Three weeks in the Maldives was enough info to make any jaw drop, especially once I told people that I would not only visit one but eight different islands. The next question on everybody’s mind always was which one was my favorite so naturally I weighed the pros and cons at every new resort to evaluate just what was my favorite place of the bunch. And that was not all; I had been to the Maldives 3 times before so in total I had stayed on 14 different islands, including the capitol of Malé and the local island Maafushi.
So which has in fact been my favorite?

Well, it’s really very difficult to pinpoint, since so many different factors play into it and eventually I could probably boil it down to 5 islands I really loved, but for different reasons and that I would recommend to different people. In the future I’ll work on a 10 islands post, listing which island is right for which traveler, so watch out for that post.

But now, without further ado I would like to introduce you to the island I thought ticked most of my boxes and is the one I would be most likely to stay at for a week or 2. It is: FINOLHU.

The small 5-star island resort is merely one year old so it definitely still is an insider tip. Staff are motived and sweet, the surrounding vegetation is lush and everything still feels brand spanking new, which I especially appreciated in the rooms. We stayed in a water villa with a pool which was so beautiful that my fondest memory of the trip was enjoying the sunset from my terrace, feet dangling in the pool and a glass of Finolhu’s house bubbly in my hand…. sigh….

But the goodness does not end there. Finolhu was able to provide me with everything I appreciate in a holiday and more. It is special in so many ways so I will give it my best shot at breaking down a few of them….

1. The design is luxurious yet young and comfortable. This is not an easy one to get right. very often I have trouble feeling at home in hotels and resorts because the decor and furniture is either too swanky or too basic but at Finolhu it was just right. I felt right at home in our villa and all the common areas of the resort.

2. The island has the perfect size. Finolhu is a fairly small island so when none of the frequent buggies drive by to give you a lift you can easily just walk a bit and get to where you need to be in under 10 minutes.

3. The resort aims to bring people together and encourage everyone to make friends and have a good time. There are more than enough Maldives resorts out there who advertise a feel of romantic solitude and escapism where guests are invited to get away from the hustle bustle and if they wish, see no one for days. At the heart of Finolhu there is a large pool (minus the infinity) with a swim-up bar and pop music playing, inviting guests to gather, chat, and mingle. In the evenings the bar next door hosts acrobats from around the world who show off an amazing range of skills – Cirque de Soleil fans will be delighted! Kids too, by the way, should you travel here with any.

4. There is a loooooong sandbank and a great restaurant called the Crab Shack at the end of it. If you love a long white sand beach just for yourself, look no further. Finolhu’s super long sand bank offers prime beach time from 2 sides, with the lagoon on one end of the sand bank and the open sea on the other.

The Crab Shack is one of my favorite Maldives restaurants for its “secluded” location and the absolutely divine seafood platter which is quite possibly the best deal in the Baa Atoll. For those who would rather skip the 15 minute sand back walk back there is a ferry readily waiting to take guests back to the main reception. All in all quite the super star lunch!

5. The 1OAK Club. Speaking of superstars, Finolhu is closely affiliated with 1OAK, the brand that started out with some of the most exclusive parties in Hollywood and New York, which have seen pretty much any noteworthy celebrity letting their hair down. The series then evolved into a range of night clubs with dependancies in LA, NYC, Mexico City, Las Vegas, St Barth’s and now the Maldives with Finolhu boasting the badass 1OAK beach club, over 2 floors. I was lucky enough to be around for the celebratory opening of this divine collaboration and had the pleasure of partying with the likes of Leo Dicaprio and Paris Hilton on one evening. Guests can expect 1OAK special events about every 3-4 months.

6. The rock star spa. “The what?”, you may wonder. I have been to my share of fancy hotel spas but the “Cove Club” takes the cake for original concept. On the spa menu you get to write down your rock star name next to your real name and for choice of music you have everything from slow jazz to rock ‘n roll. Each of the treatment rooms is further named after an iconic female singer – Aretha, Kate, Blondie – it’s all there. And did I mention the spa has a great view?

7. Something for everyone. Something that is said of many islands but which I think is especially true for Finolhu is that this resort really has something for pretty much everyone. Those who seek luxury, those who want tranquility, those who like to party, those who want a family experience, those who want to live a ton of experiences each and every day, those who just want to relax and feel detached from the world – and of course lovebirds. I noticed a large range of people coming here which definitely adds its own magic to the island.

Have I convinced you yet? Both my son and I loved this island and our time there so much that I have been checking prices to go back almost every day. Except next time I would like to stay for at least 2 weeks…

Disclaimer: Finolhu has provided my son and I with a complimentary 3-night stay. All opinions expressed are my own.