Best of the Maldives: Beyond the Surface Innovation – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - flyboarding

The Maldives is all about the surface. The nexus of sea and sky in this land of boundless horizons. Where the islands themselves are just inches above the waterline and the reef wonders just inches below. But LUX South Ari Atoll has been pushing this boundary above and below the water taking their guests to new heights and depths innovative ways…

Many of these activities have been replicated and even prevalent across the holiday destination, but as the posts describe, in most cases they were the pioneers to introduce these far flung experiences. LUX is always pushing the boundaries of luxury and perspective.

Best of the Maldives: Kombucha– LUX South Air Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - Kombucha

If you want more than just vitamins and minerals on the rocks in your health smoothie, then try a “Kombucha”, a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks. LUX South Ari Atoll makes its very own version:

  • Known as the ‘Immortal Health Elixir,’ we ferment our own variety of Kombucha ranging from black tea, green tea and coffee just to name a few and offering it to guest in our all-day dining restaurants as well as Spa.”

Kombucha is produced by fermenting the tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). In other words, SCOBY Snack!

 

Best of the Maldives: Disco Toilet – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - disco toilet

International Water Day today. And LUX South Ari Atoll’s “water closet” is really putting the party into gear with its disco décor. So often a property’s bathrooms are at worst an after-thought or at best a staid affair. LUX reminds me of the best public restroom I’ve ever seen at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield.

 

Best of the Maldives: Facebook Live – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - live event

If you want to get that much closer to “being there” in the Maldives with their holiday spectacles, then check out LUX South Ari Atoll’s Facebook Live events. This week they featured their fire show by Totem Entertainment as well as Santa’s arrival by seaplane.

Facebook Live is just the latest in LUX’s social media pioneering. Led by marketing manager Dolores Semeraro, LUX was one of the first resorts to embrace Twitter with active and creative uses (like her Twitter chats).

LUX south Ari Atoll - santa seaplane visit

Best of the Maldives: Food Art – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - food art plate

For more savoury sizzle, LUX South Ari Atoll has long been a leader in culinary creativity especially with its venti virtuosity and flapjack finesse. But it has taken its palatable palette to a whole new level (as well as to all its guests) with the hosting of international food artist Samantha Lee last week. From 7-8 December at the Umami restaurant, Lee hosted workshops to teach appetizing artisans a few tricks to her dinner table tableau.

  • Learn and create whimsical, colourful yet unique meals as you witness this talented artist in action. Using only fresh and healthy ingredients, her creative approach will leave you in awe and wanting more.”

The resort shared a ton of pictures on its Facebook page in the album “International Food Artist – Samantha Lee” (see a few select pix below)

While I do have the “Food Art” gourmet gallery Pinterest page, I am also now adding a “Food Art” tag to the blog as well.

Lux South Ari Atoll - foot art workshop

LUX South Ari Atoll - food art

LUX South Ari Atoll - food art penguin

Best of the Maldives: HR Leadership – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - Hussein Afeef

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.

Best of the Maldives: Topiary – LUX Maldives

LUX South Ari Atoll - topiary

International Book Day today is an apropos time for some more Dr Seuss style magic. This time hailing from LUX South Ari Atoll. They have composed their own living Whoville landscape on the resort…

The gardening team of LUX* South Ari Atoll worked on the Ironwood Trees of the island west point sandbank by shaping them into a Japanese Zen Garden ‘on the beach’. The idea is to have a space of silence where guests can relax and let the day go by, under the shades of the trees but without missing out on their time on the beach.“

For those less familiar with the Seuss oeuvre, I’ve featured one of the drawing from his classic “Cat in the Hat” below which not only shows the parallel inspiration, but also features Mr Cat delivering books suitable for today’s occasion. The illustration further down has some of LUX’s local residents modelling for the topiary tops.

Fah who for-aze!

 

Dr Suess trees

Dr Suess LUX Maldives

  LUX South Ari Atoll - topiary 2

Best of the Maldives: Towel Animals – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - towl animals 1

LUX South Ari Atoll has a different pageant of bathing cuties. I’ve seen a few towel art creatures at resorts, but LUX has produced an entire menagerie of them…

“The towel art done by Shareef and Ali. Started as a way to entertain children on the island and to surprise them with little towel toys upon their return to the villas. Based on our guests’ feedback, we came to know that those towel toys started to replace the children’s comfort toys (that in most case got left behind at home) making their time on the island more enjoyable. Shareef has been working in housekeeping since more than 13 years, 3 of which at LUX*. Towel art is now part of his daily routine, it takes an average of 15 minutes for him to create a little elephant, turtle or even a whale shark. He also takes persona responsibility in teaching this trick of the trade to the guests wanting to learn. Shareef did not learn how to make these great towel sculptures anywhere, he tries over and over again until he gets the perfect shape – it’s pure ‘learning by doing’.”

The line above pictured above includes…

  • Rear row – penguin, swans, flower, elephant
  • Front row – snake, lion, donkey, elephant seating, turtle

LUX’s creativity has inspired me to add a new board to the Maldives Complete Pinterest for “Maldives Towel Art”.

LUX South Ari Atoll - towel animals 2

LUX South Ari Atoll - towell lily