The Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, located in breath taking blue azure waters, is the only Maldivian resort located south of the equator in the Addu Atoll. The 70- minute flight from Malé Airport whisks you away to your Robinson Crusoe escape where you can disconnect, recharge and replenish your mind and body in one of the most wonderful locations in the world. The island stretches nearly two kilometres from east to west, which is unusually expansive for the Maldives. The relatively large size aside, the island still maintains a certain intimacy with features unique to the resort, and the quirky additions on the island simply add to its charm. For instance, it houses the highest point in the Maldives at just over 5m above sea level. Even more amazing still, the next land mass south
of the island is, well…… Antarctica!
When it comes to somewhere to call home for the next week, you’re simply spoilt for choice. Our favourite abode is the Treehouse Villa, one of the only places in the Maldives where we can recall having cleverly designed privacy in tune with the natural surroundings, not forgetting those turquoise blue views. Perched on stilts, the villas offer over 230 square metres of space, a generously sized pool and all the mod cons you expect inside. A dedicated villa host, intimate oval bathtub and bespoke pillow menu provide the lovely touches to make your stay extra special.
When it comes to dining, the island has three sumptuous options to sample during your stay. You can of, course, dine in the privacy of your villa, or head to one of the three restaurants for unique experiences including Jaavu
(international fusion, steak and seafood) and Fashala (Modern Mediterranean ), with all the restaurants providing halal dining options. Dr Ali’s is an exceptional restaurant laden with Eastern sophistication that pays tribute to a much-loved Maldivian doctor. Dr Ali delighted everyone with his wonderfully woven nature stories and enticing recipes, and, from 1850 to 1900 he travelled across East Asia and the Middle East as a seafarer aboard the Yahumbarra. His journeys took him to diverse destinations including Burma, South China and Vietnam, where he collected exotic ingredients from his encounters with other travellers, and before long, these herbs and spices were fused creatively into his delicious, magical recipes. Today, Dr Ali’s creates masterpieces of simple, fresh and innovative cuisine from tangy Vietnamese favourites to tandoori classics, masterfully prepared and presented in elegant oriental settings.
Quite possibly one of the most scenic courses anywhere in the world, the nine-hole golf course is the only one of its kind in the Maldives. Designed for the enjoyment of beginners and seasoned golfers, each holes lies alongside the shoreline so a slice here or a draw there and you’re in the drink! With the island blessed with trails and tracks, you can lose yourself in 12 hectares of lush foliage, towering banyan trees, 17,000 coconut palms, 45 species of plants and 3 natural lagoons by foot or by bicycle. You can even head out into the local islands, connected by a 17-kilometre road, the longest in Maldives. Set out with a picnic basket and discover the fascinating lifestyle and culture of untouched Maldivian villages, or stop at a quaint coffee shop to chat with the locals.
CHI, the spa at Shangri-La, is a secluded sanctuary located in its own spa village within the resort, with spacious individual treatment villas offering “spa-within-a-spa” environments. The spa menu offers a selection of Asian massages and Indian Ayurvedic treatments, alongside locally inspired treatments and specific well-being programmes. In traditional Chinese philosophy, ch’i or “Qi” is the universal life force that governs well-being and personal vitality. For good health to be maintained, it is believed that ch’i must flow freely within the body. Body massage, exercise, stretching, hydrotherapy, and movement of the mind through relaxation and meditation combine to assist the body’s natural renewal and form the basis of the CHI spa philosophy.