This Guess the Resort: Tropical Treasure edition is of a remote island that was transformed in 3 years to a true treasure of a luxury resort, perfect for a special honeymoon or anniversary stay, given the incredible privacy of the stand alone villas, but equally perfect, given the several multi-bedroom villas, for a family or even extended family vacation. And speaking of treasure, the complimentary kids' club can even organize fun treasure hunts for youngsters.
After our arrival, where we were greeted by the General Manager and several other managers, we were introduced to our butler, who took us in a buggy down the jetty, past a swimming pool. While scenic, I only saw guests in it once, as each villa has its own private infinity pool.
We also passed a unique manta ray tree house, one of several works of art that dot the resort, curated by the owner from favorite artists around the world.
Once at our villa, our butler explained our villa features. I loved the high vaulted ceilings throughout, which lends such spaciousness and draws your eye upwards, including to the designs carved on the wooden doors separating the bedroom from the living room.
The marble shower and separate toilet chamber are very striking, made of green marble from Norway.
Welcome amenities included a beautiful fresh fruit basket, fresh squeezed juice, fruit and sweets for our son, and delectable housemade chocolates and coconut sweets for us, plus champagne.
Outside, the infinity pool was large enough to do laps in, and was soothingly warm from the sun.
While we were in a beach villa, which was very convenient for walking along the white sand beach and close to the dive center and restaurants, it's also possible to stay in a water villa. The interiors are virtually identical, but of course instead of the beach, you're right on the water and able to jump in and start snorkeling.
Some of the larger villas, for extended families or groups of friends, have unique features such as a dedicated sauna, massage bale, and more. I was particularly taken with the stained glass by the bath:
Speaking of restaurants, the resort's Japanese restaurant is fantastic. Not only is it striking in terms of design and location (right on the water, where you can see fish and sometimes sharks feeding), it also serves delicious sushi, cooked dishes such as Wagyu beef, Japanese-Peruvian ceviche, and sashimi, such as this excellent hamachi sashimi with jalapeno.
There's also an Italian restaurant that serves a variety of homemade pastas, main dishes such as fish in a salt crust, and other Italian favorites. I particularly loved this homemade veal agnoletti with lemon and thyme.
Don't miss the Spa, where skillful therapists will massage away all lingering aches and knotted muscles from the journey to get here. Finish up with a soothing lemongrass and ginger tea in the spa's relaxation room.
Diving is naturally a draw; when I post my complete review and YouTube video, I'll include some footage of the underwater life I was able to see on a short boat trip from the resort. There's also snorkeling right by the resort to enjoy, for non-divers.
Can you guess the resort and where it's located?
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St Regis Maldives?
Great guess, but it’s a different resort 🙂
Very close guess; the beautiful villas do share similarities with Cheval Blanc Randheli, but it’s a different and newer resort.
Joali Maldives ?
Is it as good as Velaa and CBR ?
Yes! It’s Joali, which just opened in October 2018. We *loved* our stay, especially the villas, which are gorgeous, the unique artwork indoors and out, daily breakfasts, the really excellent Japanese restaurant, great dive center team, and very hands-on management. Diving and activity prices also tend to be more reasonable than Velaa and CBR. Given current pricing, I’d say it provides greater value than CBR and Velaa, although of course it doesn’t have all Velaa’s land activities such as golf, squash, basketball, snow room, etc.