AVANI Hotels & Resorts is thrilled to announce the development of its first resort in the Maldives. AVANI Fares Maldives Resort will be located on Fares Island in the Baa Atoll and is scheduled to open in Q4 2019. Ideal for millennial minded travellers, this untouched, private 12.4-hectare island will provide a natural playground surrounded by a soft white sandy beach and every colour of blue imaginable.
This USD 70-million resort development is a joint venture partnership between Minor Hotels and Cyprea Group. Cyprea Group’s diversified Sri Lanka and Maldives business portfolio includes ownership and operation of Club Med Kani Maldives Resort located in North Malé Atoll.
Alejandro Bernabe, Group Director AVANI Hotels & Resorts said: “The AVANI design philosophy is interestingly relaxed and contemporary and in tune with the environment of this development, using natural textures, colours and materials that reflect the location whilst incorporating advanced technology and modern conveniences.”
The new upscale AVANI Fares Maldives Resort will comprise 200 guest rooms, including standard rooms and a selection of villas. Every attention will be given to well being. The décor will be a blend of comfort and modernity, soothing materials, textures and high-tech equipment such as complimentary WiFi, media hub docking station and 40-inch flat screen TV.
On arrival, guests will immediately be welcomed by an arresting view of the Indian Ocean from the open plan lobby. This communal living space will blend reception, lounge, meeting space, all day restaurant and The Pantry, an AVANI hallmark, will serve a mix of comfort food and artisanal deli snacks around the clock.
The resort will also feature a speciality restaurant, AVANISPA, AVANI Kids Club and a large communal swimming pool and pool bar. The nearby Ahivahfushi Beyru dive site offers amazing reef diving with a plethora of sea life including Hawksbill Turtles, Reef Sharks and Manta Rays. It’s an underwater Eden for snorkellers and scuba enthusiasts.
The resort’s secluded northern location is easily accessible and is 45 minutes by seaplane from Male and 30 minutes by speedboat from the newly opened domestic airport on Baa Atoll.
“The Maldives is the ultimate beach destination in the world and we are excited to deliver an alternative hospitality offering in the region. AVANI is a true lifestyle brand. Imaginatively blending genuine hospitality and modernity with savvy design and contemporary style. The AVANI experience is designed to satisfy important guests’ needs,” said Bernabe.
AVANI Hotels & Resorts was launched in 2011 as a sister brand to Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, which currently has three resorts in the Maldives, including Anantara Kihavah which is also located in the Baa Atoll. Offering all the details that matter, AVANI blends genuine hospitality and modern lifestyle features with a passion for design. The brand already has a presence in the Indian Ocean with two resorts in Sri Lanka and one in the Seychelles.
Capturing the imagination, this secluded five-acre (two hectare) haven transcends the private island experience: “entirely yours” from the moment of booking, seven bedrooms, a Beach House, dive school and 62-foot (18.9 metre) yacht extend the oceanic spoils of the Maldives’ only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to up to 22 guests at a time. Guests decide the schedule, staff and services, redefining Voavah with every visit as somewhere to retreat, explore, connect, celebrate, and dream with one’s eyes open.
Voavah days revolve around the double-storey Beach House and adjacent white sands, crystal waters and abundant reef – all exemplary even by Maldives standards. The Beach House hub offers open-air living room, dining room, kitchen, pool deck, gym, library and loft lounge, while seven bedrooms are arranged on the beach, over the pristine lagoon or elevated in panoramic Mezzanine Suites.
A 62 foot (18.9 metre) private yacht – Voavah Summer – invites exploration of a dazzling and undisturbed UNESCO domain. Experiences focus on the UNESCO territory, guided by a team that has already spent a decade protecting it: diving with whale sharks, snorkelling with manta rays, swimming with neighbourhood turtles, fishing for dinner, visiting local islands, surfing unknown breaks and cruising into breathtaking Baa Atoll sunsets.
At the heart of Voavah’s pledge to expand horizons, The Ocean of Consciousness Spa offers treatments based on the five pathways of Truth, Wise Action, Love, Peace, and Compassion – each designed to elevate awareness, transform actions and help individuals awaken to their power to affect wide-reaching change. Guests can also have yoga, meditation and pranayama classes, high-end beauty treatments and a Rossano Ferretti hair consultant on call.
