Velaa Private Island, an exclusive new island hideaway in the Maldives, officially opened today on December 20, 2013.
An exceptional private luxury retreat in Noonu Atoll north of Malé, with service that goes beyond traditional resorts, Velaa promises luxury from Michelin star cuisine and one of the finest wine cellars in the Indian Ocean archipelago, to world-class watersports including its own private submarine.
Exceptional facilities “beyond traditional resorts” extend to the only My Blend By Clarins spa in the Maldives and a ‘short game’ golf academy designed by two-time Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazabal operated by Troon Golf.
Velaa Private Island is the realisation of a quest by founders Radka and Jiri Smejc to establish a truly exceptional resort in the Maldives. The unique destination has been created to embody the very best of this unique archipelago, under the azure skies and in the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean.
“Velaa is an island paradise, in all senses, where the essence of Maldivian culture, lifestyle and landscape meets limitless opportunities,” said Jiri Smejc, the founder of Velaa Private Island.
“Our commitment is that no request is too much, and each guest ultimately feels this is their own private island.”
Velaa means “Turtle Island” in the local language – named after generations of sea turtles that flock there to nest and hatch.
A "Celebration" promotion from December 24 to January 12 introduces the prestigious new private island for rates beginning at US$3,100 a night for stays at the colonial-style Beach Pool Villas.
Velaa Private Island has been designed and curated with privacy and comfort as the guiding principles, while allowing the Indian Ocean to take centre stage. At one with nature, each of the private retreats is built using local materials, combining contemporary flourishes with interiors designed for sensory exploration. Generous terraces and sultry gazebos are positioned to maximise shade, breeze, views and privacy, allowing for total immersion in nature.
The resort features 45 private villas, houses and exclusive residences fusing local materials with contemporary style each with their private swimming pool, including 18 built on stilts over water.
Family accommodation ranges from eight beach pool houses and pavilions to an ultra-private Romantic Pool Residence accessible only by boat and four expansive 4-bedroom Velaa Private Residences, a rarity in the archipelago, for families or groups of up to 10.
With three restaurants, two bars and a wine cellar, gastronomic dining is a resort signature, designed by French Michelin starred chef Adeline Grattard.
She oversees elegant over-water restaurants Aragu and Cru, where guests can enjoy vintage champagne, as well as Tavaru teppanyaki restaurant at the center of the island, which is uniquely set in a striking ivory-white tower, and features live cooking and an extensive wine cellar.
Additional venues include beachfront restaurant Athiri and Avi – a pool bar by day and vibrant cocktail bar by night.
A Destination Dining concept additionally offers bespoke menus, entertainment and locations, both on and off the island, for special occasions.
Velaa is one of only a handful of hotels in the world and the only resort in Asia partnering distinguished spa brand My Blend By Clarins, at its sublime spa nestled over the lagoon.
The spa also showcases the first ‘snow room’ in the Maldives – a cloud-shaped reclining pod that cradles guests into deep relaxation – and a Yoga Pavilion with personal training, either on a raised tree meditation platform in the garden or by the beach.
Recreation and wellness extends to world-class water sports and fitness facilities, covered tennis and squash courts, a football field and beach volleyball court.
The Velaa Golf Academy by Olazabal is also the only golf experience of its kind anywhere in the world. Operated by Troon Golf with a resident professional for personalised tuition, it incorporates a state of the art indoor studio for fine-tuning golf swings and a short-game target area with multiple par-3 layouts for pitching from 65 to 180 yards over bunkers and a small lake onto six greens.
A PADI dive centre offers excursions, certification courses and snorkeling adventures. Water activities extend to windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, wakeboarding, water-skiing, kite surfing and the only two-passenger private submarine in the Maldives.
Sunset cruises, dolphin watching, private boat excursions and fishing expeditions are aboard a luxury Prestige yacht or traditional Maldivian ‘bahtheli’ boat.
Velaa is designed by award-winning Czech architect Petr Kolar as “an elegant fusion of Maldivian culture with contemporary luxury, intimate with Maldivian nuances”.
Styling adopts a motif of the turtle, after which the island is named, with the colors and patterns of turtle shell pervading the property. From a broader “bird’s eye view” which greets arrivals by seaplane, the island’s exclusive over-water villas are also constructed to resemble the head of a turtle, with the island forming the body.