35,000 square miles. Among these jewel look-alike atolls, a selection of the finest resorts also known for their luxury and romantic retreats can be found. Between white sand, clear water and azure sky, everything is naturally made to mesmerize guests. If we take a closer look into this archipelago, we can come across Velaa Private island. Located in the dazzling Noonu Atoll, on the north of Male, this resort offers one of the most exceptional and unique getaway of the tropical nation.
Today we sat down with Lisa Jakobsson, Velaa’s Marketing Manager, to talk about about this marvelous location that is Velaa.
Imperial: What differentiates the Maldives from other Indian Ocean destinations?
Lisa Jakobsson: The Maldives is unique due to the natural formation of the islands which naturally makes every island resort completely separated and removed from anything else really; creating the perfect paradise bubble. The island archipelago created from ancient sunken volcanoes remove every access to reality and the stress that comes with. This also allows for the feeling of owning your own piece of paradise while visiting due to the remoteness and inaccessibility for any outsider.
IY: How do first-time visitors react to the Maldives?
LJ: I think a common misperception is that there is nothing to do in the Maldives and that you will be bored if you stay too many days on the same island but everyone is always amazed of the options of activities, culinary selection and natural beauty as they arrive.
Even from the actual arrival to the country, the seaplane trip to Velaa from Malé brings you 45 minutes of the most stunning views you can imagine. As you fly over the atolls, you see the islands, surrounded by white sandbanks and then the lagoons, glowing turquoise before the shallow water plunges off into that deep blue. It’s truly mesmerizing every time.
IY: Is it that remoteness that appeals to people about the Maldives?
LJ: That’s part of it, definitely. You can really allow yourself to disconnect from the world out here – almost to the extent that you forget that another reality even exists. You can just be free, do what you want to do and live a life of the most exquisite luxury with the privacy sought after. As other destinations are developing, tourism almost takes over and mass tourism changes the natural beauty of a place, where as in the Maldives, with all the islands being completely private, you can feel completely removed from the rest of the world but with all facilities and services that you may wish for. This means that you do not need to compromise any of your comfort for the remoteness sought after.
IY: So what’s the idea behind Velaa Private Island?
LJ: Velaa is the dream and passion project of our owners, who for a long time were frequent visitors to the Maldives and dreamt of having their own private island one day.
They wanted to establish a home for their family in the island archipelago that wasn’t constrained by corporate guidelines and that could be created purely based on their preferences and passions.
They found Velaa, then called ‘Fushi Velavaru’ here in Noonu atoll as its distance from Malé made it more tranquil, untouched and optimised the health of the reefs and the corals surrounding the island. Velaa means ‘Turtle’ in the local language Dhivehi because of the sea turtles who flock to our beaches to dig their nests every year. Did you know that a turtle always returns to the island they were born to nest?
Velaa was developed as a personal home, where everything revolves around the family. A golf course for himself; a tennis court for his wife; the largest selection of watersports toys in the region and the largest aqua park in the Maldives – designed by the seven year-old daughter at the time of construction. Velaa is not the product of a boardroom meeting. It’s not structured or formatted. It’s more organic. There’s more emotion, more thought, more love put into it.
IY: Do you have any special amenities that set you apart?
LJ: In addition to the golf course, we have a Finnish sauna and the only snow room in the Maldives. We have a Cloud Nine Pod too – a sleep therapy pod where special music and lights where the pod cradles you to the most relaxing state of sleep and there are only a few of these available in the whole world.
We have the only semi-submarine in the Maldives so, for guests who doesn’t want to scuba dive, you can hop on your own little submarine and head off under the water. We really want to be a pioneer in terms of our luxury amenities and I think we’re leading the way in several ways.
IY: What else is there to enjoy in the Maldives?
LJ: Naturally the marine life is possibly the most magnificent on the planet and diving is a major draw throughout the region. In fact, at Velaa, we have our own in-house team of marine biologists, funded directly by the owner. They run the largest coral nursery in the Maldives, growing coral and transplanting it back onto the reef to help attract marine life and enable the eco-system to thrive. The result is one of the best reefs you will ever see. You swim into the lagoon, past the wave breakers, where you enter that deep blue water and you just see this huge array of fish in every colour imaginable.
IY: What is your favourite thing about Maldives?
LJ: Honestly, there are so many aspects that I love about this country and the natural beauty is just endless. Every day, I make a point of going to see the ocean. There’s something about that turquoise water that kind of washes everything away. You just jump into the lagoon and feel all your stress dissipate. The sunsets are spectacular here too. The sky turns this beautiful orangey-purple, which is something I’ve never seen before. You don’t realise how beautiful it can be until you come to a place like this, where there’s no pollution; no interference; no complications to cloud your view.