Wellness Escapes: Why Kuda Villingili, Maldives is the best kept secret for spa lovers

Head here for elevated surf and spa experiences plus gourmet dining and powder-white beaches.

image of Kuda Villingili from an aerial view
(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

Through our Marie Claire Wellness Escapes franchise, we’re celebrating the best hotel resorts committed to offering premium wellness experiences and exceptional service. You couldn’t ask for a better fit than Kuda Villingi, Maldives. 

Situated in one of the most picturesque locations on earth, you’ll find Kuda Villingi on a beautiful island in the North Malé Atoll, Maldives. It boasts dream-like power-white beaches, the longest swimming pool in the Maldives stretching 150 metres, three gourmet restaurants with internationally acclaimed chefs, plus a range of premium wellness experiences and water sports. Its also just a 25-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport in Malé which is served by direct flights from the UK. So no need for that annoying second plane ride after your international flight. What else makes this resort so special? Read our full review of all that this incredible resort has to offer.

image of Kuda Villingili pool area from an aerial view

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

Who is Kuda Villingi resort, Maldives for?

Dubbed the best kept secret of the Maldives, this resort is favoured by serious health devotees, celebrities on wellness breaks and honeymooners, and it's easy to see why. With a five star spa offering a varied range of wellness experiences and yoga, it's ideal if you’re looking to utterly switch off and hide away for a week. However, active couples and families will be equally impressed by the huge range of activities on offer here from tennis and biking to watersports like diving and surfing. Just moments from the famous Chicken Break, a reef stretch capable of creating clean 10 second barrels, Kuda Villingili is one of the best located hotels in the Maldives for both beginner and seasoned surfers.  The manageable consistent waves are perfect for those starting out, while seasoned surfers will enjoy the bigger swells. There is also a brilliant kids club with a variety of daily activities and sports to keep the children entertained.

Andrea Thompson at Kuda Villingili, Maldives

(Image credit: Future)

The Setting

The hotel sits on a private island fringed by powder white sand and lush vegetation. We reached it by speedboat and disembarked bleary eyed from an overnight flight. Within minutes, we were greeted by our own private butler for the duration of our stay and handed a cool coconut water  and escorted to our spacious villa overlooking the calm blue ocean. We were on the beach enjoying our first warm swim in the sea half an hour later. It all felt so smooth and seamless - like a home from home. The island is totally car free (you’re given a bicycle when checking in to get around) and the overriding sound is of the waves lapping at the sand and the exotic birds overhead. 

An image of Kuda Villingili from an aerial view

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

The rooms

Kuda Villingili has 75 one-to-four-bedroom villas so it suits couples, families or multigenerational families. Rooms are spacious and secluded ‘beach villas’ directly facing the sea or traditional Maldivian  ‘water villas’ on stilts over the ocean with private pools from where you can watch the wide array of tropical fish. Both have  private pools. The design is minimalist and tasteful with lots of exposed wood. The interiors feel relaxed and elegant and are complemented by traditional Maldivian arts and fabrics. Of course you can expect all the state of the art conveniences too from surround sound speakers to Nespresso coffee machines.

An image of a Kuda Villingili room with sea view

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

The spa

Kuda Villingi’s spa is reached via a walkway to a separate private island. The spa’s eight treatment villas sit over the calm lapping water and there is something about it being removed from the rest of the resort that makes it feel extra specially calm. Ingredients for the oils and treatments here are organic, sustainable and plant-based and draw on Eastern medicine and aromatherapy. We loved the range of personalised aromatherapy massages. But you will also find deep cleansing anti-ageing facials plus hot stone therapy, Ayervedic massage and Body polishing rituals. The state of the art gym overlooking the ocean featuring the latest technogym equipment is the best incentive to get up early for a workout, while the daily yoga and pilates sessions on the beach pavilion overlook the ocean and take place at sunrise and sunset. We quickly got into the habit of doing the yoga each sunset (you can do them individually or as part of the group). All classes are run by internationally recognised practitioners who had a wonderfully inclusive approach to their sessions embracing guests of all levels and incorporating meditation and breathing techniques at the start or end of the sessions. Utter bliss when done to the sound of the waves.

An image of Kuda Villingili showing the spa

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

The food

The Restaurant concept, which is inspired by the elements of Fire, Earth, stretches across three elegant outdoor restaurants. There is an emphasis on natural and organic products and local fish and seafood. You have the full spectrum of global cuisine here. The food at Spice is heavily  influenced by Asian cuisine and Indian-Arabic dishes. While East serves Oriental-Thai cuisine and the Med restaurant offers excellent Italian-Mediterranean cuisine Spice tempts diners with Indian-Arabic fare. You can also try South American cuisine and Japanese-Peruvian dishes. Our favourite was the Indian restaurant but whatever your taste, you’re fully catered for here.

Kuda Villingili dining area

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

Don't miss...

There is a bit of a list here. Try the sunset cocktails hosted each night up by surfers point where a live DJ plays a chilled wind down session on the beach. Don't leave without a raw baby coconut massage at the spa, which targets your pressure points with warm coconut oil and deep tissue massage. It really eases sore muscles and tight backs and also lowers blood pressure, calms the mind and enhances hormonal function. We loved the silk body polish too. If you want to try something that plays to your thrill-seeking side then give the E-Foiling a try. With speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, you can fly above the Indian ocean on an electric surfboard that lifts up to 80 cm above the water’s surface. Kuda Villingili also hosts truly magical boat trips to go and see the local dolphins. If you do one thing aside from sunbathing, do this.

An image taken from the Kuda Villingili resort at sea with a boat and dolphin

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)

Sustainability efforts

Kuda Villingi is serious about sustainability. You won't find any single-use plastic on site and they are committed to recycling as well as running a number of conservation programmes for the island. The resort have also partnered with Green Globe, the world’s leading certification for sustainable tourism, to focus on a detailed long-term sustainability plan to conserve the island for future generations. Through the integration of best practices in sustainability and embracing green initiatives the resort is making a positive contribution to the conservation of biodiversity, preservation of cultural heritage, and development of the local community.

Image of the walkway to the Kuda Villingili spa

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili)


With room prices around £800 per night, this resort doesn't come cheap, but in the context of the Maldives represents good value for money and an unforgettable romantic experience. 

Kuda Villingili, Maldives | kudavillingili.com

Kuda Villingili, Maldives at night

(Image credit: Kuda Villingili, Maldives)

What to pack

Andrea Thompson at Kuda Villingili, Maldives

(Image credit: Future)
Andrea Thompson
Editor in Chief

 Andrea Thompson is Editor in Chief at Marie Claire UK and was recently named by We are the City as one of the UKs top 50 trailblazers for her work highlighting the impact of Covid on gender equality. 


Andrea has worked as a senior journalist for a range of publications over her 20 year career including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Channel 4, Glamour and Grazia. At Marie Claire Andrea is passionate about telling the stories of those often marginalised by the mainstream media and oversaw a feature about rape in the Congo that won the title an Amnesty Media Award. She also champions women's empowerment, sustainability and diversity and regularly chairs panels and speaks at events about these topics. She sits on the committee of the British Society of Magazine Editors where she acts as Vice Chair and looks after Diversity and Inclusion. She regularly mentors young women from under represented communities trying to break into the media industry.