Monthly Archives: March 2014

World’s Biggest Underwater Restaurant Seats 16

The Maldives, home to the world’s first underwater restaurant, is on track to get a second even larger one. It will be the new world’s biggest underwater restaurant…until the next one opens. The restaurant, which only seats 16, is part of a luxury, five-star, adults-only resort.

When the Hurawalhi Island Resort opens in November (as we reported previously), one of its star attractions will be the “5.8” undersea restaurant named after its watery location: the unusual dining destination is set 5.8 meters (18 feet) below the lagoon. Previous reports have this depth listed at 5.2 meters so it got a little deeper, apparently.

The restaurant, which seats up to 16 guests, will allow diners to take in their marine surroundings through a transparent, domed ceiling as they tuck into a multi-course tasting menu. This will be yet another attraction adding to the appeal of the Maldives, already one of the best beach destinations in the world.

If the concept sounds familiar, that’s because of the aforementioned undersea restaurant in the Maldives, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, a big sister property to Hurawalhi.

hurawalhi_aerial

Likewise, the Hurawalhi restaurant is being designed by the same architects MJ Murphy, who specialize in aquarium design.

Built in New Zealand over 10 months, the 410-tonne megastructure traveled to the Maldives by cargo ship and was carefully lowered into the sea earlier this spring. To enter the restaurant, guests enter a little hut on the jetty and climb down a spiral staircase.

Overseeing the resort’s cuisine is executive chef Shannon Batten, a New Zealander who has cooked for Bill Clinton, the British royals, Rod Stewart, Bob Geldof, Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, and foreign heads of state.

The resort features 90 villas that come with modern conveniences like king-size beds, air conditioning, internet access, private porches and flat screen TVs. Hurawalhi Island Resort and Spa is located in the Lhaviyani Atoll and opens in November.

Indulge in These: 5 Luxury Residences for Summer

There are holiday rentals, and then there are luxury holiday rentals. If you’re planning that well-deserved break, might as well do so in absolute class and opulence. With rental services companies such as Airbnb on the rise, travelers have been shifting their preferences for hotels to these more homely options.  Whether you’re in the exotic Seychelles, or perched atop the French Alps, make yourself right at home with these five dream properties.

At the summit

Lease of Luxury_LO_Courchevel

Name: Le Hameau de la Volière.

Where: Courchevel 1850, in the French Alps. Amid the lush vegetation of the Chenus, at an altitude of 1,850m (which gives the town its name) and a stone’s throw away from the centre of Courchevel 1850. Right by the skiing pistes, with unblocked views of the valley.

What: A trio of ultra-luxurious chalets in pale wood. Exotically named Les Bastidons, Cryst’aile and Nanuq, each comes with five rooms bathed in natural light over three or four levels, all designed by Christophe Tollemer in an exquisite, contemporary style.

Capacity: 12 persons per chalet.

Services: Evok Hôtels Collection, managers of this property, have provided everything, and more: indoor pool, spa (with Clarins products, no less), gym, wine cellar, and a home cinema.

Extras: Personal chef, butler, fitness instructor on demand.

Price: €40,000 (S$62,000) per week for 12, or €3,300 per person.

www.voliere-courchevel.com

Private island

Lease of Luxury_LO_

Name: Cousine Island.

Where: The Seychelles; 6 km south-west of Praslin Island.

What: A little private tropical paradise caressed by the waves of the Indian Ocean, Cousine Island had until recently only had four pretty villas decorated in a graceful colonial style. A new presidential villa was launched in April this year. Nestled amid the luxuriant vegetation, but at only 30 m from the beach, the 625 sqm villa contains two spacious suites with bathrooms, a study, living room, dining room, gym and spa. To get around, guests use the electric golf carts.

Capacity: 16 to 20 persons for the five villas.

Services: For the presidential villa: A butler, a chef and a chambermaid.

Extras: The Guest Conservation Ambassador, an ambitious eco-system sustainability program that encourages guests to participate in the conservation of this exceptional natural environment.

Price: On request.

www.cousineisland.com

Blue sky

Lease of Luxury_LO_Paros Villa Lavinia 1

Name: Villa Lavinia.

Where: Paros, in the Cyclades islands, a 30-minute flight from Athens. On a hill overlooking the port of Naoussa.

What: A large, all-white and recently built villa, with an adjoining two-bedroom guesthouse. The main villa contains five double rooms on two levels (with verandahs on the upper floor) and a bright, sun-lit interior, blending perfectly with the modern décor. The guesthouse has direct access to the charming garden featuring olive tress and aromatic herbs. Day beds next to the pool and a large outdoor reception area ideal for barbecues.

Capacity: 14 persons.

Services: Daily cleaning, cooked breakfasts and concierge services.

Extras: The magnificent Kolymbithres beach with its beautiful sand and enormous granite formations is just a few minutes away on foot.

Price: €15,000 per week.

www.brightbluevillas.com

Barefoot

Lease of Luxury_LO_

Name: Villas Stylia

Where: In the village of Trou d’Eau Douce, on the east coast of Mauritius. In a pretty garden at the edge of one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. A 10-minute boat ride from l’Ile aux Cerfs.

What: Six modern, comfortable villas recently opened by Patrice Hardy (ex CEO of the Naïade Group) and his son Alexandre. Four villas with a garden view, and two villas with direct access to the lagoon. The beach is a mere 50m from the garden. Each villa contains three bedrooms (including one for kids with bunk beds) and three bathrooms, as well as a vast open concept living-cum-dining room that give on to the private pool.

Capacity: Up to nine persons per villa.

Services: Service staff including villa manager, concierge, gardeners. On demand: massages, airport transfers, personal chauffeur, guide, baby-sitter, car or scooter rentals.

Extras: A shared kitchen with a chef who will cook breakfast and delectable meals at reasonable prices. The chef can also prepare dinners or barbecues by the beach.

Price: From €200 per villa per night.

www.myvillasmauritius.com

TRANSPARENCY

Lease of Luxury_LO_Rua Iposeira 150-11

Name: Villa Iposeira.

Where: Rio de Janeiro. In the São Corado neighbourhood, within 10 minutes of Ipanema.

What: A futuristic architect’s villa. Completely see-through, the house is the centrepiece of a four-hectare park with lovely palm trees and a fountain. No walls can be found here, just immense bay windows that give incomparable views of the ocean and nature. There are even three majestic trees taking pride of place in the large drawing room… The 900 sqm of the villa boast not only elegant reception rooms with tasteful contemporary art pieces, but also four luxurious en-suite rooms. The dining room with its imposing table can accommodate up to 20 lucky guests.

Capacity: Eight persons.

Services: On demand.

Extras: A huge infinity pool.

Price: From €700 a night.

www.whereinrio.com

 

This story first appeared in a slightly different form in L’Officiel Singapore.