Bean bag chairs or other various styles of comfy poofs are now quite popular lounge-ware at the resorts. I too love plopping down into them. But, frankly, most of my Maldives chilling involves reading. And on these giant bean bags, I just can’t get the head support to comfortably read. I either have to hold my head up and relax my hands, or relax my head and hold my head up. But Coco Bodu Hithi solves the problem with their special support poofs. Heads up thinking.
Best of the Maldives: Massage Head Support – Velaa
It’s hard to find any fault with even the worst massage. But if I do have pet peeve with spa treatments, it is the face hole in the massage bed. The worst ones are barely padded or use an awkwardly rolled up towel. At the end of the massage, you have a big, red, aching indentation mark across your forehead. But Velaa has figured out the ultimate head support at its spa…
1. Glass Floor View – Good. If you are going to stare straight down for an extended period, then have something pleasant to set your eyes on is a treat.
2. Coral View – Better. A couple of resorts do provide glass floor views for their over-water spa treatment rooms. In every case that I’ve seen the view is just a sandy bottom (not the good kind). The sandy deserts of the lagoon floor have very little marine life to gaze upon aside from the stray white fish. But Velaa has situated its view directly over some fine coral croppings for an enchanting spectacle of small tropical fish darting to and fro.
3. Gel Mask – Best. Wow. I’ve had all sorts of face pads on massage beds from the aforementioned hard board to plush cushiony affairs. But you don’t get any more soothingly soft than a gel mask. Perfect.
Best of the Maldives: Airport Lounge Seating – Soneva Fushi
Most Maldives visitors coming from Europe have to take the red-eye overnight long haul flights. Unless you are reclined in First Class, these flights are exhausting and you often want to collapse when you arrive. If you have to then take a seaplane transfer you are often waiting a little while at the seaplane terminal. To take the sting out of these first moments in paradise, the luxury 5-star resorts have set up special welcome lounges with extra comforts and service.
But for sheer comfort, no lounge beat Soneva Fushi’s. Not only are their settee colourful, but they a big and broad. One family that was there with us had their kids laid out napping (and Dad joining them in an ultra-reclined state).
And if those loungers aren’t comfortable enough for you, then might I suggest that seating doesn’t get much more comfortable than their massage chair that they also feature for that extra bit of en route relaxation.
Best of the Maldives: Departure Lounge – Kurumba
The two most important impressions you can make are the first one and the last one. Maldives resorts put so much into their first impression – elaborate greetings, welcome cocktails, scented cold towels. And for those who have a seaplane transfer before stepping foot on the island, a small village of “arrival lounges” has sprouted at the seaplane terminal to give waiting guests a comfortable if not luxurious space to start their Maldivian chill out.
But when it is (depressingly) time to say goodbye, all too many just take a swipe of your credit card and have you sit by your luggage in reception.
A few resorts also have “arrival/departure” facilities on their island. For people who arrive before the room is ready or who have to check out of their room before their transfer is ready. These rooms have air conditioning, comfortable seating, some refreshments, changing areas, etc. You still are in a public place and often jockeying a bit with other waiting guests.
Kurumba puts the “lounge” in “departure lounge”. The room is almost entirely bed-like loungers. And they are all discreetly separated my gossamer linen dividers to provide a modest sense of seclusion. So you can extend your relaxation even more with a lie down or nap awaiting your transfer.
And just like arriving guest, the staff bring you cold towel. Making the sorrow of parting just a bit sweeter.
Best of the Maldives: Bride Litter – Conrad Rangali
“If she is like a cat, I have litter…” – Steve Martin
And if she is like an exotic princess, I have a different type of litter.
Great leadership lifts up its staff, and great service lifts up its guests. In the case of Conrad Rangali, they take this a bit literally for some wedding ceremonies. Or should I a say ‘litterally’.
Best of the Maldives: HR Leadership – LUX South Ari Atoll
May Day today is a time to celebrate the workers of the world and their contributions to society. A fine time to commend LUX South Ari Atoll and their work every day of the year to enhance the work and personal lives of the staff as recognized with the recent commendation of their Director of Training, Development and Quality Assurance…
“The resort is proud to share that Director of Training, Development and Quality Assurance, Mr. Hussein Afeef has been recognized as one of the ‘100 most influential Global HR Professionals’ at the 3rd Global Training Conference which was held in Mumbai, India on February 15 2016. On the same day Afeef was also awarded with the ‘Global Training and Development Leadership Award’ handed over by one of the founders of World HRD Congress 2016, Dr. R. L. Bhatia.”
Actually, I find pretty much most of the resorts to have a very staff-centric ethos which makes sense as their entire business is about people. That is, Maldivian people hosting people from around the world to share a bit of their paradise. Maldives Complete was able to secure an interview with Hussein Afeef to get a more in depth look at his award-winning perspectives…
• What was your education?
I completed a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality Management in Malaysia and Masters of Business Administration in British School of Commerce awarded by London School of Commerce. PHD research is set to start from June 2016.
• What was your first job at a resort?
My first job at Resort was HR Administration for three resorts Bandos Island Resorts, Four Seasons and Cocoa Island-based mainly at Male’ and often visited all three resorts. I also had three internships at Bangkok, Singapore, and Malaysia before taking a full-time resort based role at One&Only Reethi Rah.
• What is one of the most common intra-staff conflicts and how do your resolve it?
The biggest challenge we face is miscommunication and cultural diversity understandings within colleagues. However we have learned over the years, the success and best way to resolve it to provide enough service and culture related education to Team Members and to create transparency between all departments and Team Members especially when it comes to sharing information.
• What is one of the most common staff personal issues and how do your support them to resolve it?
Mostly conflicts between Team Members around taking personal responsibility for getting things done. Here at LUX* we have created a service culture that empowers Team Members to be proactive and take personal responsibility. Therefore, I don’t see such an issue right now at our work environment.
• What skill set is the hardest to find?
Good Leadership skills and how to be great leaders. Time Management, being a constant role model, sharing and living by positive attitudes are some of the hardest soft skills to find within Team Members. That’s why we continually educate and teach our colleagues and results has been fantastic.
• What has been the most popular training you have provided?
Service Culture Programs designed by UP Your Service, FISH! Philosophy, Leadership Programs from John Maxwell are some of the most popular programs are deliver and customize to our Team needs.
• What is the least popular training (e.g., difficulty, tedium)?
To be honest, I don’t have a particular topic like that. It depends on the trainer, even Health, and Safety, Fire Awareness or Hygiene training sessions are popular here as we try our best to bring the best-outsourced instructors. When teachers are incredible, regardless of the topic, course will be well received by Team Members
• Have you introduced any policies that provide greater flexibility for the staff and how they do their jobs?
We have many policies and procedures that assist our Team Members do to and deliver what they do best. Our Managers are regularly coached regarding empowerment and flexibility of work, thus same filters through all levels.
• What is the most popular perk to being on staff at LUX South Ari Atoll?
Regular welfare and employee relation activities, Competitive Compensation package in terms of monetary value, world-class training and development programs, opportunities and Team Members being able to have their freedom at work and are open to creativity and innovative ideas. I consider these as benefits that other organizations may lack.