CEO Interview: Hilton’s flagship brand makes highly anticipated debut in the Maldives

By Olga_Gafurova Tuesday, 12 July 2022 6:22 PM

CEO Interview: Hilton’s flagship brand makes highly anticipated debut in the Maldives

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Leading global hospitality company Hilton announces the opening of Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa, marking the expansion of Hilton’s award-winning flagship brand into the Maldives. The all-villa resort features an array of thoughtful amenities which are new to the archipelago, setting a new benchmark in hospitality that will captivate the next generation of travelers. Hilton Maldives Amingiri is the fourth resort under the company’s portfolio of brands in the country, complementing Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, bolstering Hilton’s ability to take care of different travelers and their unique needs in one of the world’s most sought-after destinations. The hotel is owned by Amingiri Holdings Pvt Ltd and managed by Hilton. Mr. Gaurav Thakur, General Manager of Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa shed light on the opening of this new property on July 1st 2022.

Please tell us About Hilton Amingiri Resort & Spa.

Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa represents the launch of Hilton Hotels & Resorts in one of the most iconic travel destinations, the Maldives, and the legacy of the exceptional Hilton hospitality. It’s nestled amidst the tranquil blue waters of North Malé Atoll and brings to life world-renowned levels of hospitality, with a locally inspired touch, for a unique holiday experience.

It is easily accessible via a 20-minute premium speedboat transfer from Velana International Airport, the stunning island property boasts 109 beach and overwater villas – each featuring its own private pool, plus the uber-exclusive six-bedroom Amingiri Residence – ideal for group gatherings to celebrate the most special of occasions.

Complete with six exceptional restaurants and bars, holistic spa and wellness facilities amongst other best-in-class amenities – families, couples and friends can choose from a myriad of options to suit every

How many rooms and villas will the property have?

The resort offers 109 beach and overwater villas each featuring a private pool and furnished sundeck. Guests can choose from a variety of options including one-bedroom overwater pool villa, one-bedroom beach pool villa, one-bedroom overwater pool suite with pool, two-bedroom overwater pool villa and two-bedroom beach pool villa.

We also offer our uber-exclusive six-bedroom Amingiri Residence, ideal for friends and families to celebrate the most special of occasions. Situated on the coves of Amingiri, the Residence features spectacular 360-degree views of the Maldivian sunrise with its own private sun deck, pool, beach and spa treatment room. In addition, the Residence also has an exclusive pier for guest check-in.

What will the F&B scene look like?

We offer six exceptional F&B concepts in the resort which include Habitat – a breakfast venue which highlights Western, Italian and Asian ingredients, Aura – a sophisticated poolside bar and the first cocktail lab in the Maldives, Eden – an adults-only bar, Origin – a seafood restaurant focused on seasonal ingredients, sustainable sourcing and reduced waste menu choices, Sip Tea Lounge which offers 51 tea flavours and Beach Shack – an elevated feet-in-the-sand experience focused on burgers and pizza by day and flame-thrilled specialties for dinner. Additionally we also offer destination dining – a presentation of memorable private set-ups on the beach, villa sun decks or sandbank and Re:Fuel – a rooftop lounge exclusive to teenage guests.

What type of activities and entertainment guests can expect?

We offer a wide variety of leisure experiences, whether they are seasoned holidaymakers or junior explorers, adventurous foodies, wellness enthusiasts or simply sunseekers in search of a rejuvenating escape. Our guests can experience care and wellness at the yoga pavilion, fitness centre, salon and grooming lounge as well as uniquely designed hammam rituals at Amingiri Spa to yoga sessions with the whole family. The Krakengiri Kids’ Club boasts its own mini splash park and outdoor pool. We also have an art centre which has installations of art pieces as well as classes for those looking to try their artistic skills.

Please tell us about your background and experience with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

 I have more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. I started my career as a Food & Beverage Supervisor at Babylon International in India in 2002, then moved to Hilton London Stansted Airport as Assistant Food & Beverage Manager from 2005 to 2008, followed by that I joined Hilton London Olympia as Food & Beverage Manager until 2011. Then, I was promoted to Deputy Hotel Manager in 2011 at Hilton London Islington.

I also spent 3 years working in India, overseeing the pre-opening of Conrad Pune as Director of Operations (2015-2016) then was promoted to Hotel Manager from 2016 to 2018. At which time I also supported with another significant Hilton opening in India, the Conrad Bengaluru, as Hotel Manager.

I continued to pursue my passion for hospitality with Hilton including brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, and Hilton Hotels & Resorts, operating as a key senior player within the pre-opening team of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi as Resort Manager in 2018, and in 2021 I was delighted to take up my first role as General Manager for Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa. 

How important is the Middle East market to the Maldives?

The Middle East is a very significant feeder market for the Maldives. In 2021, the Maldives welcomed 91,413 holidaymakers from the Middle Eastern market with Saudi Arabia ranking as the seventh-largest source market for tourists. Growth from the market is on track to continue with more than 19,000 arrivals recorded during the first two months of this year.

Maldives continues to rank as very desirable all-year-round destination for Middle East travellers thanks to its close location, positioning as a safe haven for tourists and premium offerings.

We believe we have a very attractive offering for Middle Eastern travellers in Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa due to its easy access from the airport, a wide range of villa and residence offerings, enviable dining options and plenty of leisure facilities to suit every type of guest.