Best of the Maldives: Historical Cruising – Velaa

Velaa - boat

If you want to live the maritime heritage of the Maldivian dhoni with all the conveniences and luxuries of this modern day paradise destination, then Velaa offers a distinctive dhoni crusing yacht, “Baththeli Anna”.

  • Baththeli Anna, the prncess of the Southern Seas. Designed to ensure the utmost comfort for her guests, Anna is a beautiful custom built Maldivian baththeli (“baththeli” – boat on Dhivehi language). This luxurious, uniquely designed traditional sailboat was laid down in April of 2012. Then crafted under the supervision of the Master Boat Builder, Matias Luhmann, himself alongside the proficient team of Gladonia Maldives Pvt Ltd. The idea of its elegant lines and comfortable spaces was conceived by the boat design, Philippe Laurella, French at birth, but Maldivian in Spirit.”

One of my biggest pastimes is the sport of rowing. The carbon-fiber sculls are the state-of-the-art, but I’m afraid that I’m still smitten by the aesthetic romance of a boat sculpted out of wood.

Specifications:

  • Length – 76 feet
  • Weight – 45 ton
  • Overnight guest capacity – 3
  • Day touring guest capacity – 8
  • Maximum speed – 12 knots.
  • 2 Hour, 4 person Sunset Dolphin Cruise – $1,695
  • 5 hour, 2 person Desert Island Dinner Cruise – $7,440
  • 2.5 hour, 4 person Luxury Private Snorkel Trip – $1,895
  • 8 hour, 4 person Charter Cruise – $5,495

With this post, I’ve added a new “Cruising” tag as the highest end resorts seem to be extended their super-premium arms race into a naval battle of yachts.

Velaa - dhoni 2

Velaa - dhoni 1

Velaa - dhoni 3

Best of the Maldives: Convertible Cabana – Velaa

Velaa - convertible cabana 1

If only the corals could push some button for a bit of cooling shade when they get too warm. At least guests at Velaa have that luxury with deck cabanas with tops that can be rolled out for a bit of shade or rolled back for sunshine (or starshine if you want to lie back on the deck lounger and gaze at the stars at night).

Velaa - convertible cabana 2

Best of the Maldives: Golf Inflatable – Velaa

Velaa - golf inflatable 2

As if Velaa didn’t have enough golf course on the island, they have added a green OFF the island. With their special inflatable golf hole, guests can have a wedge masterclass on the beach with the floating green. The resort uses biodegradable balls which dissolve into fish food. This “Best of the Maldives” ticks another “finally seen” (#17, Post 19) and one step closer to my dream of a hole in the Maldives where the tee is on one island and the hole is one a neighbouring one. Like the Maldives, such a hole would be 90% water hazard. (I’m especially lovin’ the Piero-like effects on the shot below.)

Velaa - golf inflatable

Best of the Maldives: Biggest Safe – Velaa

Velaa - safe

Velaa puts the “safe” into “safety”. With the largest room safe we have come across in the Maldives. About 4 times the size of the conventional closet shelf safe.

In all our nearly 20 years of travelling to the Maldives, we have never lost anything in a room. I think the room staff there are amongst the most virtuous in the world. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your valuables in a safe. The biggest threat that a safe protects you against is…yourself. Being in a completely different environment and routine, it is quite easy to misplace something. Especially if you are transferring to multiple properties during your holiday. Putting all the important stuff – passports, wallets and cash, jewellery, maybe special electronics – imposes a discipline on you to put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket. There is quite a risk that you just put something in the wrong place. And then before you know it your idyllic get-away is ruined wondering if someone has walked off with it. Simply remove all doubt and a lot of the risk by methodically locking stuff in the safe. And if you have lots of stuff, consider a stay a Velaa.

Best of the Maldives: Tallest Main Room – Velaa

Velaa - tallest main room

I guess you could say that Velaa’s Private Residence would have the ‘second’ highest ceiling (that is after Soneva Jani’s infinitely high one). But in the universe of conventionally topped villas, Velaa’s Private Residence headroom is galaxy-sized in its own right. The vaulted ceiling extends three stories up forming a cathedral-like nave quite possibly the largest indoor space on a Maldives resort. The second floor balcony lines one side giving another perspective on this vast lagoon of room volume.

Velaa - main residence room balcony

Best of the Maldives: Golf Pro – Velaa

Velaa - golf pro

If you need a hand following you around the golf course with your game, Velaa resort offers its very own resident golf pro – Christopher Snape. He can wield Velaa’s armamentarium of space-age analytical tools or just join you for a round.

We caught up with Christopher to tap into a few of his tips and insights into playing in paradise…

  • How did you find yourself on a Maldives resort?
    I work for TROON golf who operate the Academy here Velaa. When I was asked by them if I was interested I practically bit their hand off at the opportunity.
  • What was the most luxurious course you have played prior to Velaa?
    Many courses, what I classify as my second home would be Praia Del Rey in Portugal where I spent 6 years as the Professional.
  • What is your favourite caddie tip for people playing the Velaa course?
    Be conservative with your approach shots, if you take on shots and don’t play them to perfection you will be punished.
  • What’s your best score playing the course?
    When we have low handicapped players in residence we play a very tough formation my best score around that formation was -2.
  • What are people most surprised about playing the Velaa course?
    The quality of the playing surfaces and the beautiful landscape

At the FOOOOREfront.