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Ritz-Carlton Adds Maldives Resort To Its ‘Ambassadors Of The Environment’ Program

Ritz-Carlton’s partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program is expanding with this summer’s opening of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. The Maldives is known for its colorful marine life and coral reefs, and the the addition of this new Ritz-Carlton resort marks the first Asia-Pacific hotel for the brand to participate in the program.

Ambassadors of the Environment seeks to educate interested guests about the diverse global ecosystems and cultural traditions surrounding its many hotels and resorts. Through the Ocean Futures Society, the activities vary at each of the six participating Ritz-Carlton properties and give guests of all ages the opportunity to interact with the environment around them with programs that vary by season.

Cousteau-trained naturalists lead guests through the various experiences at each resort, and many of them work directly with Dr. Richard Murphy, chief scientist for the Cousteau family for several decades. All of the naturalists have a background in biology, and the Ocean Futures Society certifies the program while providing additional training to the teams at each hotel.

Donna McNamara, vice president & global brand leader for The Ritz-Carlton, says, “it makes me so proud to see our guests have these unforgettable experiences and walk away inspired to make a difference in their environments based on what they’ve learned.”

Here’s what you can expect at several participating properties including the newest resort to join the Ambassadors of the Environment program.

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

Complimentary to guests, Dr. Sol Milne’s morning sessions lead guests on an aerial adventure while sitting on the beach. As the resort’s resident naturalist, he pilots the ocean drone to explore what is happening around the resort’s coral reefs. The drone returns real-time, aerial photos of the diverse sea life with the ability to zoom in for a better view. He shares stories of the sharks, rays, dolphins and fish that live in the area.

An important component of the project, beyond educating guests, is mapping the region’s coral reefs and understanding their growth and development over time. This helps to protect and conserve a healthy reef system while teaching visitors about marine debris and conservation.

Other activities include marine biology classes for kids, nighttime snorkeling and an underwater drone that brings the magic of sea life below the surface up to guests on land. The sub-sea rover goes around the nearby reefs returning colorful photographs while also helping researchers to collect valuable environmental data. Cousteau-trained naturalists can also teach guests how to master the art of underwater photography.

Naturalists also lead kids on beach walks to collect trash that washes ashore (sometimes from as far away as southeast Asia) and learn how to repurpose it into different things including fashion pieces. Young visitors learn how human consumption and waste affects nature in an entertaining way. There is even a fashion show for kids to show off what they repurposed from the sea.

The air and sea drones also help the resort monitor ocean plastics pollution. A weekly general manager’s cocktail hour connects guests with onsite researchers to learn how the resort is using modern technology for conservation and protection of the area’s reefs.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

What makes the programming at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara special is that Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society has been based in Santa Barbara for many years, and Cousteau is a resident of the area. In addition to guided interpretive hikes of the surrounding coastal area, the resort has a dedicated classroom for young guests to learn about local habitats.

A “CSI: Coastal Scene Investigation” experience leads kids on an adventure to solve nautical cases through water-testing techniques by observing the coastline and collecting samples from the beach. The program also leads young visitors on adventures through a kelp forest and the intertidal zone where they can discover the region’s natural diversity.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

At The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua in Hawaii, guests can work with naturalists to explore the biology and behaviors of Hawaiian green sea turtles native to the area learning where they nest and their importance to the islands’ culture. Other adventures include coastal hikes, garden tours and tidal pool exploration. Interactive games teach kids about the area’s whales and dolphins helping them learn how they eat without teeth, communicate using sound and what it’s like to have blubber.

The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman

Guests can take a glass-bottomed hydrofoil boat tour with the resort’s naturalists to explore the reefs, marine life and historic shipwrecks below the surface. The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman also offers night snorkeling, sunset kayak tours, guided telescope observations and coral reef presentations as part of its eco-friendly programming. Families can enjoy the gardening classes for children that teach them about the earth and how plants and vegetables grow.

Other properties that participate in Ambassadors of the Environment include Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico and Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

McNamara hints to an even more eco-conscious future when she says, “as the brand continues to grow, we are always looking for opportunities to bring the program to relevant destinations.”

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