The Maldives Government recently ordered that all spas in luxury hotels in the Maldives should be closed. The order followed protests by the opposition Islamist Adhaalath Party which claimed the spas were breaching Islamic law.
More than 850,000 tourists visit the 1,100 coral islands and atolls that make up the Maldives. Vacations typically include sunbathing, snorkelling and diving on the beautiful coral reefs along with spa treatments and massage. The destination is popular with wealthy celebrities and honeymooners looking for a quiet place to relax in the tropical sunshine. Luxique.com offers ten top luxury resorts in the Maldives, most with five star amenities.
Although all resort hotels were ordered to close their spas and health centres with immediate effect, many chose to disobey the ruling to preserve their business. The Maldives Association of Tourism (MATI) has vowed to fight the ban on behalf of the island’s hotels as tourism is crucial to the economy of the Maldives.
In the latest move, the President of the Maldives has ordered the country’s upscale spas to reopen pending the Supreme Court’s decision on whether spas violate Islamic beliefs. Mr Nasheed said, “To be racist in any way is detrimental to the tourism industry” and he acknowledged this was not the way for the Maldives to go. He advocates a brand of moderate Islam traditionally practised in the country, which he sees is vital to preserve tourism in the Maldives.
A travel firm has caused a stir by announcing plans to open a luxury hotel in the Maldives staffed entirely by young blonde women.
The Lithuanian company Olialia (apparently pronounced Ooh-la-la), says blondes will run all the resort’s operations from the reception to the restaurant, and there’ll be special flights with an all-blonde crew of pilots and stewardesses.
The aim is to dispel the stereotype of the ‘dumb blonde’. Olialia’s Managing Director, Giedre Pukiene, said: “Our girls are very smart and they have degrees. All of them want to do something with their lives. They have lots of business ideas.”
Olialia is run and staffed by blonde women, and already operates in 75 different business sectors, making products from computer software and food products to pop music.
The resort is due to open in 2015, but the proposal could run into trouble as laws in the Maldives state that staff should be 50 per cent local – who are non-white and non-blonde.
When it was announced on the Maldivian news website, Minivan, many readers condemned it as discriminatory. One wrote: “This is racist and should not be allowed in the Maldives.”
by Andy Moreton
For blondes, brunettes, redheads or even the folically challenged who want a taste of paradise, Luxique offers ten luxury hotels in the Maldives.
A luxury hotel in the Maldives is offering a honeymoon suite to beat all others – it’s set sixteen feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean.
Usually, the Ithaa room at the Rangali Island resort (part of the Conrad Group) is used as a restaurant; about a dozen diners sit in the dome-shaped ‘aquarium’ and enjoy cordon bleu food while marvelling at the beauty of the underwater world around them.
But now, to celebrate the resort’s fifth birthday, the room has been converted into a honeymoon suite complete with every luxury imaginable.
It’s safe to say that this experience is not for newlyweds on a budget – the luxury hotel says the price is available ‘on application’. Until now, the top-of-the-range accommodation at the Rangali had been a King Deluxe Water Villa. That costs around £1,156 ($1,785) a night … and it’s above water.
by Andy Moreton
If you’re dreaming of a visit to paradise, keep your head above water and get the best rates at any of Luxique’s five carefully-selected luxury hotels in the Maldives.
The President of the Maldives has made a bold, green statement – the islands will become carbon neutral within ten years.
Mohamed Nasheed said this would be achieved by switching completely to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
He said the Maldives understood better than most what would happen if the world failed to tackle climate change; his tiny country – made up of some 1,200 tropical coral islands - is one of the lowest-lying on earth and extremely vulnerable to rises in sea level.
He said that going green would cost a lot of money, but refusing to act now would ‘cost the earth.’
“We don’t want to sit around and blame others, but want to do whatever we can; hopefully our carbon neutral plan will serve as a blueprint for other nations to follow,” said the President.
by Andy Moreton
For those who want to taste a little bit of paradise, Luxique offers ten luxury hotels in the Maldives.
Earlier this year, I wrote about a dream job in Australia – to be caretaker on a desert island with a handsome salary and a three-bedroom house thrown in. So many applied, apparently, the website went into meltdown.
