Planning a birthday trip? Consider this stunning resort in the Maldives
Sun, sand, and sea for miles
There's something about the Maldives that's slightly surreal. Flying over crystal clear turquoise waters, dotted with multiple ring-shaped atolls, the whitest sand banks with waves crashing around them, and dark blue outlines of the reefs below—then suddenly a collection of white-washed villas, each with their own swimming pool comes into sight. Stark white juxtaposed against different shades of blue—this has to be my favourite colour combination, especially on a holiday.
Located in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Amilla Fushi is just a 30-minute seaplane ride away from Malé airport. Adopting a home-away-from-home concept, Amilla Fushi does away with the traditional Maldivian design codes and instead opts for a luxe, contemporary, Miami-meets-Maldives style. The resort offers a range of just 59 homes that either sit over crystal clear waters, dot the coastline, or are nestled in treetops (yes, Amilla also offers treehouses), as well as eight 4- to 8-bedroom Beach Residences, great for large families and groups of friends.
Private butlers or katheebs, cater to your every need, whether it's for booking a massage at Javvu Spa (you can't leave the island without some pampering at the spa), getting prime seats to catch the sunset from 1 Oak bar, or making reservations for water sports activities. Given its prime location, Amilla has a house reef teeming with marine life that's amazing even if you're just snorkeling—the Ocean Homes enjoy direct access to the reef, or head slightly further out to the popular dive site, Blue Hole, where you might spot Hawksbills turtles or the resident Guitar shark if you're lucky. Partnering with Dive Butler International to create Home of the Underwater Biosphere (HUB), divers will be treated to a luxury dive experience like no other—think ultra-spacious dive boat, warm towels handed to you after diving, and lunch served in bento boxes—while non-divers have a range of motorised and non-motorised watersports, including paddle boards, at their disposable.
Food options are aplenty at Amilla; there's a modern Japanese overwater restaurant called Feeling Koi, a classic British Fish and Chip Shop, the casual Joe's Pizza where you can laze on loungers and enjoy warm pizza fresh out of the oven, and three more restaurants Wok, Fresh, and Grill, that all make up the foodie hub called Baazar. Closer to HUB, is the Emperor Beach Club that offers a sumptuous lunch buffet, alongside a general store and a wine shop. If privacy is what you're after, all restaurants on the island also offer free home delivery service, and if you're staying at one of the Residences, there's a personal chef available.
What I found to be quite a gem, though, was Bodyism's Clean and Lean café situated on the other side of the island, a leisurely cycle (each house has their own bicycles) past the tennis courts, and a stone's throw from where Javvu Spa and the gym are located. With its idyllic, rustic chic setting, here's where you'll find healthy options like raw pea mint soup, Maldivian reef fish sashimi, energy balls, acai berry bowls, and vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free desserts, all created based on James Duigan's Clean and Lean philosophy. Wellness programmes are also offered at Amilla in partnership with Bodyism where guests can enjoy a personalised experience created by the Bodyism Performance Specialists. Post-lunch at the Clean and Lean café, nearby hammocks beckon for a snooze in the shade of the trees, which also make a picturesque backdrop if you decide to opt for a photoshoot with the resident photographer.
With so much to offer, Amilla is indulgent without being over-the-top, and a makes for a lush home-away-from-home that's the epitome of island living. Now, to buy one of those Residences...a girl can dream.