Spread over not much more than a dozen acres of a white-sand islet within a Maldivian atoll, Milaidhoo Island Maldives is not at all a large place as resorts go. Should you seldom see any other people as you stroll the grounds, however, that’s by design.
The water pool villas lie at one far end, while the ultra-private, beach pool villas are set discreetly off the main path that encircles the property. After eating in the handful of fine dining venues for guests to choose from daily, you’ll really begin to wonder where everyone else is.
You could ask your room host, who is on call, but you may not really need to see him or her much either. Your condo-like room is at once spacious and the perfect cocoon for times like when one of those wonderful, torrential tropical downpours hits, and which might prompt you to sleep with the accordion doors open to your deck.
And when the storm clears, you can sit in privacy out there on your deck looking for dolphins who come close up, as the sea is right there. Or by night, you can stargaze up into the clean Indian Ocean sky. Who needs neighbors with all that?
Some hundred miles north of the capital Malé, Milaidhoo belongs to the Baa Atoll, which in June 2011 was designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It’s packed with mangroves, screw pine trees and succulent beach cabbage plants—called magoo locally—which produce lovely white floors. A healthy bat population also hangs from the palm trees.
The Small Luxury Hotels of the World member Milaidhoo Island is but a year-old and guests will notice the contrast to its older sister property Baros whose vegetation is fully mature. At Milaidhoo, gardeners are still at work blending a new landscape with the original vegetation.
As new as Milaidhoo is, its ethos and design respect local tradition, right down to the subtlest of ways. In the shady and sandy “main square” in front of reception several hanging chairs represent the Maldivian village tradition of gathering in public. Other details include the retro-looking spa door with brain coral stone elements, a design which has Kenyan roots.
The huge Beach Pool Villas are once modern and stylistically traditional as well, each with a soaring, curved wooden ceiling that suggests an upside down boat hull. The wall TV is cleverly hidden behind fine watercolor prints of traditional boats, from the tiny bokkura to the longer-distance dhow-like dhoni.
A bright Sultanate-style of furniture reigns, from blue doors to turquoise pillows and throw rugs, and nook lamps with a traditional diamond pattern. Lacquerware is based on African influences as introduced via the ocean trade routes.
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