An ultra-luxurious resort lapped by the translucent waters of the Maldives’ Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island sets a sumptuous stage for the season’s chicest seaside looks.
Photographs by Nurulita
Styled by Peter Zewet
With more than 100 resorts across 26 atolls, the Maldives is not short of extreme luxury. Yet Velaa Private Island (960/656-5000; doubles from US$1,900) still manages to take the island retreat experience up a notch thanks to an impressive list of “archipelago firsts.” In addition to being home to the only snow room in the Maldives, the turtle-shaped drop of land (velaa means “turtle” in Dhivehi) in the Noonu Atoll has the nation’s only shaded tennis courts and the sole My Blend Spa by Clarins in Asia. It also claims the largest wine and champagne collection, carefully ensconced in an 11-meter-high ivory-canvased tower, the top of which has been transformed into a teppanyaki restaurant offering views over Velaa’s lush landscape and 43 spacious villas, many of which are stilted over the Indian Ocean—one, the Romantic Pool Residence, is only accessible by boat. As well as the expected cache of Maldivian water pursuits—diving, sunset cruises, kayaking—Velaa offers guests Seabob and mini-sub excursions; on land there are also squash courts, a yoga pavilion, and a golf academy designed by Spanish pro José María Olazábal. Yet despite the lavish offerings, the resort’s design is pared-back and earthy with plenty of stone, wood, and bamboo. According to Czech owner Jirí Smejc, it all adds up to “polite luxury.” We’ll tip our hat to that. –Natasha Dragun
This article originally appeared in the June/July print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Velaa Vista”)