Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is one of two Coco Collection resorts and a five-star destination in the Maldives. The island resort specializes in boutique luxury in a beautiful island environment and offers a traditional Maldivian ambiance. In this hotel review, I will show you the resort’s unique features, so you will know what Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu has to offer as a potential island home for your next Maldives vacation. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.
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The Maldives is a small archipelagic state in the Indian Ocean and consists of 26 different atolls. Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is situated about 125km north of the main island Malé and lies on the southern edge of the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The island resort features a broad stretch of white sand, a lush tropical forest in the center, as well as a beautiful azure lagoon. It´s the epitome of a tropical Maldivian island and certainly belongs to our favorite islands so far when it comes to the natural setting.
The Transfer & Check-in
Our international flight arrived at Malé airport late in the evening, so we had to stay at a transit hotel on Malé for one night before going to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, as the resort can only be reached via seaplane and they only operate during daytime hours. If you want to reach the resort the same day as you arrive in the Maldives, your international flight should arrive before 15:30 pm local time.
The following morning, we went back to the airport and were greeted by the resort’s staff. From there, a staff member brought us to the seaplane counter of Trans Maldivian Airways and we checked in for our shared seaplane flight.
For a seaplane flight with TMA, the standard baggage allowance is 25kg, including 20kg of checked-in baggage and 5kg of hand luggage per person. If you exceed these limits, you will be charged USD 5.00 plus taxes per kg.
After check-in, a small shuttle bus brought us to the seaplane terminal and a staff member of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu led us to their lounge to wait for our flight. The shared seaplane ride to the resort took about 35 minutes and came at an additional cost of USD 365 per person. The best thing about the flight were the incredible views. It was such an amazing experience to see all of the beautiful Maldivian islands from above.
Arriving at the resort, a small speedboat picked us up and brought us to the main jetty, where we were warmly greeted by the resort´s staff. We received a welcome drink at the reception and went through a smooth check-in procedure before being brought to our Lagoon Villa at the island’s northwestern tip.
The Property & Amenities
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu offers close to 100 villas on the island and features two restaurants and two bars.
The villas and all other resort buildings on the island are built in a traditional Maldivian style and convey authentic Maldivian charm. The reception area is an open-style lobby with ample seating options and also includes a small island shop and an excursion office.
The resort also has a spa area which includes a spacious gym and a yoga pavilion. The gym provides you with the necessary equipment for a good workout.
One of our favorite parts of the island was the house reef. We went snorkeling almost daily and even though the corals are sadly affected by global warming, the marine wildlife at the edge of the reef didn’t disappoint. We saw many turtles, colorful fish, stingrays, blacktip reef sharks and eagle rays. Especially blacktip reef sharks can also be seen in the lagoon directly by the beach on a daily basis.
Another thing, that I personally really liked, were the swings around the island which are not only perfect for relaxing but also for taking pictures.
What´s missing at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is a pool. However, it wasn´t a big minus for us because we had little plunge pools in most of the villas we stayed in and, more importantly, the crystal-clear ocean directly at our doorstep.
One other thing, you have to be aware of, is that the island is affected by erosion due to climate change, so there are some sand bags around the island which are not always the prettiest but a necessity. Luckily, they blend in in most of the parts of the island and you will find countless beautiful spots without them.
For those of you who are married or plan to get married, you can also have a wedding ceremony at the resort or renew your vows.
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu features 98 bungalows and offers two different categories: Beach villas and water villas. The beach villas are further divided into Beach Villas, Sunset Beach Villas and Deluxe Villas. The water villas, which are arranged in a coconut palm leaf shape, are either Lagoon Villas or Sunset Lagoon Villas.
While staying at the resort, we had the luxury of staying in two different Lagoon Villas, two Deluxe Villas and one Beach Villa. WiFi is complimentary in all room categories. For a better picture of the different villa types, I will break down the highlights and features of the villas we stayed in below:
The resort features 12 Lagoon Villas (and 2 Sunset Lagoon Villas) built into the crystal-clear waters at the island’s northwestern end. We stayed at the Lagoon Villas #92 and #98, which we believe to be some of the best Lagoon Villas – #92 offers the best view over the northern sandbank and lagoon, and #98 wows you with incredible sunset views.
