Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives, opening the fourth quarter 2008 in the Addu Atoll, will feature one of the first “Underwater Nature Trails” in the Maldives as well as a snorkelling garden “seascaped” with transplanted corals. Also as part of the resort’s marine initiatives, guests will be invited to help track some of the archipelago’s largest manta rays, found in the Addu Atoll waters.
The Underwater Nature Trail, designed by the resort’s marine specialist, will lead out to the resort’s house reef on the northern end of Villingili Island. Submerged signage will identify resident marine life along the way, including branching corals, sea anemones, Maldives anemonefish, clams, moray eels and the colourful juvenile Oriental Sweetlips. The marine specialist has also created snorkel gardens close to the southwest shoreline of the resort. In addition to offering a marine adventure for less experienced swimmers, the shallow-water snorkel gardens will provide a nursery for corals and reef fish.
Experienced divers will be invited to participate in the tracking of manta rays. Addu Atoll is one of the few places in the Maldives where giant manta rays with wingspans of more than five metres can be found year-round. Divers will be encouraged to photograph manta rays and contribute to the photo database that will be shared with other such centres around the world to help monitor the movement and population of these sea creatures. The resort will also set up a programme to educate and encourage guests to sponsor the satellite tagging of sea turtles and support organisations working on conservation on a larger scale.
With lush vegetation providing the backdrop for trails through the coconut trees and ancient Banyan trees on the three-kilometre-long island, guests will be able to enjoy all the natural wonders of Villingili Island, on land and sea.
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives, is currently under development and will feature 142 villas with views of the ocean or the island’s natural lush vegetation. The Maldives’ second international airport, Gan International Airport, is an eight-minute boat ride away from the resort and Male International Airport is 70 minutes by air.