Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat Ari atoll

Our Opinion
The scattered rings of low-lying islands have always offered a therapeutic antidote to the thrash and pother of increasingly hectic daily lives, and many people travel to the Maldives to escape, if only for a few days, or a week or two. But while the geography of the Maldives hasn’t changed, the resort experience has evolved exponentially.

In a (largely successful) attempt to appeal to a much wider audience, resorts new and old have leap-frogged each other to offer more. More facilities, more luxury, more bling, more entertainment, more ‘carefully crafted experiences’. This is all fine, but for some of us at least, it risks losing sight of the Maldives we fell in love with in the first place.

Thelu Veliga is a tiny (1.1 hectare), untouched gem in the South Ari Atoll. Previously used as a snorkelling excursion or dive boat stop-off, this is the epitome of an Indian Ocean desert island. Just 10 traditional detached beach bungalows nestle amongst the tropical foliage, a few steps across impossibly soft sand to the water’s edge. Gorgeous driftwood touches, from artwork to furniture, are hand-crafted on the island and feel authentic, not contrived. A further 20 elegant over water villas offer direct access to a shallow lagoon, perfect for swimming and low-key water sports, and surrounded by an extensive house reef. If you’re a diver, you’ll already know all about what South Ari has to offer.

Add a fabulous sunset bar - serving our own “Angelfish” cocktails no less -, a restaurant delivering exceptional food (Chef Chaminda’s curries are other-worldly), first class, ‘can-do’ Maldivian hospitality, and an excellent little spa with three over water suites, and that’s it.

While so much time and effort has been spent bringing additional experiences to the Maldives, with Thelu Veliga, Drift aims to buck the trend, putting the Maldivian experience centre stage, and letting it speak for itself. Some of us will never tire of those views to the horizon across pristine waters, with our toes wiggling in powder-soft sand. Drift is an island with a soulful vibe, intended to slow the heart rate, not ramp it up. The word “Retreat” in the name is entirely deliberate.

If your life is incomplete without TVs & swimming pools, kids’ clubs & karaoke, golf buggies & underwater restaurants, then there’s plenty to choose from. For those seeking the “Maldives unplugged”, Drift might just be paradise on earth.

Read Kate Johnson's article on Drift in the Daily Mail here

Read Karen Edwards' article on Drift in the Huffington Post here

Aerial view of Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat reproduced with kind permission of Jason & Jo Stovell
Special Offers
    2018 Spring Free Night Special Offer
    2018 Summer Free Night Offer
    (N) 2018-19 Honeymoon Offer
    2018 15% Discount Summer Early Bird Offer
    2018 10% Discount Summer Early Bird Offer
    2017-18 Honeymoon Offer
    2017-18 Honeymoon Benefits
    2017-18 Anniversary Benefits
    2018 5% Discount Winter Early Bird Offer
    Sample Packages
    Desert Island Bliss

    15% Early booking offer
    Stay 7 Pay 6

    Book 45 days prior
    Room Type:
    Beach Villa
    Meal Plan:
    Half Board
    Sri Lankan Airlines
    Travel Period:
    09/04/2018 - 31/10/2018
    Book By:
    From per person
    Subject to availability
    Quoted prices include stated offers and discounts, are indicative and can fluctuate. Please contact us for latest prices.
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    Overwater Villas
    Seaplane Transfer

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