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Truthfully, we don’t know if it would be possible to make One&Only Reethi Rah any more luxurious, being the all-villa tropical-island getaway (and celeb-magnet) that it is.
The resort is trying nonetheless, introducing a new accommodation category that removes the understandably fundamental dilemma between wanting your own private pool, which confines you to staying on land, and wanting to see the Indian Ocean right underneath you, which means no pool.
The solution? Overwater pool villas, because of course.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Renovations / Avani Hotels / Anantara Hotels / Jumeirah Hotels / Lux Hotels / Maldives Hotels / Mozambique Hotels / Mauritius Hotels / → All Tags
Hotels in exotic locales (starting with M-), they’re just like buses. You wait for one to open, then three come along at once.
It’s not quite as idyllic as Medjumbe – but then that bar is set pretty high. Instead of on a private island, it’s in the north of Mozambique, in pretty Pemba (a sandy peninsula sticking out from mainland Africa). Pemba is also the gateway to the Quirimbas archipelago, where Medjumbe is. Also, Avani is Anantara’s sister chain. Maybe time for a sibling visit?
The hotel sits on the headland overlooking the Indian Ocean, and all 185 simply styled rooms have terraces or balconies, overlooking either the ocean or the gardens. There’s a bar, two restaurants and a Grab & Go deli and “coffee corner”. There’s also a fitness center, spa, tennis courts and not one but four swimming pools. A room this weekend starts from a very reasonable $245.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? 007? No, it’s flyboarding – one of those sports you think you’ve heard of, until you see a photo and think hell naw, aint seen nothing like that before.
Anyway, if this photo doesn’t give you vertigo, flyboarding might be for you – and you just got a chance to try it at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi in the Maldives. Yes! The Maldives just got a whole lot less boring.
The hotel (which is your typical 52-acre-private-island-with-rooms-cantilevered-over-the-ocean Maldives affair) already caters for you watersporters with kiteboarding, scuba diving, windsurfing, jet skiing and sailing, but consider those passé as of now.
That's so Maldives
All Maldives hotels are equally gorgeous, of course, but some are more gorgeous than others – hence our excitement at the official opening of Maalifushi by COMO, the company’s second resort in the Maldives, and a little brother/sister for Cocoa Island.
It’s your standard Maldives affair: a private, 20-acre white sand island with a 'street' of rooms suspended over jewel-colored water. One slight difference is that it also has garden rooms, billed as the choice for small children. A non-honeymooning Maldives hotel? Now that’s news.
There’s a restaurant, Madi, a pool bar and lounge, a signature Como Shambhala spa and an onsite dive center. Want to get away from it all (as much as you can while stranded on a remote Maldivian island)? There’s another restaurant, Tai, on the other side of the island, and the hotel also owns a nearby strip of land that guests can book for romantic dinners away from child guests.
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You learn something new every day. And today, we're learning that Manta Ray Season has officially begun in the Maldives. And at The Viceroy Maldives you can spy on the Manta Rays as they get "cleaned up" on the coral reefs around the resort. Don't worry, you won't have to put on rubber gloves to get involved.
Manta Rays descend on the coral reefs in the Maldives to be cleaned by little "cleaner fish." Here's how the process works, according to Best Dives Maldives which operates the Viceroy's dive center:
A manta pulls up to the reef and either open its mouth wide or positions its body in a special way that signals it would like a cleaning. Then the fish get to work cleaning the plankton from the manta ray's gills and mouth and other parts of the body. #NowYouKnow
Rate at the Viceroy vary depending on the length of stay and how many people are in the room but you can budget at least $800 a night for a stay here. A single-person dive at the dive center is about $110 but there are snorkeling options available too.
[Photo: Best Dives Maldives]
Up on the Daily Mail's site last week was a story about a Saudi prince who reportedly booked up all three of the Anantara Resorts in the Maldives from now through the middle of March, effectively kicking out any other guests who had reservations during the same time as his stay.
The story originated on MaldivesFinest.com and was moved along by a TripAdvisor review from a guest whose reservation was cancelled because of the resort buy-out.
