1980 as Werner’s first trip to the Maldives to Vabbinfaru island (now known as Banyan Tree, North Male atoll). The diving centre was run by Lutz Hagemann who taught diving without lead weights. Here Werner Lau, an active swimmer in his youth, learnt to dive. And the young German boy from Allgau in Bavaria instantly fell in love with the Maldivian island life. At the time Werner Lau was a self-employed salesman who traded in wine. But alongside the fine grape juice he discovered a new passion: up to four times a year he visited the Maldives and just dived, dived, dived… In the end the determined boy from Allgau, did that which most visitors can only dream of -He took time off and packed a small bundle together so he could exchange half a year of stress of a self-employed salesman with the “calm life” of a diving instructor.
1986 Werner Lau enlisted Lutz Hagemann as his very first diving instructor and became himself a “weight free diving instructor”. But the learning years were no easy breeze: up to six times a day, the future diving instructors were driven into the water with guests, always with no weights on their hips – at the time this was quite normal. In addition Werner had to go on long liveaboard trips diving in what was then completely unchartered waters. This way the boy from Allgau learnt a lot about diving in every situation, whether diving for pure pleasure or in a strong current, on the house reef or searching for new dive locations. He also watched how one of the pioneers of Maldivian diving had built up a diving centre which revolves around the guest and how he placed their interests above everything else. This was knowledge which was put to great use a few years later.
1988 was the breakthrough year for Werner Lau. During a holiday at home he met and fell in love with his future wife Lilly (the attractive girl from Munich who was immediately ‘dragged’ off to the Maldives). Werner left Lutz Hagemann and became employed as the dive centre manager for the then existing travel outfit DTM on Eriyadoo. There followed a brush with fate – DTM went bankrupt he remained the dive centre manager. Werner then bought the dive centre from the island manager, Abdullah Ali. Together with the Maldivian, he developed a concept which still today distinguishes all of Werner’s Maldivian dive resorts: the dive centre is planned before any other activities. Only once the dive centre has been perfectly planned and built did he then concentrate on the rest of the island with a resort and/or hotel. On a Lau island everything revolves, first and foremost, around the diving.
Over the course of the next 10 years, the Bavarian couple gradually became an island couple. Werner’s dive training also became one of his trademarks. Even in PADI times the dedicated Barracuda dive instructor never compromised on the thorough training of his dive students, today of course using the most up to date standards and methods of teaching.
With regard to day boat diving he also set new standards in the Maldives. In all Lau dive centres, the boats are levelled at the divers’ experience. Thus every day all Lau’s diving guests will only go to dive sites which are best suited to their level of qualification. So beginners, photographers, pleasure divers and also experienced current freaks will get to go to dive sites that are ideally suited for them.
In 1992 saw a new Lau arrive -. Not only was the family growing but business was too.
In 1994 Werner took over the diving centre on Vilamendhoo together with his partner Ali.
In 1999 and 2000 the next coups followed with the acquiring of two luxurious islands – Filitheyo and Medhufushi, which were soon tailored to fit the famous ‘Lau style’ i.e. ‘the best service as possible’.
Off to the Desert…
Then in 2001 saw a Werner broaden his empire to a new part of the world. Werner was made an offer he couldn’t refuse – to take over two diving centres in Sharm El-Sheikh in exclusive partnership with the Thomas Cook Group with which he was already working very successfully in the Maldives. From the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea, it certainly sounded tempting – 4 flying hours instead of 9, very appealing to the European market, and the confidence that his Maldivian business concept in everything concerning service would be replicated at his new destination. It wasn’t quite as easy as that, but Werner and Lilly Lau nonetheless persisted in their vision and are today amongst the top diving centres in the Sinai. Now for fans of service-orientated and stress-free diving we have three dive centres available, the “Grand Azure”, the “Grand Oasis” and since 2003 the “Helnan Marina centre”. And by the way they all have proper weight belts and weights!
…and then to exotic Bali
In 2004 the new WERNER LAU dive centre started operations in Pondok Sari Beach & SPA Resort. Later that year June Werner added another dive centre in the Matahari Beach Resort & SPA (a 5 star resort) ! These new WERNER LAU dive centres are situated in low-level tourist areas on the Northwest coast of Bali – directly by a black fine sand lava beach near Pemuteran.
