Yearning to escape from the pressures of life, of meeting expectations and of everyday routine and to land on an island where it seems time stands still?
The Nautilus Maldives, a privately-owned island, is just the retreat you are longing for. The island’s philosophy is to give absolute freedom to its guests in a place where time has no significance and convention is set aside.
A stay at The Nautilus is noticeably different: here service is truly bespoke and activities follow the lead of the natural rhythms of nature – sunrise, sunset, the tides, the phases of the moon.
How is this island so different? In keeping with its new bohemian style, The Nautilus doesn’t judge, doesn’t impose and doesn’t inhibit its guests.
The Nautilus, situated in the heart of a Unesco biosphere reserve, opened just in January 2019 and it already aspires to be noted as one of the leading luxury resorts in the world. The resort’s ambition stems from the vision behind the island retreat and the exclusive facilities that have been created for the discerning guests.
The inspiration behind this boutique 26-room island is a Maldivian entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience in business and resort ownership. Originally concieved as a dream retreat on the tiny island, The Nautilus has grown to become his personal vision of what the last word in island luxury – in both the Maldives and worldwide – should be.
“The Nautilus Maldives has been designed for the new generation of luxury travellers – travellers who expect more than just a great sun tan at the end of a holiday and are looking for transformative experiences and activities that they can share with those who matter the most to them,” he says.
“Before beginning this project, we did a great deal of research about luxury resorts around the world to ensure that we can surpass their standards and also launch a concept that’s different. The Nautilus philosophy therefore is one of absolute freedom for its guests, offering a laid-back ‘modern bohemian’ lifestyle where guests can escape from their everyday lives, truly be themselves, and reconnect with their inner being, with nature and with their families – all in a beautiful Maldivian setting. A stay here isn’t like a stay anywhere else.”
This philosophy has meant rethinking how a luxury resort is run in order to base services around the guest and not follow standard operating procedures. With this in mind, service is driven by the house captains (butlers), who take care of every detail instead of handing over to receptionists, concierges, excursion guides etc. Restaurants don’t have set opening hours: breakfast can be taken at any time of day – and not even in the restaurant if the guests prefer breakfast in bed or by their pool.
While there will be menus in each of the three restaurants, these are seen as starting points for a discussion with chefs about what the guest would like to eat rather than as set guidelines for what can be ordered. Spa treatments can happen without appointment and if the urge to borrow the resort’s yacht and head out into the blue yonder for a picnic should suddenly strike, the house captain – one to every guest – will simply arrange everything as needed.
The Nautilus is a world where a menu is just a place to gather inspiration and meals are designed for the guest, whenever they want to eat. Dining, for those wishing to follow the chef’s suggestions, include intriguing infusions of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine at the over-water signature restaurant; elegant simplicity with Japanese and Latin-American creations at the grill; and global delicacies at the all-day dining restaurant. No opening or closing times, no breakfast hours, no shoes, no dress codes. Guests come as they are, enjoy great company and indulge in a shared passion for extraordinary cuisine.
To build on this relaxed feel, guests are invited to casual sunset cocktails every evening and can help themselves to Deli-style snacks from the poolside bar throughout the day – or ask the House Captain to pick up something for them.
The Nautilus experience begins on the runway at Velana International Airport, where every guest will be taken straight from the plane to a VIP terminal in the airport for a relaxed customs and immigration clearance. From there, it’s a short hop to The Nautilus’ own private lounge to await the 35-minute seaplane flight to Baa atoll.
Accommodation at The Nautilus is called ‘houses and residences’ because guests should feel the same levels of comfort and ease as when at home, along with the most spectacular features the Maldives has to offer. Those features include private pools, ocean views from every house, soft sandy beaches encircling dense tropical greenery, and a rich coral reef just metres from the island’s shores.
Originally a deserted island – too small at 250-m diameter for inhabitation – the tiny island retains many of its original native plants and trees.
Each of the 26 houses is a suite, with separate living room and bedroom. Just 15 one- and two-bedroom houses line the island’s beaches, hidden away among coconut trees, palms, and tropical greenery. Eleven one- and two-bedroom houses stand on stilts over the lagoon. Natural daylight fills the rooms and the interior design is tropical with a touch of boho chic whimsy. The island style is relaxed, with the guideline given to the interior designers to “make it look like it could be someone’s home, and better”. Most of the furnishings have been custom-built for The Nautilus.
The Nautilus doesn’t judge, doesn’t impose and doesn’t inhibit its guests. Instead, it removes barriers and creates incredible excursions and adventures, taking guests where they want to be when they want to be there – from midnight swims in glowing phosphorescent waters alongside a marine biologist, to exploring deserted islands on a yacht or floating in a ‘star-filled’ pool under the Milky Way while the house captain whisks up another perfect cocktail.
Guests looking for a mindful holiday are invited to join daily complimentary yoga, meditation and fitness classes. Watersports activities such as snorkelling, kayaking in a transparent canoe, or stand-up-paddle boarding are free: guests simply decide when they want to go.
Located in Baa Atoll, a Unesco biosphere reserve, a kaleidoscopic wonderland of incredible marine life awaits discovery. Trips to world-renowned Hanifaru Bay to swim amongst whale sharks and manta rays; diving on iridescent coral reefs; exploring remote sandbanks and deserted islands picnic in hand or just cruising the ocean in a custom yacht are among the many adventures guests can look forward to.
The Nautilus sets guests on their own path to wellness, drawing on ancient wisdoms and modern innovations for a transformative journey in its four treatment rooms in the heart of the island. The spa specialises in the bespoke, designing wellness programmes and daily rituals that refresh and relax, pamper and protect. Guests can salute the sun at dawn, discover alternative healing, join complimentary wellness classes or craft their own path to restoration. On the quiet, unrushed shores of The Nautilus, life moves at a different pace and guests are given all the time in the world to reflect and recalibrate.
Room rates at The Nautilus Maldives start at $1,967 for two in a Beach House with pool on bed and breakfast basis.
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