Finolhu is a retro-inspired island paradise in the Maldives that seamlessly blends glamorous charm with relaxed island living. Located in the UNESCO-declared world biosphere of Baa Atoll, Finolhu boasts vivid turquoise waters and pristine shallow lagoons full of colourful sea life. A spectacular 1.8km sandbar of pristine powdery-white sand enhances the island’s natural beauty, setting Finolhu apart from the other luxury resorts. Newly opened in June 2016, the resort strives to be vibrant, colourful and fun. The Maldives has always been a dream destination for us, and after finding an amazing Luxury Escapes package, we splurged and went on the holiday of a lifetime (with our toddler in tow)! Click here to view the latest Luxury Escapes package.
Finolhu can be reached by a short 30-minute seaplane flight from Malé. Finolhu staff looked after every aspect of our transfer so it was a breeze getting to the resort (read more about transfers in the Maldives here). Upon arrival at Malé International Airport, we were whisked away to the private Finolhu seaplane lounge. Here we enjoyed a coffee and some delectable pastries as we waited for our little seaplane. Our little one was happy in the lounge too, with a range of soft toys, blocks, colouring-in pencils and games to entertain him. The seaplane flight was definitely one of the highlight of our trip – providing a stunning way to see the spectacular atolls.
If the thought of travelling by seaplane terrifies you, there is an alternate route to reach Finolhu. You can take a 15-minute flight from Malé International Airport to Dharavandhoo Domestic Airport and then take a 20-minute speedboat ride to Finolhu.
As our seaplane landed on the crystal-clear water, we got our first glimpse of our beach club haven. I felt like a rockstar with so many staff waiting to welcome our little family to the resort. My little boy was gifted his very own Maldivian soft-toy turtle and we were introduced to our Mojo Manager, who was there to assist us with absolutely anything. We jumped onto a golf buggy and went on a tour of the island before heading to our Ocean Pool Villa.
The Ocean Pool Villa is simply spectacular! The 180m2 overwater villa offers direct access to the ocean and also has a freshwater infinity pool. Inspiration for the villa décor was drawn from the vibrant colours of the French Riviera, resulting in a playful but luxurious abode. The large outdoor sundeck is complete with sun loungers, day bed, rocking chairs and outdoor showers (yes, not one – but TWO outdoor showers!). The bathtub inside the villa features full ocean views and ornate lanterns give the villa a moorish touch.
The Lagoon Villa is also charming, offering a slightly smaller footprint (145 m2) with no private pool. These Bohemian-inspired overwater villas also have direct access to the ocean, a large outdoor sundeck with sun loungers, retro cane chairs and outdoor showers.
For those guests wanting direct beach access, Beach Villas and Beach Pool Villas are the perfect option. The 205m2 Beach Villas provide a tranquil sanctuary set in lavish tropical gardens. The turquoise lagoon and pristine sand is merely steps away from your moorish-inspired villa and outdoor dining terrace.
For the ultimate splurge, you can choose to stay in a two-bedroom Ocean Lagoon Pool Villa. This 460m2 overwater villa features a crisp white-wash palette with oversized pool, two master bedrooms, living room and a large outdoor terrace with sun loungers. If you stay in one of the villas at the end of the boardwalk, you even get your very own golf buggy to use during your stay!
With so many different types of villas at Finolhu, you can choose one to suit your style. When I think of a getaway to the Maldives I immediately dream of an overwater villa. For others, perhaps they desire a secluded stretch of beach that comes with the beach villas. The choice is yours and either way you will be immersed into a retro-inspired luxurious villa.
The atmosphere at Finolhu is fun! There really is no better way to describe it. Everything about the resort is a bit quirky and fun-loving, and many guests find this refreshing compared to the other luxury resorts of the Maldives. There is so much to do both in the day and at night – and you can choose to do everything or nothing at all.
Many of the villas at Finolhu offer a beautiful private infinity pool. We loved swimming in our private pool with our little boy, while gazing out to the azure-blue ocean and surrounds. The main pool is located adjacent to the 1 Oak beach club and features a swim-up bar and inflatable giant swans! Our little boy enjoyed swimming here as he could chat to other guests and play in the sand. There is also a children’s pool at the Kids Club, which offers a shallow wading pool and slide.
The Oceaneers Club at Finolhu is amazing! This kids club is designed as a mini-resort just for kids. The facilities are impressive, with a children’s pool and slide, a huge playground, cosy nap room with cots and beds and a free-play room with toys. The staff are so friendly and caring to your little ones. The Oceaneers Club usually caters to children aged 4 to 11, but we were ever-so-lucky and were told we could leave our little boy too, as there were not many kids on the island. The Oceaneers Club is open from 9am to 10pm daily – allowing parents some child-free time in the day as well as time to indulge in a romantic dinner for two at night.
Beach & Ocean
The beaches of Finolhu are simply breathtaking. I have never seen such fine powdery-white sand and turquoise waters. For those that enjoy long walks on the beach, the 1.8km sandbar is perfect. You may be lucky and see some reef sharks, dolphins or turtles as you stroll along.
