The Maldives transformed itself from backwater to global holiday hotspot in the space of a generation. CATHY ADAMS dabbles her toes in all that’s sensational, phenomenal and new on the world’s most in-demand holiday islands

Discovery - - 馬爾代夫 THE MALDIVES -

馬爾代夫花只 了一代人的時間,就從寂寂無聞的小地方發展成深受全球歡迎的度假勝地。Cathy Adams前往細探當地最新奇、最具特色與最新穎的事物

It’s hard to imagine what the first Arab traders landing in the Maldives would make of The Muraka. The underwater residence, five metres beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean, has a king-size bed, Aesop toiletries in the glass bathroom (to match the decor) and a butler available 24/7. And that’s before you count the stingray, clownfish and reef shark buzzing outside the 13-centimetre-thick, curved, acrylic panels in the bedroom: a big telly-full of celebrity marine life.

The Muraka, the world’s first underwater residence, created at a cost of US$15 million (HK$118 million), is a two-level super suite at a Maldivian resort that’s always been ahead of the tourism curve: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. It opens in November at US$60,000 (HK$471,000) a night (or more – depending on how many extras you want).

But this year, the American resort used to making Maldivian firsts has competition:

很難想像最初登陸馬爾代夫的亞拉伯商人會如何看待The Muraka海底別墅。這座海底別墅的房間位於印度洋水平面下五米的海洋,設有最大型的雙人床,跟室內裝潢的配襯 玻璃浴室內擺放了Aesop沐浴護膚用,品 還有24小時隨時候命的管家服務。,不過 焦點還是睡房內一面13厘米厚的弧形亞加力膠牆,住客可以在透明牆看前 到魔鬼魚、小丑魚及礁鯊穿梭往來,恍如觀看正在播映海洋奇觀的巨型視電 。

The Muraka是全球首座海底別墅,是一座分為兩層的超別級 墅,耗資1,500萬美元( 1.18億港元)建造,位於領導旅遊業潮流的馬爾代夫倫格里島康萊德酒店。海底別墅將於今年11月開幕,租金每晚60,000美(元 471,000港元)或以上,視乎你需要增添哪些額外。服務

馬爾代夫倫格里島康萊德酒店在馬爾代夫屢創先河,率先開創海上別墅概念,芝將 士與葡萄酒吧引進當地,早於13年前便開設了全球首家水底餐廳Ithaa,不過這個被珊瑚環的繞 島國,

and nowhere does competition like Maldivian resorts. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which pioneered the overwater villa concept; brought a cheese and wine bar to the Maldives; and opened the world’s first underwater restaurant, Ithaa, 13 years ago. But now there are more tourists and more flashy resorts than ever, an airport redesign and a dizzying, ever-changing, alwaysupgrading array of hotel quirks.

This year alone, the almost 1,200 islands of the 26 coral atolls of the Maldives will welcome up to 10 new properties from a cluster of international brands – ranging from Fairmont and Baglioni to LUX* and Mövenpick. More are scheduled for 2019 – including the Waldorf Astoria. They’re housing an increasing number of visitors: during the first six months of this year, 726,515 landed on its sun-drenched shores, a 10.5 per cent uptick year-on-year.

More people means a higher profile, which means more pressure to innovate. What would those earliest Muslim sailors, who discovered the low-lying coral atolls in the 10th century AD, think of the skating rink at Jumeirah Vittaveli (a plastic rink overlooking the warm Indian Ocean, which opened last December)? Or the overwater villas complete with retractable roofs and

發展卻是一日千里,遊客與豪華度假村的數目日益增加,機場經過重新設計,再加上酒店層出不窮的招徠式方 ,面對以上種種競爭,這個美資度假村今亦年必須加倍努力,苦思策良 來應對。

馬爾代夫由26個珊瑚環礁上近1,200個島嶼組成,單今是年多國, 個 際知名的店酒 品牌會在這個島國開上 設十家全新酒店,其中括Fairmont、Baglioni、麗世及瑞享等。2019年將會有更多全新酒店開幕,華爾道夫酒店是其中之一。這些酒為店 數目與日俱增的旅客提供住宿:今年頭半年,就有726,515名客遊踏足馬爾代夫陽光燦爛的海灘,與去年同期比較,人數上升了10.5%。

更多前人 來,表示有多同更 不的需要,為滿了 足這些需要,就要更多創意。卓美亞維塔維麗酒店的溜冰場於去年12月啟,用 溜冰場以合成塑膠取代冰塊,建成前臨溫暖的印度洋。至於索尼娃賈尼度假村的水上別墅,設有可伸縮屋頂和將客人直接送進大海的水滑梯。而年今 5月才開幕的Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi度假村則有水底珊瑚藝術裝置。若是讓十世紀時發現這些低窪珊瑚環礁的穆斯林水手舊地重遊,目睹這些設施,不知會有何感想?

