From the moment I first set foot on Villingili island I was in heaven. Someone handing me a coconut decorated with a frangipani flower was proof of that, in my book. I was taken directly to my villa, no annoying waiting around the reception, just holiday bliss from the first minute. It had secretly been my dream for a long time to experience the famed bliss of Shangri-La and I knew right away I was in for a real treat…
Our “room” was actually a 2 part villa that came with a living room that was its own building. Inside were 2 couches and an arm chair with one of those stools that lets you put your feet up and feel like actual royalty. There was a cooler with fresh ice available for me to work my way through the extensive mini bar, while snacking on the complimentary bananas that had been picked from one of the trees on the island. I could have happily spent all my time in that room if it had not been for all the other amazing places in our villa and in fact on the entire island I wanted to be. Our private pool had 2 lounge chairs stood in the water, for the ultimate decadence of working away on my laptop with my feet dangling in the water, a glass of bubbly on the table next to me – DANG!
Our three days here were so magical, that the memory of them feels almost dreamlike. Our villa came with bikes, one for me with a children’s seat on the back and a small one with training wheels, in case my little guy wanted to have a go. We were shown around the island, which is one of the larger ones in the Maldives, so big in fact that it boasts its own golf court! It is also home to the highest “mountain” in the Maldives, the Mount Villingili Summit, an impressive 3,3 meters above sea level, equipped with its own sign and everything. Yes, the folks at Shangri-La sure had my sense of humor that way.
When I wasn’t cycling around, relaxing by my pool or eating, I made sure to take full advantage of the host of awesome activities on offer at the Shangri-La. I loved the snorkeling tour at an amazing reef just a short 20 minute boat ride from the hotel, but also seeing dolphins on our designated dolphin cruise was as incredible as I had remembered it from my last trip to the Maldives.
Another highlight were the meals and by that I mean breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each felt like a celebration because all were had in such a spectacular setting. Breakfast by the beach, with our feet in the sand, dinner overlooking a sand dune and the sunset – the only challenge was not to take photos every other minute, for me anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a hotel where I shot so many pictures of food and restaurant situations as I did here!
What surprised me about the Shangri-la was that besides the omnipresent honeymooners, there was a decent amount of families and people traveling with children. Maybe it’s due to the generous size of the villas, the lovely kids club or the fact that even little guests were provided with their own bikes or bike seats, but I certainly felt that of all islands we visited this was the one I would be most likely to recommend to absolutely everyone, regardless of whether they travel with a partner, a friend, kids or even alone. Despite appearances, Shangri-La also surprises with comparably low rates, for a resort of its caliber.
Finally, another highlight of our entire trip was to witness the sunset from the infinity pool area, which is usually quite empty, since most rooms come with their own pool. This does mean another excellent photo opportunity which allowed me to take my favorite picture of 3 weeks in the Maldives. This one:
Makes you want to go straight there, doesn’t it? Well, you could just book it here…
Thanks, Shangri-La Villingili and your entire lovely team for hosting Atlas and I, we had a wonderful time and will sure be back.