In terms of tourism, the islands belonging to the Maldives are the babies of the world. Just 40 years ago, the Maldives opened its first two resorts in Kurumba Villas and Bandos Island. Nowadays tourism is the largest economic industry in the country, with more than 500,000 tourists visiting the Maldives each year.
2013 may see this number increasing further with a new regional airport in the Gaafu Atoll expected to open up the unexplored south. The Kooddoo airport will dramatically reduce the journey time to the pristine southern atolls and to barefoot-luxe resorts, such as the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa (maldives.hadahaa.park.hyatt.com). It is the group’s first sustainable tourism development and is surrounded by some of the most amazing reefs in the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile 2013 looks likely to be a busy year for Carlson Hotels, owners of Radisson Hotels, with two new openings slated for the end of the year. Located on Naagoshi Island, a remote island in the Northern Haa Dhaalu Atoll, 45 minutes by sea-plane from Male International Airport, will be the Radisson Plaza Resort Maldives, Naagoshi. The US$91 million resort will feature an overwater seafood restaurant, which has five private dining pods in the sea, providing a ‘want to be alone’ moment for meals à la deux. The second luxury resort, the Radisson Blu Hotel Maldives will be based on Hulhumale, north of Male (Radisson.com).
Finally, music to the ears (literally) of hip travellers is the latest development from avante-garde hotel group Per Aquum. Its newest resort Niyama, in the south-western atoll of Dhaalu, has just opened its first underwater music club, Subsix (niyama.peraquum.com). Located 500 meters offshore and six meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean, guests will be able to enjoy a rotating line of live music from renowned international artists, with Tinie Tempah kicking off proceedings. The resort has transformed the hotel offering in the Maldives with its stimulating experiences, such as its Tribal restaurant. Designed like a campsite, diners sit in specially designed pods surrounded by live cooking stations. Dishes are influenced by tribes from South America, Africa and Asia, and cooked on hot rock grills, asados and open flames. It’s hot right now.