Retro Beach Chic in Finolhu
The Maldives, an archipelago of miniature, picture-perfect islands, keys, and atolls, is home to some of the most heart-stopping, book-your-vacation-now beach resorts in the world. It’s amarket crowded with excellence, where unbelievably beautiful villas, huts, and hotels perch on the edge of golden beaches and glistening, aquamarine waters. Into this competitive world of high-end oceanic elegancestepsFinolhu, a luxury beach resort with a resolutely retro vibe. It’s a 21st-century development, but the atmosphere feels like a return to an earlier, halcyon era of island vacations.
Located on the compact Baa Atoll near the port island of Hithaadhoo, Finolhu is a relative newcomer to the scene. It opened in the summer of 2016, created by The Small Maldives Island Co., the team behind AmillaFushi. This isn’t your typical Maldives beach destination, though. Far from blending in with the crowd of vacation villas in the island nation, this resort opened with a distinct sense of trend-bucking. While Finolhu is undeniably ultramodern in its facilities and accommodation, the ambience is irresistibly timeless.
You’ll experience this atmosphere in its seven different styles of villa, which are laid out to follow the curve of the long, thin island. Choose a hut on the beach, out on the water, or by the lagoon, either with or without a swimming pool. Each house is decorated immaculately and eclectically, with an eye on keeping things ageless. Straw roofs, wooden feature beams, and bold colors hark back to a different era of beach villas, recalling the international travel boom of the mid-20th century. The chic, playful stylings belie the wealth of modern features in the villas. Expect organic body products stocked in every sleek bathroom, plus the latest in Hi-Fi and Wi-Fi.
Relax and Revitalize
If the private areas are appealingly styled like the beach huts of the 1960s and 70s, then the communal spaces only double down on this aesthetic. Spa and wellbeing center The Cove continues the retro revival, with pastel-colored huts inviting visitors to unwind beneath the experienced palms of masseurs and therapists. Each hut celebrates an iconic diva from the era. The Cove also features hair salons for men and women, as well as saunas, beauty parlors, and yoga areas for a holistic approach to ensuring your wellbeing while you’re staying in Finolhu.
The whole atoll contributes to this feeling of revitalization, thanks, in part, to the effortlessly laid-back ambience. Palm trees and calm waters are the natural charms of the island, but the manmade additions only enhance the chilled-out atmosphere. Take one of its dining destinations, the Fish & Crab Shack, where the service is quick but the pace of life is glacial. Sit back, feast on perfectly prepared shellfish, and watch the crystalline waters of the lagoon lap against the sand. Foodies will fall hard for Finolhu – acclaimed chef Luke Mangan oversees the dining on the island, with restaurants serving Australian barbecue, Asian fusion and more.
Cocktails are always in plentiful supply, served in the Baa BaaBeach Club while you dance to popular DJs at themed parties. 1 Oak Beach Club is situated in the heart of the island, offering an exhaustive array of evening activities. The cinema here screens, you guessed it, classic movies (as well as the occasional major sporting event), and a gaming arcade promises an entertaining nostalgia trip for anyone with fond memories of Pacman. You may not want to leave your luxurious villa and that’s cool, too. Simply order in cocktails and watch the sunsetting over the sea from your private balcony.
When you do want to pick up the pace a little bit and experience some high-speed thrills, Finolhu offers some very 21st-century options. There’s nothing retro about jet-skiing, wakeboarding or wind-surfing. The Marine HUB on the island also offers dive trips for intrepid underwater explorers; the Baa Atoll is a UNESCO-protected biosphere, teeming with diverse sea life. Of course, Finolhu never truly leaves its love for the past behind – one of the HUB highlights is taking a sailing excursion on a traditional sailing boat, the Sloop John B.
Children are more than welcome in this relaxed resort. The Oceaneers Club is tailored to kids, with a range of activities to suit their particular tastes. There are pools with water slides, cooking classes for future chefs, and craft activities for the creative kids. Older children can even don a snorkel and goggles for a trip into the lagoon, where they can experience the wonderful underwater world of the Indian Ocean.