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Three Maldivian Resorts Chosen for Condé Nast Traveller’s Gold List 2012

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Maldives Promotion House – Condé Nast Traveller has revealed their Gold List for 2012. In the eighth edition of their annual lists, the hotels chosen by their team of editors, writers and experts are the best for service, location, food, rooms, leisure facilities, ambience and design. The three resorts from Maldives which were included are One&Only Reethi Rah, Soneva Gili by Six Senses and Four Seasons Resort Maldives At Kuda Huraa.

One&Only Reethi Rah was chosen as the best for leisure facilities. This glamorous, design-conscious resort is one of the biggest in the Maldives’ North Malé Atoll. The 124 villas, built from natural materials such as teak, mahogany, rattan, coconut shell and thatch, are dotted all over the island, some on the six kilometres of private beach, others on stilts over the ocean. All are decorated in a chic, contemporary-Asian style. There is a range of dining options, including Asian-fusion cuisine at the Reethi Restaurant and contemporary Japanese dishes at Tapasake. Other facilities include an ESPA spa and a PADI dive centre. The Grand Water Villas with Pool, built on stilts over a lagoon, have covered outdoor terraces and split-level verandahs as well as 20-square-metre pools.

Soneva Gili by Six Senses was chosen as the best for ambiance & design. Built using sustainable materials and furnished with natural fabrics, Soneva Gili is eco-conscious but also very chic. There are 45 contemporary over-water villas, two restaurants, a bar, a subterranean wine cellar, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a dive centre. The Six Senses spa is in its own tranquil, over-water domain. While all the rooms are gorgeous (each with a sun deck and open-air bathroom), the Private Reserve is spectacular. Reached by boat, it has three bedrooms, its own spa, a waterslide and resident staff. Each luxury water villa has been designed to provide 360-degree ocean views; the open-air bathrooms ensure guests don’t have to miss a single moment of sea-scanning.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives At Kuda Huraa was chosen as the best for food. Built in the style of a traditional Maldivian village, this Four Seasons resort has 96 thatched villas scattered around the island or built on stilts over the water. There’s a fantastic spa on its own little island, reached by wooden dhoni, and a great children’s club with table-tennis, snorkelling and painting classes. A stay here can easily be combined with a few days on the resort’s 39-metre catamaran. The resort has four superb restaurants: choose from menus of low-key Italian, classy Indian, Asian delicacies and freshly caught seafood.

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Utheemu Ganduvaru: Portal to Maldives’ national freedom

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The Maldives, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, also offers a rich tapestry of history and culture waiting to be explored. Among the islands of Haa Alif Atoll lies Utheemu Island, home to Utheemu Ganduvaru, a historical treasure that invites travellers to delve into the storied past of the archipelago.

Utheemu Ganduvaru, the ancestral home of Muhammad Thakurufaanu, stands as a poignant reminder of the Maldives’ fight for independence. Thakurufaanu, revered as a national hero, led a successful campaign against Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. His childhood home, Utheemu Ganduvaru, offers a rare glimpse into the life and times of this legendary figure.

In 1558, the Portuguese invaded the Maldives, killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule. Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers, Ali and Hassan, left for Minicoy to prepare a campaign to liberate their country. The boat they built, Kalhuohfummi, was crucial to their efforts. Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years, landing on different islands under cover of night to evade capture, and departing before daybreak. Eventually, they landed in Malé and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Freed from Portuguese rule, the people chose Muhammad Thakurufaanu as their Sultan.

Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 years until his death in 1585. He is remembered as a considerate and just ruler, concerned for the well-being of even the poorest citizens. He is also credited with establishing the country’s first formal military unit.

Back at Utheemu Island, visitors are immediately struck by the island’s tranquil beauty and its lush, green landscape. The journey to Utheemu Ganduvaru is a step back in time, where the echoes of history are palpable. The residence itself, a traditional wooden palace, is meticulously preserved, showcasing the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of the period.

As you enter Utheemu Ganduvaru, the simplicity and elegance of the structure are apparent. Built from timber, the palace is a fine example of traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The intricate woodwork, with its detailed carvings and polished surfaces, speaks volumes about the artisanship that flourished during Thakurufaanu’s time.

