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 magazine-worthy 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.

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