Seaside Finolhu in the Maldives, which re-opened on November 1, underwent an extreme makeover during the lockdown, courtesy of the award-winning Muza Lab design studio. This metamorphosis from a luxury island resort to a proud member of the exclusive Design Hotels portfolio is accurately called the ‘barefoot chic’ experience.
The Maldives has become a saviour destination for travellers who are feeling deprived of their freedom of movement in the face of unprecedented disruption this year. And rightly so! I mean who can resist its pristine beauty — azure waters, white sands, and a kaleidoscope of greens and blues untouched by humans. No wonder then that the Maldives is a hub for luxury resorts and hotels that revel in the islands’ vistas.
But the Seaside Finolhu Maldives stands out among them. In wanting to extend a new experience to its visitors, the resort has undergone a brilliant transformation that reflects in its villas, restaurants, wellness facilities, public areas, and sport and fitness activities, including a state-of-the-art indoor golf studio. Throughout the resort, this bold new design concept unveils a burst of colours inspired by the vivid shades of nature — the island’s stunning flora, fauna, sunsets, and seascapes. It marries the traditional Maldivian culture with a contemporary lifestyle, aptly termed as ‘barefoot chic’ by Marc Reader, Seaside Finolhu’s general manager.
From the style and comfort of its 125 villas (76 of which have private pools) to the international gastronomy and spa indulgences to the adventurous water sports — every aspect of Seaside Finolhu has been curated to reflect this philosophy, to cater to the discerning travellers. Even the interiors underline the intricate works by artisans from all around the world. It features chandeliers and wickerwork from South Africa, artistic tiles from Turkey, wooden craftwork from Java, all of which transform the villas, bars, restaurants, and fitness room beautifully, including the Oceaneers Kids Club.
Another grand highlight of the Seaside Finolhu is its exquisite beach bubble tent, which comes with its own shower and WC and is well-equipped with a wooden floor and a double bed. Gaze at the stars all night as the calming sounds of the ocean lull you to sleep.
Living up to its island playground philosophy, Seaside Finolhu provides guests with fun activities in the indoor and outdoor gym as well, featuring kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. And its new Dive Centre offers diving, snorkelling, and semi-submarine boat trips.
Finolhu, which translates to ‘sandbank’ in the local language, has also introduced a range of new concepts and names for its dining and spa facilities. Their all-day dining restaurant Beach Kitchen serves international fare during the day while bringing the resort’s culinary journey concept to life with destination-themed dining experiences each evening. The Arabian Grill serves up an exotic mélange of flavours, aromas, and decor from across the Middle East in a relaxed atmosphere. And Crab Shack is a rustic seafood grill that offers a real toes-in-the-sand dining experience on a secluded stretch of beach. For guests looking to grab a drink, the new Milk Lab serves a selection of refreshing milkshakes, protein drinks, and fresh coffee.
You can also indulge and satisfy your senses in the tranquil setting of the Fehi Spa (meaning ‘green’), which embraces the concepts of nature, purity, healing, and harmony. Their holistic treatments are designed to ensure spiritual rejuvenation via treatment rooms, saunas, steam room, plunge pool, and a hair and nail salon.
The underlying theme of Seaside Finolhu’s transformation is fun, and nowhere is this better personified than stellar musical and cultural performances or the exhilarating themes parties. And even if you’re looking for a fun change, then there is no better place than this.
All images: Courtesy Seaside Finolhu