Flights run daily from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Malé, Maldives and cost between AED 2,200 and AED 2,700 for an economy, return, direct flight. Plan in advance and you can benefit from some great savings. We flew with Fly Dubai and paid only AED 2,500 per person for a direct, return, business class flight. This meant we were able to enjoy priority check-in, business class lounge, with a light buffet and beverages, as well as spacious business class seating.
The flight takes around 4.5 hours. Once you arrive at Malé International Airport you will be greeted by the warm smiles of the Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa team. Located south of the equator on Villingili Island, the southernmost tip of Addu Atoll, the exclusive resort is only accessible by domestic flight but Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa team will take care of all the details as you are escorted to the executive lounge where you can relax, refresh and enjoy a bite to eat before embarking on your domestic flight to Gan International Airport, a short 70 minute scenic flight. As the flight crosses the equator guests are given a certificate to commemorate the occasion, a nice touch. From Gan International Airport you then take a 5 minute boat ride to Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa.
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa offers 132 villas in 7 distinct different styles. From tropical tree house villas nestled away in the lush vegetation to water villas offering endless views of the Indian Ocean. The décor is a fusion of Middle Eastern and Indian design elements, offering guests a luxurious and chic ambience.
The resort offers foodies a selection of on island dining and boasts 3 fine dining restaurants and 3 bars and lounges, from fine dining at Dr Ali’s to casual dining at Javvu the resort caters for all tastes. 24 hour in villa dining is also available however if you are looking to celebrate a special occasion we would recommend a custom-made Dine by Design experience. Select your location, be it on a luxury yacht, on the pristine white sands or hidden amongst the palm trees, the resort team will ensure a memorable occasion.
Embark upon a journey of tranquility at CHI, The Spa. Explore the island by bike, play a round at the only 9-hole golf course in the Maldives or take to the seas on an ocean adventure.
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa has a host of activities to keep you relaxed and entertained upon your visit.
As the boat nears the Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa we are mesmerized by the azure waters that surround the island. White sands glisten and coconut palm trees dance in the breeze, it’s difficult to imagine a more perfect setting.
We step off the boat and are warmly greeted by the team with faces full of smiles, a fresh coconut and a colourful flower. What a welcome. We are escorted by buggy to our Water Villa. As we drive over the timber walkway to the villa we are in awe of the astounding beauty that surrounds us.
Built on stilts in the resorts lagoon water, villas offer guests unrivalled privacy and relaxation. Our personal island host shows us around the villa, we are amazed by how spacious the villa is. High ceilings and a multitude of windows add to the luxurious setting. As you enter the villa, you walk into the corridor to the right you have the outdoor shower, bathroom with his and her vanity counters, a large oval bathtub, rain shower, restroom, walk in wardrobe and seating area. To the left, the bedroom, another seating area, private open terrace with an upstairs lounge, a wide deck downstairs with two sun loungers and a hammock that hangs over the ocean, allowing you to spend countless afternoons watching the marine life.
To the front of the villa, spanning ocean views, to the back a pristine shoreline. Amenities include a media entertainment system, iPod docking station, complimentary WI-FI, Nespresso machine, Shangri-La premium toiletries, pillow menu, hair dryer, bathrobes and slippers.
To add to the authenticity of the experience guests are presented with Addu Atoll bananas which come from the nearby island of Meedhoo.
Now for our favourite part, the dining. With an amazing selection of dining options to satisfy the most disconcerting diner guests can choose from one of the astounding restaurants, a casual meal in one of the three bars and lounges, to a tailored dining experience, the options are endless.
During the day we dine at Javvu located on the water’s edge, the international all day dining restaurant offers views across the beach and the jetty. Of course the weather is perfect, making it an ideal spot for al fresco dining.
The breakfast features a delectable international buffet, serving everything from waffles to noodles, all nationalities are catered for. Live cooking stations ensure that any dietary requirements can be met by the team of talented chefs. We enjoy a hearty English breakfast with all the trimmings. Be sure to try the fresh blended juices, the selection of juices varies every morning but they will leave you energized for the rest of the day.
