While Maldives is world-renowned for diving and as a high-end luxury holiday destination, it is also the lowest and the flattest country in the world, with a maximum elevation above sea level of 2.4m (8 ft).
Fly over the equator and gaze at the spectacular views of the Indian Ocean before arriving and taking refuge at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives’ largest single-resort island; beyond here, the wide open sea stretches to the icy plains of Antarctica. Boasting nine distinct types of villa and 132 individual villas; they are on the beach, over the water, and even up a tree. Visitors come from different parts of the world to maximize that high sense of privacy and all the pleasures of a seaside setting in the Maldives. The three-kilometre long island has thousands of coconut palms and idyllic white beaches caressed by balmy waves. Every guest at the resort gets a bicycle to pedal around the island or hurry back to the villa after a filling seafood dinner; a fleet of chauffeur-driven buggies are available for less exhausting commutes.
Guided bicycle tours through the famous Addu link road which is connected with a series of bridges passing among local villages; a historical tour of Gan island, a former World War II military base owned by the British government; and a guided nature trail with the resort’s naturalist, dolphin cruises, wreck-diving, sailing in a 68ft yacht and a 9-hole golf course with a stunning ocean view are amongst the incredible activities at the resort.
But what makes the island really stand out is the Mount Villingili, located at tee number eight on the island’s golf course, the smallest mountain on the planet, standing at a height of 5.1 metres, which is also the highest point in the Indian Ocean island nation, which is known for being the flattest and lowest country.
In November 2013, the resort launched guided mountain climbing tours for its guests, a certificate verifying that they conquered Mount Villingili, the highest peak in the Maldives are awarded to all guests who successfully complete the strenuous ascent, a wonderful memorabilia of their stay at the resort. The tour also provides insights into the composition of coral reefs, atolls and the islands; and comprehensive information about Addu Atoll and the Indian Ocean.
However, little do people know that at the southern tip of this 800-kilometre stretch of islands, there’s Gan International Airport frequented by private jets and charters, mainly iconic celebrities and discerning travelers visiting Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa. There are also scheduled domestic flights carrying passengers from Velana International Airport, Malé and in November 2016, SriLankan Airlines commenced scheduled direct flights between Colombo and Gan, opening Southern Maldives to the rest of the world via the its hub at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo.
This resort truly is a rustic sanctuary hidden from the world, with bespoke treatments catered to satisfy every guests desire, be it an intimate cruise in the ocean or dining by the beach or in the jungle. In fact, its true greatness lies in its captivating little details, words cannot simply express Shangri-La, meaning “Lost Horizon”, you will have to find your place of ecstasy and serenity only by visiting and fully immersing yourself at Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives. Need further reason? Thought not.