Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu celebrates 25th Anniversary with Cultural experience

Activities & Experiences in the Maldives

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Maldivian-owned resort Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

12 December, 2023

Maldivian-owned resort Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu marked its 25th Anniversary on 7th December 2023 with a cultural showcase amongst other events and activities celebrating its quarter century of hospitality.

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in Baa Atoll welcomed its first guests on 7th December 1998, and went on to become the first resort under leading luxury resort brand Coco Collection.

The anniversary event was attended by Chief Guest the Honourable Deputy Minister of Tourism Mr Mohamed Yameen Ahmed, as well as dignitaries from the Tourism Ministry, the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, Baa Atoll Council, Thulhaadhoo Island Council, and Hithaadhoo Island Council. Representatives from some of Coco Collection’s key partners were also in attendance, such as tour operators Kuoni Travel, TUI, Alpitour, Exotismes, Hummingbird Travel; seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways, and telecommunications company Dhiraagu; as well as media partners PSM, Hotelier Maldives, Maldives Insider, and O Maldives.

The Silver Jubilee celebration took place on the resort and started off with a Sai Fodhu – a traditional Maldivian High Tea. The Sai Fodhu was hosted by two of the Founders, Mr. Shabeer Ahmed and Mr. Hussain Hilmy, who founded the resort and Coco Collection with their brothers Mr Mohamed Nazeer and Mr Hassan Zareer.

The Sai Fodhu featured Maldivian delicacies from significant regions of the country; namely Addu, the southernmost atoll where the Founders are from, and the Baa Atoll islands of Thulhaadhoo, Hithaadhoo, and Eydhafushi which have long been close neighbours of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu.

The Sai Fodhu began with the introduction of a Time Capsule called the Ran Rumbaa – ran meaning ‘gold’ and rumbaa referring to the traditional storage jar which had been modified to serve as the Time Capsule. The Time Capsule was filled by students from Thulhaadhoo and Hithaadhoo Schools, who had been invited to fill the rumbaa with their hopes and wishes for Baa Atoll. Guests, associates, and attendees alike were then invited to leave messages in the jar before it was sealed, and it will only be opened on 7th December 2048 on the Golden Jubilee of the resort.

Following the sealing of the Time Capsule, the Founders and Guests of Honour unveiled the 25 Years of Coco Palm Exhibition. Hidden under lock and key, the exhibition was encased inside four old-fashioned wardrobes placed on the beach. These mysterious wardrobes were unlocked and opened to reveal information, data, memories, and photos across the past 25 years. The exhibition showcased the resort’s sustainability initiatives, guest memories, cultural and traditional practices, and never-before-seen photos of the resort’s construction days.

Later in the evening, the Farikkolhu dinner event began with a speech by Chairman of Coco Collection, Mr Shabeer Ahmed. In his speech, Mr Shabeer recalled the early days of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, including the months he spent with the construction team on the then- uninhabited island. He also took the opportunity to thank the guests, associates, and partners who made the resort a success, including a few key members from the construction team who were also in attendance.

Following his speech, a short film titled ‘The Coco Story: Prologue’ was played for the attendees, showing a candid chat between Mr Shabeer and Mr Hilmy who recalled the struggles they faced as newcomers in the industry and pointed out ways in which they set themselves apart in the field as trailblazers.

After the screening, awards were handed out to associates including the Faces of Coco Palm Award which was presented to 36 associates who have worked at the resort for over 10 years and have become ambassadors of the Coco values. The Special Recognition Award was then presented to 12 associates across the corporation who have made significant contributions to the resort over the last 20 years. Finally, the Silver Jubilee Award was presented to 7 associates who have been with Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu since day one and have worked at the resort for 25 years. These 7 winners were also recipients of the Silver Jubilee Grant, a newly created fund in support of the development and education of their families.

The celebrations were brought to a close by a cultural showcase led by Bidhabin, a talented group of young performers specialising in traditional Maldivian music and dance using bodu beru, the wooden drums used in many local cultural performances. Bidhabin wowed the audience with a series of vibrant and lively performances rooted in authenticity. Bidhabin were joined by the resort’s own team members, who took part in some of the performances including a catwalk of the resort’s uniforms over the years.

The evening was a celebration of not only the 25 years of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, but also a celebration of the resort’s close relationship to the local community and its roots as a family- owned Maldivian brand. As Mr Shabeer said in his speech, “The concept of Coco Palm was an ode to the historic arts and crafts of the Maldives.”

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