Eight years after the first LVMH Cheval Blanc hotel opened in Courchevel (booked solid from day one) comes beautiful ultra top-end Cheval Blanc Randheli – Noonu, Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, who also created One&Only Reethi Rah. Here he’s used the same large-scale, cathedral-roofed template for the beach villas, and the detailing is superb.
The setting is stunning, and it’s not at all apparent that the four small islands that make up the resort beyond the main, natural island Randheli are all man made. The beaches everywhere are as excellent as you’d expect them to be if you designed them yourself, while the public areas are defiantly modern, with little concession to Maldive tradition; instead the Jean-Michel Gathy designed buildings soar high, have lots of glass and brushed concrete in them and generally conform to the tastes of its demanding clientele, such as the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, who stayed here in 2014.
The rooms are sumptuous, as they should be with the highest rack rates in the entire country, and there are 45 in total, fifteen of which are on the main island, fifteen of which are expansive water villas built off two of the small islands and fourteen of which are unique over-water rooms on stilts with their own private gardens.
All categories boast a private 12m long pool and private beach (or terrace with sea access), huge living rooms, outdoor dining pergolas, outdoor showers and every other possible convenience.
They’re stunning in their elegant minimalism and all designed for total privacy. The top category room, the four bedroom Owner’s Villa, is on its own private island, and features such must-have facilities as its own staff detail, a private spa and a private fleet of dhonis.
Of course every imaginable activity is available, including a spa on its own private island, tennis courts on another and a personal Majordome assigned to each guest to take on onerous tasks such as unpacking suitcases.
Cheval Blanc is famous for its food too, though: it may be the home to a US$100 burger, but qualms about money aside (after all, that’s not really a big issue if you’re staying here) it’s also home to Le 1947 French restaurant, Iberian and Japanese at The Diptyque, seafood and Italian at The Deelani and an all-day poolside brasserie at The White.