Located in the Indian Ocean, some 1,190 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls make up the Maldives, home to the world's bluest water and white powder-sand beaches — and just as extraordinary is the architecture crafted by Jean-Michel Gathy for Cheval Blanc Randheli
A 40-minute seaplane ride north of the Maldives' capital Malé, LVMH Hotel Management's Cheval Blanc Randheli is set on the pristine Noonu Atoll, a stylish sea pearl in the serene setting of the Maldivian archipelago.
Conjured up by celebrated architect Jean-Michel Gathy, the design connoisseur behind the world's most gorgeous resorts, the result is nothing short of sensational. Strikingly stylish, contemporary and elegant, the retreat is a firm favourite with the likes of fashion industry stalwarts, celebrities and, of course, royalty, including Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Boasting 45 standalone villas and the Owner's Villa set on a private island, Cheval Blanc Randheli features a stylish colour palette of white, taupe and oyster grey with pops of yellow, the hospitality group's signature hue. Conceived in synergy with the location's natural surroundings, the modern architecture naturally blends with the island's landscape, vegetation and lagoon views.
The flow of the resort is very residential. Stepping inside the villa, lofty cathedral-style ceilings create a strong sense of spaciousness and openness. Framed by 7m-tall hand-crafted doors that can be closed or open to give a connected or intimate space respectively, the villas are furnished with organic materials from the Indian Ocean — teak, rattan, bamboo, thatch and coconut shell.
A contrast to the rustic feeling is provided by bright decorations, as well as bespoke design elements and a residential-style medley of artwork throughout. A collection of 45 sculptural art pieces — colour 'spots' by artist Vincent Beaurin — hang above the streamlined bathtubs and make each villa truly individual.
Even more splendid is the one-of-a-kind four-bedroom Owner's Villa, sprawling across its own dedicated island. It's only accessible from a private jetty and minutes away from the main island. Every component here has been exquisitely thought-out as an imaginative, architectural complement to the stunning surroundings, giving travellers the freedom of an utterly private home.
The main house runs alongside a stunning 25-metre swimming pool set against magnificent views over the surrounding seascape, reflecting the sunshine and blue sky upwards with its black stone lining. Three light-filled successive living rooms are filled with inviting sofas and loungers.
On the ground floor are two spacious bedrooms, each equipped with their own indoor bathroom, outdoor shower and generous terraces. A statement staircase, with a needle-fish inspired handrail, leads up to the master floor, which offers the resort's only panoramic birds-eye views, connected to the outdoors with a spacious terrace filled with stylish outdoor furniture.
This is an excerpt from the “Paradise at sea" article from the April 2017 issue of Perspective magazine.
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