I first met General Manager Etienne Dalancon when he was at the Park Hyatt Shanghai. Back then the tallest building in one of the world’s biggest cities at a time when most of the worlds cranes were, allegedly, in either Mumbai, Dubai or Shanghai. There, occupying the top floors of this incredible building Etienne oversaw one of the great urban chic hotels in the world. So what a change to go from that environment to a coral reef paradise in the Indian Ocean!
The words Waldorf Astoria have always conveyed a sense of sublime luxury and that tradition continues here in the Maldives with Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi. Indeed this is a place of astonishing beauty nestled amongst white sands and the bluest of blue waters only a 40 minute luxury yacht journey from the airport.
With a variety of rooms and villas with your personal concierge to choose from, both on land and over water, you have a luxurious choice to make. For example the King Grand Overwater villa with its own pool is 334 square metres with floor to ceiling windows that bring the ocean quite literally into your suite and a glass floor in the dressing room that reveals the tropical reef below. Drift from your lazy hammock to your own personal patch of beach.
With different dining options ranging from the private pods in the treetop restaurant or the underground cheese and wine bar this is truly a gastronomic experience bar none. In total there are 11 restaurants and bars so choose from Li Long for Peking duck, the traditional offerings at Yasmeen or the privacy of your own villa.
Two beautiful infinity pools plus a glass walled fitness centre are here for you to enjoy and a superb variety of watersports and a huge kids club will keep everyone busy but as you would expect with Waldorf Astoria it is the superb staff that will make the biggest impression. They line up to applaud you upon arrival and it will be you applauding them when you depart.
There is some stiff competition here in the Maldives for uber luxury but it’s probably fair to say that if anyone can get it right then Etienne and Waldorf Astoria probably will.
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