A multicultural on-site team bestows nurturing one-on-one service, showcasing shining stars from Four Seasons culinary, spa, recreation, diving, housekeeping, childcare and marine conservation worlds.
Privacy-protected with single-entry, CCTV, night vision cameras, and 24-hour on-site security patrols, Four Seasons Private Island Voavah is far more than a luxury retreat. It’s a reconnection to self and surroundings; an island to call one’s own; somewhere to explore desires, in one’s own way, where no-one is watching and anything is possible.
Embrace year-end festivities on Mudhdhoo Island, the home of Dusit Thani Maldives. Unravel the best of the festive excitement and delightful moments with celebrations highlighting music, dance, fireworks and cuisine. Standing on the threshold of an old year, gift yourself and your loved ones, an unforgettable holiday retreat entailing the following festive extravaganzas:
Incredible global entertainment
Sébastien and Lydia, a Canadian duo will captivate you with Sébastien’s Robichaud guitar and piano performances in combination with Lydia Ferland singing powers.
Enjoy special traditional Maldivian dances from a local Boduberu group
Experience Innovative Festive Dining
Borderless beachfront BBQ dining and sunset cruises with cocktails and canapes.
Themed degustation dinners including Spice Route, Thai Full Moon Dinner, Arabian Night, Pirates Treasure, Taste of Asia and International with BBQ Night.
Interactive bubbly & nougat tasting sessions, cocktail making, festive afternoon tea and Thai cooking classes throughout the festive period.
The festive dining supplement for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve is priced at USD 300 net and USD 450 net respectively on per person basis. It includes special dinner arrangements and entertainment.
Experience palate-pleasing perfection at The Market where diners can kick start their day with an authentic feast the span across the globe. This self-serve full breakfast buffet includes everything from East to West, complimented with a variety of fresh seasonal fruits and a classic selection of pastries. Return here for exciting themed buffet dinners in an unmatched Maldivian setting.
Benjarong, our signature Thai restaurant serves authentic Royal Thai cuisine in a unique space that fuses contemporary style with traditional Thai designs. With recipes that have been passed down over generations, Benjarong brings the best flavours and tastes of Thailand to Maldives.
Immerse yourself in the finest fusion of land and sea at Sea Grill! Feast on fresh seafood and steaks grilled to perfection, accompanied by side dishes from around the world, Relax by the poolside setting overlooking the breathtaking beauty of the ocean. A glass wine cellar offers the finest selection from vineyards around the globe.
The Sand Bar is the perfect place to have a drink on a sun lounger or indulge in some tempting snacks while gazing out over the ocean. Situated alongside the infinity pool – one of the largest in the Maldives – treat yourself to a sunset aperitif before dinner or groove to the mesmerising musical tunes of the live band.
At Sala Bar, romance comes alive! Watch the sunset whilst enjoying a selection of delicious canapés or stargaze over the sea whilst our mixologists makes you a sensational refreshment. Gather with friends or fellow guests to toast with a signature Thai cocktail, enjoying attentive service and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.
The Borderless Dining concept at Dusit Thani Maldives presents guests with dining options in unbelievable settings, featuring sumptuous menus designed to suit every occasion. Exquisite settings offer sweeping views of Indian Ocean, immersing guests in a truly multi-sensory dining experience. Carefully crafted dishes and innovative beverages complete the magical experience.
Festive Entertainment: Lydia & Sebastien
Sebastien Robichaud and Lydia Ferland is a talented Canadia duo from Montreal. Composed of Lydia, leading in vocals and Sebastien guitarist, pianist and vocals. They offer a repertory of more than 300 songs in different languages and styles that varies from lounge, jazz, folk, rock and pop.
The warm and enchanting voice of Lydia and the catchy melodies of Sebastien, charm guests throughout the world. The duo has also gained a solid reputation in various luxury establishments.
The Maldives newest resort is open for business after the grand opening of Finolhu in Baa Atoll took place this weekend.
Three days of festivities included fireworks, stilt walkers, and fifty shades of blue set against the backdrop of the marine biosphere.
