Little bit about Villingili Golf Course

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The Villingili Golf Course is nestled on seven and a half hectares of land at the southern end of Villingili Island, where spectacular sights await you. Designed as a fun, recreational golf course for  aficionados and beginners alike, it was developed while keeping the island’s natural beauty untouched. A diversity of palms and exotic flora highlight views of the ocean and turquoise lagoon. Players and guests will delight in exploring a scenic walking path and secluded, intimate beach coves on the bordering shores.


Southern end of Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa
Addu Atoll, Republic of Maldives

Design and Management
• Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Land Size
• 7.5 Hectares

The Course
• 1,111 yards
• 9 Holes, Par 3 and Par 4

• Club House
• Pro Shop
• Shoe and equipment rental

• The golf course is exclusive to guests of Shangri-La’s villingili Resort and Spa
• Green fees and equipment rental are complimentary for all in-house guests

Beckhams in Maldives on Christmas break

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Former Manchester United and Real Madrid star David Beckham is blowing GBP250,000 with his family on a Christmas break in Maldives. He, wife Victoria and their four kids will spend 11 nights at the luxury One&Only Reethi Rah resort in the Maldives, according UK’s The Sun. The Beckhams suite is the priciest available, costing GBP8,600 a night. But they have booked three more, each costing GBP3,700 a night, taking the room bill alone to GBP217,000, The Sun said.
Dinner in the swish restaurant will cost at least another GBP150 each per night.
The resort boasts “swirling vitality pools, crystal steam rooms, saunas and stimulating ice fountains”.
The Sun further quoted a source who said, “It’s the best resort in the Maldives and they are staying in the most expensive rooms.”
The Beckhams flew to the Maldives from Britain on Saturday, then took a private plane to the resort.

The New Conrad Concierge App­—Personal luxury at your fingertips.

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Hilton Worldwide has launched Conrad Concierge, dubbed the first  service-enabled technology to be completely integrated with hotel management systems across a brand’s portfolio.

Conrad Concierge invites travellers to customise the details of a hotel stay before, during and after each visit from a smartphone or tablet across more than 20 Conrad hotels and resorts, including Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

“Conrad guests represent a new generation of global travellers for whom life, business and pleasure seamlessly interact,” said John Vanderslice, global head of luxury and lifestyle brands at Hilton Worldwide.

Whether choosing from three lines of bath amenities, a preferred pillow from the pillow menu, or pre-ordering dinner through room service, Conrad Concierge has been designed to deliver on the brand’s promise of the “Luxury of Being Yourself”.

“Conrad Concierge allows for this interaction by putting the control in the hands of our guests. Whether it’s scheduling a wake-up call while you’re at a business dinner or booking a relaxing spa treatment, this new app offering allows for a seamless and intuitive experience,” added Vanderslice.

A recent survey of consumers released by Conrad showed that nearly 75% of consumers use a smartphone, tablet or computer when booking elements of their travel.

According to the survey, 77% of travellers value service when selecting a hotel. Moreover, nearly 70% of US travellers prefer hotels that can customise their experience to reflect their personal desires and anticipate their needs.

“When it comes to hotels, younger, more affluent travellers don’t necessarily want to interact with the concierge,” said global travel expert and author Claire Newell.

With a few clicks, users can manage a range of services including room service, transportation, local attractions, spa appointments, housekeeping requests, wake-up calls and more.

The technology is available in 13 languages and is designed for Apple®[1] and AndroidTM[2] operating systems.

Dusit Thani Maldives listed in Top Ten Hot New Hotels of 2012

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Dusit Thani Maldives has been named as one of the Top Ten Hot New Hotels of 2012 by the acclaimed travel review site TripAdvisor. Dusit International’s latest opening was named alongside hotels in Spain, Canada and Vietnam.

Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll, Dusit Thani Maldives is 35-minutes by seaplane from the capital Malé. Blending Maldivian architecture with Thai artistry, the 100-villa resort features Dusit’s signature Devarana Spa, uniquely elevated above a grove of coconut palm trees. The resort’s centrepiece is the expansive infinity swimming pool, the largest in the Maldives, a full 750 square metres designed around an ancient banyan tree. Dusit Thani Maldives is an ideal haven to explore the marine biodiversity of Baa Atoll, the first UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in the country.

