Spend a few days exploring Dubai's contrasts between old and new, city and desert before flying to the Maldives for a week relaxing on a beautiful island.
3 nights Dubai, including breakfast and excursions; 7 nights Cocoa Island by COMO including breakfast. Includes flights and transfers.
12 days from £6,350pp
who's been there
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On the beach - 8 days
COMO Cocoa Island
The smallest of our Maldives properties, this chic and stylish resort is a tranquil and discreet retreat with uniquely styled rooms. The restrained design blends contemporary and indigenous styles to create a very simple but sophisticated effect.
When the tide drops at Cocoa Island a long sandbank stretching out for nearly a kilometre is revealed, lacing around a quiet reef that is ideal for snorkelling. All rooms face onto the reef so you can begin your day by easing off your private terrace into the tropical waters below. There are numerous ways to unwind on this tiny picturesque island including a visit to the hotel spa where a range of holistic Asian treatments is offered. Alternatively, you could lounge in the hydrotherapy pool or go island-hopping, fishing or diving. The hotel has a restaurant where seafood, healthy options and the exotic Maldivian cuisine combine in exemplary fashion. Cocoa Island is escapism at its finest, but should you wish to explore the archipelago further then both seaplanes and boats can be chartered to whisk you away to private picnics or a sunset experienced in complete solitude.
Inspired by the traditional dhoni boat, all 33 over-water rooms are spacious and beautifully appointed. They all have private sundecks that lead directly to the turquoise ocean.
Before the beach - 4 days
Ancient yet avant-garde, demure yet decadent, Dubai is a city of dramatic and bewildering contrasts. Visit old Dubai on a guided tour to see the magnificent Majlis Al Ghorfat, modern palaces, and the Bastakia district. Then explore the 200-year-old Al Fahidi Fort and the gold and spice souqs before heading to the heart of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for an evening of traditional Arabian entertainment. Relax on low cushions in an authentic Bedouin tent and watch the sunset over the rolling sand dunes before taking a camel ride under the stars.
The Palace Downtown Dubai is a lakeside hotel offering a blend of local heritage and contemporary style. The 323 guest rooms have Middle Eastern decor and stunning views.
COMO Cocoa Island
33 rooms, 1 restaurant, 2 pools
It's difficult to avoid superlatives when describing COMO Cocoa Island. The atoll is near perfect, the rooms and buildings are designed in the right style to complement the natural world and everything is just so pretty.
Service is attentive and gracious and the feel here is one of complete relaxation. Unsurprisingly it's not boisterous in any way.
With just 33 rooms on the entire island it is never crowded. They are all over water, putting you directly in touch with one of the major reasons for coming here.
The activities here revolve around the water, but there is also plenty of time for serious relaxation in both the spa and on the beach.
Children of all ages are welcome, but this resort is very quiet and relaxing, with fewer facilities for children than some others in the Maldives.
COMO Cocoa Island sits in the less developed South Malé Atoll, 40 minutes by speedboat from Malé International Airport. On the west side of the island you will find the Kandooma Channel, which is considered to be one of the best dive sites in the Maldives; on the other side there's a quiet reef for snorkelling flanked by a curl of sandy beach which tapers into a spit of sand. This is as long as the island itself, which is surrounded by soft white sand.
A blend of simplistic Maldivian island charm, with a high quality, rustic, sand between the toes experience. COMO Cocoa Island is low-key luxury at its best.
Rooms (with the exception of the villas) are inspired by the dhoni, the traditional wooden Maldivian boat. However, the rooms are anything but small and basic — the moment you walk into your dhoni you will be pleasantly surprised by the comfort and size of the rooms. Adding to this feeling of space are the high thatched ceilings, the delicate use of colour and abundance of natural light coming in from various sides.
All the rooms are placed over water and laid out to maximise privacy. There are several room types: One/two bedroom villas, Loft villas, Dhoni loft suites and Dhoni suites. All are very stylishly decorated using South Indian and colonial-style furniture and local fabrics. The rooms feel modern and bright with strong classical touches and each has its own private sun deck with direct access to the turquoise ocean a few feet below.
All rooms have free wireless internet, hair dryer, satellite TV, iPod docking stations, minibar and tea and coffee making facilities.
Dhoni suites are 75 sq m and come with king or twin beds.
Dhoni loft suite
Dhoni loft suites are 110 sq m with a king bed and spacious living area.
The Loft villa is 123 sq m with a king bed and spacious living area.
One bedroom villa
The One bedroom villa is 125 sq m with a king bed and separate living room.
Two bedroom COMO Villa
The Two bedroom COMO Villa is 300 sq m. It has two bedrooms, one with king bed and a second with twin beds or a king.
