If you can’t build out, then build up. Given the limitations of real estate in the Maldives, I always wondered why there weren’t more multi-story buildings there. The higher levels also have the added benefits of providing a vantage point over the mottled maritime mosaic that surrounds every island.
But an increasing number of Presidential villas and palatial super-premiums do come in multi-story in recent years. In fact, I would hazard that a second floor is almost becoming standard fare in the super luxe category.
Still, you don’t need an elevated budget to get an elevated view. A number of value-priced resorts also offer upper level rooms in the form of duplexes (eg. Bandos, Club Med Kani, Kandooma). And if you really want not just a room, but a whole resort, “with a view, then the entire Club Rannalhi has an lofty vibe to the whole property. Everything two stories it seems – reception, dive centre, spa, rooms, some of the new water villas. Even the theatre has raked seating.
Boost your holiday at Club Rannalhi.
Livin’ on the edge.
If that’s for you, but instead of the edge of land above the water you want to be on the edge below the water (and if Dhevanafushi’s Ocean Pearls are a bit to pricey or you don’t want to be detached from the main island), then look at Club Rannalhi.
Most water villas situated on shallow table reef lagoons for obvious architectural reasons. While a handy little snorkel in the lagoon shallows can be fun, the big action tends to be in the deeper house reefs. And one of the big allures of the Maldives is having stunning reefs so conveniently nearby. Throw on your fins and mask and with a few splashes you are at the reef’s edge. If you want the best of both worlds – a water villa and reef proximity – then the closest is Club Rannalhi’s water bungalows which are 20 feet (7 metres) from villa #417 (see photo above).
We snorkelled the reef in that area, staying in a villa just a few doors down, and found it first class. Lots of colourful healthy coral and just about every (small) fish on the ‘Fish Identification’ card.
Close to the action!
A lot of Trip Advisor queries ask about the best villas and the best sides of a resort (watch this space). Does one want an eastward facing villa for glorious morning sunshine or a westward facing villa for sunset pina coladas?
You do have to choose because most Maldive resorts line up the water villas next to each other with a distinct outward facing aspects. Some stand alone, but the deck is only on one or maybe two sides of the villa. But Club Rannalhi has 360 degree decking all around its water villas. Sunrise AND Sunset views. Or if the sun is getting a bit strong at in the afternoon, just slide your deck chair around to the shaded side. You can choose between windward side for a cool breeze on a hot day or leeward side to shelter from a particularly strong breeze. Short of renting a palatial water villa suite at some of the super top end resorts, the 360 degree Club Rannalhi is relatively unique.
Looking for am apropos hangover cure from your Chinese New Year celebrations? Well, you might want to stop by the ‘Traditional Chinese Therapy Centre’ at Club Rannalhi.
Liu Yaping offers a range of treatments which are mostly variations of acupressure massage such as “Tui Na” and “Chinese cupping”. Most treatments run about $60 for an hour session
Disclaimer – I am not a fan the many disastrous environmental effects of many traditional Chinese therapies that call for ingredients of rare species like tigers, rhinos and most relevant in the Maldives is manta gills. Most holistic therapies are harmless placebos which provide comfort. But when a billion people with increasing amounts of money start wanting these obscure ingredients, the side effects for the planet can be tragic. Fortunately, Club Rannalhi’s therapy centre does not offer any of these ingredients based on endangered species in its treatment offerings.
While other resorts have spas offering Chinese treatments (eg. Shangri-La Villingili, Olhuveli, Soneva Fushi, Meedhupparu), the Rannali centre is the only one who specialises in just this area.
Adaaran Club Rannalhi lends a whole new perspective on the Maldivian resort.
Rannalhi is a smaller island. And when you can’t expand out…expand up. In an country with an average elevation of a few metres and predominantly built up with thatched villas, Rannalhi is almost entirely 2 stories. All the beach villas are 2 story apartments. The spa, the reception and several new water villas are all two stories. It was refreshing to look out over the mottled blue seascape with a bit more of an aerial perspective.
Our penultimate day was a whirlwind of seeing two other Adaaran properties before our departure. We zipped down to Club Rannalhi for a tour by Front Office Manager Yaameen Abdul Rahman (see photo above), lunch and snorkel. And then back up to Vadoo for dinner and a night at their Prestige property.
Adrian Neville’s seminal resort guide ‘Resorts of the Maldives’ clarified that Club Rannalhi is very popular with an Italian tour operator who runs a ‘club’ concept, but that the resort still maintains a strong international mix of clientele.
I felt that the resort would be good for a Maldives novice. It is small and so easy to learn your way around. I also found the posted guidance very transparent and helpful. They had a sign at reception clearly indicating how one could enjoy a night at the distinctive water villa for a $100/night upgrade supplement (a very reasonable price in my view). They also had all of the activities, excursion, events and special meals all clearly posted on a board by reception. In the past, I have struggled to suss out the lay of the land at resorts until I could get to the concierge desk to see the excursion schedule, go to the restaurants to see the special meal postings, and go to the orientation session to hear everything else. Within minutes of arrival I could see my options and possibilities right away.