One of Dusit Thani Maldives’ guests told TripAdvisor “recently opened…it’s a wonderful place to go and escape the world…” according to their new release.

Surrounded by a vibrant 360-degree coral reef and turquoise lagoon, this island property features pearl white sandy beaches and a rich landscape of verdant vegetation.  Dusit Thani Maldives is considered a landmark addition to this fast expanding brand.

Six Senses Laamu Welcomes Michelin Star Celebrity Chef to The Maldives

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Limited Signature Dinners and Cooking Class in January 2013
Six Senses Home Office – Bangkok, 8 November 2012
Guests of Six Senses Laamu will have the opportunity to experience the exceptional cuisine of Danish Chef Thomas Rode Andersen, in January 2013. Since joining Copenhagen’s Kong Hans Kælder Restaurant as Head Chef and Managing Director, the renowned establishment has been awarded a much-prized Michelin Star.

During his visit to Six Senses Laamu, Chef Andersen is planning just two Signature Dinners – 05 and 10 January, plus a personal cooking class on 09 January.

The dinners will be hosted in the resort’s LEAF Restaurant. Guests wander through flourishing gardens and across a gently swaying bridge to reach this beautiful restaurant, perched atop the organic gardens and with ocean panoramas as a bonus. Many of the ingredients used in the restaurant are from these organic gardens, and line-caught from the Maldivian waters.

Originally hailing from Denmark’s Southern Jutland, Chef Andersen joined Kong Hans Kælder restaurant in 1996. It is set in one of the city’s oldest medieval buildings, which was converted to a restaurant in 1975. The glorious structure hosts a restaurant without pretention, where Danes enjoy the dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere. This natural and intimate feeling runs parallel to that of Six Senses Laamu.
As a multi-award winning chef and author of several books about gastronomy, Chef Andersen also recently turned to television, where he has hosted a series with more than 200 episodes over the past two years. Included in this was a culinary discovery expedition of Mauritius.

Just prior to his visit to the Maldives, inspired by his passion for a healthy lifestyle and personal fitness, he opens a paleo food concept outlet in Copenhagen. The concept is also being introduced to the Kong Hans Kælder restaurant, which will elevate paleo dishes to the realm of fine dining.

Six Senses Laamu sits in splendid isolation as the only resort in the Maldives southern atoll. Powder white sand and turquoise water encircle the beautiful tropical island. Luxurious, sustainably-created villas sit on the beach or stilted above the lagoon.

From Male International Airport (MLE), it is a 50-minute flight over the Maldives archipelago to Kadhdhoo, then transfer to a resort boat for the 15-minute trip to Six Senses Laamu.

The Signature Dinners at Six Senses Laamu are realistically priced at US$120 per person. The Cooking Class at just US$130. These prices are subject to local tax and service.
For further press information, please contact Benjawan Sudhikam (Ms) Director of Public Relations & Communications: Tel: +662 631 9777
Editor’s Notes:Six Senses Resorts & Spas is a management and development company, which manages resorts under the brand names Six Senses and Evason, plus Six Senses Spas

Six Senses: Attention to detail and a focus on the reality of the destination together with modern architecture provides generous personal space and presents an uncompromised standard of luxury. Six Senses offers individual style with a unique and diverse design personality, and a strong senses of community.

Six Senses Spas: A key element of all Six Senses properties, Six Senses Spas offer a wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists. Six Senses Spas are also hosted by prestigious hotels and resorts in many other locations.

Evason introduces a collection of unique resorts that follow the Six Senses philosophy of uncompromised responsibility to the environment and to the community. Family friendly, these properties also present a strong value focus while offering a vast array of guest services, personal attention and facilities.

Maldives is one of the best places to invest: Crescendas Group

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Singapore's Crescendas Group has insisted that despite the current political turmoil, Maldives has a safe and secure environment for foreign investors.

Crescendas group is currently developing a resort in Addu Atoll Hankede.
“Before we came to Maldives we heard disconcerting stories about Maldives. But when we came to Maldives we found that there were problems. There are no concerns. We are also thinking to invest here for the long term. That is because we have strong confidence. Otherwise we wouldn't have brought our funds to invest it here,” Crescendas group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lawrence Leo said.
Lawrence said there are numerous sectors that can be invested in Maldives.
“There is huge investment potential here. We have met many from both the private sector and government. We have received great support from everyone. Most important thing to be noted is everyone we met gave very positive responses. This shows that Maldives is one of the best places to invest,” he added.

