May 8th 2017
With its signature service and unrivalled approach to Maldivian breaks, Randheli by Cheval Blanc, LVMH, promises a new experience for even the most world-weary traveller.
The still beauty of Randheli is so all encompassing that the moment you set eyes on the island, the stresses and strains of the daily grind quickly drift out to sea. Standing aboard a small dhoni, which sails us gently over the azure ocean that separates the resort’s four islands, the image of the floating landmasses - majestic and motionless with their golden sands and shamrock green lavish palms - lures us in from afar. This is seclusion like no other.
While it might be true that the Maldives isn’t a place of new or unexpected discovery for returning guests – the picture perfect paradise remains largely untouched from island to island, and so, in general, once you’ve explored one, you’ve acquired a good idea of its charm - French brand Cheval Blanc has managed to curate an entirely new chapter for even the most experienced visitor. But how? Aside from its state-of-the-art design conceived by architect Jean-Michel Gathy - modern yet authentic villas jut out from the jungle and float gracefully above the lagoon - the secret lies in the resort’s unwavering pursuit of exceptional and bespoke service.
From sunrise dolphin watching and sunset fishing down to the most minute of culinary preferences, the journey to Randheli begins days before the flight takes off when a dedicated Cheval Blanc alchemist reaches out for partialities. Pleasures of staying here include Spa Island, an entire landmass dedicated to the Guerlain treatments, meditation and yoga; Maakhurandhoo Island, home to Australian Open-standard tennis courts; and private dinning at esteemed French restaurant, Le 1947. Whether you choose to jump in at the deep end or remain glued to the water’s edge during your stay, the resort’s seclusion and the personal approach of Randheli’s team ensures you feel like the island’s sole dwellers.
This becomes especially true for guests inhabiting the Owner’s Villa, set back on its private 100-acre island a short boat journey away from the main resort. Like everything else at Randheli, the four-bedroom villa is designed to promote calmness and tranquillity. Tiny lights dust the walls of the dinning area, delicate vegetation and perfectly preened flora frame the garden and pool area, and beds lie underneath high ceilings and face the open water. In similar pursuit, artwork across Randheli has been picked for its ode to equanimity, from Vincent Beaurin’s Couronne (46 unique bright marble and quartz sand spots), to his Arch (a welcome sculpture that emerges from the water allowing the tide to lap against it gently).
Artists and architects aside, what arises throughout our stay as the island’s prevailing talent, is its instinctively seamless service. A dedicated majordome panders to any needs almost undetectably, while the alchemists’ personalised itinerary encourages you to make the very most of your stay. Similarly, culinary talents are faultless, especially considering the island’s relative inaccessibility. Whether enjoying the live cooking theatre at Japanese restaurant Diptyque, or experiencing a night-time view of the open sea over a Mediterranean speciality at Deelani’s, attention is paid to every last detail.
Our tip: consider the time you may think you need at Randheli, and double it. From brisk bike rides through its colourful jungle and boot camp sessions on a near-deserted island, to hours spent soaking up the breath-taking views from the secluded Owner’s Villa by day or night, this is a Maldivian experience that you’ve yet to discover.