Dive into an inspired celebration with a surreal underwater wedding at Anantara Kihavah Villas

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Couples dreaming of a fantasy wedding in a truly unique kind of paradise can descend into the Indian Ocean’s dazzling depths for a surreal underwater ceremony at Anantara Kihavah Villas in the breathtaking Maldives, as part of the resort’s Dive Wedding package.

In this adventurous ceremony, couples are surrounded by mesmerising marine life as they sign their wedding certificate.  The rings exchanged underwater are presented in a shell that offers a wonderful keepsake, and every precious moment is captured by an experienced underwater photographer from Elements Kihavah, the resort’s diving school and water sports centre.

After the underwater ceremony, newlyweds are also spoiled on dry land, beginning with hair styling and make-up for the bride by a professional beautician in preparation for a special evening celebration.  Dining by Design on the beach, couples savour a sumptuous lobster and seafood barbecue, served with a bottle of wine, as a butler tends to every need.  Anantara’s signature Slumber Guru experience offers an evening of blissfully intimate in-villa rituals, including a sensual bath and massage to soothing music, as well as host of relaxing bedtime gifts.  Waking up in paradise, an indulgent start to married life is enjoyed with an in-villa champagne breakfast.  While by taking part in the resort’s coral adoption programme, the couple can return in the future, perhaps to celebrate an anniversary, to see how their corals have blossomed over time.

Extending the possibilities, Anantara Kihavah Villas’ additional wedding packages include ceremonies on a postcard perfect beach, in the exclusive underwater restaurant and wine cellar ‘Sea’, and aboard a luxury yacht, for an Inspired Celebration that offers a unique journey of romantic discovery.

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas’ Inspired Celebrations concept invites couples to create their own love story from start to finish, beginning with the perfect surprise proposal and dream wedding, to the honeymoon of a lifetime and unforgettable anniversaries.

Escape to W Retreat & Spa Maldives, the best gateway to declare your love.

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Abandon the expected and experience the newly W underwater wedding. Get ready to celebrate your love fifteen meters under beautiful blue waters surrounded by thousands of colorful exotic fish and breathtaking corals. Mathew Chunky, the Retreat’s W Insider says “This is a once in a lifetime experience. The house-reef is absolutely magnificent and you can often see turtles, eagle rays and sharks swimming around.” You can also say “I do“ on white sands overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean. Celebrate with a romantic outdoor reception, lit by vibrant lanterns, and toast your big day with a signature cocktail or two. 

Go to Gaathafushi, W Maldives’ own private island for your honeymoon. Indulge in exquisite serenity while exploring the surrounding lagoon or hanging out on the signature W Bed under a thatched roof with a glass of Champagne. Indulge in fine cuisine by Executive Chef, Severin Huerlimann, while catching amazing sunset views. 

Connect with your inner peace and go along with the pace of island life. Experience one of the 78 Retreats, either on the beachside or overwater giving you access to endless Indian Ocean views. Succumb to an inviting concept of dazzling blue waters, spectacular reefs and pristine sands infused with style and soul. Flirt with adventure over the water with adrenaline filled water sports activities, or discover the best dives spots with DOWNUNDER, PADI certified team of dive masters. 

Let your fabulous dreams come true with the ultimate Whatever/Whenever services. Sit back and relax we will take care of the rest. 

For more information on W Retreat & Spa Maldives https://www.alphamaldives.com/resort/w-retreat-spa_25_home_0.html

Soneva Fushi invites shark savers to freedive and swim with sharks in their sanctuary

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Regional Director of Shark Savers and leader of the ”I’m FINished with Fins” campaign, Jonn Lu was invited to sustainable luxury resort in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi to freedive with sharks in the UNESCO Biosphere protected Baa Atoll.

A hobby scuba diving instructor and freediver, Jonn Lu jumped at the chance to launch Soneva Fushi’s new freediving experience. As the first resort in the Indian Ocean to offer freediving to resort guests, Soneva Fushi has enlisted the expertise of Danish-Japanese Freediving Instructor and athlete, Ken Kiriyama, who is also the Danish National Team freediver, to guide and share the magical experience of exploring the underwater world in one held breath.

Jonn Lu said: ”It was a privilege to be in the Maldives to swim in an ocean that provides sharks with protection against shark fishing. Freediving is a very unique way to experience the ocean with the lowest possible environmental impact; all that’s required is a swimsuit and and a mask, and sometimes perhaps a pair of fins. This is by far the purest way to be in the ocean with marine life, without being encumbered by heavy scuba diving accoutrements. In a similar way, this is how our ancestors experienced the ocean for thousands of years.”

