Bahauddeen, Director of Rooms, Gili Lankanfushi
Bahauddeen, commonly called Bahau started his career in the hospitality sector 17 years ago when he joined Kuramathi right after completing his Diploma in Tourism Management, Hotel Operations at the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies in Male’. He is currently the Director of Rooms at Gili Lankanfushi and before taking on his current position, he has fulfilled many roles including that of Mr. Friday, Mr. Friday Supervisor, Guest Relations Manager, LIFE Manager and Front of House Manager.
Now an integral part of the top management team of Gili Lankanfushi, Bahau is responsible for ensuring smooth operations of Front Office including Mr. Friday’s, Housekeeping, Marine section and the Resort’s Retail operations.He also takes overall care of disaster management coordination that focuses on increasing disaster resiliency related aspects of the resort. “It is highly motivating to partake in a wide range of responsibilities and certainly rewarding to be a part of the team at the astonishingly impressive Gili Lankanfushi,” says Bahau.Bahau encourages his team to step outside of their comfort zone and showcase their natural talents by encouraging them to develop their abilities and stretch themselves further to achieve greatness. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of a great team, I always believe in them and know they will never let me down. Having open communication with your team is the key to a successful working relationship. I am also fortunate to have a very supportive management team and equally dedicated team working under me” he added.
According to Bahau, the work environment at Gili Lankanfushi, the organization culture and his key responsibilities are some of the most exciting features related to his job at the resort. Having the opportunity to meet guests from all over the world and share different experiences with them is the most inspiring part of his daily schedule.“The Tourism industry in the Maldives is growing faster than we anticipated, we need the infrastructure to support the industry however we also need to develop human capacity. It is an industry that has enough opportunities to grow” says Bahau.He also added that industry stakeholders need to invest on young enthusiasts to build their confidence and encourage them to be a part of this economic development of the country and seek opportunities to boost their careers in this evolving industry.
Bahau has seen Gili Lankanfushi evolve from its humble beginnings (under former Soneva Gili ownership) into the world renowned resort it is today. Gili Lankanfushi is among the 12 properties in Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean, with a total of 2,886 rooms that own by HPL Hotels & Resorts.
The Gili Lankanfushi experience starts with a unique journey from the airport where you are asked to remove your shoes as soon as you commence your transfer from the airport. This is where their “No News, No Shoes” philosophy begins. Upon arrival to the resort each guest is then met by their Mr. or Ms. Friday, Gili Lankanfushi’s version of a “butler”.“The concept behind Gili Lankanfushi is largely dependent on delivering Mr. Friday services to the guests. They facilitate all guest requirements and coordinate various activities guests can do during their stay. They are, in fact, ambassadors of the resort.” Bahau says.
Touching stories of Mr. Friday experiences can be found in Gili Lankanfushi’s archives.Inspired by Gasim, his Mr. Friday, a little boy called Columbus planted a coconut tree on the island. It was a Gili Magic Moment for the boy, who would be able to see the palm grow whenever he visited the resort.
Since Gili Lankanfushi is Robinson-Crusoe inspired, the resort’s rooms are somewhat different when compared to the other resorts in the Maldives. The Private Reserve at Gili Lankanfushi, is the world’s largest overwater villa and is situated a 1000 feet away from its neighbors. The Private Reserve is only accessible by boat, which is given to guests for their personal use around the resort or driven by their pontoon driver.
“When they started building the Private Reserve in 2004, it first had two master bedrooms with one smaller bedroom, kitchen, spa and a butler’s room,” Bahau says. The resort soon learnt that two bedrooms wouldn’t be enough.
“We started getting requests from guests wanting three to four bedrooms, so we converted the library /study room into an additional bedroom to provide guests with more options.”According to Bahau, the resort puts a special emphasis on making sure that guests feel like their stay at Gili Lankanfushi is their home away from home. “Arriving as a guest, leaving as a friend and returning as part of the Gili Lankanfushi family”.Bahau believes in self-improvement. “There is more to do and more to learn,” he says. According to him, working in the hospitality industry is thoroughly enjoyable and as for now, he remains motivated on his present job to achieve ultimate goal. “The desire to learn from your experiences and strive the maximum to reach your full potential… these are bases for personal excellence in the Gili Lankanfushi workplace,” he says.
“I am grateful to all my peers for their support and guidance they have shown me. The time invested on my career development in the resort by both management teams of Soneva Resorts and HPL Hotels & Resorts is something I cherish forever” he says.