Cheval Blanc Randheli: next-level luxury
In the GCC, it’s hard not to become accustomed to the idea of ‘tiered luxury’. When most entry-level tickets you can buy at a gig is called ‘gold’ (below ‘platinum’, ‘VIP’ and ‘VVIP’) then you know you’re in a region that takes its luxury seriously.
When it comes to holidays, pretty much anywhere in The Maldives offers an enviable level of luxury - a ‘platinum’ level. Private islands; sunrise yoga on golden beaches; dive spots in impossibly blue water populated by dolphins, turtles and rays the size of cars; hell, the resorts even add an extra hour onto the clock so that guests can get more out of their day. They call it ‘island time’, we call it damn fine customer service. But, when it comes to that upper echelon of VVIP level luxury, then you can only really consider the Chevalblanc Randheli.
Now, at this junction it is important to justify such a bold claim, and there are several ways to do that.
We could mention the hotel’s own private seaplane that jets you directly to the secluded Noonu Atoll a swift 40-minutes from Malé where you are welcomed by immaculately dressed staff waving their bonjours. We could mention the 45 super-sized Jean-Michel Gathy-designed villas, each with their own ‘majordome’ butler and monogrammed espadrilles. We could mention the limited-edition Hublot Oceanographic 4000 dive watch custom-made for the resort and only available to buy from the hotel’s boutique.
We could mention the separate Spa Island, accessible only via boat and with treatment rooms and a restaurant that in their own right are superior to entire rival hotels. We could mention the bespoke scent created especially for the resort. We could mention the resort’s five restaurants, including the ultra-lux ‘1947’ — devised by Michelin-star collector, Yannick Alleno — and its remarkable collection of French wines. We could mention the option to rent a 30m-long Azimut 98 Leonardo yacht, which comes with an open deck Jacuzzi and additional Jetskis.
We could mention all these things, but above all what stays with us is the sense that this hotel has a genuine understanding of luxury ingrained into everything it does, and a versatility to how that luxury should be tweaked to suit different guests.
The staff are not just attentive, they anticipate your needs with an almost telepathic understanding. They adapt to what time you rise; what drink you order; what fruit you like (or don’t); your towel preference; and even how you like your eggs in the morning. It is everything you would expect from a property that is part of the hotel portfolio of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy luxury conglomerate.
The island villa we stay in is bigger than any house we’ve ever lived in. The seven-metre high rattan-weave, vaulted roof is almost as impressive as the vast open-plan setting of the room, which can be divided into three-segments by heavy swinging partitions. We were at a loss of whether to spend more time in the king-sized bed (customised with pillow menu), the vast walk-in dressing room, or the stand-alone bathtub. And that was only indoors.
Outside the private infinity pool gives way to your own empty beach, unspoilt save for a few hammocks, loungers and outdoor showers. Should you not be able to drag yourself away from your new nest, you can request for dinner to be cooked and served in your private pagoda, hidden from view by a wall of thick vegetation – that has been manicured to perfection.
Now that is a level of luxury that even the most VVIP guest would be impressed by.
For more information, visit chevalblanc.com/randheli
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