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Shangrila Maldives Vilingili Resort & Spa

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This had to be my first time going luxury on a holiday, most times budget chic appeals to me more. It could have been a go luxe or go home mentality that concluded in a 2 night stay in the largest property in the whole of Maldives and coincidentally or not, the furthest as well.


It probably did not dawn on me at point of booking or even confirming my reservation that we were indeed taking a domestic flight instead of the usual sea plane to reach the resort - turns out, it was a plane ride that felt like 2 hours, a warm meet and greet at the airport before being received into a coach and a speed boat before stepping foot on Shangrila Maldives.

From the coach onto a speedboat. While previous batches of passengers have sighted dolphins during the short ride, I did not have any luck with that.


Life vests were given out and so were cold towels infused with lemon grass to freshen up. The unforgiving rains did not stop the staff from sheltering us with golf umbrellas and welcoming us with coconuts and flower bouquets.


Even in the rain, it was stunning and may I add, the top notch service began the moment we headed onto the coach.


A warm welcome awaited in the pavilion where our greeters fawned and fussed over us.


Freshly plucked flowers and leaves for the ladies and coconuts for all.


Meet the Coconut Climbers session caught my eye and I hoped to watch them in action during our short stay!


Buggies covered in plastic to prevent guests from getting wet.


Sheltered to the doorstep quite literally.


A buggy was on standby to escort us to our villa - right to the door step, without a single raindrop marring our experience. Check-in was done in the villa (my first time and it was helluva memorable). We fell in love with the water villa even before arriving, in fact it was one of the deciding factors in picking Shangrila over the other properties.


Water villas after the rain. July and August seem to be their monsoon months, rain clouds greeted us nearly everyday of our 5 day vacation, a huge bummer in my opinion.


Notice about the weather conditions and if swimming is advisable.


More the blues that would become a favourite colour in the next few days.


Bicycles for our usage throughout the island, these proved to be our trusty mode of transport over the next few days.


I've never had a toilet so welcoming like this before. That tub in the middle of it all gives inspiration for our future tub purchases - truth be told, I never quite believed in tubs because of the massive work needed to maintain it much less keep it tip top looking all the time. So I digress and perhaps all future holidays should have a tub like that to make sense of all the bits and bobs that Lush retails and I buy every other visit.


In all its glory, these are blatant reminders to save the planet for our future generations.


For the conservative, there is always an indoor shower with glass doors.


Another shot of that tub that we soaked in every night for a good 30 minutes pondering what life is all about. Tubs make me philosophical like that.

I forget to even mention about the outdoor shower that I enjoyed particularly, as close as skinny dipping can get you but bathing with the sea beneath my feet is tremendous joy.


Amenties carefully wrapped in recyclable material, I am a sucker for such personal touches. And hooray to toothbrushes at last. Staying in lodges made me ration my toothpaste.


Those thick fluffy towels that can wrap me round so snugly.


Even the hand soap is so delicately wrapped, I am now obsessed with details.


Trust me, I looked forward to washing my hands because of this bar of soap. Frivolity.


My own sink complete with a vanity desk.


Once again details, my table came with the usual tissue paper, cotton pads and even aloe vera gel to cool the skin after baking in the sun.


Friends of the bath tub.


My walk in wardrobe for all of 2 days, I wish I brought enough clothes to fill this.


Do you spot the woven slippers and bath robes?


Shangrila it is.


And I have barely covered half the suite! Onto the right wing!


Our own mini bar, only missing out on a bartender - but wait, I think our butler would gladly do the honours if we asked.


All the works, for a fee obviously. In a country where alcohol is largely prohibited except on private islands, you have to pay to drink without a care or smuggle in and drink without your butler finding out.


Nespresso capsules for any caffeine fan.


Dilmah tea for the tea drinkers.


And bottled water on the house, the only thing that we needn't lose an arm and leg paying for on the resort.


More of the pretty on our cushy bed.


Local produce in the form of sweet and sour bananas from the island of Addu that supplies Shangrila with for the running of their restaurants.


The couch that both of us were fighting over.


Almost instantly, we lit up the incense and had our suite so sweet smelling.


The magnificent and very inviting bed.


I probably spent a fair amount of time snapping nooks and crannies of my water villa and truly, every single corner was so well thought through.


And this sun bed which we hardly had time for - now I understand why a week is needed to fully enjoy the facilities.

The amazing amount of effort paid to detail was simply jawdropping.


Mouth wash?


A complete mosquito kit though I barely saw any mosquitoes.


Ordering of breakfast made easy and innovative with it in a scroll form.


My favourite part of bed time - a pillow menu.


Another of their conservation efforts.


The view that greeted us in the day.


And at night. I have never encountered so many shades of blue till Maldives, and it left me in awe every single time.


Our water villa all lit up at night!


Sea view.


We had time to traipse around the island and chanced upon the Presidential Suite at the furthest end that comes with their own gate even!

I hope you enjoyed my virtual room tour and perhaps serve as a reminder how to live the life in Maldives!

Everyone I know says going to Maldives is the most expensive way of doing nothing - oh how I beg to differ. I ended up so busy, the water villa was best enjoyed only at night! None of the couch potatoing with a book in hand and watching waves crash.

Here's my takeaway on how best to enjoy a resort!