Niyama Maldives Named Best New Sensation at Tatler Travel Awards 2012

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Per AQUUM announced that its newest property NIYAMA Maldives won Best New Sensation at the Tatler Travel Awards held at the Ritz Hotel, London on 26th November 2012.
The prestigious Tatler Travel Awards are held in extremely high esteem and this year’s awards were no exception with the magazine’s new Travel Editor Francisca Kellett taking the stand to honor the award winners. An expert panel made up of Tatler’s editorial team select the winners, each hotel has been visited by Tatler and is chosen from the 101 hotels featured in the annual travel guide. To be awarded Best New Sensation the property must have recently opened and feature something inspiring and new to the world of travel. Tatler editors cite NIYAMA as: “Fresh, surprising and unexpected, this is the Maldives with a clear-cut twist. It is catch-your-breath stunning.” Previous award winners of the Best New Sensation include Viceroy Anguilla, Devi Ratn and La Residence South Africa.
Brian Gardiner, General Manager of NIYAMA was at the event to collect the award and commented; “As part of the Per AQUUM difference we wanted to create an iconic property that stands out not only in the Maldives, but globally and brings an element of stimulation and fun to the destination. This award is a direct reflection of this achievement. I am very proud to be part of such a visionary team that dares to be different at every turn and it is an absolute honor to receive this award on behalf of NIYAMA and Per AQUUM.”

Neil Palmer, CEO of Per AQUUM was also thrilled with the award; “To have Per AQUUM’s newest addition be named Best New Sensation is a fantastic achievement. A tribute and thanks to our NIYAMA owners, Dr. Ibrahim and Sanjay Maniku and our very dedicated teams both at NIYAMA and Per AQUUM.”
NIYAMA is the newest addition to Per AQUUM’s award winning portfolio. It brings an edgy, modern twist to the traditional Maldivian escape by balancing tranquillity with a sense of discovery, stimulation and fun. NIYAMA is home to the world’s first underwater music club, Subsix that was recently launched by global superstars Tinie Tempah and DJ Poet Name Life.
NIYAMA offers 86 Studios and Pavilions, with both beach and over water options available. LIME Spa is open both day and night and offers the perfect tropical oasis to relax and rejuvenate. The culinary experience at NIYAMA goes beyond guests’ wildest imagination, from Tribal the modern day campsite experience to Edge which plays on the theme of molecular gastronomy to the Deli where guests can grab and go during their Maldivian adventure.

Maldives Local Travel Agents Welcome Government’s Decision to Terminate GMR Contract of Male’ Intern

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Saturday, 01 December 2012
Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) remains committed to their members and building a sub-segment within the tourism industry that caters to the local travel agents’ needs. Today local travel agents play a vital role in the development of Maldivian Tourism as a whole.
In the recent past, MATATO has been in dialogue with GMR Malé International Airport to discuss its concerns on GMR’s engaging in various commercial activities that might bring adverse effects on local travel agents.
The association also remains concerned with the increased prices of Tourist Counters, airline office spaces and other related services and facilities at the Airport. The current rents of the counters have been pushed up approximately by double from the previous ones.
Moreover, GMR’s getting into the business of ground handling of commercial aircrafts as well as private jets, thus narrowing down the chances for local agents to go ahead with this business, remains of great concern to MATATO. Recently they saw GMR take over majority of the retail businesses at the airport duty free thus adding to this concern.
MATATO believes an airport shouldn’t operate basing solely on commercial interests simply because the major share of Maldivian economy depends on tourism. Therefore the Airport Authorities should subsidise the charges on its services and facilities and encourage more airlines to fly to the Maldives thus attracting more tourists to Maldives.
Given the highly business oriented stance that GMR has tried to impose on local businesses, Government affiliated companies and the general public, MATATO welcomes the decision of the Government of Maldives to terminate the contract it has had with GMR. MATATO does not believe that the decision of Government of Maldives will adversely affect bilateral relation between India and Maldives and other international relations it has been enjoying over the years.
MATATO believes this decision will have no impact on current tourist arrivals or lead to any delays or disruptions at the Male’ International Airport.
MATATO also takes this opportunity to call upon the Government to offer special rates at the airport for local agents, incentive schemes for airlines and agents.

