With double volume ceilings and a soothing colour palette, everything about the villa and its accoutrements – from the sensual feel of the silk kimono to the padded towel bedroom sandals exude luxury and refinement. Little touches like inspirational messages inscribed on the eco-friendly bamboo clothes hangers make you realise that the Joali is out of the ordinary and isn’t just your average run-of-the-mill beach resort.
Seeing ‘J’adore la vie’ and ‘You look amazing in this’ while dressing up in the morning puts a smile on my face starts my day off on a cheerful and positive note.
A complimentary bottle of Ruinart champagne and a handwritten note welcoming me personally from Area General Manager Steven Phillips completes my villa experience.
According to Phillips, Joali represents a unique opportunity to experience something new in the Maldives. “It’s a soulful and unconventional approach to luxury that emphasises the intimacy of nature and art to find the in-the-moment joys of living…. our ‘Joy of Living’ philosophy seeks to captivate all of the five senses and enable guests to find their inner joy,” he tells me during my stay.
After a quick change and freshening up, it was off to the Mura Bar for the welcome sunset cocktails followed by a traditional Boduberu Dance which charges the atmosphere with good vibes and livened up everybody. With a cigar and whisky lounge and an infinity pool which overlooks the sea, the Mura Bar has cosy nooks and corners which is perfect for romantic tête-à-têtes. A dinner on the beach with various stalls presenting a variety of cuisines, among them Chinese, Thai and Maldivian dishes all utilizing the freshest seafood and a lavish dessert buffet made our first night on Joali something to write home about.
Waking up early the next morning, my first dilemma of the day was either a lap in my own private pool or a dip in the azure blue ocean. I chose the latter and it certainly didn’t disappoint – watching the morning sunrise over the horizon while splashing around in crystal clear blue waters must be one of life’s greatest yet simplest pleasures.
Breakfast was at another scenic spot on the island – Vandhoo Restaurant. A menu consisting of homemade muesli and cereals, fresh fruit and smoothies; (cleverly placed in an air-conditioned room) pancakes, waffles and crepes; specialty egg dishes such as Poached Free-Range Eggs served on Brioche with Turkish Yogurt or a Healthy Breakfast selection like Quinoa and Almond Milk Oatmeal provides a good choice whatever your lifestyle entails. I opted for the Joali Eggs Benedict – a delicious island interpretation of the classic with poached eggs served with Hollandaise Sauce and Smoked Salmon.
With 73 private beach or water villas and residences consisting of 24 beachfront and 49 overwater villas, the Joali sits on 24 acres on Muravandhoo Island. Ranging in size from one to four bedrooms, two pearls stand out in this gorgeous oyster of a resort – the 5,000 square feet four-bedroom duplex Private Beach Residence with sunrise and sunset views and the 4,000 square foot three-bedroom Private Ocean Residence with two infinity pools. With 24-hour access to a personal butler, valet service, buggy and driver, these two residences would make any royal feel at home.