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JOALI Maldives — The Art of Holidaying

Joali maldives   arrival jetty_2   medium.

Hand-crafted, luxury experiences curated by our team—speak to our concierge to learn more

By Ruth Tertilt on 30th April 2024

JOALI represents a visionary luxury resort that places immersive arts at its very heart. It seamlessly interweaves the elements of beauty and art throughout every facet of the island, creating an exceptional luxury escape that unfolds a unique narrative unlike anything else found in the Maldives.

It feels like a dream transformed into reality. The moment your seaplane gracefully descends upon the pristine Raa Atoll, you can sense that an extraordinary experience awaits you.

The gateway to this paradise is nothing short of spectacular. The majestic architecture that greets you on this enchanting island beckons you to step inside and immerse yourself in its wonders. A team of friendly staff, adorned in pink shirts, stand ready to escort you, allowing you to pause and relish the breathtaking turquoise waters encircling the entire island. It's a picture-perfect scene from paradise that you'll want to cherish forever.

Why Choose JOALI Maldives and JOALI BEING?

More than just a luxury getaway, JOALI Maldives is an inspiring destination. Every detail is taken into account. From the comprehensive pre-arrival questionnaire, the lounge experience before setting off, the greeting upon arrival, all the way down to the minutest details, such as their beautiful packaging (JOALI has its own house snacks), the well crafted menus for children to the in-room kimonos, art and design flourishes here. It is here that you're experiencing a story beautifully crafted by those behind JOALI - those who want to make their guests feel as if they’ve entered a completely different world that’s ready to indulge and satisfy them by awakening their inner joy. This is an otherworldly place to reset ones mind and to find the beauty in holidaying with art and design taking the lead.

The in-villa experience is synergetic with the energy of the resort - there's a certain joyfulness and a free-spiritedness that is celebrated. You're spell bound by the beauty of the villa and its details - from the carved wooden panels, the thoughtful objet d’art dotted throughout the space to the playful textures and contrasts that delight the senses. Guests choose to spend the majority of their time lingering in their villas, contentedly basking in the beauty that surrounds them each day. 

A Family Friendly Resort

Our personal experience at JOALI was the best that any parent could ask for. Here, parents feel liberated; they can relax, indulge, discover and create family memories that will last a lifetime. Children can happily wander off to the impeccable kids club and discover an array of immersive activities to do each day (art being a main one). If they’re not up for an activity, the outdoor children’s pool, playground and indoor play area are alternative options to keep them busy and entertained. Parents can happily leave their children over four years old, to play and make memories of their own. Meanwhile, parents themselves can indulge in their villas or leisurely head on over to the beach and savour a moment that will end far too soon. 

As a family, we spent time together enjoying our overwater villa - being able to snorkel below our villa’s deck only to come back up again and enjoy the infinity pool was something we did almost every day. Taking a moment to read a book in the bedroom whilst letting the ocean breeze gently sway our sun kissed skin was pure bliss. Our children never got bored of the infinity pool and because they were swimming a lot, they often napped towards the late afternoon letting us relax and indulge in the heavenly blue ocean that was right in front of us. If we weren’t revelling in our villa, we were either at the Kids Club accompanying our toddler, or enjoying a meal at JOALI’s number of exceptional restaurants. 

JOALI Bathtub
The Vanity and Bathroom Area
JOALI bedroom over water villa
The Bedroom in the Over Water Villa
Infinity pool over water villa
The Infinity Pool with Stunning Views of the Ocean
Art is always in every part of the in-villa experience
Art is always in every part of the in-villa experience
Kids Club JOALI
The Fantastic Kids Club Pool Area

A Gastronomic Experience

Dining at JOALI is experiential - each restaurant showcases their own high-end culinary art. We looked forward to breakfast each morning at its main restaurant Vandhoo, which serves an extensive breakfast buffet in two areas: cold cuts, cheeses, cereals and freshly cut fruits are featured in an indoor glass enclave with the rest of the breakfast items such as breads, pastries, freshly made juices and hot dishes served in the main area of the restaurant. In addition to the buffet, you’re given an à la carte menu that is replete with your breakfast favorites.  Besides its daily breakfast offering, Vandhoo also covers South East Asian, Chinese and Indian cuisine. There’s bellinis for some exquisite Italian fare with a carefully crafted menu by Michelin star Chef Thedore Falser. Mura Bar is the go-to place for a healthy lunch or treat (they do a great Poke bowl and one of the best Buttermilk Chicken dishes), which is right next to its chic ice cream and treat parlour, La Joie

One of JOALI’s most popular restaurants however is SAOKE - both for whipping up a culinary storm and for its impressive architecture designed by world renowned restaurant architect Noriyoshi Muramatsu. The menu at SAOKE features an array of Robatta and Wagyu beef dishes, along with succulent sashimi and of course  some fantastic contemporary and traditional takes on sushi, plus an extensive Sake menu. It's certainly a dining experience no guest will want to miss, and anyone holidaying at JOALI should ask their Jadugar to reserve a spot for them (it gets booked up fairly quickly during peak season). 

