Coco Privé: The Ultimate Maldives Private Island

COCO Prive Private Island Dock

​COCO Collection

Have $135K and three days to kill? In the Maldives, that'll buy you the minimum stay at Coco Privé Kudu Hithi — a private island that’s part of the country’s popular Coco resort collection.

Coco’s standard island destinations — Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi — are pretty spectacular themselves, with accommodations ranging from island villas with private pools and beach access to plunge-pool laden overwater residences that are bigger than your standard NYC apartment. But for the ultimate in privacy, celebrity guests like couple Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, comedian Kevin Hart and English soccer star John Terry flock to the collection’s private island, just 35 minutes by boat from the country’s international airport in Male.

The Main Pool and Palm Residence at COCO Prive
 COCO Collection

Arrival at Coco Privé

For $45,000 per night, Coco Privé offers accommodation for up to 10 people spread across a six-bedroom living space that covers most of the 14,000-square-meter island. Feel like that’s a lot of room for just 10 people? You’re right — the island actually accommodate up to 18, with a $2,500 per night fee for each extra guest. The island is also host to 25 staff members and a wealth of amenities — though the entire landmass takes just around 10 minutes to circumnavigate on foot.

Prior to any arrival on the island, guests (or, often, their personal assistants) liaise with Island Manager Andrew McLaren to ensure that every personal preference is noted — from food favorites and allergies to any preference on gym equipment. McLaren comes from a long line of service to some of the world’s most demanding clientele — prior to taking the helm at Coco Privé, McLaren spent over a decade as a household manager for an ultra-wealthy Saudi family.

The view from the COCO Prive Palm Residence
 COCO Collection

The Villas at Coco Privé

The villas at Coco Privé are designed by British architect Guz Wilkinson and Singapore-based interior designer Delphine Leon. In the planning of the development, Coco Collection’s owner and visionary put a focus on preserving the island’s natural beauty and incorporating the lush native flora into each villa’s interior design. That translates to the prominent use of floor-to-ceiling windows and massive sliding glass doors, successful at painting each villa with a wallpaper of palm fronds, frangipani and the turquoise blue sea.

The island’s bedrooms — each named after the local flora and fauna — range from standalone beachside hide-aways to the 3000-square-foot bedroom in the Palm Residence, the extravagant master suite floating atop an indoor/outdoor living space.

The interior of the Heron Villa
COCO Collection

Adjacent to the master, the Starfish and Heron villas open directly onto the island’s 40-meter long infinity pool, protected from the winds (and paparazzi exposure) of the sandy beach directly out front. Each of these two villas feature outdoor bathtubs, motorized curtains, iPad-controlled electronics, BOSE speakers and floor to ceiling windows facing the Indian Ocean.

The two are separated by a chic, sunken outdoor living space and by the Turtle Villa — the island’s smallest room. The Turtle Villa functions either as a sleeping space with Murphy beds for two, or as a multi-purpose space where guests can enjoy spa treatments and massages to the tune of the island’s lapping waves.

The Manta Villa
 COCO Collection

On the backside of the island, the mirror-opposite, 1900-square-foot Manta and Gecko villas face towards the property’s wind-sheltered eastern coastline. The two each feature a private, secluded infinity pool adorned in a mosaic of iridescent tiles and are surrounded by lush island vegetation. Each also enjoys private beach access — used only by each villa’s guests, busy hermit crabs, hatching sea turtles and visiting herons. Inside, these villas are a combination of rich hardwoods and windows, with oversized beds backing up to double vanities and full outdoor bathrooms, complete with open-air soaking tubs.

The Palm Residence at COCO Prive
 COCO Collection

But the Palm Residence is the island’s pièce de résistance — also in front of the island’s central infinity pool, the residence’s bedroom sits atop the island’s indoor dining room, glass-enclosed wine cellar, coffee and cocktail bar and indoor and outdoor lounges. The second-floor bedroom rules literally over the island and enjoys uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, that is, if you look past the suite’s own private infinity pool and jacuzzi.

Dessert at COCO Prive
COCO Collection 

Coco Privé Cuisine

Behind the Palm Residence sits the island’s kitchen and gym, each nearly fully constructed of glass. In the kitchen, Privé’s Chef Neel, a native of Sri Lanka, uses his personal intuition to present a repertoire of fusion dishes catered precisely to each guest’s likes and dislikes. And meals on the island can be enjoyed across a range of locations — from a white-tablecloth dinner on a seaside dining platform to breakfast on the beach underneath a billowing canvas. The kitchen’s open 24 hours per day.

Breakfast on Kuda Hithi is presented a-la-carte and at the whim of each guest’s wild imagination — eggs any way come adorned with a choice of meats, cheeses and vegetables, accompanied by a spread of fresh fruits and pastries. The local Maldivian breakfast spread of “mas huni” — shreds of tuna cloaked in chilli, coconut and curry spices paired with fresh roti — is not to be missed.

Breakfast on the Beach at COCO Prive
 Elspeth Velten

Order an espresso, fresh squeezed mimosa or a Bloody Mary (made straight from juiced tomatoes) once and you’ll never need to utter the words again — guest preference is noted and carried out through your duration on the island. A request as small as chili in your scrambled eggs serves as a signal to Chef Neel that helps shape a menu for the rest of the day.

For lunch and dinner, Neel and his team put out a spread of never-ending sharing plates in permutations that won’t repeat once during any normal stay — unless by request, of course. From Western classics like cheeseburger sliders, seared tuna and seafood risotto to fiery Thai, Indian and Sri Lankan curries, the spread at Privé stands out as unexpected and perhaps even unparallelled in the region.

The Jungle Gym at COCO Prive
 COCO Collection

Island Activities & Amenities

These three square meals a day drive many guests straight to the island’s fitness center, where state-of-the-art Technogym machines and equipment shares a glass-surrounded space with a ping pong table and a steam room. The gym is equipped with BOSE speakers, and a mini-fridge full of Evian in both glass-bottled and facial spray forms ensures no guest will go dehydrated. For a workout with more of an island vibe, venture over to the Jungle Gym — a wooden set up in the island’s actual jungle — for a swing on the monkey bars and some al fresco chin-ups. Or, set your alarm for a session of sunrise yoga lead by Privé's resident Keralan yogi on the island's seaside platform.

Coco Prive can help guests enjoy all of the activities the Maldives are known for. Activities available on the island range from sport fishing and marine biologist-guided snorkeling to movie nights set up on the beach. The island is plotted amidst a handful of SCUBA diving sites (unlimited diving is included in the nightly rate), but even a wade into the waters with a snorkel and a mask reveals a menagerie of colorful fish, sea turtles and harmless sharks living on the island’s teeming house reef.

Guests can head out on a traditional wooden dhoni boat for a sunset cruise and even cast a line to bring home the catch-of-the-day — to be turned into ceviche or curry, of course. Or, tackle your fellow castaways in a game of large-format island chess on the island’s beachside chessboard, where pawns, rooks and knights are replaced by dhoni boats, traditional huts and herons.

The island’s exceptional, personalized service is demonstrated up until the very last seconds of any guest’s stay. As the island’s airport-bound transport boat pulls away, the all-star lineup of Coco Privé’s staff waves in unison from the island’s dock until the boat is a nearly a speck on the horizon.

(As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with some discounted services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.)

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