SINGAPORE — GHM dropped anchor in the Indian Ocean last month when the luxury hotel group inked a deal to operate its first resort in the Maldives, scheduled to open in 2016.
The agreement with the developers was signed six weeks after GHM announced it would launch three hotels in Taiwan, and less than five months after the company expanded its hospitality interests in the U.A.E.
Located on a 55-hectare, crescent-shaped atoll -- the largest habitable island in the Maldives -- and 20 minutes by speedboat from Hanimadhoo International Airport, The Chedi Dhapparu will include 90 hotel-managed residential villas and 40 hotel suites, half of which will hover over crystal-clear waters the republic is known for.
Every unit will offer unrestricted views of either a coral-reef lagoon or the open ocean and will feature lush, tropical landscaping.
“The setting is absolutely spectacular, and lends itself perfectly to our brand philosophy – that each GHM hotel should, in its own way, be a style to remember,” said GHM President Hans R. Jenni. “We couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.”
To ensure the area’s ecosystem remains in proper balance, GHM plans to institute a program for maintaining the ideal levels of coral in the lagoon, which is popular among dolphins and other marine species.
And to ensure the resort possesses characteristics consistent with all GHM properties, the group will work with Reda Amalou of AW2, the Paris-based architecture firm responsible for the design of the award-winning Nam Hai in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Twenty of the hotel suites – the 90-square-metre Chedi Club Suites – will have private pools. All 130 units will offer direct access to the beach.
“The concept will be contemporary living with an Asian touch,” said Jenni. “Instead of thatched, Maldivian roofs, we’ll have flat roofs, and interiors with clean lines and high ceilings.”
The Chedi Dhapparu is the first project in the Maldives with a license to sell real estate titles to villa buyers. The villas will have from one to four bedrooms, with the largest covering 565 square metres. Sales will begin early next year.
Other features of the master plan include a sea-facing, new-age spa with 10 double treatment rooms; a health club with a tai chi terrace; a club lounge catering to guests lodged in the over-water suites; and a beach club with a dive centre and chic bar.
Blueprints also call for a library, cigar lounge and four food-and-beverage outlets, including a dinner-only venue serving specialties from the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka, and a Japanese restaurant that takes advantage of the resort’s access to fresh seafood.