The real Fantasy Island

A few short years ago, Velaa Private Island in the Maldives was an uninhabited place. Now as charted in the new “Velaa: Island for All Senses” (teNeues Publishing Group, 220 pages, 135 color illustrations, $65), it’s a resort lover’s paradise — perfect for any family celebration. 

You’ve got your thatched roof luxury poolside villas, your Clarins spa, your golf, tennis, squash and diving, your turtle nursery (the island is named for the sea turtles that are its signature residents) and about 50 shades of turquoise.

We haven’t forgotten the culinary delights. At Tavaru, the boutique restaurant housed in a modern ivory tower, gourmets can savor Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisine, along with a wine cellar that is the largest wine collection in the Maldives, boasting more than 500 bins. (Vintages include 1956 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Salon Champagne and 1870s Blandy’s “Vendelho Solera.”) Or you can take a walkway to Aragu, Velaa’s trademark restaurant, and feel as if you’re floating above the teal beauty of the Indian Ocean as you dine on minimalist creations and fusion fare.

Credit island owner Jiři Šmejc and Czech architect Petr Kolář for the irresistible result.

“We wanted to create a place where people will be happy to return time and again – a home on a small rise of earth in the middle of the azure ocean,” Šmejc says in the introduction. (The text is in English, Chinese and Russian.)

May we dive in now?

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