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During our press trip to the 5-Star Hotel Kandolhu Maldives, it became clear that the topic of sustainability is playing an increasingly important role. This prompted FrontRowSociety editor Andreas Conrad to interview General Manager Guillaume Aublet.

Exclusive Interview with General Manager Guillaume Aublet, 5-Star Hotel Kandolhu Maldives

30 Villen: Privatsphäre und Exklusivität pur ....
30 Villas: Pure privacy and exclusivity on Kandolhu / © Redaktion

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of your guests, generally speaking people staying in exclusive resorts, do you have the feeling that they look for sustainable arrivals to their destination?

Guillaume Aublet: Guests at exclusive resorts often prioritise sustainability and are interested in sustainable travel practices. While they acknowledge the necessity of air and boat travel to reach remote destinations like ours, they appreciate efforts to minimise environmental impact. There’s a growing interest among guests to learn about the operational challenges and logistics involved in maintaining sustainability on the island.

Andreas Conrad: So would you agree that sustainable travelling starts with the actual travel itself or at the resort?

Guillaume Aublet: Yes, sustainable travelling ideally starts with the travel itself. Practices like those of some airlines, distributing bags and offering to recycle plastic waste, demonstrate efforts to minimise environmental impact during travel. Implementing such practices across all airlines flying to destinations like the Maldives would contribute significantly to sustainable tourism.

Andreas Conrad: In common sense most people connect luxury with wastefulness, of course we know and agree that’s not always the case. So how would you reconcile luxury and sustainability?

General Manager Guillaume Aublet, 5-Star Hotel Kandolhu Maldives
General Manager Guillaume Aublet, 5-Star Hotel Kandolhu Maldives / © Redaktion

Guillaume Aublet: Luxury and sustainability can be reconciled by incorporating responsible practices into the guest experience. This includes using sustainable materials, locally sourcing supplies as much as possible, and implementing measures to minimise environmental impact. As guests become more aware of the need for sustainability, they appreciate and respect the efforts made by resorts to prioritise eco-friendly practices without compromising on luxury. The evolving concept of luxury now embraces sustainability, reflecting changing consumer expectations and preferences.

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of those refinements and ideas, does your resort have for example a two-year plan to operate more eco- friendly or sustainable? If so, are you comfortable sharing some with us?

Guillaume Aublet: Certainly, I’d be delighted to share some of the ongoing sustainability initiatives and projects we have at Kandolhu Maldives. While we don’t have a specific two-year plan outlined, sustainability remains a constant focus for us, and we are continuously evolving and refining our efforts.

  • Plastic-free policy

One of our most significant eco-friendly initiatives is its plastic-free policy. We have implemented a no-single-use-plastic policy, which means that plastic straws, bottles, and bags are not allowed on the island. Instead, we have introduced reusable glass bottles. We are also taking steps to encourage guests to reduce their plastic waste by providing eco-friendly alternatives for amenities and toiletries.

  • Energy conservation

We are mindful of the amount of energy used on the island and has taken appropriate measures to reduce its carbon footprint. We’ve installed energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the resort and encourage guests to save energy by turning off air conditioning and lights when they’re not in their rooms. Additionally, we have installed solar panels that generate electricity to reduce energy consumption.

  • Sustainable activities

We also offer guests a range of activities such as snorkelling, diving and cleanup dives. During the resort‘s snorkelling sessions, guests can learn about the fragile ecosystem of the coral reefs and the importance of preserving it. Beach cleanups and cleanup dives are also organised regularly where our guests and the resort team work together to collect litter from the beaches and oceans.

  • Local community support

The resort not only prioritises sustainability in the way it operates but also supports the local community by providing jobs to locals, ensuring that the community benefits from its operations.

We are not only a stunning luxury resort but we also prioritise sustainability and eco-friendly practices and we’re committed to continuously improving and implementing initiatives that benefit both our guests and the environment.

Im Spa - mit kleinem Poolbereich - lässt sich der Tag entspannt angehen oder abends ausklingen
In the spa – with a small pool area – you can start the day relaxed or unwind in the evening / © Redaktion

Andreas Conrad: In order to reach your goal, to what extent do you involve the local population in your sustainability strategies and is there government support for sustainability programes?

