The Luxe List 2019: Joali, Maldives

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Joali sure knows how to make an entrance. Perched ecclesiastically on clear blue waters, the undulating thatched-roof pavilion on the resort’s arrival jetty makes for an impressive welcome that’s indicative of what’s to come. The palm-studded island it calls home—Muravandhoo, in the Maldives’ northern Raa Atoll—is interspersed with bars, restaurants, a spa, and a handful of secluded beach accommodations, while the remaining villas (there are 73 in all) line a snaking boardwalk that stretches into the ocean as far as the eye can see. Most of the interiors are the work of Istanbul-based outfit Autoban (Jaoli’s owner is Turkish), which has layered the property in a Mediterranean palette of neutral tones with aqua-blue accents, revealed through timber, bamboo, terrazzo flooring, curvaceous custom-made furnishings, and delicately carved wooden panels. The seven drinking and dining outlets cover all the bases from Italian to Chinese; among them is Saoke, an overwater Japanese restaurant that serves up fresh sushi and teppanyaki dishes against fiery sunset backdrops. Another highlight is the resort’s immersive art collection, which includes a colorful, mosaic-tiled table and stools by New York sculptor Misha Kahnand a rattan swing in the shape of a heron’s head by Cape Town-based Porky Hefer. Pieces are scattered across the island, providing unexpected diversions for those not content to spend their days sunning themselves beside their private pool.
—960/658-4400; joali.com; villas from US$1,962

See the full 2019 Luxe List in the October/November 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2019: Joali, Maldives”).

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