COCO PALM BODU HITHI
Coco Palm Bodu Hithi - Luxury Travel Magazine
A Lesson in Luxury
|By: Luxury Travel Magazine, Issue 45 – Summer 11 |
|(Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, Maldives)|
|THE RECENT ADDITION OF THE UBER-EXCLUSIVE CLUB VILLAS HAVE KICKED AN ALREADY LUXURIOUS MALDIVIAN RESORT’S LUXURY STATUS UP ANOTHER NOTCH. LUXURY TRAVEL MAGAZINE BRINGS YOU THE LATEST FROM COCO PALM BODU HITHI.|
|I’m face down completely transfixed by the multi-coloured fish darting busily below me in water so blue I’m sure someone’s turned up the colour on the TV remote. |
I can’t take my eyes off the scene I’m surveying through a large glass panel in the floor, my head twitching this way and that as a new specimen scoots past. Yet I know I must stay still because my masseuse is bent above me, unfurling the knots in my in-need-of-a-holiday shoulders.
I’d hazard a guess though, that even without the massage, the hypnotic effect of the changing scenery just below the surface of this spectacular lagoon in the middle of the Maldives is enough to transform anyone instantly into holiday mode.
But Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, on the western edge of the Maldives’ North Male Atoll, is a lot like that. Everywhere you wander from the brilliantly white beachfront of the boomerang-shaped island to the wooden boardwalks dotted with luxurious lounges all facing the sea, it’s about making the most of the mesmerising view - above and below the water – while nestled in seriously sophisticated surrounds.
Coco Palm Bodu Hithi is the only resort on the island of Bodu Hithi. Situated a 40-minute speed boat ride from the international airport in the capital of Male, the private island hasn’t always been a lesson in luxury though. With the previous resort destroyed in the 2004 Tsunami, Coco Palm Bodu Hithi was reconstructed and reborn two years later and transformed into a high-end haven with 44 island villas, 16 water villas, and 16 slightly more luxurious and larger Escape water villas that rest above the lagoon and over what is claimed to be the most beautiful coral reef in the atoll. The more recent addition of the uber-exclusive Club Coco Palm Villas in their own almond-shaped enclave have kicked the resort’s luxury status up another notch.
Set away from the island but connected by a wooden pier, guests at the exclusive Club Coco Palm overwater villas, are now rewarded with an extensive, and exclusive, list of VIP extras including a 24- hour butler who, even before arrival, will email you to uncover special including music you’d like downloaded onto your in-villa iPod.
A sunset cruise, in-villa massage and high tea each afternoon are more of the benefits. Others include a luxurious bathroom stocked with Molton Brown products, cigars, a mini bar stocked only with the best of things, a DVD and CD collection, a pillow menu and a daily aromatic pillow mist spraying in essential oil aromas of your choosing.
It doesn’t come cheap but stepping onto a private outdoor split-level terrace and pool, or slipping into the best snorkeling on the island from your thatched roof villa, hint at why these exclusive residences are already attracting interest from well-heeled travellers. Members of the Club also have a top class restaurant to call their own at Stars, serving traditional Maldivian delights or contemporary cuisine.
Breakfast has all the usual suspects, but I couldn’t go past the mouthwatering Sri Lankan fish curry and the typical Maldivian dish of cooked tuna, coconut, lime juice, chilli and onion. The resort makes the most of the local seafood while adhering to strict government fishing restrictions, ensuring the waters aren’t stripped of their marine life. Fishing in the lagoon is strictly forbidden. “We want guests to enjoy the beauty of the marine life – and not just on their plate,” says the resort’s Australian born General Manager for the past four years, Mario Stanic. The resort has six dining options and two drinking-only venues to choose from.
But one seriously heavenly spot to end a lazy day is Aqua, perched on a pavilion just over the shallow water on the island’s edge. A sunset fishing expedition on a traditional Dhoni left us excited about our catch, which was whisked straight to Aqua and whipped up into an Asian-inspired culinary creation for our dinner. Don’t leave it too late if you dine at Aqua though, as the position makes it a perfect place to see the sun disappear. If you miss it, you’ll still have the stars for company while listening to the fish splashing beneath you.
Despite the island being fully booked during our stay, we were hard pressed to see more than a handful of people at any time. It’s not too difficult to imagine why though. Like most resorts in the Maldives, honeymooners make up a large percentage of visitors. Even the island bungalows at a generous 188 square metres are faultless, each with their own walled garden and fabulously sexy plunge pool with outdoor lounges and all the mod cons such as plasma TV, DVD player, sound system, coffee machine, safe and free wireless internet connections.
The wow factor here is upped by a stand-alone enormous round bathtub big enough for at least eight, perfectly positioned in the middle of the room above the sunken lounge, from which to watch the ocean through a canopy of thick indigenous vegetation that covers most of the island.
And whether you’re tucked among the coconut trees or on stilts above the sea, the clean, natural design takes nothing away from the view with luxury modern furnishings that don’t compete with the environmental beauty. Coco Palm Bodu Hithi is all about manicured elegance. But in a country that’s only two metres above sea level and in serious danger of disappearing by early next century, the resort is working hard to develop its own green policy to protect the threatened environment, including a serious commitment to a coral reef regeneration program. The resident marine biologist will take guests on educational snorkeling trips to show what they are doing to save their surrounds. It’s fascinating.
If you like being active on holidays, water sports such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing or the 50 metre infinity pool for lap swimming are at your disposable. The outdoor yoga pavilion perched above the sea looks lovely for a sunrise session while the glass-encased gym facing the lagoon surely has to have the world’s best view for a workout. Yet neither gets a look in. I’m far too busy watching the sunset and daydreaming of being stranded in paradise. It’s that kind of place.
|RECOMMENDED ROOM NUMBERS|
|Club Coco Palm Villas – if you love a sunset with your cocktail, hit the odd numbers 1-23 but if a tropical sunrise is more your style, the even numbers from 2-24 are perfect. On land, our villa number 323 offers the most privacy of all beachfront villas while enjoying beach and sea views.|
|For a five-night stay in an exclusive Club Coco Palm Villa, it’s A$3,895 including breakfast for two daily. This also includes all the Club Coco Palm exclusive benefits and return speedboat transfers from Male (there is a version of this package including economy class airfares with Malaysia Airlines for A$5,539 per person). This deal is valid for travel from April 25 to July 31, 2011 and September 1 to October 31, 2011. For more information contact Wildlife Safari 1800 998 558 or visit|
|GETTING THERE |
|Malaysia Airlines runs daily flights to Male via Kuala Lumpur (ex Sydney, Melbourne). Economy fares start at A$550 per person return, business class fares start at A$4,442 per person return.|