Travel Associates' Brand Leader, Donna Grant, was recently invited to discover Club Med's magnificent new Finolhu Villas in the Maldives. We asked her to recount four sun-soaked days at the all-inclusive pioneer's new all-villa, eco-luxury experience.
Imagine your own private villa on a tiny Indian Ocean island; a place so pristine and peaceful that one could be forgiven for mistaking the scene for a fantastical, palm tree lined illusion. Lovingly perched along the shallow blue waters, the soft, white sand beaches and elegant beachside villas beckon. On first sight, it seems only a dream could conjure such idyllic settings.
Club Med's new all-inclusive Maldives experience is certainly no dream, although it may feel like it upon arrival. The Finolhu Villas, on the tiny island of Gasfinolhu is to resorts, what Matisse is to sculpture and painting - elegant, expressive, indulgent maybe, but in the most stylish and peaceful way.
The Glamorous Life
Located just 25 kilometres away from Male international Airport, the tiny, secluded island feels as though it's a world away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the inhabited world. Upon landing at Male International Airport, Donna was whisked away by speedboat for the 40 minute ride which transported her to Club Med's 5 hectare island paradise now known as the Finolhu Villas.
"Club Med has really outdone themselves this time," said Donna, "and although this is a luxury resort, it still has the same warm atmosphere Club Med is famous for. The island is stunning, and with three different styles of villas - beach front, overwater and overwater sunset - there's not a bad view to be found."
Each villa is decorated in attractive tones with splashes of tropical colours, and furnished with stylishly refined pieces befitting a five star island retreat. Be warned though, with a private plunge pool and sun deck, outdoor daybeds and direct access to the shallow blue ocean waters, guests may never want to leave. "One of the highlights of my trip was having breakfast delivered to my deck by the butler," Donna wistfully recalled. "Enjoying a delicious meal while overlooking the turquoise sea was a spectacular experience."
Adventures In Paradise
Speaking of food, Donna found Finolhu's restaurant superb, appreciating the restaurants focus on healthy, fresh produce and delicious flavours. When not enjoying the culinary delights, Donna enjoyed a bit of overwater adventure, trying her hand at jet skiing before relaxing with a swim in the warm ocean waters and winding down with elegant nightly entertainment. "If that isn't enough," Donna continued, "Finolhu guests have access to Club Med Kani which is just a 5 minute boat ride away." Kani activities include snorkelling, glass bottom kayaking, and for an additional cost, surfing and scuba diving.
All too soon the glorious three day visit came to an end and, although reluctant to leave the Maldives, Donna was thankful for the time spent in this idyllic paradise. "This is a great place for any Club Med enthusiast, and the perfect luxury island to come home to." Like any great masterpiece, this resort is one with many fine layers, each more enjoyable than the next.