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IPU 'lauded' Maldives, reports state media, in spite of calls to restore 12 MP's

State media has drawn criticism and ridicule after claims Wednesday that the Inter-Parliamentary Union praised the Maldives parliament.

The Public Service Media’s Television Maldives claimed that a report released during the organisation’s 138th general assembly “noted the IPU’s work with the People’s Majlis and praised the cooperation from Speaker Abdulla Maseeh.”

No mention was made of calls to immediately reinstate 12 MP's and withdraw charges raised against opposition lawmakers.

After visiting the Maldives from March 19 to 21, an IPU delegation called the disputed removal of the dozen lawmakers “arbitrary” as it came “at a time when a vote on the no-confidence motion against the speaker was imminent and likely to pass with [their] support”.

The delegation also expressed concern about “the wave of arrests of members of parliament under the state of emergency, the charges brought against four parliamentarians, and their detention until the end of their trial on charges of terrorism.”

Noting the passing of laws with less than half of lawmakers present, the delegation observed that “the ruling parties and the opposition appear to be unable to use parliament as the platform to discuss their differences and find common solutions.”

The organisation of national parliaments called for a fact-finding mission in October after defectors from the ruling party were unseated “in the absence of any legal basis under Maldivian law.”

The IPU also raised alarm over “the increased militarization of the physical premises of the parliament” after opposition MPs were manhandled and dragged out by police officers and soldiers in riot gear.

But deputy speaker ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, who is representing the Maldives at the IPU assembly in Geneva, told TVM that the report was the best compiled on the Maldives so far despite “misinformation” from the opposition.

The state TV station came under fire Wednesday night with social media users sharing the IPU report and asking how concern amounted to thaureef (praise).

Since the Public Service Media company was established by law in 2015, state media channels have been criticised for exclusively showing ruling party rallies and airing talk shows without an opposition voice.

“TVM is a government mouthpiece. Even if we might not think like them, we can’t speak out openly against it or there will be disciplinary measures,” a senior editor told the Maldives Independent after the 2016 anti-defamation law came into force.

Qatar Airways to up daily Operations

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For Maldives, Qatar Airways to up daily operations

An aircraft of Qatar Airlines pictured in an airport

Qatar Airways Group’s CEO Akbar Al Baker made the announcement at the world’s premier travel trade fair, ITB Berlin, on Wednesday

Qatar Airways Group’s CEO Akbar Al Baker made the announcement at the world’s premier travel trade fair, ITB Berlin, on Wednesday 15th March 2018.

Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, is planning to increase operations to the Maldives to triple daily flights this year.

Speaking at the press conference, Baker announced that Qatar Airways will increase frequency to the Maldives, and Spain’s Madrid and Barcelona to triple daily, and frequency to Poland’s Warsaw, Vietnam’s Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Czech Republic’s Prague, and Ukraine’s Ky-iv to double daily.

Baker also revealed that Qatar Airways plans to expand its global outreach in 2018 and 2019, with new destinations including Luxembourg, UK’s London Gatwick and Cardiff, Portugal’s Lisbon, Estonia’s Tallinn, Malta’s Valletta, Philippines’ Cebo and Davao, Malaysia’s Langkawi, Vietnam’s Da Nang, Turkey’s Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay, Greece’s Mykonos and Thessaloniki, and Spain’s Malaga.

“Qatar Airways is tremendously excited to announce further expansion with a significant number of new destinations to be added to our extensive global network throughout 2018 and 2019. This is a direct reflection of our commitment to connecting traveler across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient to them. We are committed to continuing our ambitious growth strategy, in order to be able to provide our passengers with as much choice as possible and to take them anywhere in the world they wish to go,” stated Baker.

Qatar Airways currently operates two daily flights to and from the Maldives. The airline recently deployed the Airbus A-350 to capital Male, becoming the first to deploy the brand new jet to a South Asian country. Qatar Airways will use the airbus, which has a capacity of 280 passengers, between Doha and Male until the end of March.

