Scouting Luxe Lairs – Inside Coco Bodu Hithi, Maldives

Few places on earth blur the line between Earth and otherworldly like the Maldives does. And for Maldivophiles (yes, it’s a gargantuan pack, and growing!) looking to delve deeper into this compelling sensorial escape, Coco Bodu Hithi is perfectly positioned – literally and otherwise – with its idyllic location.

Words by Mandira Rai

Plumped perfectly in the country’s North Male Atoll, a short 40-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport, you arrive at Coco Bodu Hithi’s impressive arrival jetty in no time. Wide vanilla beaches circle the island, licked by ripples of turquoise tinged water that play home to mammoth jackfish, reef shark, clownfish, hawksbill turtles, a variety of octopi and other vibrant marine life. A teeming house reef provides ample opportunities for snorkelers to be mesmerized by the thriving ecosystem under the water. And eagle rays roam the cerulean waters nonchalantly, much to the delight of camera totting guests.

This is a place for unpretentious living and impromptu adventure, in no particular order. And for those contemplating where to ‘live’ while on this sliver of sand and palm, options abound. Choose between Island Villas, set amidst verdant island foliage, offering direct access to the beach or the Water Villas – complete with direct lagoon access and a private infinity pool. For the quintessential Maldivian experience, however, opt for one of the 24 sumptuous Coco Residences, decked out in their own exclusive overwater enclave. Split level decks showcasing a four-poster day-bed, private infinity pool, segregated living area, full-size toiletries by cult brand Aqua di Parma, direct reef and lagoon access, as well as butler service by dedicated lifestyle hosts, are just some of the many reasons these rather generously sized 184 metres residences find themselves the abode of choice for the well-heeled.

Not too far away, stretched out in front of the Indian Ocean, the main pool – a shimmering infinity-edged glass jewel by the arrival jetty – sets the tone for endless possibilities of pleasure whilst on the island. The weekly movies under the stars are well attended, as are champagne-fuelled sunset cruises held on traditional handcrafted boats or ‘dhonis’. These dhonis can also transform your ordinary morning into a private big game fishing adventure.

In addition to a pristine house reef, underwater enthusiasts can accompany the resort’s highly skilled marine biologist to the nearby Turtle Point to spot hawksbill turtles or head to Shark Point to score sightings of nurse sharks and stingrays. Bodhu Hithi Thila – a short boat ride away – will delight visitors with reef manta ray sightings. In fact, Coco Bodu Hithi offers more water-based activities than you can shake a snorkel at – jet skiing, surfing, water skiing, parasailing, wakeboarding and kayaking are just a few on a long list of thrills on offer.

A short but spectacular walk away, perched on stilted decks above iridescent waters is the eight-room Coco Spa. With each room named after parts of the coconut palm, this over-water sanctuary for the senses offers a bevvy of sublime treatments, all with the singular aim of balancing the body and the mind. The deeply restorative Island Seashell Massage that uses Maldivian coconut oil and seashells to iron out the kinks and relieve muscular tension is most certainly something to be experienced, if only once. You’re definitely a captive audience on this paradisiacal stretch of sand – there is nothing around other than miles and miles of water. Fortunately, not to be left behind in its culinary offerings either, Coco Bodu Hithi offers guests six varied dining options that promise to keep the taste buds engaged. This simply means that guests in pursuit of sumptuous Japanese fare can sink their teeth into sushi at Tsuki one day and savour delectable seafood at fine-dining Aqua, suspended right above the deep blue, on another. And while Latitude is definitely the spot to watch a flaming orange sun fall into a purple horizon, martini in hand (of course!), Air is where you’re most likely to stumble upon what can only be described as the best Maldivian breakfast delicacy – ‘mashuni’. And be rest assured that you will always have the resident herons watching over your food, should you happen to run in for seconds.

The bottom line? In an archipelago that welcomes the birth of a new resort every quarter, each one trying to live up to that ‘island-sanctuary’ cliché, Coco Bodu Hithi sits like a grand old dame, celebrating simple sophistication and laid-back chic. Will you be lured back? Most certainly.

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