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Bodufushi, Maldives / JOALI BEING

On secluded Bodufushi in the Raa Atoll, there’s a well-being wonderland masquerading as an island, where what some thought impossible has been built – a hotel concept the Maldives hasn’t seen before.

It would seem that every brand and its sister has a resort in the Maldives, so the fact that JOALI has managed to create a retreat that’s unlike anything else in the region (or the world for that matter) is an accomplishment that demands to be celebrated. A whirling dervish-inspired arrival jetty provides the gateway to a place that lives and breathes wellness in whatever form it may take, whether the mercury is high or the stars are twinkling. Don’t expect subpar spa treatments or rigorous bootcamp-style detoxes. Instead, Signature Immersion Programmes and specially designed spaces target particular areas of lifestyle change, eco-friendly architecture aims to enhance positive energy, and there’s no need to fear the clean cuisine, it cleanses but leaves no room for hunger – even the wine that makes an appearance if desired claims to be hangover free.

Travel notes:

  • 68 villas all with private pools
  • JOALI BEING is adults-only, with a minimum age of 12 years
  • The 4 restaurants focus on an “earth to table” concept, including pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan options
  • The resort has a Leadership and Gender Diversity Programme, encouraging their female staff on progressive career paths and working closely with charities that educate local girls
  • Signature programmes weave through transformative spaces, including “Areka” which acts as a consultation area, an overwater anti-gravity yoga and meditation deck called “Ocean Sala”, and “Kaashi” – a hydrotherapy hall
  • A seaplane from Male takes 40 minutes

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A sense of place

The “joy of weightlessness”, that’s JOALI BEING’s moto, and despite being in a place that promotes pure relaxation, this region has never before seen a whole island dedicated to uplifting and energising. This isn’t somewhere to just flop down and will the vitamin D to do its thing though, those that venture to these parts are ready to nurture their connections with each other, the environment and, of course, themselves. No trees were removed from this on-trend yet tranquil tapestry, allowing the biophilic design to let the island’s habitat do its healing the natural way, and its caring character works hard to better the lives of local women. But the main mission of this pioneer of the well-being scene aims to teach guests as many good things as possible, in the hopes that they’ll be implemented into life back home.

In pursuit of...

… rebalancing the scales. It’s a meeting of like minds, everyone is here to focus on their well-being in one way or another, and while all guests get to revel in consultations and classes should they wish, it’s JOALI’s four pillars – mind, skin, microbiome and energy – that form the basis for the deep-diving programmes. Ranging from five nights to three weeks, these curated treatments are customised after analysis of each guest, from improving stamina and vitality with mind-body connection or learning the link between diet and skin, to just a little bit of everything on the hotel’s signature programme. And while it’s highly encouraged to book onto one, it isn’t necessary to enjoy the island. Well-being, after all, is individual.

"A place that lives and breathes wellness in whatever form it may take, whether the mercury is high or the stars are twinkling."

Wake up here

Jadugars (the personal butler “magicians”) greet guests on arrival with an old-school Nokia, explaining that due to the lack of wi-fi everywhere but your room, this is the way to get in touch. With towering ceilings, pastel palettes and private pools, JOALI BEING wants you to switch off, so much so that there’s not even a TV in the room unless requested, that way every villa succeeds in maintaining the island’s sense of calm and capaciousness. Occupants of the well-being ocean residence’s four bedrooms may not even need to venture out of its walls, thanks to its dedicated rooms complete with instrument sculptures that aid meditation and full fitness equipment.

On location

To sleep in a spa would be one thing, but to lay your head somewhere that goes far beyond that simple noun is something special. And having a Wellbeing Director-come-General Manager at the helm of the entire property is the cherry on top. With 39 treatments rooms to the 68 villas, there’s always space to be seen by the in-house experts, including naturopaths, nutritionists, therapists and movement specialists. They run the different spaces across the island; including the herbology centre that teaches guests how to make their own lotions and potions, a detoxifying tea lounge that practices ceremonies from all around the world and a sound path lined with instruments-turned-sculptures that realign inner balance with their vibrations.

A Carrier curation

Not quite chalk and cheese, but differing nonetheless, JOALI BEING’s sister property is just a 15 minute boat ride away. With an artistic flair and taste for joy-inducing indulgence, we recommend twinning the two islands for the best of both worlds. Starting with JOALI as the opening act, introducing artist workshops, wine and whisky tastings, and yachting forays to nearby isles; all before office syndrome treatments, tea sommelier sessions and hydrotherapy healing take a bow as the curtain drops on the trip at JOALI BEING. 

When is the best time to visit Maldives?

The Maldives has a hot, tropical climate with sunshine all year round. The most popular months to visit are between November and April during the north-east monsoon when it is dry with very little wind. Whilst there may be rain during some of the summer months, with ever-changing weather patterns and excellent offers, this is becoming an increasingly popular time to travel.

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