The world’s fastest-growing airline, Qatar Airways is celebrating more than 20 years of service with an extensive global network of more than 150 destinations. With over 200 aircraft in its modern fleet, Qatar Airways was named “Airline of the Year” by the World Airlines Awards in 2017.

Top Best honeymoon water villa resorts in Maldives

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Best Honeymoon water villa resorts in Maldives

Water villas and honeymoons go perfectly together, and many couples dream of staying in one during their unforgettable trip of a lifetime. The Maldives has over 75 different private-island resorts that feature water villas and over-water bungalows, so choosing the perfect one can take a lot of work and a lot of time, to say the least.

Since we have researched and reviewed all of them, we've decided to help honeymoon couples out by selecting the finest romantic resorts in the Maldives on the list below. Honestly, every water villa resort in the Maldives gets honeymoon couples, and all of them have a lot to offer, but the ones below all offer the best combination of quality, great reviews, and value for money.

Most honeymoon couples prefer to stay in a smaller resort that has few or even no kids facilities, and the all-inclusive meal plans seem less important for romantic trips as well. All the resorts below have luxurious water villas, excellent spas, room service, and many other amenities to make your honeymoon extra special.

1 - COMO Cocoa Island Resort

  • Water Villa:- 33
  • Total rooms/suites:- 36

Cocoa  Island Resort 

The highest rated Maldives resorts by guest reviews is also perfect for a honeymoon. It has 33 unique water villas – designed to resemble Maldivian fishing boats – and 3 additional island villas. There are no family facilities so this is very much of a romantic couples resort. Each suite comes with an entertainment center, daily room service, a private sundeck and a split level bedroom. Little extras include bathroom amenities and a beach bag that includes sandals.

The spa here is excellent, as is the diving and snorkelling at the house reef. The main restaurant gets excellent reviews, as does the room service. While COMO Cocoa Island Resort is firmly in the 5-star price category during the high season, it actually has fantastic online special rates during the off-season (June through November) so it can be a bargain in addition to being one of the very best Maldives resorts, full stop.

  • Low season online specials from US$972 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,045 per night
>>> Check Rates please Copy the Website >>>
( www.overwaterbungalows.net/ACOMOCocoa )

2 - Baros Resort Maldives

  • Water Villa:- 30

  • Total rooms/suites:- 75

Baros Resort Maldives 

Absolutely a 5-star luxury resort, Baros is extremely popular and extremely high rated by past guests. The 30 water villas here are all very large and well appointed, including a king-size 4-poster bed in each. There are also 45 island villas that are also quite luxurious. The water villas include a list of very nice amenities including a bathtub with an ocean view, air conditioning, a private wine cellar, a private bar and much, much more.

With 75 total rooms you wouldn't expect 4 different restaurants and 2 other bars, but Baros Resort is not like other Maldives hotels. There's also 24-hour room service, and of course a luxury spa. This resort also has a great number of water sports and other activities, especially considering its intimate size. If this one is in your price range there is no doubt you'll have an amazing time here. 

  • Low season online specials from US$1,480 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,596 per night
>>> Check Rates please Copy the Website >>>
( www.overwaterbungalows.net/ABaros )

3 - Mirihi Island Resort 

  • Water Villas:- 30
  • Total rooms/suites:- 36

Mihiri Island Resort

Perfect for those looking for a water villa honeymoon on a modest budget, the Mihiri Island Resort offers excellent value in addition to high quality and excellent service. This is a 4-star resort with only 30 water villas and 6 island villas, and almost nothing of interest to families and no nightlife to speak of, making it very much of a romantic couples resort, which is very fitting for a lot of visitors.

The water villas aren't huge, and they don't have TVs, but otherwise they are very nicely appointed, making them ideal for honeymooners. The spa features Adam and Eve treatments (couples massage followed by champagne on your private balcony), but there is also great diving and snorkelling here and other water sport options.Especially in the off-season, the Mihiri Island Resort is a fantastic bargain for a honeymoon resort.