Guillaume Aublet: We all realise that this should be a common goal; while the government is working on new measures on an international and national point of view, we as resorts continue to develop the understanding of the importance of the environment through training our team and working more efficiently with local communities. Organisations like Parley Maldives support local islands and resorts on collecting and recycling the plastic still in use.

Andreas Conrad: Due to our profession we are at multiple exclusive resorts of the world. Sometimes we have the feeling that the thought of sustainability is only important for European/ German speaking guests. Would you agree?

Guillaume Aublet: I wouldn’t characterise sustainability as solely important to European or German-speaking guests. While these regions have been proactive in raising awareness, guests from around the world, including those visiting the Maldives, are increasingly conscious of environmental issues on a global scale. Sustainability resonates with a diverse range of guests, reflecting a growing awareness and commitment to protecting our planet regardless of nationality or language spoken.

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of your personal opinion, how do you think travelling and staying at luxurious destinations will change in the future? And where do you see the limits of sustainability in the luxury hospitality industry?

Guillaume Aublet: I don’t see any limits, we have already made huge steps over the last decades, and it is an ongoing process which concerns everyone, habits are changing. Of course depending on the size of the island and remote location we are in, we still need to be realistic, we can’t rely only on local supplies, we’ll keep importing fine goods from abroad, but looking at the frequency as well as the seasonality of the products we are importing, should play a key role in our consumption.

... dabei ist jede Villa einzigartig...
Each villa is unique… / © Redaktion
... bis hin zur Wasser-Villa....
… down to the water villa, … / © Redaktion
... in welcher das Baden schon ein reines Vergnügen ist
… where even bathing is a pure pleasure / © Redaktion

Andreas Conrad: There are lots of environmentally conscious trends, which ones have you noticed in recent years?

Guillaume Aublet: Certainly, protecting and preserving the marine ecosystem is crucial for sustaining the beauty and diversity of places like the Maldives. One trend I’ve noticed is an increasing interest among guests in marine conservation efforts, such as coral reef restoration projects and responsible diving and snorkelling practices. Many travellers are eager to contribute to these initiatives and learn more about marine biodiversity during their stay.

Andreas Conrad: Lastly, we are curious! There’s a current boom of luxurious hospitality facilities all over the world. Everybody wants to go higher, further, faster, chasing the sky. What does a luxury resort or hotel need to survive the tough competition?

Guillaume Aublet: In today’s competitive hospitality landscape, a luxury resort or hotel must offer more than just opulent accommodations. To thrive, it needs to deliver exceptional personalised service, unique and immersive experiences, sustainable practices, cutting-edge amenities, and seamless integration of technology to enhance guest convenience and satisfaction. Additionally, fostering a strong sense of community and connection with the local culture and environment can set a luxury property apart, creating memorable and meaningful experiences for discerning travellers.

In den verschiedenen Restaurants wird eine erstklassige Küche geboten, ...
In the various restaurants, you’ll find first-class cuisine, sustainable and locally sourced / © Redaktion

Andreas Conrad: Finally, we would like to know what unique selling point your resort has in terms of environmentally friendly tourism?

Guillaume Aublet: At our resort, we pride ourselves on our commitment to environmentally friendly tourism through our sustainability initiatives. One of our unique selling points is our focus on marine conservation and protection. We have a vibrant house reef surrounding our island, which we actively preserve and enhance through responsible diving and snorkelling practices, and ongoing marine education programmes for guests and team members alike. Our dedication to protecting the marine ecosystem not only enhances the guest experience but also contributes to the long-term sustainability of our destination.

Here you will find our articles about our press trip:

Kurztrip: Kandolhu Maldives – ein luxuriöses Resort

Kandolhu is part of the Universal Resorts group – click here to go to our article


Andreas Conrad, Herausgeber des Magazins FrontRowSociety ist Advokat von Prevented Ocean PlasticFrontRowSociety editor Andreas Conrad conducted the interview with the General Manager Guillaume Aublet of the 5-Star Hotel Kandolhu Maldives in April 2024. These are the original, unedited answers.

Here you can find the interview in German

Kandolhu Maldives
North Ari Atoll
Republic of Maldives

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