AMILLA FUSHI, THE MALDIVES
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: amilla.mv; finolhu.com.