Earlier this week, a new hotel popped up in the Maldives, adding another layer of luxury lodging to this far-flung tropical destination.
Designer Jean Michel-Gathy, of Denniston Architects in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, whose first property in the Maldives is the One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, was hired to create the new Cheval Blanc Randheli. His detail and attention throughout the four-year design process shows, with a crisp, clean design that straddles both modernism and coastal-chic. This is not the first Cheval Blanc, however—the first popped up in Courchevel, France, in 2006, with a Givenchy spa, plus Louis Vuitton and Dior merchandise for sale. Cheval Blanc is the name of luxury brand LVMH's vineyard, fitting as LVMH Hotel Management (part of LVMH, whose holdings include Louis Vuitton) owns and operates these two hotels.
Perched on the island of Randheli—on Noonu Atoll, 40 minutes north of Malé International Airport, where a Cheval Blanc seaplane retrieves guests—Michel-Gathy culled ideas from his extensive world travels to devise a comfortable, luxurious retreat at Cheval Blanc Randheli that's largely inspired by private residences, but consists of 45 villas. Each villa is awash in nature-inspired hues with cathedral-style ceilings and lots of natural light, with the beach easily accessible via glass doors on both sides.
Woven into the architecture throughout the property are natural materials like teak, rattan, bamboo, leather, bronze, thatch, coconut, and shell—paired with neutral colors like taupe, white, and gray, which contrast with pops of canary yellow and lime green. The hotel also boasts an infinity-edge pool, a marble-and-quartz sculpture by French artist Vincent Beaurin, and a thatched-hut roof that reminds of the tropics.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living, and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Cheval Blanc Randheli