The Maldives and Thailand have become the first Asian destinations to be offered by private travel club Inspirato – a group claiming to specialise in providing luxury travel experiences at lower costs for its members.
David Thomson, Vice President of Real Estate for Inspirato, told Dhonisaurus that the decision to enter the Maldives market was made after a number of the company's members had expressed interest in the destination's resort islands.
To meet this interest, three properties at the Soneva Fushi
have recently been added to the portfolio of the company, which aims to offer high-end holiday experiences for lower cost to its members by taking control of luxury properties around the world on long-term contracts.
Using this membership base, the company claims it is able to eliminate fees usually paid out by property owners for marketing, passing the resulting savings on to clients.
Through Inspirato's agreement with Soneva Fushi, the club has added three properties
to its offerings; including a single bedroom villa, a somewhat cryptic sounding, if nonetheless enticing Crusoe Suite and a four bedroom “Jungle Reserve”.
In line with the wider resort operations, all the properties have open-air garden bathrooms, a private pool and a personal butler service in line with a number of high-end resorts in the Maldives.
Thomson added that as part of Inspirato's leasing of the three properties, no changes were going to be enacted to the resort's existing operations, with its agreement expected to relate directly to prices paid by its members.
“Inspirato members will receive special privileges and benefits at Soneva Fushi – that may be on availability, pricing, amenities or all of the above,” he claimed.
“Inspirato strives to be the première brand in luxury travel and we believe that our partnership with Soneva Fushi is a perfect example of that première experience,” he said.
The Soneva Group has not been alone in trying to play up attempts at greener operations in a country that, under successive governments, has pledged to undertake
ambitious commitments to becoming a sustainable economy.
Groups like Anantara and Coco Palm Hotels are a few examples of tourist properties in the country looking to adopt
international sustainability standards such as Green Globe Certification.
The high-profile rhetoric
of local green campaigners such as former President Mohamed Nasheed, who pledged to make the Maldives a carbon neutral nation by 2020, has not been without criticism
from some sections of the international press.
In an article for the Huffington Post back in July, travel writer Rooksana Hossenally alleged Nasheed, who was ousted during February's controversial transfer of power, failed to address the most pressing domestic environmental issues and explain them to the local populace.
In regards to the availability of true eco-resorts in the country, Dhonisarus' own in-house travel expert has claimed
a limited number of the country's resort properties seem focused on offering wide-ranging sustainable initiatives in their operations.
“There are, in all honesty, just a handful of resorts [in the Maldives] that truly care for their environment,” claims travel writer Adrian Neville
, who has supplied many of our in-house reviews on the Dhonisaurus site.