The Maldives is synonymous with the image of a picturesque honeymoon destination—with thousands of idyllic islands of pure, white sand beaches, and bright aquamarine water, it certainly does not disappoint. The archipelago boasts a host of world-class resorts (each its own private island), providing the ultimate playground for travelers who are looking to soak in the sun and sea.
A refreshing contrast to the grandeur of bigger chain hotels, a new independent property with just fifteen overwater residences is leading the way in defining the meaning of sustainable luxury. With its opening in December 2018, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island is the first luxury resort in the Maldives to achieve operations on 100% renewable solar energy through its Japanese inspired, design-led architecture. Kudadoo demonstrates that the use of renewable energy does not interfere with “luxury,” and leads the way in showing how future resorts in the Maldives can be built by putting an environmental ethos first.
Located in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Kudadoo’s all-inclusive concept of “Anytime, Anywhere, Anyplace” lends the dream backdrop for travelers looking for understated luxury. Guests enjoy unrivaled personalized service and an endless array of activities, all while being within a consciously built environment. In addition to eliminating almost all single-use plastics including straws, rubbish bags, and plastic bags, Kudadoo is working to implement a composting system in conjunction with its sister island Hurawahli, only a five-minute speedboat ride away.
New York-based architect, Yuji Yamazaki, led the concept design of Kudadoo Maldives Private Island and the now iconic “Retreat” which houses the solar panels and acts as an architectural statement of sustainability for its guests.
“We made sure that this solar roof is the first impression for the guests when approaching the island. Our intention was to create an informative demonstration as to how the island is powered. We have installed 984 solar panels spanning 1,643 square meters,” Yamazaki explains. “The system generates 320KWp of power, 575Wh annually, which is capable of running the entire island without fossil fuel. We wanted to visually express this data by showing the scale of the installation.”
Kudadoo’s solar system generates 575Wh annually, which is more than what’s required to run the island; therefore the generators are not expected to kick in often unless the weather deviates from its annual norm. Based on an average diesel liter yielding 2KWh (USD $0.5/KWh), the initial investment on its installation will be recovered in five years, thus eliminating the need to import diesel fuel and allowing the private island to run entirely on renewable energy.
Once arriving at the ocean residence, you begin to notice how each interior design detail is set with the intention for each guest to minimize their energy consumption, without sacrificing luxury while enjoying the ultimate privacy. By decreasing the use of air conditioning as a leading factor to reverse climate change, according to Paul Hawken’s “Project Drawdown” plan, Yamazaki designed each residence to maximize natural air flow.
“The breeze and shades were the driving elements for designing the guest accommodation to minimize the energy consumption. Every villa has operable full height windows strategically placed in opposite walls, advocating natural cool ventilation to air conditioning,” Yamazaki shares. “With overhanging roofs, umbrellas, and canopies, more than 50% of the private outdoor deck of all water villas were designed to have at least 5 hours of shared hours during the day.”
Throughout each step in the building process, Yamazaki and his team took careful consideration of how the structures would impact the environment. Building all above-water structures only using the existing sanded sea-bed and not disturbing coral areas involved careful bathymetric surveys and maneuvering of construction, which took the team considerable time and extra labor.
“We believe that luxury is not mutually exclusive with ecology in the Maldives. People visit the Maldives to enjoy its nature, and the nature in which the luxury can be crafted can be carefully curated,” says Yamazaki. “Critics may say that is is only a drop in the bucket in terms of global CO2 reduction, however achieving carbon neutrality is a huge symbolic gesture coming out of the Maldives, which has the lowest average ground level in the world.”
To learn about Kudadoo and to book your stay, visit kudadoo.com.