Bathrooms are so critical to buyer appeal that they are the number one room in the house for remodelling return on investment. Maldives bathrooms in the top properties have become quite lavish affairs with sculpted tubs set in pride of place with stunning views. But even the most lavish still sequester the toilet, affectionately known as the “water closet”, in pretty non-descript cells. Joali has gone to unmatched extents to model their WCs with striking style. The lavish loos are lined floor to ceiling with green Norwegian marble. And the light turns on automatically when you open the door so there is no fumbling around for the light switch in the middle of the night.
Faarufushi has made cultivating flora part of the internal décor with stylish vases holding germinating coconut saplings. When they get mature enough, they are transplanted outdoors on the resort.
If you are keen for a plaque for your wall, I recommend Joali and their exceptionally high spec evacuation map. Most room maps are simple printouts with maybe a bit of lamination. The luxury villas might have a printed plastic sign up. But the Joali is an artistically etched brass plaque. No troubles finding the way out with these directions as the aesthetic allure of it draws your eye to it.
You need some sort of lighting on the jetties to make sure people don’t wander into the ocean on the way to their villa, and resorts have tended to install a variety of basic fixtures along the path. Joali has extended its art immersion ethos to these simple finishes with a not just utilitarian lamps to light the way but specially carved globes. These balls provide a pleasing aesthetic detail to follow during the day, but in the night they bathe pathway with a constellation of light specs mirroring the celestial canopy overhead.
Soneva Jani features bright stars above inside even when the roof is closed. I like the entangled vines so faithful mimic the starfish texture.
Design is about creating a feeling with ingredients. Some might consider a carpet at a Maldives resort an unnecessary extravagance. The typically stone floors feel cooler to the touch in the hot climate so why spring the expense for something so seemingly extraneous. Well, it’s all part of the Velaa vibe which is possibly the most homey of any resort we have been too. Which is not surprising since the very genesis of the resort was as the resort owner’s private vacation home that eventually grew to a resort in its own right.
Most hotel properties try to get by with spartan décor to cut costs. This approach is why do many hotel rooms seem to sterile and uninviting even if they are done with panache and style. Velaa’s villas feel like someone’s home you are visiting. Only at a home would you put so much care into adding so many details which I’ve highlighted before. The rugs are not cheap industry bulk buys, but really elegant orientals that add a distinctive touch of style as well as warmth.
If you are into the arboreal aesthetic, especially the indigenous palm thatch vibe, then you will find it pervasive at Makunudu. Not only are the villas covered in the traditional thatch, but virtually everything on the island that have any type of cover – trash bins, air conditioning units, lamps, swings. Even the partitions are made of palm thatch.
With all of the glitzy bling scattered around the Maldives like toddlers throwing tinsel on a Christmas tree, some of the old school décor with retro charm stand out even more distinctively. One example is Rihiveli extensive oil on wood paintings. The reception features one of the most handsome island maps I have seen, and I love the little vexillological (word of the day for you) retrospective.
Something about a map that has detailed artistry and exotic allure. It tells an aerial pictorial story of some part of the planet. Ocean maps are often the most enchanting with their sinuous coastlines and patterns of inlets and isles.
Naturally, maps of the Maldives are bursting with this adventurous charm. Huawalhi has a employed one of the more antiquarian depictions of the “Laquedives” as a design highlight in its villas. Blotter, cases, lampshades, etc. use segments of these ancient charts. Very reminiscent of one of our favourite designers, Alviero Martini’s “1ª Classe’ line of fashion and accessories.
One resort that is always dressed in traditional Maldivian garb is AaaVeee. The entire resort is not just inspired by local Maldivian design, but most of the infrastructure was produced in the Maldives itself. In fact, a good number of things like chairs and tables were made on the island by Maldivians using materials from the island itself.
Perhaps the most “Maldivian” aspect is the ubiquitous “koari” adornments. “Koari” means “cone” and is a traditional form of decoration found on the islands. It is a cone made out of palm thatch placed atop a tall pole. I’ve already posted about the koari used to mark the navigation channel to the resort, but it is also used at the reception jetty (see above), in the lagoon (directly below) and various other places across the island. The resort’s chef even baked a “Koari Kake” (below).