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Saying “so long” to the Maldives after nine years in barefoot paradise


Roberto Arganese, director of marketing and sales for the Gili Lankanfushi Resort, having lived for nine years on this Maldives dream island, in a few weeks will leave paradise for his new European base from where he will resume enticing tourists to “his” luxury resort.

It should be a relative breeze – at least that’s how we see it, now that we’ve had the chance to visit this Robinson Crusoe island ourselves…

Sunset Gili Lankanfushi

Paradise on earth on Gili Lankanfushi

While we were on Gili Lankanfushi, I had a chance to ask Roberto a few questions about his departure from barefoot paradise. Here is the interview:

Walter: Roberto, what brought you to the Maldives in the first place nine years ago?

Roberto: I started out as a tour guide in various countries and then was offered the position of “resident manager” in the Maldives by the Hotelplan Group. As a native Italian who grew up bilingual in Switzerland, of course I was primarily responsible for the Swiss and Italian markets.

Walter: Did you think you would end up staying here that long?

Roberto:No, my plan initially was to stay here for two years. The understanding was that you had to work at a job at least two years before getting promoted to the next one. As it happened, not long after, they made me contracting manager and later area manager for the Hotelplan Suisse Group and resident manager for Hotelplan Italy. Then, when the day came that they offered me the position as marketing and sales manager for Gili Lankanfushi (previously Soneva Lankanfushi), I realized how much I wanted to stay on because I found this country so fascinating.

Walter: Why are you moving to Europe now and how do you feel about Holland as your new place of work?

Roberto: My girlfriend and I want to get married and start a family. We’re both from the European sphere and so would also like to raise our child in Europe. Why Holland? My girlfriend is Dutch and at the moment it looks like we could rent a nice house in Elst close to Amsterdam. And that’s what I’m looking forward with anticipation to doing now. In Gili Lankanfushi, I have a very accommodating employer who supports me and makes it possible for me to do my job based in Holland. It’s also an advantage, by the way, because I have better flight connections from Amsterdam to all the continents. I’m going to be primarily responsible for the markets in North and South America, Europe and Japan. That means I’ll continue as a member of Gili Lankanfushi’s executive management team.

Walter: You go by the motto “No News, No Shoes” here. Everybody runs around barefoot all day long, day in day out. It feels like paradise. What are you going to miss most?

Roberto: The water – absolutely. I love the sea and the vastness of the Indian Ocean. I’m also fascinated by life here in the Maldives. There’s no “daily grind”; instead, you work according to your “own plan.” That means: no traffic jams, you don’t have to commute, and in the hotel business the weekend doesn’t play quite the same role as when you hold down a “normal” job. On top of it, the Maldivians are very friendly.
And…yes, I will certainly miss being able to run around barefoot.

Walter: How will you stay in touch with the “Lankanfushi family”?
Roberto: I’ll return at least four time annually to Gili Lankanfushi. Besides, with today’s technologies like email, video conferencing and Skype, it’s almost “normal” to maintain daily contact with business colleagues.

And I’m sure I’ll be able to keep up the private friendships formed during nine years in paradise..

Roberto Arganese at work

Roberto at work

As part of our reportage on the Maldives we visited the Gili Lankanfushi barefoot resort. The luxury hotel in the Robinson Crusoe style leaves no wish unfulfilled. At least we weren’t able to think of anything… and so, here is how we experienced this paradise.


About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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