Pic: Supplied
Pic: Supplied

Spectacular solar-powered luxury villas in the Maldives

By IOL Supplied Time of article published Feb 21, 2018

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Imagine waking up to the sunrise in your own beach villa in the middle of the Indian Ocean? 

The sunlight glimmers off the turquoise water as you descend down your private staircase into the ocean for a morning swim. Looking around, you realise that you are truly isolated from the rest of the world and the resort you are staying in must be one of a kind. Then it becomes apparent that the resort definitely is in a class of its own as you can’t see or hear any signs of dependency on the modern world: the resort operates completely off the grid.

Climate change and sustainable development have become the buzzwords of many environmentalists recently and the hospitality sector has taken note. Luxury resorts have heeded the call and turned their energy dependence to the most abundant resource available: the sun. 

The average beach resort depends heavily on the mainland electricity supply to function: to heat up saunas, keep refreshments ice cold and ensure every imaginable need is catered to for the guests. However, there is a trend starting in the development of luxury resorts to incorporate renewable energy, particularly solar power, in their designs to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment.

Make no mistake, these resorts are the pinnacle of luxury. An example of one such resort is the Club Med Finolhu Villas situated in the Kaafu Atoll in the Maldives. Designed by the world-famous architect Yuji Yamakazi, the resort offers individual chalets which ensure maximum privacy. 

Private pools, beaches and elegantly designed chalets offer the opportunity for guests to enjoy their surroundings in undisturbed peace and quiet. Should some social interaction be desired, there are world class facilities available in the form of a central bar, restaurant, gym and wellness spa, all designed to match the identity of the resort.

One of the key concepts of incorporating solar power in the resort is designing the solar panels to fit seamlessly into the resort. Rather than trying to hide the panels, the walkways have been constructed that allow the panels form the roof. Only noticeably visible from the air, when a guest is walking from their private beach to the central area, the panels are barely visible. 

Producing over 1 megawatt of electricity each day, the resort is fully powered by renewable energy and 100% off the grid. Enough energy is harnessed by the sun so that surplus electricity is stored for use on overcast weather days. Coupled with a desalination plant that produces fresh water, the island is a model to be emulated for eco-resorts.

With a shift in design thinking centered around environmental responsibility, resorts such as the Finolhu Villas, offered exclusively by Club Med, are proof that you don’t need to sacrifice luxury to deliver a world class holiday experience that is friendly to the planet.

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