Naladhu is Maldivian for “beautiful island.” Bradley Cocks checks in at the intimate, 19-villa resort and finds out just how beautiful. Photographic evidence contained herein.
Desperate to visit Naladhu for close to three years, my arrival was filled with much excitement (somewhat selfishly I admit, as I knew two well-known surf breaks on the island were easily accessible).
Pulling in to the resort I had a flashback to last year’s visit to Turks and Caicos, where I had the privilege of staying in Bruce Willis’ house on Parrot Cay Island. This property bears a striking resemblance both in terms of the islands low-lying white sandy beaches, washed up coral, vegetation and the exquisite wood-paneled A-framed villas. Villa configurations are absolutely stunning, with outdoor bathrooms, showers and bathtubs and plunge pools. Their white interiors do not compete with the beauty of your tropical surroundings.
Naladhu is connected to two other islands—four-star Anantara Veli and five-star Anantara Dhigu. As a guest of Naladhu you can visit both those properties, but access back is only for Naladhu overnighters. Veli offers a nice wood-fire pizza restaurant shaded by trees (everyone raves about the Italian pies with sashimi) and Dhigu has a stunning spa and beach areas with a hammock positioned 30 meters out into the ocean which is perfect for a relaxed sunset. What I loved most is the lagoon in the middle of the three islands, which at the end gives you access to Picnic Island, where you can sunbathe, snorkel and order food from a light menu.
It’s hard now to imagine that in the 1970s the Maldivian government commissioned a report to investigate if tourism would be feasible in this isolated country of scattered Atolls. The report’s blunt conclusion was it was essentially impossible, a logistical nightmare. So score one, nay, many for human perseverance and ingenuity. And those initial Italian travelers, the early adopters, who ventured down from Sri Lanka year after year to explore and dive the untouched waters of the Maldives, which set in motion jet-setters from the rest of the globe following suit.