Azuvia and Levo – An all female team choosing to challenge the hospitality industry of Maldives

The amazing women behind Azuvia and Levo | Photo: The Times of Addu

Women are amazing. Women are fierce. Women are tough – and given the opportunity, women can just about achieve anything they set their mind on. This is exactly what the women at Azuvia and Levo continue to prove to us each day.

While some of you may have heard of LEVO, the fine dining restaurant which opened its doors during 2019, and the beach retreat hotel Azuvia which was unveiled during the September of 2020, others may have not. You may be surprised to know that these two establishments, located in Hulhumalé, are run by an all female team under the vision of Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, the first of its kind and proudly, the only such establishment yet in the Maldives.

Despite being under the umbrella of the gigantic corporate name SIMDI, Azuvia and Levo shine bright on their own, not for the fact that they are an all female run establishment, but simply for competing at the same level as any other hotel or restaurant in the island nation full of high end multinational brands within the hospitality industry.

Room view of the luxury hotel, Azuvia Beach Retreat | Photo: SIMDI

Speaking with ‘The Times of Addu’, the Hotel Manager of the establishment, Sarala Ganesan stated that she and her team, work with the goal and determination to provide the best possible and professional services possible to all of their clients, and that it is this mindset, that helps them take on the challenges that come their way.

When asked about how the pandemic had affected business, Sarala’s message was short and sweet.

Covid-19 or no Covid-19, there is no excuse to stop further development.

Sarala Ganesan, Hotel Manager, Azuvia and Levo

Revealing that business has been good even during the pandemic, she only had praises to sing about her team, who take care of the entire operation of the hotel and restaurant from cooking, serving, cleaning and even carrying the luggage for the guests – however, with the exception of maintenance during these tough times. She explained that although maintenance is currently being handled by their corporate office, the goal is to train women who will take up the task as well.

LEVO Lighthouse restaurant in AZUVIA Beach Retreat | Photo: SIMDI

Talking more about the team, Sarala explained how they have been making the most out of their service by planning out how to celebrate special occasions, such as the special International Women’s Day lunch and Hi-Tea, as well as sourcing the pastries and buns baked by their chef to other local cafe’ and restaurant outlets.

Speaking about the future of the team, Sarala said that while the existing team of Azuvia and Levo are from a diverse background of various countries, they hope to one day train and empower local women to comprise of the entire crew. She also shed light on their plans to aim for hospitality awards in the future both on a national and international level.

While these women are doing amazing work in their fort, they are truly an embodiment of what the International Women’s day theme for the year 2021, “Choose to Challenge” is – not because they were given the opportunity to work at the company because to their gender, but because they choose to challenge and brave the struggles they face daily as service providers, as women and as service providers who are women.