Amilla Resort and Residences kicked off their Maldives Cultural Week on July 19th for the first time, hosting a series of locally-inspired activities for their guests. The idea was born during the travel restrictions of the pandemic, a time when many experiences had become limited for travelers.
In this regard, for the guests who cannot see all of the Maldives, Amilla brings the Maldives to them.
“The Maldives Cultural Week in Amilla Maldives is a great way to showcase our history, culture and traditions to our guests,” stated Samee Saeed, Resort Manager of Amilla. “We are excited to give our guests a peek into the Maldivian traditional way of life and at the same time support the local Maldivian community by bringing these two groups together.”
Through their cultural week packed with cultural workshops, games, music, and culinary treats, the resort offered its guests a chance to truly experience the Maldivian lifestyle.
The cultural week also fittingly coincides with Eid al Adha and Maldivian Independence Day; the perfect juncture to showcase the local lifestyle to tourists who could otherwise visit our islands many times without ever learning anything of the country they are visiting.
For the festivities, the resort built an island village with a traditional thatched hut displaying historical elements of the country along with local tools and lacquer work. Ibrahim Solih from Baa Thulhadoo, is a special highlight in this series. Ibrahim, a third generation craftsman, famous in the atoll for his meticulous wooden lacquer work, is following his family business like his father.
“When I opened the workshop with my products here at Amilla, I sold out very fast,” he said. “I had to bring in more of my stock to meet the demand.”
He also pointed out that while the guests were fascinated with his traditional products, they were particularly fond of lacquer work painted with hues of blue.
Ibrahim had also previously showcased his work at various fairs such as ITB Berlin and ATM, and other resorts as well.
The resort invited a couple of visiting designers inspired by tropical, Maldivian aesthetics, including Maskula. Maskula, literally translating to ‘fish colours’, produces unique batik scarfs, sarongs, kurtas and hand drawn beach bags inspired by patterns and colours of tropical fishes.
The resort also invited Lanala Swimwear, a family business creating eco-conscious swimwear. Their items are mostly made from recycled fabric.
There has been a trend observed among travelers of more and more guests opting for sustainable options in their consumer diet. Tourists seeking sustainable options benefiting the local communities and conserving the environment have become the driving force behind many sustainability initiatives in countless tourist establishments.
It is often said that you can learn a lot about any local culture by exploring their food. Maldivian cooking classes were held for guests to try their hand at cooking and eating quintessential local dishes such as ‘mas riha’, ‘Addu bondi’, and even ‘hedhika’.
It is notable that the resort promotes introducing guests to locally grown and available foods. Amilla Resort and Residences has its own veggie garden known as Mystique Garden, where they grow as many vegetables as possible, fertilized with composted food scraps from the kitchen to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
As part of its wellness lifestyle, the resort hypes superfoods, especially the in-house grown organic food. Among these is Kulhlhafilaa Faiy (Beach Launaea) that grows in clusters on the beaches of the islands and as borders to their vegetable beds.
Amilla also emphasizes the importance of probiotics by hosting classes where guests can ferment and bottle screwpine soda and tepache among others. Screwpine or ‘Kashikeyo’ grows abundant in the Maldives, and is featured in countless traditional dishes.
And the Spirit
Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences’ emphasis on sustainability and the Maldivian culture has been well-received by its guests.
The resort also expressed that the reception of this week has been overwhelmingly positive, and incredibly popular among their guests. Guests were able to learn about Maldivian culture beyond the classic Boduberu shows and Eid parades.
“We are thrilled to have been able to hold the first ever Maldives Cultural Week within a resort. As a Maldivian owned and managed resort want guests to the Maldives to be able to experience the real culture of the country they are visiting,” stated Victoria Kruse, Sustainability and Wellness Mentor of Amilla. “As well as this for our team to feel proud of their heritage and resort.”
The country’s rich cultural heritage was celebrated by the guests and staff during the week’s activities. Amilla is one of the few Maldivian-owned and managed resorts in the country.