  • Low season online specials from US$683 per night
  • High season online specials from US$709 per night

4Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

  • Water villas: 45
  • Total rooms/suites: 45

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives 

The Gili Lankanfushi Maldives (formerly known as Soneva Gili by Six Senses) is easily among the finest resorts in the Maldives, if not the world. It features 45 water villas that range in size from huge to ridiculous, the largest of which is by far the largest water villa in the world. Everything here is extremely well done, including the restaurants and the service.

It's important to note that the style here is meant to be “No news, no shoes,” meaning that it's casual, private, and remote. The 8 largest water villas (including the huge one) are all only reachable by boat, which might be one reason why this place is popular with the very rich and famous. Considering everything, it's amazing that rates are actually reasonably within the middle of the 5-star category.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,450 per night
  • High season online specials from US$ 1,932 per night

5 – Veligandu Island Resort

  • Water villas: 64
  • Total rooms/suites: 76
Veligandu Island Resort 

With 64 water villas, most of which have their own private Jacuzzi on their private deck, the Veligandu Resort is another excellent bargain for honeymoon couples without unlimited funds. The Jacuzzi villas are only a bit more expensive than the basic ones, and all of them include a full-board meal plan, making it an even better bargain than it seems.

This is a proper 4-star resort with all the amenities you could expect, at a very reasonable rate. There's a luxury spa focusing on both men and women, and very good diving and snorkelling, plus a surprising number of other daytime activities. You might find a few families here, but mostly it's a couples resort, and a very good one at that, where many guests return every year.

  • Low season online specials from US$600 per night
  • High season online specials from US$720 per night

6 – Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

  • Water villas: 55
  • Total rooms/suites: 64

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

Part of the luxurious Taj hotel chain based in India, the Taj Exotica Resort is a solid 5-star private island featuring 55 water villas. For a modest upgrade, you can get a private plunge pool on the deck of your oversize villa, with all the 5-star amenities you could imagine just inside. Even without the upgrade, you'll find rooms with Wi-Fi, a mini bar, dry cleaning and air conditioning.

The service here is one of the many things that gets rave reviews from guests, and the over water spa is said to be one of the finest in all of the Maldives. The location is also very convenient, being only a short speedboat ride from the Maldives International Airport, making it perfect for even shorter honeymoons. The online specials during the off-season put this into the bargain category, which is astounding considering all that is included here.

  • Low season online specials from US$843 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,031 per night

>>>More information about the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

>>>Check rates ( www.overwaterbungalows.net/ATajExotica )

The Beast Restaurant in Maldives

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Dinner With Sharks, Stingrays and turtles! Inside the world's first glass underwater restaurant, five meters Below the Indian Ocean.

With all-glass windows from floor to ceiling, sitting five metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean, this is the world's first underwater restaurant.

Boasting unrivalled views of sharks, stingrays, turtles and stunning coral, the five-star eatery at the Conrad Maldives Hotel was built so that guests can enjoy the beauty of the ocean without getting their feet wet.

Set under the crystal-clear blue water, the restaurant is so bright, diners and staff are required to wear sunglasses.

Restaurant with a view: Guests inside underwater restaurant Ithaa can dine on five-star cuisine while surrounded by sharks, sting rays and turtles

Underwater love: The restaurant in the luxury Conrad Maldives resort is so bright, guests and staff are required to wear sunglasses

High end resort: The Conrad Maldives Hotel, on Rangali Island in Alif Dhaal Atoll built the restaurant so guests could experience the ocean without getting their feet wet

Rated 'the most beautiful restaurant in the world' by the New York Daily News this year, Ithaa - meaning 'mother of pearl' in the Maldivian language of Dihevi - offers breathtaking 180-degree panoramic views. 

