Coco Bodu Hithi is a small boutique resort in the North Malé Atoll. It’s a 40-minute boat ride from the airport so easy if you want to step off the plane and get straight to the beach. It still feels very isolated; the only close land you can see from the island is Coco Privé, the resort’s sister property and private island which you rent in its entirety. There may have been a few Hollywood A lister names dropped during our stay.
Arrive at the main pontoon and you’ll walk past the beach area, pool and restaurant -- Air. The accommodation is made up of different villas; island villas are spread over the land but there’s also two sets of overwater villas. The Escape Water Residences each come with a private infinity pool, and steps down into the turquoise ocean. The Coco Residences are off a long pontoon; this is the more exclusive end of the resort. You’ll have a personal lifestyle concierge to fetch your snorkel and mask, order lunch or book you in for any sessions. Choose from seaplane tours, diving, dinner on a nearby sandbank or even a private cinema showing on the beach. But since we’re all about the spa…
The spa is also set in overwater villas. There are six treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the ocean, and two treatment rooms with mats for Thai massage. The wooden sauna and slate-lined steam room are at the centre of the spa space -- ask your therapist to activate the steam room before you head in. Both steam and sauna are very well kept and maintained. Just beyond are loungers and cabanas, a Jacuzzi and cold plunge pool. With the outside temperature at 32 degrees, the plunge pool was a clear winner on our visit. There’s also a mani/pedi space and spa boutique should you fall in love with the Thermae Paris products in your treatment.
Make time to take a yoga class, too. The yoga and meditation pavilion looks over the beach; your sun salutations will never have felt so good. The glass-walled gym is also in the spa area. The treadmill looks out of the ocean; if you’re aiming to get some miles in, it’s a very focusing way to do it.
We had two treatments: Journey to the Maldives (110 minutes, $330) and an Abhyangan Massage (80 minutes, $140). The first morning we had the Journey to the Maldives, which was much nicer than our actual journey. My therapist, Suci, washed my feet with warm water and explained that the treatment would include a full body massage, exfoliation and a floral bath. I settled on the wide treatment bed, gazing out at the ocean. Suci used traditional Asian and European massage techniques (think deep tissue massage, stretching and lighter lymphatic drainage) to massage my legs, back, stomach, arms and décolletage. Once my body was properly relaxed she applied the powdered exfoliant. As the ingredients worked their way into my skin she massaged my scalp and face.
I had a quick shower to rinse off; Suci drew the bath and sprinkled petals and lemon slices into the water to create an aromatic delight. She also left me a coconut to drink from while I revelled in the bliss. After 15 minutes she returned to the room and applied a finishing body lotion. Spa Spy heaven.
Suci was my therapist again for the Abhyanga Massage. Abhyanga is traditionally a much lighter massage, keeping the body warm so the skin absorbs the oils. Suci used a gentle base oil (instead of a prescribed one as per traditional abhyanga), and massaged from my toes to my scalp. She used a little pressure point work but mostly took long flowing movements, sometimes very quickly, warming my muscles. The massage was so relaxing I nearly fell asleep a couple of times.
Treatments at Coco Bodu Hithi include Oriental and Asian massages, a tea ceremony (thanks to the tea-inspired Thermae product line), after-sun care, facials, manicures and pedicures and reflexology.
Once you’ve worked up your appetite, head to one of the four restaurants or order in-room dining. Aqua is the fine dining seafood restaurant, with fish so fresh you can still taste the ocean. The tables sit out on the water’s edge, so watch the sunset and moonrise with a glass of your favourite tipple. Air is the main restaurant which serves breakfast and dinner; Tsuki serves modern Japanese food and Stars offers an à la carte seafood menu.
• Couples, honeymooners, romantics: as the accommodation is in villas, we noticed that most guests were coupled up.
• The well-curious: take a yoga class, work out in the gym. Coco Bodu Hithi is also a great place to eat healthily; there’s lots of fresh fruit, grilled fish and veg.
If you’re coupling the Maldives with adventures in Sri Lanka or India, the resort is easily accessible but you’ll still feel a world away from, well, pretty much everything.
• There’s a relatively shallow and pretty coral garden just off the beach: you don’t need to dive in order to enjoy the sea life here. It was spectacular with different types of coral and a rainbow of hungry reef fish.
• Sunrise and sunset yoga classes: we took yoga classes each day and felt virtuous and balanced. There’s nothing like morning yoga to banish the jet lag.
Good Spa Guide travelled with Visit Maldives – find out more about the islands at: visitmaldives.com.
24th August 2016
Warmth and sunshine; spas which take me away to another country; fruit infused waters; beach-worth pedicures; deep tissue massages.
High footfalls; treatments that over promise and under deliver; heavy lunches; loungers drapped in used towels.
Behind the scenes