White sands, warm waters of the Indian Ocean, dreamy weather and just as much to see underwater as above, the Maldives
has been welcoming travellers since ancient times.
The resilient Maldives has made a major comeback since the 1988 El Nino coral bleaching and the 2004 tsunami. New resorts have popped up and Kelly Landry found one you reach by boat.
Cocoa Island Resort has no villas on land. They are all perched above crystal-clear water and built in a shape mirroring the island. Rooms in the shape of a traditional dhoni boat are a chic blend of dark wood furniture and white cotton accessories.
The villa has its own jetty giving guests private access to and from Cocoa Island.
Guests wake to an uninterrupted view to the horizon, cobalt blue ocean and as evening approaches, tiny fishing boats return home.
Choose from five styles of accommodation, all offering butler service and private dinners to enjoy on your private deck.
Eight split-level Dhoni suites have a large living area and outdoor Balinese-style day bed. Dhoni Loft suites are similar but with bedrooms on a mezzanine level. Floor-to-ceiling windows are dressed with sheer white drapes. Loft Villas bring the outside in and one-bedroom villas have a décor of white, teaks and furniture inspired by the colonial traditions of southern India.
Como Villas are great for families or groups. They have both a king and twin bedroom, each with ensuite, outdoor shower and four decks. They have refrigerator, microwave and stove.
Cocoa has a large infinity pool, restaurant, bar, indoor pool, gym, steam room and spa. They offer indulgent therapies, yoga, diving and exciting excursions. At the resort's restaurant, Ufaa, guests are treated to gourmet cuisine served inside, outside or at tables set on the sand.
The head chef is Australian Anna Rossel. Her food is inspired by the Malabar Coast's seafood and South-East Asian cooking. On Sundays she cooks up a seafood feast on the beach. Lagoon lobster and tuna are special favourites on the barbecue.
With so many visitors to the Maldives and surrounding islands, there's bound to be unwanted garbage washing in and the resort does reef cleaning each month. Most guests enjoy joining in the Conservation Reef Restoration Dive, diving or snorkelling with staff. The resort's CEO Felix Yeo came up with the idea and it's having fantastic results.
They have an artificial coral garden used to research how to revive the natural reef.
Cocoa Island has won endless awards and it's easy to see why!
The Maldives, south of Sri Lanka.
Cocoa Island rooms start at around $635 a night. Breakfast is included.
Prices correct at July 2, 2011.
For further information
Cocoa Island Como Resort
Ph: +960 664 1818
Fax: +960 664 1919
Visa: Valid passport and return ticket are required for entry. Thirty-day tourist visas will be issued on arrival.
Electricity: 230V at 50Hz.
Time zone: GMT +5.
Currency: Maldivian rufiya (MRf).
International dialling code: +960.
It is recommended travellers to Maldives see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.