Cheval Blanc Randheli or One&Only Reeth Rah?
March 26, 2019 at 3:39 PM
One of the first questions I am always asked about the Maldives is ‘Is the colour of the water really that blue’, and the second question is 'How do you get there?'
Yes, the water is an incredible array of blues, just like the photos, made even more blue by the incredible fine white sand.
Imagine the most perfect desert island you can, with white sand beaches, blue seas, and palm trees. Imagine there are no people around, no roads, and nothing in the horizon except bright orange sunsets. You are imagining the Maldives. This archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean is perhaps the closest thing to paradise you can get on this planet, and it's a place so remote and so exclusive, that very few people will ever have a chance to experience it themselves.
Getting there: We flew up to Singapore (10 hours), (you can fly direct on either Air New Zealand or Singapore Airlines), some flight options now offer you the choice of an overnight flight to Singapore to connect with a flight out to Male, Maldives (5 hours). This is really important if the resort you select is a seaplane flight away. It is quite a bit of travel, when you factor in the transit times and then the seaplane or speedboat transfer to your resort.
Our first night in Singapore was at the Four Seasons; recently refurbished, this hotel has all the mod cons in the room and wonderfully comfortable beds. It is close to Orchard Road and the new Ngee San Shopping mall & the Botanical Gardens, so a fabulous choice if you want to do a bit of retail therapy.
First stop for us in the Maldives was Cheval Blanc Randheli, this resort has a reputation for being one of the best resorts in the world, so expectation was high! It truly was a magnificent stay. After checking in to their private lounge, we took a 50 minute seaplane on their private plane.
Cheval Blanc is an incredible resort, made up of 46 villas each with their own pools and private island and owner's villa (if you can afford the USD55,000 per night to rent this). The villas are huge, the largest I have ever stayed in, the cathedral style ceiling gives a sense of even more space, you can choose from Island villas, lagoon villas. All the villas have the same dimensions and look the same inside, and they are stunning, not surprising given that the resort is owned by Louis Vuitton.
The attention to every detail is apparent. Each villa has one or two bedrooms, a small kitchenette (with fridge, microwave and a coffee machine), sitting room, bathroom with a separate shower and bath and a very spacious wardrobe with a powder room. The bathroom has “his” and “hers” sink. All the amenities are made specifically for the hotel and have the most wonderful fresh smell. Outside there is a swimming pool, sun loungers and a dining table. Beach villas have also a sitting area with sofas and armchairs.
Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in the room are complementary and they surprise you every day with some amazing treat in your room.
The service - Each villa has its own personal butler (Majordome), who seems to just appear when you need them, nothing is too much trouble and everything is done with a wonderful smile! They are there to ensure your dinner reservations are booked, your spa treatments arranged and everything is taken care of. The level of customer service is just incredible. One comment to the chef about the fabulous meringues in our room on the first day, and these were served up to us every day. Apart from your personal Majordome, the head chef, sales staff and management team are around most mornings checking in with the guests – it really is a very personalised experience.
The food -There are several restaurants. Diptyque is Japanese with amazing sushi, wagyu beef and tempura. Deelani is Italian with delicious sourdough pizza and pasta that makes you think you are in Italy. The White bar restaurant is the more informal where you can choose from a selection of Indian, Chinese, Italian or just simple sandwiches and hamburgers. You can find here the signature Cheval Blanc wagyu hamburger with fois gras. There is also a Teppanyaki, where a very skilful chef offers you delicious meat and fish on the grill. Or maybe you fancy an informal evening in your villa? No problem, you can choose from the very extensive menu and call your butler to arrange everything.
What to do – Apart from the obvious snorkeling and diving at some of the wonderful coral reefs close by, there are incredible water sports, a well fitted out gym, tennis lessons, yoga or just relaxing in your villa. The spa and tennis court each has its own Island that are accessible by small boats at a minutes notice. Some of the best snorkeliing is at spa island.
At night we enjoyed a man playing live saxophone along with the resident DJ at white bar. You get around the villa on bikes. The resort is only 5 years old so everything is still new feeling, modern and fabulous. The food was incredible, the breakfast selection kept you grazing for hours in the morning while you enjoyed wonderful fresh juices and detox drinks. Breakfast is served all day so no stressing about getting to the restaurant before it closes for breakfast in the morning.
