(photo of Siyam PR Angie Sloan with Lori and myself courtesy of Dafydd Jones)
Our virtual Maldives excursion carried on with a transfer cross-town to the Century Club where Siyam World celebrated its UK launch. Deepak Booneady, Commercial Vice President Siyam Resorts, shared updates of all the resorts in the Siyam collection, ie. Olhuveli, Vilu Reef, Iruveli.
But the star of the evening was the newly inaugurated Siyam World. He shared the fascinating odyssey of the founder Ahmed Siyam Mohamed who started as a butler at one of the first resorts back in the 80s, parlayed his understanding of the business and his guests’ interests into a travel agency which then grew into being a resort company itself. Booneady described Siyam’s ethos reflecting this heritage with great people making great experiences for guests.
The expansive island affords an expansive vison of amenities an activities while still preserving plenty of wide open space and tranquil areas. The property boasts quite a number of firsts in the Maldives to stay tuned for “Best of the Maldives” additions.
One of my many motivations for doing Maldives Complete is to be transported away from cold and less sunny England immersing myself in all things Maldivian for a several hours a week. While my escapism is usually digital, this week I was treated to some real bits of the Maldives live here in London. Amilla hosted an industry event to update its UK partners and friends on the latest and greatest at the resort.
Amilla announced its acceptance into the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection among other enhancements and new features. It wasn’t just press release and presentation, but an actual taste of Amilla hosted at Michelin-trained Kirk Haworth’s “Plates” restaurant whose ethos of sustainable, healthy and yet decadently sumptuous culinary creations fit right into the Amilla vibe. So much so that Haworth was hosted by Amilla earlier in the year and is scheduled for a return residence in the coming months. We were treated to such Maldives-worthy delicacies as “carrot & yuzu bellini crumpet, smoked carrot, seaweed caviar, champagne jelly” and “BBQ potato with sea lettuce, aioli, pickled shallots, nori powder” and “organic cocao and lion’s mane sponge, whipped coconut, hibiscus sherbert.” And all of the dishes were accompanied by rainbow (white, red, rose and orange) of locally produced organic wines.
Other featured Amilla residencies joining the festivities included style guru Kat Farmer (see photo) who recently hoted a fashion show with a Maldivian designer there. And the parting gift was an herbal bath tea from Amilla’s own garden. But the quintessential touch of the Maldives itself were the leadership team which personifies appreciating, investing in and sharing the Maldives – Jason and Victoria Kruse.
Recognizing their industry partners, Velaa hosted a reception last week at the hip Mayfair venue MNKY House inviting operators, travel writers and travel agents from the area with whom they have been working (including Maldives Complete).
General Manager Mr. Michal Smejc spoke about Velaa’s personal connection to the property. The owner is his brother and the family treat it as a home that they share with guests who want to visit. He outlined their constant process on re-examining what could be improved and making constant re-investment into the island touching on some of the recent enhancements and planned refinements.
Perhaps the most striking testimony to their attention to detail and authenticity were the refreshments served during the evening. I had just assumed that they would be hiring in some caterers for a few tasty canapés, but they actually flew into London their Executive Chef Gaushan de Silva a number of their sous chefs from the resort itself to share their treats with the guests personally.
One of these delicacies was worthy of a “Best of the Maldives” itself – Mini Lobster and Langoustine Burger with Thermidor Aioli and Fried Quail Egg. Sort of a bit-sized lobster egg benedict with bonus flavours. As regular readers will know, I am an aficionado of both lobster and benedict (and Velaa has already distinguished itself with the latter).