With luxurious resorts popping up all over the Maldives, it’s easy to feel blasé about the hype, but Amilla Fushi deserves all the praise – even if only for its statement design. The resort certainly knows how to make its mark, along with its sister property, Finolhu, thanks to the team behind Huvafen Fushi in the North Malé Atoll, whose expertise helped to create this gleaming, sleek, ocean getaway.
On the edge of crystalline waters in the quieter Baa Atoll, minimalism meets the Maldives. Stepping straight from the seaplane, you will notice the lack of thatched roofs. Amilla Fushi has thrown the typical Maldives resort rulebook out of the window and opted for sleek lines, sculptural edges and the sort of whitewashed facades you would expect more from Santorini than the Indian Ocean. Its modernity felt a little incongruous at first and, although the design is not for everyone, it has already secured a dedicated repeat market.
Naturally the typical Maldivian ingredients are all there: eye-wateringly bright white beaches, a piercing blue lagoon and a thriving coral reef. The other great thing about Amilla Fushi is that it’s just a short speedboat journey from a number of other great resorts, so you can consider splitting a longer holiday between two hotels without having to get on an internal flight.
The resort has both over-water and on-island villas. And for those wanting complete seclusion – either groups of friends or families – there are a number of multi-bedroom residences. Despite the minimalism, the resort is surprisingly family-friendly, with in-villa babysitting and nanny services available. And you won’t hear children running around all day since they’ll be roaring around the village-sized Kids’ Club.
However, Amilla Fushi does seem to attract a very mixed crowd, which suggests that it either has global appeal, or that it hasn’t quite worked out its own identity. I think I would tend to the latter. There were families, couples, party people and honeymooners. But unlike other resorts they didn’t quite mix, which meant the resort felt slightly sterile and somewhat lacking in atmosphere. No one can accuse Amilla Fushi of not having style, but personality is important in a Maldivian resort and perhaps it needs a little more time to work out what that is.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Food & Beverage credit
- US$100 or equivalent credit to be used during your stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
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In terms of location, Amilla Fushi is relatively easy to get to – a mere 30-minute seaplane ride from Malé airport. Away from the busy north and south atolls, you won’t be disturbed by a boat or noisy plane traffic. After landing I was met by the manager, who introduced me to my butler, or katheeb. I was assisted at the seaplane check-in and whisked away on a golf buggy down the jetty to my Ocean Reef House.
Rooms and suites
Forget the usual Maldivian Crusoe escape, Amilla Fushi is not about thatched-roofed cottages and jungle charm but utter minimalism. With pristine coral reefs to distract and entertain on the doorstep, my spare Ocean Reef Villa made sense, almost acting as a frame for the real action.
At first, the stark lines and blazing-white facades felt out of place, with only polished wood floors adding warmth. After some time, though, I was a true convert and enjoyed this refreshing take on Maldivian luxury. These over-water residences are palatial at 250 square metres. Each over-water residence has its own freshwater pool with sun loungers, from where you can gaze out at an endless shimmering ocean. And if the beach wasn’t so seductive, I could have spent the whole time on the sunny deck, from where you can plunge straight into the sea below.
The California king-size bed, fit for a queen, had not one crinkle in its fresh cotton linen. And, in keeping with the high-design vibe, there were gadgets galore. Aside from the essentials – minibar and air conditioning – the villas had Bose surround-sound systems, iPads and docking stations as well as a 42-inch flat-screen television with satellite channels. Wi-Fi is complimentary (as it should be) and reliable throughout the resort. There was a laundry service at an extra cost but alas no dry-cleaning service.
The huge open-plan bathroom, in the back corner of the house, was spacious with an enormous freestanding bathtub. Around the bath area, mosaic tiles added a hint of character. Twin vanity units offered plenty of space while wood-framed mirrors were flatteringly backlit. Sockets sat next to the mirrors and were easily accessible when using the hairdryer, which was standard but good. There were also magnifying mirrors, should you need to get up close and personal.
There was a separate enclosed indoor shower behind the bed but I found the alfresco rain shower more refreshing. When it comes to beauty brands, Amilla Fushi keeps its fingers on the pulse with up–market Aesop lotions and soaps – the citrus riind body lotion was particularly cooling after a long day spent tanning.
Unless you shut yourself in the WC you won’t find much privacy in this supremely light and open-plan layout, so if you are travelling with a new friend rather than a long-term partner, you might want to give this some thought.
On the whole, Maldivian resorts are very good at identifying different dining locations within the small landmass they occupy but Amilla Fushi has been less imaginative. All the restaurants are clustered in one beachfront area, so although there seems plenty of choice, after a couple of days the venues get rather repetitive. The food is consistently good but then again that is par for the course in the Maldives.
