Villingili is not just another island in the Maldives, but a whole destination waiting to be discovered. The hotel occupying this remote patch of Maldives is exciting and innovative, with villas literally integrated with the surrounding lush vegetation.
This is the first Maldivian resort of its type located south of the equator. Villingili island has more than six kilometers of picturesque beach, but it is one of the smaller islands in a large atoll.
Of the other islands, five are connected by seventeen kilometers of paved road. Exploration of the few settlements located on this trail, especially on a bike, is an unexpected attraction in the Maldives.
Forest and tree houses
Another unusual feature of the island it its lush, dense forest: the island is covered by twelve hectares of coconut and fig trees, as well as forty-five other plant species. And there is a natural freshwater lake on the island, too—not something you normally associate with Maldives.
Shangri-La made an effort to keep the vegetation and trees intact when building the resort: to avoid cutting threes down the villas were built around the trunks. Some are actually built as “tree houses”—another first in the Maldives.
Activities and dining
Maldives is often associated with romantic holiday and the islands are particularly popular with honeymooners—but the Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa is designed for families with children (we recommend the two-bedroom villa). But that’s not the only thing differentiating the Villingili property from other luxury Maldivian resorts.
The hotel has spa, two bars, three restaurants, and the Dine by Design: dinners served in unusual places (e.g. when crossing the equator, on a luxury yacht).
This would not be a Maldivian hotel without good water sports and great diving, with a dramatic 140-meter long wreck of the British ship, which lies just a few minutes by boat from the island (the British actress Gemma Arterton loved it).