Hotel of the Week: This Holistic Island Sanctuary Takes Guests on a Journey of Personal Transformation

JOALI Being Maldives

At JOALI Being in the Maldives, guests embark on multi-sensory experience for the mind, body and soul.

We travel for different purposes: and these days, the pursuit of personal transformation is at the top of the priority list. So, imagine a place that re-centres you, re-connects you with your inner being and your surroundings?

Wellbeing, at JOALI Being, in the beautiful Raa Atoll, is more than just a buzzword: it is a holistic life-calling, from the moment you arrive at the “Gate of Zero” structure on the entrance jetty. Created by celebrated Turkish artist Seçkin Pirim, this tall, fluid, open building resembles the white flared dancing skirts of dervishes, and represents the releasing of the ego, the cleansing of the soul—and the start of your transformative journey.

Citation Longitude
Citation Longitude

Following a personal lifestyle assessment with a resident doctor, a personalised programme is crafted that can prioritise anything from deep relaxation to stress recovery via weight management, digestive reset, preventive skincare, anti-ageing, energy replenishment or yoga enhancement. One of four pillars mind, skin, microbiome, energy—will then be the guiding principle for your curated treatment therapies, nutritional plan and other experiences. The aim is to “return home feeling renewed, uplifted and inspired, with a new sense of weightlessness”, as the founder Esin Hanim explains.

The whole island has been designed using biophilic design principles to foster harmony, improve balance and enhance natural energy flow. Each of the 68 living spaces is designed in soft shades of sand, mint and rose with dashes of turquoise and a prevalence of soothing, round shapes. Every villa comes with a private pool, a customised wellbeing zone, an assortment of books, a turquoise bicycle with personalised wooden name plate, yoga mat, and meditative musical instruments that are tuned based on the planetary configuration of your villa. And forget phone chargers next to the bed: in order to reconnect, goes the philosophy here, you must disconnect first.

A sense of privacy is also at the core of the philosophy here: as such, housekeeping only comes when you’re at breakfast and dinner, whilst the only surprise visitors you will get—if you have opted for a water villa—will be the green sea turtles who nest and hatch around this area.

Transformational spaces take up over half of the island. The 39 treatment rooms at the main health-focused centre, AREKA, have signature sounds that operate in synergy with the room’s location on the island—whether you are surrounded by treetops or relaxing over the waves, undergoing healing with quartz crystals, or rebalancing with ancient eastern massage techniques.

Meanwhile, a multi-sensory journey awaits on the outdoor discovery sound path: a secluded palm-fringed trail with nine unique instruments that help restore your inner balance (as does a vast wooden bed with strings beneath it, like a giant guitar, at your destination: the sound therapy hall, SEDA). Inevitably, there is no dress code here. Each villa is stocked with comfortable linen clothes you can wear for your entire stay. You could even skip checking a case in, as the island boutique stocks swimwear by Melissa Odabash and maxi-dresses by Zimmermann.

CORE, the Technogym equipment filled movement and fitness space, is the biggest gym in the Maldives. There’s a pilates reformer studio, intelligent body analysis tools like the hi-tech digital mirror D-WALL and a cryotherapy room (three minutes in minus 85 degrees boosts your immune system, and also burns up to 800 calories). JOALI Being also has its own hydrotherapy hall, KAASHI, plus a Banya (Russian-style sauna), a multi-sensual “Aufguss” sauna, hammam, a salt inhalation room, and a private round pool that has the same temperature as your body for dedicated watsu (weightless suspension) sessions.

After each treatment, herbology centre AKTAR offers you a personalised tea. Inspired by herbs and their healing powers, a resident herbologist also crafts a perfume and tea based on your lifestyle consultation session. Like JOALI Maldives, JOALI Being has an educational element, so you can also create your own perfume or tea during a personal workshop. Or you can even go one step further and take part in a tea sommelier session at the SAI tea lounge (named after the Maldivian word for tea) with the first-ever female tea master in the Maldives. And there are also interactive private nutritional cooking classes at the Culinary Learning Centre.

Nutrition’s role in wellbeing needs no introduction: and the culinary arts at JOALI Being’s three restaurants (including Ocean Sala, which serves up the iconic local yellowfin tuna, or specialities like wagyu beef ) focus on an earth-to-table approach using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Nutritionists and chefs work in close consultation, and on every menu you’ll find nutritional details and symbols of the four pillars which indicate what will be best for you personally.

Everything at JOALI Being is geared towards you returning home with renewed energy and far healthier dietary and lifestyle habits. Once back in your usual surrounds, you may find yourself craving that lemon-ginger shot or kombucha in the morning, and long for the place that changed how your mind communicates with your body.

A sanctuary that is good for your soul; a place where you can take care of yourself as many do their yachts. Isn’t that life’s greatest luxury?

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