Entertainment at the launch of the Maldives new ‘beach club haven’ was provided by artists including British singer and dancer Katherine Ellis, star DJs Burt Bevan, DJ Jaffa and Kissy Sell Out and synthpop masters the Cuban Brothers.
Guests were invited to a retro beach party on Friday, followed by a bonfire and cocktails into the small hours. Day two saw cabaret themed performances while those still standing on day three were treated to a 60 and 70s themed blowout.
Just 30 minutes from the capital Male by seaplane, the island harks back to classic era of beach holidays with its retro design.
125 villas spread across the lagoon, the ocean, and the beach are accompanied by dining options across 6 restaurants, with specialisms including Cantonese and North African cuisine. Rustic seafood offerings are also available for those who stroll out on the island’s 1.8km sandbar.
The resort offers watersports activities and excursions around the scenic reefs of Baa atoll, while Cove Club embraces ‘massage, movement and chill’ – invites guests to work out, enjoy a spa treatment or just relax in the island’s wellness centre.
This weekend’s event is set to be continued with quarterly Finolhu BLHU events promising more atoll extravaganzas in the Maldives UNESCO reserve.
Finolhu is the second property to be opened by the Small Maldives Island Company, which introduced the luxury Amilla Fushi resort to Baa atoll in 2014.
Opening in late 2016, this secluded five-acre (two-hectare) oasis transcends the private island experience. “Entirely yours” from the moment of booking, the island’s seven bedrooms, Beach House, Dive Centre, Oceans of Consciousness Spa and 62-foot (18.9-metre) yacht extend the spoils of the Maldives’ only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to up to 22 guests on an exclusive basis.
Truly capturing the imagination, Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah couples legendary care with limitless living. Alongside the Four Seasons Private Jet and the company’s array of Extraordinary Experiences, the island showcases the company’s commitment to offering the world’s most discerning guests the best of a destination, while surrounded by the personalised service and attention to detail that are the hallmarks of Four Seasons.
“Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah will redefine exclusive luxury, opening as a tropical haven for those who seek an unprecedented experience of private luxury alongside Four Seasons legendary service,” said Mike Crawford, President, Asia Pacific. “As the latest addition to our Extraordinary Experiences collection, the island speaks to the company’s commitment to perfecting the guest experience and our ability to re-imagine the limits of luxury travel in creative and innovative ways. It’s just one of the many ways we’re constantly evolving our offerings to deliver the kind of memorable, fully-customised and exclusive experiences our guests want and value.”
“At Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, guests can design their own experience,” commented Armando Kraenzlin, Regional Vice President and General Manager, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. “They can treat the island as a space to spend captivating moments with family and friends; a place to play to the extreme and explore to their heart’s content; a secluded sanctuary to retreat and spa; the most exclusive VIP venue to celebrate and party; or an inspiring landscape to meet and motivate.”
Many experiences – from year-round manta ray sightings to mind-expanding kids’ activities – focus on the surrounding UNESCO territory, guided by a team that has already spent a decade protecting it. Indeed, Four Seasons developed Voavah in close coordination with local environmental consultancies to ensure proper maintenance of the balance between man and nature, culture and conservation – in keeping with the prerequisites of the Atoll’s UNESCO Biosphere designation.
Voavah days revolve around the double-storey Beach House and adjacent white sands, crystal waters and abundant reef – all exemplary even by Maldivian standards. The Beach House hub offers an open-air living room, dining room, kitchen, pool deck, gym, library and loft lounge, while seven bedrooms span three separate locations: on the beach, over the lagoon or elevated in panoramic Mezzanine Suites.
As are all aspects of Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, dining on the island is tailored to the mood of island guests, meal by meal, from poolside to The Beach House dining room, at the water’s edge or on a sandbank. A 62-foot (18.9-metre) private yacht – Voavah Summer – invites exploration of a dazzling and undisturbed UNESCO territory. From diving with whale sharks to snorkelling with year-round manta rays, swimming with neighbourhood turtles, fishing for dinner, visiting local islands, surfing unknown breaks and cruising into breathtaking Baa Atoll sunsets, the possibilities on Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah are endless.
