Gentle Footprints In The Maldives
A suite of sustainability measures and education are making sure the Maldives is preserved for future generations.
Composed of 1192 sun-drenched islets strung across the glittering Indian Ocean, the Maldives is an undeniably luxurious destination.
Its picture-perfect views and remote location, coupled with the abundance of ultra-exclusive resorts, each promising the foremost in barefoot luxury, make the Republic a favoured destination for those in need of respite from the quotidian.
However, nestled among the extravagance and the exclusivity is an underlying desire to protect the fragile ecosystem of the archipelago.
The lowest-lying nation in the world, much of the Maldives sits just a few metres above sea level, leaving the atolls susceptible to rising sea levels. Additionally, coral bleaching also poses a threat to the country’s reefs.
With locals and travellers seeking to preserve the pristine landscape for generations to come, a number of Maldivian resorts have rightly responded to the challenge. From utilising green energy and incorporating ‘zero-food-mile’ dining, to offering guest conservation programs, they’re showcasing that sustainability and luxury needn’t be mutually exclusive.
Located in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi is leading the charge in eco-tourism. Composed of lavish bungalows made from reclaimed wood and outfitted with eco-friendly amenities, the carbon-neutral resort was the first resort in the Maldives to recycle plastic on-site and has invested in mangrove conservation and seagrass restoration.
While the resorts dotted across the islands offer unforgettable luxury, the world below the water is the one that’s set to be a conversation point for years to come.
At the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, marine biologists sound the ‘Manta on Call’ upon sighting the majestic rays that congregate around the Bar Atoll, signalling an opportunity for guests to join them in the ocean. Allowing guests to leave the land better than they found it, there’s the option to help rebuild coral reefs or rehabilitate turtles before releasing them back into the wild.
Prefer sharks to manta rays? LUX South Ari Atoll allows guests to get up close and personal with the whale shark population—accompanied by a marine biologist, of course. Likewise, Gili Lankanfushi, on the North Malé Atoll, combines snorkelling with coral regeneration, with visits led by the resort’s resident marine biologist showcasing a veritable menagerie of turtles, fish, giant clams, and manta rays, alongside coral in vibrant hues of pink, green, and yellow.
At Amilla, Lucullan repasts come with a side of sustainability, with dishes making use of fare sourced from the resort’s banana plantation, hydroponic garden, mushroom hut, coconut processing facility, and chicken coop.
Meanwhile, guests dining at the aptly named Zero restaurant at Sun Island Resort & Spa are treated to almost ‘zero-food-mile’ cuisine, with produce from the hotel garden and fresh seafood served amongst the treetops.
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