Velaa Private Island, Maldives is a new resort that manifests Jiri Smejc’s latent yet now realized idea of a luxurious visitor experience.
Smejc and his wife Radka fell in love with the Maldives and enlisted Ales Lapka’s and Petr Kolar’s architectural firm ADR to construct their own version of what luxury living looks like, in the form of Velaa’s resort. ADR specializes in projects ranging from construction to renovation to interior design, and truly fleshed out Smejc’s dream. Attesting that he “did it [his] way,” aided by nought but his dreams and his wife’s accompanying intuition, Smejc and the team at ADR built his private island to be a modern marvel of design that boasts a leisurely character extending from state-of-the-art recreational facilities to premier fine dining establishments to distinctly modern architectural accommodations.
Extensive paradisal touches lend personality to the angular architectural patterns infused throughout the island. The Ocean Pool House geometrically positions it’s amenities, but glosses them with traditional tropical fare like leafed awnings. Lines, columns, and angles (not just the 90 degree sort) are the interior and exterior focal points of the Velaa Private Residences, from which pentatonic hammocks, wind chime chandeliers, and an almost bark-patterned sofa are centripetally interspersed throughout the four-bedroom suites. The effect: a hipness that interacts with–not redefines–the island tropical theme, creating a dynamic that is inspirational yet comfortable, a point that’s really driven home by the artwork hanging from the walls. The functional charm to these suites is total: a teenager could instagram the same room that might incite a singer to record the next Bollywood hit, or a couple–having met in the CRU Champagne Lounge not thirty minutes before–to make love for the first time.
What might be evoked in a Beverly Hills mansion in order to give a tropical impression is rendered in full display in the Private Residences within the bathrooms, which suggest the future of lavatory amenities while incorporating contemporary styles. The bathrooms feature dual vanities, each having a spa sink and a small, personalized mirror, for which the enormous centerpiece of the room–i.e. a gigantic mirror–more than compensates.
Elsewhere, most of the residences, from the single bedroom Sunrise Water Pool Villa to the Deluxe Beach Pool Villa to the Romantic Pool Residence, feature either a pool, jacuzi, or both, in spite of and in addition to their proximity to the Indian ocean’s warm waters. Smejc’s design for the accommodations obviously transcends visitors’ idea of personal and luxurious hospitality, for even a cursory glance at the blueprints ensure potential guests that each residence will literally accommodate their every whim.
If the basking in personalized luxury becomes a bit of a bore, a myriad of recreational facilities that include golfing, yachting, fishing, tennis, yoga, and even submarine tours, are available. Restaurants galore can occupy the leisurely evening hours. The all-day service beachfront Athiri Restaurant is the best option after a a few solid hours spent practicing at the Velaa Golf Academy’s Swing Studio (designed by Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazabal), but the real culinary gem is found within the island’s centerpiece and architectural feat, the Tavaru Tower (tallest in the Maldives), whose ivory-canvased exterior is imposing in its innovation, while it’s interior is home to a teppanyaki restaurant and a wine cellar that incomprehensibly reconciles Sistine Chapel grandeur with labyrinthine, Borgesian aesthetics. The intoxicating effect should, appropriately, be pondered while partially intoxicated. Step over to the bar to fulfill this requirement by sampling the wine–but try not to become too enraptured by the dual-dimensional tortoise shell facade which circumvallates it.
Not only does Smejc appear to do everything right on his resort, Velaa Private Island contains all of this premier luxury and impressive design in one place, which visitors can experience as an infinite continuity from the moment they step off the seaplane. Indeed, moving throughout the island’s paradisal infrastructure is a non-stop progression from natural beauty to fabricated luxury, fabricated beauty to natural luxury.
Photography courtesy of Velaa Private Island