Baa Atoll is home to some of the richest waters in the Maldives, and provides an unspoilt haven for marine life. We loved being able to jump straight into the ocean from our overwater villa and explore the colourful world under the sea. A plethora of brightly-coloured fish, manta rays, octopus and more welcomed us in the waters. Snorkelling on the ocean-side of the overwater villas offers more sea life amongst the reef – but the sea is a bit rough. For those wanting a more leisurely snorkel, the lagoon-side offers calmer waters. It was also reassuring to see the lifeguard cycle up and down the boardwalk to ensure guests are safe. Complimentary snorkelling gear is available to borrow during your stay at Finolhu and life jackets are provided in every villa.
Diving trips, excursions and water sports are also available at Finolhu. Enjoy a fiery sunset as you embark on a memorable sunset cruise around Baa Atoll, as part of the latest Luxury Escapes package (click here to view).
For those keen to stay fit while on holidays, Finolhu offers an impressive indoor and outdoor gym. Work out while taking in the glorious beach and lagoon views.
Yoga is also offered in a designated yoga and movement pavilion. I was fortunate to do a sunset yoga session on the beach, where we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
1 OAK Beach Club is perfect for unwinding with a drink and soaking up some sunshine. We enjoyed having a relaxed lunch while lazing on the day beds by the beach. By day, acrobats, mermaids and a stilt walker add to the fun vibe on the island and provide lunch-time entertainment. By night, the DJ comes out for a sophisticated beach club buzz. 1 OAK Finolhu hosts weekly retro pool parties, monthly Full Moon tribal sandbank events and special extravaganza events featuring the hottest DJs around.
You are spoilt for choice with dining options at Finolhu, with each restaurant having a distinct style and flavour.
The Baa Baa Beach Club is a beachfront restaurant that combines casual chic with a bit of fun. Someone had a bit of fun with ‘Baa’ from Baa Atoll – and the restaurant features a life-sized gold sheep! Enjoy a wide selection of local and international cuisines from live cooking stations at the breakfast buffet. A section of the breakfast buffet is designed especially for the Oceaneers (kids) and has kid-sized muffins, fruit skewers, house-made muesli bars and more.
A lunch buffet and dinner buffet is also offered daily at Baa Baa Beach Club – with a different theme for dinner every night.
Baahaa Grill is an intimate candlelit dining venue, with flavours inspired from pre-Moorish North Africa. The food was divine, the presentation was spectacular and the service was excellent. I would highly recommend the Mezze for 2 (entrée), grilled calamari or grilled riverine grain fed beef striploin (main), and the warm sticky medjool pudding with rose petal ice cream (dessert). We loved the Baahaa Grill so much that we ate here almost every night of our stay at Finolhu.
No stay at Finolhu would be complete without a long lunch at the Fish & Crab Shack. Located halfway along the pristine sandbar, the Fish & Crab Shack is a rustic oasis of tasty seafood. Our little boy loved the Dhoni boat ride to get there. We enjoyed a Jaffna style Sri Lankan Mud Crab curry, and the staff were great at making something tasty for our little one to eat.
Kanusan offers classic Asian flavours with a special twist. The restaurant design is surreal – situated over the water with sweeping views of the sea.
Finolhu also has a Milk Bar which is an old-school tuck shop with healthy (and not-so-healthy) snacks and treats.
The staff at Finolhu are a real asset to the resort. We experienced outstanding service by the food and beverage staff at all of the restaurants. Everyone knew our little boy’s name and would come and play games with him, take him for a walk and fetch him special treats. If he was sleeping in the pram during a meal, our favourite waitress would even walk around with the pram so we could eat in peace!
The Cove Club is a chilled out retro spot with pastel-coloured beach houses that serve as spa treatment rooms. Each little chandelier-lit beach house offers the perfect place to unwind and relax. A cucumber and mint drink is given to you while you choose what music you would like to chill out to during your massage.
We experienced the jet-lag treatment – a massage therapy with dynamic stretching and targeted massage strokes. The massage itself was rejuvenating, but the highlight of my spa trip was discovering The Cove Club relaxation area. As I stepped out of the change room, I found myself entering a private sanctuary – complete with full beach views, daybed, outdoor shower, sauna, steam room and mini sunken plunge pool. Not a single soul was in sight and it was oh-so tranquil.
LITTLE LUXE TRAVELLER TIPS
- We booked our stay at Finolhu through an amazing Luxury Escapes deal (view current deal here). I would definitely recommend an all-inclusive package for your stay at Finolhu, so that you can enjoy all of the wonderful dining options without worrying about the cost. As part of our package we also had 1 x spa treatment each, nightly cocktails/mocktails, complimentary yoga and non-motorised water sports plus more.
- There are two types of overwater villas at Finolhu – Ocean Pool Villas and Lagoon Villas. The Ocean Pool Villas are located on the ocean-side of the boardwalk and offer stunning sunset views. The snorkelling is more impressive on the ocean-side but the water is a bit rough. The Lagoon Villas face the lagoon and offer sunrise views. The water is calmer and the villas do not have a pool.
- Be sure to make a reservation in advance to dine at Baahaa Grill or the Fish & Crab Shack. We made all of our bookings on the first day, to ensure we got bookings at the time we wanted.
- If you have young children and choose to stay in an overwater villa, make sure that their safety is your number one priority. We travelled with our Phil & Teds travel cot and used it as a playpen on the deck while sitting outside, to ensure our little boy was safe. We also bought him a little life jacket that we put on him when walking on the boardwalk.
- Finolhu has its own island time which is two hours ahead of Malé. This is done to maximise sunlight hours and we found it actually worked really well with a baby.
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear from you.
You can find out more about Finolhu here.