Cheval Blanc Randheli, Velaa Private Island, Soneva Jani named amongst decade’s best new luxury hotels
Three resorts in Maldives have been named amongst the best new luxury hotels of this decade by Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI).
With 12 highly experienced and passionate researchers across the world, no one is better placed than LTI to determine the best 10 new luxury hotels of the past decade.
This has been an extraordinary 10 years for the global luxury hotel sector, with constant development and huge ‘money is no object’ investment taking place, bringing the luxury traveller a vast choice of superb new properties and admittedly, some disastrous ones.
It’s been a challenging project for the team at LTI, but after thorough consideration, they have determined ‘the perfect 10’. The three Maldivian properties on the list include Cheval Blanc Randheli, Velaa Private Island and Soneva Jani.
Cheval Blanc Randheli
Accessible by a scenic 40-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport, Cheval Blanc Randheli is one-of-a-kind exclusive property from the luxury fashion group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the creative mind behind some of the world’s most stunning resorts including the Chedi Muscat and many Aman resorts, Randheli marries contemporary aesthetic with the traditional Maldivian craftsmanship.
The multi-award-winning resort offers 46 villas in three different categories to choose from; Island, Water or Garden. They have a variety of contemporary design elements, high doors and ceilings, outdoor areas for relaxation, pool terraces, a 12.5m long private swimming pool and lagoon-side pontoons.
The award-winning Owner’s Villa at Cheval Blanc Randheli sprawls across its one-hectare dedicated island, and is accessible from a private berth and jetty. This four-bedroom villa is the epitome of exclusive privacy with unique facilities including its own spa, oversized 25-metre long outdoor pool, pristine beaches and exotic gardens.
Cheval Blanc Randheli consists of five sumptuous restaurants, and stylish bars, set amidst a backdrop of ivory beaches and crystalline waters. The award-winning Le 1947 fine dining restaurant offers an exceptional nine-course culinary experience, which pays tribute to French cuisine, interpreted with delicacy and creativity in a Maldivian setting.
The property’s Cheval Blanc Spa is located on its own private island, and offers Guerlain treatments.
The family-friendly destination is also home to the Le Carrousel and Le Paddock kids’ and teens’ clubs, providing unfettered access to unforgettable experiences.
Velaa Private Island
Tucked away within the collection of islands that form the northern Noonu atoll, Velaa Private Island is elegantly positioned to overlook enchanting vistas of a cerulean ocean. Its name derived from generations of sea turtles that flock there to nest and hatch; it is comprised of 47 private villas, houses and exclusive residences. The resort also includes a Romantic Pool Residence which can only be reached by boat.
At Velaa Private Island, all details have been considered: each villa comes with a personal butler, all services offered can be tailored to personal specifications. Attention to detail everywhere is also impeccable: stone pavements from the desert in Jordan, Indonesian flowerpots, luxury wood panelling from Borneo, and glimmering Italian marble.
Velaa Private Island offers endless exclusive opportunities. These unique offerings include the Maldives’ first and only snow room, the largest and most extensive wine collection in the region, one of the few Maldivian resorts with a private submarine, an extraordinary kids’ club conceptualised as the world’s ideal kids’ club by the owner’s seven-year-old daughter, and the only resort in Asia with a My Blend by Clarins spa.
Personalising and tailoring the entirety of the island depending on specific requirements, there is no limit to ensure the ultimate experience. Guests can sit back in the knowledge that the island’s highly trained and dedicated butlers will cater to each and every whim. Whether it is watching a spectacular fireworks display within the Maldivian night sky, dancing into the early hours with an Al fresco live music event, stepping aboard the island’s private yacht for a glamorous sunset cruise or enjoying a private, open air cinema night, anything is possible. Other interactive activities perfect for private groups include gourmet cooking classes with one of the resort’s chefs or wine tasting within the Maldives’ largest wine cellar.
For those looking to get involved in some Indian Ocean adventure, Velaa’s high-tech water toys, including the hover board, jetpack and fly board serve as the definitive adrenaline rush. While discovering the wonders beneath the island’s welcoming waters, guests can learn to dive or simply snorkel the coral rainbow.
Opened in December 2016, Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property and the world-leading luxury hotel group’s second resort in the Maldives.
Soneva Jani is located on the island of Medhufaru within a 5.6 kilometre lagoon in the Noonu atoll, and has uninterrupted ocean views in all directions. The lagoon is 35 minutes by seaplane from Velana International Airport and one hour by speedboat from Soneva Fushi.
Meaning ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani currently comprises 24 overwater villas and one island villa, with additional villas to be built in phase two. Five islands encircle the lagoon, each one with soft white sands and covered in rich tropical vegetation. Four of the five islands will remain untouched, making Soneva Jani the lowest density development in the Maldives. The overwater villas are spaced across the expansive lagoon, offering privacy and extensive views over the Maldives’ turquoise waters. The island villas will be tucked into the lush greenery, providing the ultimate privacy, and all within steps of the beach.
Soneva Jani’s main guest facilities are located at The Gathering, the heart of the overwater villas. This dramatic three story structure is home to the main dining outlets, in addition to the Soneva Spa, library, retail area and wine cellar. It is located next to the Maldives’ first overwater Observatory.
Facilities on the island include the overwater Cinema Paradiso, the Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre, organic gardens, tennis courts, water sports champa and Zuhair’s Beach on a desert island in the lagoon.
In addition to the three hotels in Maldives, LTI’s list features Aman Tokyo in Japan, Corinthia London in the UK, Kokomo Private Island in Fiji, La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa in France, Six Senses Zil Pasyon in Seychelles, Song Saa in Cambodia, and The Silo Hotel in South African capital Cape Town.
“The team at LTI is totally submerged in every aspect of luxury travel every day, yet even we are continually surprised and occasionally speechless at the level of excellence we find at particular properties. Of course this makes an exercise such as this even more difficult to call, but having visited all of these exceptional properties, some several times, we are confident that of all the great new hotels and resorts we have seen over the past ten years, this is without doubt, the perfect 10,” Michael Crompton, Founder of LTI, was quoted in a statement, as saying.
LTI is a global, members-only organisation, providing digital reporting for affluent travellers who wish to make informed travel decisions, based on honest and highly detailed intelligence. It covers luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and nightlife in granular detail.