Tickets go on sale next week for Paul McCartney’s first ever Yankee Stadium concert. No word yet on where he’ll hang pre-concert, but we do know his favorite place to spend the Christmas holidays: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
Maldives, a country of nearly 1200 Indian Ocean islands, attracts scads of A-listers, maybe because they want to see it while it’s still there. Located 300 miles south of Sri Lanka and India, the Republic of Maldives, as its officially known, is the lowest country in the world and as ocean levels rise, it could be the first fatality. Already, the country’s president, Mohamed Nasheed, is crafting a contingency plan by searching for land in Australia. Beyonce and Jay Z recently yachted the Maldives and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes honeymooned there soon after their $2 million Italian wedding in 15th century Odesalchi Castle.
Sir McCartney’s resort of choice is Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, two islands actually connected by a wooden footbridge. Voted twice as “best hotel in the world,” it’s a short 30-minute seaplane hop from Male, the Maldives’ capital and largest city.
With 150 villas, spread out over two islands, guests feel like they have paradise to themselves. The sunset water villas, with glass floors overlooking the coral reef, come with a private speedboat, a butler and a circular bed that rotates to follow the setting sun. The beach villas, scattered among tropical gardens on Rangalifinolhu Island (try saying that seven times), have courtyards with fountains, outdoor garden bathrooms and all-glass walls. Or choose a spa villa that comes with its own private treatment room.
The resort offers seven restaurants and four bars, not to mention 18,000 bottles of wine, but the restaurant that gets the most ink is Ithaa, an all-glass undersea restaurant with wooden floors, an arched see-through ceiling and seating for a mere 14. Getting reservations to this human fish bowl is tricky, not to mention over-the-top expensive. Lunch starts at $120. But where else can you dine 16-feet below sea level as the Indian Ocean’s exotic and brilliantly-hued sea life swims above your head. Ithaa means “pearl in Dihevi, the language of the Maldives, and indeed it is.
For even more sea creature-viewing, there’s Over-Water spa (it’s one of three if you count the Ice Cream Spa which is just for kids) that’s perched on stilts above the turquoise sea. While enjoying one of 40 treatments, guests watch the unspoilt coral reef through the glass floor.
It’s barefoot luxury at its award-winning best. Oh, and if you have the spare change, you can arrange for a sleepover in Ithaa for a mere $11,710 per night.
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