Velaa Private Island, Maldives
On Noonu Atoll, a 45-minute seaplane ride north of the capital Malé, this resort has the white-sand beaches and crystalline waters shared by other Maldivian resorts, and so much more besides. In addition to the expected gym and an excellent spa, leisure facilities include squash and tennis courts, a climbing wall and even a golf academy with 170 metres of lush greens and a swing studio designed by Jose Maria Olazabal. Impressive diving and snorkelling sites are nearby, and the resort’s watersports facilities are among the best in the country.
Velaa’s interior designer Petr Kolár uses the phrase “polite luxury” to describe the resort’s aesthetic; rather than gold-plated bathrooms and Swarovski-studded chandeliers, the resort’s most impressive accoutrements are designed to be near imperceptible. Paving stones that don’t absorb heat have been imported from Jordan; master European craftsmen developed the villa interiors; wood panelling was sourced in Borneo. Those subtle touches combine to create a setting that functions fluidly and works intuitively. Now that’s attention to detail!