The Edition


Cocoon Maldives resplendent with Lago’s innovative designs

Fathmath Shaahunaz
15 June 2017, MVT 13:29
Outside the lobby of Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
15 June 2017, MVT 13:29

At a glance, the resort does not appear to be all that different from the plethora of other tourist resorts scattered across the Maldives. Its uniqueness only comes to attention when one enters its villas or restaurants, where the eye is immediately drawn to the exquisite interior design and furniture – all provided by the globally renowned brand in Italian design, Lago, which has set Cocoon Maldives Resort aside from other vacation getaways in the archipelago.

The luxury resort, developed in the island of Ookolhu Finolhu in Lhaviyani atoll, was first unveiled last December 26. Nestled in the turquoise waters of a large clear lagoon situated a 30-minute seaplane flight away from Velana International Airport, Cocoon Maldives measures 6.9 hectares and features 151 villas which bring together the natural beauty of the island nation with the distinct touch of Italian design.

It is the first resort to be developed by a design brand. Each and every villa features furniture by Lago, with wood dating back 200 years and the most expensive of Italian tiles. Everything from the wallpapers to the beds to the wardrobes complement each other. Most of them are from the Lago Air Collection, their glass legs giving the illusion that the furniture are suspended in mid-air. The pieces come with special tags that can be used to look up information about the furniture using the Lago mobile application.

A water villa at Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Cocoon Maldives also boasts three restaurants and a bar that were custom designed specifically for the resort by Lago.

Speaking to Mihaaru, Cocoon Investment Pvt Ltd’s Managing Director Alessandro Azzola stated that top priority was given to the preservation of the island’s natural beauty during development of the resort. Noting that the company had striven to ensure Cocoon Maldives is unique in every aspect, he highlighted that, unlike most others, the beach villas of Cocoon Maldives are located such that they are nestled and hidden among the palms and other vegetation lining the shore.

A beach villa at Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

The five-star resort has also developed a reputation for its impeccable and kind hospitality to its guests. Acknowledging that top service is a requirement to ensure guest satisfaction, Cocoon’s MD remarked that the resort’s design centres not around its five-star status but in providing five-star service from its staff to the tourists.

He proudly declared that their service has already born fruit with Cocoon Maldives already receiving repeat guests within just six months.

Natural beauty above all else

Helming the innovative brand of furniture design is Daniele Lago, the Chief Executive Officer and Head of Design of S.p.A. He first arrived in the Maldives on the request of his friend, Alessandro Azzola, to take a look at Ookolhu Finolhu before the island was converted to a resort. It was his first time ever seeing the Maldives for himself and Daniele Lago described it as a stunning beauty he had never seen before.

CEO and Head of Design at S.p.A Daniele Lago. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Recalling his first visit where he was faced with the challenge of designing an exclusive resort from scratch, Lago said that his first and foremost thought was to reflect the vivid blue of the ocean and natural beauty of the country in his project.

His awe for the island’s beauty still subsists; the interview is interspersed with Lago’s recurring references to the environment of the Maldives, the likes of which he exclaims he has never seen before.

Bathroom of a water villa at Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Diverting the topic to the development of Cocoon Maldives, Lago stated that the company had mainly used traditional wood and glass for the furniture. Highlighting the beauty that transparency brings to glass furniture, Lago said that all the aspects highly focussed on combining traditional methods with avant-garde innovations to fit the modern age. He added that the lavish use of glass in Cocoon Maldives embodies the crystal clear beauty of Maldivian waters.

Turning to the resorts’ spacious villas, Daniele Lago highlighted that care was given to provide a refreshing and family-style atmosphere to the rooms. He went on to say that unlike other luxury resorts in the Maldives, his company did not prioritise the use of expensive raw materials to develop the resort but rather on creating a well thought-out, simple and elegant getaway.

A restaurant at Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Shedding light on the direction of his company, Daniele Lago noted that Lago, as a role, does not supply furniture for resorts but high-class apartments. However, he declared that his company is slowly stepping into the field of designing furniture for tourism.

Lago is now one of the leading furniture design brands in Europe, operating around 400 outlets across the continent.

Winning the hearts of guests

Cocoon Investment MD Alessandro Azzolo. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

At a period when the occupancy rates of resorts are below 50 percent, Cocoon Maldives is still enjoying an above average rate at around 60 percent.

The resort’s MD Alessandro Azzola, who is also a stakeholder, attributes this to the suitable rates of their services. Noting that tourists have already paid high prices by the time they reach their destination, he explained that Cocoon Maldives’ strategy is to lower the prices of its services unlike other resorts, including food and beverages, and spa. Thus, Cocoon Maldives is receiving mostly positive comments from its visitors.

Tourists enjoy lunch in a restaurant at Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Cocoon Maldives started out with Europe as its main target market. However, the MD highlighted that the resort has started receiving tourists from other corners, such as South Africa.

Azzolo, who used to be a tour operator, first arrived in the Maldives with his family in 1981. As he vacationed at the former Bolifushi resort, he said that he had dreamed of opening his own resort in the Maldives from that very moment. Comparing the beauty of the Maldives to paradise, MD Azzola went on to say that his main vision is to provide a unique and unforgettable experience for tourists at Cocoon Maldives.

Tourists on the walkway leading to the water villas in Cocoon Maldives resort. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Shedding light on future plans, he revealed that he will soon commence the project to open another property in the archipelago.

The true beauty of Cocoon Maldives cannot be unveiled in a mere photograph. As MD Azzolo had envisioned, the uniqueness and elegance of the resort can only be experienced to paint an unforgettable memory in the hearts of its visitors. Indeed, one visit to Cocoon Maldives leaves one longing for more.