Hotels of the Maldives
As we approach the landing strip of the capital city of Malé, we begin to realize the extent of the Maldives archipelago: about 1200, for the most part uninhabited islands, spread throughout the Indian Ocean south of India, with a total surface of 225 square kilometers of land emerged from the surrounding water. And on some of the 202 inhabited islands, we find luxury hotels. The economic concept of the Maldives government is “one island, one hotel.” Developing upscale luxury tourism by offering concessions to international hotel groups has been the policy of the Maldivian authorities since the end of the 1980s. The result is that every year, nearly a dozen new hotels open their doors. In spite of this competition, each establishment manages to position itself differently from the others to the point that the offer is large and varied enough to satisfy all types of vacationers, including couples in search of romance, families, deep sea diving enthusiasts, lazy, laid back vacationers and fans of ecology. And so, with our sarongs and flip flops in hand, let’s embark on a journey to 17 ports of call representing the finest addresses in the Maldives.
The Maldives for the ecology minded
The government of the archipelago imposes very strict environmental constraints on hotel groups that wish to establish themselves in the Maldives. The impact of construction and the effects of a hotel on the surrounding nature, the country’s primary heritage, must be minimal. Some hoteliers have therefore positioned themselves with the accent on ecology in the choice of materials used, and by investing in programs designed to preserve the flora and fauna. Ecological luxury is very possible!
Colors, materials and decorative elements have been chosen in order to assure continuity between the hotel and its natural environment. Hammocks, terraces, relaxation spots, lush vegetation and a discreet staff contribute to the feeling of communion with nature. In addition, a marine laboratory welcomes volunteers for the replanting of coral and for observing underwater species.
This small boutique hotel, opened in 1995, is characterized by one of the most striking coral reefs in the Maldives. There are only 48 villas, subtly spread out through incredible gardens, and a marine laboratory dedicated to the reinsertion of green turtles into nature and to cultivating coral.
The Soneva Fushi is the work of Sonu Shivdasani and his wife Eva who purchased the island and furnished its 50 hectares of sand and green jungle with the luxury and care reserved for private islands. Nestled in greenery, the villas are just a few meters from their own private beach. The even more private Jungle Reserve offers nature lovers the possibility of living in the heart of a forest. The concept here is the height of relaxation, summed up by its motto: “No news no shoes.” It’s the ideal spot for the luxury minded to play at being a modern day Robinson Crusoe with total respect for the nature of this timeless site.
Also created by the ecologically minded couple who own the Soneva brand name, the Gili Lankanfushi is completely independent in every sense of the word. It uses wood from the island for its constructions, an organic vegetable garden for the restaurant and a desalinization unit for fresh water. The 45 villas are connected to each other by four piers and hidden by lush vegetation. This eco-chic concept has inspired a number of other hotel groups.
A vacation in the Maldives naturally responds to the expectations of those who go there, whether it’s for a 21st century Robinson Crusoe experience, for the splendor of its ocean depths, for the delightful spas, for the variety of the gastronomy, the quality of service, the delicate nature of its décor or for the magnificent blue sky and turquoise ocean, the luxury hotels in the Maldives possess everything guests dream of in the way of services. And for those who are afraid of being bored on a semi-deserted island, a bit of advice: change the type of accommodations within the hotel, or why not stay in two different hotels? Just take advantage of the fast hydroplane shuttle service…