Coco Privé Beautiful Island off the Coast of India Review
Off the coast of India are 1,192 islands that make up the Maldives, of which 200 are inhabited, 120 are dominated by registered resorts, and one — just one— is privately owned. If the name “Coco Privé” is unfamiliar, well, that’s intentional. No larger than two soccer fields, this gumdrop of paradise caters to Saudi royals and Hollywood celebrities who have managed to stay off the radar.
Its island clandestinely at it’s best, with five villas tucked behind a canopy of palms, hedged by white-flowered frangipani, and ringed by blinding-white “where are my sunglasses?” sand. Spilling from the powdery shores are turtle nests and a protected reef where neon fish nibble at coral and pylons.
Its here that a luxury yacht docks after whisking guests from Malé airport (35 min), and then parks beside a traditional dhoni boat, designated for sunset cruises, fishing excursions, and diving adventures.
As the ultimate all-inclusive experience, a buyout at this disk of paradise costs a mere $45,000 a night. Nope, that’s not a typo . . . But before you click or scroll away, hear us out. We visited Coco Privé and found that you (yeah, you) can stay here with 17 of your closest friends for roughly the price you’d pay for a Hawaiian vacation.
Why the hell not? Beyond that, you have this single property to thank for changing the face of hospitality in the Maldives. As part of the three-resort Coco Collection, this island getaway embodied a much larger vision to transform the Maldives from a backpackers’ destination into a honeymooners’ paradise.
The master plan started in the early 90’s when the Maldivian owner (we’re sworn to secrecy) acquired several islands. One by one, he built over-the-water bungalows with plunge pools, spas, butler service, elevated cuisine, and a price tag to match. Other resorts followed suit, turning the Maldives into one of the most prestigious destinations for elite travelers.
As the ultimate labor of love, Coco Privé was born in 2012, becoming the jewel of the Indian Ocean. It also became the Maldives first private island available for exclusive hire. This speck in North Male Atoll tucks its treasures within a labyrinth of white sandy pathways that meander between plunge pools and sunken lounges.
Strategically situated for privacy are five villas and a master residence, the last of which houses the dining room, cocktail bar, wine cellar, and library. This split-level retreat also has three private terraces overlooking a 40-meter glass-walled pool.
The surrounding five villas boast floor-to-ceiling windows, plunge pools, indoor-outdoor showers, bespoke furniture, and iPad-controlled curtains, lights, televisions, and surround-sound stereos.
The mastermind behind the refined elegance is an award-winning architect, Guz Wilkinson who seamlessly blended the property into nature (and not the other way around).
A committed staff of 30 will meet your every desire even before you know it exists. This includes Chef Neil who whips up the day’s catch into Maldivian curries, tuna tartar, ceviche, and chili-and-peanut crusted fish with garden vegetables and sweet pepper sauce. Here, fine dining-meets-family style banquets, with over a dozen local dishes bringing color to white linens.
Since you can’t take this Sri Lankan culinary genius home with you, he’ll kindly teach you the secrets of the kitchen during private cooking classes. By day two, you’ll stop counting calories. Simply burn off pastries and cakes with canoeing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling (with marine biologists), diving, and yoga — all part of the bottomless island amenities.
Tipping the scales are unlimited spa treatments, catamaran sailing, an indoor-outdoor gym, sauna, and an open bar (literally). Dream it, and they’ll deliver. The “your wish is our command” staff has even been known to fly in customized gym equipment and engineer a temporary helipad for A-list guests.
Expect at least one daily surprise, like breakfast on the beach or a cinema under the stars. At low tide, you can walk around the island in less than 10 minutes, or snorkel the glassy perimeter with resident turtles, black-tip reef sharks, and manta rays that flap on the ocean floor like underwater birds.
Less than 15 minutes by boat are half a dozen dive spots, and 30 minutes away are surf breaks off Thulusdhoo in Kaafu Atoll. If micro-island fever kicks in, you can kayak to Coco Privé’s sister property, Coco Bodu Hithi, with six restaurants and 32 over-the-water bungalows.
There isn’t really a bad time to visit the Maldives. However, if you can handle short-lived tropical storms, you’ll save a bundle during low season June through August.
With a $45k rack rate, clearly, this self-sustainable utopia caters to a niche market. Factor in the 3-night minimum, and a stay here would soak up nearly three years income for the average American. Since you’re clearly not “average,” we’ve done a little digging and found a few insider tips that might just get you there.
It’s during this three-month, low-season window (June through August) that rates can be negotiated down to $15,000 a night. While that’s still an absurd amount to pay for a vacation, it’s worth taking a moment to do the math.
Island buyout, $15K/night for 3 nights = $45K
Maximum number of guests = 18
Per guest, $833/night or $2,499 for 3-nights
The estimated cost of unlimited island inclusions during a three-night stay:
- 24-hour dining with all your meals and snacks exquisitely prepared by your own private chef = minimum $50/per meal x 9 meals = $450
- Unlimited beverages, including top-shelf alcohol from your cocktail bar and wine cellar = $500+
- Unlimited spa treatments by your personal therapist = $400 +
- Unlimited diving experiences and use of diving equipment = $800+
- Non-motorized water sports experiences such as canoeing, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, etc. = $300
- Private luxury yacht transfer to/from Malé International Airport = $200
- Island buyout = priceless
Estimated value of total island inclusions = $1,930 +/-
Price of individual stay per night (with 17 friends) = $833
By comparison, a trip to a luxurious beach resort in Hawaii ranges somewhere between $500-$800/night. Add in the excursions, rental car, resort fees, food, drinks, and entertainment, and suddenly a trip to Coco Privé starts to sound like a real bargain.
So maybe you wouldn’t capitalize on the unlimited diving, spa treatments, and open bar (yeah right), but even if you just napped in a hammock for three days on your own private island, well that might just be worth every penny.
For more information, visit cocoprive.com.
Marlise Kast-Myers is a travel writer and author based in San Diego, California.