The Maldivian-style Lagoon Villas are spacious and measure about 87 square meters. The villas are equipped with a comfortable four-poster king bed with a net canopy, a sofa, a seating area, a work table, air conditioning and wooden floors. Our bathroom featured two sinks and a huge mirror, an indoor shower and a corner jacuzzi bathtub for two.
My favorite feature of the Lagoon Villas was the outdoor sundeck with a plunge pool, two sunbeds, and two chairs to soak in the tropical vibes. We could jump into the turquoise waters from the sundeck or use the ladder to quickly enter the lagoon for our daily swims and snorkeling adventures. We also had wonderful views over the ocean and two small neighboring islands in the distance.
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu’s 27 Deluxe Villas are nestled in the lush tropical forest along the eastern shore of the island and offer beautiful sunrise views as well as direct beach access. We stayed at villa #62 which has, in our opinion, one of the best beach sections of all the Deluxe Villas.
The Deluxe Villas have the same size as Lagoon Villas and are set up similarly regarding their furniture. The villas also have a fresh-water plunge pool right outside the villa and two loungers and a fixed straw umbrella at the beach. The only differences to Lagoon Villas (next to the location obviously) are that Deluxe Villas have tiles and an open-air outdoor bathroom that includes a shower and a sunken bathtub.
We also had the pleasure of staying in Deluxe Villa #28 which is on the sunset side and has a different layout than the remaining Deluxe Villas. It features a massive plunge pool, an outside sofa pavilion and a huge outdoor bathroom. We really loved this villa!
The entry-level room category of the resort is a Beach Villa. These villas are similar to the Deluxe Villas. However, Beach Villas don’t have a bathtub or a plunge pool. Moreover, this category offers only one sink instead of the two you will get in the upper categories.
We stayed at Beach Villa #48 for a few days, which doesn’t have a beach in front of the villa as it is built on a stone plateau directly above the water but it therefore felt a bit like staying in a lagoon villa. If you want to feel white sand at your feet when leaving your villa, we recommend the Beach Villas closer to the Lagoon Villas (starting at #29).
As mentioned, the resort also offers Sunset Beach Villas but as we haven´t stayed in one of them, I can´t tell you my personal experiences about them.
After staying in different room types, my personal recommendation for you is to stay in a Lagoon Villa. You won´t regret it, I promise!
The Restaurants & Bars
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu has two restaurants that provide local, global and Asian cuisine and the resort also offers in-villa and destination dining.
Cowrie Restaurant, the resort’s spacious main restaurant, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in buffet style, including an open-style kitchen area with live-cooking. We always chose to sit at the sofa tables at the higher level because it felt to be more private. The food at the main restaurant was really good and always delicious, however, there could have been more vegetarian/vegan options.
Next to Cowrie restaurant, you can choose to eat at Cornus Restaurant or Conch Bar (at a charge or with a credit if you have booked AI). Cornus Restaurant is Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu’s specialty restaurant and serves à-la-carte Thai cuisine three days a week. Make sure to try the delicious Pad Thai! Conch Bar is the resort’s main bar where you can have light snacks, afternoon tea & coffee and cocktails/drinks with a panoramic view over the turquoise sea. Sunset lovers can also visit the Beach Bar between 5 and 8 pm. The Beach Bar is located close to the main jetty and the perfect spot to watch the sun go down with a Coco Colada in your hand.
One of our dining highlights was a private pergola dinner under the stars right at the beach. The F&B staff decorated the area around the pergola with lights and torches, and we could enjoy an intimate five-course dinner for just the two of us. The kitchen staff also adjusted the menu for us as we don’t eat meat. This was an experience I will never forget!
The resort staff was very kind and welcoming during our time at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. We were always greeted with a smile and the team was genuinely interested in how our day went.
