While this Maldivian marvel is now one of the Indian Ocean's most sought-after spots for luxury travellers, few realise how thoughtful design and eco-conscious architecture transformed this desert island into a paradisiacal playground.
An Indian Ocean island is the ultimate blank canvas. Uninhabited and often untouched, this is the perfect place to build something unbelievably special. The concept of this St. Regis masterpiece was not only to construct a luxury resort, but to educate and inspire guests with a sense-stirring, interactive environment.
A profound appreciation for nature is the blueprint of this otherworldly resort. Surrounded by a large house reef and several ecological zones - beach, jungle, coast and lagoon - it was essential to those creating the resort to capture every element of this exciting eco-system amongst the design. The resort features only 77 villas, located along the beachfront or hovering over water. Drawing inspiration from their settings, the overwater villas resemble graceful manta rays, while the 33 beach villas reflect a fisherman's hut or a traditional Dhoni boat. Perfectly positioned, these thoughtful residences also provide everything from unobstructed access to the crystal-clear lagoon and overwater hammocks from which you can admire the Maldivian sunset, to ultra-modern technology including a state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen entertainment system and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Library & Swimming Pool
Perhaps the resort's most notable architectural feature is the Whale Bar. Sprawling out into the turquoise water, the magnificent shape reflects that of a whale shark. Step inside and you'll find a mural etched into the wooden ceiling, which showcases the island's story through the traditional Maldivian art technique known as 'pyrography'. Equally prominent are the striking, shell-shape silhouette of the resort's library and the lobster-like structure of the overwater Iridium Spa, further adding to the architectural spectacles that reside on this slice of paradise.
Décor & Design
Striking from the exterior, venture inside the architectural marvels of the resort and you won't be disappointed. Inside your accommodation, find décor inspired by the textures, patterns and environments of the island. Immaculate coral-like chandeliers hang over head, headboards made from reflective recycled glass make your king-size bed even more appealing, and patterned carpets resemble the gently rippling waves of the lagoon.
Clever and inventive design isn't restricted to the resort's villas; Italian restaurant, Alba, features an inspiring lighting concept based on upcycling - repurposed Indian pots act as lampshades, while shells are used to make the beautiful beaded lamps that embellish the verandah. Over in the Whale Bar, a spectacular sculpture named 'Eroded Memories' highlights the importance of waste conservation amongst guests, built from leftover man-made and natural materials.
Sensitivity to the environment and local communities of the Maldives was priority throughout the construction of the resort. Local craftsmen were invited to create artwork for the hotel's interiors, and traditional methods of construction and locally sourced materials were utilised wherever possible, especially in landscape design. While there has been significant construction across the island, every new component was built with conservation in mind, with carefully selected species of plants from neighbouring islands brought in to replace any displaced flora.
Continuing with their philanthropic efforts, the hotel now employs staff from nearby islands and also has a designated recycling centre and diesel generation plant, helping them to monitor their fuel consumption and waste production.