Overall I just cannot fault this resort - it's 10 out of 10 for me. What a magical place! Everything about this place is exquisite. The villas, the food, the setting and the thoughtful service. But the best thing is to see and experience it yourself. Just make sure you book your villa well in advance. That is all you need to do.
Next stop for us was One&Only Reethi Rah – We flew back to Male where we were met by One&Only staff and taken to their luxury yacht – the only guests on board, this was absolute luxury! After a 50 minutes cruise we had arrived to this magical place.
More than 60 per cent of the island is made up of reclaimed land, making it one of the largest in the North Male Atoll. Our butler who discussed our fabulous dining options and the resort facilities transferred us straight to our overwater villa. The style of the resort is barefoot luxury with a Maldivian style to the villas. A resort that suits both couples looking for luxury and privacy, and that is family friendly with fantastic facilities for children of all ages - ranging from ‘Kids Only’ (ages four to nine), which has a cute pool lined with child-sized sunloungers; ‘OneTribe’ (ages nine to 11), for a ‘chillout zone’ of playstations and movie nights; and ‘Teens’ for scheduled activities aimed at young people aged 12 and over.
The villas are large and very private. All villas have vaulted ceilings and are beautifully styled in wood and natural stone with cool chalk-white fabrics, elegant furniture and sunken baths. There's also oodles of outdoor space and some boast private pools. The beach villas are best for easy access to snorkelling, followed by lazy afternoons in a hammock tied between two palm trees. Bliss. Not all villas have a private pool so keep this in mind when booking your villa.
Each villa has bicycles for all guests and in the residences you also have use of a golf buggy, the pathways around the resort are wide and flat so it was easy to get around the island on our bicycles.
The service & facilities - The island is large, with an astonishing 12 beaches to choose from, expansive dive centre, tennis, rock climbing, FIFA-certified football pitch, boutique shopping, cookery lessons and art classes. Not to be missed is a trip out on the resort’s traditional dhoni boat to nearby reefs and dive sites, including the opportunity to spot hawksbill turtles. We came across a turtle just snorkeling off the beach on their local reef and sat on our balcony one afternoon watching a manta ray cruising the bay.
The food - An exceptional level of choice, we dined at the very romantic Botanica, a lantern-lit spot hidden away in the middle of the Island, under the trees with an emphasis on ‘garden-to-fork’ dishes, incredible food; Reethi, an extraordinary space inspired by Chinese architecture, for Asian, French and Italian cuisine; and Tapasake, a great spot for sunset views - and reef sharks swimming in the water below - for modern Japanese tapas-style.
Reethi is also the setting for breakfast, with views out across the island’s loveliest beach, for an astonishing array of options, including a walk-in cold store stuffed with fruit, fish, pastries (and more besides) and a superfoods area for cleansing juices. The superfood and cleansing juices quickly became our morning ritual!
In summary, you can’t go wrong selecting either of these stunning award winning resorts on a trip to the Maldives. Both are in our Signature Preferred hotel program so extra benefits are included for our guests.
On our way home, we opted for another night in Singapore and stayed at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. I loved this hotel. This is my pick of hotels in Singapore and a favourite amongst our customers.
The six storey glass-clad Fullerton Bay Hotel may appear modest compared to the mammoth Marina Bay Sands that it overlooks; but what it lacks in stature it more than makes up for in glamorously machismo style and stunning views of the bay.
Standing on concrete stilts over the shimmering waters of Marina Bay, Fullerton Bay Hotel is ideal for anyone who wants to be in the heart of the financial district yet within a stone’s throw of the dizzying buzz of Marina Bay and its bustling nightlife. The nearest train station, Raffles Place MRT, is just three minutes’ walk across the OUE bay link bridge. From the Raffles Place MRT, the iconic Singapore Flyer and Art Science Museum are just one stop away at Bayfront MRT.
The hotel has a feel of elegant English glamour, breakfast being served in the lobby restaurant overlooking the bay, staff are incredible attentive and obliging.
The rooms have a slightly masculine glamour by the way of glassy rosewood, sleek leather and chrome fittings. Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows with a balcony offering scenic views of either the triple-decked Marina Bay Sands, the neighbouring Customs House or Clifford Pier.
If you are interested in any of these wonderful hotels and destinations, contact your Quay Travel experts now.