Waldorf Astoria — South Malé Atoll, Maldives
Celebrated for its crystal-clear seas, colourful marine wildlife and talcum-white sands, The Maldives’ sunny charms have been boosted further with the unveiling of Waldorf Astoria.
Spread over three islands in the South Malé Atoll, a short 45-minute yacht journey from Velana International Airport, the resort flies the brand’s luxury flag with its own private island – accessible only by yacht – that comprises two villas, its own spa, gym, entertainment centre, chef, concierge team and no less than five swimming pools.
Back on the mainland, there is an indulgent spa and 11 drinking and dining options including Li Long, a contemporary Chinese restaurant – which delivers crisp Peking duck straight from the Maldives’ first classic wood-fired oven – Terra, a series of treetop dining pods, and The Ledge, the latest offering from chef Dave Pynt who, like at his Singapore Michelin-star restaurant Burnt Ends, sends out delicious slow-roasted, grilled and smoked meat and vegetable dishes from a custom-built dual-cavity wood-fired oven.
The in-house design team, together with interior and architecture companies Highness Engineering Consultants and Stickman Tribe, have smartly arranged the resort to slot right into its surroundings. The 122 over-water and beach villas, in particular, reveal minimal visual impact by way of rough-hewn solid wood exteriors and traditional Maldivian thatched roofs. ‘Everything from the building design, height, orientation and density is guided by the natural setting and local architectural style,’ say the team at HEC.
Inside, the lofty 7m-high light-drenched spaces are layered in soothing sandy and oyster tones, gold accents, light timber, sleek low-slung bespoke furnishings and curated art and accessories – like the abstract pieces, inspired by the local marine life and the porcelain seashell necklaces – by MG Art Design.
It’s difficult to imagine spending time indoors – unless it’s in one of the overwater treatments rooms at the resort’s indulgent spa – when each villa, which is positioned towards the lagoon or the beach, has its own en-suite infinity pool. §