The Maldives: historically seen as one of the most idyllic places on earth to visit, and, of course, considered the destination of choice to kick off married life (it’s one of the most popular honeymoon locations in the world), has also been making headlines of late for somewhat darker reasons.
While this region of islands in the Indian Ocean is a dreamy place to be – turquoise seas, improbable white sands and an abundance of marine life bring in around one million tourists a year – its future is unpredictable. Since 80% of the 1,200 islands are no more than 1m above sea level, scientists have predicted that within 100 years many of them will be uninhabitable or disappeared completely. It’s safe to say that its beauty is vulnerable.
With more than 100 of the 200 otherwise uninhabited Maldivian islands home to luxury resorts, it is hoped that as more travellers experience this tropical idyll, the more pressure will be applied on global leaders to help put in place measures to slow down the rising seas.
Surprisingly, perhaps, this has not stopped a stream of top-end hotel names opening their doors in the region, making the Maldives a booming place to be. Here’s what’s new.
Hurawalhi Island Resort, Lhaviyani Atol
Having opened its doors in December, the lush Hurawalhi Island Resort, in the Lhaviyani Atoll, may have a keen eye on serious environmental issues, but that doesn’t mean it has skimped on lavishness.
The adult-only resort (it welcomes over 15-year-olds only) features an undersea restaurant, a tropical Champagne pavilion, spa, and a collection of 90 sprawling, design-led villas strung across the glittering lagoon – perfectly positioned, so, that guests can enjoy those jaw-dropping sunset panoramas.
With a strong environmental focus, Hurawalhi uses solar panels, its own water-bottling plant, energy saving solutions, hot water recovery and even has an in-house marine biologist. Importantly, it is also collaborating with Manta Trust, the marine conservation and education specialists, to provide educational guided dives and snorkelling through the spectacular nearby reefs and shipwrecks. The island is a nesting site for Green Turtles and a breeding ground for Manta Rays and Manta Trust is tasked with preserving this natural habitat as well as educating visitors on the endangered creatures.
Carrying on the focus on nature, the Duniye Spa offers treatments based around the healing traditions of Asia and Africa, including the use of local ingredients. The spa uses the Healing Earth brand of chemical free, organic compound products – which are are all free from petrochemicals, synthetics, colourants, DEA, preservatives and parabens.
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