The lunch menu is vast, serving everything from, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, burgers soups, salads, Asian cuisine, fish, meats and grills. Our favorite dish is the seafood ceviche, Indian-ocean citrus marinated seafood with tomato, coriander, lemon vinegar, potatoes, black olives and banana chips. Light and flavorful this is the ideal dish to enjoy on a tropical island. Also noteworthy is the nasi goreng kampung from the Asian selection, a Southeast Asian-style fried rice, fried egg, beef satay and shrimp crackers. For the health conscious traveler, the menu also offers a selection of healthy dishes. Come the evening and Javvu transforms into an elegant beachside setting. Don’t miss the theme nights with entertainment by the islands local band, the atmosphere is electric.
The second evening we decide to dine at Dr. Ali’s Restaurant and Bar located on the east coast of the resort. Named after the much loved island doctor, Dr. Ali who would use exotic ingredients to create his marvelous recipes. Designed to represent the late Dr. Ali’s mansion, the restaurant is adorned with ancient furniture from his house.
The menu features fine fare with influences from the Indian Ocean, South China Sea and the Arabian Gulf. For starters we decide to explore the Arabian Gulf menu. We opt for the fattoush, falafels and cheese sambousek. From the South China Sea menu we opt for bo cuon xa nuong, Vietnamese style roasted beef tenderloin, lemongrass, sesame seed with sweet chili-garlic sauce. It’s not often you find a restaurant that is able to do so many cuisines so well, the resorts secret, they have four chefs who are experts in their own section of the menu, genius.
For our main course we select the braised beef with chili broth, sliced beef, dried chili, iceberg lettuce, dark soya chili bean sauce, also from the South China Sea menu. From the Indian Ocean menu the highly recommended Maldivian fish curry, Maldivian yellow fin tuna curry with local addu spices and from the Arabian Gulf, the charcoal grill sheesh taouk, grilled pieces of chicken breast marinated with oregano. For our sides we enjoy saffron rice and grilled vegetables. The vegetables were as fresh as can be, most of them were picked that very morning from the chef’s onsite garden. Overall the meal was fantastic, every dish echoed authenticity and delighted and inspired our palate.
The next day we ride our bikes to CHI, The Spa. CHI, The Spa is tucked away amidst the topical palms. This isolated sanctuary sits just above the ocean, the symphony of the waves sets the tone for a relaxing afternoon.
Shangri-La is renowned for its spa’s, we are looking forward to experiencing the kandu boli ritual. Kandu boli meaning seashell, draws energy from the ocean. In this unique treatment a Cowrie shell is massaged over your body and face with warm Maldivian pure coconut oil drizzled through your hair followed by a tranquil scalp massage. The treatment is concluded by a local lullaby being gently sung.
The spa also offers a unique yoga pavilion overlooking the Indian Ocean, individual treatment villas with private gardens and steam rooms. Each guest is able to experience one free yoga class. The teacher is fantastic and makes the experience enjoyable and educational.
For a relaxed ocean trip, enjoy an ocean adventure on the dolphin cruise. A great trip where we were fortunate enough to see pods of dolphins in their natural habitat. A must try.
For the water sports enthusiasts, the resort offers complimentary snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding. Motorized sports are available but for an additional cost. We did try the snorkelling admittedly were weren’t that good but we did get to see an amazing abundance of marine life.
For the Fitness fanatic, keep your training up at the fitness centre on the island from military exercise boot camps to peaceful yoga classes by the ocean waves. There is something for everyone here.
For the avid golfer why not try the only 9- hole golf course in the Maldives. Villingili’s golf course is nestled in seven-and-a-half hectares at the southern end of the island.
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives offers an unforgettable experience. From the dining to the spa the resort embraces its local influence and translates this throughout the guests’ experience. It’s these small touches that make for a memorable and unique stay. If you are looking to escape the modern day hustle in a resort that offers unrivalled service we highly recommend a visit to Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives. For nature, beauty, elegance and luxury you must experience all that the resort has to offer for yourself. The experience for us was extraordinary and one we will never forget.
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives, +960 689 7888