Expanding horizons, The Oceans of Consciousness Spa offers bespoke over-water spa therapies and rituals; yoga, meditation and pranayama classes; high-end beauty treatments; and Rossano Ferretti hair consultant on call.
In the mood for a party? On Voavah, there are no neighbours, no paparazzi and the possibilities are endless. Groups can create one-of-a-kind birthday surprises and celebrations, fly in big name acts or create their own mini music festival or beach party, all perfected with a sprinkling of Voavah magic.
The experience of Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah will set the benchmark for private island travel, both due to the transfixing natural beauty of the island and the highly bespoke, privacy-protected service that epitomises Four Seasons. It is the very definition of an Extraordinary Experience. Such offerings invite travellers to see the world differently, with a level of access that is otherwise unavailable. The current collection of Four Seasons Extraordinary Experiences includes a wide range of unforgettable options, including those in:
Maui – Guests will soar by helicopter above towering waterfalls, rainforested peaks and a dormant volcano before touching down on Hana Ranch for a private tour and foraging expedition through the working ranch and organic farm. Guests will then enjoy a private lunch prepared by Four Seasons Executive Chef Craig Dryhurst and Hana Ranch’s Chef Jon Watson featuring ingredients freshly picked from the farm.
San Diego – Armed with a waterproof camera and wetsuit, guests will capture the beauty of coastal California from sea to sky through an underwater photography expedition with Aaron Chang, considered by many to be the creator of modern surf and ocean photography. Following a morning of diving, guests will join Chang in a helicopter tour above the San Diego coastline to capture the perfect aerial shot of the breaking shore.
Cairo at Nile Plaza – Guests will relive the 7,000-year history of Egypt and the Pharaonic Empire by enjoying a spectacular sound and light show of the Pyramids at night. Narration and light displays will bring the history and mystery of the Egyptian empire to life, recounting the legends of ancient Pharaohs and the majestic Sphinx. Set against the backdrop of the Great Pyramid, guests will then enjoy a private dinner under the stars while listening to the gorgeous strains of the private Cairo Symphony Orchestra.
Cap-Ferrat – Guests will enjoy a private tour of Villa Santo Sospir, the legendary French Riviera estate that formerly belonged to socialite Francine Weisweiller and was once the favourite gathering place for celebrities, writers and artists such as Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich and Pablo Picasso. After exploring the Villa and taking in its many whimsical mosaics, murals and frescos, guests will enjoy a private dinner, prepared by Michelin-starred Chef Didier Aniès, overlooking the Mediterranean on the estate terrace.
Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru – Guests will channel their inner Jacques Cousteau during a journey of discovery in the underwater world of manta rays and whale sharks. Led by some of the world’s leading experts on manta rays, guests will cruise the turquoise waters of the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, learning to spot the creatures in the water and helping to record essential environmental information and take identification photos. Taking their oceanic study to new depths, guests will then free-dive into the Indian Ocean to observe the manta rays and whale sharks in their natural habitat.
Hangzhou – Guests will journey back in time on a traditional Chinese rowboat ride through one of Eastern China’s most lush and fabled lakes, taking in majestic mountains, ancient temples, traditional pagodas and graceful bridges while sipping premium Hangzhou tea and sampling local delicacies from Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake.
Review — The thick grove of over 500 palm trees, gives little hint of the 5 star, 180 room luxury resort hidden in its shade. Kurumba is Dhivehi for coconut and synonymous with the birthplace of the multi million dollar tourist industry of Maldives.
It all started with a few thatch covered coral structures without doors or ceiling fans, quickly put together to accommodate the first batch of foreign tourists in 1972 brought by an Italian travel agent, Giorgio Corbin. Only a few years earlier a UN agency had concluded that the Maldives offered no prospects for tourism development. The obstacles were simply too large.
A chance meeting between the adventurous Corbin, who’d been searching the world for unspoiled tropical islands, and Ahmed Naseem, then a junior member of the Maldives embassy in Colombo, changed the history of the Maldives forever. When Corbin arrived in Male by freighter with Naseem from Sri Lanka 44 years ago, he found a capital city that didn’t have a bank, no telephones, no regular electricity service, no guesthouses, no sealed roads, no proper airport and no immigration office. But it had everything he’d been searching for.
