28 Feb JOALI BEING | THE FIRST WELLNESS RETREAT IN THE MALDIVES
In the Maldives – one of our new favourite sunny destinations, you can find one luxury resort after another. But just wait until you see the newly opened wellbeing retreat, JOALI BEING.
It’s the first time a wellness retreat has opened in the Maldives and it’s something rather special. I was invited by JOALI BEING as one of the first media to experience the way to weightlessness, serenity and the ultimate luxury. And that’s exactly what I got (plus some jaw dropping moments). Get ready to discover one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to.
How to get to JOALI BEING
From Amsterdam you can fly via Dubai or Doha with one stopover. Currently, you need a negative PCR test result to enter. Check our article for more info about the latest Covid rules and other destinations. The real adventure starts when you arrive in Malé, the international airport in the Maldives. JOALI BEING is located in the Northern part of the Maldives on Bodufushi island and it takes about 40 more minutes to fly there by… seaplane! When you arrive you stay in the luxury JOALI lounge where you can freshen up. The seaplane trip itself is considered to be one of the most beautiful flights in the world. Flying over the coral reefs and luxury resorts it a sight on its own. Besides, the pilots are wearing shorts and flip flops, making the whole vibe amazing.
JOALI BEING & Joali Maldives
Ok, so a little introduction. The brand Joali was founded and is run by power woman Esin Güral Argat, from the Turkish-based Gurok Group. She launched JOALI Maldives back in 2018 and it has been a major success ever since. JOALI BEING is totally new however, and a little bit different. That being said, both resorts have a similar style (same architect) but their offer and incentive is different. At JOALI Maldives they welcome everyone from families to couples and JOALI BEING on the other hand is for adults only (from the age of 14 yrs old). Both resorts do offer spa treatments but at JOALI BEING wellbeing is the core focus here. So, let’s dive in a little deeper shall we?
The four Pillars at JOALI BEING
The whole concept here is woven around the Four Pillars of Wellbeing – Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy. This is implemented in the immersion programs you can follow, the treatments and even the food & drinks menu. Most guests that will come to JOALI BEING will stay a minimum of 5 days but we’ve heard some people have even stayed up to 28 days. When you book, you can decide whether you are here just for relaxing or if you want to work on yourself. Your journey will be customised after an Intelligent Movement Analysis and an Integrative Health Assessment by one of their experts. Here they ask you about your goals, your state of mind, any physical troubles and so forth. As an illustration, I had three different treatments done (four Pillar Massage, Facial, Mind/Balance treatment) and a private workout session at CORE.
Immersion programmes can be tailored-made for each individual. Maybe you’re stressed, want to lose a few pounds, need your hormones balanced, or need an overall alignment for good health and immunity. Programmes can be booked separately and some include full board (all meals and non-alcoholic drinks during meals). Good to know; on the island you’ll only find wifi in your villa. The reason is simple; disconnect with the world and just be in the moment. By all means, it works.
No Fries & Cola
If you are craving for a burger and fries, then you should look elsewhere. Here you can find a healthy (yet very very tasty) menu. On the island are 2 restaurants; Mojo, which is located by the pool and offers a great variety of lunch dishes. Restaurant Flow however, has 3 different kitchens. For example, there is the Plantae kitchen that serves veggie and plant based meals, Su is preparing fish and seafood and B’Well offers signature JOALI BEING dishes. Therefore you can find 3 different menu options at flow for dinner, but you can combine either one. Behind every dish you see how many calories you’ll be taking which is great as a gentle reminder. Don’t be fooled though, this place may be healthy, the food is plenty and they serve the most delicious “guilt free” desserts too!
Their food concept is an earth-to-table initiative, fresh and locally harvested foods that support small farms and are sustainably sourced.
For breakfast you also go to Flow where the amazing buffet awaits you. Additionally you can order your brekkie from the menu which includes savoury or gluten free pancakes, several egg options, smoothie and breakfast bowls and many fresh juices. And the view….
All food and drink options at JOALI BEING have been expertly curated with the help of the retreat’s nutritionists, offering healthy and indulging dining options.
