Seasoned travelers would know Raffles Hotels & Resorts as a luxe brand that started in 1887 in Singapore, since extending its reach to cities like Paris, Jakarta, and Warsaw, bringing its iconic Singapore Sling cocktail to the ends of the earth. Well, almost.
With a new year comes a new opening for Raffles, and this time it’s a gorgeous gem in the Maldives. The 38-villa resort sits snug in the remote Gaafu Alifu Atoll, set to open its doors officially on Feb 1.
Just like its neighboring island hotels, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, with beach villas and residences alongside overwater villas and residences. Plus, there’s the Raffles Royal Residence, which will be completed in the second half of 2019, featuring a private pool, spacious living areas, a marble bathroom, a sunken bathtub, and an outdoor shower.
For an ultra lavish experience, book your stay at any of the overwater options, which are adjacent to one of the house reefs that you can explore by taking a traditional Maldivian Dhoni boat out. Each of the villas’ terraces are fitted with glass flooring panels for guests to gaze at marine creatures like baby sharks, turtles, and tropical fishes, but if you’d like to dive in a little deeper, ask the hotel’s resident marine biologist (or any of the “marine butlers”) for a customized underwater experience.
Raffles’ signature Long Bar makes an appearance at the resort as well, with a classy selection of champagnes and wines, in addition to the overwater Yapa Sunset Bar, which offers tapas, sashimi, and cocktails inspired by drinks from South America and Japan.
When your hunger pangs come calling, head to all-day diner Thari, Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Yuzu, or The Firepit for flame-grilled dishes served under the twinkling stars.
For a day of full-on pampering, stop by the award-winning Raffles Spa for services like luxury facials by Biologique Recherche, a body treatment using essential oils and pure extracts by Aromatherapy Associates, and mani-pedis by Magaret Dabbs London. Other facilities and activities include the overwater fitness centre, 24-hour butlers, private chef services, seaside yoga sessions, and various water sports.
With rates starting from the extravagant price of US$1,800 per night — they go up to US$9,000 for the sunset overwater residences, and beyond for the Raffles royal residence — Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is the kind of place you save for extremely special occasions, unless you’re all about living the fancy life.
To get there, the resort is accessible by a domestic flight 55 minutes from Male International Airport, followed by a 15-minute speedboat ride from Kaadedhdhoo Airport.