“15 villas nestled over water in the bluest ocean you can ever imagine…well, no need to imagine…it actually exists and its name is Kudadoo Private Island… “
Just imagine this: an island hideaway in the middle of the Indian Ocean where the principle of anything, anytime, anywhere, is not just a fantasy but a reality… Now imagine an uber-exclusive private paradise with 15 villas nestled over water in the bluest ocean you can ever imagine…well, no need to imagine…it actually exists and its name is Kudadoo Private Island… I have been fortunate to luxury leisure travel to some amazing spots in my lifetime, but in these most uncertain of times I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect…
But where do I even begin…
But first let’s back up to our arrival in Male, the Capital of the Republic of Maldives on day One… Our first destination: Hurawalhi Island Resort.…90 miles and 40 minutes from Velana International Airport, the scenic seaplane journey flying over the scattered atolls, and having bird’s view of the different resorts is nothing short of spectacular and a sneak preview of things to come.
The Hurawalhi Island Resort is a luxe adult-only property located on a private coral island on the northern edge of the Lhaviyani Atoll. The moment you disembark the seaplane and get off the boat at Hurawalhi’s deck to a personalized Maldivian welcome chant, the first thing that hits you is the mesmerizing crystal-clear waters in every possible shade of turquoise and blue and the immense natural beauty of the island.
We were immediately welcomed by our genial and very attentive personal butler Akan who took care of our schedule to organize our time in the island and make sure every detail was covered. It didn’t take long for us to get totally immersed in the island and everything it has to offer.
“With unspoiled powdery white-sand beaches with pristine turquoise waters shaded by giant palm trees and overwater wooden structures”
With unspoiled powdery white-sand beaches with pristine turquoise waters shaded by giant palm trees and overwater wooden structures, Hurawalhi offers a choice of beachside suites and bungalows built on stilts over the lagoon.
Built on a wooden walkway with direct lagoon access, our Ocean Infinity Pool Villa not only had spectacular panoramic sea views but access to snorkeling straight from our deck via stairs that went down to the turquoise waters below. As a matter of fact, our Snorkel and flippers were already waiting for us as we walked in the room! Hurawalhi’s all-inclusive package covered a lot of great extras, including sunset dolphin cruises, daily minibar items, and non-motorized water sports.
The decor throughout is Maldivian elegant and contemporary, with dark wood floors and a clever use of local woods and soft calming palettes that doesn’t conflict with the colors of nature outside.
But what really stands out here at Hurawalhi is the service. It’s a very genuine level of service and extremely personal and unparalleled to anything I am accustomed to in all my traveling years.
The “yes can do” attitude and thoughtfulness of the staff was palpable: discreet, warm and taking care of our every need.
Can I mention again our own private butler?
Hurawalhi has an unrivaled level of style, choice and personalized exploration. Nature is nurtured at this beautiful resort, from the sustainable design and furnishings to all the well thought ecological materials.
You are completely immersed in the philosophy of the hotel and Hurawalhi makes you part of this unique ecosystem! As nature enthusiasts we enjoyed snorkeling with Hurawalhi’s resident marine biologist as she talked us through all the amazing sea creatures and the state of the coral reef, while snorkeling next to sharks and Manta rays swimming undeterred only inches away from us.
Marine conservation is a priority at Hurawalhi and their biology team took on the challenge of setting up a coral nursery to help regenerate damaged areas of reef.
Less than 2 years later, the coral is growing again and the damage is showing signs of reversal.
“It didn’t take long for us to get totally immersed in the island and everything it has to offer”
“Can I mention again our own private butler?”
But then on day 4 it was time to move on to an island of unparalleled privacy – five minutes away by speedboat, Kudadoo Private Island is the first ultra-all-inclusive resort of its kind – and this is where the real magic started for us.
Kudadoo, meaning “small island” in the local language, was previously a deserted natural island encompassing approximately five acres. Swedish entrepreneur Lars Petre transformed it into a luxury resort that’s fully energy sufficient, working with New York-based Japanese architect Yuji Yamasaki and several partners around the world.
Highly styled 15 one- of- a- kind villas floating above the aquamarine waters right across from Hurawalhi, Kudadoo is indeed a very private and special place. Open spaces where the air flows naturally, natural materials such as lava and wood for the tables or coconut shells as decorative items make the place truly unique.
“Nature is nurtured from the sustainable design to all ecological materials”
“Open spaces where the air flows naturally with natural materials like lava and wood”
The 15-villa private island is fully solar-powered with unlimited spa treatments, private dining and private excursions like a sunset dolphin cruise.
The Central hub of the resorting known as The Retreat. The roof of The Retreat is covered by solar panels, which can 100% power the resort. Additionally, the Island has a water-bottling plant to reduce its plastic consumption, and a collection of greenhouses to produce fresh produce for guests, among other efforts to be sustainable and eco-friendly. If you’re conscious of your carbon footprint as my husband and myself are, you will want to be selective in where you stay when you’re on holiday.
Both resorts went great lengths to maximize their green credentials with minimal environmental impact. Not only have these two resorts taken the green initiative to the next level but they have truly redefined for me the concept of Barefoot Luxury Hospitality.
In the most uncertain year imaginable, not only did our visit come at the perfect time, but the staff at Hurawalhi and Kudadoo provided certainty and security each and every day. We really felt at home away from home – the affection, the kindness, the attention to detail – but most importantly, the smile of all the staff and our new found friends were soul healing. This trip was a life changing experience and one that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
This is what I can only describe as “The New Standard of Luxury.”
Luigi Irauzqui is The Style Hunter – Interior Designer, Lifestyle Curator, Image Maker and Brand Strategist and Beverly Hills Lifestyle’s latest Editor-At-Large.
You can find Luigi on Instagram @luigiirauzqui