When he was 24, Mohamed Waheed of Feydhoo, Addu City, made a trip that thousands of people from his southern atoll home have made before him: he got on a boat and sailed for Male’.
The capital’s economic heft has drawn Maldivians from across the archipelago for generations – something that Male’s rampant overcrowding can attest. Once people make the trip to Male’, they normally stay there. But bucking this trend, Waheed has returned home.
On 1 September, he was appointed as Resort Manager at Equator Village in Gan. Waheed has joined an elite club of Maldivians who have worked their way up the career ladder to the rank of resort manager – the most senior position in any hotel.
Waheed started his career as a trainee receptionist at Villingili Beach Resort in 1986 before the island was converted from a resort into a suburb island of Male’. He then held numerous positions in resorts, rising to become Front Office Manager, then Assistant Manager and finally Assistant Resort Manager at Summer Island Maldives.
Kaimoo resorts, which own both Summer Island Maldives and Equator Village, then offered Waheed his dream job: as Resort Manager back home in Addu.
Commenting on his new job, Mohamed Waheed said:
“It’s such a privilege to return to Addu as a resort manager, more than 30 years since I left home. I hope other Maldivians, who have left their homes for Male’, also think about returning to help develop and improve their home islands.
“Addu has so much potential, especially in tourism: the atoll has Maldives’ best diving and you can explore the atoll on a bicycle thanks to the link road. I’m really looking forward to managing Equator Village and building on its success.”
Commenting on the appointment, Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Managing Director of Kaimoo THS Group said:
“Mr. Waheed has been a mainstay at Summer with two decades of distinguished service, and I understand his absence would be significantly felt on the island. I offer our congratulations. I am sure he will bring the same enthusiasm, dedication and vigour he has displayed at Summer to Equator.”
Equator Village is located in Gan, an island with an interesting colonial history. From 1956 – 1976 Gan was a British Royal Air Force Base, and many British servicemen and women who served there often return to the island to visit. They nearly always stay at Equator Village.
The resort is located in what used to be the RAF Sergeant’s Mess, and the hotel’s grounds still retain a unique colonial charm, with large trees, manicured lawns and English-style flower gardens.
Addu’s appeal isn’t just history, though: the diving here is some of the best in the Maldives. The Atoll’s best dive spot is arguably a shipwreck called British Loyalty. It was a fuel tanker that was attacked by the Germans during the Second World War. The ship’s sinking was the only known attack in the Maldives for the war’s duration. The unexplored caves, all year round manta ray sighting makes Addu one of the most spectacular dive atolls in the Maldives.
Addu also allows tourists to cycle from island to island via the link road, offering them a unique opportunity to experience Maldivian towns and villages, as well as go off the beaten track and seek out deserted beaches. Addu’s “Eedhigali Kilhi”, one of the largest mangroves in the Maldives is an environmentally protected area and a beautiful area for bird watching. Equator Village offers bicycles for guests to explore the atoll.
Today, the Equator Village has 78 spacious, simple and garden view bungalows. The hotel has a restaurant, poolside bar and a large swimming pool that overlooks the ocean. A wide variety of activities are available including squash, table tennis, tennis, and live music. The Serena Spa offers a wide selection of aromatic oils and wellness packages are available to sooth your mind and body.