Raffles Arrives in the Maldives

The Maldives is composed of more than 1,000 islands in 26 atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Now one of these island clusters—the remote Gaafu Alifu Atoll—is home to a Raffles resort, the very first in the region for the renowned brand that got its start in Singapore in 1887. As we previously reported, AccorHotels took over management of the property, previously known as the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, in September 2017 with plans to reposition it as a Raffles resort after a full renovation. Raffles Maldives Meradhoo soft-opened in May, unveiling 16 overwater bungalows. The official opening of the Overwater Island Experience, completing the resort, took place on September 22.

In an island nation where luxury resorts compete to dazzle with their over-the-top offerings, Raffles is checking all the boxes. For one thing, these are some of the most spacious villas in the country, equipped with marble baths, private pools and outdoor showers. Then there’s the dive center with an on-site marine biologist. Raffles is known for its personal butler service, and the Maldives is taking it up a notch with a so-called “Marine Butler” who can arrange snorkeling tours and the like.

There’s a variety of F&B outlets, and the overwater Raffles Spa features top beauty brands; think facials by Biologique Recherche, body treatments from Aromatherapy Associate; and manicures by Margaret Dabbs London. Yoga sessions overlook the ocean, while a jogging path threads through tropical gardens. Fitness-minded guests will also find a gym and classes (like Tai Chi) led by visiting professionals.  

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Since acquiring the Raffles Hotels & Resorts brand in 2016, Accor has looked to expand the portfolio. The Raffles collection now includes 14 hotels across 12 countries, with properties in the pipeline in Jaipur, Udaipur, Bali and Singapore. 

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