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The Other Side Of The Island

Houry Sekunian discovers Detox, Self-Reflection, and Awakening in The Maldives

“I have been to the Maldives 18 times,” I heard someone say recently and to my surprise, I wasn’t surprised. Living in Dubai means we have the privilege of being centralized in a hub that has quick access to most of the countries on our bucket list. Surfing in Sri Lanka, check, island hopping in Thailand, check, overindulging in Viennese coffee and chocolate, check, walking the streets of Prague for hours on end, check, collecting lemon shaped organic soap form the Amalfi coast until we turn into a walking talking lemon tree ourselves, check. Old town Dubrovnik, Old town Ibiza, Old town this and Old town that, we’ve been there, and done all that, and still it seems we just can’t get enough of travelling. For such a multicultural city, it’s no surprise that travelling is the biggest investment made by many especially when the very first thing that brought us here, was a desire for exploration.

Of course, you learn a lot from travelling and of the biggest lessons is about, perspective. During almost every trip, there would be times when the walk was too long, the view was to hazy, the weather was too cold, the plan was too off schedule, the bus was too late, the monument uninteresting, the food disappointing, the bill even more so, but each and every time I felt an inner urge to let these things get to me, I consciously got myself together and, changed my perspective.


If you don’t like your view, change it, move around until you find the perfect one that suits you best. If the bus is late, then the next one you catch will lead you to an even better discovery you had previously overlooked. If you’re so tired of walking, think of all the scenic walking you don’t have the opportunity to do in Dubai! You can even apply this method to your day to day life of course, as well as your travels. If you’ve been to Austria in the summer, why not experience it in the winter? If you’ve been to Sri Lanka during its high season, why not enjoy the smell of nature and the wet earth beneath your feet during September’s rain season?


Going back to the Maldives, if you’ve travelled there one too many times and still can’t get enough of paradise, it’s time to change your point of view, and go for a completely different type of experience. One that’s low key, unabashed by obvious commercial travel, and unexpected. There’s a whole other side waiting to be discovered, and I had the privilege to do so recently at Amilla Fushi set in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa Atoll, just a 30-minute seaplane ride away from Malé’s International airport.

Whilst one side of the island enjoys archetypal Maldivian specialties including crystal clear waters, fully equipped private beach houses, reefs perfect for snorkeling, a beach club, diving centre, and amazing Asian restaurant right above the water called “Feeling Koi”, the backside of Amilla Fushi is a whole other territory waiting to be explored. I never thought visiting the Maldives would be filled with adventure, starting from the seaplane ride, to my attempt to swim around 4-meter-long Manta Rays a.k.a. the ocean’s “gentle giants,” the activities were endless. Needless to say, my fear got the best of me 10 seconds after jumping into the water and spotting a fin, being a daredevil and all, I needed something to calm my nerves down.


Queue a visit to, the wellness treehouse. After a long yet mesmerizing walk through a jungle of towering palm trees, there they were. Standing 12 meters up amongst the treetops, were private 1 bedroom spa “nests” with their own dedicated treatment suites, outdoor showers, an infinity pool overlooking a canopy of Banyan trees, and a private deck for personalized Bodyism sessions. This global healthy living phenomenon was founded by James Duigan, and the treehouses were a collaboration between the luxury resort and the Bodyism philosophy popular amongst celebrities including Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Lara Stone and Hugh Grant amongst a few.


Bodyism is a one-stop shop for everything wellness, and I was especially intrigued by the personalized aspect of this approach. After a personal ‘Body Oracle’ consultation by their performance specialists, the team helps create your own programme from an integrated menu of Spa treatments and Bodyism fitness and wellness classes designed to re-establish energy flows, revive the mind, increase circulation and create a foundation for balance and health. Sessions may include a mix of yoga, massage treatments, pilates, and even boxing, depending on your personal needs. We spoke to Josie, the island Bodyism expert, and learned that their wellness and fitness programmes and sessions use both the natural environment, the latest high-tech gym equipment and ancient healing and energy therapies. Another plus for us.

