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JOALI Maldives

Muravandhoo Island Raa Atoll, Maldives
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JOALI Maldives

Why we love it: Paradise does exist, and it involves spotless beaches, spacious villas, world-class art, and swimming with manta rays.

The Highlights:
- Villas with butlers, private pools, and a curated art and book selection
- A botanical garden showcasing hundreds of plant and flower species
- Private sandbar for snorkeling and overnight adventures

The Review:
Opened in October 2018, Joali Maldives is nestled on a private island in the Raa Atoll surrounded by lagoons, white-sand beaches, and lush palm trees. Accessed by seaplane from Malé, the resort has 73 beach and over-water villas of various sizes and each with its own infinity pool, butler service, and hand-selected library and art. Three-bedroom villas have more than 4,000 square feet of space, two pools, spa room and sauna, and an on-call Dhoni, a Maldivian sailboat. Not to be outdone, four-bedrooms residences have more than 5,000 square feet of space hidden on a private strip of beach.

In a surprising move for a Maldives property, Joali has a serious arts focus, with a gallery and pieces around the resort by local artisans and up-and-coming global designers like Misha Khan, Nacho Carbonell, London-based Studio Glithero, Zemer Peled, Chris Wolston, and Doug Johnston. There’s even an art map to point out areas of interest across the property. Make time for experiences like snorkeling with manta rays, wakeboarding, Dhoni excursions to local Maldivian communities, and a night on the island’s private sandbar for glamping and epic stargazing. Find special spots across the resort, like the Flower Garden filled with local plants and flowers (it even offers botanical workshops and events) and the Manta Ray Treehouse, designed by Porky Hefer. And of course there’s a spacious spa and fitness center, multiple drinking and dining options with everything from a whiskey bar to a sweets shop with 60 flavors of ice cream, and plenty of family programming like treasure hunts, cooking classes, and story time.