Corbin’s arrival was well timed. The country’s economy was reeling after Sri Lanka had unexpectedly reduced the quota of fish to be imported from Maldives. The government quickly realised that tourism could be a new way to earn much needed foreign exchange. Accommodating the first guests on an uninhabited island, where they could expose their sun-starved flesh and ring in the tropical sunset with an alcoholic beverage without offending the local Muslim population, set the trend for the future ‘one-island-one resort’ concept that is unique to the Maldives.
Corbin’s guests, who arrived by chartered Sri Lankan air force plane, wanted simplicity, sand, sun and fish. And that’s about all Naseem and his friend U M Maniku, the founder of Universal Enterprises, now the country’s largest resort operator, had to offer. “We knew nothing about tourism,” Maniku recalls. “It was tourists who helped us build the industry here. We listened to them and gave them what they wanted.” That’s still the prevailing philosophy at Kurumba. The resort is proud of its many return guests who value the personalised interactions with staff. Some have been coming for 20 years.
But it has been a steep learning curve. The first guests wouldn’t have been aware of how Maniku and his friends, young, inexperienced and passionate, struggled to pull it all off. That Italians liked pasta and generally disliked the spicy local food was easily understood, but who had any idea how to cook western food? Maniku recalls translating an English recipe book page by page into Dhivehi for the local kitchen staff. To meet the request of an Italian woman who demanded ‘acqua minerale’, Maniku asked a pharmacist in Malé to mix up some minerals into a powder which he then added to filtered water and hand bottled using his father’s bottling machine. The signora was delighted.
Being resourceful and making due with limited, local resources, is a time honoured tradition in a country made up of a string of remote coral atolls that have existed in geographical isolation for many centuries before tourism arrived.
Sourcing ingredients was one of the first challenges the resort needed to overcome. In the beginning guests would bring their own sandwiches for fear of having to eat nothing but grilled fish, rice and bananas. On days of rough weather when the small dinghy couldn’t make it across from Malé, they had to make due with what was available on the island, native leaf vegetables mixed with grated coconut.
Herbs and salad are still grown on the island as part of its commitment to sustainability, but the opening of the new airport in 1981 allowed Kurumba to gradually take dining to another level. Today there are eight restaurants specialising in different cuisines, from Indian, to Asian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, French and Italian. My angus beefsteak from Australia at the stunning Thila restaurant is cooked to perfection.
Looking across from Thila restaurant to the crowded concrete jungle of Malé and watching international planes land at Hulhule airport island, it’s hard to imagine the resort’s humble beginnings, when guests had to wade ashore through the surf from a small dinghy. Today guests arrive in a two-storey air conditioned speedboat and the original coconut plantation is a manicured garden.
Kurumba’s evolution from spartan village to upmarket destination was gradual. In 1986 the resort got a make over that set a new standard for the entire industry. Building a pool in a country that consists to 99% of ocean was not without controversy and challenge, getting the first desalination plant made the resort independent from rainwater tanks, a state-of the art conference centre meant that suddenly Kurumba Village attracted VIPs and international delegates.
To reflect its stellar evolution, in 2004 Kurumba Village was rebranded Kurumba Maldives. And kurumba, the coconut, is still king here. From coconut-themed signature cocktails served in the fancy Kandu bar, to a small coconut oil factory that produces 100% virgin oil used for cooking and at the Veli Spa as the base for herbal therapy treatments. It’s another of example of Kurumba’s spirit of innovation, honouring the Maldivian tradition of self-sufficiency. The Veli Spa hopes to set a new trend in reviving old Maldivian traditions, offering treatments based on Dhivehi Beys, traditional medicine based on herbal remedies that is passed down the generations by knowledgeable hakeems, Maldivian healers.
The proximity to the airport means you can dip your toes in the water within an hour of landing. Ocean barriers made from dead coral now surround the island to protect it from erosion. It also protects less confident swimmers from the swell. But venture beyond the barriers, snorkel along the fine house reef and find a world that still looks much like it did 44 years ago when Giorgio Corbin found his paradise.
