An adults-only par­adise

Watch the magic of the Mal­dives un­fold from in­side an ul­tra-lux­u­ri­ous over­wa­ter villa at Club Med.

Sunday Star-Times - - ESCAPE -

From the lap pool we can see baby sharks and ea­gle rays glide by. We’re in an over­wa­ter villa so big it’s al­most the size of the av­er­age New Zealand house.

A glass of Cham­pagne and nib­bles are float­ing next to us on a spe­cial buoy­ant plat­ter. In­side, the butler is run­ning a bub­ble bath.

Is this a dream? No, we’re at Club Med Fi­nolhu Vil­las, in the Mal­dives. It’s a su­per-chic and re­cently opened adults-only par­adise, a 40-minute speed boat trip from the coun­try’s main air­port at Male.

While most Club Meds are fam­i­ly­ori­ented ac­tion-packed af­fairs, the re­sort chain has also been de­vel­op­ing an ul­tra-lux­u­ri­ous set of prop­er­ties. Fi­nolhu Vil­las is its flag­ship. The star at­trac­tion is the 30 over­wa­ter vil­las that form a grad­ual arch on the south end of the is­land.

The vil­las are jaw-drop­pingly op­u­lent. The two-per­son gran­ite bath is shaped like a gi­ant egg, there’s Cham­pagne chill­ing in the lounge – and an on-call butler ready to at­tend to your ev­ery whim (in­clud­ing break­fast in bed).

But it gets even bet­ter when you step out to the bal­cony. From the lap pool, you can re­lax (with your float­ing plat­form of snacks) and watch the magic of the Mal­dives un­fold. Our first sight was an ea­gle ray pass­ing by, then a puffer­fish, fol­lowed by small sharks, and more ea­gle rays.

Did I just men­tion the S word? Yes, on most is­lands in the Mal­dives you’ll find dozens of baby reef sharks. They are not the slight­est bit in­ter­ested in hu­mans, and while you can eas­ily see them from the shore it’s harder to spot them in the wa­ter be­cause of their timid na­ture.

The over­wa­ter restau­rant, at the other end of the tiny is­land, is just as spec­tac­u­lar as the rooms. The cen­tre­piece is a glass-bot­tom bar where you can en­joy un­lim­ited drinks and watch the fish be­low (it’s Club Med af­ter all – and ev­ery­thing is un­lim­ited!)

The chefs are French trained, and while we thought the food was some of the best we’ve ever eaten – I’ll leave it in the hands of the ex­perts.

Din­ing next to us was a judge from the hit Aus­tralian cook­ing show My Kitchen Rules, who raved about the food on so­cial me­dia.

If the peace and tran­quil­ity gets too much (hint: it doesn’t) you can al­ways catch a boat to the neigh­bour­ing Club Med Kani for wa­ter sports and party nights.

Fi­nolhu takes a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach; you’ll be treated to ac­tiv­i­ties at a much more gen­tle pace like cin­ema un­der the stars with bean­bags, pop­corn and drinks on the beach.

There’s also mag­nif­i­cent snorkellin­g a short boat trip away where you’ll see more fish than you thought pos­si­ble, along with tur­tles, mo­ray eels and if you’re lucky: gi­ant man­taray.

That’s, of course, if you ever want to leave your villa – where the sea life, in­cred­i­ble food and drink come right to you.

The writer stayed cour­tesy of Club Med Fi­nolhu.

Last year Brook Sabin and his part­ner Radha Engling quit their jobs and sold ev­ery­thing to travel. Each week Ki­wis in Flight takes you on their ad­ven­tures. See

Adding to the lux­ury is a bath that over­looks the ocean.

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