Club Med's new property in that honeymooner heaven, the Maldives, flags a new direction. Scheduled to open in February 2015 (bookings are open now), Club Med Finolhu Villas is the chain's most upscale, private offering yet. But it comes with a choice for guests: Finolhu Villas is a short boat ride away from the newly renovated Club Med Kani, so Finolhu guests can ensconce themselves in their private luxury world or head over to Club Med Kani to join in the social fun.
Club Med Australia and New Zealand general manager Madeleine Clow says while the company maintains its appeal as a value family holiday option, its premium, all-inclusive offering has been increasingly popular with Australians, "particularly our ski resorts in Europe and Japan".
Club Med Kani is a spectacular example of the identity the 60-year-old pioneer of the all-inclusive resort has taken in recent years. Since opening its first five-trident resort, Club Med La Plantation D'Albion in Mauritius in 2007, the company has rebranded: it offers high-end experiences and plenty of choice at beautifully designed properties with eco credentials in great locations. No mean feat.
"We started out as huts on a beach where everyone chipped in doing the dishes," Clow says. "Now we're about combining our legendary comfort, welcome and relaxation with the luxury experience."
Club Med Kani does just that. The private island resort has its four-trident property with Club Med classic touches such as buffet restaurants, a plethora of free activities, social pool and bar areas and nightly entertainment. Then it has its five-trident resort-within-a-resort, including its 52 villas.
The secluded Club Med Finolhu Villas is a step up. The 22 beach villas and 30 lagoon villas have private pools and terraces and butlers, breakfast and afternoon tea served in villas, private dinners and a restaurant are part of the offering. Club Med is running an opening deal on Finolhu Villas.