The Nautilus experience begins long before you even get close to the island. Rather, it begins a week or so before you are set to arrive when your ‘house master’ will get in touch to request your preferences on everything from favorite drinks to preferred pool temperature.
Then, upon landing at Velana International Airport, you’ll be met at your aircraft and whisked away to an executive lounge while immigration, baggage and customs are all taken care of for you.
The Nautilus’s violet-purple seaplane awaits (as frequent seaplane fliers know, they are not all created equal — and this one is particularly swanky), and a scenic 30-minute flight will bring you to the Baa Atoll Unesco Biosphere Reserve where the island is located. The private island resort is an intimate, idyllic hideaway with a classic boho beachy vibe. It has just 26 villas (or ‘houses’) — or you can book the entire island for yourself.
Choose from either over-water or beachfront accommodations. The Mansion holds a crowning position on the island (it’s the first thing you see as you approach from the water), and you’ll be welcomed with a champagne sabrage.
The three-bedroom, double-story abode comes with a private infinity pool, oodles of outdoor space and direct beach access. If you’re after a quintessential Maldives overwater villa, opt for The Retreat.
The 5,840-sq-ft, two-bedroom villa is found at the very end of an over-water wooden walkway and has the most sublime views from its curved deck — meaning you get both sunset and sunrise views. It can also be booked with the two neighboring over-water villas if you are visiting with family and friends and don’t quite need the entire island.
There are four restaurants — Zeytoun (serving Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine on small decks that jut out into the ocean); Ocaso (toes-in-the-sand dining with sushi boats and juicy steaks); Thyme (chill, all-day dining); Naiboli (poolside canapes brought to your chaise lounge). There is also an extensive gin collection and the resident mixologist can create a new favorite cocktail especially for you.
The spa is set on stilts over the ocean, and the treatment rooms have viewing windows on the wooden floor so you can keep your eyes peeled for any passing fish while you have a massage. But, you might find yourself nodding off, as the massages are incredible. I had a volcanic hot-stone massage and found myself fast asleep in under five minutes. The treatment rooms also have a steam room, plus a deck area with a daybed.
While the Maldives has a reputation for being sublimely beautiful, it also has a bit of a rep for being a little dull — there are only so many days you can spend languidly under the sun (apparently). But there’s plenty to do at The Nautilus — keen fishermen can wake up early and head out on a long deep-sea fishing expedition. Or for the more casual fisher (and any plus-ones who aren’t quite as keen), an evening fishing voyage means you can soak up the spellbinding sunset while you fish. Anything you catch can be cooked up on a beach barbecue for the freshest catch of the day.
From $3,600 per night. Contact Gerrit Chng-Luchau, director of sales and marketing, hello@ thenautilusmaldives.com, +960 660 0000, thenautilusmaldives.com