Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi has all the hallmarks of a perfect Maldivian paradise, with pearl-white beaches ringing a patch of tropical forest, and a string of beautiful villas puncturing the island and the turquoise water shallows. But there is so much more to this resort.
The Maldives is rightfully seen as the quintessential tropical destination, and for us, the experience never gets old, even after a dozen visits. Arriving at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi felt like discovering an idyllic private island experience anew.
This impression has a lot to do with the distance from Male, and with the island’s solitude. The seaplane flight is fun but long, and with no other resorts for many miles, touching down on the quiet sea surrounding the Sirru Fen Fushi was like arriving at the end of the world.
Our seaplane docked directly to the hotel jetty, and after a welcome ceremony, our personal butler took us on a ride around the place, showing facilities along the way. Finally, we reached our beach villa.
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Refined luxury with boho looks
Tastefully designed, with thatched roofs and whitewashed walls, the architecture and design of the resort embody an exotic paradise. the first impression, as we entered, was that of a home-away-from-home (except much bigger, and with a beach, and a pool…), with the pleasant interior beautifully furnished with turquoise carved wooden doors, light wood, woven rugs.
We stayed first in a sprawling Deluxe Beach Sunset Villa and later moved to a villa-on-stilts, called Grand Water Sunset Villa. We loved both, for different reasons.
The beach villa had a lot of space, a great setting among the greenery and palm groves. And, of course, our own beachfront area with a swimming pool, a hammock, and a gazebo. Water villas are more compact but are very romantic, with a copper bathtub and a cool swing on the patio. Plus, our Grand Water villa had the swimming pool surrounded by actual sand. It’s certainly the first in the Maldives — a novel idea that tries to bring the feeling of “sand under your feet” to the overwater accommodation.
But that’s not the only “first” at the Fairmont Maldives.
Art on the reef
This resort has some serious creative credentials. It was the first in the country to fund and build a showpiece art gallery, set up directly in the ocean, and featuring over,- and underwater sculptures. They have been since taken down (soon to be replaced with new, abstract forms), but meanwhile, the spirit of an imaginative approach to hotel design is present in many other places on Sirru Fen Fushi.
Take the main pool of the resort. Claimed to be the longest in the Maldives, the pool cuts through the entire island, with breaks for pathways, and a whole grove of tall palm trees incorporated directly into the pool, as if simply left where they stood. It’s a unique design choice, and, if nothing else, it makes for a very pretty sight.
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Things to do
The name of the island, Sirru Fen Fushi, translates as a “secret water island”, and certainly the life here is organized around the experience of the island and its surroundings. There are romantic picnics, sunset dolphin cruises aboard a private yacht, and even overnight sailing under the stars. And of course, the beach here is great and snorkeling in the surrounding lagoons is rewarding.
We enjoyed the food here quite a lot, from private in-villa dining to culinary adventures in four restaurants and bars. The items on the menu never felt overcomplicated, or overly fancy — but they were delicious. And the all-bamboo poolside bar, Onu Onu had the best set up to watch the setting sun dip in the ocean. We loved to spend the last hour of the day here.
In that last hour, we would reflect on how much Fairmont Maldives feels like an idyllic island escape, a paradise of tropical palms, powdery sand, brilliant sun, and clear, shallow sea. And we would love to visit again.