LVMH, the mega luxury conglomerate has been opening lavish resorts in Courchevel, St Barts and the Maldives (with more to come) under its Cheval Blanc banner. Its glittering tropical jewel (for now) is Cheval Blanc Randheli (CBR), an ultra-sleek, ultra-private refuge dressed in clean lines and earth tones courtesy of Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy. Luxury, of course, is ever present – seen in the private-jet-esque seaplane in Cheval Blanc livery that whisks you to Noonu Atoll where CBR is located, the haute nine-course degustation menus of French fine-dining restaurant Le 1947, or even more revealingly, in the diamond-encrusted Hublot timepieces in the resort’s concept store.
Billionaires or Bond villains requiring just a tad more privacy and exclusivity, however, will find it a short dhoni-ride away at CBR’s Owner’s Villa (price upon request), a sprawling megamansion situated on a private island. Surrounded by white-sand beaches is a main house, comprising three living rooms, a dining room, bar, private office, gym, three en-suite bedrooms and a 25m-long pool. A separate, fully self-contained guest villa is next door, while a short sandy stroll will take you to the ocean-facing outdoor dining area and a private spa, where therapists administer exclusive Guerlain treatments.
The heart of any hospitality experience, however, is the staff. CBR’s service-focused Art de Recevoir approach is best embodied in the cooks, servers, cleaners, technical crew and security guards who ensure the massive house runs smoothly, yet melt away discreetly when required. A special commendation should go to our majordome – the Cheval Blanc appellation for butler – who took on every duty with finesse, from unpacking luggage to arranging multi-course al fresco meals to entertaining an extremely precocious toddler while we snorkelled the fish-filled waters of the private reef just five minutes from the shore.