Finolhu is the place to live it up. A party island that delivers on all levels. Forget Club 55: The Fish and Crab Shack is the new top beach restaurant in the world, halfway down a staggeringly beautiful tail of white sand spearing nearly two kilometres into the Indian Ocean. Here you’ll find litres of delicious pink wine and soft-shell-crab tacos delivered by the metre. Staff are funny, charming and top-brass, filtered from other best hotels in the zone such as Reethi Rah. The main hangout is the Baa Baa Beach Club, part Ibiza, Thunderbirds and Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii. There’s a swim-up DJ bar, a VW Kombi van serving burgers and sushi, Pac-Man and Baywatch pinball machines, and a cinema showing classics from James Bond to Rocky. The beats begin at lunch and flow into the afternoon pool party: inflatable flamingos, mermaid acrobat performers and volleyball on the sand. There’s Sixties music at 6pm, Seventies at 7pm and Eighties at 8pm before the pace steps up with live bands, fire-eaters, contortionists and stilt-walkers.
If guests do fancy some shut-eye, there are 93 over-water villas and 32 on the beach, some facing reef-protected calm waters, the rest with pools. Rooms are smart and fun: rattan furniture, Moroccan-style lanterns, Marshall speaker unit and record player to play original Diana Ross LPs. Food is sensational, from mezzes and shisha pipes at North African restaurant Baahaa; char-siu pork belly with crispy aubergine and roast duck with truffle miso at Cantonese joint Kanusan. Downtime and detox is at The Cove Club, with its jungle gym, basketball and tennis courts, and the Milk Bar serves flat whites, protein shakes and açai bowls. Even the spa is sociable – sip Martinis on the deck while having a mini massage or a mani-pedi. Despite its party image, Finolhu is not to be underestimated. An instant professional, it delivers on high energy brilliance without forgetting to get rooms, service and food pitch-perfect. MJC
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