Marhaba – it's a word you'll hear as frequently as the gentle lap of the Indian Ocean against your water villa on a stay at one of the most beautiful of the Maldive atolls.

The meaning is 'welcome' and every one of the 370 men and women of 32 nationalities who make up the staff on the island resort of JOALI Maldives – those working in the spa, and the restaurants, the beach bar, the palm-tree-fringed pathways, or raking the pristine white sand, and certainly your personal magician (jadugar in Maldivian, butler in English) – place their hand on their heart and speak it whenever they see you.

The Maldives is a place where visitors leave a little of their heart behind. Those who have been (often on honeymoon), want to return; for the rest it's a bucket list destination, and that's easy to understand. Breath-taking may be an overused word but it's impossible not to feel a sharp intake as your seaplane sweeps above the azure seas lapping the 1,192 Maldivian coral islands.

Of the more than 90 Maldives resorts that are among the most coveted holiday destinations in the world, the very high-end JOALI Maldives and neighbouring JOALI Being, are up there with the very best. Monica Galleti and Rob Rinder found them so when they visited for the current series of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby being aired on BBC iPLAYER

Great British Life: JOALI Maldives luxury sunset water villa with pool. JOALIJOALI Maldives luxury sunset water villa with pool. JOALI

While JOALI Being is distinguished by its ethos of wellbeing and self-renewal (more of this in the January issue of Cheshire Life), JOALI Maldives is the self-proclaimed island of joy, where the aim is to bring happiness to the occupants of its glorious mix of beach and water villas. Located on Muravandhoo in the Raa Atoll, one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, JOALI Maldives is not only home to myriad sea life but is also the first art-immersive luxury resort in the region. Works by world-class artists are dotted around the 73 sensational villas (works of art in themselves), the restaurants, beaches, spa and marine centre, including the treehouse designed by South-African Porky Hefer, where you can breakfast while looking out across the ocean.

The woman behind the JOALI brand, Turkish entrepreneur Esin Güral Argat is deeply involved in the business. The company employs the highest percentage of women of any of the Maldivian resorts, many in senior positions, supports local schools and hospitals, and runs the JOALI Reef Restoration Programme to aid the natural recovery of the fragile ecosystem in the Raa Atoll. Sustainability is key word here: 'As a luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand, JOALI is committed to sustainability. Every aspect of our culture and strategy is woven around “responsible luxury,' is the mantra.

The reality behind the magic is, of course, that the Maldives is two long flights away from Manchester (on Emirates the journey is more than 12 hours in total, plus a two-hour stop off in Dubai). And you have to have very deep pockets. A stay at JOALI Maldives and JOALI BEING costs from $3,300 (approx. £2,780) per night for two people sharing a beach villa with pool on a B&B basis. The taxes and cost of the world-class food and wines, the experiences that range from the restorative treatments in the JOALI SPA by ESPA, art classes, sea trips, diving excursions, sunset fishing, or a voyage in the resort's own submarine for example, plus flights, means this for most, would be the trip of a lifetime.

Those able to enjoy the privilege of staying here understandably expect the very best and JOALI delivers. The exquisite villas exude sustainable glamour. Every need, every little touch, from hair straighteners to a library of books; luxury toiletries to luxury robes and slippers; and lights, music, television and curtains controlled by a tablet, is thought of. Young guests are invited to explore new experiences with a range of complimentary activities focusing on culture, marine life, cookery and the creative arts.

Great British Life:  Paradise found at JOALI Maldives. JOALI Paradise found at JOALI Maldives. JOALI

Jadugars, who are on call to ferry guests around the compact island, which has the longest jetty of over-the-sea villas of any Maldivian resort, are charged with knowing and enabling their wards' every desire and whim. Travellers receive questionnaires before they set out from home, asking myriad questions about everything from their shoe size to their taste in music and coffee.

This is opulence with a conscience. Paradise found.

* JOALI Maldives is planning a spectacular programme of entertainment and gastronomy for the festive season. While the jewel in the crown of the villas – the four-bedroom beach residence with pool, outdoor spa treatment, steam and sauna rooms, cabana, butler room, library, bespoke jadugar and valet service is already taken – there is some availability for Christmas and New Year, which will include gala dinners, a light spectacle and guest practitioners renowned Kung Fu master Sifu Aniket hosting a Spirit of Martial Arts masterclass, and culinary mastermind Chef Nina Tarasova who will present a festive dinner.

There will be gingerbread house-making, a Santa meet and greet, sustainable gardening, Japanese, Levantine and holiday cooking workshops, a coral jewellery masterclass, mini marine biology, stargazing, sound bowl healing and Maldivian language lessons.

JOALI BEING experiences include sleep-scape dreams dining, ghost net bracelet and perfume-making, festive ornament-crafting and natural healing garden workshops, together with involvement in the property's turtle rehabilitation and conservation sanctuary. Its global practitioners over the festive season are traditional Chinese medicine practitioner Dr Rachel Woo, human enhancement coach and Mr Universe finalist Sandro Thiara Mota, and UK plant-based chef Bettina Campolucci-Bordi.