Kurumba’s extensive upgrade started at the most unusual place – you.
Every quality hotel and resort around the world has them. The little sheets of paper that lie beside your bed at night saying, “Your feedback is appreciated”. But, how many times do they simply end up in the waste paper basket, or stored away on a database that never sees the light of day?
That’s not the case at Kurumba. “Guest feedback is very important to us,” says Jason Kruse, the resort’s General Manager. “We use it to continually improve.” This is the main reason behind the US$3 million upgrade of Maldives’ original resort, in time to mark its 40th anniversary.
Take the former Family or Garden Villas as an example. Here a plunge pool has been added for guests’ exclusive use. While simple measures,such as lifting the ceiling and adding more windows, has created a greater sense of space and lightened the rooms. A third touch is the conversion of two daybeds to single beds, more suitable for family stays. All these measures were the result of feedback from regularly returning guests. “We based the upgrade on their ideas,” says Kruse. “These rooms are ideal for families or couples who enjoy their own private pool and larger villa.
In-room improvements are not limited to the new Garden Pool Villas. All the resort’s rooms have been upgraded with the furniture, fittings and artwork replaced. New super plush beds, with high-quality linen and bedding, are guaranteed to ensure each guest gets a peaceful night’s sleep.But it is the improved outdoor dining options where possibly the most significant changes have taken place.
Kruse highlights the beach bar as the standout feature. Here guests can lunch by the ocean, have a cocktail as the sun slips below the horizon, or enjoy some local entertainment as the clock ticks towards midnight. Mind you, he could equally have chosen the expanded Hamakaze Teppanyaki Restaurant, which now seats 24, or the new open dining area created in the resort’s spectacular tropical garden. The former offers a unique overwater setting for guests to watch the Japanese master chefs at work, while the latter affords panoramic views of the whole resort.
''We have certainly improved the spaces and choices on offer,” says Kruse, who recommends guests utilise the resort’s Dine Around All-Inclusive package, which allows merciless self-indulgence without having to worry about “the outgoings at the end of your stay"
Kurumba also offers cocktail master classes where guests can learn the hidden secrets behind the resort’s signature mixes, as well as a cooking demonstration that highlights the delights of Maldivian cuisine. The latter reflects the second reason for the changes taking place at Kurumba. It is one which relates to its new corporate identity – Maldives in Full Colour – developed by specialist brand and communications agency, QUO. “We want to bring the brand to life,” says Leah Haguisan, the resort’s Sales and Marketing Manager.
For her, this means embedding the resort in Maldivian culture and the local community. Local cuisine and entertainment is perhaps something guests might take for granted at a five-star resort, but in the renovated Veli Spa, Kurumba has taken this cultural immersion to another level by offering Dhivehi Beys treatments, a traditional Maldivian medicine based on local herbs and ingredients, that is exclusive to the resort. Kruse sees this as much more than an exotic new treatment for his guests. “We are protecting a Maldivian tradition for future generations,” he says.
Another way Kurumba is preserving for the future is in its corporate social responsibility measures. These include the creation of six snorkelling channels to reduce damage to the coral, an annual fundraiser for a local orphanage and the best waste management facility in the Maldives. “We are now able to produce our own compost, while with the excess we donate to a local island to help them start a vegetable and fruit growing industry,” he says.
As well as a general makeover of the spa’s reception area and rooms, there’s a new Spa Under The Stars package that allows guests to be pampered in their own sala pavilion beside the ocean. Although aimed at couples, Kruse says that this unique experience has also proved popular with individual female and male guests.
The third ingredient in the new Kurumba mix is its greater accessibility for all. Mobility-impaired guests can access the sea via a wheelchair-like mechanism from both their rooms and the Majaa Recreation area. Rather than highlighting the clear benefit for wheelchair-bound guests, Kruse prefers to view the measure as part of a whole series of initiatives aimed at providing optimum service for all the resort’s guests, in order to keep ahead of the ever-competitive Maldivian hospitality market.
"As a resort, we try to provide a better service than our competitors,” he says. “Whether you are a couple on your honeymoon, a family, or a guest with a wheelchair, we are always keen to be more thoughtful and provide extra touches that may make your holiday so much better.''
So, if in the course of your stay at Kurumba there is something that you feel could be improved upon, or even if you just want to say what a fine job Kruse and his team are doing, now you know what to do. Fill in that little piece of paper resting beside your bed. At least, at Kurumba you can guarantee your suggestion won’t end up in the bin.