The Maldives are becoming an increasingly popular vacation, honeymoon and wedding destination. Back in 2017, the president of the Maldives vowed to support the opening of 50 new hotels and resorts over a 5-year period, and create an estimated 18,000 new jobs in the country. 2018 was certainly a big year for new openings, with luxury resorts such as OBLU SELECT at Sangele and Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa springing up. But one resort really stands out from the crowd, and that is JOALI.
This uber-luxurious resort cost a whopping £77 million to build, and it took over 900 expert craftsmen to transform the deserted Dharavandhoo island into a royal-worthy resort that is earning rave reviews. So what makes JOALI so special? Some say it’s the designer decor, the exceptional service (every guest here gets a private butler) and the beautiful thatched roof villas. But there is a whole lot more on offer here; Read on to find out why a stay at JOALI Resort should be on your Maldives vacation wishlist.
How to Get to Joali
JOALI is located in the Heart of the Raa Atoll, which is actually one of the deepest and largest atolls the in the world. The private island is fringed with white beaches, filled with tropical flowers and swaying palms, and surrounded by the shimmering blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Unspoiled coral reefs are located nearby, and are home to a range of marine life including turtles, friendly sharks, and tropical fish.
There are three main ways to get to JOALI Resort. The most popular and scenic route is to jump on a shared seaplane which departs from Male International Airport. The resort concierge will be able to arrange all your transfers for you, and will even have someone greet you as soon as you arrive to accompany you to the private JOALI Lounge inside of Maldives Airport. The stylish lounge provides a glimpse into the JOALI style, and provides a comfy spot to relax and freshen up while you wait for your seaplane. The flight takes 40 minutes, and you’ll be able to see some of the most incredible birds-eye views of the deserted tropical islands below.
If you want to take the seaplane option, then it’s worth noting that they only depart in daylight hours and before 3 p.m. local time. If your international flight arrives later than this then you will need to stay overnight on the main island of Huhule. If the budget allows, then you can also arrange for a private charter by seaplane. The reservation team will also be able to make all the arrangements for you.
Another option is to take a shared domestic flight from Male International Airport to Ifuru Airport, Which takes approximately 35 minutes. From there you can hop on a speedboat for a 15 minutes scenic ride to the resort.
Beautifully Decorated Villas
There are 73 villas at JOALI, divided into 6 different categories, and each type is absolutely spectacular. No matter whether you choose a spacious suite on the beach, or the deluxe 3-bedroom water villa (that comes with no less than two pools), you’ll be sure to enjoy exceptional views, sumptuous beds, as well as all the mod cons you’d expect from such a new a high-end Maldives resort.
All of the villas come with an infinity pool that’s perfect for cooling off in the midday Maldivian sun, as well as original artworks, an iPad control centre to adjust lighting, music and air-conditioning at the touch of a button, as well as your very own juicer. The bathrooms also a delight, with a large indoor tub as well as an outdoor rain shower where you can shower under the stars. It’s the attention to detail in the JOALI Resort which really wows, such as the silky soft slippers, and luxurious kimonos that come with the room. We love how all of the full size bath and products and toiletries are actually vegan and completely chemical free too. The room also comes with fully stocked fridge as well as mini bar fridge filled with champagne, wines, beers, soft drinks as well as snacks.
If you’re travelling with a large family or in a big group, then check out the Residence. Aptly named, this 142 square metre haven (940 sqm if you count the outside space), truly feels like a home away from home. It features delightful decor the perfectly complements the turquoise waters and golden sands located just steps away from your front door. We love the more unusual touches of salmon pink as well as rose gold features which really give the villa a modern tropical twist. The Residence also comes with two pools, a private beach garden, and an outdoor garden with dining area. Click here to see more photos of the villas at JOALI.
All rooms come with your own jadugar – which is the Hindi word for a magician. Your jadugar is on hand to tend at your every wish or need, including putting together special packages for you and your guests, bringing food and drinks, and helping to organise the most magical and memorable holiday for you. You’re also able to ring up concierge and have a private driver come and collect you in a buggy and transport you to your chosen destination on the island.
