Enjoy your own slice of paradise at Shangri-La’s luxurious Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives
When it comes to selecting your next luxury holiday destination, the Maldives has got to be up there as one of the most sought after in the world. Comprised of a group of white sand islands boasting crystal clear waters and rows of iconic stilted luxury bungalows, it’s the picture-perfect location that is at the top of almost everyone’s bucket list.
With a whopping 1,190 islands in total, grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls spanning 90,000 square metres, it can be hard to know which to choose – but the second largest and most populates Attoll, Addu Attoll, has got everything you could possibly want. Home to a Golden Mile of stunning white sandy beach, it’s located approximately 478 kilometres south of the Maldivian capital, Malé, and is awash with untouched natural beauty.
Comprising seven inhabited and about 20 uninhabited islands, Addu Atoll extends the islands of the Maldives to the southern hemisphere, crossing the equator. The heart-shaped atoll is about 18 kilometres wide and 15 kilometres long, including some of the biggest islands in the Maldives, and boasts a stunning coral reef formation that is the largest in the country.
The brightest gem in the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, Villingili Island, is the only resort island of Addu. Nestled in the sheltered waters of the southernmost atoll in the archipelago of the Republic of Maldives is Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa – the definition of luxury, and the perfect base for a sumptuous Maldivian break.
The first luxury resort of its kind to open on Villingili, guests can retreat in style in any of its private villas, perched atop the emerald green jungle or strung along the turquoise shoreline. The luxury of space makes them the perfect haven for couples and families alike, with Island Hosts on hand to cater to your every desire; whatever you’re looking for to make your stay that bit more special, this place has got it in spades.
Shangri-la offers a total of 132 villas, from private ocean retreats to tropical tree houses with panoramic views. There are seven distinct styles to choose from, allowing you to select a bespoke package that suits your individual needs. All villas are a minimum of 133 sq. m in size, whilst the two presidential villas are a sprawling 957 sq. m. You’ll never be short on space; something that only adds to the feeling of sheer luxury the resort exudes.
Featuring both indoor and outdoor showers, luxurious oval bathtubs and exquisitely designed silver Jali influenced “his and hers” vanity counters, each villa is equipped with a 40-inch flat-screen television, Bose DVD player, iPod docking station and espresso coffee machine. The rooms are infused with elements of the Middle East and touches of India, with all furniture custom-made and selected to complement the villa’s interior and artwork.
One thing you can bank on during your stay at the Shangri-La is that you’ll always eat well. Home to three distinctive restaurants serving up high-quality cuisine to suit all tastes, the resort caters expertly to every foodie’s desire.
Dr. Ali’s restaurant and bar offers a memorable culinary journey, laden with Eastern sophistication that pays tribute to a much-loved Maldivian doctor of the same name. From 1850 to 1900, he travelled across East Asia and the Middle East as a seafarer aboard the Yahumbarra, collecting exotic ingredients along the way. Before long, these herbs and spices were fused creatively into his delicious, magical recipes, becoming a source of delight for those around him.
Today, every dish at Dr. Ali’s Restaurant pays tribute to the mouth-watering legacy of this local legend. The cuisine is simple, fresh and innovative – and the first of its kind in the Maldives. Drawing on the country’s strategic location at the crossing points of the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the Arabian Gulf, the venue’s three distinctive living rooms reflect the sumptuous, eclectic cultures and cuisines of these regions. The authentic flavours, colours and aromas of the curries and tandoori dishes from the Indian Ocean menu truly capture the spirit of the finest regional fare.
For that feeling of dining in the elements, meanwhile, the stunning Javvu Restaurant is ideally located. Set across two pavilions, it has a fresh and sophisticated atmosphere. A large glass front, seven-metre high ceilings, natural open rafters and decorative pendant lights help imbue Javvu with a light and airy ambience.
For a casual midday gourmet experience, the lunch menu features imaginative dishes from around the world, created to suit the most discerning palates, including the health-conscious. The tantalizing Western menu served in the evening brings together delectable ingredients such as prime Wagyu beef and the freshest seafood.
And finally, there’s the Fashala Restaurant and Lounge – aptly named after the local Dhivehi word for “the edge” because of its location at the northern peak of the island. The decor at Fashala Lounge is contemporary, relaxed and understated, boasting soaring views of the ocean that make for an unbeatable backdrop to an evening of great food.
Local produce from the surrounding waters and neighbouring farms are at the centre of Fashala’s Mediterranean-inspired recipes, with local ingredients such as Maldivian lobster, juicy mangoes and papayas, hand-picked eggplant, herbs and chillies are ingeniously blended to create a memorable dining experience.
Of course, if you’re the more adventurous type then the Shangri-La can even arrange for you to enjoy a lunch or dinner served on board a luxury yacht, or a romantic meal in the jungle. It’s all part of the resort’s Dine by Design programme, and is an added luxury that you won’t want to pass up.
Whilst spending your days relaxing on the Villingili’s glorious beaches and dining out at the resort’s delectable selection of restaurants is sure to sound appealing, there is plenty to keep the more adventurous suitably occupied within easy reach. Addu counts itself as the only place in Maldives where Manta rays can be spotted all year round, and with The British Loyalty Shipwreck just off its shores, it’s a great spot for diving, and one that is bountiful in marine life. At times, you can see over 200 dolphins playing around – a sight to behold, and one that you’re unlikely to ever forget.
Guests at the Shangri-La Villingili can enjoy an extensive range of activities both on land and at sea; why not indulge in tranquillity at CHI, The Spa, explore the luscious tropical forest, play a round at the only 9-hole golf course in the Maldives or dive into an aquatic playground of water sport activities? Sightseeing tours of local villages and farms on the neighbouring islands and curated historical tours which takes you to explore the remnants of the Second World War base for the British Royal Air Force can also be arranged, and are well worth the effort if you consider yourself a bit of a history buff.
It’s certainly true what they say about this picturesque collection of islands; the Maldives are the epitome of luxury, and Villingili is the star of the show. But if the lure of white, sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters has never quite been enough to distract you from the cultural thrum and beckoning adventure of alternative destinations, then it might be time to reconsider. These islands are, in fact, rich with culture, and there’s plenty to do if only you look for it. And, at the Shangri-La Villingili, you get the best of both worlds, with sumptuous accommodation, beautiful beaches, and an itinerary gladly organised for you by the resort’s impeccable team of staff. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s got it all, then you’ve definitely come to the right place.
Address: Villingili Island, Addu City 28019, Maldives
Phone: +960 689-7888