The Tube has got sweatier, Brits are getting their toes out and, next door to Smith HQ, the strange half-naked man has started watering his plants again. This means two things: summer is a comin’ and it’s holiday time. Our latest crush is the Maldives, the pearl in the Indian Ocean, and more seductive and colourful than the swimwear-clad contestants at a Miss World competition. Given our penchant for blue seas and skies, white sands, fine food and infinity pools (did we mention private fleets?) there’s only one place we want to stay. Even its name makes us happy: Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi…
Style Maxi-minimal dream come true
Setting Ocean colour scene
Why this week? We’d go every week if we could. Luckily for us, the resort’s current boutique hotel discount (25 per cent off stays for Smith members) means even more reason to jet off, sink into sun-warmed sands and dip our toes in sapphire seas.
Our favourite bits This hotel doesn’t hide its charms under a bushel – the sea-and-sand setting will wow you immediately. Another shot of azure comes from the large lagoon-like infinity-edged pool, which bleeds into the watery horizon of the Indian Ocean. By night, it’s romantically lit with fibre-optic lights and reflects the inky sky. Did we mention the world’s first underwater spa, designed by the ever-innovative Richard Hywel Evans and offering award-winning treatments? Ooh, and the boat fleet and diving centre for energetic types?
We also love the fact that there’s a restaurant for almost every day of the week: fine fishy dining around the open kitchen at Salt, set in an overwater pavilion; spa cuisine at Raw; all-day low-key dining at sandy-floored lagoon-view Celcius; wine-matched meals at Vinum; pizza under the palm trees at Fogliani’s. We’ve left the best ’til last though – each room has its own private plunge pool, and the three pavilions are incredible; the Beach Pavilion is everybody’s favourite.
Mr & Mrs Smith say ‘As soon as we’re left on our own, I test out the speed dial for Lime, Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi’s spa, and book myself a treatment called Essential Hands on the basis that if they say it’s essential, who am I to argue? Mr Smith, meanwhile, has uncovered the in-bungalow dining menus and is reading aloud from them in rapt tones – like an epicurean episode of Jackanory… There’s also an activity list for the week. We particularly love the idea of a guided snorkel, in which a marine biologist will take you to the best spots on the nearby reef and tell you about the sealife you’ll see. How he’s going to do that underwater is anyone’s guess. Flashcards?
That evening, tired from our long journey, we manage to stay awake just long enough to enjoy an amazing meal of freshly landed seafood at Salt, the resort’s fine-dining restaurant, before succumbing to that enormous bed. The next morning, though, we awake to a glorious day – something that Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi knows how to make a proper event of. The wall of windows opposite our bed has remote-control blinds, so that you can sit up and watch as your deck, your infinity pool, the bright-blue Indian Ocean and equally azure sky are dramatically revealed, one by one. We lazily wander to Celsius, the island’s main restaurant, for breakfast. The resident Head of Fruit (yes, really) gets us to try dragonfruit and mangosteen for the first time, and despite Mr Smith’s doubtful expression, we both decide they’re quite delicious.’
Read our full review of Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi, Maldives…