Open in 2001, COMO Cocoa Island is situated on the private shores of Kaafu Island in South Male Atoll, which measures a humble size of 360m by 170m. COMO Cocoa Island strikes me as a quiet little island. My first impression of it was it being a sanctuary surrounded by lush greens, perfect for urban dwellers to have a peace of mind.
After learning that they are owned by Singapore tycoons Christina Ong and Ong Beng Seng, I started to see glimpses of Singapore’s modernity in its traditional design. With wooden structures juxtaposed with concrete walls, the white and brown palettes that dominate the resort lends a soothing effect.
Getting to COMO Cocoa Island
We were whisked on a private speedboat from Male. 40 minutes later, COMO Cocoa Island’s deck soon came into view. 2-way boat transfer is valued at USD308.
Checking in to COMO Cocoa Island
A short walk down the pathway later, we were welcome to the reception, which is a a humble space in the shape of the hut. We were met with standard welcome formalities – a cold, wet towel to freshen ourselves up and a refreshing coconut drink. We finally got a chance to taste their local coconut drink! I’ve been wanting to try it after hearing about all about it from a local’s recommendation.
It was almost mid day when we arrived. With the sun right above our heads, we shielded our eyes from the glowing daystar and gazed into the incredible shades of blue that make up our surroundings. We were blessed with such clear, blue skies that the waters reflected the prettiest shades of teal. The waters were so clear that we could see parrot fish, rays and sharks gallivanting round the villas.
COMO Cocoa Island, we noticed, has some of the shallowest lagoon in the Maldives. We initially wanted to catch ourselves in the clear cyan waters after lunch, only to find that the tide had receded. All that was left were dead small shrimps and jellyfish collecting between the grooves of sand where water once covers.
This provided an excellent opportunity to veer on to the sandbar which connects all the way to Maafushi. We thought we could walk across, but the distance was just an illusion, and we turned back midway (were we even halfway across?). Between the powdery white sand beach and the overwater villas, the lagoon houses a coral nursery, as part of their conservation efforts.
COMO Cocoa Island’s Room
The 33 rooms at COMO Cocoa Island is spread over 5 categories. At full occupancy, the island can only accommodate 83 guests, with a 2:1 staff to guest ratio. This alone shows how much guests here enjoy the exclusivity and privacy of being in this resort, and how well-taken care of they are.
- Dhoni Suite (75 sqm)
- Dhoni Loft Suite (110 sqm)
- Loft Villa (123 sqm)
- One-Bedroom Villa (125 sqm)
- COMO Villa (300 sqm)
All the rooms at COMO Cocoa Island extends from the main island and set on stilts over the water. They are reached via sinuous boardwalk paths that hover above the shallow aquamarine lagoon. Extended in a line, every room has their own private access to the sea from their terraces.
Inspired by the Maldives’ local fishing boats, the Dhoni Suites are designed in the shape of a boat in bleached wood and kajan roofs. Each room is characterised by vintage-style ceiling fans, walk-in showers and roll-top bathtubs. The rooms are decorated with cotton drapes, whitewashed walls and wheat-coloured carpets. The white and brown palettes are again accentuated in the furnishings, adding to a certain local rustic aesthetic.
Beyond the sheer white curtains of the sun deck lies the window to the world. The sun deck, we realised, is also shaped like the bow of a boat. The deck boasts a view of the watery expanse and horizon, offering an uninterrupted view of the sunrise and sunset.
Yes, we witnessed our very own Maldivian sunset! it was an extremely peaceful sight, being one with nature and watching the sun get usurped by the horizon. it was the clearest and most fiery sunset i’ve ever seen in my life, with the only distance between me and the sun being the ocean.
The pale stars were sliding into their places. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater – a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.
The bathrooms in all of the resorts in the Maldives have never failed to impress me. COMO Cocoa Island’s bathroom is not an exception. Their bathroom features an open-concept space, which doubles as both a bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. The space alone was enough for me to inflate Coco, my unicorn float. The bathroom was enclosed though – it would be nice to have a view of the ocean while soaking in the bathtub.
