Set in one of the Maldives’ most pristine atolls, Vakkaru is among the newest luxury island-resorts in the archipelago, having officially opened in late 2017. Vakkaru sets itself apart through its nature: two stunning lagoons and a verdant island, all located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the only UNESCO-recognized conservation area in the nation. Wicus Prinsloo, Vakkaru’s General Manager, explains the coconut-based concept to the island’s boutique flavor of luxury.
How does Vakkaru compare to other island-resorts in the Maldives?
Vakkaru has been built around what was historically a coconut plantation, so one feels the influence of local architecture and natural, earthy and elegant tones in the interior design. As we are located in the only biosphere reserve recognized by UNESCO in the Maldives, the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, we also have rich and diverse sea life at our shores, with what looks like two lagoons forming the shape of the symbol for infinity. Vakkaru appeals to all luxury travelers due to an extensive array of room types and guest facilities, being both a family-friendly resort as well as having appeal to honeymooners and couples, with half of our villas and suites perched over a turquoise lagoon.
What was the inspiration behind the Vakkaru logo and brand?
The name of our island, Vakkaru, means coconut wood in Dhivehi. At Vakkaru, you will see countless elements derived from coconuts. For example, the ropes used for ties and runners come from coconut trees, and our signature spa treatment uses all aspects of the coconut, from pulp to shell. The Vakkaru logo itself is inspired by traditional Maldivian mat weaving.
How did you come up with the coconut-based concept?
There is a local legend about coconut trees. Many centuries ago, there was a group of people who migrated to these islands. They suffered from a lack of drinking water, shelter and agriculture. So a wise old man among them combined natural elements of the island and planted them. According to the legend, this is how coconut palms began to grow on the islands, every element of which was used by the people for beds, houses, cooking, cleaning and eating. Today, this tree gives comfort, food and shade to the island people; it has no gender, no nationality, and a huge heart. These are traits Vakkaru also represents.
How have you designed this island to ensure every guest gets the taste of luxury they are looking for?
Guests are introduced to their butler on arrival, who will look after everything they may need or wish for during their stay, including restaurant bookings, water excursions and spa experiences. With 125 villas and suites offering 10 different categories, some of the most popular rooms are Deluxe Pool Suites offering a private rear garden pool and indoor and outdoor dining areas. For those seeking an over water experience, we offer family villas as well as suites with pools, as well as a four-bedroom overwater residence that is 900 square meters, featuring dramatic sunset views from the expansive terrace, and a maid’s room and butler’s pantry.
What type of gastronomy can guests look forward to at Vakkaru?
We have four restaurants serving an array of international cuisine, including Italian and Southeast Asian/Vietnamese-inspired destination restaurants. We are developing an organic garden to have our own fresh produce, as it is appealing when we can pick something from our garden. We also have two farming islands within the atoll, the gardeners there also produce and deliver organically grown fruit and vegetables.
How does Vakkaru plan to mitigate its carbon footprint?
From the development stage of the resort, a lot of time has been spent planning our waste management system. There is no wastewater that returns to the sea. Everything is treated on the island, which follows an iteration process. We utilize grey water for watering the gardens, and we are converting black water into a system that produces fertilizer. Recycling is a challenge on an island, so we try to reduce use of plastic and where possible use glass instead. We are currently working on a solution to introduce a glass processing plant to make our own hand-blown glasses and plates.
Why should our readers consider visiting Vakkaru?
The island feels lush and rich; it’s very much a tropical island atmosphere with heartfelt team members wanting to provide a superior level of service. People who are seeking a tranquil vacation, family holiday or a fresh and natural island destination will find what they are looking for here. Vakkaru is a new luxury brand settling confidently into the Maldives, and we look forward to being of service to all our guests as we continue to grow and build on our reputation.