Globetrotter: SO/ Maldives blends Riviera chic into an idyllic tropical retreat

Globetrotter: SO/ Maldives blends Riviera chic into an idyllic tropical retreat



What happens when high-end fashion meets castaway island living?

With 1,192 islands, 883 guesthouses, 172 resorts, and 26 atolls, deciding where to stay in the Maldives can be overwhelming. However, a new fashion-forward property is putting comfort and convenience first, and less than one hour after landing at Velana International Airport, we already have our toes in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Welcome to paradise. Welcome to SO/ Maldives.

A 15-minute speedboat transfer brings you to this island enclave, which is more couture than castaway. Wooden boardwalks punctuated with overwater villas hover above the crystal clear waters of the Emboodhoo lagoon and are more akin to catwalks, allowing guests to strut their stuff as they move between the resort's pool, beach and dining destinations. 

Guests arrive at the pavilion, a modern edifice that wraps around a spiral staircase resembling a tree. Downstairs, the check-in takes place amidst a vibey bar where DJs perform each evening as the sun sinks below the horizon, casting the sky in hues of fiery orange and powder pink.

SO Maldives


While many resorts embrace Maldivian architecture and thatched roofs to create a traditional vibe, SO/ Maldives embraces modernity with its white cuboid villas offering a contemporary approach to island living. 

Each of the 80 villas is large and modern, offering both beachfront and overwater options ranging from one to three bedrooms. We check into a Family Beach Pool Villa with Capsule, which clocks in at 238 square metres and is ideal for those travelling with children. 

SO/ Maldives

This beach villa maximises space with its avant-garde design that complements an open-plan living and sleeping area. The comfortable king-size bed sits next to a double vanity and a circular bathtub topped with a woven installation resembling a giant sun hat. The room uses chiffon curtains across its entire length, through which glimpses of powder-white sand and the turquoise lagoon are visible. This use of layered fabric casts shadows across the white walls, acting as a blank canvas for the dancing refractions.

Deep red rugs resembling a vivid sunset are juxtaposed against headboards inlaid with white, green, and blue zigzags reflective of the jungle, sand, and sea of this island enclave. Villas are completed with light wood finishings, including a domed mini bar and low-slung sofa, perfectly positioned to capture those paradisal views. The toilet and shower are tucked away in separate glass cubicles and have luxe Maison CODAGE toiletries.

SO Maldives

Each beach villa boasts a sandy terrace teeming with vegetation. Loungers, an outdoor shower, and a pool tiled in blue stripes of alternating shades offer a serene sanctuary that leads directly down to the shoreline teeming with coral sharks and stingrays. Family villas come with a pod for children containing bunk beds and a star-filled sky, while overwater villas offer direct ocean access via a set of steps.

SO Maldives


SO/ Maldives sits on a small artificial island connected by The Link. This bridge essentially separates the accommodation and spa from the restaurants and recreation areas.

At the Wellness Camp, shoes are removed, and guests are asked to select from oils designed to detox, energise, or improve fitness. Four treatment rooms are set up for couples or individual treatments and feature waterfront views, plush sofas, fluffy massage beds, bespoke Vichy rainforest showers, steam, and sauna. Teas are chosen for post-relaxation rituals in a serene space, offering chakra healing, stretching sessions, and yoga classes.

SO Maldives

This island is all about experiences with fishing excursions and bubbly dolphin cruises. Watersports enthusiasts can enjoy kayaking, parasailing, snorkelling, jet skis, and stand-up paddleboarding while the state-of-the-art gym showcases the latest Technogym and Alo equipment on the SO/ shoreline.

As you traverse the small island on foot or a bicycle, speakers pump an ambient soundtrack from the palm trees and vegetation, immersing guests in chic island vibes. A raised DJ podium high above the tree line canopy spins a rhythmic soundtrack from noon until night. Despite the fashion references, SO/ Maldives promotes a family stay with a kids and teens club. 

Maldives Spa


Guests who've visited SO/ Uptown Dubai will be familiar with the dining options, which include the all-day eatery, The Citronelle Club, and the pool and beach club, Lazuli. At The Citronelle Club, a Pan Asian menu is served in a stunning waterfront setting. From breakfasts of gingerbread hotcakes with bee pollen to leisurely lunches and delightful dinners of lobster and scallop siu mai, roasted duck, and Wagyu beef noodles. 

At Lazuli Beach Club, guests can embrace the relaxed pace of island life against an infinity pool tiled in a mosaic of rainbow colours. Pretty parasols line the shore, and a menu of Mediterranean fare featuring bombastic burgers, burrata salads with papaya, and fluffy flatbreads is served.

Lazuli Beach Club Maldives

Hadaba is one of the only Middle Eastern restaurants in the Maldives. It offers an Arabian night's inspired dining experience through Levantine specialities such as saltbush lamb cutlets with glazed eggplant and za'atar and Maldivian lobster with Aleppo pepper, garlic butter, and lime.

SO/ Maldives sits on one of nine artificial islands that form the new Crossroads development. Home to a marina, restaurants (including the Maldivian outpost of the acclaimed Ministry of Crab), the informative Maldives discovery centre and several hotels, the development is accessible via frequent speedboat shuttle services. However, like a piece of cobbled-together couture, sometimes the artifice of this development's beauty is betrayed by its proximity to Malé, a constant reminder on the skyline, washing up litter on the island's north shore.

The Citronelle Club Maldives

The Verdict

SO/ Maldives is where hermit crabs scurry along the waterline as herons stalk fish in the shallows and slender palms sway on a picture-perfect tropical beach as waves grasp at the sand. It's a resort for refined guests seeking relaxation and a place that prioritises barefoot luxury. Whether you're travelling with family or looking to maximise your time in paradise with a luxe island escape, SO/ Maldives is the antidote.

GO: Visit for reservations and more information.