At a Glance
The ultimate barefoot paradise, with overwater villas connected to a pristine private island, COMO Cocoa Island also has a a great spa and restaurant for laid-back luxury perfection.
- The chic simple interiors with white walls, wood floors and lots of natural light
- The Shambhala spa with its yoga classes, fabulous treatments and healthy menu options
- The sundecks off the back of each room with steps into the sea for snorkeling
The original owner of Cocoa Island, a photographer from Germany, leased it from a Maldivian when leases were still based on the number of palm trees on the island. The year: 1981; number of palms: 12. After he leased the island, he discovered that foreigners could not build private houses (only hotels), so he put up a few bungalows and began transforming the island into his own paradise. When Singapore-based hotelier and fashion tycoon Christina Ong bought it from him ten years ago, she raised the bar considerably, adding the overwater villas that exist today as well as the spectacular spa and restaurant.
Today the thirty-three overwater accommodations range from dhoni suites (in traditional Maldivian boats that are attached to a jetty) to two-bedroom villas with their own jetties for direct arrivals from the airport. All of the suites have large living areas facing the Indian Oceans, wide teak wood floors, white walls and huge windows to maximize the natural light. Most of them have their sleeping areas in upstairs lofts. Fans of sister resort, COMO Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, will recognize the stylish beach living, which emphasizes natural simplicity in fine white cottons and Asian spare wooden furniture. The emphasis is on light, space and beautiful views but no marble bathrooms or excess of decoration.
This is the kind of place for people who consider it a luxury to live barefoot and take outdoor showers. Off the back of each room are wooden sundecks that drop into the lagoon for swimming and snorkeling. Rooms are connected by a long boardwalk to the island and its glorious white sand beach. At one end of the island sits the pool and restaurant area and at the other is the Shambhala spa with its gym, yoga pavilion and treatment cabins. In between is the dive center, where guides can set guests up with snorkels, paddle boards or windsurfing and, of course, diving.
As with all COMO properties, there is a serious focus on health and well-being, which extends from the spa to the cuisine. Its Ufaa restaurant serves some of the best food in the country, with a spa menu always available, as well as Asian inspired options. The chef plays up local and organi ingredients as well as the regional cuisine of India. Unlike many of the other island resorts, which are clustered near each other north of Malé, COMO Cocoa Island lies in an isolated lagoon to the south so delivers a particularly deep sense of isolation and serenity. When you are out snorkeling or diving you will not see other resort boats, only fisherman, which is becoming more of a rarity in the Maldives.
Who Should Stay
Couples who love stylish beach living as well as health enthusiasts who will appreciate the great yoga and spa cuisine. It is truly a perfect counterpart to sister resort COMO Parrot Cay. Families may now prefer the larger COMO property COMO Maalifushi, which has more space and family-sized accommodations. Lovers of slick, fancy resorts with a nightlife component will prefer One & Only Reethi Rah.
Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley