gateway packages on our website for individuals looking to get away from the summer heat in the Middle East.”

Elaborating on the offerings that take into consideration the specifics of the Middle Eastern market, such as seasonality, Ruzza, disclosed, “[...] Our booking lead times for the Middle East traveller vary from other regions and so we cater our packages to fall in line with the most attractive travel times.

Ramadan and Eid rates are considered and on-resort packages such as family room rates, shisha and mocktail packages and the ongoing private spa access are all aimed at welcoming the Arab market.”

The plethora of tailor-made offerings and unique attractions, fused with high-quality service, attention to detail and cultural awareness, all elevated with the natural beauty of the surroundings, the Maldives undoubtedly boasts the ability to unlock the sunny side of every family’s life.

As Fleischmann-Torosyan, concluded, “[...] The Middle East is a very important part of the world to our hotel and our guests will surely be thrilled to return home to tell their families and friends about their experience [...].”