Cheval Blanc Randheli
H. Bonthi Villa, 2nd Floor, Ameer Ahmed Magu
Republic of Maldives
What does Louis Vuitton have to do with the Maldives?
Well, here’s a hotel offering you the ultimate French luxury experience, and there’s a lot of big names involved: The Cheval Blanc is run by the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy) group, they offer Guerlain rituals in their spa, and the restaurant is called 1947, named after the best year of the famous Bordeaux Grand Cru wine Chateau Cheval Blanc.
How in the world did all these great names of French luxury meet far away from the Champs Elysees, in the Noonu Atoll on the Maldive Islands?
Well here’s the answer: The famous Chateau Cheval Blanc, a legendary Saint Emilion winemaker producing one of the world’s best Bordeaux wines since generations, is owned by the Arnault family. And Bernard Arnault, number 4 on the Forbes list of richest people in the world, also owns LVMH, which is Louis Vuitton, the champagne producer Moët & Chandon and the French cognac-maker Hennesy.
But where does Guerlain come into play? You guessed it: Many years ago, Arnault bought a major part of Guerlain, making it part of the LVMH group.
You feel like staying in Bernard Arnaults private full-serviced guesthouses rather than in a hotel.
This place is luxury on the highest possible level.
But is it also the Maldives experience? The answer is: Clearly no. Nothing on this island is typical Maldives, except maybe the palms and the turquoise water on a white beach.
Don’t come here with the wrong expectations.
The Cheval Blanc Randheli is a place of outrageous luxury. Finest dining. The fanciest spa. The world’s best wines. Utter relaxation and constant butler pampering. But its whole design isn’t typical Maldives, it is contemporary, modern, rather unpretentious actually.
The beauty lays in its unspectacular simplicity.
Each of their island villas have a 13 meter pool, a backyard garden with lush, tropical picture-book vegetation and an oh-so-white private beach – just for you.
The Island Villas. Simple ingredients: White sand, infinity pool, palms & tropical vegetation. But everything is immaculately well-kept. You feel like walking through a fairytale postcard.
The water villas may even be prettier: 12 meter infinity pool, even nicer views than from the island villas, a “sunken” dinner table (picture) and elegant garden furniture. The only thing that’s missing is the white sand.
Takes a bit of stretching to crawl under the “sunken” table, but the setting creates a cozy atmosphere.
And here’s something really unusual I haven’t often seen before. The garden water villas are a hybrid of the two typical villa categories in almost all Maldives luxury resorts: The beach villas (at the beach, for those enjoying the white sandy beaches) and the water villas (for those who want to be right on the water, experience the sea and watch the allegedly peaceful hammer sharks making their early evening rounds). The garden water villa offers both: On the garden side, your’re on the beach. Palms, the cozy rubber-like vegetation, complete privacy. White sand included, as well as some lawn spaces with a hammock.
Garden side of the 2-sided garden water villa. White sand, green grass and privacy. But sometimes not too much of a view.
But on the beach side, the same villa would look like this:
Paradise with a workout: When relaxing here, you have to move the sunbeds every hour or so, to stay under the rather small umbrella’s shade. Not a high price for that kind of idyll. And the villas’ interiours? Well, very tasteful to say the least.
Up to 7 meter high rooms, beautiful furniture and decoration, but so not-Maldives you’ll have to remind yourself where you are by looking out of the window.
And here comes the real deal, for the billionaires among you: The Randheli Private Island. The luxury retreat for Oligarchs, Hollywood stars and Mafia bosses.
The 1 ha private island with four bedrooms has a 25 meter pool, its own spa, cocktail bar, beautiful beaches and gardens and an on-site team of butlers looking after you.
And of course, there’s a grand piano in the living room. Be assured, out here you can play as loud as you want.
Restaurants and Bars
White Bar. The White Bar is a little beauty. Exquisite designer furniture, as in most parts of the hotel.
Everything in light, pastel colours. And the ultimate anti-stress view. See for yourself.
Light pastel colours, perfect view. Make sure to switch off both your phone and your mind to enjoy this unique experience of pureness and peace.
Too hot? Have breakfast in one of the world’s prettiest glasshouses: The “White” restaurant.
French haute cuisine in the Maldives? While you’re still unsure if that’s a little bizarre, they start seducing your very senses with an amuse bouche introducing a fabulous 9-course meal.
The restaurant is elegant, the marble tables are pure, but nicely decorated, Christofle silverware.
Beautifully arranged courses, relatively small portions, overall French cuisine.
The warm king crab with caviar is a treat, such as the red tuna and watermelon foam with basil foam.
The seabass and the lamb are standards on their menu, the desserts are as light and fruity as you would expect on the Maldives.
Need a break from French haute cuisine? The Diptyque restaurant offers finest Asian-Japanese cuisine, sushi and tepanyaki, whereas the Deelani restaurant offers Mediterranean specialties and an opulent selection of fish.
A typical Deelani creation: Colourful and tasty – Casual dining in the Deelani. Style with a view.
The elegant 1947 bar looks more like a New York City hotel bar and proudly offers a huge selection of wine as well as a fancy cigar lounge.
But why take the long walk to the restaurants? They will cook for you in your villa, right on your private beach. Try that once, it’s quite a treat!
Your personal chef cooks for you: In your villa’s grounds, on your own private beach.
The Spa is exceptionally breathtaking, the view, the architecture, the treatments.
Even before the pricey treatments: You’re already relaxed when you walk through that door.
Enjoy the new and Randheli-exclusive Guerlain treatments – you’ll find them nowhere else – like the sun ritual that supposedly prolongs your skin’s magic glow after sunbathing in the two Orchidée Villas. And of course, they also offer all classic massages (Shiatsu, Thai, deep muscle, Indian head massage, Balinese massage and lymphatic drainage).
The spa menu is huge, they even have a 2:30 hours jet-lag massage for 530 USD (after your flight), and a 2 hours pre-flight massage for 460 USD before you leave.
Not to mention all kinds of Yoga and meditation classes. The range of offers is impressive, and so are the prices. The Guerlain slimming cure has 12 sessions and will cost you 2.690 USD.
Fitness and Sports
Two tennis courts, a super modern gym, and plenty of beaches for your morning run is more than enough on a far-away island.