Joali Being is the younger, more wellness-focused sister to the playful Joali Maldives. It has all the usual DNA for an island-aesthete’s stay in the Indian Ocean, but goes beyond that – to your actual DNA. You can choose from a menu of tailored programmes that encourage deep connections to yourself, your partner, and your environment – or simply take advantage of the sunrise yoga sessions, evening pilates, and general zen of the island. And with this being the Maldives, expect time measured not by the clock, but by the rhythm of the ocean and those salty-skin sundowners (which are predominantly alcohol-free, by the way, this being a mostly dry island). Our diagnosis? Unimpeded peace and relaxation.
Please note Don’t let our enticing gallery deceive you, some of these images for Joali Being are in fact computer generated. Apologies, more real-life photographs will be with us soon…
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling wine, fruit basket and other healthy snacks
68 villas, all with private pools and a jadugar (butler)
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability and an additional charge. Earliest check-in, 2pm – but also flexible.
Double rooms from £2409.99 ($2,604), including tax at 23.2 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of $6.00 per person per night on check-in.
Rates include a healthy, locally-sourced breakfast in the Flow restaurant, with dishes such as Maldivian omelettes, breakfast ramen, smoothie bowls and shakshouka. A five-night minimum stay applies, and programmes range from five nights to three weeks.
The biophilic design (meaning love of nature) was brought to life by designers at Autoban and Atölye4N, who built the hotel to honour, preserve and respect the local landscape, its communities and culture.
At the hotel
Three restaurants, Mojo beach bar, tea lounge, spa with treatment rooms, herbology centre, fitness facilities including private training rooms, hydrotherapy hall with sensory deprivation room, Russian banya, salt inhalation room, sound therapy path, over-water meditation deck and yoga studio, library, culinary arts centre, anti-gravity yoga pavilion, podologist centre. In rooms: Private pool, sea view, jadugar (butler) service, bikes, Bose sound system, hairdryer, straighteners, WiFi, snorkelling gear, meditative balancing instruments, tea-and coffee-making kit, customised minibar, outdoor rain shower, Joali toiletries including aftersun, body lotion and insect repellent, custom Joali robes and flip flops
Our favourite rooms
Every villa on the island has a private pool and its own jadugar, which means butler (or magician when directly translated – we’ll leave it up to you to decide). Interiors are inspired by the surrounding shorelines, seas and shells – the flowing lines and curves are designed to bring the energy from the outside, in. Check in to a sunset ocean pool villa for added circadian-rhythm enhancement.
A matter of steps from your buttery-soft bed. There’s no need to set your alarm to bag your pool-side sunbed spots: each and every room has a private infinity pool.
This isn’t your typical spa. It stretches across the entire island – a collection of spaces known as Areka – and each sun-warmed boardwalk leads to another specialised therapy room, herbology centre or over-water meditation deck. Core is the movement and fitness space (the largest in the country, actually), which includes diagnostic rooms with dedicated movement specialists, private training rooms, barre and reformer equipment and Ocean Sala: an over-water facility including an anti-gravity yoga pavilion, podologist centre and meditation deck. The Seda sound therapy hall has been created with sound-healing guru Aurelio C. Hammer, who’ll attempt to restore your inner balance through music and vibration. If that’s music to your ears, follow the secluded palm-fringed discovery sound path – a sound-therapy trail using instruments, the natural rhythms of the island and the great outdoors. The hydrotherapy hall, Kaashi, encourages sanitas per aquas (healing through water). After, raise temperatures with a Russian banya or Finnish Aufguss sauna. And you can address all manner of health concerns at the herbology centre, Aktar, where the resident herbalist will suggest natural remedies using herbs, spices and essential oils. The team run workshops here, too – make your own tiger balm, face masks and hair oils; and you can pop in to try one of their natural teas (there are 21 varieties on the menu) at any time.
No need to pack your meditative musical instruments or wellbeing games, you’ll find them in your villa (yes, really). You needn’t worry too much about a watch, either. Officially, clocks are set to Maldives Time, but islands tinker with it – adding an hour here, slicing off 30 minutes there – to create the perfect day for you, so better to just follow the sun's arch over the ocean.
Joali Being is strictly adults only – no kids are allowed on the island. We repeat: no kids. Not one. Not yours, not anyone else’s. Kids? Nope.
No trees were felled in the construction of biophilic-designed Joali Being: the island’s wooded interior remains untouched. The underwater world is, understandably, a focus here too: Joali Being is home to one of just three turtle conservation sanctuaries in the Maldives. The hotel partners with the Reef Restoration Project and houses a coral nursery, which helps to rebuild the lagoon’s reefs. Other sustainability initiatives include a water-bottling plant, rainwater recycling system, glass crusher and recycler, and plant-waste shredder for fertilising the islands’ gardens. Food is seasonal and sustainably sourced, entirely traceable and supports small-scale Maldivian fishermen where possible.
