Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, along with Singaporean developer Chiu Teng Enterprises announce the opening of Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, marking the Paris-born brand’s debut in one of the world’s most captivating destinations. Located on Thilamaafushi, the southern pocket of Lhaviyani Atoll, the 141-villa resort celebrates the fabric of the Maldives, its people, nature and art, channeling its energy to uncover the charm of the destination through Le Méridien’s distinctive European-chic lens.
“With a nostalgic nod to the glamour of the French Riviera in the 1960s, Le Méridien inspires travellers to explore the world in style, savour the good life and enjoy experiences that offer something more than meets the eye,” said Jason Nuell, Senior Vice President, Premium Brands, Marriott International. “We are delighted to bring Le Méridien to this internationally desired destination, the perfect place for guests to step out of their daily routine and into a glamorous getaway where wandering sans agenda and lingering longer are encouraged.”
Spanning nine hectares, Thilamaafushi is defined as “island surrounded by vast lagoon” in Dhivehi, the local parlance of the Maldives. The natural island is an eco-conscious haven abundant with indigenous flora and fauna, enveloped by a shimmering lagoon and coral reefs bursting with vibrant marine life, including pods of Manta Rays and turtles. Guests can easily access the resort by a 35-minute seaplane journey north of Velana (MLE) International Airport, Malé.
“We are thrilled to introduce the iconic Le Méridien brand to the Maldives, strengthening our presence in this captivating destination,” Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International. “The opening of Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa marks the second Marriott International property that opened in the Maldives this summer and the seventh brand entry in the destination. We look forward to expanding our portfolio further in the Maldives in order to offer distinctive and personalized experiences for travelers.”
Timeless Chic Design
The distinct timeless chic design at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is inspired by the brand’s roots in the glamorous halcyon days of travel, something that permeates throughout the Le Méridien experience. In a nod to its environment, the design also takes inspiration from the formation of the Maldives Archipelago, emulating the Atoll’s unique topography, its bordering reefs, coral gardens, marine life and underwater pinnacles known as “Thilas”. Interior and exterior design celebrates the Maldives’ distinct life and culture and vibrant landscape, fused with Le Méridien’s signature mid-century modern and Bauhaus aesthetics to present a resort that sits in harmony with the natural environment.
The resort presents 141 villas that are tucked amongst the tropical landscape and dotted over the Indian Ocean, featuring unparalleled views across the pristine beaches, the Indian Ocean or turquoise lagoon. A selection of one, two and three-bedroom villas unites the concept of art and industrial design with clean lines, a muted color palette and a contrast of renewable materials that fosters simplicity, openness and functionality. Guests can also relax and rejuvenate at the Explore Spa by Le Méridien and the two infinity pools at the resort.
Global Flavours with Local Flair
Guests will have the opportunity to indulge in six restaurants and bars, showcasing global tastes and locally harvested produce. Inspired by Japanese fishing villages and water lanterns, the signature restaurant Tabemasu features a lively teppanyaki counter and a private open-air pavilion where guests will enjoy an expertly prepared Omakase tasting menu. The resort’s adults only bar, Riviera, is a beachside playground framed by an oceanfront infinity pool and private beach where lazy lunches flow into sunset spritzes as vivid hues are splashed across the ocean. The shores that frame Riviera will be the locale where Le Méridien’s signature brand programme “Au Soleil” will be hosted as part of the resort’s weekly culinary events. “Au Soleil” at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa encourages a summer state of mind with an activation at “Golden Hour”, the magical hour at the end of a day under the sun where guests will enjoy European-inspired petit plates, specially designed rosé cocktails and Le Scoop by Le Méridien handcrafted gelato or sorbet, set against a soundtrack of live music and waves lapping at the shore. Located amongst the banyan trees and swaying palms, Waves Café is a mindful eating space that fosters a healthy and nourishing approach with a focus on organic farm-to-table ingredients. Velaa Bar + Grill, situated poolside, features crafted cocktails and light dishes to savour in the summer sun, and grilled seafood, meats and wood-fired delicacies to indulge in once the last ray’s fade. The Le Méridien Hub, a social gathering place for the creative-minded traveller, serves custom-brewed, barista-crafted coffee beverages as part of the brand’s collaboration with illy coffee. Rounding out the culinary mix is Turquoise, a beachside marketplace where guests can choose from an array of global tastes and local dishes from breakfast to dinner.
New Discoveries Around Every Corner
Conceiving spaces that spark conversation and inspire fascination was pivotal throughout the resort’s design process. At the center of this is Waves Lifestyle Hub, a wellbeing collective set against the pristine landscape with unparalleled views of the ocean. This boutique lifestyle space features an ocean facing fitness studio and yoga pavilion positioned high in the jungle, as well as Waves Café, an interactive creative arts studio that focusses on local contemporary art. The space also features a retail emporium showcasing hand-crafted and contemporary lifestyle pieces.
An energetic mix of cultural and lifestyle programming at the hotel is designed to celebrate the art of travel and unlock the heart of the destination. The Marine Hub at the resort offers a range of conservation programmes including mangrove and seagrass protection and turtle identification and snorkeling with the marine biologist, with the opportunity for guests to name a turtle for themselves. Curious guests can discover an aquatic playground at the resort’s house reef that features four dive sites and a thila (sea mountain), all brimming with green and hawksbills turtles, various stingrays, shoals of colourful fish and many more unique reef dwellers waiting to be discovered. Guests can also embark on farther afield marine expeditions to some of the Atoll’s 50 dive and thila sites that the atoll is renowned for. Waiting to be explored is the resort’s private island Bodu Finolhu, complete with tropical greenery and 360-degree beach.
Families can take advantage of the Le Méridien Family and Kids’ Hub, with programming that ranges from day and night nature trails, folklore storytelling and sustainable art classes. The Greenhouse also offers immersive family experiences including micro-green planting and family foraging and cooking classes.
Unique to Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa is Thilamaafushi Marine Master’s, a specially designed programme that inspires young adventurers to connect with the environment around them in the hope of future preservation. The immersive programme is available in bite-size modules or a full curriculum that is scalable from young children to teens. Led by the resort’s marine biologist, topics include atoll topography, coral identification and health monitoring, turtle identification and for young adult’s ray and shark protection.
Ensuring minimal environmental impact was and continues to be paramount throughout the build and resort operations. The hotel safeguards a low carbon footprint through leading-edge practices that focus on renewable energy, waste reduction and usage of renewable resources. Standout initiatives include the widespread use of solar panels and lighting and one of the Maldives’ largest state-of-the-art hydroponic farms that has been purposely designed to promote hydroponic farming and consumption. Guests can learn first-hand hydroponic practices and its links to traditions of foraging and preserving – garden-to-plate philosophies and their impact in an archipelago formed nation.
“We look forward to welcoming guests to unlock the sights, sounds and aromas of the destination, showcasing matchless hospitality and enriching experiences that bring to life the Maldives through Le Méridien’s distinct European-lens,” said Nilesh Singh, General Manager, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. “Along with Le Méridien’s focus on timeless midcentury design and signature brand programmes, guests are invited to savour the moment and delight in the discovery of everything the resort has to offer.”