The Luxe List 2014: Velaa Private Island, Noonu Atoll, Maldives
A 45-minute seaplane flight from Male in the Noonu Atoll, Velaa is the US$200 million passion project of Czech financier Jirí Smejc, who has lavished the private-island resort’s 43 one- to four-bedroom villas with Borneo hardwood, desert stone from Jordan, and elegant Italian furnishings. Other draws include a short-game golf academy designed by two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal, cloud-shaped treatment pods in the overwater Clarins spa, an extensive kids’ club, and a Seabob and mini-submarine, on hand for exploring the surrounding reefs. Velaa also claims the only shaded tennis courts in the Maldives. And rising above the palm fronds, a canvas-wrapped 11-meter tower houses a teppanyaki restaurant helmed by Sri Lankan sous chef Gaushan De Silva as well as the largest wine collection in the archipelago.
960/656-5000; Velaa Private Island; doubles from US$1,900