The azure blue waters of the Maldives have lured travellers for years, but being away from them in the lockdown world is tough. Bid adieu to these Maldivian ‘blues’ and start preparing for your next trip as these resorts of the island nation are reopening for business – this time, with additional safety measures in place. By Bayar Jain
1. Soneva Fushi, and Soneva Jani
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Intelligent travelling has always been Soneva Fushi’s, and Soneva Jani’s philosophy and the post-Corona world will be no stranger to this. The resorts’ reliance on safety and wellbeing of customers will continue to permeate the luxurious spaces, while the inherent privacy will amp it. Moreover, at Soneva Fushi, eight new water retreats have also been introduced, in turn, heightening the spaciousness of the property. An additional 40 meters space has also been built between each villa for further physical distancing.
Upon arrival at either of the Soneva resorts, you will not only be immediately tested for Coronavirus, but you will also be presented with a face mask to wear at all times around other guests till the test results are out – which is expected to be anything between six to 24 hours. Till then, you will also be requested to stay at your private beach, pool, and villa. Daily temperature checks, however, will continue.
With regards to dining, open-air seating is available so you can soak in the grandeur of the islands without worry. A two-meter distance between each table, constant sanitation, and healthy anti-viral immunity-building foods are some of the other steps in place for a worry-free stay.
Over the course of the year, the Soneva resorts have new experiences in store as well. At Soneva Jani, a new wellness centre and a cross-functional training gym at South Beach will be coming up. By the end of October, a new restaurant called Overseas, run by Sweden’s two-time Michelin-starred Chef Mathias Dahlgren is expected to open. Both the properties, as well as Soneva Kiri, have also kickstarted ‘Conscious Experiences’ to enable guests to immerse themselves in the SLOW-LIFE philosophy, reconnect with earth, and rediscover life’s simplest pleasures.
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The Residence by Cenizaro in Falhumaafushi, Maldives thrives on its commitment to embody the markers of excellence in global hospitality with their attention to detail and intuitive service, while simultaneously painting the property with a distinctive personality and sense of place. This caring touch continues to permeate through its every inch as the country reopens to tourists. Upon arriving at the resort, all guests will be mandatorily tested with a rapid antibody test or a PCR test. Face masks, hand sanitisers, and social distancing protocols will be in place for staff and guests, both. Moreover, hotel staff will also be encouraged to amp their use of disinfectants and don personal protective equipment (PPE) wherever required. The dining spaces will also be altered as per physical distancing norms, while digital menus will be introduced. While sanitation works will be underway repeatedly in all areas such as the kids’ club, front office, and rooms, extra care will also be taken in the spa and during the water sports.
Starting October 1, 2020, JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa will reopen its doors for loyal Marriott Bonvoy members and global travellers. The calm turquoise blue waters double as an apt respite from the world’s current chaos, while the assurance of safety here elevates it. The naturally-distanced villas come equipped with a certified cleanliness in compliance with the global and local authorities. Additionally, a Marriott Global Cleanliness Council has also been set up to focus on developing the next level global hospitality cleanliness standards to minimise risk and enhance safety for both, guests and associates.
On July 15, the two serene resort of Maldives will spring its doors open with added hygiene measures in place. At both the properties, you can expect to be treated with utmost care, owing to their renewed and heightened safety protocols in accordance with the norms laid down by World Health Organization (WHO), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Government of India. Their reliance on technology to minimise touch in every aspect of the hotels will further strengthen this assurance. From digital payments to non-invasive thermal screenings, undertones of patrons’ safety lies at the core of the Taj Group. To ensure physical distancing, seating arrangements in the speed boats, resort buggies, lobbies, restaurants, and common areas have also been altered. A staggered check-in will take place wherein the suites and rooms will be left vacant for 72 hours after checkout, allowing for additional safety and disinfection.
Despite the world coming to a standstill, the luxurious Velaa Private Island kept fighting. One of the few resorts to continue functioning during the lockdown, this ultra-luxe beach resort has now added additional measures for the safety of their guests. Apart from the high levels of privacy offered at the private islands here, regulations in the shape of mandatory negative COVID-19 test results prior to arrival, special procedures for supply delivery have also been initiated. Moreover, a new minimum-nights stay has also been kickstarted to curb guest movements.
A month after Maldives reopens, JOALI Maldives will fling its doors open for guests on August 1. Upon reopening, guests will be welcomed by a signature JOALI greeting (as opposed to a handshake) along with a sealed kit of hygiene and sanitation related amenities. Guests as well as in-house staff will have their temperatures checked before stepping onto the seaplane for transfer. After every transfer, the vehicle will be sanitised for extra caution. At the property itself, too, extensive hygiene-related works have been outlined such as luggage disinfection, PPE usage for cleaning staff, provision of hand sanitisers upon arrival for guests, use of a dishwashing machine to disinfect cutlery, suspension of buffets, outdoor fitness sessions (with a limit on participants), etc.
That aside, guests can also amend or cancel their booking without charge up to seven days before their arrival date, provided the bookings are confirmed before August 31, 2020, for travel dates until June 30, 2021.