Planning a trip to the Maldives can be pretty stressful and many get it totally wrong even though you’d never have them admit to that. While the nature is incredibly beautiful in the heavenly country in the waters of the Indian Ocean, having the perfect experience is something far harder to achieve. On our quest to find just the perfect getaway, we have sifted through many properties on offer and ended up going with LVMH’s Cheval Blanc Randheli – a Maison, we were never able to find it described as a hotel or a resort, that promised us “an intimate heaven on an unspoiled Noonu Atoll “ – a 40-minute journey by seaplane from the capital city of Male.
Prior to our arrival to the Maldives, we had some idea of what to expect: a gorgeous resort that would take all our worries away while we bask under the glorious sun. After a relatively-short direct flight from Dubai, we had to change the planes and headed out to a separate terminal with the sea planes. As promised, the Maison picked us up from the Cheval Blanc Lounge and moments later we found ourselves appreciating the natural beauty of the Maldives from above.
From the moment guests step their feet on a jetty of the Maison, they are taken by a buggy to their villa. A Majordome looks after guests’ every desire, whilst the Alchemists suggest customised experiences for outdoor discoveries. With an exceptionally personalised and caring approach, service is tailored according to each guest’s wishes. One thing we loved in particular is the seamless service; on our first night of stay, at dinner, our editor, Anton, nonchalantly mentioned that he did not like bananas in mid-conversation. The next morning, there were no bananas in his villa. Similarly, to the endless joy of those with a slight OCD for order, there was constant upkeep of the toiletries and other items in the villa while we were out snorkelling or sampling gourmet dishes at the Maison’s restaurants. In short, the service is amazing!
This amazing service begins to slowly translate into an incredible experience by day two of the stay. Suddenly, those working at the Maison know you by your name; they know your dietary requirements as well as leisure preferences which all starts to make you subconsciously feel as being part of the family, a family you never knew existed. The villa begins to feel like a home in heaven, or at least that is what we imagined it would be like in paradise. There is nothing more magnificent than waking up on a tropical island, surrounded by the finest of luxury architecture that fades away and lets one enjoy a seawater pool with sun rays kissing skin before the first cup of coffee.
Speaking of the villas, they are to die for; while we have seen plenty of architectural beauty around the world, there is nothing quite like the villas at Cheval Blanc Randheli. Each villa features loft-style interior leaving the guests in full control of being able to use beautiful partitions to either separate the bedroom from the lounge or enjoy an open layout joining all the rooms together; a 12-metre seawater pool adds a final touch to each. There are three types of villas on offer: water villas that hang over the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean, the island villas each boasting a private beach and a pool, and the Owner’s Villa – a bespoke experience situated on a separate island matched by none. We will talk about the latter in the next issue.
When it comes to dining options, Cheval Blanc Randheli hosts a series of restaurants and concepts that are set to take one on a culinary journey, needless to say the interiors of each are incredibly beautiful with views one can only dream of. The White is a relaxed and contemporary restaurant that serves breakfast and brasserie-style cuisine around the clock. The White Bar, which is opened onto the main pool of the Maison, offers a wide range of settings designed to enjoy a drink and savour light dishes between two dives. The Deelani, which is named after a Maldivian breeze, is a lively Mediterranean restaurant. Throughout the day, home-made gelati, sorbets and granita can be enjoyed on the deck, before the restaurant’s atmosphere begins to buzz at cocktail hour. Le 1947- a signature restaurant that was named after Château Cheval Blanc’s most prestigious and sought-after vintage, is a fine-dining concept. Conceived as an exceptional 9-course culinary experience, it pays tribute to French cuisine, interpreted with delicacy and creativity in a Maldivian setting. The Diptyque is a live-cooking theatre with a dual personality, serving the finest Japanese and East-Asian cuisine. We particularly loved the atmosphere for the breakfast at The White and the fairytale-like views that only added to the freshly-caught seafood served at The Deelani.
By the end of our stay at Cheval Blanc Randheli, we couldn’t believe the story that we experienced at this little hideaway in the middle of nowhere. Our stay did not only include the ever-so-relaxing lounging by the private pool and excellent cuisine, but an incredible trip to the Cheval Blanc Spa, which is an island dedicated to well-being and relaxation where Guerlain has created a range of treatments and massages. We can never forget the thrilling trip to see the dolphins and their incredible dance for us in their natural habitat. Nor can we ever not recommend Cheval Blanc Randheli to anyone out there who values experience over anything else. As we have already mentioned it, there is luxury and then there is Cheval Blanc Randheli.
For bookings: randheli.chevalblanc.com