Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives has the audacity to successfully appeal to Mrs. Crusoe, Mr. Explorer, Master Nemo and Little Miss Sporty!
Island haven this undoubtedly is, but this Maldivian overachiever is also home to a nine-hole golf course, nature trails and eco-centre. A five-minute speedboat ride takes you to residential islands with villages, shops, farms and historical tours, opening up the Maldives to the holidaymaker who likes a little more land to explore.
Close to the ‘waist of the Earth’
Villingili is situated on the Addu Atoll, just south of the equator, in fact you can sail by luxury yacht to the actual 0-degree latitude point if you wish. You will arrive via Gan International Airport which is a 70-minute flight from Male, the final leg of your journey is an exhilarating 5-minute speedboat ride to the island’s welcome pavilion.
Is paradise for the kids?
Paradise is most definitely for you, and if your family group includes young children, then lucky them, because Shangri-La know just how to engage with youngsters. They initially considered the accommodation; one bedroom villas here are uber-spacious and either have a private pool, or are suspended over the crystal lagoon with the whole ocean at your disposal – each accommodates up to 2 adults and 2 children and gives you a 133 to 189sqm of plush living. Larger families may like a two bedroom option with a sprawling 224sqm and a capacity of up to 6 people. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a charming villa host to take total care of you and a mesmerising array of beautiful amenities and exciting activities.
For starters, a Tropical Safari
Pick up your Island Safari Handbook and head into the island’s interior where you can discover its natural beauty and biodiversity. Follow your safari map to find the ‘big 5’ – dolphin, sea turtle, eagle ray, coral reef, and black tip reef shark and ‘small 5’ – flying fox, white tern, hermit crab, white-breasted-waterhen, and lizard. This is your child’s home for the duration of their stay and this safari will help them understand their environment and introduce them to their neighbours!
Then pirates, crafts, fun and fitness
Surrounded by water, your youngsters will be dreaming of pirates and treasure; the team will encourage them to dress up in crossbone t-shirts, with faces painted and cutlasses at the ready. Washed up on shore and you’re ready for tracking hermit and ghost crabs, and maybe even a little team crab racing. Indoor fun, island style, making shell necklaces and sandcastle frames using leaves and coconuts is always a favourite for a spot of quieter time, but if there are still miles in the tank then there is always swimming, tennis, running and yoga as an active alternative.
Under the sea – under a spell!
Kids should be born with fins! Such is the natural gravitation towards the water and when it is this clear, this warm and this inviting, you may well find they leave with webbed feet! Snorkelling is easily learnt and a fabulous sport for the whole family to enjoy together, and the creation of a snorkelling garden close to the resort’s shoreline is just perfect for children and beginners. It also presents a great learning opportunity too – environmental awareness, marine welfare and even colour recognition and maths – there are lots of bright fish here!
All guests at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort will have a spacious private villa either over the water, close to the beach or in a tropical treehouse, allowing you all space to do as you please. Separate living pavilions and generous outdoor grounds mean that infants can be taking a nap whilst little ones swim and parents relax – all undisturbed – now that’s a holiday!
Facilitated by the natural beauty of the island’s interior and the marine-rich waters all around, your whole family can explore so much together. In its 12 hectares you’ll find towering banyan trees, 45 species of plants and 17,000 coconut trees, plus three picturesque natural lagoons; there are nature trails to follow or you can join the 1.5 hour guided tour. The water sports centre offers extensive activities of every type under expert guidance whilst sports such as tennis, golf and cycling are fabulous for all ages.
Cultural exploration – a necklace of islands
Getting away from it all just got more complicated! Villingili is a stone’s throw from Gan, which was used as a strategic naval base during WWII; nowadays there is no RAF present, but there is a thriving Maldivian community on a necklace of islands linked by a causeway and bridges. You will be able to take a guided bicycle tour or wander freely through villages, visiting shops and seeing a different way of life. There is also an opportunity to take a farm tour on the island of Medhoo where they run a cooperative and produce a vast amount of fruit and vegetables, much of which uses hydroponic and autopot systems. These off-island excursions make Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa perfect for guests who may be concerned about the whole Robinson Crusoe experience!