Luxury resort undergoes adaptation and education programme to welcome disabled guests
Independent island innovator, Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences, is set to become the first resort in the world to be verified by UK-based accessible and inclusive hospitality experts, Inclucare. Demonstrating Amilla’s radical commitment to ‘total guest inclusion’, the certification follows a comprehensive assessment and training programme which addressed each aspect of the resort’s provision, empowering every member of the guest-facing team to deliver inclusion excellence at every moment of the guest’s experience.
Amilla’s certification will be marked at an Inclucare inauguration ceremony on Maldives Independence Day, 26 July, hosted by British TV personality and disability advocate Sophie Morgan. Morgan - who will also be working towards obtaining her PADI Open Water certificate during her visit - commented, “Knowing that disabled people are, for the first time, going to be able to experience the paradise that is the Maldives, and that our needs will be taken care of throughout our stay, is beyond transformative. Amilla is leading the way in inclusive travel, expanding our world as a result, and I’m delighted to be part of this momentous occasion.”
Attracting millions of visitors from across the globe each year, the Maldives is renowned for its paradisiacal isolation - but the spectacular air and water transfers; sandy paths and beaches; water jetties; villas and restaurants that characterise the archipelago’s island resorts have also served to discourage guests with additional mobility, sensory or cognitive requirements from even considering it as a genuine accessible holiday option. That is about to change.
Determined to ensure that everyone could enjoy it to the max, Amilla is partnering with Inclucare to audit the entire guest experience, from the provision of information, booking procedures, sea and air transfers, and staff awareness and understanding; to identifying the physical adjustments and adaptations needed to authentically establish Amilla, and the Maldives, as an accessible and inclusive dream-destination for all. Amilla already had many easy-access ground floor villas, with wide doorways and accessible showers, as well as a beach wheelchair and a floating wheelchair for swimming, and in-villa phones that light up for the hearing impaired. New adaptations and innovations being implemented following the Inclucare audit include deaf-alert systems and adaptive yoga and snorkelling adventures. Also planned are sensory touch, aroma and sound experiences through the jungle for vision-impaired guests. A further ground-breaking addition will follow in the shape of dedicated ‘calming spaces’ – anxiety and stress-reducing havens for guests on the Autism spectrum, with learning difficulties, or dementia.
Director and proud Maldivian, Gahthan Halleem commented, “This is something close to our hearts; differences are welcomed, and we aim to make everyone feel at home here. We hope that this collaboration, including the learning by our local team members, will also translate back into the local community.”
Inclucare is the vision of Richard Thompson, himself spinal cord injured, and for decades a leading authority and advocate of ‘total guest inclusion’ in global travel, hospitality and leisure. Together with the team of travel, technology and education experts at Inclucare, Richard has created a complete ecosystem of services, solutions and support that is set to transform the landscape of travel opportunities for disabled people – who make up one in six of the global population. Says Thompson, “Inclucare is the culmination of more than two decades of endeavour in removing barriers to travel freedoms, equality and inclusion for disabled people across the globe. We are therefore excited, proud and privileged to partner, support and certify Amilla’s commitment to creating a genuinely inclusive island paradise in the Indian Ocean. In doing so, they are positioning themselves as global pioneers in inclusion in luxury; and the Maldives as a destination that now everyone can dream about”.
360 Private Travel (email@example.com; +44 7739 794 177) offers seven nights at Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences from £5873 per person, based on two sharing a Lagoon Water Pool Villa on a half board basis including return seaplane transfers and economy flights from London Heathrow. Price based on departures on 15 August 2022.
About Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences
A large, verdant natural island in the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences is an enchanting space for families, friends and couples to roam and play. Most of its 67 Villas and Residences are gracefully elevated over crystal clear waters, nestled among the treetops or hug the pristine shores; to venture through the island’s white sand fringe into its shaded heart reveals a surprisingly wild, green place – the inspiration for its organic garden-to-table concept. The resort’s Homemade@Amilla and Homegrown@Amilla initiatives are manifestations of a heartfelt commitment towards sustainability and resourcefulness. Indigenous ingredients - sea almonds, screwpines, countless coconuts, fragrant frangipani - are celebrated alongside the homemade, homegrown and homebrewed, bringing personality and vigour to nutritious, immunity-boosting menus. While not strictly a wellness resort, embracing dietary lifestyles is an intuitive part of Amilla’s Wellness Your Way, a fresh, holistic and highly customised approach to wellness that encompasses nutrition, mindfulness, movement and spa.
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