A brand new Maldives resort is opening in November and it looks stunning.
“Castaway Meets Runway”
Trying to do something new in the Maldives, SO, a fashion-forward brand from Accor is set to open in November. The brand is famous for its young, vibrant, design approach and calls the resort “avant-garde.” They are selling it as “castaway meets runway” a nod to both the island resort’s remote nature and the brand’s soul.
There’s a lot of intentionality with the property. The standard beach walk-up to the hotel lobby is a traditional wood decking but features red LED lights at the edge to incorporate a red carpet for its guests.
The islands are famous for their dive sites where guests can swim with whale sharks, snorkel, or even go jet skiing (though motorized water sports incur additional charges.) The resort advertises its spa treatments and a dedicated spa center for the ultimate relaxation.
Despite its design and style, the resort is not adults-only, in fact, there’s a kid’s club.
Like many Maldives resorts, SO occupies its own private island. Unlike others, however, it’s just a 15-minute speedboat from the airport. This is a huge advantage for a few reasons. First, other resorts like the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, a lengthy (and expensive) transfer is required. Transfers like this can add more than $500 per passenger and add an hour via seaplane. Further, the Maldives don’t allow domestic flights (including seaplanes) after 3 pm. Flight delays can strand guests at the airport overnight or force an even longer boat trip to reach the resort.
The address is officially:
Republic of Maldives
The property hosts 80 suites in a combination of beach villas and overwater villas “designed for open plan living with panoramic ocean views. Each with a private pool and deck, whichever villa you choose the idyllic water is just steps away.” There are many resorts in the islands with a combination of beach and over water villas but few feature private plunge pools at each one.
A far cry from thatched roof huts, these are modern structures with the latest amenities.
SO prices overwater pool villas are cheaper than their larger beach villas, the opposite approach of many Maldivian peers. Speaking of space, the overwater suites start at nearly 1,300 sq ft while beach equivalents come in at 2,400 sq ft.
Rates for overwater pool villas inclusive of breakfast start at about $1,000/nt.
Rates for beach pool villas inclusive of breakfast start at about the same; two-bedroom villas start around $1,400/nt inclusive of half-board.
I’ve not yet been to the Maldives, and there have been a number of reasons why. The cost and time to reach the islands are a significant factor, not to mention the money spent once there. While the isolation is part of its draw, I haven’t been persuaded that I wouldn’t grow bored. However, SO seems to offer something different. Without the expensive and lengthy flight from the airport and restrictions on those flights, that’s a major factor that the property has overcome. Additionally, rather than booking a standard room and using an instrument to maybe get an overwater villa at check-in the suites are all about the same process and allow us to choose between overwater or the beach for more space. SO looks gorgeous and might just switch my thinking from planning on visiting someday to planning a trip.
What do you think? How does SO compare to other premium hotels in the Maldives? Would you book a stay there?