(The Business Times) - Even if you're a seasoned Maldivian atoll-hopper, nothing quite prepares you for Cheval Blanc Randheli - a piece of designer heaven set in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
No Louis Vuitton rolling suitcase will feel out of place in this 45-villa property, which just happens to be owned by the LVMH fashion group. Don't expect to see gauche monograms plastered on bathroom walls or crockery, though. Starchitect (and veteran Aman resort designer) Jean-Michel Gathy sees to it that you're cocooned in nothing less than the tasteful luxury of contemporary-designed thatched villas, achingly photogenic (#nofilter!) backdrops and world-class food.
The experience begins the moment you arrive in Male, where refreshments in a private lounge put you in the holiday mood even before the 40-minute flight by seaplane to Noonu Atoll, where your majordome (butler) awaits. No task is too small, be it to offer you welcome macarons or reserve a 'seat' at the utterly charming 'Cinema Under the Stars' - where a private dinner on the beach combined with a movie of your choice becomes something delightfully memorable.
When you're alone, bask in your immodestly-spacious (1400 sq ft) villa, equipped with the prerequisite infinity pool and mod-cons to floor the most jaded vacationer. A pair of bicycles by the front door may well tempt you to take a carefree ride along sun-speckled paths and sun-drenched boardwalks.
There are more strenuous activities on offer, from sea-sports to reef-fishing. Or zen out in the spa or a sunrise yoga session. If your wallet needs a good workout, upsize to the Owner's Villa (price on request) - a four-bedroom ode to decadence which sits on its own island away from the main resort.
But don't be jealous. Whether you're a tycoon or mere (rich) mortal, both sides of this paradise look just as good.
Villas start from US$1,650 (S$2,270).
For information, see randheli.chevalblanc.com