Jamie Ndah heads to the Maldives’ Baa Atoll to experience some fun, sea and sand at the one-of-a-kind Finolhu resort
When you think of the Maldives, you picture pure white sandy beaches, glorious sunshine, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. In short, it’s pure utopia. The stunning backdrop of the Indian Ocean has made this destination a firm favourite with honeymooners and couples seeking their very own slice of paradise.
Finolhu is a unique beach resort, and like no other in the Maldives, as it not only offers guests peace, calm and tranquil surroundings, but it also caters for those seeking adventure, fun and a party atmosphere.
I recently attended the spectacular three-day launch opening of Finolhu, the latest offering from the Small Maldives Island Company who already have the successful launch of Amilla Fushi under their belt. And if Amilla Fushi is known as the elegant lady, then Finolhu is without a doubt her funky vibrant little sister. It is located within the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa Atoll, one of the 26 natural atolls in the Indian Ocean. Access to this heavenly kingdom is made possible from Dharavandhoo Domestic Airport followed by a short speedboat ride to the resort which takes approximately 30 minutes. There is also the option of a direct 40-minute seaplane ride from Malé.
When I arrived at Finolhu, I was greeted by a fabulous welcoming committee who proceeded to take my bags, offer me a cool refreshing cocktail and checked me in for the next few days on this blissful island. My first impression of Finolhu was beach chic, retro-feel with a touch of class and I couldn’t wait to explore this stylish resort further.
Finolhu has 125 villas spread across this wonderful outpost which is categorised by the ocean, the lagoon or by the beach and also comes with or without a pool. My home for the next few days was a gorgeous and serene 205 sqm Beach Pool Villa which consisted of a tropical garden and private beach access to the crystal clear lagoon. A spacious dining terrace, a generous freshwater pool and sun loungers promoted the rest and relaxation theme throughout.
This exquisite villa was also equipped with a divine 7ft x 7ft King size bed, a 40-inch flat screen smart TV, a vintage style Marshall sound system, complimentary Wi-Fi, a private wine cooler, mini bar, large separate bathroom with a standalone bathtub and indoor and outdoor showers fitted with rain shower options. This really was luxury taken to another level.
After freshening up and enjoying the world class rain shower on offer, it was off to enjoy sunset cocktails and canapes around the bonfire to open the night’s celebrations which were truly magical. Dinner that evening was served in the Baa Baa main dining area, where guests were treated to a variety of flavours and spices of cuisine from the Maldives.
Thereafter, it was on to the much anticipated “White Heat” party on the beach with an outstanding set by the legendary Cuban Brothers who’s energetic and pulsating performance of funk and soulful music mixed with jaw-dropping b-boy action and hilarious comedy really set the tone for the evening. They had the entire crowd in the palm of their hands.
The standout moment of the evening for me was when the Cuban Brothers had everyone singing and dancing to a memorable rendition of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”. With the added backdrop of stilt walkers, trapeze artists, magicians and fire eaters, this really was a sublime introduction to Finolhu, and I was already looking forward to the next instalment.
It was great to relax and explore further parts of this exclusive beach sanctuary where there is so much on offer. For the active traveller, there is Thunderball which is home to a variety of water sports, beach games, wake boarding, water skiing, snorkelling and much more, all situated on Palm Beach which boasts an astonishing 1.8km long lagoon. The Oceaneers Club is close to Baa Baa Beach Club which is ideal for young children through to teenagers with fun activities designed to suit the younger generation.
The Cove Club is a happening hub of fitness, exercise, massage and wellbeing for guests to utilise. I put myself through my paces at the gym and I can report that the facilities are excellent thanks to a variety of state-of-the-art equipment to choose from. There is also an outdoor Palm Beach gym for those who like to train alfresco too.
For guests who wish to simply rest and revitalise, there is a relaxation area overlooking the beach which comes complete with steam, sauna, wellness areas, salon and a retail pavilion. I also had the opportunity to test the brilliant tennis court facilities at Finolhu too with a one-hour tennis lesson courtesy of their excellent on-site tennis coach Tony Rajaobelina. I had a great and enjoyable tennis work-out session which I thoroughly recommend to all those tennis enthusiasts who wish to improve their game whilst on the island.