Amir Mansoor, Owner of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives, Managing Director – Carpe Diem Maldives and Managing Director – Lily International, talks about what makes his property ideal for Indian travellers!
What are the Unique Selling Points of the property?
I have been involved in the development of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives from the very beginning, so for me, the first selling point is always the concept. The Standard is a design driven hotel and the bright color scheme seen throughout the property are drawn from the Maldivian local culture.
The Standard, Maldives is a “one island, one resort” concept, that is unique to the Maldives. Geographically, the Maldives is the only country to be able to do that, which provides complete privacy for tourists and brands are able to keep their hotel brand concept, experiences and offering controlled in one island. The Maldives is infamous for their beautiful “Maldivian blue” waters, and what better than to house 115 overwater and beach villas, each with its own infinity plunge pool and private deck to choose from, over it.
The Standard, Maldives isn’t just for couples or honeymooners, it has opened its doors to families with kids, groups of friends and singles. The Standard has taken a fresh approach to its island retreat, offering relaxation, social & cultural experiences, as well as adult and family friendly activities. There is something for everyone. The resort has 6 unique restaurants using the freshest ingredients and produce sourced both regionally and from the resort’s own island farm. The Guduguda, a Maldivian Restaurant, is the first of its kind in this scale in the Maldives. Featuring a traditional Maldivian cuisine cooked by chefs trained by Maldivian “aunties”, with seafood-driven dishes, flavourful coconut milk curries, regional fruits and vegetables, aromatic rice dishes and freshly baked dishes.
The property also offers some of the best watersports, snorkeling, diving excursions through the resorts protected house reef and daily trip to discover marine life, such as sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The Standard Spa also houses an indoor hydrotherapy playground complete with a contemporary communal hammam, aroma cypress steam room and contrast shower experience. Right after a relaxing spa experience, guests are urged can stop by Tonic, which sits right next to the adults only pool, where they can enjoy cocktails, and non-alcoholic tonics and elixirs made from herbs and plants with medical benefits. The hotel also does everything it could to be sustainable and reduce its carbon foot print; from eliminating all use of plastic straws on the island, establish a sewerage recycling plant, having our own water bottling plant to avoid using single use plastic water bottles and controlling the garbage handling process, among many other initiatives. Additionally, by 2021, we will shift to manage 50% of all our electric energy usage to be from renewable energy.
What are the special offerings for Indian guests.
I believe The Standard, Maldives can cater to these major segments (1) Weddings or Destination weddings, (2) Underwater Experiences and Programming for everyone (3) Cuisine for the Indian palette and vegan community, using fresh ingredients from our Agricultural Farm Island. (4) An ideal video/photo location.
Research shows that many Indian travellers make their travel decisions based on the experience and activities offered on property. With the variety of programming that The Standard offers, for families, couples, children, singles or groups – there is something for everyone. Indian travellers also have a great palette for good food, and with our 6 restaurants to choose from, they won’t be getting bored with their selection. Our property even has a wide range of familiar Indian dishes at our all-day dining restaurant, called Kula.
For extravagant Indian wedding celebrations, our property has island inspired wedding, engagement and popping the big questions “I Do” programs curated for your special moment. Indian wedding in Maldives is not very common, therefore, SHM or destination weddings will capture the Indian market. For any Indian parent, a wedding is much more than mere ceremonies and fancy decorations. It’s an emotional investment of a lifetime where we don’t collect things but create precious moments. I am confident that The Standard, Maldives can offer an unforgettable experience for a destination wedding to Indian travellers.
How important is the Indian market for the property?
The Indian market is extremely important to us as we see a huge interest and shift in Indian tourism entering the Maldives. The Maldives has seen over 100% increase in the number of travellers coming from India, YoY growth from 2018 to 2019, with over 50,000 visitors to over 100,000 visitors respectively.
The Indian market holds third place in terms of arrivals to the Maldives with a market share of about 9% in 2019, while ranking within the top five, and we hope that the growth will continue with increasing accessibility to the Maldives. We are entering into partnerships with several tour operators and online tour agencies in India, while also tapping into the Indian fashion, creative and celebrity market, among which the Maldives is extremely popular.
What are the challenges operating in the Maldives competitive market and how do you deal with it?
I think the biggest challenge we are facing is the shortage of trained staff to fill in all levels of the resort management. The Standard brand really values a skilled team that also lives and breathe the brand DNA and has their own unique personality and individuality.
More than a challenge, over-tourism on an inhabited island and the possible negative consequences of mismanaged properties is a concern and could be a major challenge that would be difficult to manage moving forward.
Another challenge is the guest transfer related issues, including transfer capacity and costs involved, issues of limited space at the airport and future plans to resolves the challenges to provide visitors with better services.
Safety and Security, keeping the property safe from all sort of threats and danger is always a challenge and a priority for us to provide every single guest. Real and perceived threats will have a significant impact on arrival numbers. We, at The Standard Maldives, are continuously reviewing all our safety standards and taking measures to ensure that The Standard, Maldives is safe for all to enjoy.