How to conserve energy..

Every resort seems to be just obsessed with cost cutting nowadays and its steadily getting worse by the day. Maybe it has something to do with the current government’s pledge to be ‘carbon-free’ or it might be because of the perceived immediate threat to the country by Global warming (which some believe is a hoax.) Anyways, the first usual answer to the question of how to save energy in a resort normally comes like, to change all the lights to energy saving bulbs, to change all normal air conditioners to Daikin VRV systems etc.. or something simplistically similar. However this can be very wrong. While energy saving bulbs are in fact more economical to use in the long term, the cost of one energy saver bulb is several times more than a normal bulb. So the costs pretty much even out over a long enough space of time. However the typical longer life span of an energy saver bulb means less inconvenience for the guest and less work for the work overloaded maintenance desk.

Much more energy could be saved in a typical guest room by taking care of the air-conditioner and water heater. If an air-conditioner is not serviced routinely, dust attaches to both the condenser and evaporator of the system which clogs and lowers the energy efficiency of the unit which will cost much more times the difference saved from bulbs being changed to energy saver type.

The water heater can also waste a lots of energy if its thermal cut-out temperature is higher than is necessary. Together with air-conditioner these two units are the most energy intensive units in a typical guest room.

Parliament debating prohibiting protests at resorts

Dr. Hassan Saeed Leader of DQP

People’s Majlis is today debating prohibition and severely limiting freedom to protest by workers in resorts. The bill was submitted to the parliament by a member from Dr. Hassan Saeed’s party. If the bill goes ahead and gets passed by the Peoples Majlis, the country would take a serious blow to freedom of expression and the right to protest against injustices. The debates are still going and both sides of the political spectrum seem to be aware of the negative implications of this bill.

For a healthy democracy to survive more needs to be done to open up rather than closing in which seems to be the only outcome of limiting and restricting freedom of expression and speech. The trigger for workers in a typical resort to come to a protest will normally be fired after many many attempts at a solution which eludes them. Unlike other countries where unionism is already established and workers organize and plan their protests, the protests that happen in resorts in Maldives are more like an ‘uprising’ than a protest. It so happens because the workers rights are not protected and are already at the bottom of the rights ladder and yet the People’s Majlis is already finding ways to stop and repress the workers rights even further.
The only party that will benefit from this law when and if it becomes one, will be the employers as they would even be able to ‘preside’ over any protest by the workers suffering injustices under the employers.

Not that there are many ears to listen to resort workers demands, but at least for the record, we the resort workers call upon Dr. Hassan Saeed to withdraw this bill (if it isn’t already too late!) and to reconsider oppressing the workers! Its tourism, resorts and resort workers who contribute overwhelmingly to the country’s budget from where the non-productives like politicians and civil-servants get their monthly pay, perks and benefits.

Please follow the story here at Haveeru:
and also an earlier article we wrote a while back here…

some Kihaavah pics..

Anantara Kihaavah is going to open somewhere at january 2011 if the resort’s website is to be believed. Till then here are some pics of the island from various sites.

rendered image of the island

Underwater wine cellar before being lowered into the lagoon
image courtesy:

signature restaurant
image credit:

kihavah spa
image credit:

Paths wind through pandanas jungle
image @

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.

The last impression

The last impression the guest gets from the resort aught to be memorable. It is this very impression that will last with the guest and will remind him to come back to the resort the following year. This is all very basic and common sense every hotelier or a ‘resortier’ would know. However complex resort logistics sometimes plays a part and giving a hard time to the guest at their last moment in resort is an all too common happening. Here is how to make this mistake.

Most resorts would schedule their pick-up and drop operation to airport and to resort and vice-versa, to be able to combine both operations in one journey. The speed boat that goes to airport with the departing guests will comeback with another batch of arriving guests. However, resort check-out times will be fixed and if the guest’s departure flight is couple of hours later than the resort checkout time, the resort might require the guests pay extra day for the continued use of their room. With tight booking in high season, the guests might be properly evicted from their room if another arrival is expected in the same room and they had not paid an extra or half day in advance. To provide for situations like this, some resorts do provide the ‘day-use room’ sometimes without extra charge till a conveniently close time could be scheduled to sent off the guests to the airport. However where such a day use room is non available and the guests were ‘evicted’ from their room to make way for another arrival, all the niceties and compliments the guests would have thought of the resort would just go evaporate then and there.

Most resort designs at design-time does not seem to be aware of situations like this and few resorts have dedicated day-use rooms built to overcome situations like this. As such, a day-use room in most resorts (where they provide this service) will be just another guest room of the same category. However resort designers seems well aware of other classes of rooms such as the Presidential Suite, The Family Room, the conjoined rooms, twin rooms and many other variations of such accommodation.

However our resorts with relatively high room rates aught to come up with the solution not to evict the guest even if the guests would not want to wish to pay an exorbitant sum of money just to keep his/her room for a couple of more hours and to ruin everything good the resort provided for the guests up until that time. Money-wise it would be like having already taken (7×500$) from the guests with no complaint and then making a scene with by demanding a further 100$ and antagonizing the already happy customer earning his/her enmity for life.

Six Senses Laamu still in the works.