Now I hear of another attractive offer, although somewhat less lucrative. The idyllic Indian Ocean islands of The Maldives want to improve educational standards, so they’ve put out a call for British head teachers to consider taking up posts there.
The teachers would leave behind snow, rain and the crowded train for long sunny days and a leisurely commute across a crystal clear bay.
Last October, the Maldives had its first democratic presidential election and a former political prisoner, Mohamed Nasheed, defeated Asia’s longest-serving ruler, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Mr Nasheed studied in Britain and has said improving education for the country’s poor is among his top priorities.
The country, which has 370,000 people and 1,000 islands, plans to assign British headteachers to oversee seven newly decentralised regions. In addition to heading their own schools, they would be expected to help develop education in their zone.
By Western standards, the likely monthly salary of about 10,000 Rufiyaa (£523 / $745) is not vast. But in The Maldives, this is considerably more than the average.
Having won its independence from Britain in 1965, The Maldives has progressed from an economy that was almost entirely dependent on fishing to one where tourism accounts for 28 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product.
For holidaymakers who want to taste a little bit of paradise, Luxique offers ten luxury hotels in The Maldives.
by Andy Moreton
Our friends at the excellent Conde Nast Traveller magazine have just announced the results of their readers’ survey on the world’s best holidays and hotels.
Voted the most popular leisure hotel in Europe was La Residencia in Majorca, which was lovingly and luxuriously fashioned from two 17th Century farmhouses. It was where Lord (Andrew) Lloyd Webber put up the guests for his glittering 60th birthday party earlier this year.
For the Middle East and Africa, the Chedi Muscat in Oman came out on top. Clearly its guests share the hotel’s claim that it’s ‘an oasis of mysticism and luxury.’
In the UK, The Grove in Hertfordshire on the outskirts of London was the most popular choice. It scored highly not only for its leisure facilities (it boasts one of the finest new golf courses in Europe) but also for its value for money.
In the Overseas Business Hotel category, five of the top 20 were in Dubai. But out in front was the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower in Mumbai, described in Luxique’s guide as simply ‘The Grand Dame of India.’
And the island that consistently tops luxury holiday polls for its beaches and facilities is the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Luxique offers a choice of ten fabulous luxury hotels in Maldives.
by Andy Moreton
I read an article the other day: ‘Madonna’s Travel Secrets.’ Get a life, Moreton, I hear you cry.
No, but listen … nearly all the places she loves to stay are on Luxique’s list of luxury hotels and boutique hotels (we knew the lady had taste). So, in case you want the chance to hang out with the Material Girl, listen up.
Her love affair with the Caesar Park in Rio de Janeiro goes back to 1993 when she performed for 120,000 people at the city’s Maracana Stadium. Luxique likes this one very much too – we call it “an opulent 23-storey business hotel of fine dining and service.”
When in Rome, she apparently favours the Hotel de Russie. Good choice, Madge. We’ve called it “Rome’s best hotel for those who appreciate the Rocco Forte discreet designer style.”
In 2006, she embarked on her global ‘Confessions’ tour, which spanned 60 shows on three continents. When she arrived in Miami, there was only one place she wanted to lay her head: The Setai. Luxique’s view? “A razor-sharp, Oriental-reflected designer number on South Beach with stratospheric service levels.” Madonna liked it so much, she’s been back many times.
Finally, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, where the star and her family spent a ‘heavenly’ holiday over 2006/7. Luxique offers the Diva Island Resort in this paradise island. “Sumptuous villas set on stilts in a blue lagoon in one of the best diving sites in the Maldives.”
All these fabulous places are bookable through our Luxique online boutique hotel booking system where, in many instances, we’ve negotiated a range of special rates or seasonal offers.
One thing, though. If you do happen to be vacationing in the vicinity of Madonna and her large entourage, don’t expect camera or autograph time. She sticks close to children and husband, Guy Ritchie, and steers clear of fan worship.
“I think she’s hyper-aware of security,” says Mary Cross, author of Madonna – A Biography. “She definitely wants her privacy, so even though she loves luxury and might pick a well-known hotel, she keeps a low profile and insists on hotel confidentiality.”
by Andy Moreton