Kelly Landry has fallen for the island paradise of the Maldives. It ticks all her boxes for the ideal holiday destination, including incredible natural beauty, diving, surfing, sunbaking and heavenly sunsets. It's all there.
The Shangri-La Resort & Spa on Villingili Island is the first luxury resort south of the equator in the Maldives.
To reach it you take a flight from Male and then a boat ride, but when you arrive at the resort, surrounded by 17,000 coconut palms and sitting on 6km of coastline with 2km of white sand, every second was worth it.
There are five styles of accommodation. Pool Villas are in the forest with views of the beach. They have private pool, terrace, open air shower and day bed. Deluxe Pool Villas have all of that, plus garden and coral beachfront.
Water Villas are on stilts in the lagoon and connected to the island by a timber walkway. They have large oval bathtub and open-air shower.
Beach Villas are set over two pavilions the living pavilion on one side and bedroom on the other. A thatched-roof entry gate leads to a landscaped courtyard and on to a timber door. Each villa has a private terrace.
Kelly just had to try out the Tree House Villas. They are perched on stilts 3m high among the treetops. Privacy is assured, as are stunning views of the beach, lagoon and island. She even had her own infinity pool!
All accommodation has broadband internet, television, espresso machines and they have Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern design.
The Villa Muthee is for travellers who really want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is away from the rest of the resort so you are guaranteed complete privacy. It has a large bedroom, walk-in wardrobe, dressing area, enormous bathroom and spa pavilion.
Villa Laluu is the crème-de-la-crème of the accommodation. It has two bedrooms with high ceilings, a large garden, timber verandahs, an alfresco dining pavilion, selected artworks and artefacts, sculptures and urns carefully selected from around Asia. The large master bathroom has a tub for two, water feature and spa pavilion.
The Resort's Chi Spa celebrates Maldivian culture by employing local massage therapists. They use cone shell treatments and warm oil to totally relax you.
There are two restaurants and three bars. They all offer something different so you can alternate them during your stay.
Dr Ali's has three Eastern-style living rooms representing cultures and cuisines of the Indian Ocean, South China Sea and Arabian Gulf. Javvu serves western cuisine and is adjacent to the Endheri pool at the heart of the resort.
Scuba diving is an increasingly popular sport and if you're a snorkeller and thinking of taking the next step, there is a practice plunge pool and decompression chamber to help you on your way.
There is some of the world's best diving on your doorstep and just being in the largest reef in one of the smallest atolls in the Maldives was a great experience for Kelly.
The resort offers guided tours to nearby islands so visitors have a sense of Maldivian village life. Kelly was delighted to be taken by staff member Inaan to his village. She saw his neighbours fishing and children at the primary school playing football. She even tried some of the real local food.
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