Myriad shades O’BLU

A collection of Indian Ocean Hotels and Resorts by Atmosphere in the Maldives, COLOURS OF OBLU has carved a niche in terms of hospitality and out-of-the-world experiences

Let me begin this with a set of pointers for the uninitiated to Maldives or otherwise and then dovetail the story to COB… COLOURS OF OBLU by Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts. 

  • An Indian Ocean island nation of under half-a-million that has more logistical and environmental nightmares to manage than a straightjacketed nation of millions or in the Indian context a billion point four.
  • Around 1,200 islands, 800 km x 120 km of which some 200 are inhabited and most are taken for tourism.  
  • The only method of commute is… take a boat, a speedboat for that. 
  • Import dependence is a fine art in supply chain logistics and projections, for they can grow hardly any local produce barring Yellow Tuna they fish and export and some coconuts.  
  • And the environment activists have us all believe, given the state of global warming-led rise in sea levels, the Maldives sits on a precipice.  

Now that I have, in some manner, managed to push you back a bit and paint a picture, let me now talk of how this wonderful nation of vivacious Dhivehi-speaking Maldivians is winning its battle against all odds and Maldivians are not just winning, they are doing a damn good job of it with a smile and much more to spare.   

The Maldives rules tourism and how… Their Ruphiya is so strong that it is 1:5 to an INR. Not just that their currency is strong, which tells their success and of an assured future, they are a prima donna destination for the well-heeled, big dollar-spending HNI westerners and others who have Maldives on their bucket list and mind you, a Maldivian holiday doesn’t come cheap. And that big ticket price tag is an endorsement of where Maldives is, as a preferred by the sea, or perhaps, in the sea holiday.   

Tourism and tuna farming are the two big income sources and, may I say, the Maldivian state and people are doing a really good and professional job of it… and that experience starts the very moment you touch down at the Velana International Airport 2.5 km from Malé on the island of Hulhule and take a speedboat to your island resort. And this is a really breathtaking experience for the uninitiated. And this is why, despite the big ticket, the country is booked in perpetuity and there really is no offseason barring the 45-60 days of monsoon. The lines of travellers are huge and what a traveller gets for his or her money is an absolute top-end and exhilarating experience with very few parallels. Their act has hardly any match. 

The Maldivian blue water, jetties and getaway on speedboats: Step outside the arrival terminal and the all-encompassing blue waters, jetties and anchored speedboats hit you with a burst of pleasant visuals. The sights are rather unusual for the typical city-bred traveller. Where are the cars? This is an island nation where you commute on speedboats and cars are limited to the larger capital city island of Male.  

Your getaway to your chosen resort, in my case OBLU Select Lobigili, doesn’t find its way via the busy and compact capital of Male, its streets and traffic, but on rather well-appointed speedboats anchored at their assigned jetty to pick you on arrival. The vessel and crew are rather well-trained, carry an infectious smile and are tuned to handle a weary traveller coming on long or short haul flights, to sail them to their resort. Noteworthy is the entry and exit of the speedboats, which is clockwork, so efficient and a finely tuned process so that don’t hold too long making other vessels wait.   

The Island of Love - Lobigili  

Let me try and share here some detail about what makes up COLOURS OF OBLU by the Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts. A collection of Indian Ocean Hotels and Resorts by Atmosphere, COLOURS OF OBLU (or COB as they call it) has been able to build a niche in terms of hospitality, with all of its offerings of select experiences that not only justify Maldives’ reputation of big-hearted hospitality, but also complements the tranquil beauty of the island nation. This new brand caters to travellers, couples, families, millennials and honeymooners and how? Exotic corners, pristine beaches and the opportunity to escape form only a part of the stay, and the diverse options for indulgence all aim to allow guests to instil some of the tranquillity of the Maldives into themselves.   

Under COB is the pristine and brand-new resort called OBLU Select Lobigili. Just a convenient 15-minute zip on your speedboat from the Velana International Airport in Male is the “Island of Love” – Lobigili where the majestic OBLU Select Lobigili sits in all its glory. Designs inspired by Nature, vegetation that is as luxurious and lush as Maldives, the breathtakingly blue waters and a vibrant marine life make up the tropical setup of the resort which connects with the neighbouring soon-to-be-launched Ailafushi Island with a 270 m interconnecting jetty. And if this was not enough, the island has a mini-island nearby, which makes the perfect spot for intimate destination weddings – not just due to its location but due to the fact that it is in the shape of a heart, making it all the more unique.   

The resort is fairly recent, having opened its doors on March 24 this year and it is meant exclusively for adults. This five-star island resort is aimed to allow couples to have a quiet and romantic getaway – which explains why Lobigili, the Island of Love, was chosen for setting up this enthralling beauty.   

To complete the luxurious experience, guests are assigned a team of two hosts. One from the Front Office and the other from the F&B team, to look after every requirement. If that doesn’t make for a relaxing experience, what will!    

