Dream Of Blue A dive into Huvafen Fushi
Let the glorious ocean be your playground, while you enjoy the island luxury of Huvafen Fushi. The wide azure horizon, endless sky, and hip Maldivian beats make for some kind of wonderful. By Natasha Kraal.
“Everybody loves the sunshine,” emotes DJ Ravin’s muse on Huvafen Fushi’s custom-compilation that we listened to years before actually experiencing this exquisite Maldivian A-list luxury resort. The decision to finally take that red-eye flight to this “dream island”, when translated in Dhivehi: a second honeymoon. We lived the dream through the music and were looking forward to loving the sunshine at this paradise of “naturally modern” designer bungalows and emerald lagoon waters. But rain it did, frequently, unseasonally, heavily, from the minute we took the 30-minute speedboat from Malé and almost throughout our stay. “The sunshine” became a state of mind.
But any resort dedicated to the art of sybaritic pleasure – this, a favourite of the stars from Kate Moss to George Clooney, and designers Stefano Gabbana and John Galliano – will know that with sun comes showers, hence the design of weather-friendly pursuits. The bungalows, whether facing ocean or beach, are an ultraluxe universe in themselves. Think stunning open spaces, with just enough sections, levels, and corners for different needs, be it sleeping, Jacuzzi-ing, reading, lounging or loving ... also, Frette linen, Bose surround sound, and Frank Gehry furniture.
Our Ocean Bungalow came complete with a mini plunge pool and a private three-level deck, a step away from snorkelling or swimming in the seraphic blue. How delightful to observe, from the glass-panelled bottom of our lounge, the ebb and flow of bounteous fish, coloured marine life, and the occasional reef shark inhabiting the magical underwater world below. We thought this was the bomb, until we viewed Kate Moss’ Ocean Pavilion at the tip of the island resort (she’s stayed eight times) where the huge lounge is glass-bottomed, and the entire villa positioned 200m out into the ocean for that complete one-with-nature living.
When the sun eventually burst out from behind the wet clouds, there was not only a miasma of marine life to discover – feeding stingrays on the western cove in the evenings or snorkelling over 100-feet deep corals, one of which we “adopted” – we also lazed on cabanas at the water’s edge, floated in salt pools, and swam into the breathtaking sunset in the gorgeous infinity pool.
And what’s sun and sea without a spot of spa? The award-winning Lime spa’s water treatment villas offer the most sensual experience as the world’s first underwater treatment space. Other-worldly calm pulsed from the skilful therapist’s fingers and bounced softly back from clear glass walls as I watched adorable tropical fish and graceful stingrays go serenely about their lives while I was massaged into total relaxation with island coconut, lime, and mineral salts. Here, I also discovered medical acupuncture, in the expert hands of Marissa Allen, in a special kind of healing facing the wide open sea.
Soul stroked into absolute bliss, next, something to nourish it. In keeping with nature and health, yet with contemporary cuisine sophistication, Raw offers a fresh and healthy Asian-tapas lunch. Open to the winds on both sides, ocean all around, it’s like a spa of food. Start with the beetroot and green tomato soup with goat’s cheese, move into butter squash gyoza with cashew herb ricotta, or carpaccio of avocado, reef fish, wild mushroom, and pomegranate. Many guests return daily for the Raw pizza or lasagna, in the most novel layers of crunchy vegetables between basil pistachio pesto. Not being drinkers we couldn’t make use of the glorious cavern that’s Vinum – a museum to wine – but we did enjoy rapturously every other dining experience. We loved the Maldivian-themed night with all the requisite curries from a cuisine flavoured by the Maldives’ ocean neighbours. And then, live sensual beats of local musicians to dance the night away. The ultimate dining moment had to be Salt, as close to Michelin-level dining as you’ll get anywhere in the Indian Ocean between Australia and Dubai, serving up perfectly executed luxe surf-and-turf dishes. Think Tasmanian oysters with creamed coconut and wasabi caviar; slipper lobster tail with sautéed watermelon and green pistachio powder; wild barramundi on butter celeriac and mushroom confit; and lamb loin served with sheep’s milk yoghurt, pumpkin, and smoky almond toffee!
One of two Per Aquum retreats in the Maldives (the other, Niyama, is the hip alternative) Huvafen Fushi is exactly the private paradise you would come back to over and over again. The convenience of getting there without the added journey of seaplane, which requires a night’s stay in Malé, is a plus. Then, the extraordinary experiences of a picnic on a private island; or a romantic dinner on the edge of an ocean reef, surrounded by flames; or a “Fluid” underwater massage on hydrothermal water cushions. All amazing, with or without the sunshine.
Huvafen Fushi, the Maldives
The Ocean Bungalow with its private deck