BEST of the BEST 2014 | Journeys |Resorts: Cheval Blanc Randheli
A fashionable hideaway that is a cut above the rest...
In the ever-expanding realm of luxury brands, travel has emerged as the de rigueur accessory. Fashion firms from Armani to Bulgari have ventured into the world of hospitality with high-design city hotels and glamorous beach retreats that bear the stamps of their respective house styles. Never one to be outdone, the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has followed suit quietly, almost privately, opening two small properties over the span of eight years under its hotel banner, Cheval Blanc. With the November debut of the second maison, Cheval Blanc Randheli, the company has secured its place as the leader in fashion-house hospitality and, arguably, as the planet’s most exclusive hotel group.
Located on a remote cluster of islands in the Maldives’ Noonu Atoll, Cheval Blanc Randheli is an impeccable retreat of style and substance. Visitors arrive via a custom de Havilland Twin Otter seaplane designed in the resort’s signature taupe-and-yellow palette and outfitted with nine spacious passenger seats swathed in Italian calf leather. Once ashore, guests reside in one of 45 overwater and beachfront villas scattered over three pristine islands. In the spirit of Randheli’s sister property, Cheval Blanc Courchevel—a modern take on a French Alpine chalet—the sleek villas contemporize traditional thatch-roofed accommodations with dramatic 23-foot doorways, private pools, bespoke furnishings, and original artworks by the artist Vincent Beaurin.
A similarly stylish ambience is prevalent in the public spaces, which include the White Bar (adorned with white animal-skin-covered stools and overlooking a sprawling infinity-edge swimming pool) and five restaurants (especially the French fine-dining venue Le 1947, named for Château Cheval Blanc’s famed vintage). Though the resort abounds with activity-related amenities—a fleet of 10 watercraft, a PADI diving center, a golf simulator, a children’s center, tennis courts, and a Guerlain spa on its own island—guests generally remain isolated in their villas, relying on their majordomes to arrange alfresco meals and in-room massages.
Should visitors venture from their sanctuaries, Cheval Blanc ensures that they do so in proper style, supplying each with a pair of taupe espadrilles bearing the brand’s white-horse logo as well as canvas beach bags and flip-flops. A concept store offers additional opportunities for accessorizing, with exclusive styles from Hublot, Emilio Pucci, and other fashionable LVMH brands. ($1,300–$1,900, including breakfast).
Cheval Blanc Randheli, +960.656.1515, www.chevalblanc.com