Sparking Joy
The PEAK Malaysia|April 2019
Sparking Joy

The latest gem in one of the world’s most beautiful collection of islands promises a stay as exquisite as its name.

Mindy Teh

Whether you’re an intrepid traveller to this neck of the atolls, or this is your maiden voyage across the Indian Ocean towards paradise, it’s hard not to be awed by the Maldives. A chartered seaplane takes you over an emerald ocean so clear, you could see down to its depths from the heights you’re flying at.

The destination this time is Joali, a name evocative of treasures and gems, just as it is an amalgamation of that elusive phrase, the joy of living. Situated north of the Maldives on Muravandhoo Island, a 45-minute plane ride from Malé on said seaplane, the island resort is located in the Raa Atoll, one of the deepest and largest in the world.

As the plane approaches the resort, the temptation to yell, “The plane! The plane!” (millennials will need to Google this), is great. Meanwhile, speedboats are waiting to transfer you from the seaplane to an extraordinary private jetty where smiling faces are ready to welcome you with flower leis under an undulating roof reminiscent, for some, of ocean waves from one angle, a manta ray’s wing-like fins in motion from another or even two fish kissing at yet another.

The Fantasy Island reference is telling of the sort of experience you’ll have here, with every conceivable attention to detail and sensorial splendour, hardly an overstatement for the group of select guests arriving at the resort for a special preview ahead of its opening. With no less than the design assistance of three architectural and design studios, Autoban, Turkish firm Atölye4n and Tokyo-based Studio Glitt, at the helm of Joali’s conception, the resort’s careful creation – and curation – is immediately apparent.

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April 2019