Best of the Maldives: Average Revenue Per Room – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani - overview

Soneva Jani’s “completely by the numbers” is especially impressive even by Maldivian standards as shared in the article “New Chapter Opens for Asia’s Soneva Hotels With a More Than $200 Million Investment”. The piece shared the Average Revenue Per room for the property:

  • According to Shivdasani, Soneva’s top 100 clients account for 40 to 50 percent of revenues. They arrive in private jets and spend between $100,000 and $1 million. Soneva Jani rakes in an eye-watering average rate of $3,500 and an average occupancy of 70 percent, making it the RevPAR (revenue per available room) leader in Asia.”

Just wow!

Maldives Complete-ly by the Numbers 2023

Maldives - Completely by the Numbers 2023

A decade and a half of Maldives Complete. While other Maldives websites have come and gone (eg. pioneering guide writer Adrian Neville’s Seven Holidays), Maldives Complete has remained a steadfast resource about the growing collection of Maldives resorts. But we keep visiting (reaching the 20 visit mark this summer), expanding our resort coverage (116 resorts now visited), and adding to the enormous trove of photos and data about the resorts.

The functionality of the site has remained largely constant for the past few years. Explorations into new content, like the Snorkel Spotter, and Instagram listicles, were intriguing experiments but didn’t seem to attract that much extra traffic or engagement. The pace of posting has stayed relatively steady a one every three days on average (I plan for every other day, which is generally a good rhythm for this type of material, but often end up skipping days due to scheduling conflicts).

Twitter – or “X” – has pretty much fallen by the wayside with its slow rot. The most active social media for me is Facebook which has steadily grown in Followers (3,600 at last count). TripAdvisor Forum remains a vibrant community where I try to contribute regularly. The profile of the contributors and the nature of the enquiries has changed considerably over the 15 years. When I started, the TA Forum was dominated by discussions (and recommendations) of small, “traditional” (ie. thatched villas), mid-market properties. Now the majority of new constructions have contemporary styling. I would say that 70% of the TA Forum posts were mid-market, 20% were budget, and 10% were premium properties. Today, I would say that 60% is premium, 30% is midmarket and 10% is budget. When I started contributing to the Forum, I was often the only one sharing info on the premium properties, but now I am often one of relative few sharing on the budget ones.

The whole “Guest House” scene has really taken off and I regularly get asked if I am going to add a database and some posts on this segment. Unfortunately, I have too little experience (ie. none) to write about them authoritatively, and there are way too many (836 at last count compared to approximately 170 resorts) to document them comprehensively with my limited resources.

Looking forward to year 16 with a little help from all the followers and supporters out there.

   

Best of the Maldives: Islamic Resort – Fiyavalhu

Fiyavalhu - islamic resort

Perhaps the most Maldivian cultural fusion is Islam and the Maldives. A longstanding and tightly integral part of its heritage, and yet none of its resorts focused on this connection to cater for the special preferences of Muslim guests. Noting this omission was one of my second ever “What I Haven’t Seen” pieces. There were plans for an Islamic resort, Gaakoshibee, in Shaviyani Atoll but it never came to light. The newly launched Fiyavalhu finally has come to the destination with a keen Islamic sensitivity. Some examples include:

  • All plunge pool segregated in enclosed back areas for privacy
  • No alcohol served (but an extensive range of mocktails) – “Our creative Mixologists will prepare drinks of your preference from the seasonal fruits and vegetables… Fresh coconuts and other non-alcoholic drinks, snacks or special bites will be available.”
  • On site mosque open to guests.

The resort is open to all and it hardly makes mention of its special features which could likely appeal to a wide range of customers.

Best of the Maldives: Italian-Maldivian Fusion – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

Sun Siyam Iru Veli - italian maldivian fusion

Probably the two most popular cuisines in the Maldives – Italian and Maldivian – have been fused by head chef Victor Zanitto of Sun Siyam Iru Veli. Victor has spent 6 years in the Maldives and has explored the local cooking extensively. He says that the fusion is a natural marriage of tastes and flavours. He says that Maldivians love thin pizza with tandoori chicken, and Italians are crazy about raw fish. He has worked how to make the most of limited ingredients, ie reef fish and coconut, and he noted that even ingredients like Sri Lankan tomatoes better than those from Italy.  We enjoyed the Piedmont delicacy of panna cotta made with tropical mango.

