At about 4 am in the morning, we were woken up by the sounds of cheering and shouting. We occasionally heard the employees playing soccer on a private field in the middle of the island surrounded by tall retainer walls, but it seemed odd to be playing a game so early in the morning. We both went back to sleep not thinking about it.
We were walking past the island host desks where guests book excursions and dinner reservations, and we stopped to confirm our days activities, the island host mentioned that Vilu was closed due to some technical problems.
Trip to the Maldives – the flights part 1
Trip to the Maldives – the flights part 2
Conrad Lounge in Mali and Seaplane to Rangali Island
Beach Villa at the Conrad Maldives
Euro swimsuits and Turtles
The main pool and snorkeling
Our luggage arrives, Vilu, and the Quiet Zone
The employee strike
The strike ends
Ithaa underwater restaurant, Water Villa, and sunset cruise
We went back to Atoll Market for breakfast again and noticed that the entire staff was European or shall I say non-native. The majority of the restaurant staff and servers had been Maldivians. It stood out as unusual but maybe it was just the way the staff rotated their schedules. Except we noticed the servers seemed a little stressed and not accustomed to serving and the process at breakfast, etc.
At this point we started to sense that something was a little off…we eventually got word that the locals had apparently initiated an industrial strike on the property. Apparently the local Maldivian staff decided to strike on the property. There apparently was a dispute over wages or something and therefore the Maldivians who made up the bulk of the staff at the resort had gone on strike. We headed to the main pool to try and enjoy the day in spite of the obvious disruptions. The pool was a little more crowded since there were no other activities or services available.
All of the reservations that we had made for that day were cancelled – our sunset cruise, our Ithaa underwater restaurant reservation -everything.
Due to the strike – all the restaurants except for Atoll were closed. All housekeeping services were suspended. I couldn’t believe that this was possibly happening on our dream vacation. Speaking with some of the other guests, several were debating whether to just pack up and go home since we had no idea how long the strike would last.
With nothing left to do for the rest of the day, we hung out at the main pool for hours and hours and did a little snorkeling as well.
For dinner that night, we ate at Atoll since it was the only restaurant open. I could tell that the staff that was working that night were making every effort to make it a pleasant experience though this normal job responsibilities and didn’t know how things usually were done. We had an employee from the spa that was our waitress for the night. She apologized profusely for the inconvenience – and promised us that if we only wanted to eat at one section of the Atoll dinner buffet (i.e. Japanese, Italian) she was only going to charge us $35 (the normal charge for the full dinner buffet is $100). This seemed very generous and we were happy to take her up on her offer.
We finished our dinner and headed back to the room and wondering what the outcome of the strike would be.