You can choose to experience the wellness package which encompasses everything from healthy eating from the Clean and Lean café, to Bodyism, spa and Yoga sessions, whilst staying in your little treehouse or you can go down to the “wellness shores”, as I called them. This whole section of the island which starts with Amilla’s “Spa Village” consisting of the Javuu Spa, another nook inside the jungle with private treatment “pods” hidden amongst the trees, long pathways that lead to the relaxation area which overlooks the Indian Ocean, an outdoor “jungle gym”, large open-plan fitness centre, spa jetty over the lagoon, shaded communal space, and oh yes, a nail spa, salon and barbershop, which is especially popular during the festive season as we learned. Afterall, caring for yourself is both external and internal, without any neglect.


It seems I was in dire need of a Jet Lag massage, and so the stretching began in my own little pod, followed by a couples Chakra balancing and lunch at the Clean and Lean café. Whilst I was there, I even had the chance to expand my knowledge with a Face Massage Workshop, this was for the masseuse enthusiast in me. The recommended length of stay is usually 7 days, which I feel is more than enough because I was disconnected from the world the minute I arrived. In the Maldives, you don’t need a few days to “settle in,” you’re completed spaced out the minute that sea plane lands on the turquoise water.

Again, if you’ve been there done that, are looking for a luxury experience that focuses on your inner self, and are intimidated by the thought of having to join a group of 20 experienced yogis for silent meditation somewhere in the Himalayas, then this is the right bespoke wellness retreat for you.


Amilla Fushi’s Guide to Staying Fit During Your Island Holiday…

Practice Yoga in Their Wellness Treehouse


Designated island Yogis are there to guide you through your morning and evening yoga practices, meditation, or Pranayama led on the spa jetty over the Lagoon. For a special experience, why not try the Couples Chakra balancing in Amilla Fushi’s Wellness Treehouse with your partner? High In the tree tops, this 1 bedroom “nest” has a special deck and an infinity pool for a zen-ful dip right after.

Go Head-To-Head with A Tennis Pro

Amilla Fushi has partnered with LUX Tennis, to give guests the chance to have the ultimate tennis experience right at their doorstep. With two floodlit tennis courts, nestled amid tropical trees, Amilla Fushi will be offering personalized tennis lessons and discovery sessions for those who want to add some back hand practice into their holiday schedule. You can even challenge yourself by trying to beat the tennis pro to win a free session!

The tennis management company brings together carefully selected and trained current or former international ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) players who share the same passion, modern vision and vast experience of this sport.

Try the Personalized Bodyism Workout Sessions

The exclusive partnership with Bodyism brings James Duigan’s ‘Clean and Lean’ philosophy to island guests in a typically special and unique way. The inclusive wellness experience delivered by Bodyism Performance Specialists includes personal training, Bodyism classes and sessions including the bodysim HIIT workout, Pilates, and Yoga. Once the specialists have consulted you and painted a general pitcture, they will tailor 1 to 1 sessions which focus on 4 aspects: Movement, mindset, nutrition and sleep.

Popular with celebrities like Rosie Huntington Whitley, Lara Stone, Hugh Grant and Elle McPherson, the Bodyism wellness and fitness programmes use both the natural environment and the latest high-tech gym equipment and ancient healing and energy therapies.

Get in The Water!

Get into the crystal-clear waters for some water activities, another element Amilla Fushi is so popular for! Whether you’re snorkeling in the blue hole, Diving with the Dive Butler, wakeboarding, kayaking, wind surfing, or stand up paddle boarding, what better place to stretch those muscles than the cooling, sparkling, turquoise beach.

Eat Healthy at The Clean & Lean Café

Within the “Spa Village” on the back side of the island, lays a little piece of mental and emotional heaven. The Island Café by Clean and Lean, recently frequented by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio and his crew, serves just the menu you need for a heathy Detox. You can enjoy your food after a day spent caring for your body, right on the porch facing the peaceful beach…

Houry Maljian is an Armenian Lebanese writer and PR professional based in Dubai. She is also a 3rd culture kid and enjoys social and cultural writing, contemporary dance, foreign films, music, yoga and meditation and of course travelling the world. She’s an avid YogaLife reader, a dreamer and a passionate publicist.

P O B ox 2 1 2 3 , M a l e   M a l d i ve s

we l l n e s s @am ill a . m v | + 960 660644 4

www.am i l l a.mv


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