Dusit Thani Maldives: heart to heart review by staff

Dusit Thani Maldives

Dusit Thani Maldives

One of the newest brands to Maldives, Dusit Thani Maldives is a popular resort according to many reviews in TripAdvisor. Among the many endearing terms used in the review these terms stand out. Helpful people, eco-friendly resort, top notch service, prestigious resort… After every review in TripAdvisor there appears a thanking little message by GM of the resort thanking for the review.
For lack of a similar service where staff can rate their employer, we had to ask about from our friends in the resort to give us an honest, heart to heart review of the resort, and what we got is not amusing at all. Here is one review by a trustworthy source about the resort:

The resort has recently decided to drastically cut down on benefits for staff and is currently in the process for terminating 60 local staff. That’s almost half of the total employees whose agreements will not be renewed. While most of the resorts goes to great lengths to keep their longer serving staff in the island, this looks like a departure from that trend. RNR (Rest and Relax 1 or 2 week extra paid leaves given to manager level persons) will be restricted only to a handful top managers. Around 70 local regular staff has been kept in limbo without permanent work agreements (used as casual workers; mostly this is the case for expatriate laborers in other resorts). Laundry, stewarding, gardening and landscaping, powerhouse, pest control, and public area cleaning services are going to be outsourced. Staff will not be able to plan their holidays or accumulate pending off days or lieu days for public holidays when going on annual vacation. This is allowed and hassle-free in most resorts. Most of the staff who worked in the pre-opening team are being terminated for flimsy and sometimes made-up reasons by their superiors who joined later. The resort Financial Controller is reported to have said that service charge for local staff shall be capped at 250$ per month irrespective of occupancy. Many local staff have been threatened with summary dismissal for minor reasons. There are only 3 locals in management level which is very low compared to other resorts. It seems the management is not willing to listen to any complaints or suggestions; and staffs have been dismissed for revealing these grievances in meetings with GM. Despite these negatives, the staff believe it has more to do with the individual temperaments of the managers themselves than company policy, which is making the resorts appeal less to local talent.

Our assessment: overall this is a good employer which has to do some serious housekeeping work to make sure from the management side, things are as it should be. Frequently what would happen is resorts are part of bigger chain of hotels and local management is assumed to be in order from corporate office if the monthly figures look ok. But there is always room for improvement and if half of those on the payroll are to be replaced in a year, then there indeed is cause for alarm. As for employing local workers wherever possible, this should be included in the Corporate Social Responsibility agenda and followed through to execution especially considering the high level of unemployment in the host country and the potential for conflict which will ensue.

Anantara Artist Aid: A sustainable aid programme


By Ali Naafiz

MALE, November 17 (HNS) – Kids from the Children’s House orphanage in Villingili were painting enthusiastically at the art studio in Anantara Maldives Dhigu Island Resort and Spa. A kid painting a picture of a coral shook his head when I asked whether he painted before. The 10 kids who took part in the first round of the “Anantara Artist Aid” programme on Saturday had a whole new experience by painting according to the instructions of a professional artist.

“Everybody, anybody can be an artist… There is an artist in everyone of us, but at different levels. In order to get that artist self of yours out, you need to be aware of your surroundings,” Christopher Hogan, the in-resident artist and visual communicator at Anantara Maldives told Haveeru after the session.

Here is the rest of the article @ Haveeru.

Shangri-la ignoring Addu

Villingili Shangrilla


There is news coming from Addu that Shangri-la is ignoring Addu when it comes to recruitment and that they are considering petitioning the management of Shangri-la to reconsider the position. Historically the people of Addu worked hard to let the island of Villingili be build as a resort calling upon, cajoling, taunting and even threatening the government since perhaps the first days of tourism in Maldives. Addu is the second most populous atoll in Maldives and the biggest pool of resort related talent can be found in Addu. With the exception of perhaps a handful of resorts, all resorts in Maldives will have a majority of staff from Addu and the prospect of returning to Addu and getting a job closer to home (in Shangri-la or Herethere) is a dream of almost all of them.

Most big hotel and resort chains have good corporate social responsibility policies designed to help alleviate friction arising from issues just like this and Shangri-la is no exception. However the situation in Shangri-la in Addu is quite opposite from what is preached about Shangri-la CSR policies. It maybe an HR oversight to let unskilled workers be hired from contractors who sent expatriate workers to the resort on a case by case basis whilst the same category of workers can be recruited from Addu which would go a long way to help the cash, employment (or for that matter everything) strapped community of Addu.