With a dreamy overwater villa stay ranking high on the bucket lists of so many of our clients, guidance on how to navigate a Maldives honeymoon–or simply a very special vacation–never goes out of style.
Whether you have your eye on a Maldives honeymoon or as a family destination, there are endless opportunities to maximize your Indian Ocean retreat with a stay at JOALI Maldives. JOALI stands for “Joy of Living” which is reflected in every aspect of the island: it’s a place of blissful joy to create cherished and joyful memories with loved ones. This female-owned property was opened in October 2018 and presents a completely new concept to the Indian Ocean. JOALI is the region’s first art-immersive resort featuring work from both emerging and established artists with a special nod to local artists, not to mention, they have impressive sustainability measures in place to ensure extra peace of mind for travelers.
But, before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s dive into some FAQs around the Maldives.
Where is the Maldives located?
You’re not alone if you just opened a tab to Google, “where is the Maldives located?” In fact, it’s one of the top searched phrases in reference to the destination! So, to be precise, Encyclopedia Britannica describes the Maldives as “an independent island country in the north-central Indian Ocean.” The 1,200 coral islands and sandbanks – approximately 200 of which are inhabited – are grouped in clusters, or ring-shaped coral reefs called atolls. JOALI is located at Muravandhoo Island in the Raa Atoll, one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world.
How do you get to the Maldives?
There are a few ways to reach the Maldives depending on your departure gate. Coming from New York, most SmartFlyer clients opt to fly on Qatar Airways in a Qsuite for ultimate comfort. After a brief layover in Doha, you’ll reach your final international destination of Malé. From there, your SmartFlyer travel advisor can charter a private seaplane or reserve your seats on a shared seaplane in partnership with JOALI which is about a forty-minute journey. Finally, there is also an option to take a domestic flight from Malé to Ifuru Airport and then board a fifteen-minute speedboat ride to Muravandhoo.
What should I expect when I arrive in the Maldives?
…from customized spa experiences to organizing a private island getaway including a picnic on the beach, water sports…they really go above and beyond to ensure you have a memorable stay.
Choosing a Maldives resort is no easy task, but the service you can expect at JOALI helps make the decision a little easier. Because no matter what mode of transportation you use to arrive, guests are instantly transported to a five-star paradise where your every need is anticipated from the moment you step foot onto the sprawling jetty. One of our favorite things about JOALI is that each villa has a dedicated butler or “jadugar”–the Maldivian word for “magician”–who looks after you throughout your stay. Sydney-based SmartFlyer travel advisor Maria Paradisis reflects back on her stay, sharing, “JOALI has the best jadugars! They are friendly, attentive, and really helped me to make the most of my time on the island. Another magical touch is JOALI’s incredibly bespoke service: from customized spa experiences to organizing a private island getaway including a picnic on the beach, water sports, and even a DJ flown in from the capital for one guest! They really go above and beyond to ensure you have a memorable stay.”
What are the rooms like?
Guests can opt for either a beach villa or overwater villa depending on preference for their Maldives resort experience. Chicago-based SmartFlyer travel advisor Lauren David shares, “I love the design of the JOALI rooms. Each spacious unit has tall cathedral ceilings, soft pink and green hues, and plush robes and slippers. You feel like you are staying in a private home and will never want to leave!” Rooms come stocked with high-end hairdryers as well as straightening irons, as well two different bathrobes per guest: one in lightweight cotton, and another in plush terrycloth.
Each of the villas at JOALI Maldives are designed to take you on a rich sensory journey. The seventy-three-villa property offers unconventional luxury in a private setting and a distinct focus on design by internationally-renowned design studio Autoban, architecture, and design firm Atolye4n, and Tokyo-based Studio Glitt. Families will appreciate a stay at their expansive Family Villas or on their exclusive Joali Beach Reserve, both of which provide spacious and lush accommodation for larger groups.
What do you do when staying at a Maldives resort?
JOALI is the kind of place where you can choose to stay busy—or do absolutely nothing. Activities range from cocktail-making classes to wine tastings, and scuba diving to sunset cruises. From a culinary standpoint, the property has an impressive number of offerings, with the standouts being Saoke – a Japanese restaurant that rivals Nobu – and Bellinis, an Italian restaurant that serves burrata so fresh you’d think you were in Italy. Lauren David elaborates, “I highly recommend their pre-set dinner with champagne pairings. They have an incredible selection of champagne and it is a great opportunity to sample the best over a delectable meal! Or, ultimate privacy, you can take a resort boat to a private island for the day, where JOALI can set up a wonderful lunch, massages, and bring over a selection of water activities from kayaks and paddleboards, to seabobs and snorkels.”
JOALI Maldives’s dive center offers several exciting excursions, making this resort a diver’s paradise. Guests who take the plunge can experience the area’s incredible biodiversity that’s been flourishing with help from the JOALI Reef Restoration Programme, a two-step gardening concept that aims to reintroduce coral back into the wild reef. This genetically diverse group of corals show more resilience to heat, which helps the Maldivian atolls resist destructive coral bleaching. Fun fact: JOALI also has a resident marine biologist who works to protect marine life and reef ecosystems. We also love that no trees were harmed in the making of JOALI: the hotel was just built around them. The villas are constructed from sustainable and eco-friendly materials like local timber and bamboo.
Will I get bored while staying in the Maldives?
This laid-back island has created such a warm welcoming ambiance, making JOALI the center of the world’s dreamiest Venn diagram.
New York-based SmartFlyer travel advisor Brianna Feo reflects back on her romantic stay with her husband, sharing, “This laid-back island has created such a warm welcoming ambiance, making JOALI the center of the world’s dreamiest Venn diagram. Being such a small island it was divergent in culture, cuisine, and plenty of activities for the traveler that files themselves under ‘stir crazy.'” The Art Map of JOALI Maldives pinpoints all the art and sculptural pieces guests can discover. Some of these pieces are created in collaboration with artists and local artisans in order to support the local community and to revive the local artisanal works made in the Maldives. All the pieces in Joali’s immersive art collection are also carefully chosen as comments on the crucial issue of conservation in the Maldives. Collectors rejoice: some of these unique pieces will be available for purchase as well!
Who’s JOALI Maldives best suited for?
Families and couples will love JOALI Maldives’ diverse range of experiences that cater to all types of guests. Muramas Kids Club provides kids arts and crafts, access to the rainbow stairs room, swims in their outdoor pool, slides, and a game platform. The whole family can celebrate “Joie de Vivre” philosophy with unique Maldivian excursions and on-property offerings, including thrilling water sports and fun-filled capers in the Manta Ray Treehouse. But, this spot of paradise is equally perfect for couples seeking a romantic retreat: couples can indulge in the resort’s lavish, inclusive wedding ceremonies and vow-renewal experiences. Newlyweds looking for an especially exclusive Maldives honeymoon can even rent out the whole island! There is a reason the Maldives is one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations, after all.