Pictures of the rooms
Activities, diving & excursions
There are numerous ways to unwind on this tiny picturesque island, including a visit to the COMO Shambhala Retreat, where a range of Asian treatments are offered in simple but comfortable wooden beach houses. Complimentary morning and evening yoga sessions are offered as well and you can relax in a good size hydrotherapy pool. The gym has both cardiovascular equipment and free weights. Underwater is where you'll find most of the action, and guided snorkelling and fish feeding are complimentary.
There is a professional PADI dive centre at the resort.
Diving in the Maldives ranks with the best in the world. At COMO Cocoa Island they are dedicated to preserving the reefs, as well as ensuring your safety.
Should you have any queries, the experienced staff at the resort’s dive centre will be happy to help. They can also provide detailed advice on particular sites.
There are over 25 dive sites available nearby. The staff will be happy to explain the differences in the sites to help you choose where to dive, based upon your experience and what you hope to see.
After your orientation dive, your guide will also recommend dives that are suitable to your ability.
Food & drink
COMO Cocoa Island offers top quality menus in a relaxed environment. The main restaurant, Ufaa, serves a blend of Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine and not surprisingly, there is also plenty of freshly caught seafood as well as a variety of international dishes.
For guests who prefer healthy eating there is COMO Shambhala cuisine focused on organic produce and raw ingredients.
The Faru Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a snack or sundowner to the soundtrack of chilled out music, looking out over the pool and lagoon beyond.
The COMO Shambhala Retreat is a top quality spa experience in a minimal and restful environment.
Choose from massages such as the COMO Shambhala massage, Indian head massage, Thai massage and Indonesian massage among others.
On the shores of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai was, until recently, an oil rich desert state with little tourist infrastructure, but in only a few decades it has transformed itself into one of the world’s leading beach destinations.
If you are travelling to the Musandam Peninsula in Oman or flying to Muscat with Emirates airlines you will be landing in Dubai and it makes for a natural break for a few days’ relaxation. Dubai’s hotels are renowned and include some of the most lavish properties in the world, either on the beach, around Dubai Creek, or in the splendid isolation of the desert.
Never understated, Dubai makes a bold statement with an extensive list of activities including excellent restaurants, shopping, championship golf courses, and an indoor real snow ski slope.
The Palace Downtown Dubai
Accommodation: The Palace Downtown Dubai
This luxurious hotel is located in the heart of the area of Dubai known as downtown, facing the towering Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world. The Palace is directly connected with the Souk Al Bahar, a few minutes' walk from the enormous Dubai Mall and just a short stroll from a huge variety of restaurants and shops. The Palace is set on the edge of downtown’s lake where every day a fountain show to rival that of The Bellagio in Las Vegas happens regularly. Although set within the heart of downtown Dubai, the hotel’s lakeside setting, small garden areas and grand entrance driveway allows guests to escape the hustle and bustle of the area.
Surrounded by tall towers, the Palace has only eight floors and the design of the hotel is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern heritage and contemporary Dubai. The Palace offers an elegant Thai restaurant with views over the fountains and lake and an excellent Argentinean grill as well as more informal options serving Arabic dishes and international cuisine. There is also an outdoor pool and a spa. The 242 guest rooms are spacious and comfortable with a sophisticated décor.
Day by day
This morning you will fly to Dubai. After your arrival you will be driven to your hotel.
You have some time at leisure after spending part of your day doing a walking tour of Dubai's old quarter which is the best way to get acquainted with the city's heritage.
Leaving your hotel early in the morning, you will travel in four-wheel drive vehicles to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for a breathtaking journey over the rolling dunes. After this enjoy a camel ride before partaking in a traditional 'Futoor' breakfast in the middle of the vast Arabian desert. The afternoon is at leisure.
This morning you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Malé. On arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred by speedboat to the gorgeous private island, Cocoa Island.
Enjoy your first evening on this paradise island.
During your time at Cocoa Island, there are various complimentary activities on offer — from guided snorkelling trips on the house reef, to yoga and meditation sessions at the yoga pavilion, to aquatherapy in the hydrotherapy pool. Or learn more about the local marine life with the weekly talk, or head out to the jetty to feed the fish, rays and sharks.
Once you've become well acquainted with the house reef at Cocoa Island, why not head out on a snorkelling safari or diving trip to one of the nearby outer reefs on a catamaran, or go in search of turtles in their natural habitat. You can also head out on a boat from the island for big game fishing or parasailing.
Days 7 - 10
The speedboat will take you back to Malé so you can catch your flight home.
Start planning your trip with Audley
Tailoring your trip
This itinerary is designed to give you a flavour of what is possible.
We can tailor this trip to suit your specific requirements
Any aspect of the itinerary can be altered, from excursions to accommodation
How to book
Contact a Hidden Beach specialist
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