Check-In: One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
Halfway around the world, a nation consisting of nearly 1200 islands lies just west of Sri Lanka, in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Exotic and endangered, the Maldives are known for crystalline water, white sand beaches and the imminent threat of submersion due to rising sea levels. The allure of these picture perfect atolls beguiles honeymooners and jetsetters alike, yet the distance from Southern California is enough to make west coast travelers think twice, especially when Hawaii is so close.
Being an average of just four feet above sea level, global warming is an immediate threat to the islands, and environmentalists speculate that the nation could be underwater within the next twenty years if the global community doesn’t work together to mitigate climate change in the very near future. With a wide range of hotels in the Maldives, choices abound for every budget. But this is the Maldives and since you will probably spend a whole day to get there, treat yourself and check-in to the One&Only Reethi Rah.
While speedboats and seaplanes are viable options, the resort can also provide a sleek yacht to scoop you up from the airport and deliver you to the resort. As you pull close to the lush island, expect to see the staff lining the dock, waving in welcome with smiles spread wide across their faces. Upon entering the open-aired reception, you’ll be greeted with cool towels and refreshments, the perfect antidotes to the local humidity. Your private concierge will give you a mobile phone you can use for any request throughout the duration of your stay.
If you’ve never visited a One&Only property, it quickly becomes apparent that their hospitality is second to none. An initial tour of the all-villa resort reveals a special community in and of itself. As the sole resort on its own namesake island, dirt paved roads lined with swaying palm trees envelope guests as they are whisked around on golf carts, walk or ride bikes freely between the multiple pools, beaches and restaurants. Bikes parked by the front door, flip flops for each guest and a welcome bottle of champagne are thoughtful touches to make you feel right at home in your ocean-front villa, where you can toast to your newfound slice of paradise.
An ultra-luxury resort, One&Only Reethi Rah is also committed to environmental sustainability and protecting their natural environment. Their team is working to rebuild coral frames around the resort’s reef to enhance the biodiversity of the habitat and generate new coral growth (which brings more fish and marine creatures). Higher temperatures (from climate change) and pollution are stressors that kill coral, so keep life below water in mind when searching for a responsible hotel on this picture perfect archipelago.