Text: Alice Liang
Château Cheval Blanc是不少好酒之徒夢寐的夢幻逸品，世上也有人對此酒莊熱愛得連自己所開設的酒店也要以此命名。貴精不貴多的白馬莊園渡假酒店，目前全球只有三間，但每間都如同名酒莊的作品，出眾得教人如癡如醉，位於馬爾代夫的Cheval Blanc Randheli亦絕不例外。
Without question, Château Cheval Blanc is the darling of a lot of wine lovers – one of whom even named his hotel after the winery in honour of his fondness. The exquisite Cheval Blanc collection comprises three outlets across the world at the moment. However, it is the quality than quantity that counts. Similar to how drinkers are impressed by the eponymous winery, each of the resort hotel is a dream destination for many travelers. Nestled in Maldives, Cheval Blanc Randheli is no exception.
今時今日，不少酒店也高舉「奢侈」作旗號，然而大多都是流於硬件的堆砌。在 Cheval Blanc Randheli，他們所推崇的奢侈，則是簡單還原基本步：「以人為本」。
Many hotels embrace “luxury” as their edge, yet most of them merely settled the idea at hardware polishing. In Cheval Blanc Randheli, the philosophy towards luxury is simple, which is a people-oriented approach.
酒店對旅客的貼心是由他們未入住前已經開展，在他們抵埗前， 禮賓部團隊會事先發出一份詳細的問卷，從飲食、活動、以至床單顏色等範疇全方位了解住客喜好 ，度身設計獨特難忘體驗，作為住客當然也更為期待到訪。
The Utmost Hospitality
The hospitality from the hotel begins before the stay of the travelers. Before arrival, the team would first send out a detailed questionnaire to consult the all-round preferences of guests. This includes dietary, activities or even colour of the bedding! Clearly, this can ensure a tailor-made a special experience for the guests, who are likely to start looking forward to their stay after completing the form.
Set in the pristine Noonu Atoll, Cheval Blanc Randheli is an intimate and contemporary haven, a 40- minute seaplane journey north of Malé. Upon arrival, the hotel staff standing at the pier gives us the warmest welcome with the Maison’s signature Art de Recevoir. By seeing the cheerful grins on their faces, I believe this marks a wonderful beginning of the trip.
明亮的起居空間以眾多呼應印度洋的自然素材作潤飾，包括柚木、藤器、椰殼等；此外，每間別墅的浴室中亦掛上藝術家Vincent Beaurin獨一無二的畫作，配合整體白 、灰、黃三大主色調，室內洋溢簡約格調。每一間均設有眺望印度洋、長達12.5米的私人泳池。筆者所入住的一房別墅旁還有個私人沙灘，是近距離觀察印度洋生態，同時與太陽來一場肌膚之親的好去處，輕易能讓人消磨上大半天。如欲追求極致私密，不妨考慮包下酒店的私人小島，一嘗島主滋味：雖然價值不菲，但仍然大受歡迎，此乃舉辦各式私人派對的最佳理想地點。
Natural Elements In The Design
After checking in, the hotel will arrange a butler for each villa. The butler is responsible for all your needs during the stay, and most importantly, he or she will arrange guests’ transport around the hotel with buggy. The hotel is a proud design from legendary architect Jean-Michel Gathy. The 46-villa Maison has been conceived in harmony with the island’s lush vegetation and lagoon views. All have a large living room, adjoining powder room, spacious bedrooms – which draw the eye out to the stunning scenery of the Indian ocean connecting to the private infinity pool. Guests are well pampered with everything they need in the villa. Everyday the butler sends in daily special treats to spice up the day. Apart from seasonal fruits, there are pastry fresh from the bakery. You can rest assured to be enticed by the petite delectable delights.
The villas are furnished with materials from the Indian Ocean – teak, rattan, bamboo, thatch and coconut shell. Above the tub, there is an art piece from famous artist Vincent Beaurin, which is bespoke to each villa. This gives a splash of pop to enhance the stylish colour palette medley of white, taupe, oyster grey and yellow throughout. Every villa is equipped with a 12.5m private pool. What’s more – a private beach is set alongside of the villa. This is easily one of the favourite spots of a lot of guests where they can observe the marine biodiversity, or chill out for sunbathing. If you are in search of the ultimate intimacy, you might wish to consider taking over the private island during your stay. The high price guarantees an extravagant and lavish experience in vogue, which is most sought-after for throwing private parties.
