If the months-long lockdown has taught me anything about travel, it is that when you get a chance to book your dream holiday, you have to take it. With the "go big or go home" mindset, I decided to finally go for my dream vacation. White sand beaches, overwater villas, infinity pools, snorkelling, bucket hats, interesting cocktails and a total well-being reset.
In June 2022, Noku Resort, Noonu Atoll in the Maldives invited me for a stay and I decided to say yes as the hotel checked all the boxes I was manifesting for this exotic sunny holiday. Noku is a little haven in the Maldives that is one of the favourite spots for celebrities. Outside of the stunning, picturesque scenery and VIP clientele, the resort's emphasis is on relaxation, art, gastronomy, and absolute bliss above everything else.
In the end, I wanted to jet off to a place where I could get back to my pre-pandemic self. Yes, it may sound a little dramatic to fly to another country to reconnect with the person in the mirror, but when I got this chance to visit this property, I couldn't resist it.
How To Get There
The journey to the Maldives from India is just heavenly. Maldives is a place where you must spend five nights, at least, to make the time fully worth it. There are many airlines that go to Maldives from India. All the airlines will take you to Male (the capital of Maldives) and then from there, you book a ferry or a seaplane to your resort (island). For Noku, I took a seaplane to reach there from Male airport. A seaplane takes about 50 minutes to reach Noku Maldives from Male International Airport. You will be escorted to the Seaplane Terminal (Trans Maldivian Airways Terminal) from where seaplanes will depart for Noku Maldives.
Stay in Noku
Wherever you turn your head, it's just paradise! You may call me superficial but aesthetics and the use of design are important for me when I book a hotel. If it doesn't please my eyes, then I don't want it. Art and decor are primary to Noku. All over the resort, the transition from inside to outside was subtle. A big black door opens to the common space of the villa that divides the room and washroom. Natural materials - like wood, straw and stone - are left raw to give it more of a relaxed luxury vibe.
As with many Maldivian resorts, the accommodations here include only villas -beach-based and over-the-water. Outdoor showers, private porches, beach access, and direct water entry are popular attractions. The picturesque ocean views from the observation deck make it easy to forget about your worries and stress.
In my villa, some of the furniture items were bespoke, like English-style coffee and a study table with dark wood and a cushioned seat, which blended well with a teal-coloured linen sofa-cum-bed. Darker furniture and rich textures gave off a moody, cool vibe inside the villas. And then there's the out-of-this-world patio. Big, beautiful and breezy, I could pop in after every meal and enjoy the space alone. I would often spend a few minutes there and watch the colour of the sky change while sipping evening tea. The space served as an excuse to take a breath, plus it is a fantastic photo spot.
Restaurants in Noku
All the resorts in the Maldives focus on sustainability, not just out of principle but also out of logistics. Almost everything is imported; trash that is created on the resorts is shipped away. You will not see any single-use of plastics in the resorts-all the packaging used is compostable, and Noku grows its produce locally, whenever possible.
I have dined at so many places around the island but dining at Noku was one of the best experiences. Every morning, I had no fewer than three beverages in front of me at all times before breakfast. One evening, I overheard a couple talking that they extended their stay by an additional two nights just because of the food of the resort.
The resort has two restaurants: Thari and Palms
'Thari' in Maldivian Dhivehi means 'star'. Quite justifying its name, the restaurant is the star feature of the resort. Thari offers an eclectic menu featuring elements from Thai, Japanese and Singaporean cuisines - bringing authentic local cuisine from the countries where Noku hotels are located.
Palms is a beachfront restaurant and is known among the foodie circuit for serving some of the freshest seafood in the Maldives - straight from the ocean onto your plate. Settled on golden sands, Palm operates at a different pace of life - relaxed and calm yet stylish and in its element. Head here for hearty lunch, and later move to its bar for interesting after-meal cocktails as you watch the world go by. You can also take a stroll on the soft sandy beach while sipping cocktails and let the place do the rest.
I was honestly impressed with their simple tuna salad, reef fish curry, and fried banana and coconut ice cream dessert.
After I had my spa and yoga sessions, I walked out to the beach, where the resort had set up a special table for me and my friends on the shore in the moonlight. The mixologist took our drinks order, and I'm pretty sure I made my way through every flavour of gin cocktails!
What Else You Will Do
Noku sits quietly at Noonu Atoll which sparkles in all its indigo glory, awaiting you to jump in for a snorkel, swim, or dive. You can learn to scuba dive, tube, windsurf, jet ski, or simply head out on a fishing expedition at this family-friendly resort. Outdoor showers, private porches, beach access, and direct water entry are popular attractions. The picturesque ocean views from the observation deck make it easy to forget about your worries and stress. The spa is tranquil and lovely, boasting stunning sea views, a yoga pavilion, and a sauna and steam room.
Many people asked me if the trek to the Maldives is worth the shot. And honestly? The answer is yes, without a doubt. And even more, if you treat yourself to a stay at Noku.