The Story of #MyBeachClubHaven
“I have always wanted to have an island of my own,” said Mark, “to create something out of nothing!” Suckling on the signature crab dish at the Fish and Crab Shack of The Small Maldives Island Co.’s newest property Finolhu, Mark Hehir, CEO and Curator of Amilla Fushi and Finolhu said having the opportunity to work on a blank canvas led to great things he had only imagined working in the industry for so long.
“It’s not about where you live, it’s how you live” Mark said, noting that hotels and resorts in Maldives needed to move away from the traditional beach and honeymoon market.
And that is exactly what Mark and his team at the Small Maldives Island Co., and Coastline Investments did. Finolhu is a one of a kind beach club property in Maldives, where the traditional “Maldivian experience” has taken a new name, and a new era too!
Arriving in the vicinity of Finolhu, you are greeted by a long stretch of beach expanding over the island, and you immediately understand where the island got its name.
“Finolhu”, (the Dhivehi word for sand bank) can truly be experienced, either by a stroll in the sun along the 1.8 km stretch of sand, or by a regular boat service that takes you to the Fish and Crab Shack located halfway amidst the palms and sand of this natural marvel.Of course, as soon as you arrive at the jetty, you get why it is dubbed #MyBeachClubHaven. The welcome party at Finolhu, holding quirky welcome signs in funky designs make sure you feel the groove right on the spot.
Finolhu describes itself as an island “where timeless chic meets unchanging beauty”. Creating a vibrant new era of classic travel inspiration is drawn from the past to uncover the future of travel.
Bringing a timeless sense of style to the pristine lagoons and rich waters of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll, “Finolhu is a refined, retro-inspired island paradise for the fun-loving beach-erati, and an unexpected revival of the halcyon days of the classic chic getaway.”“We wanted to be very specific about how we were going to do that in terms of how we were going to touch your mind from either way back when you were young or when your parents were younger, or you were looking at something being cool, so the era of 60s and 70s is very interesting, and retro, being the inspiration behind that, retro could be translated to many other generations”, explained Mark.
Being born after the retro era of the 60s and 70s, Finolhu did exactly that for me, as from the first moment I arrived I was swished into a timeless experience where the energy, design, motifs and all took me into the era of funk and groove.
A subtle palate of pastel colours effortlessly blend the vintage designs all around the island into the vibrant lush tropics as you walk around the island. Finolhu offers a number of accommodation options, from beach pool villas, twobedroom beach pool villas, ocean pool villas, lagoon pool villas and two-bedroom ocean lagoon pool villas.
While all rooms accentuate the nostalgia of the retro era, they are individually designed to touch you in different physiognomies of the quaint period.The ocean pool villas take you to the French Rivera with its vibrant colours, while the lagoon villas transform the calm soothing lagoon views to the eclectic thrill of bohemia. Ideally for families, the two-bedroom ocean lagoon pool villas give a sense of calm relaxation complemented by its whitewash chic design. On the island, set amidst the lush tropical gardens, the beach pool villas blend island charm to the vibrancies of the Moorish designs.
Describing how these individual motifs were translated to the beach club experience, Mark said, “we really wanted to pull it through in a beach style, and throw in bits and pieces in and around the resort, so when you saw it, heard it, felt it, the experience would be sort of all in-conversing, and it grows up on you. Like the denim that the guys wear is synonymous to that era; music, as well, when you hear older tunes, we want to make you feel nostalgic and go back to the old days when holidays were less connected and less interrupted, but not going where there is nothing, but where it was more simple.”
“There’s plenty of resorts around the world where you go and do nothing and just listen to the birds and such, but here it is about, having fun and doing it in an all-inclusive way, where kids and adults and parents and people of different ages can feel comfortable in,” noted Mark.
This experience is curated in such a unique and colourful way, that the resort has entertainers all year round, be it mermaids swimming in the pool, or acrobats flying across the palm trees and fire breathers performing circus acts bringing the energy of the hip and happening island to its maximum.
Creating this unique property was not something that came from a whim. Mark’s years of experience in the Maldives was a huge inspiration in creating this island from a blank canvas. “When I first came to the Maldives in 1997/98, there were no mobile phones, it was so much simple back then, and when we were initially setting up the concept, we threw ourselves into that era, getting that nostalgic feeling, and being true to that era, and try to fit it in, and then how do you thread it through to today.”
“We put some parameters around when we did the branding, and as we then selected the feel of it, we were putting ourselves back there as well, so like some of the furniture you see in the rooms like the blue couch, that’s 60s right, the marshal speaker I found, which is very retro, those kind of things, I brought a lot of these elements in”.“The vinyl records in the two-bedrooms… how often do you play a vinyl record these days, so when you go into holidays with your kids and they go ‘what is that?? And that becomes a very special trip for most,” Mark explained.“What we’re trying to do is rather than saying this resort appeals to a certain geographic, it’s not where you live, it’s how you live, how you want to experience your holiday, and that crosses all countries, all boundaries, and people will come out here and want to live in a certain way and what Finolhu is here to do, is continue to speak to those people who want to feel that time again.”