How Shangri-La’s three Indian Ocean properties compare – TTG


Where: Villingili island is located on Addu Atoll, the southernmost atoll in the Maldives and the only one below the equator.

How to get there: Direct flights take around 90 minutes from Colombo (four times a week) and 70 minutes from Maldives’ capital Male (several daily) to Gan, a former RAF base. Villingili is a five-minute speedboat ride from Gan.

Accommodation: The resort has 132 villas, including 60 water villas on stilts over the sea, tree house villas, and pool and beach villas. Allwyn Drego, general manager, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, says: “This is a large island for the Maldives and our water villas are 166 square metres compared to 40-50sqm on other islands.” Each has free broadband internet, TV and DVD, indoor and outdoor showers, sundeck and daybeds, with Island Hosts – butlers – on hand and bikes to roam the island.

Spa: Eleven treatment villas in a spa village surrounded by dense tropical vegetation and the beach, with meditation and yoga pavilions.

Dining: Three restaurants offering a range of cuisines plus three bars.

Other facilities: Dive centre, watersports, floodlit tennis courts, outdoor pool, children’s Cool Zone, Eco Centre where guests can learn about marine life, nine-hole golf course and five wedding and blessing locations.

USP: One of the largest and most luxurious Maldives resort islands with almost four miles of coastline and more than a mile of white-sand beach, it offers luxury, space and privacy – guests include heads of state and royalty (Prince Andrew stayed recently). Dine by Design offers intimate dining in-villa, in the jungle, in the chef’s garden, on the beach, on a chartered luxury yacht trip at the equator and atop Mount Villingili – the Maldives’ highest point at 5.1 metres above sea level. Tours visit local islands, guided by staff who live there.

The resort operates on its own time zone, an hour ahead of Maldives time, to allow guests to enjoy more daylight hours and sunset just before dinner.

Who does it suit: Couples/ honeymooners, also families (20% of guests) and celebrities wanting a tropical island hideaway.

Cost: From £480 per room per night.


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