When it comes to the world’s most luxurious paradise destinations, few can match up to the Maldives. A chain of around 1,200 islands and sandbanks in the Indian Ocean, here you can expect pristine white, sandy beaches lined with coconut trees, while crystalline waters lap the shores – and, if you choose the right resort, a memorable five-star stay that you’ll be telling everyone you know about for years to come.
I was lucky to check into exactly the right one just a few weeks ago when I arrived at the impressive Coco Bodu Hithi – one of two luxury Coco Collection hotels located in the North Malé atoll – and from the moment we stepped off our speedboat after the short 45-minute journey from Velana International Airport in Malé, I knew I was in for a treat.
A world away from the city, yet conveniently located for those who want to explore it, Coco Bodu Hithi offers a serene hideaway designed to transport you instantly into a haven of complete relaxation. Located on a small island that is rich with lush, green vegetation and fringed by powdery white sands, it’s home to its own breath-taking house reef, which is frequented by an abundance of marine life, including Hawksbill turtles, Blacktip Reef Sharks and all manner of spectacularly colourful fish – while across the resort, contemporary comforts blend with traditional Maldivian touches to create an idyllic setting that can’t help but take your breath away.
100 stylish villas, each with their own private pools, along with a diverse selection of mouth-watering dining options, the luxurious Coco Spa and a broad range of watersports activities await, all promise an indulgent and restorative experience in this paradisiacal slice of sheer tranquility.
Rooms and suites
Of the island’s 100 sophisticated accommodations, 44 are sprawling island villas that stretch over 188 square metres, and the largest of all the villa types. These breath-taking hideaways truly have to be seen to be believed, and we were awestruck to find that ours opened directly out onto our own private slice of beach, just off the colourful house coral reef, with a private terrace for the ultimate in seclusion and privacy.
If you’re not the salt water type, then at the other end of the villa, huge floor-to-ceiling glass doors in front of the huge and cloud-soft, king-size bed open to reveal a private plunge pool and tropical garden with a daybed for lying back on and soaking up some rays – giving you the best of both worlds and offering an extra taste of luxury that ensures all types of guest are well catered to.
Inside, the villas are sleek and elegant in design, with stand-out luxury features including a huge round bathtub big enough for two at its centre, a spacious walk-in shower, twin sinks with huge mirrors, and a comfortable sunken living area just steps from the ocean. Throughout, you’ll find a host of modern fixtures and fittings, with a plasma TV, espresso machine, fully stocked mini bar and plenty of snacks on hand for whenever the mood strikes. And, because guests are assigned their own dedicated butler for the duration of their stay, there is always someone only a Whatsapp message away to help you with anything you need.
Off the eastern tip of the island, strings of 16 stilted Water Villas and 16 Escape Water Villas unfurl proudly over the crystal clear, turquoise lagoon below, reachable by a wooden walkway. Facing northwest, the show-stopping Coco Residences – the highest villa category – can be found clustered in an exclusive enclave of the resort and offer complete exclusivity, with direct access to the resort’s premium restaurant, Stars, and the opulent Coco Spa.
Featuring high ceilings and stylish décor, highlights include a private infinity pool over the ocean, a four poster daybed and your own private cellar, ensuring no stone has been left unturned to provide a comfortable stay. And, for a truly special experience, you can have a meal prepared by the resort’s talented chefs and delivered to you on your split-level deck by your dedicated butler.
Food and drink
Not just a haven of relaxation, Coco Bodu Hithi is also a foodie’s dream, and is home to five luxurious restaurants and two stylish bars, with each serving up a decadent menu of fresh and delicious cuisine, pouring out fine vintages and shaking delicious cocktails to order. From local cuisine to global favourites, you can find it all here, and the fact that the resort is frequented by Michelin-starred chefs from across the globe speaks volumes about the kind of quality that is on offer here.
