VVIP airport lounge opens after four month project period

“Tourism begins here. The resort begins here.”

Plaza Premium Lounge Executive Director Linda Song described the newly-opened Koimala Executive Lounge at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) as “everyone’s apartment” during today’s inaugural event, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, speeches and a reception.

The lounge, which includes three sitting rooms, two verandas, a kitchen and a presidential sitting room, is part of GMR Infrastructure Ltd.’s project to expand and upgrade INIA by June 2014. GMR shares the venture with Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad in a 77 to 33 percent relationship.

The Presidential Lounge offers privacy to government officials.

During a tour of the facility, Mrs Song commented on the facility of working with GMR. “I think its international experience has shaped GMR as a very flexible, open-minded company,” she said.

Tourism Minister Dr Mariyam Zulfa made a similar observation during the opening ceremony, reinforcing her praise of GMR from the earlier opening of INIA’s Plaza Premium Lounge.

“GMR is a company that listens to the stakeholders in the tourism industry, and that pleases the government to no end. I’m always delighted to come to the airport with stakeholders from the industry to open the dialogue for tourism,” she said.

Noting that Plaza Premium was invited to undertake the project only four months ago and with the caveat that the area is due for demolition in two years’ time, Zulfa said the lounge was an impressive and valuable accomplishment.

“Everything to do with the socioeconomic development of the Maldives should center arround tourism,” she said. “Because tourism, of course, is our number one industry, and everything we do should center around making the product even more perfect than it is today.”

The common area features television, wi-fi, and a variety of seating areas.

For a reservation of US$150, VVIP lounge guests are relieved of their luggage at a private security screening while their flights are monitored and their schedules arranged by the lounge concierge. Meanwhile, guests can enjoy an open kitchen and cafe, wi-fi, plasma screen televisions, and spacious seating arrangements.

Plaza Premium Lounge Management Ltd currently services 17 international airports and 60 locations with infrastructural development. The Hong Kong-based company is the world’s first ‘pay-in’ lounge.

Several people noted that the lounge’s opening was well-timed with the SAARC summit, which will bring heads of state from across the region to the Maldives.

Plaza Premium Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Song Hoi See said he did not agree with the project’s constraints but appreciated the challenge.

“Airports and tourism don’t always work together. But the Maldives is a special place, and the airport is the first and last place to impress the tourists,” he said, adding that he anticipated the new airport’s design.

Mrs Song attributed the success to Plaza Premium’s high level of preparation to overcome constraints of the Maldives’ industry. “We are well planned, and we shipped most interior design materials here pre-made. There aren’t many resources here for interior design development, so it would have been difficult otherwise.”

Designer Kinney Chan said the project was enjoyable in spite of the short notice. “It’s great to do something for comfort here, to blend with the resort feel, without getting too heavy.”

GMR CEO Andrew Harrison noted that the design had improved a formerly low-ceiling, dark room by bringing in natural light and creating “a home feel, supported by the excellent service that staff provides.”

“It’s a beautiful country full of beautiful people, and now we’ve delivered a beautiful lounge to match that,” Harrison concluded.


21 thoughts on “VVIP airport lounge opens after four month project period”

  1. Irrespective of this VIP lounge, GMR is getting unpopular here day by day. I will not be surprised to see them fleeing after sometime.

  2. VVVIP is exclusively a south Asian concept. It is only in India they have a class system
    within a class system.

    embarrassing the way maldivians have embraced southasiasm via back door. soon we will have 3 wheelers on the streets of male.

    and BTW, label me a racist, for advocating a bit of national sprit. Under the new model democracy Maldives practice, ONLY foreigners are to be protected. Their human and cultural rights come first before maldivians rights -

  3. eleanor is making so many factual errors in her reporting.. wish the Editor JJ will check before publishing... otherwise, this is a lot of misinformation going out

  4. So who are these very very important people that will use the lounge? Third rate politicans and fourth rate businessmen? Clearly decent furniture, lighting and soft furnishings are not available in the Maldives. The furniture looks like its been rescued from a rubbish skip. Are the flowers plastic and Made in China?
    @ Embarrassing.......the Maldives is a banana republic.......tacky vvip airport lounges notwithstanding. The Maldives will take years to match the progress of South Asian countries.

  5. I think GMR is our saviour. They have done what Gayoom failed in 30 years. Now we are going to have VVIP lounge worthy of Maldives.

  6. VVIP? How many Vs will it there continue to be? Like others have said, that is a completely Indian concept. Why do we have to adopt backward Indian practices?

    @ embarrassing - i totally agree with you. foreigners come before locals in this country. in every aspect. this country is so racist, with deep class divisions that it makes me ashamed to say this is the culture of my country.

  7. GMR is doing good. We depend on tourism and many rich & famous tourists from Gulf and Europe visit Maldives. Its good that we now have a better looking VIP lounge that too just before SAARC Summit.

