The Maldives might be becoming a bit more mainstream — even for Americans. But, we know of a place where the rich and famous go to hide out that you’ve probably never even heard of.
No, it’s not a massive chain such as One & Only, Viceroy or W... but Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi. This remote paradise has quietly become a celebrity favorite probably for the laid-back luxury and understated elegance along with stellar service. Plus, its tiny and boutique with only 40 rooms overlooking a private lagoon.
You can sail around the whole North Male atoll slowly on a traditional Dhoni boat in about an hour with a few sundowner cocktails. They also have private butlers or thakura who are very discrete but with that thing called social media, it’s become harder to keep this place under wraps.
Case in point: We are not sure if Jay Z was with Beyoncé or Becky when he visited but we do know that the staff quickly stocked his favorite wine Armand de Brignac at the underground wine cellar Vinum.
You can also arrange for a private tasting dinner in the romantic circular room surrounded by 6,000 bottles — reportedly the largest in the Indian Ocean — but Kate Moss preferred to dance on the table as supermodels are known to do. George Clooney came to the island with a mission to dine at the Raw eatery adjacent to the open-air Salt where the meals are actually cooked.
Naomi Campbell holidayed with a friend, Linda Evangelista brought her daughter, and many other sports stars and supermodels have stayed here, including tennis champion Roger Federer.
The resort recently flew in U.K. soul singer Joss Stone for a private concert as part of the Pulse series of unique experiences for guests; and celeb chef Akira Back from Vegas (Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift are her among fans), was flown in to cook several multi-course dinners that included eating her signature raw tuna pizza in a romantic tree house setting at Nest on sister island property Niyama.
The fashion and music crowd seems to love the laid-back luxury as well, Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana and John Galliano have both been guests, and the late Alexander McQueen. Charles Shillings, sound designer to Karl Lagerfeld, and singer-song writer Mr. Hudson, who is a Protégé of Kanye West, have also visited.
Hotelier and interior designer Anouska Hempel did a six-day yoga retreat but you can also dive, feed the stingrays or adopt a coral tree when you are not splashing in the salt water or infinity pool lit by fiber optics.
The two overwater pavilions have a James Bond feel with a remote-controlled glass wall separating the indoor-outdoor infinity pool and furniture by renowned designers such as Frank Gehry. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have stayed in the private pavilion for $30,000 per night; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes spent their honeymoon and had a massage in the underwater spa, Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar also frolicked on the island.
We couldn’t help but notice that most of the famous couples who have stayed here are now divorced. If the rest make it long enough to have children, they should consider visiting Per Aquum Niyama on their next visit — it's split up onto two islands, for “play” and “chill," and is very family friendly. And besides, Margaret Dabbs (behind the world’s most expensive pedicures) is coming soon to this resort... and what Hollywood VIP would want to miss out on that kind of pampering?
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