Baglioni Resort Maldives, Dhaalu Atoll
Italian hotel group Baglioni are opening their first outpost in the Maldives in December, marking their first property outside of Europe. 96 villas include garden, beach, overwater or family options, including a three-bedroom Presidential Water Villa. The three restaurants – international, Japanese and, of course, Italian – include many ingredients sourced directly from the hotel’s own vegetable garden. The resort will be family-friendly, with ample activities, including watersports, plus a kids’ club for three to 12 year-olds which includes the likes of pizza-making classes. The hotel is just 40 minutes by seaplane from Malé.
LUX* North Male Atoll
Following their property in the South Male Atoll, LUX* will open its second Maldivian getaway at the end of the year on the ‘picnic island’ of Olhahali. Penthouse residences will replace the ubiquitous thatch-roofed overwater villas that have become synonymous with Indian Ocean accommodation. It is self-styled as superyacht-meets-South Beach – expect white villas, flashes of neon pink, marble bathrooms and a general city-with-a-beach vibe. Every villa has its own roof terrace, elevated five metres above the house lagoon, while facilities include a cinema, yoga plinth, outdoor games, spa and kid’s club. It won’t be for everyone, but it certainly breaks the mould.
Gran Melia Maldives, Thaa Atoll
Melia adds another property to its ever-expanding portfolio come October 2017, with its opening of Gran Melia Maldives. Located in the Kalhudiyafushi in the Thaa Atoll, its 95 villas will be set among a coral reef. There will be three restaurants, a bar and café, spa and several retail shops. It’s 40 minutes from Malé International airport, and a short ride by speedboat or seaplane from domestic airport Kaadhedoo.
Kanuhura, Lhaviyani Atoll
Kanuhura has just enjoyed a $42-million refurbishment, which has included a complete design rehaul by London-based interior design firm Muza Lab. The new look is colourfully nautical, designed with the ‘gypset’ – luxury travellers with bohemian sensibilities – in mind. Think lime-washed timber villas, local materials used for furniture, ropes galore and bright, woven fabrics. The hotel is spread across three islands: Kanuhura, home to the 80 villas and acitivies; Jehunuhura destination of the hotel’s Drift restaurant; and the beach spot of Masleggihura. The Kokaa Spa includes a therapy focused on releasing energy from 103 pressure points on the body. It is also home to the first martial arts academy in the Maldives, led by Irshaad Sayed, two-time world Muay Thai champion.
Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, Gaafu Alifu Atoll
When Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort opens in mid-2017, it will, it claims, be one of the best-value hotel options in the Maldives. The hotel doesn’t skimp on the requisite luxuries though: brightly dressed accommodation options include over-water villas with plunge pools and sea access, plus a spa, dive centre, restaurant, bar and kids’ club.
Grand Park Kohdhipparu, North Malé Atoll
A good option for those who don’t want to venture too far from Malé: the new Grand Park Kohdhipparu, set to open imminently, is just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport but still has beaches, watersports and decent diving spots. Hirsch Bedner Associates, who were behind the design, went for a traditional Maldivian feel, with palm-fringed roofs, wood and rattan featuring heavily. Some villas come with their own infinity pools; others come with little windows at the end of the bed which look into the deep blue below. There will be three restaurants, including one with a Josper Grill.
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