With a new spate of accolades, it seems that the recent political turmoil in the small Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives hasn’t hurt its international reputation.
A mere few months ago, it seemed like the gorgeous tropical destination of the Maldives had a very uncertain future ahead of it. As reported previously in Private Island News (link), a shocking order to close down spas by the country’s President, Mohamed Nasheed, and then his equally unexpected forced resignation, caused rumours to swirl that booking agencies were receiving mass cancellations and that travel to these elite isles would grind to a halt. Fortunately for its many tony private island resorts, these dire predictions for Maldives tourism appear to have been nothing more than wild speculation.
Condé Nast’s prestigious “Gold List” for 2012 included three of the Maldives’ top private island resorts, adding to a pile of awards and accolades the country has received over the years. This year alone, it was named the “Best Dreaming Area” in the world by Japan’s renowned Dive and Travel Awards, and took the silver award for “Best Diving Area”. Lonely Planet magazine’s readers named a Maldives island resort as their top travel pick for 2012, and the World Travel Awards, known as the Oscars of the hospitality industry, have featured the country prominently in their nominees for this year’s event in December.
As for the discriminating tastes at Condé Nast, the three resorts on the Gold List all exemplify the perfect beauty and exquisite luxury the Maldives has to offer. Far from just being a sun-and-sand style holiday spot, many resorts strive to give visitors something a little more unique – in the case of Four Seasons Kudu Huraa, it was the delicious cuisine that won over Condé’s judges. The resort was awarded “Best for Food” by the magazine for its four excellent restaurants, which serve Italian, Indian, and Asian fusion dishes. Of course, given the resort’s location, freshly-caught seafood features prominently.
The next category winner, for “Best Ambience and Design”, went to one of the Maldives’ most famous jewels, Soneva Gili by Six Senses. Surrounded by a vast lagoon of sparkling waters, this tiny coral isle packs a ton of luxury into its three acres. The whole resort was designed with the preservation of the surrounding environment in mind, and features three jetties lined with 45 deluxe overwater bungalows. Even the spa at this eco-friendly paradise floats above the sea, leaving plenty of space on land for nature.
In the more remote North Malé Atoll, a large island hosts One&Only Reethi Rah, the sprawling resort that took home the designation of “Best for Leisure Facilities” on the Gold List. With plenty to room to spread out, Reethi Rah’s 124 luxury villas, many with private pools, all offer supreme privacy whether facing out onto the white-sand beach or hovering above the sea on stilts. Activities at the resort include tennis, beach volleyball, diving and snorkelling, and exciting excursions to fish, cruise and explore local communities. Like the rest of the Maldives, it’s that special combination of glamour and nature that keeps luxury-seeking travellers coming back for more.
Read more about the Condé Nast Gold List winners: Link