At the restaurant, a lovely host welcomed us and the waiters were often up for a casual chat. As already mentioned, the kitchen crew provided delicious food and even prepared some special dishes for us. Sometimes the waiting times for ordering drinks were a bit too long, in our opinion, but luckily that was only sometimes the case.
The reception staff helped us with everything from switching rooms, organizing our activities, assisting with our travel plans and ensuring our stay was as hassle-free as possible.
Still, communication could be slightly improved and a tad more proactive to be really top-notch.
Moreover, the beaches, pathways and the water basins in front of Cowrie restaurant could have been cleaned a bit more often to look more aesthetic.
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu has various sports and recreation activities on offer, so you don’t get bored living the island life. The watersport center is located at the southern end of the island and offers kayaking, SUP, windsurfing, wakeboarding, sailing, and more. We used the SUPs occasionally and circumnavigated the island which took us about 45 minutes to an hour.
You can also rent snorkel gear from there. I highly recommend going snorkeling in the lagoon and the house reef. We saw so many turtles, reef sharks, rays and lots of tropical fish. Unfortunately, the corals suffer from coral bleaching, however, this didn’t stop the marine animals from coming close.
The resort also has a PADI-certified diving center which is located directly behind the reception area. The team welcomes beginner as well as seasoned divers and is happy to take you out to various Maldivian dive sites.
Next to the water sport activities, you can use a tennis court, a badminton court, a volleyball field and a pool table.
Additionally, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu offers an array of excursions. We went for a private sunset cruise and a morning picnic at Embudhoo Island (the resort’s very own private island which gives you Robinson Crusoe feels). Both experiences were just spectacular and we would do them again right away.
Spa & Wellness
If you want to unwind, pay a visit to the resort’s Coco Spa. The spa area is tucked away into the lush tropical forest and offers an extensive range of treatments and massages. You can have a quick treatment, a two-hour wellness program and everything in between.
We opted for their signature wellness treatment, which is called Journey to the Maldives. The ritual takes about two hours and starts with a foot bath, followed by a coconut and vanilla body scrub, a full body massage using seashells and Maldivian coconut oils and a face and scalp massage. After that, we enjoyed a young coconut and immersed into a tropical flower bath. The last part of the treatment was the application of a moisturizer. While the two hours flew by, we felt deeply relaxed after the spa’s signature treatment. I can highly recommend it!
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu uses sustainable practices throughout all of its operations. The resort has its own Chef Garden where they grow herbs, fruits and vegetables which means they don’t have to be imported from around the world.
To reduce single-use plastic on the island, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu produces its own drinkable water and operates a glass bottling plant on-site. Besides, they use natural materials whenever possible. We really loved to see that Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu cares!
The One Unique Thing
The One Unique Thing of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is the Rescue Center for Injured Turtles located on the island. The rescue center provides veterinary care and rehabilitation to turtles that have been rescued in the Maldives. Turtles are often caught and entangled in ghost nets drifting in the ocean and suffer devastating injuries like losing a flipper.
We felt the enormous amount of love and care the vets and interns put into helping the turtles recover which was absolutely heartwarming. We visited the turtle rescue center multiple times and also gave Thari (one of their turtle patients) a scrub which made us fall in love with these gentle animals even more.
Although two new turtle patients arrived while we stayed at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, the vets could also release two turtles back into their natural habitat after taking good care of them. As a resort guest, you are welcome to join the release.
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is a great choice if you are looking for a holistic tropical island experience with turquoise lagoons, lush jungle and white beaches. We truly felt at home at this beautiful island. Looking at the room types, my personal recommendation would be to book a Lagoon Villa. The pricing is reasonable compared to similar resorts in the Maldives. The resort is a great location for couples, friends and families with older kids (as there are not many activities for small children).
If you are looking for authentic Maldivian charm with rustic luxury (and not the kind of ultramodern luxury), Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is the perfect choice for your next Maldivian island vacation. I can definitely recommend staying at this resort and would return anytime.
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