I thought I had cornered the market on desert islands having sailed up the Great Barrier Reef and then across the South Pacific for two years. Magical islands surrounded by white crescents of powder sand melding into cerulean waters such as Bora-Bora and Samoa, Tonga and Fiji back to the Australian gems of the greatest reef on earth. I have loved the islands of the Indian Ocean which have their own charm as do the myriad of their calypso cousins in the Caribbean, not to leave out the wild beauty of the East coast of Africa with the exotic spice island of Zanzibar with the tiny jewel of Mnemba, the rugged beauty of Vamizi and the Azuras of Quirimbas and Bazaruto… Where else on earth could match up?
Welcome to a late discovery in life and the beginning of a true love affair with the Maldives. I knew when I saw Amilla Fushi for the first time why I had waited. There are plenty of new kids on the block but few of such contemporary beauty, fun and chicness and as they approached their first birthday on the 22 November post the celebration of mine two days earlier, I knew destiny had a hand in this discovery. Also I was surprised at the beautiful weather in November and being just out of season there weren’t too many people.
Now everybody has their favorite islands in the Maldives and I have been lucky to have the opportunity to visit the iconic Soneva Fushi and one of the grand-dames of the Maldives – Four Seasons Landaa. Both are very picturesque in their own right but the comfort and the chic elegance at Amilla Fushi is second to none. With a romantic edge, cool clean lines and the melding of an azure pool with cerulean and aquamarine seas it offers something for even the most discerning traveler. Indeed there must be a reason why key General Managers from Reethi Rah and Soneva Fushi are both here.
My concept of a perfect Maldivian hideaway is intimate individual style and Amilla Fushi is just that, cool but warm, cutting edge lines blending in with lush and soaring ageless coconut palms, majestic banyan trees, flowers and tree houses poking out of verdant foliage to the sky. For the beach lover, cool beach houses with beautiful pools lead down to powder soft sandy beaches and turquoise seas, framed by emerald coconut palms along with their larger sisters The Residences which grace the beach on the sunset side of the island.
For the real explosion of Fifty Shades of Blue you have to chill in their amazing over water Ocean Reef Villas. Stunning white suites with pools and stairs dropping into the turquoise waters make you feel as it you are on the most glamorous yacht in the world with the dreamiest view possible melding limpid sea with that huge blue sky. Drift off at night in the most comfortable bed with the sea lapping outside, a perfect way to lull the soul into dreamless sleep. If light does not bother you wake with the sun to a cloudless deep cobalt sky and slip into your pool with a cup of coffee from the complimentary Nespresso team and coffee machines before waking down to wriggle your feet in the sand whist being spoiled for choice a their wonderful breakfast offering in The Bazaar.
What a great concept in dining. Four great dining areas all overlooking their beautiful pool and the palms, Grill, Fish &Chips, Joe’s pizza and Wok. One night we dined under the stars on sharing platters of freshly grilled lamb, wagu beef, chicken, king prawns, langoustines, lobster and fresh reef fish all simply grilled and served with delicious salad and vegetables. Another was an explosion of taste in Lonu meaning’salt’ In Maldivian. Perched out on the dock under the eponymous Sunset Bar we sat listening to the waves lapping under us watching the incredible colors streak the sky. A sumptuous feast followed – marinated Kingclip, goujons of foie gras, tempura prawns, fresh mushroom ravioli with truffles and seared filet all washed down with a wonderful white burgundy and Pinot Noir – what a triumph.
Cheese and wine pairing in their wine cellar behind their Beach Club was also a delight whilst The Emperor General Store both a deli and cafe, sells fresh fruit, vegetables, cold meats, deli produce and bakery items. Joe’s Pizza was a perfect choice one lunch with a glass of chilled wine and the Fish & Chip Shop with the chips in a paper cone was brilliant completed with designer mushy peas. The batter was so light it dissolved in your mouth and the fish so flaky and fresh that it melted into nothing – absolute heaven.
I had breakfast by my (spacious two bedroom/ two bathroom) beach home pool one morning – impeccably served bacon and eggs served piping hot whilst the sea lapped on white sand and palms vent their emerald fronds into the water. It really was something out of Robinson Crusoe but with a beautiful clean and modern feel to all the decor. The second bedroom can easily sleep four with the sleeping configuration making this super value for families.
What is there to do?
I nicknamed the beach literally outside the Spa ‘tranquillity beach’. There I whiled away an-afternoon drifting in and out of my post massage bliss. I loved sitting having a glass of champagne listening to their amazing music and singer as a the sunset blood red into a shimmering seascape. Sunset Bar, Beach Club, the manager’s cocktail night on the beach, Yanni the Mixologist creating wonderful cocktails served with delicious canapes.
There is pretty well everything you need here to entertain yourself or your family including a complimentary Kid’s Club, a state of the art gym, tennis courts, a games room, beach club, boats of most sizes, water sports, the spa, a dive center and a type of submarine pod for those wishing to see the underwater marvels but not dive – need I say more…?
So as the seaplane drops you off into the setting sun let your cares slip away and settle down to spend some magical days in paradise.
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