這一切都可以追至溯 1972年在馬爾代夫開設的首家私人度假村酒店Kurumba,當年每月可以接待60位客人 playful water slides that deliver guests straight into the ocean at Soneva Jani? Or the underwater coral art installation at the new Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, opened in May?

It all started with Kurumba, the Maldives’ first private island resort, which opened in 1972. It had space for just 60 guests a month (it’s still open today – but accommodates a significantly higher 14,000 guests a month). Then, the airstrip at Malé had no scheduled flights and international communication was by Morse code. Nobody – including the UN development team – thought a resort on a couple of small fishing islets would succeed as a tourism destination, let alone a world-class one.

But succeed it did, despite a lack of infrastructure and a remote location in the middle of the Indian Ocean. A glut of high-end resorts followed, offering everwackier experiences and premium cuisine in a country that imports 97 per cent of its food and drink. A glass of French Burgundy at Ithaa? No problem. Fresh Japanese yellowtail sashimi at Six Senses Laamu’s Zen restaurant? Coming right up. Steven Phillips, general manager of the soon-toopen Joali Maldives in the Raa Atoll and a Maldives hospitality veteran, tells me that

入住。這個度假村今天仍在營,業 不過每月接待的客人數目已增至14,000位。當年首府馬累的小型機場十分簡陋,沒有定期航班升降,只靠摩斯電碼與地外 通訊。當年有何沒 任 人(括聯合國的展發小組)會料到在有只 幾條漁村、暮氣沉沉的小海灣上建一個度假村,就會吸引遊客前來觀光,當然更不會料到,這裡後來會成為世界級的旅遊勝地。

不過,儘管這個地方位於茫茫的印度洋中心,位偏置 遠,又缺乏基建,度假村最還後 是成功了。接著許多度假村紛紛進駐,提供更多新奇的體驗,並且在這個97%的飲食全靠外來輸入的國家裡,為客人提供高級美食。想在Ithaa餐廳來一杯法國勃艮第紅酒嗎?沒問題。在拉姆島六善酒店的Zen餐廳來一客新鮮的油甘魚刺身嗎?馬上為你送上。Steven Phillips是位於Raa Atoll環礁、即將開幕的Joali Maldives度假村的總經理,服務馬爾代夫酒店業多年,他告訴我度假村「會為客人任事做 何 情,要只 是合法的就行」;他說他曾經從地外 空運一座Steinway鋼琴來,供一位住客的女兒練習。

度假村起初在馬累附近的海濱出現(這一帶由於經常有船隻來往,雖然交通方便,環境卻不及其他地方天然原始) ,然後再陸續進駐距離首都南部及北部300公里的環礁上。直至2018年5月 resorts will ‘do anything as long as it’s legal’ – recounting the time he flew in a Steinway piano so a guest’s daughter could practise.

Resorts spawned first in the waters near Malé and then in the northern and southern atolls that stretch around 300 kilometres each way from the capital.

As of the end of May, there were 137 resorts in the Maldives, on increasingly far-out private islands, accessible only by speedboats and seaplanes. (Naturally, the Maldives’ seaplane operation is the biggest in the world.)

‘ The success of the Maldives is based on the private sector,’ says Ahmed Shiaan, the Maldives ambassador to Britain. He adds that while the government doesn’t own a single resort, it does regulate construction. ‘For example, only 30 per cent of any island can be developed, and no building can be higher than a coconut tree.’ Can you imagine that rule working in Hong Kong?

This private island tourism – unique to the Maldives – continued. But visitors had to be rich. Not just rich: minted. That changed in 2009, when the government allowed guesthouses to open, meaning visitors could stay on regular islands and immerse themselves more in the community and traditions rather than just

為止,馬爾代夫共有137座位於私人小島的度假村,它們的位置一個比一個偏遠,只能快乘 艇或水上飛機能才 抵達。難怪馬爾代夫的水上飛機務業 規模冠絕全球。

馬爾代夫駐英國大使Ahmed Shiaan升生對《Discovery》表示:私「 人企業是馬爾代夫成功的基礎。」指他 出,雖然政府並不擁有任何度假村,但卻對建造工程加以規管。他說「: 舉例來說,任島何嶼只可發展三成的土地,任何建築的高度均不得高過一方椰子樹。」你能否想像這些規例在香港實施?