Kihaa’ named traditionally in local Dhivehi language as `young coconut island`with a beach length of some 1,200 meters around the Island, is a haven of peace, tranquillity and serenity. The crystal clear turquoise waters of the shallow waist-deep lagoon surrounding the island stretch as far as the eye can see. The Island’s uniquely rich and dense vegetation instils a feeling of harmony and being at one with nature. Guests may fly-in on seaplanes by a 35-minute scenic photo-flight from the international airport at Male’, the capital of the Maldives.
Refresh your senses and get back to a healthy lifestyle at the wellness retreat to be held at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu from 10 – 15 August and at Coco Bodu Hithi from 18 – 23 August 2015. These five or seven day retreats are designed by Dave Catudal, Director of Weight Loss Retreats and Fitness Boot Camps at Lifestyle Health Retreats, with the objective of helping guests improve their mind and physique through nutrition, positive thinking and a balanced lifestyle.
Having worked together with Hollywood celebrities, top models and professional athletes, Dave is also the Health and Wellness Director as well as the Nutrition and Fitness Coach at PurelyB, a one stop destination for everything healthy and natural. In 2014, Dave emerged as a published author with “The Physique Transformation Book”, a series of educational guidebooks covering the essentials of all the key elements of health, fitness, detox and nutrition.
At Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi, guests can rejuvenate with classes aimed for abs and core conditioning of the body along with private wellness consultations to understand body types and corresponding fitness routines. Furthermore, the retreat includes different lifestyle health workshops raising awareness on health transformation diets, eating right for your body type, essentials of the modern day detox diets and anti-aging and hormone optimization diets. With the 5 day retreat at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu starting from USD 2,528 in a Beach Villa, guests of Coco Bodu Hithi can also experience the retreat starting from USD 3,158 in an Island Villa.
A High Intensity Interval Training session will also provide guests with metabolic fat-loss challenges followed by ocean fitness activities such as athletic body warm up routines, kayaking and swimming exercises. Additionally, with a resident Yogi, guests can enjoy balancing morning and sunset yoga sessions to improve core strength. At Coco Bodu Hithi, guests can indulge in superfood protein smoothie classes, an ideal addition to a healthy lifestyle.
“The Maldives is the ideal place for a wellness retreat! When it comes to the health of our bodies, we must also exercise the health of the mind. I can’t think of a more ideal location to experience a holistic wellness retreat than the Maldives. Guests will return home with a lighter, leaner and more healthy body, and a more balanced and peaceful mind,” Dave commented.
W Retreat & Spa – Maldives presents Let It Glow, a newly restyled concept that unleashes a fresh new take on luxury travel.
Part of W Hotels Worldwide, the Retreat reflects a unique vision of the Maldives that cater to the worldly travelers seeking unforgettably exuberant experiences.
Curated by cutting-edge trend influencers, now and beyond, of Angela Chang, Director of Design, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific; Tahir Sultan, well known fashion designer; Alec Monopoly, famous street artist; Tara Stilles, yogi and W Hotels’ FIT consultant; Su-Man Hsu, the most in demand celebrity facialist; and renowned DJs such as Scarlett Etienne, Silky and Erica Rhone, to name a few. Trendsetters also include talents from W Retreat & Spa – Maldives such as Paul Lewis, Director of Cuisine; Vikas Kumar, B&F Director; and W Insider Chunky Mathew, W Hotels’ version of the traditional concierge.
“We are thrilled to work with this eclectic group of trendsetters, who came together and fused their imaginations to create a buzzing new energy on the island,” Jean-Louis Ripoche, Complex General Manager, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives and Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa commented. “Together, they have drawn inspiration from the stunning natural surroundings to create a unique vision of the luxury playground, catering to a new generation of worldly travelers always seeking unforgettably exuberant experiences.”
Luxury Playground, Reborn
Led by Angela Chang, the new look of the Retreat evokes a sensory experience that reflects the perfect blend of W’s innovative architectural design and contemporary aesthetics. At the same time, the colours, materials and glowing elements convey the unique, vibrant and playful personality of the island. Borrowing from the Indian Ocean’s colourful marine life, twinkling stars and fluorescent plankton, the newly styled Retreat pulses to the concept of ‘Infinite Days, Infinite Nights’.
