June 2011- In keeping with the old adage ‘leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos’ Beach House Maldives, a Waldorf Astoria Resort offers its guests a perfect memento of their stay: a patch of coral reef to call their very own.
For $150, the luxury resor’s coral reef
regeneration project allows guests to select and “plant” a small area of coral reef in the Indian Ocean
where it will grow and thrive. Particularly popular with newlyweds and honeymooners at the resort, the creation of a path of reef only takes about an hour, although the benefits will last a lifetime.
“Coral reefs are one of the most spectacular and fragile environments on this planet”, says General Manager Frederic Lebegue. “Coral that takes decades to grow can be destroyed so easily which is why we support this project to transplant and re-grow the coral at Beach House Maldives, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.”
The coral reef regeneration project is spearheaded by Seamarc, a Maldives-based marine consultancy who has developed a successful coral propagation technique that shows remarkable growth. The resort’s resident marine biologist harvest living but damaged or threatened corals from the surrounding waters. These are then attached by guests to a lightweight pyramidal substrate frame structure and transplanted in the resort’s lagoon thereby replenishing old habitats and creating new areas of a reef. Guests can follow the progress of their reef by logging into a dedicated website where they watch it as it grows throughout the years.
As well as being one of the world’s best holiday souvenirs, planting a coral reef makes a significant social and environmental impact on the country. “The Maldives depend on tourism and fishing which are the two largest contributors to the economy, both of these industries rely on the continued existence of healthy, vibrant reefs that are as appealing to tourists as they are to the fish that live in them. It is also important to remember that a coral reef surrounding an island protects it from wave action and erosion,” says Lebegue.
Beach House Maldives, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, is located on the pristine, lagoon-ringed Haa Alifu Atoll and is fringed by powder-white beaches and complemented with an unspoilt jungle-filled interior. The 35-acre resort compromises 83 Maldivian-style villas, three restaurants, three bars, and a luxurious spa. Each villa comes complete with a private pool and butler.