Dream Of Blue A dive into Hu­vafen Fushi

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents -

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

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