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Maldives

The charms of the Maldives extended to space last week, when Anantara Kihavah announced the opening of the first ever overwater observatory in the Maldives. The installation is the latest in stargazing leisure, featuring an array of high-end facets that include the luxury Sky Bar, Sky Deck, and resident astronomer all above the clear blue water of the Maldives

The centerpiece to this unique island experience is the Sky Observatory, a custom-built Ash-dome observatory that sits on the roof deck of the Sky Bar. Encircled by open skies and ocean waves, this is the first and only observatory in the Maldives, featuring a research-grade Meade LX200 telescope mounted on a super-giant field tripod.

The Maldives’s position on the equator means both hemisphere’s stars are visible from Anantara Kihavah. The minimal light pollution of the island-scattered region makes it a prime location for stargazing any time of the year.

For the amateur astronomers hoping to learn more about the heavens on their holiday, Anantara has secured the services of master astronomer and native Maldivian Ali Shameem, the Sky Guru. Having overseen the launch of the much-anticipated Sky Observatory, Shameem has studied with the likes of Dr. Giovanni Benjamin of the University of Padua’s and Dr. Massimo Tarenghi who headed the ALMA Observatory in Chile – where Shameem observed the world’s largest dark sky reserve.

ABOVE: The Sky Guru Ali Shameem under the lights of the Sky Bar.

The Sky Guru will lead guests on their stargazing journey hemisphere’s constellations, pointing out the yellow rings of Saturn, the counter-rotating zones and belts of Jupiter that vary in width, color and intensity from year to year, and the 300,000 stars that make up the Messier 13, according to a press release from Anantara. His personal favorite is the Omega Centauri, a globular cluster in the Milky Way.

ABOVE: The Sky Deck over the water, next to the observatory.

For a little tipple with the stars, the SKY experience includes the Sky Bar, a panorama lounge perched over the lagoon that maximizes ocean views during the day. Made with raw timber and featuring soft lighting throughout, the Sky Bar is ideal for sunsets over the Indian Ocean. A circular bar with resident mixologist serves as the centerpiece of Sky Bar, complete with an indoor starry design overhead. SKY has a large cocktail menu and also serves aperitifs and wine.

ABOVE: Star-like lights over the Sky Bar.

Guests can sip on island signatures such as Kihavah Island Tea – an Indian Ocean white rum and arak with lychee, peach, lemon, and a dash of Earl Grey Tea – and laze on low oversized daybeds that wrap around the terrace, enjoying tapas and fragrant shisha. To go along with the resident mixologist and resident master astronomer is the resident DJ Kristina, who spins mellow vibes that compliment the calm arena.

ABOVE: Ali Shameem with the most powerful observatory in the Maldives.

Anantara Kihavah, a Remote Lands favorite, is one of the finest luxury resorts in the Maldives, providing a holistic holiday experience. Those bored by the endless expanse of space and the wonders of the universe can head to SEA, the world’s first underwater wine cellar and a restaurant, where the main course is a Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu steak. Other dining options include the Teppanyaki lounge at FIRE and the snapper and lamb of SALT.