It was the sunniest of days as my colleague and I boarded the seaplane to Fushifaru Maldives. Forty minutes later, we were greeted by the sound of boduberu, and the sight of female staff dressed in vibrant yellow uniforms and the male staff donning a kaleidoscope of colours with their underwater scenery shirts which was later explained to me as the illustration drawn by a Maldivian artist, Iman Rasheed.
I was welcomed with a flower wreath and wet towels, followed by a delicious drink named Boduberu, which cooled my insides. It was a mix of pineapple and mango juice and I downed every last drop of it.
As we were escorted into the lounge, a conch shell was blown in greeting by a man standing at the entrance of the front office in traditional attire and we smiled in greeting. Traditional kettles or Saikuraa and water containers or Bandiyaa, were strung on branches and strewn over the lawns as deco and it was reminiscent of my childhood when these items were still in use.
Our personal concierge Azeem showed us to our villa, giving us the full experience of being a guest and once we were inside the beach villa that overlooked a picture-perfect beach setting, he gave us a tour of the rooms and the facilities.
The gold wall over the bar was gorgeous with a collage of paintings, and flashes of colour here and there created a cosy ambience within the villa with its high ceiling and modest floor space which was dominated by a large bed. The toilet opened up into an open-air shower where the clouds passed by overhead.
A large bathtub, two vanity tables, a shower area and toilet with amenities included, greeted us and we quickly freshened up and headed towards Korakali, the main restaurant, my famished stomach rumbling with hunger.
Korakali is a few minutes’ walk away from our villa and the restaurant had high ceilings and warm wood that gave the place an afternoon glow, calming down my nerves and easing the effect of the heat outside. The buffet was generous and had variety. It was the perfect welcome.
What struck me most about the resort was the fact that they played the celebrated local album Dhoni by Zero Degree Atoll in all their outlets. The guests enjoyed the soothing tone of the music and enquired about it, delighted when they were told that the music was local.
The songs went well with the decorations and the theme of the resort.
The accommodation at Fushifaru is composed of 26 beach villas, 18 pool villas and 5 water villas. The water villas face the east, large luxurious residences that enjoyed the overwater scenery. Both the pool villas and beach villas are divided into sunrise and sunset villas. The villas are set side by side with bamboo fences shielding the view at the pool villas while vegetation acts as barriers at the beach villas.
The resort offers a myriad of water sports activities, including jet skis, kayaks, catamarans, paddle boarding, snorkelling, diving and semi-submarine expeditions as well as other underwater activities. A Resident Marine Biologist will be on hand to share lessons on conservation, coral rehabilitation and marine education and conduct guided snorkelling tours around the island and nearby reefs.
Fushifaru Kan’du, a National Marine Protected Area, is situated beside the resort and is home to three iconic dive sites including the renowned Fushifaru Thila that is teeming with marine life, unique cave formations and a marine cleaning.
Fushifaru prides itself on being a resort that interacts with guests, providing them with information about and insight into the traditions and culture of the Maldives. As such on Fridays, Mohamed Afeef, or Afeefbe as he is known at the resort, who is the Front Office Manager, hosts programmes and we were fortunate enough to see him in action. The Coconut Journey is an interactive session where information about the coconut palm is provided.
Afeefbe had a natural knack for keeping the crowd entertained and the guests were learning about the coconut palm and all of its uses and benefits. Afeefbe proceeded to teach the guests how to make crafty items from the palm leaves and I joined the crowd’s attempt to be creative with the palm leaves. Afterwards, we made our way to the sunset bar.
Guests enjoyed lounging by the large infinity pool and watching the sun go down, in an expansive space with large lounging chairs, bar stools and tables and a foosball machine as well as a pool table.
The high ceiling with dark mahogany stiles accentuated the size of the bar and families gathered around to enjoy their drinks and the sunset. The resort’s quaint little submarine rested peacefully beside speedboats and hammocks swayed in the wind. And a lone sandbank loomed in the distance, a solitary strip of land that hosted intimate getaways for the guests.