Thai developer Singha Estate, the real-estate development arm of Boon Rawd Brewery, has embarked on its largest international project to date, investing US$680 million in a series of hotels and events venues in the Maldives.
The multi-island integrated resort Crossroads will be set on nine artificial islands spanning 7.5 kilometres in length. The reclaimed chain is located near to the capital city Male, and the international airport on Hulhule Island.
Chief investment officer of Singha Estate, Thiti Thongbenjamas, says: “With this project we are attempting to enhance the Maldivian travel experience. The country is well known as a luxury destination, popular with honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic getaway. It is an expensive place to holiday, and accessibility is an issue—most resorts require a seaplane connection, and this can be a deterrent for some.
“Our proximity to Male and the airport will challenge this model—we are located only 15-minutes away by speed boat, a key selling point for travellers looking to avoid exorbitant domestic flight costs and to reduce travel times. We will also offer a broad range of accommodation options from ultra-luxury to budget, which for the first time will make group travel to the Maldives an affordable prospect.”
Construction on the first phase of the project—the Emboodhoo Lagoon—began in July this year with a total investment of US$311.5 million. When complete in the fourth quarter of 2018 it will comprise three connecting islands including a Hard Rock Hotel debuting a new design concept. The main hub will be the Township “Entertainment Island” that will combine a range of events venues.
“We have partnered with world-class developers to create the country’s first integrated lifestyle destination. The Township will be open to all visitors, travellers and locals alike, to enjoy our facilities that will include a Café Del Mar beach club, an international-standard 50-berth marina; duty-free shopping arcade; and cultural and marine learning centre,” says Thongbenjamas. “There will also be two connecting hotels including a mid-level transit-style property with room rates starting at US$350 a night, which is very affordable by Maldivian standards.”
The Township, designed by Bangkok-based Bill Bensley, will also have 400 square-metres of multipurpose events space, which Thongbenjamas hopes will attract key corporate groups from the country’s main source markets of China, England and Germany. “It will be an ideal place for brands to host product launches and lifestyle events, and for corporates to conduct training and development programmes, incentives and meetings.”
Aerial view of the project
Phase two of the project, which will take a further five years to complete, will combine a mix of hotels and long stay residences, details of which have not yet been disclosed. Thongbenjamas says: “We are currently working with internationally-branded five-star hotels and world-class designers, and will ultimately add 1,300 keys to the country’s room inventory”