Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa

On a castaway isle in the Maldives’ most southerly atoll, this high-end resort is the envy of others thanks to one key luxury: space. Nearly two miles long and spread across 12 hectares, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa is the largest single-resort island in the archipelago. A haven for both couples and families alike, it never feels crowded.


Its white sandy beaches are fringed by a stunning coral reef and the nation’s highest peak, the five-metre Mount Villingili lies in its forested interior. This resort offers Swiss Family Robinson escapism, albeit enhanced with uncompromising style, first-rate facilities and ever-smiling service from the ‘island hosts’. The Shangri-La experience begins in Malé, where an airport lounge makes waiting for the hour flight to neighbouring Gan more comfortable, and from there, it is five minutes by speedboat across the lagoon.


Guests are accommodated in 132 luxurious villas, whose seven different styles span jungle retreats and beachfront hideaways to elevated, ocean-view tree houses. Most numerous and in-demand are the private overwater villas, many strung along walkways in the secluded lagoon. These villas are exceptionally spacious, with enormous bathrooms featuring open-air showers, walk-in wardrobes and vast, comfortable beds. Outdoor decks give direct access to the sea while villas on dry land have private plunge pools. Each villa comes with bicycles for getting around the island, and there’s a fleet of chauffeur-driven golf carts for those too posh to pedal.

Facilities include a beachfront infinity pool, an eco/dive-centre offering dolphin and manta ray watching excursions and a well-equipped gym, and a nine-hole golf course. Unlike many Maldivian resorts, there’s plenty of space for kids to run wild and entertainment is at the Cool Zone activity centre. A babysitting service is also available.


Chi, The Spa offers excellent massages and signature island-themed therapies, daily fitness programmes and wellness retreats. Activities on offer include ‘lunch on the equator’ aboard the resorts luxury yacht Horizon and a curated culture and history tour of the neighbouring islands.

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