A Pocket Of Paradise


A Pocket Of Paradise

Discover Maldivian magic at Sirru Fen Fushi

Words by Ali Howard

Sirru Fen Fushi: where modern Maldivian hospitality blends with white sand beaches, swaying palms, and a sweeping turquoise lagoon

Maldives Island Sirru Fen Fushi

When it comes to dream destinations, you’d be hard pushed to top the Maldives. With the prospect of escaping the London drizzle making it even more fantastical, we leave our world behind and set off on a civilised early evening flight, first to Doha, then on to Malé, where we stretch our legs and indulge in an afternoon tea complete with cucumber sandwiches and strawberry tarts in the serene airport lounge. The quintessential Englishness of it is not lost on us, and feeling giddy with half-sleep, we have no idea of date, or time, and nor do we want to.

Our final leg of the journey is by seaplane, courtesy of Trans Maldivian Airways, and we’re beyond excited to board our mini aircraft with the thrum of the engine and the splash of the water finally waking us up. Only from here can you truly get a sense of the vastness of this archipelagic state with its chain of 26 atolls stretching out across the impossibly blue horizon.

Sirru Fen Fushi Grand Water Sunset Villa and Water Villas Above: Grand Water Sunset Villa with Private Pool; Below: Water Villas

We are greeted at Sirru Fen Fushi, first by a stately heron, whose job is to pose by the water’s edge silhouetted by a pink sky, watching the seaplanes come in and out. And secondly, by the linen-clad staff who give us a traditional Boduberu welcome including drums and handclaps, ice cold towels and fresh coconuts to sip from. It feels entirely White Lotus, and coupled with the sleep deprivation, it is perfectly – brilliantly – surreal. That famous Maldivian hospitality rings true. We are whisked away by golf buggy to our Beach Sunrise villa, and the wows keep on coming. We have our own pushbikes parked outside ornate, jade painted gates, through which we find our luxurious home for the next few nights. It is huge, and we’re thrilled to discover that this commodious thatched building and its surrounding lush garden – complete with sun dappled plunge pool – is ours alone to indulge in. The interiors are a contemporary take on ’70s boho chic, with natural colours reflecting the pale sand and the turquoise waters, successfully blurring the lines between indoors and out. But there’s dark drama, too. A vast black macramé hanging drapes from the vaulted ceiling and hugs the headboard of our super king-sized bed like a manta ray. Our private tropical garden opens up directly onto the beach, offering a secluded slice of paradise with the ocean just a few steps away. With toes in the sand and drinks in hand, we watch the sunset paint the sky in hues of fiery orange and soft pink.

Sirru Fen Fushi Colarium The Coralarium

A hilariously wobbly, but thankfully short bike ride (we hadn’t been on one of those since lockdown), brings us to the buzzing Raha Market for a perfectly relaxed buffet dinner with its plethora of local and international flavours and influences. The bustling marketplace setting, combined with seemingly endless choices, makes for an exciting culinary discovery, and we have eyes bigger than stomachs. We’re thrilled to discover this will also be the setting for the most indulgent, leisurely breakfasts to come, and we can’t wait.

A highlight of our stay is the guided snorkel. Led by passionate marine biologist and on-site turtle expert, Neus Segura, we explore the island’s vibrant house reef, a thriving ecosystem bustling with marine life including various species of fish, rays, and sea turtles. This immersive experience proves an eye-opener, and we gain a newfound appreciation of the ocean’s wonders, but more specifically, the biodiversity of the Maldives. Our visit to the Coralarium – an innovative underwater art installation by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, which doubles as an artificial reef – further impresses on us the resort’s commitment to sustainability. As does its partnership with neighbouring island Goidhoo, on which local primary schoolchildren are involved in manually cleaning up the beaches.

Sirru Fen Fushi Japanese Restaurant Japanese Restaurant Kata

Our trip takes a delightfully unexpected turn as we’re invited to visit the island and get stuck in with the kids, ridding the sandy stretches of polluting plastic bottles and discarded fishing nets. Of course, we are welcomed like royalty here, with the drums, and the handclaps, and floral garlands placed delicately over our heads, and we are more than happy to help with their quest. The fruits of our labour – shockingly huge bags of plastic rubbish – come back with us on the boat and ingeniously, are recycled at the resort’s own sustainability lab, into brightly coloured products big and small, from contemporary furniture pieces to turtle-shaped keepsakes.

Our hard graft is rewarded with an indulgent signature massage at the tranquil spa, designed as a veritable oasis, and offering a serene space to rejuvenate amongst the natural beauty surrounding us. As we peacefully drift in and out of sleep, we cannot want for anything more. Until thoughts of food come around again, and here, we have our fill of decadent dinners, at Japanese restaurant Kata, with its modern menu of sushi and sashimi; and at fine dining eatery Azure, with its creative seafood offering. Both are a pescatarian’s dream.

Sirru Fen Fushi

While we’ve packed a lot in, much of our time here is spent blissfully soaking up the sunshine in our private pool with a coffee and a gripping summer read in hand – the pace of the island is deliciously slow, and so it is with slight trepidation that we agree to move over to the other side of the resort. (Note that “we” did none of the moving, that was all taken care of by attentive staff in a buggy). Sad to say goodbye to our little beach-side Eden, but excited to see what comes next, we find ourselves in an even more luxurious Water Sunset villa, this time, an over-water thatched residence on stilts that manages to be even bigger, and somehow more glamorous than our previous abode: think enormous oversized copper bath, an art deco inspired mirrored screen divider in bright jade rattan, and enough luxurious space to genuinely forget where you placed your welcome glass of fizz for a full five minutes. The landscape is different on this side, too, slightly wilder, with the sea comparatively lively, and lapping underneath us. It would be a crime not to take full advantage and dive straight in.

It’s all gone too quickly and our final evening at Sirru Fen Fushi is a fittingly indulgent one. We enjoy a farewell hosted dinner under the stars in the grounds of the resort’s pièce de résistance, the beautiful Beach Tented villa. Complete with twinkling fairy lights and the soothing sounds of the ocean, it is the perfect ending to a truly spectacular stay. A dream, in fact.