  8. @ embarrassing

    You will find VIP Lounge in every airport - be it Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Delhi, Bangalore, London. The Head of Missions, Head of Countries are accorded free access to the said lounge and for others, it is paid service.

  9. what the hell is VVIP anyway? very very important person? how many Vs are there?

    agree with embarassing for most of the part.

  10. @embarrassing

    "VVVIP is exclusively a south Asian concept. It is only in India they have a class system within a class system."

    You should be embarassed for talking such utter rubbish! Have you never heard of First Class, Business Class, Economy Class etc in air travel and rail travel? Doesn't sound like you've seen much of the world out there.

    The entire world is full of class systems, whether you like it or not. Those who can afford to pay will pay for "class" based services.

    Every single airport worth its name in the world has these lounges. Business and First Class passengers usually have access to these either by paying or through other arrangements. C'mon people, grow up!

  11. @Happy Infidel

    "So who are these very very important people that will use the lounge? Third rate politicans and fourth rate businessmen?"

    Who cares? Their dollars are as good as anyone elses. Pay $150 and that's that, thank you very much.

    I find it intriguing to say the least when Maldivian barf at "class" systems. Just look at the class within class systems in your own backyard! Have you just gone blind to the "beyfulhun" who've been ruling us for centuries and sucking our blood just as long?

    Are you forgetting about the 3rd class citizens from the islands? And I'm proud to say that I'm actually a 4th class citizen, since I happen to come from Addu, that most despised and outcast societies in the country.

    Infidel, my foot!

  12. Haha agreed with Embarassing. And tbh, this lounge does not look too impressive to me!

  13. @ Addu-Bin

    "Are you forgetting about the 3rd class citizens from the islands?"

    In what universe is Maldives not an island?

    "Who cares? Their dollars are as good as anyone elses. Pay $150 and that’s that, thank you very much."

    Who cares if GMR takes that '$150' and pump the money out of the Maldivian economy instead of letting it circulate in our economy eh? Thank you very much!

    On an unrelated note, i sense so much hatred in your comments and i wonder if it is related to the fact that you consider yourself a 4th class citizen at the very end of the food chain?
    Any case, your only jumping onto the bandwagon and isolating yourself.

  14. @zionist:

    GMR is not inherently bad. They will most likely be as bad as the Maldivians make them be and not the other way round. Look up the airport they've been handling in Turkey for a while which they've expanded by a huge lot in a very short time and it's doing great.

    They also handle one of India's busiest airports as well so there's no reason why they can't manage Male' International and expand it to serve more tourists for the country's benefit. The government obviously doesn't have the money to do so on it's own.

  15. This is possibly the worst airport lounge in the world, never mind South Asia. I couldn’t figure out if the pictures were taken before or after the low budget makeover.
    The ‘Presidential Suite’ looks like a lounge in a two star tourist hotel in the CST Station area of Mumbai. The ‘Common Area’ looks like the resident’s lounge in an old people’s home in London. And what is the flat screen TV showing? Al Jazeera reruns on the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange? Saudi TV women’s hour showing you how to apply makeup like a Parisian hooker under your abaya? Pakistan TV showing fat bearded mullahs ranting endlessly about global jihad and the coming Islamic Caliphate? Boring, Boring, Boring!! They should be showing Bollywood movie clips.
    There must be a Prayer Room in this VVIP lounge……surely. Airports in Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist countries have coffee shops, bureau de changes, duty free shops and banks but airports in muslim countries have………you guessed it………Prayer Rooms………always empty………and only useful for backpackers and airport staff to catch up on some sleep. The expensive retail area that these Prayer Rooms occupy should be converted to Duty Free shops selling Scotch and luxury chocolates………or even a pharmacy selling much needed deodorant products to Maldives islanders. Christian Dior Por Homme is particularly effective in masking fishy body odours.
    I am sorry if this blog sounds bitchy, but do the airport authority seriously expect passengers to pay $150 to use this facility?
    Mr Kenny Chan should have come to New Delhi to see our brand spanking new $3 billion Terminal 3 before designing this tacky VVIP lounge. Don’t put this project on your CV Kenny……………
    (Go to Google Images and search New Delhi Terminal 3)

  16. ah the new, new delhi terminal. it’s almost like a surrealist film set where miles of empty corridors seem to peter out to space until you crash into a giant buddha statue smack in the middle of the walkway and stagger towards the omnipresent restrooms dazed and achy of head, only to find them occupied by a gaggle of portly cleaning ladies swooning at the sight of your blood, and you race out terrified into the path of a cart that after a quick inspection dumps you into the back seat and carries you over swathes of tacky carpeting to your check in counter, where you are quickly and unpleasantly revived by the groping hands of security. oh how they love to feel you in india. just like america, isn’t she?

  17. some silly comments yet entertaining! Been inside the lounge, though you cannot consider it 5* the most important is the service! anyhow some hotels in the Maldives is considered as 5* but service is as good as 3* only!
    this is something Maldives should be proud of... slowly airport develops and hope it continues now even after GMR left.


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