World first: The Ithaa restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Hotel is five metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean

Water view! Guests dine in the world's first underwater restaurant, while, right, holidaymakers can also enjoy spa treatments looking into the Indian Ocean

Luxury hotel: The Conrad Maldives is a five-star resort, boasting the world's first underwater restaurant

High-end holiday: The Conrad Maldives boasts a stunning infinity pool with breathtaking views across the Indian Ocean

It serves contemporary European cuisine in a six-course set dinner menu - including dishes such as caviar and lobster for dinner while the four-course lunch menu offers lighter fare. 

The restaurant is also open for mid-morning cocktails and can be booked privately for breakfast, weddings or other special occasions.

The ingeniously designed restaurant has never had water inside, instead it was built on dry land in Singapore before workers carefully lowered it into the ocean in one piece.

The structure cost a staggering £3m to build and weighs 175 tonnes, with another 85 tonnes of sand ballast used to weigh it down.

Chinese and Indian Celebrities Love Maldives resort

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Maldives resort is Loved by Chinese and Indian Celebrities 

JA Manafaru’s star-studies guest list includes Noel Gallagher, Luis Figo and film stars because it offers the one thing the rich and the famous yearn for – privacy. Plus, there’s an enviable 8,000-bottle collection of the best wines

What this pic tells Us?  An exclusive five-star resort on a private island in the Maldives fringed by palm trees and white-sand beaches and lapped by crystal-clear seas.

Que:- What makes different from all the other exclusive five-star resorts on a private island in the Maldives fringed by palm trees and white-sand beaches and lapped by Crystal-clear sea?

Ans:-  OK, there are a few – more than 100, in fact, with some 25 opening in the past year and tourism arrivals rising even faster than sea levels. But this one does have the benefit of splendid isolation. It’s at the northernmost tip of the Maldives and is actually closer to India than the country’s capital, Malé. (It takes a 320km seaplane transfer to get here.)

Unlike the less remote resorts, there are no boats and seaplanes buzzing by every few minutes. So you can pad around in a state of undress on your sea-view patio without the fear of snap-happy day-trippers disrupting your reverie. You are more likely to scandalize a school of passing dolphins.

Noel Gallagher has been a guest at the JA Manafaru.

Who visits? Comfortably off types, mostly. Recent guests have included British pop star Noel Gallagher, Portuguese soccer legend Luis Figo and a veritable galaxy of Chinese and Indian film stars. JA Manafaru is popular, too, with well-heeled Chinese tourists, who have been a huge factor in the growth of tourism in the Maldives. This is why it has Mandarin-speaking staff, a Chinese chef, life vests to wear while snorkelling and direction signs in Chinese as well as English.

They need direction signs on a tiny island? Surprisingly, yes. It’s dense with lush undergrowth and it’s surprisingly easy to get lost on your way between the seven restaurants, bars, spa, gym and water sports center scattered around its 14 hectares. And there are big-wheeled mountain bikes for every guest to meander confusedly around on.

The spa at the resort.

So Why Maldives Sinking? Because due the conventional wisdom has it that global warming is to blame. However, I have a sneaking suspicion the process may be being speed-ed up ever so slightly by the sheer volume of alcohol on the islands.

JA Manafaru holds an incredible 8,000 bottles of wine at any one time – that’s roughly 100 bottles for every one of its 84 villas. About 3,000 bottles are held in the resort’s wine bar, The Cellar, where guests can dine in style while supping bottles costing anything from US$50 to US$20,000 a pop. You can’t bring your own alcohol into the Maldives and there are no 7-Elevens, but you can sleep easy knowing they definitely won’t run out of grog before you check out.

A villa at the JA Manafaru.

It does sound terribly romantic. That rather depends on who you’re with. For honeymooners and the otherwise hopelessly smitten, what could be better than spending a week or so in a hideaway in the Indian Ocean with nothing much to do except take spa treatments together, eat, drink, watch sunsets and gaze wistfully into each other’s eyes?