The beautiful island of Six Senses Laamu or Laamu Olhuveli is still in the works and incorporating lots of finer points to luxury resort design. Although the resort is reported to be said to be marketed for ordinary human beings (vs the super rich like in most resorts) the resort is offering great insights to how resorts could be innovative in design and purpose. Here are some pics of the resorts facilities below.

The organic garden is supposed to grow almost all the cabbages, carrots etc for the restaurant nearby the garden. The idea is to pluck the fruits and vegetables right when the guest orders it and then have it prepared in real time! Could be a very delicious idea!

Massaging is more about tweaking human sensations… So the sensation demands exotic places, sometimes like over the tree-tops.

Dining jetties are also a bright idea where the guests can enjoy the meal with breathtaking scenery…

The most pressing problem

For a successful tourism industry, a safe image of the destination is essential. The last thing a tourist will want to be worried about is the safety of their stay while on holiday. Towards this end, the key players involved have to keep their acts together. The owners, the workers as well as the government has to project this image of a clean, happy, inviting and ultimately safe destination for the guests to feel welcome at our resorts.

However recent developments in the country and the continuing attention seeking behaviour of top government officials seems to be doing more harm to our delicate tourism industry than any good. To name just one name, our ambassador at UK Dr. Farahnaz Faisal is reported to have been story-telling to prominent media outlets mostly about little known topics in the Maldives; female genital mutilation, religious extremism, supposed religious scholars exhorting folks to shun vaccination etc. To the average local Ahmed or Mohamed (the equivalent expression for average Joe..?) in Maldives, these are frankly NEWS to them. Its very unlikely the average Ahmed or Mohamed would have heard of these themes either in the media or through word of mouth. The reason is simple! These themes are very unfamiliar and hardly common practice in the country. There are no known scholars or mullahs (or whatever) who exhorted people to avoid vaccination in Maldives. Female Genital Mutilation which has been popularized and sensationalized by media is another red-herring which is totally out of place in Maldives. Most Maldivians would have heard about this practice in media as happening in some parts of Africa akin to killing albinos for supposedly traditional medicinal purposes. There are no known cases of female genital mutilation in the country and no known designs to introduce such practices to the country by any groups or ideology.

This is not to say Maldives is a trouble free country. No country is devoid of problems and problems like everything else has causes and remedies. The most popularized religious problem that happened recently in Maldives is the Himandhoo issue which was caused by the then government’s strong-man tactics rather than Al Gaidha setting up shop in the country. The issue was caused by the government sending military forces to close an unauthorized mosque constructed by the islanders for successive three years in the holy month of Ramazan. The issue could have been easily resolved had the government sent a team of religious men to talk to the people involved and engage them in dialogue. The islanders issue with the mosque was that the mosque was allegedly constructed on top of a cemetery which is forbidden in Islam. The government’s stand at the time was that the government’s position is immovable and has to be respected regardless of the circumstances.

Coming back to the issue and to set the record straight, the most prominent issue that’s currently facing Maldives has nothing to do with religious intolerance or female genital mutilation. The most pressing security problem facing the country is gang warfare and drug abuse which is sweeping through the country and is showing little sign of abating. However in the latest stats presentation offered by the security forces on the independence day, the percentage of ‘reported crime’ rate was said to have fallen 43% which is a definite improvement if all other factors were constant.

The most pressing economic problem is unemployment which to a large extent was an artificial situation created by an unimaginative education system. In a nutshell, a whole generation of youngsters grew up in conformity to 3 streams of subjects (Arts, Commerce and Science) and much too little in the way of vocational education. The non-too-distant ‘maha-singa’ (funny when names are invented) on educational policy was a good start on identifying these problems and the coming years will hopefully see changes to educational system where these issues could be addressed.

The most pressing health problem that is facing the country is lack of facilities and standards. The problem has already been a challenge with the geography of the country whereby small distant islands are further more isolated by lack of a reliable public transportation system. Seeing at a distance, the top positions of the health ministry and the members of lower the rank in the industry seems to be engaged in a proper warfare throughout the industry on a wide range of issues. The outcomes are mixed with more improvements in facilities and infrastructure promised in the near future (as is always the case).

The most pressing social problem that’s facing the country could be the lack of facilities for island communities to get together and do anything ‘social’ to while away the time and participate in social projects. Apart from the Eid festivals the average island’s social calendar is uneventful throughout the year and has been so for ages. With the anti-social behaviour and anti social elements on the increase, this maybe the opportune time to consider such an initiative.

There are indeed many more pressing problems facing the country in many walks of life, but from the perspective of tourism industry nothing can be more damaging than our own political elite spewing out unsubstantiated negative information on the country coveting media attention and personal publicity.

New tourism minister appointed

According to local media, a new tourism minister has indeed been appointed although the president’s office has yet to break the story.
The new minister of tourism is going to be Dr. Mariyam Zulfa who holds a Phd from Curtin University of Technology on Business/Tourism , 2005 — 2009 according to site. The tourism ministry’s site is as usual non-committal about issues like this and its very unlikely that the site will even bother to put a page for the minister. Despite the allegations of nepotism (ie being alleged that the new minister is niece of the president’s press secretary ) We congratulate the minister and wish her and the industry success.