Meanwhile the hotel also curates a range of engaging activities for guests to enjoy. My personal recommendation must be snorkeling. It allows non-divers to admire the beauty underneath the Indian Ocean – the Finding Nemo in real life is nothing short of a miracle. Otherwise, it is also an exciting option to get on a boat and set off for dolphin watching. If you are lucky enough, groups of dolphins will tag along and swim merrily according to the rhythm led by the crew. The hotel also presents other activities for guests to rejuvenate and relax, for example, fishing, canoeing, yoga, scuba diving, spa treatment and sunrise boat trip.
美食作為假期的重要一環，住客也可以放心在酒店大快朵頤。酒店裏五間餐廳，分別供應正宗法、日、意、東南亞菜餚，亦有露天茶座供應環球美食，客人更可要求安排在沙灘上，於日落時份享用浪漫晚餐。饕客們定不會錯過le 1947這家法國高級餐廳，細細品味糅合當地風情的九道菜嚐味菜單，更可佐以美酒搭配的選擇。酒迷們定必知道，1947是Château Cheval Blanc為人讚頌的經典年份之一，然而餐廳以此年份取名，原來還想紀念酒莊因戰事影響而首次起用女性員工釀酒。
現時酒店內有460款酒品，跟一般同級餐廳相比，其酒單或顯遜色，但可別忘記，在杳無人煙的印度洋小島上，能夠盡享如此豐富佳釀，實在難得。貴為LVMH集團旗下，酒店餐廳的酒窖當然少不了同集團的名莊美酒，包括Krug、 Château d’Yquem，甚至市場上熱搶的傲雲，一一盡收其中。不過說到最矚目的酒款，自然是Château Cheval Blanc。「在Cheval Blanc酒店裏，Cheval Blanc葡萄酒真的特別容易賣！」餐廳侍酒師笑說。白馬酒莊的擁躉們要留意，現時酒窖收藏了其14個年份，包括優秀年份如1989、1990、2000和2001年，以及珍稀得即使在法國也難以搜尋到的1982和1947年。「我們在開幕三年來合共賣了7瓶1947年，現時還有2瓶。」千金難買心頭好，要是想一嚐這個難忘年份的滋味，同時度過一個舒心假期，心動不如行動！
Gourmet Selection In Awe
Food is indispensable to the perfect holiday. Here in Cheval Blanc Randheli, you can easily commit the sin of gluttony with the indulgence of delicious cuisine. There are five restaurants in the hotel to celebrate the culinary vibrancy with authentic international selection of French, Italian, Japanese and Southeast Asian style. Upon request, the team can set up a romantic dinner for you on the beach with the wonderful sunset as backdrop. Epicureans should have their attention placed on le 1947. The Frech fine dining establishment offers 9-course culinary experience inspired by local and regional flavours with wine paring available. The vintage 1947 might not be strange to drinkers as it is one of the most prominent vintage of Château Cheval Blanc. Nonetheless, the restaurant is also paying tribute to a lesser-known sidetrack of the vintage – it was the year amidst wartime that female winemakers were first employed by the winery.
At the moment, the cellar has a collection of 460 labels. As compared to other fine dining restaurants, this might not be a mind-blowing wine list – yet don’t forget the restaurant is in a Maldivian setting and the access to this sumptuous selection is well enough for guests to enjoy themselves with the idyllic surroundings. As part of the LVMH group, the hotel cellar certainly displays an impressive portfolio of wines under the umbrella of the mother company. Krug, Château d’Yquem or even the fashionable Ao Yun are part of the collections. Moreover, in Cheval Blanc, Château Cheval Blanc can’t help to draw the attention of most drinkers. Fanatics for the winery would love to learn about the fourteen vintages the cellar features. That includes excellent vintage like 1989, 1990, 2000 and 2001. They even have rare items like 1982 and 1947, “since the opening of the hotel three years ago, we sold seven bottles of vintage 1947, right now there are only 2 left in the cellar!” says the restaurant sommelier.
Now, if you want to catch a taste of this charming wine and enjoy a captivating holiday – you know where to go.