Gaafu Alifu Atoll (Maldives) – September 18, 2019 (travelindex.com) – It seems the adage that good things come to those who wait is true. Following an exhaustive search for a suitably spectacular site, Raffles first resort in the Maldives, which soft-opened in May, now introduces 16 new overwater villas, set on the southern tip of the Maldives in the remote and pristine Gaafu Alifu Atoll. A palm tree-peppered private island comprising of only 21 villas and residences, a sublime spa, beachside restaurants and world-class dive center with an on-site marine biologist, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is a haven for beach lovers.
Just a moment away by boat and opening on 22 September, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo’s Overwater Island Experience completes the resort. With its vast overwater villas and residences, sophisticated Nikkei restaurant Yuzu and sunset-facing Yapa pool bar, it will provide unparalleled luxury to those who dream of a life spent on the water. Together these two private islands offer two distinct experiences, bound together by Raffles’ legendary service.
All the facilities of the resort – and the very best of the Maldives – will be at their full disposal. A unique offering, a Marine Butler is available to every guest and will happily lead snorkeling tours of the resort’s two remarkable and endlessly fascinating house reefs. Gaafu Alifu atoll is one of the world’s largest and deepest atolls and the astoundingly clear, blissfully warm waters immediately surrounding the Raffles resort teem with a kaleidoscope of colorful fish. Guests are encouraged to keep an eye out for Apollo, one of the 20 resident hawksbill and green turtles that regularly swim by to say hello.
“For couples looking for an unforgettable romantic hideaway, our exceptionally spacious villas and the discreet expertise of the Raffles butler service redefines the resort experience. From intimate dining with our private chef service to snorkeling and diving in the world’s most breathtaking coral reefs, we create a place where guests can enjoy the best of both worlds in a destination known for its stunning surroundings,” said Oliver Larcher, General Manager of Raffles Maldives Meradhoo.
On the beach island, the overwater Raffles Spa combines Eastern practices with age-old local influences and offers highly personalized facials by Biologique Recherche; rejuvenating body treatments from Aromatherapy Associates; and signature manicure and pedicure services by Margaret Dabbs London. An expansive gym caters to all fitness levels; yoga sessions are held on an ocean-facing deck; a jogging route winds its way along with gardens abloom with hibiscus and bougainvillea; visiting practitioners will lead practice sessions in tai chi, mindfulness and more.
Relaxed feet-in-the-sand dining is encouraged here, too. The Firepit is an outdoor barbecue restaurant where hearty seafood and meat specialties such as spicy lobster with green papaya and tender beef tenderloin are flame-grilled over the charcoal fire. The tables and chairs carved from the sand are set directly on the shore for uninterrupted views of the starlit skyline. Starting with healthy smoothies and freshly baked pastries, breakfast is a highlight at the all-day international restaurant Thari. Paying homage to its namesake at Raffles Singapore, guests can enjoy the signature Maldives Sling at the Long Bar which features a special concoction of gin, grapefruit, coconut, cinnamon and clove that mirrors the Maldivian evening sunset.
The overwater island makes the most of its seascape setting at the pool bar, Yapa, where world-class mixologists create signature cocktails inspired by the spirits from South America and Japan. Enjoy a Pisco sour and delicious tacos while you watch the evening sunset over the Indian Ocean. At adjacent fine-dining restaurant Yuzu, Peruvian chef Anibal Torres serves the authentic Nikkei cuisine with a refreshing blend of Japanese and Peruvian influences using sustainable seafood from the local sourced market. Bespoke dining experiences include a sunrise breakfast on a private sandbank or relish in an exclusive Champagne and sashimi by the cruise deck with the company of playful dolphins.
Wherever guests spend the night, they will reside in some of the largest villas in the Maldives – each featuring a large marble bathtub, private pool, and outdoor shower. Surrounded by lush foliage, the beach villas offer a sunrise or sunset view while the overwater villas overlook the dazzlingly turquoise water.
“Accor is bringing to the resort our expertise in delivering unparalleled luxury experiences renowned in our Raffles brand. The Raffles collection now includes 14 distinguished properties in leading addresses across 12 countries and we are thrilled to welcome guests at the first Raffles in the Maldives,” said Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of Accor, Upper Southeast & Northeast Asia and the Maldives.
On both islands, the luxurious two-bedroom residences provide an exclusive retreat for families and friends, while the Raffles Royal Residence offers the perfect setting for a very special celebration. Opening on the beach island next year, this three-bedroom hideaway is the ultimate Indian Ocean luxury that features an infinity pool, endless space and a retractable roof on its upper level so guests can enjoy the beautiful night skies under the stars.
Accommodation at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo starts at US$1800 per night, including taxes and service charge, breakfast and complimentary speedboat transfers from Kaadedhdhoo Airport. An hour’s domestic flight south of Malé International Airport to Kaadhedhdhoo Airport is chargeable at US$500 net per person roundtrip.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts boasts an illustrious history and some of the most prestigious hotel addresses worldwide. In 1887, Raffles Singapore set the standard for luxury hospitality, introducing the world to private butlers, the Singapore Sling and its enduring, legendary service. Today, Raffles continues this tradition in leading cities and lavish resort locales, enchanting travelers with meaningful experiences and service that is both gracious and intuitive. Connoisseurs of life choose Raffles, not merely for its aura of culture, beauty, and gentility, but for the extraordinary way they feel when in residence with Raffles. Each Raffles, be it Paris, Istanbul, Warsaw, Jakarta or Seychelles, serves as a venerated oasis where travelers arrive as guests, leave as friends and return as family. Raffles is part of Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries.