Updated on January 20, 2016
With the review of the resort behind us, I wanted to dedicate a post to the Park Hyatt Maldives ‘Back of the House’ tour! As it runs on Saturdays and Tuesdays, Kevin didn’t get the opportunity to take the tour on his trip, so I considered us pretty lucky to be able to do it.
Where are we so far?
On Saturdays (Tuesdays may be the same), the tour meets up at 2:00 p.m. at the front desk/office next to the boutique shop.
We had 6 of us in the tour – one other american couple from California and a european couple. After waiting a few minutes to see if anyone else was coming, we stepped off for the tour around 2:10.
Giving the tour was Manish Viswa – the Director of Engineering. This is one of the biggest jobs at the resort and he’s one of the ‘top 3’ on the island, so it was pretty cool getting the tour from someone that definitely knew his stuff. He had been at the resort for about a year.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Island, it’s basically an odd-shaped circle. In the center of it is the ‘back of the house’, which is a “6” shaped area that houses and feeds the staff, as well as holds all the support facilities for the island. The “6” shape is used to protect the back of the house area from strong winds.
The tour started with Manish showing us the fire-control procedures, which included the hoses that are strategically placed around the island to be able to cover every inch of it.
We then headed back to take a look at the massive diesel tanks that hold the gas which in turn powers the entire island. Each of these tanks hold 30,000 liters and are about 20-25 feet long and roughly 6-8 feet in diameter (those lengths are just my estimates).
The more interesting part of this was HOW they got the gas. I guess I never really put much thought into it but the gas is brought from huge ships that are just floating around in between the islands. You see them on your flight in and most probably assumed they’re in transit, however they’re not most of the time – just sitting there waiting for the call. When they are called by the resorts, they ship the gas to the island in smaller boats as necessary.
The thatch you see around the island and surrounding the back of the house is locally made and is mostly coconut leaves.
We then headed over to the island mosque. The mosque is open air and is immediately to the right upon entering the center of the “6”.
The resort has 178 staff members spanning 21 different nationalities. While not all islamic, a majority of the staff is, so the mosque gets quite a bit of use. This number (178) also tells us that there is pretty much always more staff members than guests. Considering there are 51 villas that usually only have 2 people in them (with the occasional +1 kid), we’re talking probably a max of 105-110 guests. Conservatively approximated at a 7:4 ratio. That’s fantastic.
From there we headed into the main part of the tour and saw the living quarters, common areas, and the engine room.
The employees live in rooms of either 2 or 4 people for the most part, although there are small exceptions. The top staff (Executive Chef, Director of Engineering, and the General Manager) stay in different villas. Manish splits a villa with the chef, and the GM has his own. You can see his through the thatch…it’s pretty sweet.
Another fascinating aspect of the island is that they process and bottle their own water. They have a bottling plant in the back of the house.
And, as you’d probably expect but never really think about, the staff has their own laundry service (sorry, no picture).
They have a sewage treatment plant that’s installed and maintained by a German company. Don’t really know why they told us that, but I figured someone might want to know!
Back in the main area, you see volleyball courts and a dirt soccer field. Apparently they are used quite often and the employees have tournaments and competitions constantly.
There was also a very high tower just before you got the soccer field (you can actually see it in the picture above) that was the communication tower. It provided cellular and wifi service to the entire island! Actually worked pretty well for being in the middle of the ocean.
We then headed inside the engineering department and got to take a look behind the scenes seeing how this entire island is powered.
The entire island is powered by 4 generators. That’s it. They are obviously linked to the 4 diesel tanks I spoke about earlier, however they are not directly linked (1 tank to 1 generator), and rather take the fuel from a consolidated pot. This keeps them from having generators no longer operate when the fuel in an individual tank is gone. Makes sense to me!
Probably my favorite part of the tour was heading over to the cafeteria, staff convenience store and gym. They also showed us the staff “read boards” where they posted all types of pertinent information. It really gave you a good sense of how they actually live.
The cafeteria was a decent size and looked like a place you wouldn’t mind grabbing all your meals. They switch out the meals regularly in order to accommodate peoples’ religious and cultural preferences.
They also had a barber than came to the island a couple times a month, along with a bank representative.
The gym they had was extremely small and comparable to a small hotel “gym”. The biggest deficiencies were obviously no bench press or squat rack (but no one does legs anyway).
The convenience store was pretty small, but it had all kinds of foods, drinks, and other odds n’ ends.
The tour truly gave you a look inside all the aspects of their lives – including their pay.
They had a chart that broke down how much service charge is coming from where, and how much money (to the penny) that each person would get for said month.
Another part to note is that all employees split the service charges, not just the person waiting on you in that instance.
Manish did tell us here that the Platinum level was the highest level of employee recognition. They have gold, platinum and diamond….does that sound familiar?? I didn’t want to tell him he was wrong, but I think he might have confused platinum and diamond 🙂
The employees all have specific jobs, but can do a 90-day internship to learn a new job/skill. So you could be a laundry guy and decide you want to wait tables, and do a 3-month internship doing that before you get the job.
We had two more stops. Next we took a peak inside the food storage area.
Finally, we stopped by the garden! At PH Maldives, they grow 8 different kinds of vegetables in their garden, including those vegetables you’ll see used most like tomatoes and lettuce.
They had a perforated covering in place to protect the plants from getting TOO much sunlight.
This tour was awesome! I found it extremely interesting and highly recommend taking it if you’re at the resort on a Tuesday or Saturday. It really did give you an appreciation for the employees and a sneak peak into their world.