‘Runner-up for Hotel of the Year’, Tatler Travel Awards 2003
Summer holidays are traditionally the time to buy the latest airport blockbuster and settle down on the beach for a good escapist read. Not so for the guests at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa, who seem to take their holiday reading seriously. A review of books left behind by guests at the luxury Indian Ocean resort shows that leaving the outside world behind is not easy, even when holidaying in paradise. “Considering that the majority of our guests are here to relax and escape from every day life, books such as Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar just don’t seem to fit into the traditional light beach reading you would imagine our guests would bring,” muses hotel General Manager, Carsten Schieck, “You have to wonder who would take a 650-page translation of The Koran on a luxury beach holiday, and we would love to know why someone brought a large, hardback copy of The Illustrated Guide to Canadian Birds to the Maldives”.
Jostling for space with the suntan lotion and swimwear in guests’ suitcases is some choice reading material; the resort’s library of books left behind by guests abounds with intriguing titles such as English Poetry & Prose 1540-1674; The Beginner’s Guide to Quilt Making and a hardback copy of Folkdress of Europe, which may have been brought by the same person who also packed A History of the Kings & Queens of England. A more practical turn of mind is represented by the Readers’ Digest Practical Problem Solver, a heavy tome that covers every eventuality and how to deal with it. However, the most remarkable summer reading in the library according to the hotel team is a book called Insurance in Literature published by none other than the insurance company Swiss Re.
“After 20 years in the business, guests still have the ability to surprise me,” says Schieck, “We offer a total retreat from everyday life with gourmet restaurants, a spa, coral reefs, kilometres of white sandy beaches - and the guests just want to stay in their villa and read about insurance!”