You’ve probably seen the Maldives already, even if only in magazines and on websites. You may have actually visited. Felt pretty special, right? But there are lots of places in the Maldives that can give you roughly the same thing, while for those who can afford it, there is one place that’s a true exclusive-use private island. Coco Privé Kuda Hithi.
Designed for the type of people who want the whole island to themselves, and are prepared to pay for that privilege, Coco Privé feels like flying in a private jet after years of flying first class. It was great before, but this is a whole new experience. The Palm Residence is the daddy of rooms in the Maldives. Designed by award-winning architect Guz Wilkinson, it feels like being in a stylish Hollywood home, but with a view of the Indian Ocean. There’s a plunge pool on the balcony and a Jacuzzi on the other for loafing about in maximum style, but you really notice the difference when you go downstairs to the dining room.
There’s no restaurant here, just your dining area and 24-hour meals, all prepared by your own private chef. You want a sandwich at 4am? Sure. There are no menus, you just let the staff know what you’d like. There’s no reception because it’s not a hotel or resort, but if you pick up a phone, your call will be answered within three rings.
Likewise, the spa treatments by your personal therapist don’t need to be booked, space permitting. The massage table is set up there on the sand. After all, it’s not like strangers are going to be wandering past.
The 1.4 hectare island can sleep 12, with five other villas with twin or double beds and big living rooms opening out on to pool decking. Or, as many guests do, they can be for your bodyguards. European and Middle Eastern royalty, Hollywood stars, and a stream of high-flying billionaires have all made this their place to unwind because it’s as bespoke as you’re going to find. There’s a story about a guest from the US who insisted on his exercise bike being sent on ahead. Of course, there are really good exercise bikes in the gym, but he wanted his one. Coco Privé arranged for his heavy exercise bike to be flown the 15 000km, picked up at the airport, and taken over by boat. It was then unwrapped, given a clean, and put in the gym just in case he felt like having a cycle on his own exercise bike. He didn’t, he went swimming instead. But the point is, the request was made and completed without a fuss because that’s what the very best places can do. And that’s true modern luxury.
Being at Coco Privé feels like a scene from a sci-fi film where the protagonist seems to be in a near-perfect place, only for it to be revealed that he’s actually on a space ship wearing a virtual reality headset. But this is real, and it feels unlike anything else in the Maldives. Cocoprive.com
For Vogue Magazine