The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION TRAVEL -

The Mal­dives was once a haven for honey­moon­ers, but “there’s been a sig­nif­i­cant shift from loved-up cou­ples to the high-end fam­ily mar­ket”, says Michael Flynn, chair and founder of The Small Mal­dives Is­land, which owns Amilla Fushi, a re­sort on Baa Atoll, 30 min­utes by sea­plane from Male’s Ibrahim Nasir air­port.

Amilla Fushi fea­tures large vil­las as well as more main­stream re­sort-style ac­com­mo­da­tion, in­clud­ing over­wa­ter con­fig­u­ra­tions with la­goon ac­cess and deck pools. “But fam­i­lies want to stay un­der one roof ... and have a high-end hol­i­day villa ex­pe­ri­ence,” Flynn says.

Amilla Fushi touts it­self as “a home away from home”, but with its res­i­dent ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist, de­sign mag­a­zinewor­thy in­te­ri­ors and high ra­tio of staff to guests, this isn’t like any home we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced.

Baa Atoll is a World Bio­sphere Re­serve, mean­ing it’s a pro­tected ma­rine haven rich in soft and hard co­ral, reef fish, manta rays, tur­tles and other un­der­wa­ter life. AND SO TO BED: There are six four-bed­room Villa Res­i­dences, in­clud­ing gar­den-level and up­per-storey guest suites, beach court­yard, din­ing deck and staff quar­ters. The Amilla Villa Es­tate boasts six bed­rooms, while the Great Beach Villa is the largest, with eight bed­rooms. VIBE: All vil­las are sleek, cool and con­tem­po­rary and, given the lo­ca­tion, each has a beachy, re­laxed am­bi­ence. There are neu­tral colours, pol­ished teak­wood floors and glass walls that open to sand and sea. At­ten­tion to de­tail and fam­ily-friendly fa­cil­i­ties such as a kids’ club are an at­trac­tive draw­card for the grow­ing mar­ket of (mostly Aus­tralian) hol­i­day-mak­ers. DIN­ING: Each villa has a kitchen and katheeb (but­ler) on hand to pre­pare meals in-house but there are plenty of re­sort din­ing op­tions along sandy paths, in­clud­ing Baazaar over­look­ing the in­fin­ity pool, which en­com­passes re­laxed eater­ies such as Joe’s Pizza, Fresh, Fish & Chips, Grill and Wok. A re­cently opened Ja­panese restau­rant, Feeling Koi, sits on stilts high above the la­goon. The Wine Shop and Cel­lar Door houses a deli and more than 250 la­bels from across the world. HIGHLIGHTS: If tur­tles and dol­phins swim­ming by the house reef aren’t enough, there’s world-class div­ing on Amilla’s doorstep, run by Dive But­ler In­ter­na­tional, and Han­i­faru Bay, a manta ray and whale shark hot spot, is a 10-minute speed­boat ride away. TIP: In­ter­na­tional mu­sic lounge fran­chise 1 OAK will open at Fi­nolhu Baa Atoll Mal­dives, the nearby sis­ter is­land “party” re­sort to Amilla Fushi, this year. More:; fi­

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