UAE to Maldives: These resorts offer affordable to luxury escape for every traveler

by Tanvir Awan
Published: Updated:
Pulse Hotels & Resorts - Maldives

Imagine a magical place in the middle of the ocean with stunning beaches and clear blue water as far as you can see. That’s the Maldives! It’s famous for its amazing beauty and luxurious resorts. People from all over the world love to visit this tropical paradise for a relaxing vacation.

For travelers from the UAE, the Maldives is like a dream escape from the hot summer weather. With direct flights and special deals, it’s easy to plan a trip there. Whether you want to relax on the beach or try exciting water activities, the Maldives has something for everyone.

In a recent interview with Mohamed Khaleel, Managing Director of Pulse Hotels and Resorts Maldives, he shared his insights with Dubai Newsweek regarding the Maldives tourism and his company’s journey and its significant contributions to the Maldives tourism landscape.

Pulse Hotels & Resorts – Maldives

Established approximately eight years ago, Pulse Hotels & Resorts emerged as a local hospitality brand, marking a pioneering presence in the Maldives tourism sector.

Mohamed Khaleel, Pulse hotel and resort maldives

Mohamed Khaleel

Khaleel proudly emphasized the status as trailblazers in the region, spearheading the initiation of tourism activities in the Maldives.

The brand currently boasts three distinct products tailored to diverse market segments.

The Nautilus Maldives

The Nautilus Maldives stands out as an epitome of ultra-luxury. Catering to a niche clientele of 30 ultra-high-net-worth individuals, The Nautilus offers an exclusive private island experience without imposing premium charges. Khaleel elucidates that the essence of The Nautilus lies in granting guests unparalleled autonomy, where they dictate their own schedules and preferences.

Khaleel said: “Why people take private islands is because they don’t want to be dictated what and when and how they have to do things. So, at Nautilus, even if you book one room, you enjoy a private island experience. Here the guest decides when and what and where they want to go. That’s basically the essence of Nautilus.”

Kandima Maldives

In contrast, Kandima Maldives targets the affordable luxury segment, positioning itself as a family-friendly, five-star property.

Khaleel elaborates on the resort’s extensive offerings, including the largest kids club in the Maldives, soon to be complemented by a mini-theme park featuring various recreational activities.

Kandima resort Maldives

Khaleel said: “Kandima is designed to offer affordable luxury, targeting the entry-level five-star market, with a strong focus on families. To enhance our product offering, we’ve established the largest kids club in the Maldives at Kandima, and we’re further enhancing this with the development of a mini-theme park, slated for completion by the end of July. This park will feature a zipline and various other amenities and activities.


“With 10 different food and beverage outlets, Kandima provides a diverse culinary experience. It caters not only to families but also to solo travelers and groups, including those with an active lifestyle. Unlike the personalized approach we adopt at Nautilus and other local properties, at Kandima, we empower guests to tailor their own experiences, offering a unique aspect distinct from other resorts.”

Nova Maldives

The third property under Pulse Hotels & Resorts, Nova Maldives, caters to solo travelers and millennials seeking a stylish yet budget-friendly retreat. With its prime location near some of the world’s finest dive sites, Nova Maldives offers a serene escape coupled with unparalleled marine experiences.

Nova Maldives

Khaleel highlighted, “The third property is Nova Maldives. Nova offers a tranquil and compact environment, tailored for solo travelers, particularly millennials, seeking an affordable yet stylish getaway. Situated near some of the world’s top dive sites, including the renowned house reef, Nova provides a unique marine experience. Each of our properties, including Nova, is distinct, catering to different guest preferences.”

Sustainability in focus

Khaleel stated: “All our hotels are very sustainable. We give a lot of consideration to managing waste, conducting full recycling of food waste, and recycling grey water for landscaping and gardening purposes. Energy conservation is a significant focus across all our Pulse properties. However, the upcoming Aura resort takes sustainability a step further. It’s not merely about greenwashing; we’re committed to creating a genuinely eco-friendly tourism destination. Aura will be a luxury property, and we have another ultra-luxury property under construction in our pipeline.”

Manta Air flights from UAE?

Khaleel elaborated on Manta Air, stating, “Manta is basically our seaplane transfer service. This year, we introduced international flights from our Dhaalu Airport directly to Bangalore, India. The Indian market, particularly the middle-income segment, is rapidly growing. We believe that offering direct flights to Dhaalu Airport, rather than routing through Male, benefits travelers by saving them time on arrival and departure days.”

Manta Air Maldives

Regarding flights from the UAE, Khaleel confirmed expansion plans for Dhaalu Airport. “By the end of 2025, we will have the capacity to accommodate larger aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus 321. We have already begun upgrading the airport’s infrastructure, including fueling facilities and terminal expansion. Our goal is to position Dhaalu as the second-largest hub in the Maldives, opening up new opportunities for both us and the local community.”

He further highlighted the interest from other airlines in flying directly to Dhaalu. “We have received inquiries from Asian airlines, including AirAsia, due to their extensive global connectivity. Our objective is not only to benefit ourselves but also to stimulate growth in the local economy, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Ultimately, we aim to establish Dhaalu as a destination within the destination, catering to an active lifestyle demographic and enhancing the overall appeal of the Maldives.”

Partnership with dnata boosts tourism

Khaleel addressed the growth in tourist numbers from the UAE and other GCC countries, stating, “While I don’t have exact figures, we’ve observed significant growth compared to 2022 and 2023, with an increase of 20% to 25% in visitor numbers. This growth is particularly notable in the GCC market, where we’ve invested heavily. Partnering with dnata group as our sales and PR partner in the UAE has played a crucial role in driving this growth. The GCC market presents substantial potential, and our strategic partnership aims to capitalize on this opportunity.”

He emphasized the appeal of the Maldives as a destination, especially during the summer months in the Middle East. Khaleel remarked, “Summer is the ideal time to visit the Maldives, offering a respite from the scorching heat in the Middle East. To incentivize travel during this period, we offer aggressive promotions from June to October.”

On the topic of VVIP and royal visits, Khaleel maintained confidentiality regarding guest identities, stating, “While many VVIPs and royal guests have visited Pulse Hotels and Resorts in the Maldives, we cannot disclose their identities due to privacy reasons. However, we have hosted members of the Saudi royal family at Nautilus on multiple occasions, and we have accommodated fully-booked stays for VVIP guests from the region.”

This cautious approach underscores the commitment to guest privacy while acknowledging the prestigious clientele that frequents Pulse Hotels and Resorts.

Maldives travel trends

Khaleel reflected on the recent trends in Maldives tourism, noting, “In the last decade, 2022 stood out as the best year for Maldives tourism. However, 2023 brought unexpected challenges when the government implemented a tax hike with minimal notice. This decision had a significant impact on the industry, highlighting the importance of long-term planning and stability in tourism. The sudden increase in rates caught many off guard, leading to adverse effects on businesses.”

He further elaborated on the government’s rationale behind the tax hike, stating, “The government’s intent was to raise revenue by increasing rates at their discretion. However, the abrupt nature of the change resulted in adverse consequences for the tourism sector. It underscored the need for transparent and collaborative decision-making processes to ensure the sustainable growth of the industry.”

Khaleel’s insights shed light on the challenges faced by the Maldives tourism sector and the imperative for strategic planning and policy coherence to safeguard its continued prosperity.

“Pulse Hotels & Resorts remains poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities, driven by a steadfast commitment to innovation, sustainability, and unparalleled guest experiences,” Khaleel concluded.

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