Featured case: Hideaway Resort – Maldives

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The case

Who – the protagonist

Carsten Schieck, Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa General Manager.


Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa is an exclusive all-suite retreat in the Maldives for those who demand luxury in a private setting. The award-winning resort offers a choice of private villas beachside or over the water.


In December 2014 Carsten accepted the position of General Manager at Hideaway, after a group of Maldivian investors bought the retreat 18 months earlier and spent $35million on a refurbishment.

Carsten was headhunted by the owners as his experience and knowledge of the area was key to the resort’s hopes of repositioning itself, as they tried to come up with a strategy to cater for the new Chinese market in the country.


Hideaway’s owners bought the resort in the summer of 2013, before immediately closing for a year for a lavish refurbishment. They reopened in the autumn of 2014, recruiting Carsten three months later.

Carsten has 31 years of experience working for Hilton across Asia, from China to Sri Lanka.


The Maldives is a sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka.

The republic consists of a staggering 1190 islands and sandbanks, but they only cover an area of 298 square kilometres.

The northern island of Dhonakhuli is home to Hideaway, which in fact covers the whole island.

Key quote

“The fear of global warming that may lead to future inundation of the Maldives, due to risks of rising sea levels, is of great concern to Maldivians.” – Thomas Durand, case author, painting a worrying picture for the future of the country – and their businesses.

What next?

Carsten needs to form a strategy for the repositioning of the resort, but what are his options? How does he cater for the massive influx of Chinese customers, who are less likely to return or spend money on extras, in a resort whose key words are “privacy, tranquility, beach”? What needs to be closely looked at while implementing the strategy?

Interested in finding out more?

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Hideaway Resort – Maldives
Ref 317-0106-1
Teaching note
Ref 317-0106-8

The author


Thomas Durand

Thomas talks ethics, global warming and why you have to look beyond the numbers on this case.

Holiday inspiration

Thomas said: “I happened to visit the Hideaway resort when the new General Manager took office.

“I observed some mismatch among the clientele on the island, a rather uneasy topic to mention – and difficult to deal with. I knew the resort had been closed for several months just before, undergoing a major transformation with significant investments, hence an issue of ROI for the new management. I also knew the very specific environmental context of the Maldivian archipelago, where protecting the beauty of nature is key for the future of tourism, while global warming is a matter of sheer survival for the islands.

“All in all, I felt that the human, environmental and economic equation of the resort in that context was extremely difficult to solve. Thus the idea of writing a case about it.”

Ethical debates


He continued: “Discussions about ethics may become very lively and even hot in a classroom.

“When it comes to a real situation where participants need to help a manager make decisions about a tricky, ethically complex setting such as the one presented in the case, a feeling of uneasiness appears with some participants.

“Some other participants tend to dismiss the ethical part of the issue, essentially looking at the business side of it. This leads to even more intense discussions that need to be monitored, keeping in mind that there is no clear “one best decision”. At best, one can hope for an ethically acceptable and economically sound option.” 

Difficult to quantify

Thomas explained: “One may address the issues coldly, with a candid purely business perspective. The heart of the matter is that such a blind straightforward approach is difficult to accept any more in today’s multicultural, multipolar world.

“Tourism and the hospitality business epitomise situations where understanding cultural expectations and behaviours can be more important than blindly working out numbers about growth and profitability.” 

Force of nature

He concluded: “The case helps realise the concrete consequences of global warming on a country like the Maldives.

“With an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres, chances are that rising sea levels could overflow the entire country in the decades to come, leaving 400,000 inhabitants homeless. Climate variations can also kill the coral, causing the coral reefs to lose their protective role against waves thus allowing erosion to occur on the islands.

“In addition, participants need to understand what it means when tourists step on the corals, breaking what took decades to grow.”

About the author

Thomas Durand is a professor at Le Cnam Paris, France.

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