Ideally located on the seaside with breath-taking scenery, the restyled Wonderful Beach Oasis retreats bring to life the synergy of the beach and Indian Ocean. A red palette is used throughout, with a red wooden Ming chair design by Neri & Hu for Stellar Works, as well as red patterns of jellyfish and corals on signature pillows. Bespoke design elements encompass a soft look and touch, including glowing rope lamps designed by Christian Haas for a gentle ambient light, and a red cotton hand-knotted hammock handcrafted from recycled material by communities in Nicaragua.
Set over the Indian Ocean, the newly designed Fabulous Lagoon Oasis and Spectacular Ocean Oasis overwater retreats capture the energy of the Maldives’ underwater sea life with blue and white tones. Signature items include a white super-sized stingray rocking chair designed by Thomas Pedersen as a modern interpretation of the classic rocking chair, a jellyfish see-through coffee table, stunning Medusa bedside lights designed by Roxy Towry-Russel, a glowing starfish pillow and an Italian designer trolley bar that highlights the cocktail culture of the W brand.
W Retreat & Spa – Maldives features 78 private retreats and suites, including 28 Wonderful Beach Oasis, 25 Spectacular Ocean Oasis, 21 Fabulous Lagoon Oasis, 3 WOW Ocean Escape and 1 Extreme WOW Ocean Haven (the W brand’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). Each chic and spacious retreat features a king-sized signature W bed, deluxe Bose sound system , 42-inch television, wine refrigerator, delightful Munchie Box (the W brand’s reinterpretation of the staid mini bar), sumptuous Bliss bath amenities, infinity plunge pool and sundeck.
From Ocean To Table
Epicurean at every turn, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives boasts an overwater signature restaurant, all-day dining venue; BBQ restaurant; sunset and pool bar; and 15 Below, the only underground nightclub in the Maldives, literally located 15-steps below the island’s surface, offering more than 90 varieties of vodka and glowing cocktails.
Director of Cuisine Paul Lewis takes the helm in creating culinary concepts, Fish, the newly restyled and elegant speciality overwater venue, features ‘Ocean To Table’ cuisine with a strong focus on the freshness of the local catch prepared with a SouthEast Asian flair. Signature dishes include Tuna Chutoro, Chili and Ginger Aioli; Abalone, Orange Miso Marmalade and Tempura Crumb; Sea Urchin with Black Vinegar Pearl; and Bone Marrow Mantau with Braised Octopus. Set by the beach, Fire offers a romantic and casual dining experience. With a combination of BBQ alternatives such as charcoal grill, tandoor and spit roast, this venue highlights top quality premium meat, poultry and park in a steak house and chop shop format. The award winning restaurant Kitchen features a unique and modern reinvention of the bistro, offering Pan Asian dishes with a focus on Southeast Asian cuisine.
Propagating the contemporary cocktail culture, W Mixologists concoct signature drinks and fresh cocktails, with offerings developed by Vikas Kumar in collaboration with Grant Collins, one of the best mixologists worldwide. WET the glamorous outdoor lounge and pool bar electrifies the moment with a large collection of innovative cocktails largely based on Maldivian and tropical ingredients. A sense of sophistication takes over during twilight at SIP, the sunset bar, featuring champagne, martinis, home brewed infused spirits and spectacular glowing cocktails Chilled beats, pulsing energy and decadent drinks continue well into the night at 15 Below, the place to mix and mingle, and see and be seen.
True to W Hotels’ signature programming that mixes pioneering design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment, the newly restyled W retreat & Spa – Maldives offers such lifestyle experiences thoroughly infused with the brand’s sensibility. The sumptuous talent wardrobe has been designed by famous fashion designer Tahir Sultan, whose innovation set him apart as one of the region’s premiere “Prê-à-Couture’ designers at Dubai Fashion Forward 2014. Visiting the Maldives, Tahir found his muse in the rich aquatic life, turquoise oceans and whispering white sands. Staying true to his own design ideology, Tahir meshes the W Collection with graphic printing technology, pure fabrics and rich embellishments, which take their reference from shimmering fish scales and pearls, and the blasts of colours from the corals and reefs. Tahir’s every ensemble resonates with his signature finesse and style, yet speaks of function, with a touch of playfulness.
