From Ellen Boonstra, Asia correspondent >>
THE Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago, opened its doors on June 6. It is within paddling distance of the world-renowned ‘Chickens’ surf break.
A remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined: a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150m pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars.
Kuda Villingili Resort is the first property in the Maldives for Indian hospitality conglomerate MFAR. The group has, since its inception, demonstrated innovation and commitment, with a serious commitment to corporate social corporate responsibility (CSR).
Kuda Villingili Resort is pioneering a microfinancing program that supports a neighbouring island by purchasing all of the local people’s shrimp and lobster produce. The resort will also offer loans, training in sustainable and efficient farming and healthcare.
Providing prime access to one of the world’s top 10 surfing spots – known as Chickens – as well as a host of daily activities and nightly entertainment such as lobster and Champagne nights and sunset DJ sessions, Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives offers guests the opportunity to reconnect after a year of isolation, as well as space for privacy, luxury and rest.
The diversity of cultural expression is celebrated throughout the resort’s gourmet offerings.
With views of the idyllic beachfront, the resort’s signature dining establishment – The Restaurant – serves the freshest, handcrafted food for breakfast and offers three menus at dinner: Fire, Earth and Ocean.
Inspired by the traditional American Steak House experience, Fire explores the art of grilling meats to perfection. Earth is an Asian-inspired concept that celebrates organic ingredients to enhance classic dishes like noodles and dim sum creations, and Ocean is a fine-dining experience championing seafood specialties, prepared with a European sensibility.
Relaxed, flavoursome and social, The Hawkers is an upscale three-stall street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing-style options. The open kitchen dishes up Indian-Arabic inspired flame-grilled kebabs, charcoaled tandoor, and mouth-watering shawarma, along with Thai-Japanese delicacies such as robatayaki grill and sushi, and Italian-Mediterranean favourites like savoury wood-fired pizza.
A South American take on the classic lunch beach menu is available at The Beach Club, together with daily live DJ sets and an extended list of refreshing frozen cocktails and rosé wines. The resort’s two bars, the Main Bar and the Poolside bar, both offer classic cocktails, mocktails and hand-crafted beers.
And overlooking the lagoon, the resort’s cosy Cigar Lounge offers the finest international whiskies and cognacs and a wide selection of premium cigars in a warm, sophisticated and sumptuously leather-decorated ambience.
WELLNESS & SPORTS
Featuring oversized stone baths, organic and plant-based products by Voya, the spa at Kuda Villingili is rooted in self-love, self-discovery and wellness.
Boasting eight self-contained oceanfront spa villas, each promises a holistic journey to reclaim self-connection, self-care and balance through an array of therapeutic and mindful practices.
Restorative leisure pursuits include an elevated yoga pavilion, Technogym and a recreation centre with table tennis, billiards, karaoke and table games. There are two state-of-the-art tennis courts, beach volleyball and island excursions that range from surfing, scuba and stargazing to wildlife encounters, sandbank dining and big game fishing.
DESIGN & ACCOMMODATION
Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates, in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, the resort boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside.
All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.
The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island.
Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles).
This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.
Guests are invited to snorkel amidst the majestic manta rays, reef sharks, hundreds of species of tropical fish and coral reefs and at sundown, they will be surrounded by the areas’ unique fluorescent marine life.
Kayaking, wakeboarding, jet skiing, windsurfing and surfing the majestic waves at nearby Chickens break, one of the world’s top 10 surfing spots, is also on offer. Back on land, sushi masterclasses, mixology courses, morning yoga sessions, fun-filled cardio lessons and tennis tournaments await – and they’re included in the price of the villa.
Kuda Villingili’s littlest guests will be spoilt for choice. The resort’s experienced team will organise fun filled activities including crab discovery, treasure hunts, creative workshops and sandcastle competitions, all designed to ensure that a child’s experience on the island is as unforgettable as their parents’.
André Kretschmann, general manager of Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives said, “I look forward to welcoming guests in this magic and unspoiled island.
“Kuda Villingili represents years of ingenious planning and successful collaborations with famous hoteliers and designers, not to offer yet another luxury resort but a place where time and space are redefined. The young resort team and I are here to help guests create ever-lasting memories.”