On our first evening, we dined at Stars – said to be the best spot on the entire island to see both the sunset and the sunrise. Serving up a mouth-watering menu that fuses Mediterranean and contemporary Asian flavours, we opted for a feast of delectable seafood dishes. We started with a beautifully presented amuse bouche of almond shrimp before moving onto a sumptuous starter of decadent Rockefeller oysters with a rich sauce of butter, parsley and other green herbs topped with breadcrumbs, and the Szechuan-crusted pan-fried scallops – succulent, juicy scallops in a soy butter sauce and served with gently steamed Chinese greens.
For the main event, the grilled lobster was an impressive centrepiece and was as sweet, meaty and delicious as you’d expect. Served with a light accompaniment of ‘Oscar’ Hollandaise and asparagus, it was a delicious treat, with impeccable service from our waiter throughout.
Just about managing to save room for dessert, we rounded things off with the passion fruit, lime and coconut pavlova – light, fruity and the perfect choice with which to round off a sumptuous meal.
The following evening, we were invited along to Tsuki, where we sampled an assortment of different Japanese-inspired delights – from yellowfin tuna tataki with apple mustard dressing, to the Ebi tempura maki – crispy prawn sushi rolls served with avocado and dark, sweet soy. This particular restaurant enjoys beautiful views over the resort’s main pool and out over the ocean – another perfect spot for taking in the sunset and the evening’s live music on the deck below.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at Air, where you can find an extensive selection of buffet-style dishes including everything from seafood, meats and cheeses to fresh pastas, with a cooking station offering up a variety of freshly cooked dishes courtesy of the chefs. And at Latitude, guests can enjoy snacks, cocktails and a variety of other drinks throughout the day.
Aqua, the resort’s fine dining eatery, is a must visit – particularly for seafood lovers, who are well catered to here with dishes including roasted lobster and potato chowder, and a generous seafood platter of Maldivian lobster grilled over coconut, banana leaf-wrapped reef fish, butter fried tiger prawns and crispy panko calamari. Head to the Wine Loft after to peruse a list of fine wines from around the world and indulge in a glass or two of your favourites.
For most, a visit to the Maldives is about rest and relaxation – and with Coco Bodu Hithi’s powdery soft beaches, there’s no better place for sun worshippers to settle back with a good book and a cocktail or two to indulge in just that.
But the Maldives is also a dream destination for ocean lovers, with the snorkelling here some of the best in the world, so we opted to spend much of our free time donning our masks and snorkels and delving into the house reef to explore the breath-taking wonders of the underwater world. The marine life we were treated to here was some of the most diverse and colourful we’ve ever seen, and with Hawksbill turtles feasting on sea sponges and corals and Blacktip Reef Sharks zooming past just a few steps from our private deck, it was more than enough to keep us captivated.
For those eager to dive a little deeper, the resort also offers an on-site PADI certified dive centre, which offers expert guidance for divers of all abilities – including complete beginners – from its resident dive ocean team. Just fifteen minutes’ by boat from the island, you can spot everything from dog-tooth tuna and napoleon fish to schools of blue stripe snappers, with even Eagle and Manta rays making an appearance on occasion.
‘Uniquely Coco’ experiences, meanwhile, offer guests the chance to enjoy something truly unique – from a private picnic lunch on a secluded sandbar, to a sunset cruise or a private cinema experience under the stars. Ocean enthusiasts can join the resort’s marine biologist to take a snorkelling tour or take part in the ‘Go Eco’ experience, which allows you to contribute to the restoration of the island’s coral reef.
In a nutshell
A dreamy tropical hideaway that will instantly whisk you away from the stresses and strains of modern life and into sheer bliss and relaxation, Coco Bodu Hithi is a truly special resort that will effortlessly cater to anyone in search of Indian Ocean luxury. If you’re planning on visiting the Maldives this year, then don’t hesitate to book yourself a villa for an experience you’ll never forget.
Address: Coco Bodu Hithi Resort, North Male Atoll, Maldives
Telephone: +960 664-1122