The Nautilus, Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi, Intercontinental Maamunagau amongst world’s best new luxury resorts

Three resorts in Maldives have been named amongst the best new luxury hotels of the year by Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI).

The Nautilus Maldives, Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi Maldives and InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort made it to the list of the ‘World’s Best New Luxury Hotel’ — the only South Asian hotels to be included in the prestigious recognition.

The Nautilus Maldives

In his 1870 classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne described his legendary Nautilus as a “masterpiece containing masterpieces”; launched in Spring 2019, The Nautilus Maldives is quickly earning a similar reputation.

Located in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa atoll, The Nautilus is a luxury bohemian hideaway which celebrates freedom and individuality, where guests are encouraged to be themselves and shape their own personal journey.

With a total of only 26 keys, The Nautilus, which can also be taken exclusively as a private island, offers accommodation perfect for groups or families, sleeping anywhere from four up to 12 guests. Each and every House has its own large private pool, ranging in size from 40 to 90 square metres.

Throughout the resort, beautiful one–off collectibles and objets d’art make it feel like the private home of a friend with immaculate taste.

Uniquely for The Maldives, a dedicated private butler is allocated to each House, at every room category.

Dining is “unscripted” and is about liberating the palate. There is nothing so pedestrian as dress codes, opening and closing times or tray charges; menus at the overwater fine dining restaurant Zeytoun, beachside grill Ocaso, pool bar Naiboli and relaxed all-day eatery Thyme are for inspiration only.

A beautiful overwater spa (using products by Maison Caulières and Omorovicza), a liveried fleet of yachts and a seaplane, beautiful ‘boho-luxe’ interiors and a breathtaking house reef complete a quintessential Maldives experience at the highest level, without need for gimmicks.

Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi Maldives

The all-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi spans across three private islands in the South Male Atoll, providing secluded enclaves and a tranquil escape for discerning travellers complete with a plethora of activities for guests of all generations.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers a sophisticated and serene retreat just 30-minutes from Velana International Airport via the resort’s private yacht. An escape or families and couples in search of space and exclusivity, the resort boasts 122 luxuriously appointed villas, each equipped with a pool and uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean in its own private enclave. Each reef, beach and overwater villa opens onto an indoor and outdoor deck featuring a swinging daybed, dining gazebo, an infinity pool, in-water lounge and an outdoor shower.

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers 11 exceptional, specialty-dining venues. Each venue delivers distinctive, immersive dining experiences – the variety of which is a first in the Maldives. Guests can enjoy an elevated treetop-dining concept at Terra, featuring spectacular views of the ocean and horizon, as well as exquisite food and wine pairings in a tranquil setting seemingly chiselled out of the face of a boulder at The Rock. Yasmeen boasts authentic Middle Eastern flatbreads and mezzes, impeccably prepared crispy Peking duck fresh out of the first wood-fired oven in the Maldives, and embracing the garden-to-table concept, Glow serves healthy and holistic cuisine made from the freshest ingredients harvested from the resort’s herb garden.

To further elevate Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi’s culinary offerings, the resort has launched an exclusive barbecue grill restaurant, The Ledge by Dave Pynt. Chef Dave Pynt is the culinary mastermind behind Singapore’s Burnt Ends restaurant, which has been awarded one Michelin star and most recently ranked No. 10 on the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2019.

For those seeking the ultimate in exclusivity, the Ithaafushi Private Island features a two-bedroom overwater villa as well as a three-bedroom beach villa. The 32,000 square foot island sanctuary – accessible by yacht – comes complete with a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, as well as its own spa, gym, five swimming pools, entertainment centre and pristine beaches. Two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, inspired by a celestial charm – accessible only by boat – also allow discerning guests to enjoy unrivalled privacy. Floor-to-ceiling windows, chef service, a jacuzzi and direct ocean access make for an unforgettable and memorable escape.

For additional pampering, guests can visit the Waldorf Astoria Spa, comprised of ten idyllic overwater or garden treatment villas, which offers an extensive menu of treatments and Asian-inspired therapies focusing on relaxation and rebalance. The Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Park, a water park for young guests, and the Lagoon Pool, are ideal for families looking to enjoy a variety of activities with ease. Other facilities include the beachfront, 40-meter Mirror Pool; the Ocean Pavilion, which hosts a range of wellness activities; a fully-equipped fitness centre; and a combined water sport and PADI dive centre.

InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort

Situated on the picturesque island of Maamunagau at the southern tip of Raa atoll, the InterContinental Maldives is surrounded by a stunning natural lagoon and is a 35-minute seaplane flight from the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport. Guests arriving on flights after 3.30pm will be escorted to the Domestic Terminal for a 20-minute domestic flight to Dharavandhoo Domestic Airport followed by a 35-minute speedboat ride to the resort.

The InterContinental Maldives’ 81 luxuriously appointed beach, lagoon and overwater villas and residences offer a new level of InterContinental experience, with contemporary Maldivian design, unobstructed views of breath-taking ocean panoramas and each equipped with their own private terrace and pool.

As the first and only all-Club InterContinental Resort, resort guests can experience personalised touches and complimentary benefits throughout the island; breakfast, afternoon tea and refreshments, and evening digestives at The Retreat, an adults-only enclave with its private bar and its own infinity pool at the water’s edge. Standing at this pool’s periphery, a favourite drink in hand, whilst watching the glistening ocean’s expanse meet the horizon.

The resort features six restaurants; from Mediterranean tapas amidst 360-degree vistas at The Lighthouse, to sea-to-table South Asian inspired dining at The Fish Market and a fusion of cross-continental flavours at Café Umi, guests can expect organic, local and sustainable ingredients in thoughtfully curated ambiances.

Inspired by the ethereality of the water and transformational power of crisp island air, AVI Spa by is designed to recharge the soul by awakening the senses. Guests can rejuvenate in one of six overwater treatment villas, each harnessing the psychology of natural light and sound play to send them into a deep state of relaxation.

With a captivating array of wildlife just on the doorstep, Planet Trekkers is a youngster’s paradise for discovering the deep wonders of the Indian Ocean. Through games, arts and crafts and mini expeditions, budding marine biologists and curious explorers from ages 4-12 can connect with the magic of the island whilst making brilliant friendships.

According to LTI, a panel of 12 expert researchers were tasked with analysing and determining the recipients of the award out of the 35 new luxury hotels it visited during the year.

“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”, LTI Founder Michael Crompton said.

In addition to the three hotels in Maldives, LTI’s list features:

  • The Oberoi, Marrakech, Morocco
  • Aman, Kyoto, Japan
  • Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • The Newt, Somerset, United Kingdom
  • Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé, Loire Valley, France
  • Belmond Cadogan, London, United Kingdom
  • The St. Regis Venice, Venice, Italy
  • Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • The Lodge at Blue Sky, Utah, United States of America
  • Rosewood Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
  • Grantley Hall, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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.

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