The country’s first “integrated resort” opened at the reclaimed Emboodhoo lagoon near the capital last week.
The Crossroads project by Thai developer Singha Estate is the largest tourism-related project undertaken in the Maldives. Two of nine artificial islands reclaimed from the lagoon were officially opened on Thursday by Vice President Faisal Naseem.
According to a press release by Singha Estate, the first island is home to Marina at Crossroads, an 11,000 square meter retail and entertainment space with “luxury shopping, fine dining, a state-of-the-art event hall, and PADI-certified water sports and dive centre.”
The SAii Lagoon Maldives transit hotel by Hilton for short-term visitors stopping over at the Velana International Airport is also located on the first island. Both the capital city and airport island are a 15-minute speedboat ride from Crossroads. A ferry is due to operate daily between Malé and Crossroads from 10am to 12am.
An “interactive educational-centre-cum-museum” called the Maldives Discovery Centre and the Marine Discovery Centre equipped with the region’s most advanced marine life laboratories are also hosted on the first island. The marine centre “hosts biologists who carry out research and longitudinal studies on sea-life and coral propagation through a Junior Coral Curator programme and a clownfish release initiative that span within the area of 64,000 square meters.”
The Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, developed and managed by S Hotels & Resorts, is on the second island along with the world- renowned architecture studio Bensley Design.
Launched in July 2017, the project drew criticism over the environmental impact of reclaiming lagoons as well as the mass removal of trees for landscaping.
But Singha Estate said efforts were made to preserve the marine ecosystem.
“During the construction, there were no concrete mixing and no plastering. Singha Estate has commissioned all of the projects’ megastructures to be made in Thailand before being shipped to the Maldives in giant container vessels to avoid harming coral reefs and sea-life,” Singha said.
In his remarks at the inauguration ceremony, VP Faisal Naseem also commended Singha Estate for “the comprehensive measures they undertook to ensure that the construction of Crossroads occurred in harmony with the Maldives’ natural blessings, proving that sustainable tourism and large-scale economic progress can occur hand-in-hand.”
According to the developer, 376 rooms were built under the US$131 million first phase of the Crossroads project and at least 1,000 job opportunities would be created for Maldivian. The project also includes a luxury yacht marina, a lifestyle beach club, retail and fine dining. An ‘Eight New Wonders of the Maldives’ is planned with a “coral village, iconic tuna sculptures, sunset point, and Emboodhoo canyon.”
Tourism Minister Ali Waheed said 60 percent of Crossroads employees are Maldivian, 20 percent of whom are women. Only seven percent of resort workers were female as of last year.
The opening ceremony featured live performances, an “international aerial silk show” and the screening of a short documentary on the making of Crossroads.
The vice president assured the government’s commitment to “facilitating projects of a similar scale and vision in the country, in line with its goal of increasing tourist arrivals in the country by several millions in the coming years.”
Singha Estate Chairman Chutinant Bhirombhakd said: “By being the largest integrated leisure and entertainment destination in the Maldives, Crossroads will help maintain the notable and continuously rising tourism markets such as China, India, and Middle East, and attract new market segments of family and locals to the Maldives.”
“Crossroads is going to redefine vacation experience in the Maldives and the entire Indian Ocean region while also being deeply sustainable and considerate of its environment, history, and culture.”
In partnership with HISTORY™, we are so excited to share you THE MAKING OF: CROSSROADS Maldives, a six-part documentary that follows the building of CROSSROADS from the very beginning. It’s a series about vision, engineering, sustainable development and Maldives’ lifelong historical relationship with the sea. Stay tuned!.ON AIR 22 September 2019.History Channel EP.1 and Ep.2 at 9 PM.TRUE Visions & Triple 3, Channel 165EP. 1 at 8 PMEP.2 at 8.30 PM.#CROSSROADS #CROSSROADSMaldives #CROSSROADSDestination #Maldives #SHotelsAndResorts #HistoryChannel #SinghaEstate
Posted by Singha Estate on Sunday, 22 September 2019