A diversification plan sees Chip Eng Seng go from building homes to creating out-of this world holiday experiences.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
A diversification plan sees Chip Eng Seng go from building homes to creating out-of this world holiday experiences.
My Reading Room

Villas that are unaba shedly luxurious yet with an elegant touch of rustic beauty. A plush haven that simply begs one to curl up within its comfortable embrace, yet one that still draws in the magnificent natural beauty around it, enticing you to go for just one more exploration. Think outdoor showers shaded by lush foliage and illuminated by the sun and the moon; and over-water villas with see-through glass floors that allow you to observe the colourful marine life without getting even your toes wet. This is the Grand Park Kodhipparu Resort in the Maldives.

Opened earlier this year, this 120-villa property set in the North Male Atoll offers nothing less than the exceptional. And while Grand Park Hotel – a brand under Park Hotel Group, established and headquartered in Singapore – is widely recognised as a name of repute within the hospitality industry, what many may not realise is that yet another Singaporean company is behind the resort.

A publicly listed construction and property group, Chip Eng Seng (CES) is a property developer with a difference. While the group’s empire was built on the construction of public housing and property development – including iconic developments such as The Pinnacle@Duxton and Bishan Loft – it has evolved to embrace property investment. The expansive portfolio spans residential and mixed developments in Singapore to overseas projects, and of note are hospitality projects that mark a new chapter in the company’s development.


CES’ foray into hospitality started with the 442-room Park Hotel Alexandra. With a bid of $186 million, the company won the tender for a mixed retail and hotel site at the junction of Jalan Bukit Merah and Alexandra Road in 2011. “Prior to tendering for this plot of land, the group had built a stronger balance sheet from its decade-long involvement in residential property developments,” says Raymond Chia, executive chairman of Chip Eng Seng Corporation.

“With a stronger financial position, and as the property development and construction from this new group of Asian consumers will shorten the payback period, delivering returns equivalent or exceeding those of property development and construction.” Chia is also cognisant of the capitalin tensive nature of the hotel business and astutely addresses these hurdles. “With years of proven track record, the group has established a strong name with various financial institutions and the investors community. This building of the CES brand name enables it to tap on debt markets readily with low interest cost to raise the necessary capital for expanding its hospitality business,” he says.

My Reading Room


Having started out as builders with a penchant for high quality workmanship, it is only natural that CES would have the same high standards for its hospitality projects as well. For Grand Park Kodhipparu Resort, the group engaged award-winning Hirsch Bedner Associates – considered one of the world’s top hospitality design firms – to work on the all-villa property. The result: a collection of contemporary villas featuring state-of-the-art interior design, yet with a touch of traditional Maldivian aesthetics and rustic appeal blended in harmoniously.

Thoughtfulness in design is translated not just into an elegant look here. In each of the villas and throughout the resorts, sprawling social spaces invite one to lounge with a loved one, and a welcoming openness celebrates the natural beauty of the magical setting that is the Maldives.

This insistence on the best is not just a matter of principle. “There are more than 150 resorts in Maldives. To stand out among the pack in the long run, CES will have to work on delivering unique and unparalleled guest experience,” says Chia. The resort also boasts three dining outlets, a world-class spa, a fully equipped water sports and dive centre, a recreation beach club and also a kids club. A wide array of experiences, ranging from island adventures to sea sport activities, is also designed for guests to fully take in what the Maldives has to offer.

But with stretches of powdery white sand beaches to stroll on, unobstructed view of miles upon miles of tranquil waters to gaze at for hours, one doesn’t have to do much to experience paradise on earth here.

My Reading Room

Grand Park Kodhipparu Resort is a villa-only getaway located just a mere 20 minutes’ speedboat ride from Male.


Step into contemporary villas designed by award winning hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates.

The resort boasts three dining outlets, a world-class spa, as well as a fully equipped water sports and dive centre.