It’s a long swim if you fall out, though, so if the mood changes, a romantic break can quickly turn from Love Island into an episode of The Prisoner. On rare occasions, considerate resort employees have had to keep warring spouses apart, in one case moving a feuding couple to separate bungalows on opposite sides of the resort and discreetly warning each of the other’s movements to avoid accidental confront­ations.

So, before you book, make sure that you’re going away with someone truly wonderful whose company you delight in and who you consider perfect in every way. For the record, I went by myself and I had an absolutely smashing time.

Villas range in price from US$800 to US$11,000 a night.

It must be expensive. Villas range, Reassuringly so, you might say. The three-bedroom Royal Residence will set you back about US$11,000 a night, a one-bedroom beach suite is US$1,500 to US$1,700, a water villa with private swimming pool from US$1,350 to US$1,600, and an “entry-level” beach bungalow US$800 to US$1,200.

Getting there
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon fly between Hong Kong and Malé

Bollywood Actress Urvashi RAUTELA Spent In Maldives for Awards GALA Edition

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Maldives travel Awards GALA Edition for Bollywood Actress Urvashi Rautela in Maldives.

Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela has arrived in the Maldives to attend the upcoming Maldives Travel Awards Gala Edition.

Urvashi arrived in the Maldives Wednesday morning, and was welcomed at the main Velana International Airport by top officials from organiser Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and host Adaaran Resorts Maldives.

Urvashi (C) is pictured with officials from MATATO and Adaaran Resorts Maldives after her arrival in the Maldives Wednesday morning. PHOTO/ MATATO.

The actress-cum-model is staying at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort, where the Gala Edition is set to take place. She will be the guest of honour at the gala ceremony on Thursday evening.

Urvashi was crowned Miss Diva 2015, and represented India at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant.

The 23-year-old actress made her Bollywood debut in 2013 with the film, Singh Saab the Great, followed by critically acclaimed roles in Sanam Re and Great Grand Masti in 2016. She also starred alongside Hrithik Roshan in the 2017 movie Kaabil.

Urvashi (L) is pictured with Asra Naseem, the Deputy Secretary General of MATATO, after her arrival in the Maldives Wednesday morning. PHOTO/ MATATO.

Meanwhile, MATATO is making final preparations for the Gala Edition.

Voting for the 230 properties nominated for the 25 categories in the awards closed on Tuesday with an overwhelming 100,000 plus votes.

Winners for the Gala Edition will be decided by a collective score based on traveller reviews on TripAdvisor and the popular vote. The winners will be announced at the gala ceremony to be held at  Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Thursday evening.

In addition to the main categories, MATATO will present five awards to recognise special areas of tourism development and sustainability.

MATATO will also combine the grand gala with the second edition of the Maldives Travel Conference, which is set to be held on Thursday at Bandos Maldives resort.

Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi: Maldives Travel Awards Gala Edition will take place at the resort Thursday evening. PHOTO/ ADAARAN.

Initiated in 2012 by MATATO, Maldives Travel Awards celebrate and honour the best tourism and hospitality products in the Maldives, while fostering relationships with suppliers and local travel agents. From 20 categories in 2012, the awards have now expanded into three editions totalling 55 categories.

This year, MATATO has for the first time branched out the prestigious awards into three categories; the People’s Edition, which recognises successful pioneers and long serving individuals in the tourism industry, a Guesthouse Edition, which celebrates the outstanding performance of the up and coming guesthouse sector, and the Grand Gala, which is exclusive for winners in the categories for resorts, airlines and liveaboards.

As the first event held under the Maldives Travel Awards brand, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi hosted the People’s Edition on July 13, where 10 individuals were recognised for their immense contributions to the development of the Maldives tourism industry.

The Guesthouse Edition, held in the island of Maafushi on October 30, expanded on the recognitions awarded to guesthouses by MATATO as part of the Maldives Travel Awards, and celebrated the outstanding performance of the guesthouse sector.

As MATATO brings in a rising Bollywood actress for the most anticipated travel event of the year, the Maldives has become a sought after destination by Bollywood stars.

