In the middle of the Indian Ocean, this hotel celebrates both the joy of living, and the beauty and fragility of nature, through art.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

In the middle of the Indian Ocean, this hotel celebrates both the joy of living, and the beauty and fragility of nature, through art.

The interesting roof design is modelled after the ebb and flow of waves.

In the Maldives’ Raa Atoll, Joali is more than just a dream hotel for sun seekers, surrounded by white sand beaches and pristine blue waters. It is also the ideal spot for contemporary art aficionados hoping to catch a glimpse of some spectacular artworks while on holiday. 

Featuring a series of experiential art pieces that refer to the island of Muravandhoo’s surrounding nature, Joali Maldives – located on the island – aims to sensitise travellers to its fragile ecosystem, which consists of rich marine life, coral reefs, exotic birds and tropical vegetation.

Designed by architect Cuneyt Bukulmez of Istanbul-based Atolye4n, together with design studio Autoban and Tokyo-based interior design firm Glitt, Joali was built around trees – to save as many as possible – and created around the concept of joy of living.

My Reading Room

The contemporary look of the interiors is balanced with soothing colours inspired by the ocean.

The hotel provides guests with an art map to explore a collection created by 13 artists selected by art curators Zeynep Ercan and Asliala Onur of Istanbul-based company, No Lab. The sculptures and experiential pieces showcased throughout the exterior and interior spaces of the hotel are a true ode to nature. 

Passionate about wildlife and saving endangered species in general, and particularly inspired by the manta rays present all over the Maldives, South African architect and designer Porky Hefer created a steel structure clad with wood and local palm above the ground, accessible through a suspended walkway. 

My Reading Room

The Manta Ray Treehouse designed by artist Porky Hefer.

Inside this Manta Ray Treehouse, up to 10 guests can dine, while admiring the sublime sunset. “My job is always to try to get people more interested in nature,” says Porky. 

To view his underwater coral sculptures, American designer Misha Kahn invites guests to dive down and swim in between the pieces created with vibrant- and pale-coloured mosaic tiles, which reflect the coral bleaching occurring in the ocean.

My Reading Room

Accommodation at the resort includes one- to four-bedroom villas.

“I have drawn the inspiration from the waters around us,” he says. “Coral is a delicate symbiotic system, just like art is with colour and form.” 

South African art collective Ardmore drew inspiration from the grey heron of the Maldives, creating several sculptures and patterns designed for the hotel. 

Thanks to all these pieces, Joali is a place to experience art in a different way, and to realise the beauty of nature through the eyes and imaginations of talented artists and designers. 

Good to know

Joali is one of the first art resorts in the Maldives, and features 73 private beach and water villas, as well as residences.

Visit to find more about the hotel.