Luxury Hotels


Well, aren’t these the luckiest chickens, above? Two large cocks and eight delicate hens rule the roost, so to speak, at FOUR SEASONS RESORT MALDIVES AT LANDAA GIRAAVARU. This idyllic resort could be said to be evolving into a farm with overnight (luxury) lodging.

Apparently about two years ago area VP Armando Kraenzlin asked his 480 team members to come back from home leave with an egg. Eggs arrived, one each, from India, South Africa and various Stans in Eastern Europe. They were incubated at the Landaa Chicken Featherstation and there is now a highly productive coop, providing more than enough eggs for hotel guests, the staff and the kitchen. This inspired the buying-in of other eggs. The resort’s farm has an active quail area, for eggs and meat, and there are also ducks. Knowledgeable insiders say there is no talk, as yet, of expanding into, say, meat production.

From the human point of view, this is The Maldives’ comfy resort – what a lovely word. apparently it’s an early 19th century abbreviation that implies being drawn to something that will be agreeable. The villas, built 2006 and looking right up to date, do not smack of ‘designer’.  137sq m Beach Villa #206 comes in two parts, both kajan thatched. A separate two-floor sala is open-sided; the upper floor, reached via 11 spiralled wood steps, has casual beanbag-type seating. Downstairs, more formal seating sits in the sand. A second, larger, building has bedroom, bathroom, and discreet hints of rose pink and soft turquoise. The whole cabooche also comes with a 12m pool, a fixed sitting area above, and a private garden leading to the shared beach.

Armando Kraenzlin is away, re-positioning the Four Seasons Explorer to Palau. Dinner in BLU with Resort Manager Nitin Abbi, who had simply run away from his clothes manufacturing family to join hospitality, was fascinating – conversation ranged from fashion to hotel fads and the future.  BLU is a large open-sided space over the water and as it happened consultant chef Gaetano Travato, of Michelin 2-star Arnolfo in Colle di Val d’Elsa, was here that night (he was trained by Roger Vergé).

It was a memorable meal, starting with three rich amuse, including foie gras. A starter called Undergrowth was aptly named as it was indeed a carcophany of Landaa oyster mushrooms, porcini, king trumpets, and salsify, plus a watercress purée. Of the four pastas, a less-rich choice was tagliatelle with San Gimignano saffron, chanterelles and bay leaf, with white truffle grated tableside. For the secondi, the obvious choice for a carnivore was three cross-cuts of lamb loin, covered in a rich jus, with topinambur (Jerusalem artichoke) and quince purée.

The resort has a vital marine station, and a two-floor building houses the gym (Life Fitness, rare in this country). The next morning started with a dawn swim in the pool, and a visit to that gym. Then it was breakfast, å la carte in BLU or a tremendous buffet in Café Landaa. Eggs, of course. Comfy, with style.