The best sundowner spots have to be an ocean-facing table on the Mojo sundeck, or, in fact, the hammock on your villa’s private sundeck.
The Maldives are known for a ‘no shoes, no news’ approach, but we’d recommend sleek sandals, floaty dresses and neutral linens for dinner to show off your glowing skin (courtesy of Areka) and Maldivian tans.
Flow is the main dining area: an open-plan lantern-lit space with three separate kitchens under one roof, where all ingredients are seasonal and sustainably sourced. The first is B’Well – a signature menu of earth-to-table meals such as chicken and coconut soup, steamed mushroom gyoza broth, duck à la planche and wagyu beef with truffle jus. Plantae favours vegetarian and vegan cuisine (we loved the ‘textures of mushrooms’ main course), and Su is great for pescatarins, with unsurprisingly fresh ocean-to-table fare (try the seared scallop, charred octopus, or salmon and tuna mosaic). For dessert, order vegan coffee ice cream (plated on a perfect slab of ice, nonetheless), the ‘coconut and mango’ plate or the crème muscovado. Guests with dietary requirements can work with nutritionists and chefs to co-create their own menu, but even if you can eat all of the lactose and every last crumb of gluten, you’re still encouraged to customise meals to your nutritional needs.
Mojo’s beach-side sundeck has three sunset-facing lounge areas and an extensive menu of juices, kombucha, chilled coffees and turmeric lattes. It’s home to the SAI tea lounge, with over 60 different types of brews, and the island’s resident tea sommelier. Alcohol isn’t promoted at the hotel, however you can order a glass of organic and biodynamic wine at dinner, should you wish. There are plenty of mocktails on the menu too – we loved the ‘imagine mindfulness’ drink: an interpretation of an espresso martini topped with orange peel.
Breakfast is served until 10am every morning, and dinner can be ordered from all three kitchens in Flow from 6–9pm.
You can have earth-to-table dishes and health-filled smoothies delivered to your villa door.
Joali Being resides on Bodufushi – a small island amid the crystalline lagoons of the Raa Atoll, just north of Malé.
International flights arrive into Malé Velana airport, a 40-minute seaplane flight from Joali Being. The hotel can arrange your transfer (shared or private), including access to the Joali lounge in Malé.
Worth getting out of bed for
Private sundeck with hammock and infinity pool aside, there’s a lot to do without even leaving Bodufushi. Areka’s spa and treatment rooms, the Aktar herbology centre and Core fitness area might be good ways to start the day: or lend an ear to Seda’s sound therapy techniques and sweat out stress in an Aufguss sauna. Herb-based workshops are held at Aktar, including talks about the benefits of herbal teas, discussions on human design and hands-on sessions making natural body creams. The Culinary learning centre offers nutritional workshops and classes with culinary maestros. There are watersports and workout classes dotted around the island, too – use of see-through kayaks and paddle boards are included, and yoga, pilates and island runs are scheduled for you every sunrise and sunset. If all the wellness gets a bit much, simply spend some time under the Maldivian sun on the stunning white-sand beaches (after all, there are few destinations with sand as consistently soft as the Maldives). Take to the luminous cyan-blue waters for world-renowned diving and snorkelling – turtles, friendly sharks, manta rays and schools of Nemo fish await. Joali Being’s marine biologist will happily take you out to explore the reefs, and explain how the hotel is contributing to reef restoration – and it seems to be working, as these are some of the brightest, healthiest corals we’ve ever seen. Or hop on a boat to a nearby sandbank – there’s nothing that puts life into perspective quite like being stood on a tiny stretch of sand, with only the ocean in sight.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this wellness hotel in the Raa Atoll and hit the mat for a post-flight Ashtanga, a full account of their over-water break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Joali Being in the Maldives…
Arrival by seaplane means you’ll have a bird’s-eye view over Raa Atoll and Joali Being’s over-water villas, which peter out from the boardwalks like paintbrush tips. The hotel has been designed with natural materials, neutral tones and thatched roofs – as if to not distract from the unending expanse of ocean and its shifting shades of turquoise, teal and baby blue. It feels almost obligatory to dive straight into the water as soon as you drop your bags and kick off your shoes. But there’s plenty to do above ground, too: anti-gravity yoga or a Russian banya, anyone? And yes, we get that the Maldives is often seen as a honeymoon destination, but at Joali Being the focus really is you. Come alone, with a partner, or with friends and you’ll return re-aligned, with more respect and love for yourself, your body and your environment (but yes, the private infinity pools, drape-covered king-size beds and outdoor rain showers do tend to spark oxytocin, now you ask).