Formerly run by the Holiday Inn chain, Traders Hotel in Male' is the most upmarket transit and business hotel in the government district of Male'.
It is equally popular with flight crew, visiting diplomats, businessmen and overnighting package tour guests waiting for a morning transfer to the hotel's affiliated Shangri La Villingili property in the country's south.
On a clear day the hotel's rooftop cafe 'Azur' boasts one of the best views of the city and the surrounding islands, and beds placed by the nearby infinity pool during the day make it a popular sunbaking destination in an otherwise conservatively-dressed city. At night the beds are converted to sofas and the outside area becomes a popular hangout for well-to-do locals.
While the hotel is a popular meeting destination for officials from the nearby government offices, this is an international hotel and feels very much the domain of foreigners. This came to the fore in Feburary 2010 when the hotel was the focus of Islamic NGO-led anti-liquor protests over its licensing bid to serve alcohol to foriegn visitors, a public relations nightmare from which the hotel is still recovering.
While bemused tourists and sober expatriates bemoan the lack of alcohol on the sunny rooftop bar, locals consistently praise the hotel's lobby cafe for serving perhaps the city's best cup of coffee.
Due to the lack of alcohol the Azur bar has taken to serving juices, iced teas and 'mocktails' at much the same price as resort cocktails. The view is spectacular, as is the bill, although the sushi platters are worth every penny.
Of the hotel's three eateries the first floor Lime restaurant is the pick, serving excellent buffet fare as well as a la carte. Most diners are hotel guests as the pricing does little to draw the walk-in crowd, something the management seems to be conciously trying to address by offering the odd Friday dinner special.
The entry-level rooms are small but fitted out to the standard of an international hotel chain, and easily the most luxurious in Male'. Service is generally very good, especially the smiling staff at reception.
The hotel's conference room on the second floor may not be the biggest in Male' - larger events are typically held in the Dharubaruge halls or nearby Bandos Island Resort and Spa - but the facilities and support are among the best available and are often used by local NGOs and the visiting diplomatic community.
Reviewed by JJ Robinson