Oozing a fun, yet laidback, retro charm, Finolhu offers guests a refreshing twist on the standard Maldivian holiday. Yes, there are the stunning overwater villas, some with private plunge pools, and the requisite beach villas lining the white sand beaches but the devil’s in the detail and that’s what makes the difference at Finolhu. Here’s where you’ll find classic Marshall speakers in-room, a phone with a button for ‘Mojo service’ (or ‘concierge’ in regular hotel-speak), and hotel information printed on vintage postcards.
Located in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa atoll, a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male airport, Finolhu is the sister property of Amilla Fushi. Make no mistake – ‘sister property’ here doesn’t mean a cheaper, less classy version of Amilla Fushi. Both properties have their own distinct sense of style and cater to travellers with different needs and wants. At the heart of Finolhu is 1 Oak Beach Club, which includes the resort’s main restaurant, Baa Baa Beach Diner, with live cooking stations, and the poolside double-storey bar where the resident DJ spins throwback tunes during the day, and where classic movies and live sports coverages are screened alongside nightly entertainment, which include fire eaters, acrobats and stilt walkers.
Fun-loving couples and families will also appreciate Thunderball, the watersport and beach game hub on Finolhu’s Palm Beach, Marine HUB (Home of the Underwater Biosphere) for diving and snorkeling excursions, as well as the Oceaneers Club that offers a variety of activities for the young ones.
If it’s some ‘me time’ you’re after, head to The Cove Club, where a collection of Insta-worthy, pastel-coloured huts (named after Sixties divas like Cher) await you, and sign up for a facial or a body treatment, where you’ll even get to choose the type of music you’d like to listen to during your treatment.
Food options are nothing short of amazing at Finolhu, with a personal favourite being the Fish & Crab Shack. Located halfway along Finolhu’s spectacular 1.8km sandbar, you can either take a leisurely stroll to lunch, or hop on the boat shuttle that will take you to the rustic chic shack where tables are laid right on the sand, shoes optional – truly destination dining at its best. As its name suggests, order up platters of the freshest seafood, pails of succulent prawns and sip on some sauvignon blanc to your hearts content. Tables are limited, though, so be sure to hit ‘Mojo service’ on your room phone and make reservations in advance.
Another standout option is Baahaa Grill, for North African flavours – delicious cuts of meat and fresh seafood are grilled to order, and a must-try is the Algerian Bazela Bil Lahm, lamb, green peas and carrots slow-cooked to perfection in a tagine. If you’re looking for a midday snack or perhaps a pre-workout meal, head to the Milk Bar, an old-school tuck shop a stone’s throw away from The Cove Club, where you can order up fresh wraps, acai bowls and Bodyism shakes. Of course, a milk bar would be incomplete without coffee, ice cream and chocolates.
While the overwater villas may offer some stunning views come sundown, 1 Oak Beach Club is really where you want to be, so order up a cocktail or three while the music heats up — the party’s just about to get started.