23rd July 2021
Having had the pleasure and fortune to visit the Maldives a number of times it is always a gamble which resort to choose to try next. This visit was no different with several on my shortlist, plus the added pressure of the trip being the first for a while (due to Covid) my husband and I were keen to make the best choice possible.
We are fortunate to have an amazing Travel Counsellor, Hazel Vetere, who is very up to date on the Maldives market and had supplied us with a good selection of options to meet our specific needs. With three on our shortlist we decided on Joali and I am so pleased we did. Upon arrival at Male airport, right until departure, from Male Airport, the Joali experience is first class.
Arriving at Male we were greeted by a Joali rep and chauffeured to the private Joali seaplane lounge where we waited only a few minutes before being swept away to the paradise of Joali on Muravandhoo island. With its roots grounded in sustainable glamour it certainly meets the brief.
Upon arrival we were met by a team of friendly staff including the resort general manager (Ismail) and our Jadugar or “Magician” (Vienne), who would be literally at our service for the length of our stay. The large rooms are gorgeous, the interiors and sheer luxury of every finish from the furniture to the linens to the, wardrobes and then the marbles. Every surface was thought through and then you step outside to the largest over water pool I have seen in the Maldives. Already I was sure we had made the right choice.
After a fabulous breakfast spread comprised of both buffet and a la carte we were free to explore …. where to start? The island has it all, from an incredible Spa complete with Hammam and sensory pool, gym, marina water sports center with all the latest gadgets, manta ray treehouses, Joali boutique, tennis court and football pitch, kids club, huge main pool and bar area, extensive beach that you can literally disappear into the sea (instagram worthy footage focal point). Not forgetting one of my favorite parts of the Maldives, the bicycles outside our villa, and how special to wake up on our third morning to have personalized wooden name plates fitted to ours! That is just Joali to a tee, it’s the special touches, the staff go to any lengths with no added cost that makes this resort and experience magical. They really are true “magicians”!
The service here is the best I have experienced in the Maldives, the staff are on point, knowing your names and really taking interest in you and your experience. Nothing is too much trouble and you feel a part of the island, the balance is perfection. Everything you can think of that you might need they have thought of, hair straighteners in the room, mouthwash and tooth picks in the restaurant restrooms, need nail clippers? Call your Jadugar … nothing is too much and you never feel like I have felt in other resorts where everything usually has an additional price attached.
With four restaurants and one special theme buffet evening we had the perfect 5 night stay sampling 3 of the 4 restaurants choosing to go twice to Bellinis the Italian restaurant as we enjoyed it so much. Sadly the Japanese, Saoke, was closed on our last night as we would otherwise have like to have tried that one more time but we will just have to come again! The only thing that might have made the evenings better would have been some live band entertainment that is quite usual at other resorts I have visited, there was a local Maldivian band on the Friday street market buffet night but that was the only evening entertainment.
As we were celebrating our anniversary we were treated to a complimentary 60 minute massage to take anytime during our stay. There was a welcome bottle of champagne in our room on arrival and on our last night we were greeted at dinner with a specially dressed table and complimentary glass of champagne to mark the occasion. Retiring to our room we were met with a romantic rose petal display on the bed and the bath filled along with music playing, the perfect end to the perfect evening.
The day of departure not only were we able to keep our room until our 3pm seaplane departure but we also had our room refreshed in the morning, another first for me on the day of check out in any hotel – again an example of the Joali difference, little things that are going to be hard to top anywhere else.
Our wonderful Jadugar had even filled in our online mandatory PCR paperwork and printed out everything we needed to travel with without us even asking, and then completed a room check to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind. It is a good job we only booked a 5 night stay as any longer and we might never have been able to return to reality!