Best of the Maldives: Sand Bridge – Finolhu

Finolhu - sand spit

Maldives resorts themselves are adorned with aesthetically enchanting white sand. One of the most distinctive are the long, narrow spits of sand jutting out into the ocean. The longest stretch of sand (as a opposed to a long beach on a long island) extends from Finolhu’s southern side for an entire 1.8 kilometres. Typically, such arenaceous promontories lead nowhere in particular except an expanse of blueness. But Finolhu’s takes you to a number of resort treats including the best parts of the house reef and the its first rate Crab and Fish Shack.

Best of the Maldives: Art Studio – Finolhu

Finolhu - art studio

For a heartfelt gift, you can make your own. Especially at one of the many Christmas workshops that are traditional this time of year. My church’s annual workshop was where I learned half my craft skills (straw stars, clove oranges, yuletide wreaths).  A number of resorts offer various artistic studios (pottery, painting, glass making), but Finolhu have one of the most comprehensive that I have seen with a wide variety of media.  The also have a festive Christmas workshop schedule (including ceramics) for all those budding Santa’s elves who prefer the sunny tropics to the frozen Arctic.

Best of the Maldives: Radio Station – Finolhu

 

It’s not just the sights, but also the sound of Christmas that surround you. Not just for advent, but all year round at Finolhu. And not just at the resort, but anywhere in the world where you want to tune into their vibrant soundtrack. Their Baa Baa FM features special DJs as well as a range of live shows Monday through Friday (2:00 – 6:00 pm Finolhu Time +6 GMT). When I tuned I recently, I was graced with the tunes of DJ Jaffa. Kandooma had a radio station years ago, but it stopped before I could do a piece on it.

Instagram allows you vicarious check out snaps of the Maldives’ scenery remotely, a range of webcams can provide a cinematic glimpse of tropical goings-on, blogs like Maldives Complete can keep you up-to-date on the latest developments and stories, and now you can enjoy them all serenaded by cool sounds of BaaBaa FM piped to you direct from paradise.

Finolhu - Baa Beach Club radio

Best of the Maldives: Ice Buckets – Finolhu

Finolhu - ice bucket

Black Friday and the American Christmas shopping season has started.  Thanksgiving yesterday serves as sort of a starting pistol for the Yankee yuletide season.  While there are plenty of impatient transgressions, it’s generally considered a bit of poor form to decorate, play carols or otherwise engage in Krimbo merriment until after sleeping off an excess of poultry consumption. 

EVERYONE comes home for Thanksgiving.  More so than for Christmas.  Hence the term “Homecoming” (as in “Homecoming Queen”) which is the big, local school football game where everyone gathers to see friends who have also returned and to build up an appetite while the turkey is cooking at home.  As a result, the Friday after (Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday) is nearly always taken off from work.  So you have a house full of relatives and a day off.  What to do that everyone will enjoy?  A trip to the Mall to start Christmas shopping!  Also, it’s helpful that everyone is around to help find things everyone wants, check sizing, etc.  Hence the near hallowed tradition of “Black Friday” emerged as savvy stores scrambled to grab as much of this early spend from the Christmas fund as possible.  Their promotions and marketing just stoked the mania even further till you get the consumer madness we see today.

If you are looking for a present for me, one of the nicest items we saw this summer was Finolhu’s signature ice bucket with a powder blue explorer-chic design.  It evokes Alviero Martini’s “Premiere Classe” fashion line (that Lori and I have several pieces of).  The resort also features tissue boxes, toiletry boxes and other items and amenities, but the ice bucket is for sale at the shake shack for $200.  Dear Santa…

Best of the Maldives: Triple Shower – Amilla Fushi / Finolhu

Amilla Fushi - outdoor shower

Innie, outie and innie/outie. Dual indoor and outdoor showers have become pretty much table stakes at the five-star properties. A few of the higher end properties have introduced the drench waterfall showers. But Amilla Fushi and Finolhu not only feature the drench showers, but also have a triple shower combo with outdoor showers on both the front and back decks.

Amilla Fushi - in out shower

Amilla Fushi - indoor shower

Best of the Maldives: Excursion Desk – Finolhu

Finolhu - excursion desk

At the WTM, each country invests all sorts of creativity and panache into their booths to stand out from the crowd as agents and operators mull what trips to send their clients on. But no Excursion Desk in the Maldives, where you go to decide what trips you want to go to during your stay, have the flair of Finolhu’s pink microbus. All part of the resort’s retro chic vibe.

Best of the Maldives: Sheep – Finolhu

Finolhu - sheep on a beach

Hug a Sheep Day today!  Aka “I love ewe” day for all ovinophiles If you hadn’t herd, Finolhu has adopted the fluffy cloven-hoofed ruminants as their resort mascot in a nod to their location in the eponymous Baa Atoll (or should be say “Baaaaaa Atoll”). Various woolly figures are found all over the island (see photos). So maybe skip the lamb curry today out of respect.

Finolhu - sheep 3

Finolhu - golden sheep

Finolhu - sheep 2

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Stand – Finolhu

Finolhu - coconut stand 1

Coconuts are the bounty of the Maldivian plots of sand. On nearly any island, some staff member will – often a gardener with a machete for clearing – will grab you one, open up a whole with a few well-placed hacks and let you sip its succulent coconut water. When you’re done, he will also slice the fruit open so you can nibble on the tender coconut meat inside. A modest gift of a few dollars is always appreciated in return. Finolhu has parked up a more stylish outlet for noshing on some nucifera. An iconic VW bus in pastel robin’s egg blue with a coconut stand right by the pool so you can sample with tropical treat whenever the mood strikes.

Best of the Maldives: Cirque de Soleil – Finolhu

Finolhu - cirque 1

Finolhu puts the “Soleil” into the “Cirque de Soleil”. Today is International Sight day and some of the things you will see at Finolhu will make you not believe your eyes (including the occasional mermaid known to visit the island).

Finolhu has a bit of a retro Las Vegas nightlife vibe with its own resident entertainment acts high on showmanship and flair. They’ve featured hoops, silk banners, large hoops, fire dancing by a group called Area 51 which resident for three months. Then they circulate in a fresh set of artistes. When we visited a group from Mexico was there performing every night.

The resort explained that part of their contact is that during the day, the performers must work on new tricks and material. The idea is that the “artists-in-residence” have sort of a bootcamp for developing and refining their craft and act all the while sharing the fresh new work with the resort guests. Finolhu targets young groups early in their career so the booking can be a boost to their careers.

Sometimes resort (and cruise) entertainment can be a bit jaded. Circuit acts going through the motions with their gigs of tired material. But the Finolhu acts had a fresh vitality about them. All the buzz of someone pursuing their dreams and living them every day in paradise. And when they finally do hit the big time and get that headline act in Vegas, you can say you saw them in the original Circles of Sun in the Indian Ocean.

Finolhu - cirque 2