From the moment I stepped off a speedboat and onto the picture-perfect sandy white beaches of Coco Bodu Hithi, it was clear that the journey to reach the secluded Maldives isle was well worth it. It’s not exactly an easy trip, especially if you’re coming from the United States—from New York, it’s an approximately 24-hour trek, with two planes and a boat ride (this particular resort sends its private boat to pick up guests for the 40-minute trip from Malé airport) before you reach the island paradise.
Bodu Hithi is a Coco Collection Preferred Hotels resort in the Maldives, with 100 dreamy villas spread out on the postcard-worthy landscape. It feels like your own private island retreat, with many a palm tree and surrounded by turquoise water—it’s pretty much an Instagram wonderland. While there are plenty of luxe hotels throughout the Maldives, it’s not easy to find one that combines five-star luxury with effortless elegance—a casual yet glamorous island destination, without any of the unnecessary formal fuss.
The serene spot is always reliable for a relaxing beach getaway, but they also bring in exclusive experiences for guests, with special residencies. They’ve brought in acclaimed artists, mixologists and chefs who hold residencies at the resort, offering exclusive items and masterclasses. Here’s everything to know about the picturesque island escape.
All of the Island and Water Villas Have Direct Views of the Ocean
There are 44 island villas, which have sunken living rooms, garden pools, a terrace and views of the ocean and start at $687 a night (that’s if you’re not looking for a peak date). Then, there are the 16 water villas, which are 1,173 square feet and sit on stilts above the lagoon, with a screen-separated living room and a terrace with a day bed and pool. There are also 16 escape water villas, which are a bit roomier at 1,980 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, a full living room and dressing area, as well as a bigger private terrace with a private pool and step-down access to the lagoon.
There’s No Competing With the Exclusive Overwater Coco Residences, With Private Infinity Pools, Massive Decks and Butler Service
There’s just no competing with the Coco Residences, which are the most extravagant accommodations on the island. These 24 villas, which can start at around $1,800 a night during peak season, are located on their own side of the island and reached via an overwater jetty walkway. Booking one of these 1,980-square-foot villas means you have butler service, plenty of privacy and a whole lot of Instagram opportunities, to the point where you don’t even need (and honestly might not want) to leave the overwater villa for the entirety of your stay.
The villas are configured with a bedroom featuring a king-size bed and a pillow menu, so you can select what you’d like to rest your head on each night, as well as a separate living room and a dressing area. The bathroom is larger than many a hotel room, with a huge soaking tub overlooking the water, plus indoor and outdoor showers.
It’s the private outdoor deck that really brings the Coco Residence to a whole other level—the secluded space changes the entire Maldives experience. The deck is outfitted with your own private infinity pool, four-poster bed, loungers and direct access into the Indian Ocean, so you can walk down a few steps and swim around the lagoon and snorkel in the house reef.
There Are Five Different Dining Establishments on the Island, for Any Kind of Cuisine You’re Craving
There are five distinct restaurants to choose from, which is particularly helpful since guests don’t really leave the resort during their stay—with this many choices, you won’t get bored of the cuisine. Go for a buffet-style meal at Air, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or stop at Latitude for a casual lunch with options like pizza and burgers. There’s also the slightly more formal seafood restaurant, Aqua, and the sushi bar, Tsuki. Finally, there’s Stars, which is open for every meal and is located on the Coco Residences side of the island, with a dreamy view of the water and, of course, the night sky.
Head to the Overwater Spa for Locally-Inspired Treatments Like a Maldivian Coconut Oil Massage
The Coco Spa is situated on the same side of the island as the Coco Residences, with eight treatment rooms over the water. The massages, wraps, facials, scrubs and other experiences are all influenced by Indonesian, Thai and Indian techniques, such as signature options like the Island Seashell Treatment, which includes a massage with Maldivian coconut oil, and the Island Spice Boreh Body, with a traditional spice-infused borah wrap to ease tension and help joints and muscles. After you finish up, you can relax in the jacuzzi, cold plunge pool, sauna or steam room. If you’re trying to fit in a workout between all the spa and beach time, look no further than the fitness center, where you can run on the treadmill from the overwater facilities and stare out at the Indian Ocean while taking a yoga class.
Sip Custom Cocktails and Take an Exclusive Masterclass
Coco Bodu Hithi hosts residencies throughout the year, and during my recent stay, they partnered with cocktail connoisseur Ryan Chetiyawardana (also known as Mr. Lyan), who created a custom five-drink menu for the resort. Mr. Lyan, whose achievements include the title of “World’s Best Bartender” and whose Dandelyan earned the title of “World’s Best Bar” before he promptly closed the establishment, told Observer he took inspiration from the tropical surroundings for the cocktails.
“You’re trying to make a short menu that feels tropical, but also want to use everyday ingredients. I tended towards the idea of having something refreshing,” he explained, like the Jasmine Spritz (gin, cranberry and jasmine sherbet, vermouth, tonic and soda), which quickly proved popular with guests—it sold out on the first night. His personal favorites, however, are the drinks that use whiskey, like the Highball Slushie (Johnnie Walker Black Label, coconut water, coconut, pineapple and vanilla salt) or the Beach Sazerac (Johnnie Walker Green Label, Martel VSOP, tabasco honey, Pernod and Peychaud). Other creations included the Elaichi Fizz and Jurassic Jungle.
Mr. Lyan led a masterclass, if guests were so inclined, to teach them how to make their own cocktail creations. The hotel also partnered with Masterchef judge Monica Galetti, who offered a masterclass as well, and took over Aqua for two nights with six-course tasting menu dinners.
Take a Marine Biologist-Guided Reef Tour and Snorkel With Turtles
The Maldives should definitely appeal to the aquatically inclined, as you can fill every day at this resort with countless water activities—think windsurfing, waterskiing, paddleboarding, fishing and parasailing.
Snorkeling is also big at Coco Bodu Hithi—guests can hop in the water at any time to snorkel and explore, but we recommend booking the marine biologist-guided tour, where you’ll take a boat out, explore the reef and swim with the turtles. If you want to take it a step further, there’s also a diving school where you can get certified.
Sail Around the Island on a Sunset Cruise and Watch a Classic Film Under the Stars
There’s no such thing as a bad Maldives sunset, but golden hour is even better on this cruise, which goes around the island at the most Instagrammable hour. Make sure you head to the upper deck for the best view, and lounge on one of the comfy seats while sipping champagne and snacking on hors d’oeuvres. If you’re looking for something else to do after the sun goes down, head to the beach for the resort’s weekly movie night—they put a giant screen up on the sand, though you can also book a special, private cinema night.