Nasrulla Mohamed and Priya Dubey

Interview with The Island Couple, Nasrulla & Priya at OBLU SELECT Lobigili

The Island Couple, Nasrulla Mohamed and Priya Dubey, are a hospitality power duo at the adult-exclusive resort OBLU SELECT Lobigili, the Island of Love. Nasrulla Mohamed serves as the Island Chief. His wife, Priya Dubey is the Front Office Supervisor. Married long before joining the resort’s pre-opening team, they leave no stone unturned in ensuring that guests have a memorable experience with every little detail taken care of.

Interview with Nasrulla Mohamed

Tell us a little about yourself, and how you started your career in hospitality.

Nasrulla: I was born in Ha. Dhidhoo, the northernmost atoll in the Maldives and I studied at the HA Atoll Education Centre. My growing-up years were different from the ones kids experience today: we had strong cultural influences and a unified community. Everyone was like family.

Upon finishing my education in 2000 and obtaining my London GCE O Levels, I gained valuable experience by working for renowned international hospitality brands. In 2004, I underwent training at the South African Butler Academy, specializing in butler services. Furthermore, I attended a course at the Australian Butler School in 2007 to further refine my skills. As a result of my dedication, I progressed from Junior Butler to Executive Head Butler by 2015.

My journey with AH&R began in 2015 when I joined the pre-opening team at OBLU NATURE Helengeli as an Assistant F&B Manager. Since then, I have worked at OBLU SELECT Sangeli, OZEN LIFE MADHOO, and for over a year I have been serving as the ‘Island Chief’ at OBLU SELECT Lobigili.

What does it mean to you to be an Island Chief?

Nasrulla: For me, it’s pretty simple: this island is my home, and I treat my guests like family. As the Island Chief and Island Couple, I’m all about making sure they have the best possible time here. It’s not just about guests. My team works very hard to make the magic happen, and I’m here to support them every step of the way. Because when we work together like a family, we can do anything.

Is the concept of ‘Island Chief’ connected to Maldivian culture, if yes, how?

Nasrulla: Yes, very much. Hospitality runs deep in our heritage, passed down from our ancestors. In Maldivian culture, the Island Chief is the leader of each island, and a women’s committee is also present to extend hospitality to important visitors, such as government officials and foreign delegates. They arrange warm welcomes, dining experiences, accommodations, and farewell ceremonies with great care.

What does a day at work look like for you?

Nasrulla: My day starts with a morning island round to ensure everything’s set for guests. I then join the operations meeting to address feedback, concerns, and solutions. We review the day’s highlights, including arrivals, events, and important movements. At breakfast, I interact with guests to gauge their satisfaction levels. I randomly inspect villas to prepare for guest arrivals and personally welcome guests, offering assistance throughout their stay. During the day, I assist colleagues in operational areas. In the evening, I check in with guests at the bar and restaurants. Lastly, I review the follow-up lists to ensure all issues are resolved and prepare for the next day.

Could you pick one element of Maldivian culture that you would most enjoy introducing to visitors? 

Nasrulla: When it comes to the Maldives, it’s a true paradise of crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and azure skies. Personally, I often take pleasure in sharing my country’s stories and history with those who come to visit us.

Interview with Priya Dubey

Tell us a little about yourself, and how you started your career in hospitality.

Priya: I grew up in Bhopal, India. After completing my schooling, I pursued a course in Aviation, Hospitality and Travel Management at Frankfinn Training Institute. While I was pursuing my hospitality studies, I landed my first job as a Guest Service Associate at Radisson Blu. Apart from Radisson, I have also worked for ITC Hotels in Chennai before moving to the Maldives for work.

When did you join the AH&R family and what has been the experience so far?

Priya: I joined the pre-opening team of OZEN LIFE MAADHOO in 2016 as an F&B Attendant and worked at different F&B Outlets such as Tradition IndoCeylon and M6m, the underwater restaurant. When OBLU SELECT Sangeli was being launched, I got the opportunity to join the pre-opening team in a leadership capacity, as the F&B Captain at Simply Veg restaurant.

After a year, I was keen to work in the front office, and I got a role as the Guest Service Agent at the Front Office at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO. Working in F&B helped me a lot in handling guest relations, and I found that I have an intuitive knack for keeping guests happy.

Again, when OBLU SELECT Lobigili was being launched, I was able to join the pre-opening team as the Front Office Supervisor. I enjoyed rising to the challenge of setting up a new team.

What does a day at work look like for you?

Priya: The first thing to do in the morning is chart all the movements of the day. Followed by team briefing, attending all the arrivals and departures, and helping my team wherever they require assistance. Also, as the island couple, together with my husband, I meet all our guests to ensure they are having an amazing stay. Before I clock out, I prepare a plan for the next day’s operation.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Priya: The highlight of my career within AH&R is that I have been given the opportunity to join three pre-openings within the group which has taught me lots of skills and strengthened me as a person as well.

What motivates you the most? 

Priya: It is the culture in AH&R, that we are like a family who takes care of everyone.

What is it like to be the island couple at OBLU SELECT Lobigili? 

OBLU SELECT Lobigili is an adult’s exclusive island, and we host a lot of couples. When we introduce ourselves to the guests as the Island Couple, it is a very special feeling. Our guests usually become curious, interested and appreciate that Lobigili Island has everything curated for couples.

What advice would you give to young people looking to work in the industry, especially women?  

It would have been rare to see a woman in a leading role a decade ago, but now women are running five-star properties. I must say the hospitality industry in Maldives offers plenty of opportunities for girls, and as a woman, I am very proud that here at OBLU SELECT Lobigili the majority of our team members are women – who are successfully handling all aspects of operations!