If I had to choose one place for dinner it would be Feeling Koi. Regardless of the pun, nothing beats a table on the terrace looking out onto open water. The izakaya style is seriously good and the tapas-style plates mean you can try all sorts of dishes. I started with Maldivian yellowtail sushi and made my way through wagyu beef tacos and foie gras and oxtail gyoza (a rich but succulent combination). It all felt very indulgent but the small plate portions made it purely justifiable. Downstairs there’s a lounge where you can enjoy post-dinner drinks accompanied by a DJ set.
One rarity for the Maldives is the Emperor General Store, a delicatessen selling groceries, sandwiches and coffees for those wanting a more casual meal.
Other restaurant options
Foodies should keep an eye out for Amilla Fushi’s collaborations, such as Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street kitchen and bar – a New York loft-style eatery.
For a change of scenery, the resort is happy to book you in for dinner at one of the other hotels on the atoll, but this needs to be pre-arranged.
Spa and wellness
On the quiet north-eastern side of the island at the back of the beach, Amilla Fushi’s wellness area operates an easy-going walk-in policy. Technically no appointments are needed but in peak season booking ahead is essential. The spa aesthetic, like the accommodation, is sleek, clean lines and a touch of light wood.
Ten curved wooden pods sit serenely under the banyan trees. Treatments (which your butler can book for you) incorporate game-changing British brands such as īla that use gems and medicinal flowers in body wraps and scrubs. The Louise Galvin outpost offers vitamin detoxes that are good after days in the sea and pool.
There’s a small plunge pool with sauna and steam rooms facing the ocean – not that you’ll need them in the balmy tropical climate. The air-conditioned gym is spacious and offers up-to-date tech including TRX suspensions, free weights, cardio and weight machines and a power plate. Streams of light pour through the floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows and offer glorious beach views. The yoga pavilion is at the end of a jetty above the sea.
Fitness fanatics will be pleased to know there is a Bodyism café serving healthy treats such as acai bowls and organic coffee. The experts behind Bodyism offer comprehensive programmes for those who want to take it a step further, including healthy cuisine and bespoke personal training.
Pool and beach
The pool is a social hotspot, with people padding around and sinking into plush sun loungers on the decking or along the seafront. There is plenty of space between each set of loungers, so I never felt claustrophobic.
The poolside service is spotless, with bottles of still and sparkling water served frequently without having to ask. Forget white-collar service, it is all mercifully unpretentious.
The beaches dotted around the island are of brilliant-white sand edging extraordinarily azure waters. Amilla Fushi also offers a pretty comprehensive set of water sports: stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skis, ski bobs (underwater jet skiing), parasailing…the list goes on. For snorkelers and divers, manta ray season is from June to October, and if you’re lucky enough to visit at this time, a jaunt to Hanifaru Bay is a must for snorkeling with these majestic creatures in the phosphorous- blue water. The hotel also has its very own ‘Blue Hole’, where it’s possible to explore coral tunnels and shoals of exotic fish.
Set away from the Baazaar Bar by the pool, but not too far away to make you feel like a bad parent, the fantastic kids’ club is based on a mini Maldivian village. It even has a complimentary nanny service. Babysitting, however, is an extra cost.
Teens can burn off steam with endless water sports – tubing, banana boating or you can opt for a family package including a motorised water sport experience for an hour. On the island there’s also a palm-fringed football pitch and two floodlit tennis courts.
Staff and service
Unlike some resorts I have visited, Amilla Fushi felt warm and friendly. The staff have fantastic memories with a handy ability to read your mind and remember your drink order from day one. They struck the perfect balance between catering for your Maldivian dreams and creating a relaxed vibe. Nothing was too much trouble and the service was pre-emptive without the formality – the smiles felt genuine and heartfelt.
Amilla Fushi’s design tends to attract a real mix. Couples love the privacy of the rooms; friends love the party atmosphere of the pool area and the residences. Due to the kids’ club and easy ebb and flow, the resort is also perfect for families and it’s one of the only resorts that caters effortlessly for everyone. You won’t see a huge amount of glitz and glamour – just well-heeled (or flip-flopped) guests looking for a relaxed getaway. There’s a social vibe to the resort and everyone I encountered was generally very friendly and relaxed.
My departure at Amilla Fushi was one of the smoother experiences that I’ve had in the Maldives. The bill was settled swiftly, I was helped with my bags and, in moments, I was on my way.
How to get here
30 minutes by speedboat from Male International Airport
67 villas and residences