The Man Who Made The Maldives A Luxury Mecca
When Lars Petre first stumbled upon the Maldives as a young Swede on vacation in 1985, the whole trip was a happy accident. After a ski vacation was canceled because the ski resort had to close due to too much snow (imagine – what a problem to have!) Petre and a friend detoured to Geneva and hopped on a flight to Colombo instead.
“We were planning a ski holiday but ended up in Sri Lanka,” Petre recalls with a smile. “I’d heard of some small islands in the Indian Ocean, so I thought – shall we take a look?”
Just three years later, Petre opened his first resort, Kuredu, with Maldivian partners in December 1988. Over the past three decades, his company Crown & Champa Resorts has grown to own or manage 10 resorts, a dozen locations of Duniye Spa and six diving centers across the tropical archipelago.
At adults-only Hurawalhi you can roll out of bed, put on snorkeling fins and slip right into the ocean from the deck of your over-water villa. Manta ray season runs from November to the end of April, and guests have already spotted endangered whale sharks several times this year. Rustic natural landscaping across the island creates unexpectedly lush, vibrant scenery that you might not expect for a country known for its beaches and oceans. There’s a cinema, beach, pool and many other amenities for the 340 employees who live on island, and guests can feel free to tour the complex, with full transparency to where the friendly team members live and work.