From $1,802 on Booking.com and $1,773 on Agoda
The biggest villa of all the other categories and at almost twice the size of the One-Bedroom Villa, there are only 2 COMO Villas in the entire property. Each of these villas face opposite ends of the island, so guests can treat themselves to either a sunrise or sunset view.
Each of these villas have two wings with a bedroom in each wing, ensuite bathrooms, outdoor shower and a private terrace. These wings are connected by spacious living and dining areas with balconies on either side, which allows for step-off-the-deck access to the lagoon. It’s a perfect villa for large-group gatherings, with the villa also equipped with a kitchen.
Check prices on HotelsCombined, Agoda, Booking.com
COMO Cocoa Island’s Shambhala Retreat
Sometime after lunch, we were pampered by their signature Shambhala Ayurvedic treatment. We were ushered into separate private room huts that are surrounded by lush flora and fauna. Beyond that, the room overlooks the azure blue sea.
My Vietnamese masseuse worked her gentle magic on my body, and with the soothing background music, before I knew it, it was the end of the session. She finished with a heated pillow placed on my shoulders and feet at the end to help promote blood circulation. The treatment ended with a cup of hot ginger tea at the reception, with access to the beach for a second round of nature therapy.
Eating at COMO Cocoa Island’s Ufaa
COMO Cocoa Island is known for their Shambhala cuisine, an Asian-inspired cuisine where they serve only organic food and blend Indian and Sri Lankan traditions in them. Their signature dishes are consistent across all COMO properties. I like how they have a separate “healthy” menu with healthier ingredients and a mix of wellness drinks.
As with most resort in the Maldives, COMO Cocoa Island also has their very own desalination plant on the property.
COMO Cocoa Island’s Amenities
The Hydro Therapy Pool has got to be the highlight of this property. It is the perfect end to an activity-filled day. As the name suggests, what sets a regular pool apart from this pool is the water jets installed in this pool. The water pressures from the jets offer a kind of massage you cannot get anywhere else.
COMO Cocoa Island’s swimming pool, on the other hand, is a relaxing alternative. This, though, cannot beat lolling by the beach chairs sprawled across the entire beach that overlook the Indian ocean in the summer sun.
Familiar brands of the gym equipment are gentle reminders that the founders hail from my home town, Singapore. (I’ve been working as gym trainer now for over 4 years!).
Apart from the gym, complimentary yoga classes are offered every afternoon in the yoga pavilion, on top of a Marine & Sports Centre where you can rent snorkel gear for free and engage in other water sports activities.
Because of the emphasis of exclusivity, COMO Cocoa Island is not open to the public for day visits. The only visits that they permit are from guests at their Maalifushi property, for USD150.
COMO primarily attracts the honeymoon crowd, who want a slice of paradise without the reminders of civilisation. Most of those who stay here average 4 to 7 days.
I have to particularly commend the local staffs at COMO Cocoa Island. They spare no effort at striking conversations with you, and love nothing more than to share about their life stories with guests. On one occasion, when one of them saw us taking in the beauty of the surroundings and trying to capture everything on film, he did not hesitate to take the camera from us and help us immortalise the moment here together.
Another time, another staff came in to our room for a routine inventory check before we left. Curious to learn how he came about working here, we started engaging in a conversation with him. Before we knew it, he was passing us the contact of his relative who works at Hulhumale.
If there’s one thing I learned about the locals of Maldives, it’s that they are extremely friendly folks. Even when living on the local island of Maafushi, the water sports operators would start chatting me up when they saw me walking past.
COMO Cocoa Island Makunufushi South Malé Atoll Republic of Maldives [email protected]
Special thanks to COMO Cocoa Island for making this stay possible and extending their hospitality to us! All opinions remain our own.