Onwards to new horizons in the Sinai…
2005 saw the opening of the WERNER LAU dive centre in the Charm Life Morgana Resort (a 5 star resort) in Taba that further expanded the Empire.
The 4th Egyptian dive centre is situated in the low-level tourist area in the North at the Gulf of Aqaba. It boasts a beautiful, unspoilt house reef and numerous, almost untouched top dive sites which sure to increase the pulse rate of the visiting divers. Even for Egypt insider tips still exist…
2006: Further expansion in Bali
Werner then acquired and expanded the hotel Alam Anda Ocean Front Resort & Spa to further expand his Indonesian share in the diving market. With this resort, he has now representation in the Northwest as well as the Northeast with various hotel categories. Diving in Bali with Werner Lau means diving with the knowledge that the incredible attention detail and that caters for every level of diver.
2007 Marsa Alam “The Oasis”
Not only was Werner expanding in Indonesia, 2007 saw him branching out in a new direction in the Red Sea. In February 2007 Werner Lau took over the hotel “The Oasis” in Marsa Alam. This intimate and very comfortable hotel has its own beautiful house reef that is sure to appeal to the “Lau client,” most of whom have already been spoiled by the Maldives and Bali Lau experience. It boasts tranquillity, relaxation and sensational diving in a small hotel for divers with a maximum of 48 rooms. Wellness and high quality service akin to all other Lau diving centres is assured -A new jewel in the Red Sea. This now gives Werner a strong presence in the South of Egypt.
2008 The expansion in Bali is complete
Siddhartha Ocean Frotn Resort und Spa is at present masterpiece of Werner Lau in Bali. With the acquisition of this resort, Werner’s expansion in Bali is complete. Stefan Brand and Barbara Ebel, both of whom have been working many years with Werner, are managing this new resort as well the high quality Werner Lau Diving Centre affiliated with the resort. This new state of the art hotel, built in 2008, has set a new standard for hotels in the northern region of the island. It offers the luxury of a boutique-hotel with magnificent architecture and set in a stunning location, yet at an affordable price. It is an extraordinary Diving Resort which is in high demand. The high quality cuisine and the superb spa will leave you speechless on land. The diving offers a fantastic and beautiful house reef, the “Liberty” only 3 boat minutes away and a host of other top dive all of which are accessible a short distance by boat.
2008 – Continued expansion in the Maldives
Accordingly with the opening of the luxury island Zitahli Kuda-Funafaru, Werner and Lilly Lau are now also present in the northern region of the Maldives. It’s a small and extremely private island offering you the ultimate in relaxation within a luxurious atmosphere and attractive surroundings. It offers a unique service at Diving Centers Werner Lau which is the offer of “private diving”. The dive area around Kuda-Funafaru features especially because of the enormous richness of big fish, schools of grey reef sharks, barracudas, manta and eagle rays.
2011 – Continued expansion in the Maldives
This year saw two legends get together – Werner Lau and Bathala. Bathala is a very pristine 3* plus island straight out of a picture postcard, surrounded by a beautiful and intact house reef. We offer 30 plus different dive sites including famous spots like Fishhead, Maaya Tila, Maaga Tila “Shark Point” and the wreck of Halaveli. On Bathala, we challenge you to find better diving in the Maldives. Many regular costumers from Eriyadu and Vilamendhoo have already visited and returned for more!
2012 – two more oceans…
Together with the Aldiana Group, Werner and Lilly expand into new territories. In February 2012, Werner toke over the Diving Center at the Aldiana Fuerteventura. Fuerteventura has an abundance of wide ranging and interesting dive spots, large shoals of fish, barracudas, mackerels and tunas, dolphins, rays as well as angel sharks. In summertime, you even have the chance to dive with whales.
From 1st of April 2012 Werner and Lily are due to take over the Diving Centre at the Aldiana Cyprus. The biggest attraction here is the wreck of the Zenobia, a cargo ship, which sank in 1982. This wreck is rated in the “Top Ten” wrecks of the world. Holiday with friends it the motto of the Aldiana Group which Werner and Lily would like to associate with. The facility offers the perfect framework and is also ideally suited for families. As well as the diving, clients are able to indulge in a host of other different sport activities and learn the local history and culture of this amazing counry.
“For the joy of Diving” is the Werner Lau motto.
You can book directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for the whole range of the Lau experience. Well known tour operators all over Europe also offer diving with a Werner Lau Diving Center as well as selected resorts within their programs.