A-list Bollywood stars who have visited the Maldives include Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Alia Bhatt and Priyanka Chopra. Bollywood couples such as Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor have also spent their holidays in the Maldives, while Bollywood couple Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora Khan has declared the Maldives as their favourite holiday destination.

India has also become a major emerging source market for the Maldives tourism industry.

Official figures show that 66,955 tourists arrived in Maldives from its closest neighbour last year, a 27.9 percent increase from the 52,368 Indian travellers that chose the Maldives in 2015.

That growth has gathered steam this year, as the number of Indian tourists that visited the Maldives recorded a 25.4 percent increase in the past 10 months to reach 63,141 from 50,369 in the same period last year.

Maldives Resorts Battles for The Best

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BIGGER villas, even larger swimming pools, yet even more luxurious spas: on the Maldives, resorts are in a constant battle trying to outdo each other with attractions to lure tourists. And the latest battleground in this competition is in the kitchen.

Resorts are discovering that a way to a traveller’s heart is through his or her palate, and they are even bringing in star chefs from abroad to thrill their guests.

The days when tourists were simply satisfied with some fried fish at the beach are over. And a resort can no longer make do with just a single restaurant. “There must be at least two or three,” says French cook Jerome Voltat. “Otherwise the guests get bored.”

Voltat cooks at the One & Only resort on the island of Reethi Rah, and it has established itself as one of the top culinary spots in the Indian Oceaan. The resort has six restaurants spread across the island, each with its own cuisine and ambience.

The main restaurant has an elegantly-designed area serving international and Asian dishes as well as an outside terrace that combines with Mediterranean cuisines.

A further spot is the Japanese restaurant Tapasake built atop stilts out in a lagoon. While in such a paradise-like location even junk food would taste great, Tapasake serves up the best-quality sushi and wagyu beef dishes.

At the Anantara Kihava resort there is even an underwater restaurant with its own drink storage, the first such underwater storage on the Maldives. But in fact, other resorts also have underwater restaurants, led by the Conrad Rangali resort and its Ithaa restaurant. The largest underwater restaurant is the Hurawalhi.

But the battle of Maldives eateries is not just on land and sea. They are also going up in the air: the Niyama restaurant is the first one up in a tree. Guests sit on platforms built into the majestic crown of the tree while waiters carefully make their way across narrow bridges, balancing trays of Asian avant-garde dishes.

So restaurants on the Maldives are becoming increasingly unusual and the meals they serve of a much greater variety. And with better-trained cooks. The top resorts have been forced into a battle of the kitchens to keep up – not just because visitors have more sophisticated wishes, but are also more international. If originally the Maldives was the spot for Europeans, in the meantime visitors from other regions have become guests. From Asia, they include Koreans, Japanese, and increasingly, Chinese. Arab guests are also found more frequently in the luxury resorts.

Slowly, however, even local cuisine is making its way onto the menus of the top restaurants. This is no easy trick, given that on the tiny islands not much other than papayas, bananas and coconut palms are found. The sea offers a sheer infinite variety of fish, of course, but until now this had not been put to good use.

Maldives cuisine actually shows a mixture of Indian, Sri Lankan and Arabic influences. Fish is mostly grilled until very dry, while tuna fish is often drowned in curry sauce. Side dishes are usually rice or the traditional roshi, a thin pita bread. For Western palates, the local cuisine can sometimes be either too spicy or too bland.

In many resorts the cooks try to adapt local cuisine to the tastes of guests, something which does not always work as well as it does at the Park Hyatte Hadahaa in the southern Maldives. The resort offers genuine “family meals” in which a Maldive employee sits with the guests and explains to them how the dishes are prepared and how best to eat them.

Now, the Milaidhoo, a new resort in the north, has raised Maldivian cuisine to a higher level. On the luxury island of Baa-Atoll the TV cook Ahmed Sivath is in the kitchen. The star cook is out to re-interpret traditional dishes and present them in a gourmet style.