Martin Van Der Reijen

Martin Van Der Reijen

VP of Operations of Crossroads Maldives

Tourism / Maldives

“Crossroads Maldives is a game changer and will influence future developments for years to come”

Crossroads Maldives, the first integrated lifestyle resort in the Maldives is being described as an industry game changer. Crossroads Phase 1 will count with two resorts and a publicly accessible marina designed to bring lifestyle & leisure to a new level, while still upholding the country’s drive for sustainability.

Crossroads is perhaps the most notable development in a nationwide tourism boom. What is behind this rush of investment?
Over the last few years Maldives have been making changes to it’s policies and welcoming more developments and guests. We witnessed a new renaissance of the tourism industry in the Maldives, I believe this was a very positive development for the country. With more investment and more visitors comes more capital for infrastructural development that benefits all Maldivians. However, this boom has promoted some fundamental changes to the tourism industry itself. We could not solely provide dozens of resorts. The rise in competition sparked creativity and new concepts emerged, some more aesthetic and some more conceptual. That is the case with Crossroads, where we shift the paradigm from a passive type of holiday where the visitor has nothing else to do but relax by the beach in luxury, to a more active type of holiday where that experience is combined with a various lifestyle & leisure options in a more dynamic set up.

How is Crossroads different in practice?
Crossroads will combine two different resorts, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives by Curio Collection, Hilton, which will function independently from each other. That in itself is something new in the Maldives. They will be connected to the Marina@CROSSROADS, which is truly the game changer of this development. The large Marina area will be part of the complex, but will also be accessible to the public, offering abundant retail outlets and extensive dining options. It will be a lifestyle & leisure area that doesn’t exist not only in resorts, but anywhere else in the Maldives. We are located just 15 minutes boat ride from Male, so local Maldivians will easily benefit from this area too, and we expect it to become one of the most active social centers in the region soon after opening. Visitors will benefit from this marina area with its exciting collection of restaurants like Ministry of Crab, one among Asia’s top 50 restaurants, while continuing to enjoy the privacy of their stay at the resort areas that are reserved for guests alone. Adding to that, the opening of the biggest club in the region, Café del Mar, Ibiza’s most famous club brand, will attract a vast number of people, as it is something that simply did not exist in the Maldives before. Crossroads is a game changer and will influence future developments for years to come. We will provide an added value even for the resorts located at a short distance from Crossroads, as their guests will also be able to enjoy the public areas of our complex.

How does Crossroads fit into the sustainability drive that we are seeing across the tourism industry?
Sustainability was a fundamental part of our design and I am glad to see it has taken over the debate in the industry. The truth is, just five years ago, no resort developer was talking about it. Sustainability has become an issue for the industry now because plastic bottles have started showing up at the beaches of five-star resorts. That has made it a fundamentally commercial issue, which has resulted in much more consistent attempts at addressing it. At Crossroads, we have installed all the latest models for waste management. We separate all the waste, have the latest shredders and waste management equipment, have designed procedures to reduce the use of plastic as much as possible and have trained our staff too. Regarding power generation, every building in the complex is covered with solar panels, which will provide a considerable amount of the power consumed. However, challenges remain at many levels. Construction techniques in the Maldives are not ideal. Buildings lack proper thermal insulation, so cooling ends up requiring a lot more energy than it should, which in turn partly offsets efforts to rely on renewable energy. Another issue has to do with the supply chain. While we might try our best to reduce the amount of plastic used in the resort, all our supplies come packaged in styrofoam, plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. This is something we are considering, since that is where I see the biggest potential for reducing consumption of non-reusable material. Additionally, we also have a Marine Discovery Center for educating our guests on the surrounding wildlife and it’s conservation and protection. We are already working with top marine biologists to preserve our unique ecosystem.  The drive to sustainability is fundamental, but there are still obstacles to overcome.