Bloodyhell, just book a watervilla

Either book a water villa or a presidential suite. Oops, I said it.

What's not to love about the vast sea at your doorstep? Waking up to fluffy clouds and the blue seas had to be the most therapeutic thing ever.

The size of the water villa were even larger than our mousehole back home! Talk about luxury sometimes, the distance between the couple sinks were so comfortable. Wanna shower? There are so many options; from the tub, open air shower to a more private indoor shower, we never felt more liberated and stoned for choices when bath time came about. I would reccomend indulging in one of Lush' bath bombs for that bubble bath.

Pillow menu, walk in wardrobe and the high ceiling. The must haves in our next home if the salary lords are kind.

Join a dolphin tour

We first joined one on Maafushi Island but failed to see a single dolphin in action which left me super crest fallen and I leapt at the second chance to see them with a 70-80% chance! That proved to be the best decision with a cruiser that looked safe enough - at least I would not be tossed into the sea haplessly and we saw a full school of dolphins, complete with tricks! I finally understood why people would shell out premium ticket prices to watch a dolphin in an aquarium, at least the mammal would be there!

Magical moments made of these and I left a happy lass.

Watch the coconut climbers do their job!

Island excursions are worth booking and a number of them are complimentary so we made a beeline to watch the coconut climbers in action! Usually they start as early as 6am to 8am before the crowds appear to prune some 17,000 trees on the island and our tour at 2pm meant it was purely for show. Malan has been doing this since 9 and that means a good 23 years of training. Strong back muscles are a must - even the gym bunny could not hoist himself beyond the first step!

There are more than one specie of coconut on the island and word has it that these existed way before the property was even built back in 2009. We had freshly plucked coconuts and also the older ones - incredibly crunchy and fragrant flesh.


The reason why I am even on the golf range is because of tilapia feeding.


With the ocean just nearby, the crashing of waves formed quite a symphony.


Other complimentary activities include feeding the tilapias with overnight bread (boy, their overnight bakes still smell as heavenly!) and coral planting.


Gobble they did with a vengeance.


Even their leftover bread smells so good.


One of the wandering crabs we found on the golf green. 

Snorkel around Whispering Palm area

Snorkelling is as foreign to me as sky diving - infact, it falls in the same category of activities I do not voluntarily try. But being in Maldives made me try and try I did with a pair of flippers, a mouth piece and goggles.

I will not classify it as my favouritest sea sport - jet skiing recently took that place, but it was definitely fun. Drifting over reefs and corals had to be one of those magnificent discoveries ever but getting brutally cut by them is by no means fun.

Pick a water villa at the Whispering Palm area to be closer to the deep blue end and more of the underwater action or unwind at Serenity Bay for serenity, for a lack of a better word.


Gym, only if you have time


The full suite of machines.


Travelling with a gym bunny always mean we have to make time to hit the gym.


I never quite imagine a gym housed in such tranquil conditions, too beautiful infact.


Apples to refuel.


Cycle like a villager

It was liberating taking on the island in two wheels, bobbing over pot holes and sandy lanes without a care in the world. For those two days, I cycled like it was second nature and this sure beats cycling on the spot in a gym!


Stop and smell the roses


Luscious greens filled the island and it felt like home somewhat with the number of plants and trees all over. We made a point to visit the herb garden and marvel at the scale that they have done the landscape.

Hibiscus in orange and pinks are a common sight throughout the island!


We even chanced upon the ruins of a shipwreck!


Exact same piece. 

Mount Vilingili

We guffawed when we rode our lungs out to find the highest point on the property, only to find that it is but 5.1metres above sea level. The ride around the golf green was really enjoyable as the sun set.

Catch a sunset

I love sunsets to death. Watching the sky take on different hues has to be life's simplest joy. Whether its by the golf course or in the villa, the Maldivian sundown was one of those things I am glad we did.

The top notch service goes all the way until we board the final flight back to Singapore, what is there not to love about service staff who take care of your check in and luggages - a lounge would have been great still!

I wish we had more time for spa at Chi's or even a tipple at M Lounge but I suppose that means we really have to be back! The best thing is - this Shangrila escapade has planted a resort bug in me and the worst thing being - Shangrila Maldives is the standard to topple. A splurge once in a while would not kill, wouldn't it?


I wish I had time to lounge by the sea or even partake in their bar activities of guessing the right constellation and winning a cocktail - uber attractive when everything has a price!


Because we had a ridiculously early flight to catch and the kitchens were not open for breakfast service yet, we did our checkouts in the pavilion.


Looking so spa-ish.


Still a thoughtful spread despite having to skip the full breakfast buffet.


All we could manage at 6ish am in the morning, I am definitely not a morning person.


Even up to the last minute, we discovered new things about the island - these white birds were flapping around madly and gave us a flight display.


We even had the luck to run into the coconut climbers again!


Malan recognized us and offered us coconuts for breakfast - so delicious indeed!


The parting view in the same welcome center we were at just days earlier.


Goodbye Shangrila Maldives!


The same speed ferry that brought us over.


The same hospitality and we made our way back home. Even at the departure gates we experienced Shangrila service to its maximum, we had our check ins taken care of and left with lingering memories of our second honeymoon.

Food entries will be made separately after this post.

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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