The Maldives isn't exactly lacking in novel luxury hotels, but well-heeled travelers with a view to mitigate their carbon footprint can now check into what's being promoted as the Maldives' first entirely solar-powered five star resort. Finolhu Villas comprises 52 solar-powered villas located on an exclusive island in the Indian Ocean.

The Finolhu Villas project was designed by New York firm Yuji Yamazaki Architecture (YYA) and completed earlier this year. Situated on the island of Gasfinolhu, which measures just 5 hectares (12.3 acres), the development is home to up to 100 staff and a like number of visitors, year-round.

A typical villa on the resort measures a total of 168 sq m (1,807 sq ft), and is located a stone's throw from the beach. The interior includes a lounge, patio, private pool, dressing room, and the all-important minibar. The villas also feature strategically-placed operable windows and wooden shade screens. This presumably does the trick, as YYA reports that guests don't usually require air-conditioning.

While taking a stretch of unspoiled tropical island paradise and developing it for tourists isn't really environmentally-friendly or low-impact in any real sense, the resort is self-sufficient in electricity thanks to a total of 67,000 sq ft (6,224 sq m) of photovoltaic panels and a large battery array.

Indeed, there's actually a surplus of juice left over, and the resort expects the solar tech to have paid for itself (with money saved from not having to import diesel fuel to run generators) within eight years.

Rates at the hotel depend on time of year and length of vacation, but when Gizmag quickly attempted to book a week's stay for two adults, we were quoted a cool AUD15,000 (roughly US$10,000). Ah well, maybe next year ...

Sources: YYA, Club Med, via Arch Daily

View gallery - 13 images