The main hall, with its open layout and cool, shaded interiors, offers a sense of serenity and reflection. It was within these walls that Thakurufaanu spent his formative years, and each room tells a story of his early life and the influences that shaped his destiny. The residence includes living quarters and storage spaces, all arranged in a manner that reflects the daily life of a prominent Maldivian family in the 16th century.

One of the most compelling aspects of Utheemu Ganduvaru is its connection to the larger narrative of Maldivian resistance against foreign rule. Guides at the site often recount tales of Thakurufaanu’s daring exploits and strategic brilliance. His knowledge of the archipelago’s intricate waterways and his leadership in naval battles are celebrated as key factors in the successful expulsion of the Portuguese in 1573.

Beyond its historical significance, Utheemu Ganduvaru offers visitors a deeper understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage. The site is a testament to the resilience and unity of the Maldivian people, embodying values that continue to inspire. For travellers, a visit to Utheemu Ganduvaru is an opportunity to connect with the soul of the Maldives, experiencing the essence of its history and the spirit of its people.

While on Utheemu Island, visitors can explore other points of interest, such as the island’s beaches and vibrant local community. Engaging with the locals offers additional insights into Maldivian traditions and hospitality, enriching the overall experience.

For those seeking a journey through time, Utheemu Ganduvaru in Haa Alif Atoll is a destination that should not be missed. It is a place where the past comes alive, where the legacy of a hero continues to resonate, and where the true essence of the Maldives can be discovered. As you walk through the halls of Utheemu Ganduvaru, you are not just a visitor; you are a part of a historical journey that defines the Maldivian identity.

So, when planning your next visit to the Maldives, venture beyond the beaches and dive into the rich history of these islands. Let Utheemu Ganduvaru be the highlight of your cultural exploration, offering a meaningful and memorable connection to the heart of Maldivian heritage.

Cover photo: Andreas Faessler

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Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives among the best hotels of 2024

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Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives has been named one of the world’s best hotels according to TripAdvisor, placing it among the top 10% globally.

This island paradise boasts a prime location just 13 kilometers from Malé, the capital of the Maldives. Reachable by a quick 20-minute speedboat ride, Cinnamon Dhonveli offers both accessibility and an abundance of activities.

Surfers flock to the world-famous Pasta Point break, while divers and beach lovers can also enjoy the vibrant underwater world and pristine sands. This exciting island caters to a variety of interests, making it a popular destination in the Maldives.

Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ summer campaign is the perfect opportunity to experience this paradise. Whether you crave adventure, culinary delights, or encounters with marine life, there’s something for everyone. Bookings of four nights or more come with a complimentary transfer and your choice of two exciting benefits:

  • Explore the vibrant capital with a Malé City Excursion.
  • Embark on a Dolphin Watching trip for an unforgettable encounter.
  • Savor a romantic four-course Beach Dinner under the stars.
  • Relax and rejuvenate with a 45-minute Spa Treatment.
  • Create lasting memories with the “1 Kid Stays Free” offer.

Don’t miss your chance to tick this dream destination off your bucket list. Visit Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives and discover why it’s among the best hotels in the world!

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Nika Island Resort & Spa offers unmatched privacy with private beach villas

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Nika Island Resort & Spa is redefining the tropical getaway with its exclusive private beach villas. This luxurious resort stands out as the only one in the Maldives offering all guests who book these exquisite accommodations direct access to a secluded stretch of beach.

Nika Island Resort’s allure lies in its unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled experience. Their private beach villas cater to the most discerning travelers, offering a sanctuary of tranquility and luxury against the stunning Maldivian backdrop.

Guests choosing these exclusive villas are treated to unparalleled privacy and personalized service. From the moment they step onto the pristine sands of their private beach, meticulous attention to detail ensures every whim and desire is catered to.

The resort’s private beaches transform into secluded havens where guests can unwind and soak in the Maldives’ natural beauty. Imagine romantic sunset strolls, refreshing dips in crystal-clear waters, or simply basking in the sun on a plush lounger – all in complete privacy.

While these private beach villas may come at a premium, the unparalleled level of luxury, exclusivity, and personalized service they offer make them a worthwhile investment for travelers seeking an unforgettable escape.

Nika Maldives sets itself apart with a truly unique experience by seamlessly blending unparalleled luxury, exclusivity, and privacy with the Maldives’ natural beauty.

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