Check it out: Finolhu, Baa Atoll, Maldives
It’s back to the glamorous Baja beach days of the 1960s for this new all-villa resort in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa Atoll in The Maldives. Located 30 minutes by speedboat from sister property Amilla Fushi (and a 30-minute sea plane ride from Male), the just-opened Finolhu features 125 villas (many overwater and more than half with private pools) arrayed by beach and lagoon on a pristine atoll claiming a 1.8km-long snow-white sand bank and impossibly blue waters.
The mood is retro beach party with a double-height club hosting classic movies, demode arcade games and a lively entertainment program featuring DJs, weekly pool parties and monthly full moon knees-up on the sand bar.
The resort is not just for the “beach-erati” however; families are catered for as well with a kids club and schedule of teen activities, including all manner of watersports, games and cooking classes.
The Marine Hub features an underwater biosphere and offers diving, snorkelling and guided ocean excursions. The room inventory encompasses 41 overwater lagoon villas with direct ocean access, 41 overwater ocean villas with private freshwater 6m swimming pools as well as one and two-bedroom beach digs with private pools.
Expect king beds, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, flat screen TV with satellite channels, free high-speed Wi-Fi, unguents from Britain’s popular Neal’s Yard Remedies and, in keeping with the retro vibe, vintage-style Marshall speakers.
DON’T MISS: Kicking back in the groovy Cove Club with fitness centre, beach gym and 10 “treatment divans”, each celebrating a diva of the 60s or 70s.
DINING IN AND OUT: Executive chef Nishantha Parana oversees the signature Kanusan, located on the tip of the island with wonderful Indian Ocean views and an overwater bar. The Asian kitchen dishes up dumplings, noodles, laksas, curries and stir fries. Try the abalone with Asian leaves or fried softshell crab with green mango salad. In the Baahaa Grill, chefs deliver the spice blends of North Africa, perhaps a Libyan fish tagine or mezze platter. The resort’s old-fashioned milk bar specialises in healthy snacks.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Swim, stroll or jump a classic Maldivian dhoni boat to that long and lovely sand bank where you’ll find the rustic Fish & Crab Shack; settle in beneath the coconut palms with a bucket of prawns and glass of rose.
CHECKING IN: Villas from $US750 ($990). Full board meal plans $US120 a day; half board, $US70.