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May 31, 2009updated Feb 08, 2013

Shangri-La Opens In Maldives

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, will open Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives, the first luxury resort south of the equator in the Maldives, on July 26, 2009. Located on Addu Atoll, the resort’s island has over six kilometers (3.7 miles) of coastline and nearly two kilometers (1.2 miles) of breathtaking white sandy beach.

First-time visitors and Maldives aficionados will be rewarded with a distinctive new experience of the archipelago. The natural dense vegetation sets it apart from many other resorts in the Maldives. The three-kilometer-long (1.8-mile-long) island features 12 hectares of lush vegetation, 17,000 coconut trees and 45 species of plants. The island has three natural freshwater lagoons, naturally tinged red, green or blue. Guests will be able to enjoy walking trails, prodigious wildlife, and a plethora of underwater discoveries.

Shangri-La hospitality will envelop guests as they disembark from their international flight at Male airport and are escorted by the Shangri-La host into a relaxing domestic airport lounge before taking the connecting flight to Addu Atoll. With air-conditioned domestic flights from Male to Gan International Airport operating round the clock, guests will not need to base their itineraries on the limited scheduled operations of seaplanes, which are required to access other resorts. Gan is also accessible by private jet. The resort is an eight-minute boat ride from Gan.

The resort will comprise 142 spacious stand-alone villas, from private ocean retreats to tropical luxury tree house villas with panoramic views. All villas will feature both an indoor and outdoor shower, a private terrace leading to the beach and either a waterfront or lush garden. Each villa will be equipped with two iPods and docking stations, a DVD player and an espresso machine. The villas will be a minimum of 133 square meters (1,432 square feet) in size, while the two presidential villas will measure up to 957 square metres each (10,302 square feet).

The resort will feature 16 luxury tree house villas, a first for the Maldives, perched on stilts offering a special three-meter (10-foot) high perspective of the island through tropical foliage. The tree house villas, with separate bedroom and living room, will measure 218 square meters (2,346 square feet), each with its own private infinity pool.

Other distinct villa options available to guests will be: the water villas with terraces and outdoor showers extending over the clear ocean water; beach villas with separate bedroom and living room, connected by a wooden deck to a private infinity pool; twin beach villas, comprising two bedrooms and an infinity pool; and water pool villas. Two presidential villas will also be available for guests who prefer to indulge in ultimate luxury and exclusivity, one of which is constructed over water and featuring a 96 square meter (1,033 square foot) private pool.

CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La – Shangri-La’s signature spa brand inspired by the legend of Shangri-La in the Lost Horizon novel – will offer treatments, therapies and well-being programs based on Chinese, Himalayan and Asian healing rituals and traditions from across the region as well as “Kandu Boli” experience, unique indigenous treatments inspired by the cowrie shell and other natural treasures found in the Maldives. CHI will be located in its own spa village in the resort, with spacious individual treatment villas, offering “spa within a spa” privacy and luxury. Ocean views and enchanting gardens will make this secluded sanctuary a haven of healing power and deep calm for guests.

In addition to long stretches of fine white sand beach, the natural lush vegetation of the island features a nature trail for guests who are keen to explore. To discover the fascinating lifestyle and culture of untouched Maldivian villages, guests can simply take a short boat ride to neighbouring islands. International diving enthusiasts are already familiar with the island’s colourful coral reef and the dramatic 140-meter shipwreck of the British ship Loyalty, which is located within a half-hour boat ride from Villingili Island.

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