By Punam Verma
In one of our previous posts we reviewed Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, which is just one of the three resorts that Coco Collection own in the Maldives. Now it's time to read about our second trip with them, when they invited us to review Coco Bodu Hithi.
The resort is just a 45 minute boat ride from Male airport, and by the time we arrived it was already 9pm. We were greeted by the hotel staff off, which is one of the traditions when arriving at any resort in the Maldives.
As we walked across the jetty bridge, I noticed a few large sharks swimming below me who also seemed delighted we had arrived.
I could hear music playing and see bright lights from the restaurant. It already had a very different vibe to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. We were put on a buggy, which I welcomed after 3 days of walking at Coco Palm, and were swiftly driven away to our new home.
We were staying at the Coco Residences, which was an impressive array of 24 private villas on one side of the island. At the residences you get your very own lifestyle host, which is a person dedicated to you 24/7. Little did I know then how much i would miss my host after my trip. More about her later.
As the sun rose the next day, I walked out to the balcony to view our apartment for the first time in the daylight. Our balcony had a private pool, a large lounger, and a decking that could comfortably fit 15 people, and the whole setting overlooked the Indian Ocean. In fact every room, from the lounge to the bathroom overlooked the ocean.
Suddenly my brain started wondering...how on earth did they build these villas right in the middle of the ocean. But then I thought 'Punam you're in the Maldives, stop thinking about construction and soak it all in'.
Breakfast is served. We ate our first meal at Stars restaurant. Full English please, after all I knew I had a long filming day ahead of me. We were introduced to our lifestyle host Shirley, a young Chinese lady with a sweet smile and an energy to please her guests.
Coco Bodu Hithi is a luxurious resort, with 100 boutique villas, four different style villas, including water villas and beach villas. Due to its size we needed a buggy every day for trips from our villa to the restaurants. Our host Shirley was responsible for getting our buggies, our filming itinerary and even getting us life jackets and coffee when we needed them. You can already see how attached I was getting to my lifestyle host.
Our first stop were the villas. You have a choice of staying in a water villa or a beach villa. I have to say though one of the most unusual rooms was in the island villa. As soon as you open the front door you see an oval bath right in the middle of the room. In fact, as the whole villa is open plan, the bath is the main focal point of the room. Lets just say it’s a villa for those who have no qualms when it comes to privacy. I almost felt like I had walked in to the film set of Austin Powers. Definitely a room for honeymooners.
They all have their own unique style, however I have to say I was truly in love with mine. I could have just sat on my comfy lounger and watched the ocean shine all day, and the stars twinkle above me all night. Unfortunately though, there was work to be done too.
So where did I go next? The spa of course, after all, its part of my research, and if I don’t sample a massage how can I write a review for you all. Well that’s my excuse anyway.
The Coco Spa is magnificient. Its set on its own private large decking, and has a large gym overlooking the ocean, along with the treatment rooms too. And when it comes to yoga, there is a large area ideally placed over the ocean, where you can salute the sun whilst watching the sunset.
Our next stop, the restaurants. The resort has several dining options, from sushi, to international, to all day dining. Each restaurant overlooks the ocean, so there’s no need to worry about ambiance. They also have a weekly BBQ night right on the beach and a traditional dance night where the staff put on a show, and watch out, because they will grab you to join in with them.
There is one thing that really stood out for me, and that was the enormous swimming pool that is open to everyone. It sits right in front of the restaurants and blends in to the ocean. It was like an art installation on an island. Either way it definitely captured my attention.
Coco Collection have a variety of excursions, and one of them is snorkeling with the turtles. In fact they are working on a turtle rehab programme and have their very own Marine Biologist Lisa, who takes you swimming to meet the turtles. I managed to meet Senge and the infamous Monty, who apparently is the only male sea turtle around the resort. And with 184 of them spotted so far, he is one lucky boy.
Another excursion I really enjoyed was the sunset cruise. We sat at the top of the traditional boat called the Dhoni, and went in to the middle of the ocean as the sun was setting to our right and as the full moon was rising to our left. It was peaceful and magical, and you also get served champage and a hor d’oeuvres. Very romantic indeed!
I have to say that having a lifestyle host is something that added to our stay. Shirley helped us with everything, and would only go to sleep after we retired to our villa. She was always awake before us, eager and raring to go. Not only will I miss looking out to the indian ocean at every turn in the maldives, but I came to the realization, we all need a Shirley.
We visited the resort in September, and were lucky because we had just missed the rainy season, however we did have the odd few showers. During the our last day the clouds were grey and the breeze was blowing our umbrellas in the air.
The resort supplied us with raincoats, but no mater how wet it got my spirits weren’t dampened at all. Instead, I sat in the Coco residence lounge over looking the ocean, lying down on the sofa watching the rain with the doors wide open.
It was one of those days where you wanted to cuddle up with a good book and a cup of tea. Instead, I took in my last views of the indian ocean with shirley delivering me cappuccinos on the sofa. I think i miss Shirley more than the Maldives!
Video Produced by Punam Verma