Maldives gets a taste of Thai hospitality while a hotel in Jakarta discovers what women want

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2006, 12:00am

A new resort opens in the Maldives on August 1, and it will be the first from the Anantara group to open outside of Thailand.

Anantara Resort Maldives is a 68-villa property set on the eastern coast of the South Male Atoll, on the island of Dhigufinolhu.

The resort was designed by a Maldivian architect and a Thai-based interior design company, and its Thai heritage is heavily integrated into the design, from silk materials in keeping with Jim Thompson fabrics and sculptures made from driftwood sourced from the swamps of Chiang Mai, to the Bann Huraa Thai restaurant.

As you might expect of a beach resort location, the surrounding sand and sea dominate.

The Bann Huraa Thai - the resort's signature restaurant - is likely to appeal to guests keen to observe ocean life: the building is perched on stilts at the edge of an inner lagoon and outer reef with views over the Indian Ocean.

And in the centre of the restaurant there is a lounge area with a see-through floor providing a window to the underwater world below. The floor design is mimicked in the nine-room spa, which has a specially constructed glass floor.

Accommodation ranges from beachfront pool villas at the lower end of the price range to the more expensive over-water suites, some with their own private pools.

The decor is in keeping with the surroundings: beige tones and cobalt blues for the beach villas, which feature Terrazzo bathtubs big enough for two, and orange and red tones for the over-water suites, which have bathtubs overlooking the ocean.

The Fuddan Fusion Grill is where Thai heritage gives way to a Maldivian theme and local flavours can be tried with seafood and meat dishes prepared in traditional Maldivian dhumashi (smokehouse) style.

Anantara vice-president and general manager Christopher Stafford said the resort was a fitting complement to its Thailand properties as it would offer guests a distinctive setting, world-class facilities and a culturally and environmentally uplifting experience.

A beachfront villa and beachfront pool villa will cost US$330 and US$380 respectively, an over-water suite US$450, and an over-water pool suite US$850. All prices are per night.

Prices are valid until the end of September. E-mail for reservations.

According to the book, Holding Up Half of the Sky, by economist Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, women consumers in Asia will have a spending power of about US$320 billion by 2014.

With this in mind, the Alila Jakarta hotel in the centre of the Indonesian capital turned one of its floors into a women-only domain, where even the (male) general manager is barred.

The 19 rooms on the Executive Ladies' Floor are designed with what the hotel thinks appeals to women: pastel purple shades, amenities such as makeup remover and manicure and pedicure sets, and women's magazines.

The floor has women concierge and security guards.

Until the end of this year an Executive Ladies in Style Business Package (US$230) is offered, which includes airport transfer, two nights' accommodation, private check-in, breakfast and a signature spa treatment.