Wednesday, July 3, 2024
HomeLuxury TravelReview: Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives

Review: Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives


Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a phenomenal holiday in the Maldives, where I stayed at the archipelago’s four most exclusive ultra-luxury resorts. You can expect the following reviews in the coming weeks:


Today: Review of Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives

Cheval Blanc Randheli’s signature art de recevoir welcomes couples and families in the Maldives with a unique sense of genuine warmth and French hospitality. A private designer seaplane carries you to this ultra-exclusive 5-star paradise north of Malé, where 46 villas take palm-roofed cabana living to a new level. The accommodations feel like elegant cathedral-style lofts, each featuring a variety of contemporary design elements, high doors and ceilings, outdoor areas for relaxation, stunning private swimming pool and lagoon-side pontoons. Guerlain-designed treatments are on the Cheval Blanc Spa island, while fine dining at Le 1947 rivals international gastronomic restaurants. For an ultimate interlude, retreat to the Cheval Blanc Randheli private island (one of the world’s most expensive hotel suites).

Have you ever stayed at Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.

Cheval Blanc Randheli features in my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives.

In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli is located in the Noonu Atoll, one of the Maldives’ most unspoiled atolls (which is also home to Velaa Private Island and Soneva Jani). The 40 minute seaplane transfer from Male to the resort is a breathtaking sightseeing trip in itself, offering amazing views of tiny, sugar-white island rings sparkling atop turquoise colored lagoons and the brilliant sapphire blue ocean. At Male’s seaplane terminal, guests can wait in the luxurious Cheval Blanc lounge while waiting for the seaplane, which is sometimes operated by Cheval Blanc’s private designer airplane. You can read my detailed review of the transfer to Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives here.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli is set on a cluster of 6 islands in one of the Maldives’ most breathtakingly beautiful lagoons. Three of these islands are connected by bridges, while the other three are only accessible by boats. The main island – a completely natural island – features 16 beach villas, most of the restaurants, the gym, the pool, and the kids club. The main island is connected by bridge to two smaller (man-made) islands, which are home to 29 lagoon and water villas. At short distance from the main island, and only reachable by small boat, are two other man-made islands; one of them is housing the spa while the other one is home to a private residence (more on that below). The sixth island – a natural and unspoiled paradise – can only be reached by a 5 min speedboat ride and it is home to tennis courts and a jungle yoga.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives features 46 ultra-luxe villas which are artfully placed between the tropical greenery and the crystal-clear lagoon, either over water or on the beach. Each of the 46 villas is a private retreat with pool, offering a spectacular sense of space with monumental wooden pivoting doors that can separate or connect the living and sleeping areas according to guests’ desires. Large glass doors on both sides of the villa open fully onto the idyllic landscape or can be closed to create a warm and cosy atmosphere. Guests of all villas enjoy private butler service.
  • During my holiday, I stayed in a fabulous one-bedroom Lagoon Villa, which was perched on stilts on the island’s sunset side and presiding over stunning views of Cheval Blanc Randheli’s magnificent lagoon. The villa featured a large living room, spacious bedroom with kingsize bed, double dressing room and an open-plan bathroom with his & hers vanities, a standalone bathtub, and an indoor & outdoor shower. A large terrace boasted a 12.5 m (41 ft) long private swimming pool, a pergola (for dining facing the ocean ) and an overwater lounge area.
  • Located just a few minutes from the main island and accessible by boat, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island is the resort’s most exclusive and spectacular accommodation. The spectacular dimensions and exclusive features of the enormous villa – ideal for a stay with family or friends – inspire a sense of unfettered freedom. The specifics: four bedrooms, three large adjoining lounges — including a piano lounge — a projection room, two majestic dining rooms — one indoor and one outdoor — a private spa and fitness room on stilts, a 25 m (82 ft) infinity pool, and an independent villa for friends.
  • An elegant and refined paradise, Cheval Blanc Randheli is the work of the celebrated architect Jean-Michel Gathy. Designed in the spirit of loft living, the villas combine a sense of detail and tailor-made furniture to offer an exclusive residential experience. In an aesthetic combining local inspirations and contemporary sensibility, island materials such as teak, rattan, bamboo, thatch and coconut are refined with graphic lines and original volumes. Gathy’s magnificent architecture is enhanced by a subtle color palette combining elegant tones of white and taupe with the liveliness of pop-art yellow and tangy green.
  • A collection of contemporary artworks by Vincent Beaurin complements the design of the resort. The emblem of the resort is “Arch,” a monumental sculpture rising from the lagoon, not far from the seaplane’s docking station. “Constellation” is a center piece at the fine-dining restaurant Le 1947, and finally one each of the series “Crowns”, composed of 46 shimmering ocelli, is installed in each of the villas. The artist has covered these circular “eyes” with the glitter of coloured glass, giving a chromatic experience that reverberates with the signature colors of Cheval Blanc Randheli. F
  • The culinary arts reign at Cheval Blanc Randheli, with five fabulous restaurants, ranging from the top-end, fine-dining restaurant to a Teppanyaki overlooking the ocean:

    • The resort’s signature gourmet restaurant, Le 1947, owes its name to the most prestigious vintage of Château Cheval Blanc. The chef combines French savoir-faire with local flavors and offers an extensive menu that changes regularly. Adjoining the restaurant, Le 1947 Bar with its grand piano features a wine cellar stocked with the most exceptional vintages. An elegant and comfortable Cigar Museum completes this dining experience.