Luxury abounds 

A total of 68 villas are offered by the resort, divided into three different types. All the villas are twin occupancy. Of the 68, 24 villas are what have been termed as SunNest Beach Pool Villa, sprawling across 62 sq m. One-bedroom villas, these are located on the sunset side of Lobigili, complete with a surrounding of palm trees, tropical gardens and facing the beach. The cherry on top is the open-air Maldivian-style bathroom having double vanity, a bathtub, a rain shower as well as an open-air shower. The exterior includes a private veranda and an 8 sq m pool that looks over the ocean.   

The second type of villa at OBLU Select Lobigili is the Nest Water Villa. The 75 sq m expansive one-bedroom villa features ocean-framing windows, a deep-soak bathtub and a private overwater hammock. An overwater sundeck equipped with two sun loungers completes the experience. The third, SunNest Water Villas offer everything that Nest Water Villas but have an additional 8 sq m infinity pool in the overwater deck. Located on the sunset side of the island, 22 of these villas complete the accommodation offerings at OBLU Select Lobigili.    

Food for soul  

OBLU Select Lobigili spoils a guest to bits with its sumptuous F&B fare. They have three rather well-appointed restaurants. A standout bar with poolside seating, hammocks and swings. And yes, the all-day dining restaurant called Ylang Ylang that not only offers world cuisine, but all has interactive food counters and a courtyard bar, and of course, the surreal views of the vast blue ocean. Indoor and outdoor dining spaces are up for grabs at the restaurant, while book lovers can find bliss in the library zone to enjoy a unique reading and dining experience. The Swing Bar allows for breezy, beachside relaxation, complete with swings and hammocks and a sprawling infinity pool, one of the largest the Maldives has to offer. It also has a sunken bar to allow guests to just swim up and order their drinks.   

GAADIYA 17, the food truck, is a creative spin on traditional food truck meals. Informal, vibrant and indulgent is probably the best way to describe the affair, as grab-and-go grills and Mexican favourites are on one side of the spectrum, while open-air dining on the beach with soft music sits on the other.   

Another highlight is the underwater restaurant, Only BLU. It is the largest underwater restaurant in the Maldives and curates three-course Prix Fixe menus with the option of meat, seafood or vegetarian menus. Horseshoe-shaped and with an open kitchen, the restaurant offers window tables which allow guests to gaze at the coral reef of Lobigili while enjoying their meal.   

Relaxation done right  

And of course, no relaxing getaway is complete without a good spa treatment. Elena The Spa at OBLU Select Lobigili allows guests to have an indulgent as well as intimate spa experience despite being an open spa, and it is designed exclusively for couples and adults. The spa complex, as tranquil as the Maldives, features four double treatment rooms along with a couple’s bath. 


Though fairly new, the OBLU Select Lobigili has set high standards for what a relaxing, romantic vacation encompasses. The beautiful views, the luxurious villas, the appetising food and the friendly smiles sum up the wholesome experience that awaits guests as they cruise their way to Lobigili.   

To close, some COB Lobigili highlights and standouts

  • The spine of any top end and successful luxury resort is its team and the COB leadership has got it right across functions: Friendly, cheerful and attentive, they service every guest with a smile.  
  • A holiday by the sea and water sports go hand in hand and COB has loads of them: Scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, sea scooters etc, under the care of the finest and most experienced experts who are never out of sight.  
  • Watch the sunset while you sail on your boat munching on goodies, sipping on your favourite beverages and cared by a fine and trained crew.  
  • There are carefully curated long walks by the beach and on the jetties for the ones interested.  
  • Breakfast in the pool, not by the pool, is another special and elevating experience for the uninitiated.  
  • Eco-friendly and conscious environmental issues: COB has put in place world’s best protocols with utmost care and trained their staff to be conscious and ensure compliance.
  • Staff and service that is not intrusive while being caring: Their smiles and caring grows on the guests during the stay. It makes the stay truly wonderful, but parting while heading back can be a challenge.  
  • Best in industry and trained staff across departments: The good thing about any Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts across brands, not just COB, is that they mix new staff with the existing, so they are all hands on, trained and know the beat and processes and can hit the ground running as the group has over eight islands and assets. So, the very best are taken in.  
  • The very best international crew: Atmosphere Resorts across brands, not just COB, bring in the best talent from across the globe and cultures. This multinational staff also makes for a great experience for the well-heeled international and discerning guest.  
  • Architecture, design, layout, construction, equipment and accessories: Perhaps the finest globally but true to the Maldivian style and culture, Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts management has just not compromised anywhere and that is to be seen to be believed. Each accommodation and facilities across the resort are top-class and are aimed at their discerning and demanding global clientele.  
  • Gymnasium in the sea is sight to be revered, surrounded by the ocean on all four sides: Managed by the best international trainers, makes for not just an all-around view of the all-round blue ocean but does so well for the ones into fitness. Head there and make a great start to your day and stay. 

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER MAY-JUNE 2022'


Around The World