The rejected guest wrote on TripAdvisor:
Our reservation was cancelled with NO notice and we were informed only AFTER we contacted them. Back in December we booked the Anantara Veli in an overwater pool villa for a four night stay in early March. Three weeks prior to our departure we emailed the Anantara Veli to confirm our airport pick up and a few other details.
As a result of our email to Anantara and a call to our booking agent we finally learned that the hotel had simply cancelled our reservation and, I assume, those of many others. They did this without apprising us of this cancellation.
Here's what Anantara finally told us: In essence they said they now have a booking for the period including 19 February until March 15 which, after negotiations, developed into a request for total private island buyout of Anantara Veli and Naladhu. Not "I'm sorry", not "we should have notified you", not "how can we make it up to you". Just "this is now the situation".
Apparently, the guest was offered accommodations at a different resort but he turned them down.
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Way back in 2010 we first talked about about luxury conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey) creating a luxury hotel group under the name Cheval Blanc. For the longest time, there was just one hotel in Courchevel 1850, the fancy French ski resort, where all-caps Kanye designed – of all things – some bronzed teddy bears. Paris, hometown of LVMH, has, not surprisingly, been planned for years but we’ve understood that the conversion of venerable department store La Samaritaine is proving to be difficult.
This week Cheval Blanc is at least one step closer to calling itself a proper hotel group with the opening of Cheval Blanc Randheli, on the island of the same name in the Maldives. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, there are just 45 villas with a look that is “smooth, integrated, classy and comfortable as if it was your own home”. Ha! Maybe the home of Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH and Forbes 10th richest man in the world, but ours looks decidedly different. We’ll let that one slide and drool over the pictures anyway, shall we?
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We’ve seen some pretty nice amenities offered by hotels -- luxury car service, designer robes, a concierge for everything –- but this one from Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa in the Maldives may be the most OTT one yet.
It’s a Thursday afternoon and you’re thinking to yourself, “What should I do this weekend?” Maybe you should think about fueling up that jet of yours and taking off to the Shangri-La in the Maldives. With the resort’s new private air terminal located just five minutes by speedboat from the resort, AKA "paradise," your beach weekend starts NOW.
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Anantara Resorts has begun to sell "naturally refined" coffee beans in some of their hotels in the Maldives and Thailand, but you're going to want to read the fine print on this one: They're made from beans that have been digested and pooped out by elephants. Anantara isn't the first with Bali's Ayana resort doing strange things with coffee, cat bladders and their bowels, but they're certainly the priciest. For $1,100 a kilogram, or approximately $50 a cup, travelers can enjoy what is currently the world's most expensive coffee. The digestion of the beans apparently breaks down the proteins that cause bitterness, claiming to make this cup of Joe go down as smoothly as it no doubt comes out of the elephants.
Anyway you slice it, Anantara Resorts gets the last laugh with this one. The irony in the fact that you are paying 50 times what a cup of coffee should cost in an effort to drink what comes out of the back end of an elephant cannot be overlooked. We had to chuckle when we saw that they decided to name it Black Ivory Coffee, as if we needed any spacial imagery for this one.
Are we down? In theory, yes, but not for that price - it's just ridiculous.
Does dunking a donut in elephant dung coffee do anything for you? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo: Anantara Resorts]
As if the Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi needed to get any more luxurious, the five-star resort has just introduced the very first dedicated champagne bar in the Maldives. And yes, it's in an over-water structure.
The Bubble Lounge offers the best of the best champagne and sparkling wines, stocking a minimum of 50 varieties at any times. Only ten of them are available by the glass but we're guessing if you can afford a room at the resort, you can afford champagne by the bottle.
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Tides Riviera Maya, now the Viceroy Riviera Maya
Now that the Tides South Beach is no longer a Viceroy Hotel (it belongs to cool kid hotel brand, King & Grove), we've been wondering what would be happening to the Tides Hotel brand that Viceroy had spun-out from this iconic South Beach property. Well, today we have our answer. Sort of.
The Tourism Ministry in the country has ordered all hotels and resorts to close their spas immediately after a conservative Islam party staged a protest accusing the spas of being brothels and a front for prostitution.
As with all extreme measures, there are some politics behind this decision. Apparently, several members of the opposition party own hotels and resorts so closing their spas is sort of a way to "stick it to them."
But the hotels and resorts aren't having it.