Soneva Fushi owners, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani have actively campaigned for many years to champion the conservation agenda for the Maldivian shark population. The Maldivian government commendably introduced a ban on shark fishing in all its waters in 2010. The ban is a great step forward for shark conservation and prevents fishermen from hunting sharks in up to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) off the atoll coasts. Soneva Fushi is the newest corporate supporter of the “FINished with FINS” campaign and Sonu and Eva say that they are proud to be invited to play the role of Corporate Campaign Ambassadors for the Maldives. In their role, they will endeavor to recruit other corporates to join the campaign, and to assist in plans to help thwart illegal catchment of sharks by poachers in Maldivian waters.

Soneva Fushi has reintroduced Freediving Course for the peak season (till April/May 2014); one centered upon the foundations of breath, awareness, relaxation, safety and knowledge. Some people freedive for fun and to observe marine life, and others for the meditative and introspective nature of the sport. There are also those who want to improve their aquatic skills, depth and time, or to experience a break-through.

How about a romantic getaway aboard in a luxury submarine?

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If you have a bottomless bank account and a love that goes deeper than the ocean, a British travel outfit has created a package that allows lovers to make their own tsunami waves in a romantic getaway aboard a luxury submarine.

OK, so it's not yellow. But for adventurous couples who may have already inducted themselves into the Mile High Club at 35 000 feet, Oliver's Travels has adapted a leisure submarine with luxury furnishings and "sound-proof living accommodations” as part of their Mile Low Club.

The underwater marine hotel called "Lovers Deep" can be moored near the coral reef off the coast of St. Lucia or near a sunken battleship in the Red Sea.

But love at the bottom of the ocean doesn't come cheap. You'll need to cough up $292 800 per night for a stay on the submarine vessel.

For the tidy sum of an average, middle-class suburban home, guests get a captain, a private chef and butler, speedboat transfers and optional add-ons that include helicopter transfers, beach landing, two-person shower, and champagne-soaked breakfast.

For good measure, the agency will throw in a rose petal scattering service.

Guests who book the submarine accommodations as part of their honeymoon package in 2014 are also being offered a free lovers' dinner menu that includes oysters, caviar and chocolate fondant with essence of pomegranate.

Lovers Deep is the latest in a new travel trend rising to the surface. In response to the banality of skyscraping properties, more and more hoteliers are plumbing the depths of the ocean for new and innovative lodging experiences.

The Manta Resort, for instance, offers a striking underwater room off the coast of Tanzania that includes a suite built four meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean, backlit by underwater spotlights.

Perhaps one of the best existing examples is the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel, which consistently makes it onto travel bucket lists and most-exclusive lists.

Set five metres below the surface, the fine dining restaurant features 180-degree views of the coral gardens.

And the blueprints for a futuristic-looking luxury Maldives Resort reveal plans to build a spaceship-like edifice seven metres above water on five pillars. The lower deck, meanwhile, will be built up to 30 metres below the surface.

Source: http://travel.iafrica.com/bulletinboard/903285.html

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Opens M-Lounge on the beach

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Maldives, January 2014 – One of the most luxurious resorts, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives unveils a picture-perfect beach lounge that sophisticates unwinding in style to a new level.

The new lounge,  an extension of the resort’s Manzaru Bar and located on the adjoining beach, has recently opened.  Decorated in nuances of white and cream, the lounge offers resort guests the ideal venue for daytime refreshments, spectacular sun downers and nightlife underneath the stars.

M-Lounge opens in the morning until late and remains the hottest resort attraction.  Throughout the day, guests position themselves on stylish loungers and bean bags, enjoying their favoured tea, coffee or other desire.  The soothing sound of waves at their feet and the whispers of palm trees behind them mixes with the lounge music, creating a perfect holiday soundtrack.

The arrival pier and the hotel’s unique luxury sailing yacht Horizon, docked metres away from M-Lounge, provide the backdrop and make the new venue a hub of island activity.

M-Lounge is a meeting point where friendly conversations begin and revolve around the most pleasant moments of resort life.