Other holistic lifestyle initiatives include the residency of renowned DJs, such as Scarlett Etienne, Silky and Erica Rhone, staples in underground and mainstream nightlife scenes; live street art by Alec Monopoly on the W Maldives’ speedboat and The W Store using glowing paints. As part of the global collaboration for the W brand’s FIT approach, W Hotels in collaboration with Tara Stiles launched a wellness program including in-room videos and unique retreat packages. Other lifestyle initiatives also include the ‘five star signature facial’ by guest celebrity facial specialist Su Man Hsu. In addition, W Insider Chunky Mathew provides guests with the inside knowledge of the Maldives, going above and beyond to create exceptionally meaningful experiences.
‘Let It Glow’ Package
To commemorate W Retreat & Spa – Maldives restyling, the ‘Let It Glow’ packages offers;
Vibrant UV night snorkeling experience on the breathtaking house reef
‘Ocean To Table’ dinner curated by Chef Paul Lewis on Escape, the luxury two-mast yacht, under the starry Maldivian sky
Infinite glowing cocktails at 15 Below, the only underground nightclub in the Maldives
5 hour body treatments and massages at Gaathafushi, W Maldives’ private island
Rates start from US$2,285++ per night. A minimum stay of 4 nights is required.
Guests may also embark on a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ experience on Gaathafushi, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives’ very own private island. Here, they can stay overnight on their own deserted island, intact and wild, with no TV or internet; indulge in exquisite serenity, exploring the surrounding silent lagoon before hanging on the beach; and unwinding like never before with a glass of champagne and the best sunset views, while their own private chef sets up a special candlelight BBQ dinner. At night, the activity of choice includes star-gazing, before falling asleep under the thatched roof, feeling the fresh breeze of the Indian Ocean. Natural wakeup calls are attuned to the languid pace of the island, with breakfast served on the white sand beach.
Rates start from US$1,480++ per night. A minimum stay of 5 nights is required (Including 1 night at Gaathafushi island).
A first on Kuramathi, embark on a trip on board ‘Coral’, the resort’s very own glass-bottomed boat and glimpse through the wonders the Maldives has to offer without dipping a toe in the water. An experienced skipper will glide the boat over the stunning reefs of Rasdhoo, ‘Giri’; a famed site and lastly at the famous shipwreck in Kuramathi. Taking a total of 45 minutes, the trip lets you witness fish of every colour and size as they dart underneath the glass viewing panels on the boat.
Alternatively, you could choose from a guided tour with the resident marine biologist who discusses interesting sea life you may come across and answering any questions you may have. The boat follows the same journey as the normal excursion, however after the wreck, you will be taken to see the underwater coral nursery and explained what its purpose is.
For those seeking a private charter of the glass-bottomed boat, the option is open as well as you get to discover secret reefs of the Rasdhoo archipelago. Allowing a capacity of 6 guests you’re bound to uncover a wealth of marine knowledge with the aid of the marine biologist who joins on this educative expedition!
World Environment Day and World Ocean Day celebration at Kuramathi
The eco-friendly resort laid out an extensive program for its guests on both dates to encourage awareness of the environment and by engaging in fun, educative activities.
On World Environment Day, the agenda included a Nature Tour of Kuramathi guided by the Chief Engineer as he delved into the operational areas of the resort. Starting from the iconic 300 year old Banyan Tree to the powerhouse and desalination plant, the stroll consisted of spiels focused on the sustainability practices integrated in the resort operations, highlighting their importance and how cost-efficient and conservative it is, in terms of energy consumption. The tour ended with the guests getting freshly plucked coconuts from the towering palm trees of Kuramathi with a mini demonstration of the art of coconut plucking.
On World Ocean Day, a group of enthusiastic divers comprising of dive instructors, team members and guests took a giant stride into the lagoon with a mission; to collect as much debris as possible. Their efforts achieved fruition, as each diver bravely presented garbage in all forms, from rusty steel pipes, to old tires and plastic bottles lying about on the ocean floor. After a group photograph of their bountiful search, they celebrated by toasting each other with coconuts on the beach.
Later that day, a special documentary was screened to showcase the importance of the day and how the environment is susceptible to the human footprint. It was a successful event and Kuramathi stands elated, and ready to host another event next year.