This sleek private-island sanctuary beckons with 80 pool villas and a pared-back, contemporary design.
Fans of Hyatt’s Alila brand have all the more reason to plan an Indian Ocean vacation, thanks to the opening of Alila Kothaifaru Maldives in the Raa Atoll. A 45-minute seaplane ride northwest from Male, the all–pool villa resort occupies an 11-hectare island ringed by natural white-sand beaches.
Snorkeling and diving are must-dos given the rich marine life that inhabits the surrounding waters. The resort can serve as a jumping-off point for explorations of the Hanifaru Bay UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in the nearby Baa Atoll, as well as Vaadhoo Island. The latter is one of the best places to witness the Sea of Stars, a natural phenomenon caused by bioluminescent phytoplankton that occurs during the late summer.
Alila Kothaifaru’s minimalist architecture came courtesy of Singapore-based Studiogoto, which created a series of terraced pavilions, villas, and a treetop spa designed to blend into the landscape. The low-rise structures all have contemporary interiors with breezy spaces and a calming palette of island-inspired colors and textures; guests here bed down in 80 pool villas, of which 44 are along the beach and 36 are perched above the water. The larger of the two categories, Beach villas measure in at 202 square meters, and feature an open-air bathroom in a walled garden. Early birds will want to book the Sunrise Beach Villas for the views and quick access to the resort’s main facilities, such as the infinity pool and beachside all-day dining venue, Seasalt. The menu at Seasalt focuses on coastal Mediterranean cuisine with Middle Eastern influences, and salt-baked fish dishes are a specialty.
Other outlets on the property include the west-facing Mirus Bar, whose cocktails nod to the region’s ancient spice trade routes and concocted with ingredients from the on-site herb garden. Umami offers Japanese-adjacent fare prepared by teppanyaki chefs using organically grown vegetables, Wagyu beef, and sustainably sourced fish and seafood. The adjoining Yakitori Bar turns out its namesake skewers from a robata grill, and tipples range from Asian-inspired craft cocktails to fine Japanese sake and spirits. Pibati Café provides light bites and comfort food that can be easily take along on an excursion.
An extensive selection of activities awaits at the resort’s Water Sports and Dive Center, while couples should opt for a two to three-hour journey around the Raa Atoll aboard traditional Maldivian dhoni before returning to the resort’s private sandbank — dubbed The Shack — for a gourmet picnic, sunset barbecue, or romantic candlelit dinner under the stars. The resort also features a 24-hour gym and Play Alila, a dedicated play and learning space that will keep the youngest guests entertained with toys, games, and supervised indoor and outdoor activities.
For wellness-minded travelers, Spa Alila comprises four double treatment suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows. Therapists here deliver treatments and beauty rituals that utilize natural ingredients and put a modern twist on ancient healing techniques. Guests will also be treated to complimentary daily yoga sessions in an outdoor space within the spa.
Villas from US$700; alilahotels.com/kothaifaru-maldives