Oh boy, where do we start! JOALI BEING offers 68 living spaces that include ocean villa’s, beach villa’s and all are included with a private pool and Jadugar – which is a butler JOALI style, who is available for you 24/7. I stayed in a Sunset Ocean Pool Villa which is good for two guests. Honestly a true ocean hideaway that’s really what you wish for in the Maldives.
The architecture at Joali is jaw dropping and done by Turkish Design studio Autoban. Colours at the resort are mainly pastel and breath serenity, just what I think they were going for. Besides the villa’s, the spa, gym, restaurants and pool area, all have been sprinkled with a touch of magic in terms of style and ambience.
One drink that is happily consumed at JOALI BEING is their organic tea. After your treatments you will most likely discover some of the tea menu at The AKTAR, their “herbology” centre. Inspired by the rich heritage of healing through the power of herbs (including tea), are natural and tasty but moreover beneficial for your health. AKTAR blends traditional Anatolian remedies and Maldivian healing arts. Additionally, every villa contains a drawer full of wonderful tea and caffeine free coffee but if you really want to experience the full tea package you should book their tea celebration. You learn all about the magic of those little leaves and what it can do for you.
Things to do at JOALI BEING
Obviously you’ll find yourself on an island, with sunshine, turquoise water and beautiful sea-life so snorkelling is definitely on the menu here. If you have one, bring your Action Cam for underwater photography because it will totally blow you away. I saw everything from clownfish, stingrays, sea turtles and even a reef shark while snorkelling alongside Bodufushi island. If you want, you can also dive here.
Nice to know; they have planted a small coral nursery in the water so new coral reefs can grow or can be restored. They are also planning to open a turtle nursery on the island so trapped turtles can rehabilitate after being caught in fishing nets. Furthermore, JOLAI BEING is collaborating with EarthCheck on several long-term sustainability initiatives, rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling system, a glass recycler, and a plant waste shredder for fertilising.
If you don’t like swimming in the water as much as I do, you can take a clear kayak and see the bottom while you paddle along, pretty stunning also! If you are more into action, you can hire enough water toys at the Marina sports centre. All activities on the water that don’t require an engine, are free of use. Furthermore, you can discover the secluded palm-fringed trail to their Sound Path. Basically, 9 art looking instruments that resonate with the natural rhythms of the island. It offers guests an opportunity to restore their inner balance through harmonising vibrations and sounds, a must try!
Work it baby!
Besides the fun on the water you can check out the complementary classes that are held in the gym by the name of CORE. This is officially the largest gym in the Maldives and they have the top of the range gear so you can spent hours here. If the weather allows it they often give yoga or pilates classes outside at Ocean Scala. Try their anti-gravity yoga class for sure! You’ll be hanging weightless from a sheet, stretching your back and needless to say it’s a lot of fun!
Visiting JOALI Maldives
Day trips can be made to JOALI Maldives which is only a 15 minute boat ride. This island is also stunning, more lively and they serve fries if you are really craving them! (You didn’t get that from me). This resort is very popular with families and couples. Needless to say that they offer many 2 bedroom villa’s and some villa’s even have a separate nanny room. Parents can also hire a nanny for the day and there is a kids-club and playground. On the island there are 4 restaurants, all in walking distance from one another.
They call JOALI Maldives their art-immersive island resort as you can find many art-pieces here. When they first opened they invited 13 artists for inspiration and they ended up creating several art pieces that guests can immerse with. Like the mantra ray where you can eat & relax, or the bird chair.
The villa’s at JOALI Maldives are equally amazing. Endless views over the Indian Ocean, private pools, large ceilings and dark carved wooden features. It’s no surprise that guests stay in their villa for most of the day and enjoy all the perks.
As shown above, the luxury at both resorts is absolutely topnotch and it obviously comes with a certain price tag. But putting all the luxury aside, there was one thing that really got to me. The amazing staff members. After 1 day they know your favourite dishes, call you by your name, helping you with everything they can, but also having light and funny conversations with you. It never felt forced though and it really touched my heart. Leaving JOALI BEING after just 4 nights was hard (yes, I might have shed a few tears), but it was even harder when staff members waved us goodbye from the dock. This trip is one for the books, something I will cherish forever and never take for granted.
Bodufushi Island, Maldives