由私人島嶼為主的旅遊業,向來是馬爾代夫的特色而, 且這種式繼模 仍續維持。而前來這裡的旅客往往不只要荷豐裕,而且要有揮金如土的能力,才可以負擔得起馬爾代夫之旅。不過這種情況在2009年出現改變,政府容許當地開設小型館此旅 , 舉味旅可意 著客在地當 人居住的島嶼上住宿,深入體驗社風區 貌傳,與 統 而不是在豪華的水上別墅內泡熱水浴。入住種館唯這 旅 的 一缺點,要是 入鄉隨俗,嚴守當地的伊斯蘭教戒律:滴酒不沾和不吃肉豬 。首家小旅型 館在首府附近的Maafushi島上開業,截至今年5月,底 馬爾代夫的環礁上共有473家小型館旅 。


the hot-tubs of luxury stilted villas. ( The precondition? No alcohol and no pork: this is a conservative Muslim nation). The first opened on the island of Maafushi, near the capital, and at the end of last May there were 473 guesthouses dotted across the archipelago.

But it’s eco-tourism that’s been the real game-changer – because the Maldives, as the world’s lowest country, is most at risk from rising oceans; and also because private resorts have realised sustainability is a selling point. It’s why super-luxe resorts including Six Senses Laamu have developed comprehensive marine biology operations that straddle corporate and social responsibility and hospitality.

‘ The Maldives has been reinventing itself since 1972,’ says Shiaan. ‘ We’ve opened the world’s first carbon-neutral resort – Club Med’s Finolhu Villas. Most upcoming developments have put renewable energy and sustainability at the heart of the architecture.’ At the Club Med resort on Gasfinolhu Island, all power comes from 6,225 square metres of solar panels.

‘ The Maldives will be known as a renewable energy destination, where sustainable tourism is at its best,’ adds Shiaan. ‘ This will be the core of the Maldives. That’s what we are trying to achieve: to show that sustainability and nature go together with modernity.’

I’ve been in the Maldives four days, flown in via seaplane from Malé – as impressive a flight as you’ll ever take. There’s a reason for the high price tag: the resorts are world-class. I’ve eaten grilled lobster, surrounded by stingray and baby reef shark in a sunken restaurant, and I’ve drunk Ruinart champagne on a sunset cruise. But I’ve also dived with a pod of 25 bottlenose dolphins; swum in the clearest water, jumping directly in from my villa deck; and seen the Milky Way up close and personal. Some things haven’t changed since 1972 – or the 10th century. 最的家低國 ,亦是由於海洋位水 上升而面臨最高險國風 的家;此外,生態旅遊亦是一門可以持續運作的生意。前任總統於2009年曾諾時 承 要令馬爾代夫成為全球首個碳中和的國家,雖然這個承諾未能兌現,但是私人業企 亦認為可持續發是展 一個賣點。因此,包括拉姆島六善酒店在內等多家超級豪華度假村已全面發與洋展 海 生物學關相 的營運方針,承擔企業及社會責任餘同提之 , 時 供一流的住宿體驗。

Shiaan大使說:「自從1972年以來,馬爾代夫不斷推陳出新。我們現在擁有全球首家碳中和的度假村,就是Club Med的Finolhu Villas度假別墅。方來的發展主要是在建築方面以再能生 源及可持續發展重為 。」這個位於Gasfinolhu Island島的Club Med度假村內使用能的源,全部來自佔地6,225平方米的太陽能電池板。

Shiaan大使又補充:「馬爾代夫會成為著名的可再能生 源旅遊勝地發, 展出最優秀的可持續旅遊業。這將成為馬爾代夫的核心。我們正嘗從態試 生 層面改變馬爾代夫,向世人顯示可持續發展與大自然及現代生活可以並行不悖。」

我在馬爾代夫已逗留了四天,由馬累乘搭水上飛機前來的旅程令人難忘。這裡的度假村酒店收費高昂,自有其理由,皆因它們全都具備世界級的水準。我曾於海底餐廳一邊品嚐龍,烤蝦一邊觀賞窗游外 過的魔鬼魚和幼礁鯊;又曾乘搭遊艇出海觀賞日落,沿途呷著Ruinart香檳。我亦曾在多達25條的寬吻海豚群旁邊潛水;又在我下的榻 別墅的陽甲台 板一躍而下,清在澈見底的海水中泳暢 ;更曾親眼目睹天上的銀,河 它彷觸彿 手可及。這裡有些事物,自1972年起,甚至是十世紀,以來 從方變改。


Bright future Club Med Finolhu Villas runs entirely on solar power前景光明Club Med Finolhu Villas度假別墅完全依靠太陽能運作

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