Best of the Best
The enduring appeal of the Maldives shows no sign of abating
The last few years have seen some sensational openings and refurbishments in the Maldives, so we’ve put together a collection of three of our favourites. And what a sheer showcase of paradise they are.
If we could rate them six stars, we would.
The Place Beyond Time
Known as ‘the place beyond time’, The Nautilus offers complete flexibility and freedom, giving the island a bohemian feel, where you can dance to your own beat. Breakfast at dinnertime or a dip in your own private pool at midnight. A personal butler on hand to cater for your every whim? Why not.
The Nautilus opened in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, in January 2019. The resort has a small but wonderful selection of over-water ocean houses, with one, two or three bedrooms, living room, sun deck and private plunge pool.
When it comes time to explore, paddle in transparent canoes, all the better to spot the rainbow of fish swimming under your bottom, or snorkel to see whale sharks and manta rays.
"Freedom is the key here. Eat and drink what you want, when you want… three restaurants without closing times, creating bespoke, individual culinary journeys for each guest."
Make sure to visit the Dive Centre – where your imagination is positively encouraged for water based adventures – such as sailing with dolphins, desert island dining, exploring sandbanks or casting a rod into the deep-sea.
ART LOVERS PARADISE
It’s a mean feat for a luxury resort in the Maldives to stand out, but Joali has managed it by doing the opposite to others. Where rivals champion rustic-chic, Joali has gone all-out with marble floors, plush rugs and immersive art. It is decidedly different and proud of it.
Choose between beach and over-water villas with up to four bedrooms, staggeringly high ceilings and an incredible amount of space whether it’s just the two of you, or with little ones in tow.
It will be difficult to leave your villa but venture out and you’ll find four fusion restaurants as well as lovely touches such as a whiskey lounge, chocolatier and ESPA Spa. Snorkelling trips often result in seeing mantas and whale sharks and given that the Raa Atoll has fewer resorts than others you won’t see many humans.
"If you enjoy design and attention to detail, you'll love Joali. It is a place where sophistication is valued but not flaunted and where good old-fashioned service is top notch - the team is made up of some of the best in the industry."
Art lovers will enjoy the art trail around the island’s verdant interior, and if inspired, you can create your own tropical Gauguin in the studio.
COMO COCOA ISLAND
For an authentic dose of the Maldives, you can’t go wrong with Como Cocoa Island. And with a recent massive refurbishment, the resort is understated elegance personiﬁed. Kick back on your secluded sun deck, while waves lap the shore and indulge in the impeccable service and modern luxuries that come as standard.
Choose from suites and villas, shaped like local dhoni fishing boats for an authentic touch, and discover luxurious furnishings and private steps that lead right into the warm Indian Ocean. Relaxation doesn’t come more idyllic than this.
For those who prefer a little more activity, the crystal clear water holds the key. Turn your hand to windsurfing or a spot of sailing, or venture below the waves for exceptional snorkelling and diving to explore the vast reef. Head a little further afield for deep-sea fishing and island-hopping trips, or embark on a sunset cruise for an unforgettable experience.
The cuisine at COMO Cocoa Island makes full use of its ocean setting. Enjoy the freshest seafood; think mouth-watering tuna and lobster, cooked to a fragrant Indian and Sri Lankan style for delicious results.
"Yoga tuition on the white sands is not to be missed, while a visit to the wellness experts will help you relax both body and mind with a range of traditional Asian therapies to refresh and revitalise."
For those seeking longer escapes, you can combine COMO Cocoa Island with sister property COMO Maalifushi, with a direct seaplane operating between the two for ease.
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