Buffet Breakfasts and Fine Dining
Joali Really shines with its food and drink offerings. The executive chef, Ashley Goddard, along with his team have created some incredible eateries offering up flavoursome delights that feature both European and Maldivian favourites. Breakfast is a real treat, with freshly made green juices, homemade muesli and granola, as well as an egg station and cooked options for those who fancy something hot. When it comes to fine dining, JOALI also impresses. Their main restaurant, Bellini, is the place to head for fantastic Italian fare that any nonna would approve of. Try the house smoked Maldivian and yellowfin tuna, or the prosecco scallop risotto and wash it down with some homemade limoncello. Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, JOALI go above and beyond cater for all dietary needs.
And if you fancy something oriental, then the Japanese restaurant, Saoke, is a real gem. It was designed by one of the world’s leading restaurant Architects, Noriyoshi Muramatsu, and serves up a unique combination of Japanese dishes with Peruvian elements. The restaurant also features a huge selection of sake.
A nice touch is that you can book cooking classes in the Her Restaurant, where they can learn all about how to create Maldivian favourites at home. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth then you’re in for a treat, as this resort also has its very own ice cream and chocolate rooms where you can feast on the delectable delights like macaroons and brownies throughout the day.
JOALI have also created a number of destination dining experiences for something a little extra special. For example, you can have your chosen menu served up on a beach, a deserted island, in your own villa, or even amongst a treetop hideaway surrounded by stunning artworks from local artists.
Joali Resort Activities
JOALI has a fabulous selection of activities, day trips and facilities available. There’s a real focus on wellness here, so if you’re a fitness freak or a yoga bunny then there’s lots to keep you in shape during your stay. The fitness centre is located on the second floor and offers breathtaking views of the crystal ocean, making working out and incredibly enjoyable experience. There are also trainers on hand that can provide personal assistance and coaching if needed. Regular yoga classes are held at the resort, and the yoga teacher is also able to offer private classes too.
As with many resorts in the Maldives, JOALI has a huge selection of water-based activities from which to choose from. If you’re a watersports lover, then you can hire jet skis, a speedboat, or try your hand at water skiing. There’s also a dive centre, and helpful certified instructors offer lessons for complete beginners, as well as take diving pros out into the deep blue. Must-do excursions include a trip to a nearby manta ray hang out, where you get to swim with these majestic creatures. There’s also day trips on traditional Dhoni boats, as well as excursions to local islands so you can really soak up some of that Maldivian culture.
We really love the unusual, unique and personal activities offered at this resort too. For example, if you happen to visit during Spring time then you can experience a special JOALI ceremony. This marks the arrival of Spring and incorporates a bonfire to mark rebirth and renewal. The ceremony also includes guests writing their wishes down a hanging them on a wish tree so that they can be manifested. Another offering is the Special Book exchange, which is a library of sorts where you can read books from all around the globe.
JOALI is a family-friendly resort too. There’s a kids club to keep guests of all ages entertained, while children up to the age of 6 can actually stay for free in your villa. However, we don’t recommend this resort if you’re travelling with really young children.
Honeymoon Packages at Joali
If you’re thinking of booking a Maldives honeymoon, than the JOALI is an excellent pick. They have a number of packages in place that cater just for newlyweds. You can take a trip on a custom-designed sailboat for a romantic sunrise or dreamy sunset dinner with your loved one. These trips include picnic hampers filled to the brim with goodies, as well as helpful staff to serve up your favourite drinks. Newlyweds also have access to a first dinner assistant, who is there ensure that your first dinner on the island is perfectly catered to for your needs.
Overall, JOALI truly is a joy to visit. From the exceptional design to the world-class dining, every single aspect of this glamorous resort earns a 10 out of 10. Yet it’s not pretentious or stuffy in any way, it is the place you can kick back and wiggle your toes in the sand, lounge around all day in a hammock or simply snuggle up with your loved one. For such a stunning resort, its impressive that it lacks any of that pretentiousness that some other resorts in the same price range have.
It is a rather small island, and although it still manages to have a spacious vibe to it so you never feel penned in, it does lack some of the additional amenities you may find at a larger resort such as the One and Only Reethi Rah. If you’re staying for a longer honeymoon or vacation than you may want to think about checking into one of the bigger resorts if that’s more your thing. If you prefer an all-inclusive resort then we can recommend Constance Moofushi. Happy travels!
Are you thinking of booking a trip to the Maldives soon? Check out this article which provides information on everything you need to know before you go, as well as this ultimate packing guide to make sure that nothing gets left behind. And if you’re still deciding on what Maldives resort to book, then you might want to check out this article which list of few of our other favourite other resorts in the Maldives.
Have you been to JOALI resort? What did you think? Would love to hear your reviews in the comment section below.
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