In a world where the hospitality industry’s tides ebb and flow, Oaga Art Resort, a self-made local brand of Maldives, boldly flung open its doors to the world in January 2023, daring to redefine the very essence of luxury. This artistic haven in a short span of time has scored two feathers in its cap at the Maldives Tourism Awards 2023, an event hosted by the Maldives Tourism Ministry to commemorate National Tourism Day. One, for having the highest number of Maldivian employees at a tourist resort in the Maldives, and the other, for promoting local visual artists.
Having accomplished this feat in just a few months of operation is a testament to Oaga’s vision to cater authentic local experiences, stories and artistry to travellers by local islanders themselves. The concept instils the qualities, heritage and culture involved in providing hospitality to guests which have been practised in the Maldivian society throughout the ages.
The accounts of historians such as H.C.P. Bell or François Pyrard de Laval hold testament to the fact that the local community within the isles of Maldives were hospitable and friendly towards visiting travellers. Oaga translates this in the current hospitality context, giving priority to hire locals in order to effectively tap into the roots of the culture. Currently, 91% of the team are Maldivian. At Oaga, each employee forms part of a community of islanders or ‘Rahvehin’ who are empowered to be mindful, open, creative and empathetic towards each other as well as visiting travellers. For the traveller, the difference is infinitely better, allowing for deeper connections with Maldivian culture and heritage through the stories surrounding the infrastructure and the islanders themselves.
The concept of Oaga also embodies that the meaning of being ‘Maldivian’ is ever changing, by embracing the creativity of local artists and craft makers. Murals by local artists have been incorporated within the walls of the Haruge Villas, depicting traditional Maldivian folklore spoken through the ages in their own style and method.
The Suvāsthi Art & Retail Gallery features 100% owned Maldivian brands, from small-scale businesses to more established ones, who create contemporary products as their own homage to Maldivian flora, fauna and traditions. Suvāsthi also curates the largest local art collection held at a resort in Maldives, at Oaga. These artworks are exhibited tastefully on the walls of the resort’s Veyoge Garden Villas, offering an immersive and intimate artful experience to travellers.
This unique concept offers the world a chance to interact with and even own an authentic piece of local artwork. It also opened up a new platform for local artists to display their art and Oaga contributes $1 for each artwork in display, for each occupied night of the Veyoge Garden Villas. Of note, this is also the first time in Maldivian history where local art has been insured.
As per the management, “When we embarked on this journey to enter the tourism industry for the first time, our research showed that most hotels within the Maldivian industry are quite similar in concept and are owned and operated by large global hotel chains. We wanted to stand out from this and to establish a local brand within these giants. In doing so, we really wanted to focus on promoting the invaluable contributions already being made within the industry by local creatives, musicians and craftsmen as the root of our concept”.
For Maldives lovers searching for an all-inclusive holiday, Oaga Art Resort’s Greatest All-Inclusive plan re-defines the limits of what All-Inclusive is all about; with inclusions such as Free Flow (art) classes, Take Notes (music) experiences, In-Villa Dining to floating meal, choices of excursions, motorised watersports and many more. Guests looking to book the resort can visit the website, www.oagaresorts.com to book your stay, don’t miss out!
Situated in North Malé Atoll, Oaga Art Resort is 45 minutes by speedboat from Malé International Airport. A small island with 60 villas with beach and over water options, 5 dining venues and a spa inspired by Maldivian traditional healing practices, Oaga Art Resort’s artistic and creative spaces offer an immersive experience curated by local and visiting artists, and craftsmen from the Maldives.
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