Is Velaa Private Island, Maldives' Most Expensive Resort, also the Best?

In matters of personal opinion, it is perhaps impossible to establish a common understanding on what constitutes the best. 'Best' is also probably the most vapid and overused word in hotel reviews stemming from artless sycophancy and a lack of awareness of what's really out there.

But sometimes we err on our own misgivings. At times when we come across something quite splendidly superlative we do start to gush and make bold pronouncements of our own. After 4 trips traipsing through 13 Maldivian resorts, I believe we are close to selecting which ones should populate the apex positions of our own 'Best' list.

Our research into Maldivian resorts began 3 years ago when a handful of sinfully opulent properties had just opened their harbour to guests and reviews. The most outstanding entrants to this azure playground of the incredibly rich and notoriously hard to please are Cheval Blanc Randheli and Velaa Private Island, which are coincidentally within a short speedboat ride from each other. While we have only heard about Cheval Blanc and how its reputation precedes itself, we recently landed on Velaa's waters to file this report.

From what we discerned over our stay, the hearsay on this island seems to be largely true. The hardware is tastefully and technologically indicative of the US$220 million poured in to raise this oceanic mirage. We were wowed by the size of the villa, the privacy it affords and the great attention to details one would expect from rack rates that begin from US$2700 a night. The one feature that money is not always effective in procuring is the level of dedication one expects and should rightly receive from ridiculously expensive hotels. Whilst there are only 47 villas and residences, there are 300 staff looking into the every whim and fancy of Veela's guests in perfect synchrony.

We owe our joy on this stunning property largely to the dedication of our personal butler Assim, an outstanding Maldivian heartlander and service veteran who's spent years honing his craft at various 4 Seasons hotels across continents. When it comes to anticipating needs and setting into motion unforgettable experiences for guests, the Velaa team is secured and unassailable at our top spot.

Top down view from inside the wine tower

Deluxe sunset water villa bathroom

Pillow menu

Aerial view of the water villas

Calming moment at Spa My Blend by Clarins

Fruits galore at breakfast

Evening repose

When a resort is built so stunningly, the nights are especially beautiful