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Taking stock of a Maldives club scene

When it comes to night-life for those pursuing an Indian Ocean getaway, some resort owners concede that the Maldives is unlikely to be competing with destinations like Ibiza as a clubbing capital, particularly with the destination’s reputation for romantic island seclusion and chilled out decadence.

Yet dancefloors – whether above or below water – and the DJs charged to fill them, are increasingly being seen as a vital component to tourism in the country. Whether for providing a spot of mellow entertainment, a party atmosphere for beach-side bashes, or a soundtrack to a more jovial flailing of limbs at resorts around the country, hospitality groups are looking to disc-spinners as a means to differentiate themselves from the competition.

A number of the country’s resorts are therefore looking to host upcoming and established global DJs at their properties for special events and launches, and in some cases, even putting together their very own spin-off soundtrack albums for guests. One such property looking to offer its own take on clubbing in the Maldives is the W Retreat and Spa in North Ari Atoll.

Since the property opened five years ago, W has offered its guests the chance to take advantage of its on-site nightclub known as 15BELOW, a feature the company claims it pioneered in the country not only to provide a different take on “after-dinner” entertainment, but also to attempt to offer a destination for emerging DJs to perform.

A spokesperson for the group says it is not however looking to compete with the world’s major dance-floor destinations, but rather trying to create different experiences to those usually associated with a vacation in the country.

“The Maldives offers visitors a very different experience to Ibiza,” adds a spokesperson for the W Retreat and Spa Maldives. “I don’t believe that guests are travelling to the Maldives just to see a particular DJ, but they are choosing to stay at W Retreat & Spa [in the] Maldives because they are able to connect with our brand and the experience that they have usually had at one of our other W Hotels.”

As part of the company’s aim to try and bring up and coming, as well as established DJs to the Maldives, W properties around the world are serving as the exclusive venues for the DJ Lab Global tour, which will see a number of new faces in dance music set to play several gigs over the next year.

The first DJ to perform at the W Retreat and Spa in the Maldives as part of this tour will be Angus Wong, the resident disc spinner at W’s Hong Kong hotel.

Between January 21 to January 25 2012, Wong – who started the monthly Gay Tea Dance at Tivo event back in Hong Kong – will look to provide the resort’s guests with a memorable soundtrack during their stay.

Wong is among five acts selected by W Hotels Global Music Director Michaelangelo L’Acqua to be part of the DJ Lab tour that plans to bring performers to a number of the company’s worldwide properties.

These acts include New York-based Lincoln Madley (aka DJ Bouji), the Parisian duo Miaou Mix, consisting of Noemi Sunshine Ferst and Judith Dju from Tête d’Affiche in Paris, London-based Daniel Avery, known as Stopmakingme, and Eiko of Tokyo.

The DJ Lab tour, a collaboration with the Burn energy drink brand, has already seen these acts being taken to Ibiza to meet with respected DJs like Arthur Baker, Cassius and Mode F for a spot of Balearic mentoring ahead of their performances.

Yet W, part of the Starwood Hotels brand, is not alone in trying to associate its Maldives property with big and emerging names in dance music.  Properties like the Huvafen Fushi resort in North Male’ Atoll have themselves in recent years been part of an ongoing collaboration with DJs such as Charles Shillings.

With a CV boasting performances at venues such as Lotus in New York and Le Café d’Anvers in Belgium, Shillings has become something of a fixture in the Maldives, playing at a number of properties to holidaymakers looking for a good boogey or something a touch cooler.

Huvafen Fushi has also played host back in 2010 to record producer Poet Name Life  for a one off performance to support the launch of his solo album “Songs for Girls” – as well as presumably getting a nice holiday to boot.  Poet Name Life has counted the Black Eyed Peas amongst his collaborators for better or worse.

The idea of providing purpose built nightclubs at resorts in the Maldives – a luxury or burden not often afforded to local people themselves, despite the relative popularity of dance events and performances of local dance styles like Bodu-Beru – appears to be gaining traction in the country.

Resort group Naiade also provides an on-site night club for guests to enjoy as part of the leisure activities available at its Diva property in the form of the Musik venue.

According to the company, the club provides dance-floor fillers of numerous genres including rock, salsa and techno until the early hours.

With the anticipated opening in January 2012 of its Niyama resort, the Per Aquum company, which also operates Huvafen Fushi in the country, plans to introduce its own underwater nightclub to the Maldives to try and entice guests alongside a host of other features.

Neil Merrett is Sales and Marketing Director at Dhonisaurus.

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One Comment

  1. Wow an underwater nightclub, never heard of that one before! Maldives sounds like an interesting place to visit, hope to spend some time there one day.

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