There’s nowhere quite as enchanting as the Maldives, with its more than 1000 islands making up a tropical wonderland of crystal-clear turquoise waters and powder-soft white beaches. On one of the most remote and pristine atolls in this picture-perfect paradise, you will find the newly opened Raffles Maldives Meradhoo.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts boasts an illustrious history dating back to 1887 when the first Raffles hotel opened its doors in Singapore. Today, the iconic Raffles brand continues to set the standard for luxury hospitality with a carefully curated list of distinguished addresses in leading markets around the world.
Time to retreat
Let the legendary Raffles butlers take care of unpacking while you take in the spectacular surrounds. Staying in one of the 21 spacious beach villas with 220-260 square meters of bespoke surrounds, you are a mere whisper away from the beach with a private pool, garden and verandah.
Just a moment away by boat, the Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Overwater Island Experience completes the resort. With its vast 16 overwater villas and residences, unparalleled luxury awaits to those who dream of a life spent on the water. Together these two private islands offer two distinct experiences, bound together by Raffles’ legendary service. Discover why Raffles is a haven for royalty, film stars, writers and artists while appreciating the discreet service from your private pool.
Taste the world
In the middle of the Indian Ocean, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo brings flavours alive in its three dining venues and two mixology sanctuaries.
The Long Bar, an island interpretation of the legendary Raffles Singapore Long Bar, is where one would indulge in a Maldives Sling, Beluga caviar and endless sights of the blue, all while drawing to a quick realisation that the search for paradise has concluded.
Meaning “star” in the local Dhivehi language, relaxed all-day beach restaurant Thari serves an international menu that draws on the culinary heritage of Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean and more. At breakfast, French flair is offered in the form of freshly baked chocolate croissants, soft-as-can-be brioche and moreish pain au raisin. Maldivian flavours take centre stage during upbeat weekly gatherings, when local performers introduce crafts like palm-leaf weaving and coconut cutting as diners enjoy traditional dishes such as Mas-Bai, a combination of spice-infused rice and tender tuna.
Set over the water, fine-dining restaurant Yuzu and adjacent pool bar Yapa are sophisticated and sensational. In the latter, world-class mixologists serve creative cocktails inspired by the spirits and verve of South American and Japan – though the refined light – bites menu (think sashimi and tapas) and sublime sunset views are just as much of a draw. At elegantly designed Yuzu, the Peruvian chef serves masterful Nikkei cuisine – a refreshing blend of Japanese and Peruvian influences – that makes respectful use of fresh fish. An authentic, gourmet affair is to be had at The Firepit twice a week. Chefs helm the charcoal fire grills to create feasts of river crab, spiny lobsters, local fish, baby back ribs and lamb shoulders. Not to be outdone, experienced sommeliers select chilled wine from the cellar – pairing the feast perfectly with an extensive list of vintages.
The great escape
When in the mood to explore the oasis of this atoll, you will find your exclusive Raffles Marine Butler at your side. Available to every guest, these specialists help you explore the underwater paradise by organising diving and snorkelling tours of the resort’s two remarkable house reefs.
Beyond the white sands of Raffles Maldives, Gaafu Alifu atoll is one of the world’s largest and deepest atolls with a kaleidoscope of colourful fish. The resort celebrates its first festive season this December, bringing Cuba to the island with a series of ‘Revolution’ themed events such as dance workshops, banquets, DJ sets and an Under the Stars Countdown to 2020.
In this island getaway, you will discover why guests choose Raffles not merely for the compelling mix of culture, beauty and gentility that surrounds them, but for the extraordinary way they feel when in residence at Raffles.
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is located at the southern end of the Maldives archipelago, near the equator on the Gaafu Alifu Atoll. The resort is accessible by domestic flight, 55 minutes from Male International Airport followed by 15-minute speedboat ride from Kaadedhdhoo Airport. Accommodation starts at US$1800 per night, including taxes and service charge, breakfast and complimentary speedboat transfers from Kaadedhdhoo Airport. For more information visit www.raffles.com/maldives ◼
© This article was first published in Oct-Nov 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.