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17 Sep 2018

BY Abra Dunsby


An arty approach to conservation in the Maldives

A new project at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is helping guests to appreciate marine life, finds Abra Dunsby 

Fairmont Coralarium 2.jpg

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is helping to bring guests closer to the underwater world and understand why protecting marine life is so important

The Maldives is known for making the most of the fish-filled, turquoise-coloured ocean that surrounds it, with overwater villas the accommodation option of choice.

Now a new hotel has found another way for clients to appreciate the treasures of the sea – with the world’s first semi-submerged art installation.

The project at the newly opened Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor and has an ecological aim. The life-size figures from the installation act as an artificial coral reef and, over time, will help to protect the marine life.

As the only resort located on the Shaviyani Atoll in North Maldives, the Fairmont recognises its responsibility to protect its island’s pristine reefs.

Simmi Pai, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, believes the installation, dubbed the “Coralarium”, will encourage people to think more sustainably.

“If we help guests to fall in love with the surrounding seascapes, it will motivate them to act with more consciousness about marine conservation,” she says.

“We hope that the Coralarium will inspire guests to carry out the little things to help save the planet once they leave the resort too.”

The sculptures have been created using locally sourced materials and pH-neutral marine compounds, ensuring a low carbon footprint for the coral regeneration project.

Surrounding marine life ready to move into the Coralarium includes manta rays, more than 250 species of tropical fish and 50 types of invertebrates.

Guests can explore the Coralarium on small-group guided tours, led by the resort’s in-house marine biologists. The hotel also offers a night-time snorkelling programme, allowing them to explore the underwater project by night.

After delving into the underwater art space, clients can make a marine-inspired masterpiece of their own in the resort’s art studio, with an artist-in-residence on hand to inspire.

The resort has made other environment-saving pledges – withdrawing the use of plastic straws, introducing glass bottles instead of plastic ones and installing its own water-bottling plant, which will soon offer both still and sparkling options to guests.

The hotel also runs educational excursions to explore the manta ray cleaning station that lies within the reef, while its cultural tours to nearby inhabited islands will allow clients to experience the local way of life.

It’s good to see this Maldivian resort
is making waves when it comes to offering responsible, eco-conscious stays.

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