Luxury Hotels


Sunset views, as at the super-versatile Blu restaurant at FOUR SEASONS RESORT MALDIVES AT LANDAA GIRAAVARU above (it’s adaptable as it does à la carte breakfasts and then adapts to the Italian Blu, rest of the day). Ability to pivot helps in today’s world, and this is true even in city-centric luxury. At RITZ PARIS, for instance, a wait area outside La Dame de Pic restaurant can become a charming serviced bar in its own right.

Great sunset views help. In Paris, anything with a view of the Eiffel Tower benefits, say THE PENINSULA PARIS’ marvellous L’Oiseau Bleu restaurant, or sipping something with bubbles in the 125sq m Shangri-La Suite at SHANGRI-LA PARIS, where you have 360° views and, if the weather allows, a 100sq m outside deck. Gosh, the evening view is so important, wherever. About 18 years ago Adrian Zecha thought he’d better go and have a look at what would be AMANGIRI in the Utah desert. According to those in the know he sat for hours just looking at the view before declaring the whole project needed to be moved, which cost the developers, Canyon Equity, a lot more money as they needed to buy a lot more land. As so often, of course, Mr Z was right and we all know what happened. Amangiri became so successful that Canyon Equity had to add a semi-autonomous tented resort, CAMP SARIKA BY AMANGIRI, in an attempt to satisfy demand.

Sunset views from NIHI SUMBA, on that island near Bali, are best after a hike up to the hilltop spa. Sunset views from PHOENICIA INTERCONTINENTAL BEIRUT require split-second timing as when the sun hits the horizon there’s a momentary flash of bright green. Blink and you miss it.

Sometimes sunset views morph into something else.  Back in The Maldives, WALDORF ASTORIA MALDIVES ITHAAFUSHI has a sunset beach-set lounge Amber. It’s only open 6-8 p.m.. not quite blink-missable but almost. When the bar shuts Glow outdoor-in plant-health restaurant steps into the limelight. The same happens across town, or rather miles of water, at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru where staff also morph from sunset commentators to general interlocutors. How do those Four Seasons people communicate so effortlessly, with such charm? Avoiding direct questions, they encourage you, the guest, to open up, naturally.

Days later, as Girlahead arrived back at Male airport to fly away, finally, a Four Seasons agent, in a blue shirt, came running over and without impeding on the territory of a rival resort’s agent, gave a lovely genuine farewell and please come back. With the biggest, authentic, ear to ear grin.