by Asma Al Fahim
  • 4 minute read
  • June 10, 2023
Discover Joali Being: The First Wellness Retreat Of Its Kind In The Maldives

As we entered 2023, I vowed to prioritise my health like many others around me. I set out to find a destination that provided a unique and comprehensive focus on wellbeing. I chose Joali Being in the Maldives, the crème de la crème of wellness resorts, which embodies the industry’s pivot towards moving beyond conventional services and integrating cutting-edge technology with a holistic and spiritual approach.

Founded by Turkish entrepreneur Esin Güral Argat, Joali Being opened its doors in November 2021 as the sumptuous sister property of Joali Maldives that launched in 2018. The retreat’s primary goal is to help guests turn their focus solely inward, with every aspect of the address sending them on a journey of self-discovery and rejuvenation amidst the natural beauty of Bodufushi Island in Raa Atoll.

Ocean Pool villa bathroom at Joali Being

Upon my arrival, I was welcomed by the Joali Being team, whose impeccable service continued throughout my stay. The resort comprises 68 villas, each with a private pool and dedicated butler or ‘jadugar’, meaning ‘magician’ in the local Dhivehi language, who in my case was the talented Razzan.

Envisioned by multidisciplinary studio Autoban and Atolye4n Architects, Joali Being has been built using Biophilic design principles, a scientific system that inte- grates architecture with nature, to enhance the energy flow of the island.

Joali Being’s wellness programme revolves around four pillars—mind, skin, microbiome, and energy—developed by Oxford University Professor Gerry Bodeker, who specialises in integrative healthcare. As part of its focus on holistic wellbeing, the resort ensures that guests avoid excessive screen time, with Wi-Fi access limited to the villas, and televisions only provided upon request.

Joali Being has been built using Biophilic design principles, a scientific system that integrates architecture with nature, to enhance the energy flow of the island.

An exterior view of Flow at Joali Being

The resort’s foundational principles extend to its treatment rooms, and transformational spaces, such as Areka, which offers fully immersive wellness experiences, diagnostic services, learning programmes, specialised alternative therapies, and expansive fitness and gender-specific recreation facilities. Then, there are Kaashi, a hydrotherapy hall with a sensory deprivation room and banya, and a dedicated fitness space named Core.

A customised programme was determined for me before my arrival, following an introductory call with one of the resort’s many wellness consultants, who recommended treatments tailored to meet my individual needs. These experiences blend traditional and modern healing techniques that emphasise strength and vitality, women’s health, diges tive rebalancing, and restorative sleep, among other things.

During my five-day stay, I indulged in a blend of treat ments, including one of my personal favourites, Watsu, a form of Japanese Shiatsu massage in water. The spa is one of the resort’s key offerings, featuring an exaggerated inverted-V design and stone steps across a palm-lined pool, which lead to a serene area under a thatched hut.

Joali Being is also home to Aktar, a herbology centre that draws inspiration from the vibrant spice markets of the region. Guests can relish a selection of herbal teas, expertly prepared by the resident herbologist, and also take part in a class to learn how to make their own perfume.

Among the tranquil spaces is a circular Turkish hammam, with white and grey marble and a glowing pink-brick salt inhalation room, and Seda, an instrument-filled villa for sound therapy with musical strings under the treatment bed. There’s also the Discovery Sound Path, an open-air oasis that soothes the senses and allows guests to connect with nature.

When it comes to food, the restaurants follow an earth-to- table initiative, with imaginative menus listing calories, carbs, proteins and fats for dishes that are both nutritious and delicious. Don’t miss dining at Flow, with its three signature kitchens—Plantae for vegetarian fare, Su for farm-to-table pescatarian creations, and B’Well for its signature menu.

The retreat houses a Culinary Learning Centre, offering interactive cooking classes to guests. Despite not being a fan of preparing food, I found myself eagerly participating in the Maldivian cooking class to experience the resort’s state-of- the-art kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I enjoyed the process and felt a sense of pride when I saw the results of my efforts.

At the end of each day, guests can unwind in the villa’s comfortable standalone tub, spacious infinity pool, or overwater hammock whilst taking in serene views of the Indian Ocean.

Joali Being has already received recognition for its unique concept, including being named the Maldives’ Best Wellness Retreat at the World Spa Awards 2022. It’s more than just a resort—it’s a haven for travellers who seek to enhance their wellbeing and rejuvenate their souls. What you experience here will stay with you long after your depart, making it the perfect way to start your wellness journey.

Joali Being has been built using Biophilic design principles, a scientific system that integrates architecture with nature, to enhance the energy flow of the island.

Visit and follow @Joalibeing on Instagram.

Images courtesy of Joali Being

This article was originally published in Villa 88’s Spring 2023 edition. Subscribe here.

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