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What it’s like to stay on a $45k-per-night private island in the Maldives

Birds eye view of Coco Prive

Somewhere in the Laccadive Sea just before you reach the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean you’ll find the Coco Privé, an exclusive private island to the stars and the world’s billionaires.

The pinnacle of the Coco Collection‘s portfolio of luxury hotels, unlike the many other resorts dotted about The Maldives, Coco Privé offers total seclusion and privacy.

The major sell? “We can do anything here – provided it’s legal,” a member of staff confided.

This, of course, doesn’t come cheap. Although, for the world’s richest, $45k per night for a 13,000sq ft private and a paparazzi-free stretch of paradise might seem a price worth paying.

Where is it?

Slap bang in the middle of the Laccadive Sea in the northern spread of the Malé Atoll.

Its exact location is a bit of a secret – you won’t find any ‘correct’ coordinates on a map, but don’t worry, those taking you over on the speedy, and at times terrifying, 40-minute private speedboat from Malé International Airport know exactly where it is.

The island itself is called Kuda Hithi and is just a five-minute boat trip away from its sister resort, Coco Bodu Hithi.

Luckily, for all who visit, Kuda Hithi’s exclusivity is effortlessly respected thanks to the island’s thick towering palm trees and the rich coral reef that surrounds and protects it. There’s no place for prying eyes here, making the exclusive resort feel even more off-radar and remote.


Guz Wilkinson is the designer behind Coco’s five guest villas and split level main Palm Residence.

Slick, minimalist, contemporary, luxurious and natural best describes the overall look and feel of this island resort.

It boasts standard expectations and a few others to boot: a boarded pier, lazy hammock, Kodak-moment swing, and an unusual oversized beach chess set complete with mammoth Maldivian chess pieces. It’s art – art, I say!

The crowning glory of the 1.4 hectare-island, however, is the 40-metre pool which stretches along the Privé’s pristine white sandy beach.

The juxtaposition between its blue glow and that of the blinding cerulean waters the Maldives are so renowoned for, makes for the perfect Instagram shot. It’s upmarket, but not pretentious. Comfort trumps gimmicks here.

The pool and Palm Residence 

What do you get?

Total opulence, which at times can feel a little uncomfortable. I’m not used to butlers offering to wash my feet after a stroll in the sand and I can’t say I would ever want to get used to it.

But the point is, the 30-strong dedicated team of butlers and butlerettes are available 24-hours a day and cater to all your needs. Service is discreet at all times, and bespoke – all requirements are agreed before arrival.

Free reign of the island and its surroundings is also part of the deal. All food is prepared on-demand and unlimited access to soft and alcoholic drinks is another bonus.

There is also a fully-equipped gym and communal pool to burn off all those calories, a dining area, an ocean-view bar and a small but decent sauna. Spa treatments are limitless. Although a most memorable moment is your arrival…

As soon as you step off the boat, you are greeted by staff and a drummer, who walk alongside you to the pier to collect your non-alcoholic cocktail. It’s a nice touch, albeit surreal – you’re guaranteed to feel like royalty by the time your head hits one of the island villa’s comfy pillows.

Communal dining room at Coco Prive

What to do there?

It has been designed with relaxation in mind, although naturally, there are plenty of activities on offer: diving, snorkelling, canoeing, sunset cruises on a catamaran, jet and water skiing, paragliding, deep sea fishing, paddle boarding, seaplane excursions… and so it goes on.

If that doesn’t get you into the island groove, settle for sunrise yoga, poolside cocktails, or do as I did and chillax on the seaside swing. Pure bliss.

Coco Prive beach and ocean view 

What kinds of animals will I see?

There is a resident crane guaranteed to say hello at meal times. In the water, look out for reef sharks, resident sea turtles and sting rays (an on-site marine biologist will help you spot more) and in the sky, you may sight the odd eagle or two.

The further out you go into the water, however, the more you will see. Dolphins are always nearby, and depending on the time of year, a plethora of whale species can pop out of the water to say hello. If you’re snorkelling, look out for clownfish, unicorn fish, parrot fish, butterfly fish, box fish, sergeant majors and moorish idols.

Food and drink

Embarrassingly the only things I ordered on-demand were vast amounts of chicken nuggets, chips, spicy barbecue sauce and err, endless bottles of champagne. (Cravings must.)

For those wanting a little more sophisticated menu (food-wise), the island chef prepares everything from fresh seafood to Italian classics. Expect king tiger prawn kebabs, perfectly cooked reef fish, cheese blitzed pasta creations and moreish Maldivian pizza – with a twist.

Of course, you can ask for anything, but with so much fresh seafood available, the best thing to do is to place your trust in the culinary imagination of the chef. His dishes are truly stupendous.

A summer plate at Coco Prive 

For the drinkers in your party, you will be spoilt for choice. There are free-flowing cocktails, endless glasses of champers, fine French and Italian wines, and of course, shots galore. Sip, down or savour at the communal bar, on the beach or in the comfort of your own villa.

The villas

All the villas on the island are decorated in their own unique style.

There’s the Starfish villa with its outside bathtub and burnt wood hues; Heron villa complete with private beach access and a large outside lounge area; the Turtle villa which offers luxury on a smaller scale; Manta, the most design-conscious of the lot; and finally the brightest and airiest pad of them all, Gecko.

Whilst some have quirky features, like outdoor showers and soaking tubs, all boast a powerful yin and yang aesthetic, complemented by floor-to-ceiling windows, Japanese-style sliding doors, lots of timber and sleek furnishings. Each come with hidden TVs, king-sized beds, ultra fun lightning systems you control via iPad and full-size Aqua di Parma toiletries.

Gecko villa’s outdoor bath 

Then there’s the master villa, the 270.82sq m Palm Residence, which we got to stay in.

Occupying the top floor of the communal bar and dining area, the vast space comprises a private sitting room, sundeck, sunbed with mini pool and sea views, a larger-than-life bedroom with queen-sized bed and a wooden-clad bathroom with separate reception room (just in case your personal butler needs to leave a message).

The best part is the sideways streaming shower. The pressure and temperature of the water is questionable, but the overall Insta-gimmick makes up for it – almost. The only major let down is that there is no bath, and no, the private Jacuzzi with views over the island and surrounding areas does not count in my view.

View from the Palm Residence 

Other fun additions include a mini bar hiding a desktop Mac, and a surround-sound Bose system should you want to blare out some classics at 3am. It’s very OTT, but typical of what a $45k night on a private island would usually offer (I imagine).

Full details are available at the link below:


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