A short 45-minute seaplane ride north of the capital Malé lies the stunning white sand beaches and dazzling palm tree flecked shores of the astonishingly polished Velaa Private Island. Born from a love for the Maldives, it’s the passion project of couple Radka and Jiří Šmejc, whose mission was to create the world’s most luxurious private island.

The resort’s designer, Petr Kolar, uses the phrase “polite luxury” to describe the isle’s castaway aesthetic. In place of all the extravagant conveniences and champagne popping bling you’d find elsewhere in the Maldives, functional (and subtle) practicality is the name of the game here. Think paving stones that don’t burn your feet and exceptionally slick and understated conceptual minimalist surroundings crafted by master European designers.


The Residences are the best of the 47 abodes. Book the Nika, designed by renowned architect Patricia Urquiola. Four large en-suite bedrooms open out onto balconies and terraces with views of the ocean and your very own private beach. A vaulted living area is filled with designer furniture and custom-made decor, and there’s a gym, spa room and outdoor relaxation area with hot tub and private pool, too.

What’s there to do? You are in the best diving spot in the Maldives to see turtles, sharks and eagle rays. Venture out for big game fishing adventures meets snorkeling trips to see them all, or max the adrenaline out on the latest tandem jetovator.

Fun activities and swanky digs aside, perhaps the major bonus of staying here is the exceptional dining options. Simple eats come courtesy of Athiri, a lovely cocktail spot that dishes out a medley of seafood and modern European dishes. Tavaru, a teppanyaki venue with a three-story wine cellar (home to over $1,000,000 worth of bottles of booze), offers intimate eats that look out over the entire island and beyond. Star of the show? Easily Aragu, the fine-dining, quintessentially Maldivian option that plates up local and international eats. Post grub, pull up a chair and toast out the day with some bubbly at the champagne bar — pure magic.