Once the evening comes and the low Maldivian sky starts changing from a pale lilac to purple through splashes of orange and pink, M-Lounge becomes the front row for sunset-watching romantics.  Sipping on a sun downer, while enjoying an exotic-flavoured shisha – sophisticated chilling out has quickly become a habit for Villingili visitors.

Guests feel the ocean breeze on their skin and watch the stars slowly coming out to amaze.  One can choose a pre-dinner cocktail or drop by after dinner to see how the mood of M-Lounge has evolved with dozens of soft lights reflecting the magic of the skies.  Light snacks created from local ingredients, creative cocktails, some of which in different shades of blue to match the surroundings, and non-alcoholic drinks are available throughout the day with impeccable service and attention to every detail from the professional M-Lounge and Mazaru Bar team.

M-Lounge evolves again into one of the few upscale live DJ spots in the Maldives.  Resident DJ Kate spins tunes six nights a week and brings her exquisite musical taste and international DJ experience that have been refined in the trendiest lounges of Singapore and Bali.  Her engaging beats and sunny personality have guests dancing nights away on the sand and under the stars.  Wednesday at M-Lounge is an island cocktail party where guests are offered drinks and delightful canapés, with compliments, and local Maldivian Bodu Beru dancers bring their drums and perform.

Future entertainment boasts international DJ guests and live VJ performances, as well as creative themed nights with a range of music from different eras accompanied by matching cocktails and décor elements. 

M-Lounge’s design is classic, simplistic and contemporary.  Shades of white dominate the venue, reflecting the white sandy beaches of Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives.  The décor perfectly matches the lush green of the island and the mesmerising turquoise of the lagoon.

Resort General Manager Rene D. Egle is the mastermind behind this new Villingili hotspot. “I wanted to praise local nature and, at the same time, create something very internationally recognised,” Mr Egle said.  “The design is inspired by the beauty of the surrounding island and modelled after the latest chill-out lounges in Monaco, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”

M-Lounge is the latest addition to the resort’s fascination restaurant collection comprising three restaurants and two bars catering to all tastes and occasions.

For More information please visit https://www.alphamaldives.com/resort/shangri-la-s-villingili-resort_23_home_0.html

Coco Collection appoints new Cluster Manager for Marketing & PR

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Coco Collection, the management group that operates the Coco Resorts : Retreats properties, has announced today that Tina Dotzauer has been appointed as the new Cluster Manager for Marketing & PR for the Groups’ stunning resorts in the Maldives.
Tina is an insider when it comes to luxury in the Maldives – she has held several positions in the hospitality industry of this idyllic Indian Ocean country over the last seven years.

She joins Coco Collection at a significant point in time of their development – a new COO, Mr. Nicholas Simmonds, was appointed only last November, and he has been tasked with the almost impossible: to make each and every Coco Collection resort even more outstandingly fabulous than they already are. In this endeavor, Mr. Simmonds will count on the assistance of his Marketing & PR team in further improving the image of the group and of each resort in turn. Tina will liaise with the teams on location, as well as with Coco Collection’s PR agencies abroad to ensure maximum exposure for each property. Her main focus will be on increasing brand awareness throughout various markets, maintaining and improving each resort’s website and the joint social media presence of the group, and to evaluate and implement new and exciting ways to experience the Coco Collection resorts.

“I am more than happy to be able to contribute to the further strengthening of our brand portfolio – with three outstanding resorts in the Maldives Coco Collection ensures that the diverse segments of the upper luxury market are well served. Any guest can experience their own personal dream holidays with us, should they desire the ultimate tropical hideaway and choose the private island of Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island, or the boutique luxury experience of Coco Bodu Hithi, or the environmentally sustainable back-to-nature life they can enjoy at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu”, states newly appointed Cluster Manager, Marketing & PR, Tina Dotzauer.

Tina’s appointment comes at a time of re-structuring for Coco Collection – after the departure of Ms Lisa Brightwell, the former VP of Sales & Marketing, in December 2013, and the recent departure of Mr Wai-Kei Wong, former Director of Sales & Marketing, Tina will be overtaking all Marketing inquiries previously handled by Ms Brightwell. At the same time, Ms Aishath Suhaila, Sales Manager of Coco Collection and Sunland Hotels, who has been with the company for more than 10 years, will respond to any Sales-related queries that were previously taken care of by Mr Wong.

In the true spirit of Coco Collection, Tina, Suhaila, and their teams will strive to inspire, while staying true to the company’s Maldivian roots, providing timeless experiences for their guests. More appointments will follow soon.