Amilla Fushi is on Baa Atoll, a 25-minute flight from Malé. As with many Maldivian resorts, there’s plenty of pristine beaches, coconut groves and a beautiful and lively reef, but there the similarities end. Amilla Fushi opened in March 2014 and is a contemporary take on Maldives living, it is full of personality. Rooms are dubbed houses: instead of being welcomed to the resort you are welcomed ‘home’, there’s even a fish and chip shop if you crave some English food. You shouldn’t – the food here is great.
The heart of the resort is around the infinity pool – the longest in the Maldives. Here you’ve got bars and restaurants, a long white beach with cushion loungers, a jetty out to the dive school, the kids club and the water sports centre. There’s a general store if you forget anything from home. All of the staff speak good English, you can order drinks, snacks and ice cream and soak up the sun.
The ‘house reef’ sits at one end of the beach; borrow a snorkel and fins and head out to the coral. You can, of course, dive too. Dive Butler International provide one to one tuition with a local guide and a PADI qualified instructor.
Rooms come in the form of beach or over-water houses. The smallest resort room is a single bedroom lagoon house, the largest a two-bedroom beach house. Each room is decorated in simple, cool whites, greys, blues and greens. There are also tree houses built high up in the tree line; more on these later. If you’re looking for more space or privacy, head over to the residences; a small gated community of houses which are used by the well-healed and famous. Kate Winslet visited en famille and loved them.
What’s on offer
The spa has coconut and almond trees to one side and the ocean front to the other. The large open reception area has comfortable sofas. Every guest is entitled to one 50-minute treatment gratis. Each of the 10 treatment pods are wood clad so merge into the trees and leaves. There’s a bathroom, shower, deck area and either a sauna or steam room in each treatment room – they’re set up with two beds too, so you can spa with your loved one.
There are male and female thermal facilities with a vibrant green-lit steam room, a traditional wooden sauna and an unheated plunge pool. These areas look out over the beach and the multi-coloured ocean. There are also two hammams, one for men and one for women.
The gym has cardio and weights machines looking out over the beach view, as does the Bodyism private training room. Bodyism is a system of exercise and diet to lose weight, aiming for a ‘long and lean’ body. HQ is in London’s Notting Hill. The glass-walled studio at Amilla has all the equipment for a Bodyism ‘movement’ session: think medicine balls, TRX and resistance bands. James, the Bodyism performance specialist we trained with was positive, helpful and very knowledgeable.
If you visit Amilla Fushi looking for a healthy break, the Wellness Treehouses by Bodyism will give your own private spa-space where you can eat, swim, train and sleep high above the world. The private houses are raised 12-feet into the air with trees growing around the structure. There’s a master bedroom, lounge, bathroom and treatment room inside. Outside there’s a sun deck, infinity pool and training area. The mini-bar is stripped of alcohol, and clean and lean snacks are delivered twice a day. Your Bodyism trainer will offer a consultation when you arrive and work through your movement sessions each day.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the ila Couples Connect treatment (120 minutes, $400), a Pure Face Massage (50 minutes, $155) and a QMS facial (50 minutes, $155).
The ila Couples Connect is a ritual to enjoy with your partner. Our therapists met us at reception and took us to our treatment room. My therapist, Asih, told us to spend the treatment thinking about each other and explained our therapists would spend the time wishing us a long life together. Cute!
The treatment started with a body scrub using Himalayan sea salt. Asih used an oil on my skin and then gently rubbed in the salt. I stepped outside to the open air shower to rinse off, then settled back for the next step of the treatment; a gentle kundalini massage. Asih used her hands and hot herb poultices to gently and rhythmically massage my body. Unusually, she often used just the gentlest touch on different areas of my spine rather than constant contact. It was so relaxing I caught myself falling asleep…
The final part of the treatment was Shiodhara. Asih cleansed and massaged my face, then poured warm oil over my forehead, or 'third eye'. The oil trickled into my hair which she massaged into my scalp. It was one of the most tranquil treatments I’ve ever had.
All the spa's brands offer a ‘results driven’ element. The Pure Facial Massage was a god-send for sun-parched skin and the QMS facial left my skin looking radiant.
The food at Amilla Fushi stands out both in choice and quality. The Bazaar is the island's social hub: here you’ll find the Fish and Chips shop, Joe’s Pizzeria, Bazaar Wok and Bazaar Grill. Lonu by Luke Mangan offers fine dining at the end of a long pontoon. The restaurant and bar overlook the sunsetpoint: perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail.
The Emperor General Store serves as both convenience shop and a light lunch spot. Choose from freshly made salads, grills sharing platters and desserts. As part of the wellness concept with Bodyism, the spa coffee shop serves Clean and Lean meals. There’s also a healthy table at breakfast and you can order coffee and protein packed smoothies around the island.
Who would like it?
• Health and fitness enthusiasts. Wellness seeps through every element of Amilla Fushi from the treehouses to the Clean and Lean coffee (it’s not bad). Bodyism personal training while looking over a beach makes exercising a pleasure.
• Sybarites. The Wine Cellar has 8,000 bottles of wine to try: we’re not suggesting you try them all at once!
• Active honeymooners. There’s lots to do here including water sports and fitness. A sister resort, Finolhu, has just opened on an island 30 minutes away: spend the night on their party beach before getting a boat back to your peaceful private house.
• Dining in Lonu. The food is very good and the sunsets spectacular. Order your cocktail of choice and watch as the sky turns a myriad of colours.
• It goes without saying, but the spa and fitness centre. It feels like a little piece of Notting Hill in the Maldives; take a fitness session, re-stock with a clean and lean smoothie and head for a massage.
• The friendly and helpful staff. Everyone from the kateebs (butlers) to the waiting staff to the resort manager are open and knowledgeable. Everyone asked how our day was going and we felt they genuinely cared about our answer.
Good Spa Guide travelled with Visit Maldives – find out more about the islands at: www.visitmaldives.com.