Velaa’s interior designer Petr Kolár uses the phrase ‘polite luxury’ to describe the resort’s aesthetic, which means impressive, but subtle. Master European craftsmen developed the villa interiors, with wood panelling from Borneo, and thoughtful but hidden touches include paving stones that don’t absorb the heat imported from Jordan.
Velaa’s chefs do an astonishing job despite the resort’s isolation. Dining options range from beachfront barefoot chic to fine dining – all in stunning surrounds, and all with an emphasis on exceptional quality. For simple, barefoot dining, Athiri serves an accessible menu of unpretentious, nourishing European and seafood dishes. Velaa Private Island’s overwater restaurant, Aragu, inspired by Michelin starred chef, Adeline Grattard, is dazzling. With swathes of porcelain fish hanging from the thatched roof and the murmur of the waves as a soundtrack it offers a distinctly Maldivian setting, but the carefully considered, creative gourmet menu, is on par with the best in Europe. Overlooking the entire island, an intimate Teppanyaki restaurant stands atop the three-storey-tall wine ‘cellar’ which holds a £1,000,000 inventory.
Each of the private and comfortable one to four bedroom villas are built using local materials. Finished with muted blues, browns and ambers, and with rich teak furniture, bamboo light fixtures and rattan swinging chairs, villas seem almost sombre in comparison to the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, which takes centre stage. More compelling are the outdoor spaces. Each has a private pool, while many have extensive terraces, daybeds and shaded garden spaces, and outdoor baths and showers.
The Romantic Pool Residence which comes with a private chef and butler, is a top choice for honeymooners or those looking for a ‘beyond luxury’ experience. Only accessible by boat, this ultra-private one-bedroom villa is suspended above the lagoon.
Impressive diving and snorkelling sites lie nearby, and the watersports facilities are among the best in the country. In addition to paddleboarding, parasailing and kite surfing, it offers high tech toys including a Weta trimaran, Topcat K1 catamaran, jet-skis and a Sea Bob.
Fitness facilities include a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, a climbing wall and a gym. Raise your game with PGA qualified professionals at the exclusive Velaa Golf Academy designed by the renowned Jose Maria Olazabal and featuring nine different tees, six greens, seven bunkers, and a lake. The Velaa Spa offers a personalised approach to your wellbeing with Ayurvedic treatments, yoga and meditation programmes. The resort also has an excellent kids’ club, although it is more suitable for couples than families.