One experience we highly recommend is JOALI’s destination dining. Whether you’re coming as a family or celebrating a special occasion, their destination dining is worth taking up. Our destination dining took place in one of JOALI’s immersive art installations: the Manta Ray Treehouse. The evening before, our Jadugar took our breakfast order and the next morning, we excitedly made our way to the tree house.  Once again, we were feeling elated to be able to experience a specially crafted breakfast experience in private, as a family. Overlooking the palm trees and ocean through the Manta Ray’s gaping hole, was a unique experience that set the tone for our day ahead. 

Dining at JOALI goes without saying - the food here is exceptional and the best part for parents? The children’s menu at each of the restaurants is just as extensive and carefully thought through. More than just your typical pizza and chicken goujons, there’s things like freshly baked fish, broccoli and avocado salad (which our children loved) and even a selection of purees for those traveling with much younger children. Should guests have a specific request, the resort will do their best to accommodate. 

Vandhoo restaurant JOALI
Vandhoo Restaurant
The Entrance to SAOKE
Art pieces like this table at SAOKE makes for such a unique dining experience
Destination dining JOALI
Destination dining in the Manta Ray
art immersion JOALI
Art Immersion at JOALI's spa
Hammam JOALI
The Stunning Hammam located at their spa


Our favourite activity on the island was the pottery making classes held at the resort's own art studio. We found this to be such an original and fun activity, guided by its resident artist who resides on the island and conducts professional art classes for both children and adults. Not only do guests have the opportunity to create works of art during their holiday, but they also have the privilege to learn from these artists and witness their talents. It really is such a lovely activity to do together as a family and is even the perfect activity to do when needing a creative or soothing escape from the island activities.

A highlight of our stay, was when we made a day visit to JOALI’s wellness focused resort, JOALI BEING, located in Bodufushi, a twenty-minute speed boat ride away.  The resort embodies everything you’d want around wellness, and is the only resort of its kind in the Maldives that focuses on wellbeing. The villa themselves are just as stunning as the villas at JOALI Maldives. Feminine touches all around, with hues of blush, beige, creams and a hint of turquoise, made us feel so in awe of the architecture and interior design - we truly didn’t want to leave. Any traveler who appreciates great design, balance and uniformity will adore what JOALI BEING has to offer. 

More than just the design, JOALI BEING is a place to recuperate, to wind down and to go with the flow; that’s the energy here, the flow. Things are at a slower pace, there’s beauty every which way you turn and a certain lightness that accompanies you around the island. The retreat focuses on 'Four Pillars of Wellbeing' - Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy, and offers various treatment plans based on the client's needs. The most incredible part is that besides its treatments, the spaces where these treatments are taken are breathtaking and transformational. Take for example one of the water treatments that we experienced - Watsu. It was unlike anything we’d done before and is a treatment taken from Shiatsu but in the form of water. The treatment is a combination of stretching, acupressure and massage, all the while being cradled and gently swayed around.

We were led to JOALI BEING Cure's hydrotherapy hall, KAASHI, which looked like a page out of an Architectural Digest issue.To say we felt light and experienced something completely transformational would be an understatement. Everyone’s experience with Watsu is different. Ours was a deep sense of release and sheer gratitude, where we completely trusted in the process.

The food at JOALI BEING is obviously more geared towards healthy eating - after all, anyone that comes to here wants to, in some way, realign themselves, whether that’s in mind or body. The concept is around Earth-to-Table, offering fresh, locally harvested and sustainable sourced foods that support small farms. As JOALI BEING mentions, "All food and drink options have been expertly curated with the help of the island's nutritionists, offering a selection of flavours and cuisines with healthy yet indulgent dining options. If desired by guests, personalised nutrition sessions and co-created menu recommendations are available".

A day isn’t enough to get the full JOALI BEING experience, and it’s wonderful that this wellness retreat welcomes children during certain times of the month. This allows busy parents who want that transformative mind and body experience in the Maldives, to come here and do just that with their kids in tow. They don’t have to worry about being judged because they’re coming at a time where the resort welcomes little ones (and yes, there’s a little kids club here too, known as their Multigenerational Playground).

two bedroom beach pool villa
The Beach Pool Villa at BEING
Living room beach pool villa BEING
The living room
bathroom BEING
The bathroom
outdoor bathroom BEING
The outdoor bath area
The Watsu massage therapy experience
The Watsu massage therapy experience
The sauna at BEING
transformational spaces Aktar BEING
Aktar - a transformational setting and the post-treatment lounge at BEING
Seda entrance BEING
Seda entrance at BEING
BEING entrance
The entrance to BEING

JOALI Maldives and JOALI BEING are the only resorts of this kind in the Maldives. It takes beauty, art and wellbeing to another level - you’re left wondering whether the brand will open other outposts elsewhere in the world given they’ve exceeded at such an extraordinary level here. The fact that one can enjoy JOALI Maldives at its main island and then take a 20 minute boat ride and spend a few days nurturing themselves at JOALI BEING, is such a unique way to experience what it is to holiday. One can indulge themselves at JOALI Maldives, going onwards for thoughtful nurturing at JOALI BEING, all the while surrounded by incredible beauty and design.

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