- Özgür Töre
Seaside Finolhu has become the first luxury resort from the Maldives to be accepted as a member of Design Hotels, the globally-recognised resource for curated design-led hotels.
Operated by the German hotel company, Seaside Collection, Finolhu earned its place as the only resort in the Maldives to be included in Design Hotels’ prestigious international portfolio after successfully meeting the criteria of embodying quality, style, and holistic hospitality concepts.
Embracing its kaleidoscope design concept, Seaside Finolhu’s aesthetics are characterised by a mesmerising mélange of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the luxury island resort’s pristine natural beauty in a stunning representation of joy, wonder and a feeling of escaping time.
Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection, spoke about the recognition from Design Hotels: "Our vision for Seaside Finolhu is to bring a modern, bright, open sense of feeling where travellers can experience special moments and enjoy themselves. We’re proud to be recognised internationally as a member of Design Hotels, not to mention being the first and only Maldives resort in their list. We look forward to improving constantly and transforming Finolhu to align with the Seaside Collection brand.”
Translated as “sandbank”, Finolhu is one of the finest island resorts located in the UNESCO-protected Baa Atoll, famous for its mesmerising diversity of reefs, submerged cliffs, and small, round underwater hills known as “thilas”. The resort comprises a mix of 125 stylish and private overwater and beach villas, available in one- or two-bedroom options, half of which have their own pools and offer stunning views of the Maldivian seascape. The resort’s four beachside dining venues offer a variety of exciting flavours, from laid-back favourites to authentic classics, and delightful fine dining. The fully-equipped spa and wellness facility offer holistic programmes and treatments with a fusion of the East and West. The wide-range of activities available for all ages are as engaging as the stunning scenery of the coral reefs beneath the waves.
Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank. Exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars, the one-night-only ‘Dream Eclipse’ experience includes private dinner and breakfast served on the beach.
With Seaside Finolhu currently undergoing a major upgrade that is due for completion in the second quarter of 2020, the resort aims to develop its distinctive barefoot chic atmosphere that combines Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity. Previously characterised as a fun and relaxing island playground, the resort’s new look will showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create an interesting visual harmony.
Award-winning London-based design studio Muza Lab has been charged with overseeing the resort’s redesign. Muza Lab’s co-founder Nathan Hutchins said, “When we first arrived on Finolhu, a beautiful stretch of bijou islands; exotic jewels strung together amongst the ombré shades of the azure, the light and the colour immediately struck us. Colour cannot exist without light. It is this relationship of light and colour that we wanted to explore through our new design direction for Finolhu; the dappled play of sunlight as it hits the water, the transformation of the rays against the colourful underwater scope and above, highlighting the vibrancy of the tropical landscape - the sand and the palms.”
“Our new design direction focuses on the lens of the “Kaleidoscope” the changing colours, patterns and textures representing moments of discovery, wonder and delight” explained Hutchins. “Throughout the resort, we have woven special features; woven textiles, basketwork coloured glass, lanterns and origami, through distinct areas each assigned to a unique colour spectrum. Vibrant pops of colour, contrast against gentle pockets of light and shade and evolving scene as day turns to night. Finolhu has allowed us to play, to experiment, to have fun with the design - to celebrate nature’s playground.”
As the redesign nears completion, Muza Lab’s co-founder Inge Moore explained what guests can expect from the redeveloped resort: “Finolhu is all about fun, for all the family, for the young and the young at heart. From the ultimate party pad that is the Rockstar Suite to the kids own Beach Club to the Crab Shack set on its private island and the Sunset Bar dressed in its raspberry pink and red hues, we have created lots of different little corners to disappear and just be.”
Recognising the importance that Finolhu places on being a family resort, Moore added: “We have created special places for families to play together; an art studio complete with a kiln, a concept gym, beach bars and, for those seeking a little me-time, a tranquillity spa retreat with its private beach. By applying a mindful approach to the design, we have focused on creating special moments that draw people together through a simple luxury that allows the natural beauty of the island to radiate.”
Overseen by Muza Lab, artisans from around the world have produced standout works bespoke to the resort; handmade tiles and handblown glass from Turkey, Chandeliers and basket work from South Africa, and timber artwork from Java complete Finolhu’s exotic new playground.