Best of the Maldives: Kids Restaurant – Ailafushi

Ailafushi - kids restaurant

Plenty of reasons to treat your children to a break from Mom and Dad, and Mom and Dad can benefit too with some time together. One of those times is a romantic meal together, but how do the children get fed. Well, Ailafushi’s kids club features its own kids restaurant serving up pizza and pasta as well as sweets like cakes and cookies.

Best of the Maldives: Teen Hangout – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani - waterfall bar

The most natural and aquatic “walls” to any Maldives resort space is Soneva Jani’s “Cave Bar” in its Den kids club. The pool bar especially designed for teens is secluded behind one of the two pool waterfalls. The other leads to the Cave Bar, an evening hangout for teens, complete with a DJ booth, and dance floor.

This feature has prompted me to add two new site Tags: “Teenager” (activities for which are in increasing demand with the rise in family holidayers at the destination) and “Waterfall” (I do appreciate water features).

Best of the Maldives: Teletubbies – Ritz-Carlton Maldives

Ritz-Carlton Maldives - teletubbies

The most natural roof in the Maldives has to be the Ritz Carlton Maldives teletubbyesque “Ritz Kids” kids club. Its living turf dome provides a rare hill-like impression for its youngster haven. Its circular portal opens to an extensive playground of activities and features (see below) all protectively coddled in this knoll-y corral.

Ritz-Carlton Maldives - teletubbies 2

Best of the Maldives: Artificial Thatch – Dhawa Ihuru

Dhawa Ihuru - thatch 1

One of the classic tick-boxes for a Maldivian resort are the archetypal thatched roof villas. While styling contemporary designs have proliferated across the destination with dramatic aesthetic allure, many still want that ‘authentic’ vibe of a Robinson Crusoe hut on a tropical island. A major challenge to catering for this preference is that palm thatch roofs are very expensive to build and maintain. Dhawa Ihuru has outfitted its buildings with Palmex artificial thatch which not only keeps costs down (do the property can be more affordable), but is also itself an eco-friendly solution being produced in a sustainable way and reducing the demand on harvesting palm trees as Palmex describes:

  • Product waste in all our plants is diverted from final disposal and sent to be recycled in other plastic manufacturing processes. Our packaging is kept to an absolute minimum for shipping and is made of Palmex production waste. We have also undergone a third-party verification process with Vertima Inc. and Athena Sustainable Materials Institute where Palmex International Inc. products and our entire supply chain were assessed. We received the Validated Eco-Declaration® Certification summarizing verified environmental claim.

Frankly, we didn’t even notice that they are artificial until it was pointed out to us and we had a look very close

Dhawa Ihuru - thatch 2

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Palm Art Lessons – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

From our very first visit a quarter century ago received all sorts of aboriginal origami creations from staff, but during our visit to Sun Siyam Iru Veli Samaha and Nuhaz actually taught me how to these palm frond are made. They explained that they grew up honing their palm folding skills. Especially, during Eid is a traditional time for youngsters to show off their skills by fashioning the most elaborate designs.  Bodu mas are especially popular during this festive holiday. The first item that Samaha made was a “watch” and a “rose” when she was 8 years old and wrote on it with a needle. She taught me how to make the rose during our tutorial and it came out pretty good if I do say so. The resort also offers these lessons to the younger generation of guests at the resort kids club.

Best of the Maldives: Bathing Tanks – Cora Cora

Cora Cora - bathing wells

The Maldives features all sorts of pools across the resorts – infinity pools, glass bottom pools, jacuzzi pools, exercise pools…you name it. But Cora Cora ’s ancient bathing pools are the most intriguing of the lot. They were excavated carefully by the resort after some construction revealed their presence buried under years of sand piled on top of them:

  • “The Maldivian name for bathing tanks is ‘vevu’. These tanks were discovered in 2011 in the thick wooded area of Maamagili revealing complex ancient structures far remove from the modern history of the Maldives. Mature trees, decayed roots and several tonned of mud and sand were methodically removed to unearth the structure beneath. These bathing tank, widespread throughout the Indian subcontinent were also commonly found in the Maldives until the 1940s.”

  Cora Cora - bathing tank 2