    • The White Restaurant serves around the clock international cuisine with local notes and Maldivian specialties in a casual-chic atmosphere. The venue’s impressive contemporary architecture blends perfectly with the white sand beach and calm turquoise waters. Each morning, an à la carte breakfast is also served here, and it features one of the most extensive menus I’ve ever seen at a resort (complemented by a small continental buffet).

    • The Japanese restaurant Diptyque is inspired by the concept of “live” cooking and the interaction between guests and chefs. Each evening, the dedicated team demonstrates its culinary skills before the diners seated at the counter, inviting them on a delicious journey of discovery. Dinner can be recommended by the chefs or chosen à la carte between Nigiri, Makimono, and Sashimi or specialties such as Gyoza, Tempura, and Dim Sum.

    • Surrounded by the tropical garden and facing the ocean, the resort’s Teppanyaki Restaurant offers culinary showmanship and artistry. Among the menu choices: beef from Japan, yellow-tail, lobsters caught in Maldivian waters, and vegetables from the chef’s own garden.

    • Located over the lagoon’s clear waters, Deelani Restaurant serves inspired dishes drawn from the kitchens of Spain, France and Italy, with notes of Turkey, Greece and Morocco. Throughout the day, homemade ice cream, sorbets and granita are offered in the solarium. In the evening, guests enjoy tapas and fresh seafood prepared Mediterranean style. Mezze, prosciutto, risotto, ossobuco and pizzettas are there to share.

  • Reached by a 5 min ride in a traditional dhoni, the phenomenal Spa Cheval Blanc is located on its own island. A wide range of treatments offered by Guerlain includes two created especially for Cheval Blanc Randheli — the Sun Ritual and the After Diving Experience. Facilities at the spa include four single and two double treatment villas, a Leonor Greyl Hair Spa, a large swimming pool and soothing beach, ideal for those seeking a carefree day of relaxation and pampering. The island’s yoga master invites guests to join individual or group sessions with classes such as Sunrise/Sunset yoga.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli is designed for holidays with friends or with family. Children are free to enjoy a wide choice of activities in places made just for them, such as Le Carrousel kids’ club with its swimming pool and slide. It also offers experiences that have been tailor-made for children: ghost-crab hunting, an evening Maldivian style, and mini-disco. Le Paddock is a refuge dedicated to teenagers, offering billiards, table football, table tennis, and a multimedia area. Located near the water sports centre, it also offers a wide range of aquatic activities such as the surf simulator and underwater excursions.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli offers world-class fitness and sport facilities.
    • Near the arrival jetty is a water sport’s center which offers flyboard, hoverboard, wakeboard, water ski, jet ski, kite surf, jet surf, banana boat, tubing, and underwater scooter. For more tranquil experiences, pedal boats, kayaks, paddle boards and windsurfing boards are available.
    • Overlooking the serene turquoise lagoon, the resort’s fitness center offers a range of state-of-the-art equipment by Technogym and a weekly schedule of classes. For a personalized one-on-one training, La Petite Gym, a private coaching room, brings together all the equipment for tailormade workouts with the resort’s personal trainer.
    • Built to U.S. Open and Paris Masters standards, the two tennis courts — one grass, the other hardcourt — are located on their own private island and beckon beginners and professionals alike for a privileged tennis experience. The tennis coach, an internationally recognized and certified professional, has been specially trained by Recreational Tennis Coaching to offer tennis sessions and to adapt to the level and physical condition of each player.
  • The French Art of Hospitality is at the heart of the Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives’ philosophy. To this end, specialists known as Alchemists imagine and create personalized experiences for the resort’s guests with unparalleled attention to detail, providing indelible memories for all. In each villa, a dedicated Majordome – French word for butler – is available around the clock to ensure that guests’ wishes are fulfilled, whether it is unpacking suitcases, preparing snorkel gear, or providing the kind of attentive actions that bring joy and surprise to daily life. Guided by the Alchemists of Cheval Blanc, guests can enhance their stay by choosing an experience created especially for them.
  • Randheli is managed by Cheval Blanc, a brand owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). The first of them, Cheval Blanc Courchevel, opened its doors in 2006, and the second, Cheval Blanc Randheli, in the autumn of 2013 in the Maldives. The brand continued its international expansion with the opening of Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France in the Caribbean in October of 2014. La Résidence de la Pinède, acquired in 2016, joined the collection as Cheval Blanc St-Tropez in May 2019. Cheval Blanc Pari opened its doors in the Samaritaine building along the Seine in 2021. The company will soon open another luxury resort, this time in the Seychelles.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
  • The southern part of Cheval Blanc Randheli’s lagoon is surrounded by a sea wall (to prevent beach erosion). During high tide, most of the sea wall is well hidden under the water surface, but during low tide, the sea wall becomes visible and spoils the view towards the horizon. The villas in this part of the resort (designated as ‘water villas’) look out over the sea wall, which is located quite close to these villas. IMHO, these villas are best avoided and you should opt for a lagoon villa if you prefer an uninterrupted view of the horizon.
  • Since its opening in 2013, Cheval Blanc Randheli deservedly built a reputation as one of the most exclusive hotels in the Maldives. As such, it should come as no surprise that a stay at the resort is astronomically expensive. While some travelers may question the resort’s value for money, keep in mind that this is the Maldives, where travel budgets come to die.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli is built on a cluster of 6 islands, including four man-built islands. You don’t really notice it at first sight, since the tropical vegetation, beaches and lagoons have a very natural look. However, the beach of the main island as well as the beach on the tennis island are the resort’s only natural beaches, featuring powdery white sands and an incredibly blue lagoon. The other beaches are man-made and you can feel it when taking a stroll here since the sand is little rougher (or less powdery) under the feet compared to the natural beaches.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli’s overwater villas are tremendously impressive, but their terraces lack privacy. The villas are slightly angled towards one another (due to the curved shoreline) and the terraces lack privacy screens, so it’s quite easy to see what’s happening on the terrace of your neighbors (or even on the terraces of villas further away). The beach villas are not private eather, siuce there is no vegetation sheltering the pool & rooms of these villas from other guests on the beach.
  • The dress code at Cheval Blanc Randheli isn’t barefoot casual, so shoes and resort-chic attire is required, which matches the resort’s posh ambiance. Also keep in mind that you may want to bring something extra special to wear for dinner at the resort’s signature restaurant, Le 1947.
  • Seaplanes depart from and take off close to Cheval Blanc Randheli’s main island, and, unfortunately they are truly noisy. It means that if you are staying in a villa on or close to the main island, early seaplane departures after sunrise might wake you up. Also, the resort is not far from Siyam World, the largest resort of the Maldives, with frequent seaplane arrivals and departures throughout the day (which you can clearly hear).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 10/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Food: 10/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Spa: 10/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Wow factor: 9/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Overall experience: 9.5/10 (exceptional)