What the Maldives Doesn’t Need Right Now

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The Maldivian government’s sudden decision to cancel a contract awarded to a consortium in 2010 to run the capital’s airport and build a new passenger terminal is unlikely to hit the crucial tourism business, vacation operators say.

But it raises a bigger question about how the country, known for its high-end, ocean-atoll vacations, can meet the needs of a booming tourist industry.

The cancelation of the airport contract, which was won by a consortium of India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd and Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad for $511 million through a global bidding process, is part of larger turmoil that has gripped the country since February. Back then, the government of president Mohamed Nasheed was overthrown in what Mr. Nasheed claims was a coup, paving way for Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik to take charge of the country.

The new regime has given seven days to the consortium to hand over airport operations to the government though GMR Thursday challenged the cancelation in a Singapore court.

The contract cancelation comes at a time when the tourism season is at its peak, though Maldives’ resorts and tour business executives said they don’t expect any impact on tourist inflows for now.

“GMR is a professionally-run company and they will ensure that operations happen smoothly. In any case, the air traffic control activities have always been handled by the government, so we don’t expect much disruptions,” said Abdullah Ghiyaz Riyaz, managing director of Inner Maldives Holidays.

Mr. Riyaz said airlines have been calling him to ask whether flights could be disrupted. “I assured them there’s nothing to worry about for now,” he added, saying that he’s keeping his “fingers crossed” that no problems occur at a time when most hotels in the island nation are booked to the hilt.

Maldives, a country of around 400,000 people, is dependent on tourism for its economy and employment. The country’s hundreds of tiny islands have world-class resorts that draw wealthy tourists from the around the world, with the biggest markets being China and Europe. Tourist arrivals have jumped 63% since 2000 to 931,333 in 2011.

Most tourists never spend time in Male, the capital, but take short flights or boat rides to remote islands. But Male airport is the sole gateway to the country.

“A good airport is an essential part of the tourist experience, so, yes, we do need improvements in Male airport,” said Mohamed Khaleel, president of Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators.

He said improvements had started taking place over the last 18 months after the GMR-led consortium took over.

Mohamed Riyaz, managing director of tour operators LetsGo Maldives, said the airport contract cancelation may be a dampener for foreign investments in the country.

“The entire infrastructure of Maldives needs improvement and investment. It’s not just airport, but also our roads that need investments to be improved,” he said. “When tourists come in they expect the infrastructure to be on par with what they see in countries like India, for instance.”

Foreign investors and tourists already had a scare in Maldives, when February’s change in government shattered the peace of the pristine islands. Tourists have kept coming, with government statistics showing a 3.9% jump in tourist numbers for January to September compared to a year earlier. But the former foreign minister of the Maldives said the airport deal cancelation could prove terrible for the investment climate.

“This termination is absolutely lunacy and won’t give any confidence to foreign investors. Maldives is a small country which really needs investment from a friendly country like India,” said Ahmed Naseem in an interview.

The government, however, has said it’s not worried about GMR’s exit. “There has been no major developments in the airport in the last three years, except for some cosmetic changes. GMR didn’t bring in any investments either. Their plan was to develop the airport by collecting fees from passengers and other levies charged on the airport,” said Masood Imad, spokesman for President Waheed.

Mr. Imad said that GMR didn’t bring any technical expertise to the operations, relying on Maldives staff and systems to run the airport, as was being done before.

He said the Maldives state-run airports authority would take over operations from GMR, but didn’t say whether the government would seek fresh bids for the Male airport’s operation and expansion.

Arun Bhagat, spokesman for GMR, said the consortium had paid an up-front fee of $78 million for the rights to build and operate Male airport while it also raised funds on its own and through issuing debt.

“Airport development charges are collected at every major global airport. We had proposed to the government two weeks back that GMR was willing to waive off any fees on domestic passengers and charge a flat $28 on overseas tourists. The government never responded to our offer,” he said.

Mr. Bhagat added that both GMR Infrastructure and Malaysia Airports had significant experience in running airports globally and were bringing a lot of that experience to develop Male airport.
By Prasenjit Bhattacharya from