• Jessie Ladipo

Find Joy in the Maldives: JOALI Review

Updated: Feb 21


All Photos Courtesy of JOALI Resort

The Maldives possess a prominent spot on most bucket lists. Incredible overwater villas, stunning clear blue seas, and the most lavish resorts on the planet combine to make the island chain the most sought-after honeymoon spot. The difficult decision when going to the Maldives is deciding which one of its excellent resorts to choose. If you are stuck finding the perfect hotel, look no further than JOALI. I am reviewing one of my favorite resorts in the country. You will discover the joy in the Maldives at JOALI!

JOALI Overview

When the resort opened in October 2018, I knew I had to experience it for myself. JOALI is the brainchild of Turkish businesswoman Esin Güral Argat. Her company owns a few other resorts, but none are as luxurious as JOALI. It lives on the picture-perfect Muravandhoo island in the Raa Atoll. One of the broadest and deepest atolls in the world. The atoll is home to a myriad of sea life, ensuring that SCUBA diving is superb. Expect deep blue waters and immaculate white-sand beaches fringed by gently swaying coconut palms.


From the moment you arrive at the airport in Male, you know that your getaway at JOALI will be unforgettable. They have the most beautiful private airport lounge with views of the seaplanes departing. I treated myself to a relaxing massage while I waited for my plane to the resort to depart.


Service at JOALI

The service at JOALI is superb. You will know you are in for a unique getaway when General Manager Enver Arslan greets you personally. His team goes above and beyond to ensure that your trip is flawless. From the butler to the cheerful dining staff, they promptly granted all of our wishes.


Suites at JOALI

You might be surprised to find out that I have stayed at hundreds of hotels, and JOALI is home to some of my favorite villas in the world. The villas possess a truly gorgeous design. You will love the vaulted ceilings and spacious living space; the bathrooms are spectacular, with large soaking tubs and outdoor showers. My favorite feature was the ample outdoor space. Watching the sun dip below the horizon from my private infinity pool was my favorite way to end the day.


Jessie's Villa Tips:

Beach Villas

Beach bungalows offer lovely garden and ocean views, and they come with private pools. If you want to save a little money, spend the first few nights of your trip in a beach villa, and then move to an overwater bungalow for the last part of your journey. You get the best of both worlds.


Water Villas

Most couples that travel to the Maldives want to experience an enchanting overwater villa. And the JOALI Water Villas will not disappoint; they are gorgeous, luxurious, and romantic. For the best views, book a Sunset Water Villa with a Pool (this is the category I chose, and it was perfect!)


Residences

If you are traveling with family or friends, you will want to book a JOALI Residence. These enormous beachfront homes (the smallest is 1300 square feet) come in 3 and 4-bedrooms and have multiple pools.

Dining at JOALI

The restaurants at JOALI are excellent. I loved the cold buffet, specifically the fresh passion fruit, smoked salmon, homemade yogurts, and the smoothies! All of the dishes we tried were yummy. My favorite restaurant was Saoke; it offered the best sushi I've had outside of Japan! When I arrived in my villa, chocolates and the passion fruit pate de fruits were waiting for me! WOOHOO. I was happy to see them return as a turndown gift every evening. It was a delicious way to end the day.

Restaurant Rundown

Vandhoo

The restaurant offers Southeast Asian, Chinese, and Mediterranean cuisine. Their wine cellar will please even the most discerning wine enthusiast.


Saoke

As I said, this was my favorite restaurant, but they were all good. Saoke is floating heaven that serves Japanese cuisine.


Bellinis

Bellinis provides fine Italian dining in the middle of the Ocean.


Her Kitchen

Do you love to cook? If yes, you will want to take advantage of Her Kitchen. It offers personalized culinary experiences with professional chefs.


JOALI has two other cafes. Mura Bar is a beachfront bar, and it offers snacks and street food. Lajoie was my favorite place on the property (except for my villa)! It offers artisanal chocolates and ice cream.

Wellness at JOALI


In the middle of the gorgeous Indian Ocean lies a tranquil sanctuary. It's time to escape your cares and breathe in the fresh sea air while you experience the healing essence of JOALI. The spectacular overwater Espa Spa offers a vast range of bespoke treatments. The resort has eight private rooms, each offering stunning ocean or garden views. A luxurious spa experience is just what you will need to unwind after playing in the ocean all day! You can work your muscles at the fitness center or on the tennis court, and you can work on your mind at the relaxation lounge or the healing garden.


Pros:

There are too many to mention, but I will go over some highlights.

  1. I loved the airport lounge; it was fantastic having somewhere nice to relax as I waited for my plane.

  2. The arrival lobby off of the jetty looks like a manta ray! How fun is that?

  3. The aesthetic is clean, and the design is very modern.

  4. They constructed the resort in a manner that would disturb nature.

  5. Villas are large and very well appointed.

  6. Service is excellent and attentive.

  7. I adored checking out the interactive art exhibitions that are around every corner.

Cons:

There aren't many, but there are a few things you should know.

  1. I didn't think Bellini's dinner was quite as good as the other restaurants.

  2. While the diving is excellent, the snorkeling is not. The resort doesn't have a great reef, so it might not be the best fit for you if you prefer snorkeling.

  3. As with all resorts in the Maldives, JOALI is expensive.

  4. It's not adults-only.

  5. It's far away, so it takes forever to get there. You will need at least two nights to recover from the flights. But once you arrive, you are in for a heavenly trip!


Jessie's JOALI Rating

(Rating Scale: 5 Superb, 4 Great, 3 Good, 2 Not Acceptable & 1 Awful)


Location: 5 out of 5

Food: 4.5 out of 5

Rooms: 5 out of 5

Service: 5 out of 5

Spa: 5 out of 5

Final Score: 4.9


JOALI is a stunning and unique resort, but it is not for everybody. It best fits couples that desire barefoot luxury. If your dream vacation is doing nothing but relaxing and reconnecting, then you will love it. If you're going to party the night away, you need to look elsewhere. I adore JOALI, and I think many of you will too.


ARE YOU READY TO FIND JOY IN THE MALDIVES? LET'S CHAT


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