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $150 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Room tip: book a lagoon villa for unobstructed views of the sea and sunset (and to avoid a view of the resort’s sea wall).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best weather in the Maldives is between January and April, which also means high season (with low availability and sky-rocketing room rates). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, eat, work out or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled in recent years.


HOW TO GET THERE

Getting to Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives requires a 40-minute seaplane transfer from Male International Airport (MLE). Check the Wikipedia page of Male International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer flights to Male International Airport.


PHOTOS

Below is a selection of my photos of Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives. To view more hotel photos (including breakfast and dinners), click here.

CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & LAGOON
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & LAGOON
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & LAGOON
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & LAGOON
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & LAGOON: GOLF CART
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: ENTRANCE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: ENTRANCE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: LIVING AREA
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: LIVING AREA
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: LIVING AREA (WELCOME AMENITIES)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: BEDROOM
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: BEDROOM
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: BATHROOM
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: BATHROOM
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: OUTDOOR POOL TERRACE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: OUTDOOR POOL TERRACE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: OUTDOOR POOL TERRACE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: OUTDOOR POOL TERRACE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
LAGOON VILLA: OUTDOOR POOL TERRACE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: ENTRANCE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: ENTRANCE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: LOBBY
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: LOBBY
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: LOBBY
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: BOUTIQUE
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: WHITE BAR
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: WHITE BAR
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: SWIMMING POOL
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: SWIMMING POOL
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: SWIMMING POOL
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: SWIMMING POOL
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: SWIMMING POOL
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
MAIN GUEST AREA: SWIMMING POOL
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BEACH (MAIN ISLAND)
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
ISLANDS WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
BOAT TO SPA ISLAND
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: ARRIVAL JETTY
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: RECEPTION
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: POOL AREA
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: POOL AREA
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: POOL AREA
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: POOL AREA
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: TREATMENT ROOM
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: TREATMENT ROOM
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: BEACH
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SPA ISLAND: BEACH
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
TENNIS ISLAND
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
TENNIS ISLAND
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
TENNIS ISLAND
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
TENNIS ISLAND
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SUNSET
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SUNSET
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SUNSET
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI MALDIVES
SUNSET

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