Innovative Maldives icon Huvafen Fushi has unveiled a breathtaking new ‘SpaQuarium’ experience, providing a unique cinematic window into the watery world of the reef by night. Every evening as night falls, the resort’s legendary world-first underwater spa is transformed as guests descend into this uniquely ethereal space to be mesmerised by the kaleidoscopic panorama that envelops them. The abundance and diversity of Huvafen Fushi’s marine life is exuberantly evident at every turn, and any time of day – but it is after dark, below the surface, that the reef dramatically reveals itself as a vivacious landscape of nocturnal predators on the hunt; of bioluminescent plankton sparking ‘fire in the ocean’; and of beautiful corals fluorescing under the gaze of UV torches.
Simultaneously enchanting and educational, the SpaQuarium experience is a captivating pre- or post-dinner hour of wonder – not to mention a unique, revelatory opportunity for guests who are uncomfortable with diving or snorkelling to discover the magical world beneath the waves. Guests can enjoy a glass of Champagne, canapés and petit fours while Huvafen Fushi’s resident marine biologist narrates the natural drama playing out before them. UV light torches and yellow filter visors illuminate the submarine scene: from sharks, rays, moray eels and giant trevallies flashing after their prey to zooplankton feeding on phytoplankton; from octopus and the occasional lobster to a chromatic carousel of tropical fish including squirrelfish, soldierfish, snappers, parrotfish and triggerfish. Dotting the spa reefscape, brain corals, branching corals and sea anemone fluoresce brilliantly thanks to protective layers known as ‘coral sunscreen’.
The SpaQuarium experience also provides an opportunity to see the fruits of Huvafen Fushi’s coral propagation programme. The spa reef is home to several mature coral frames that have ‘graduated’ from the resort’s coral nurseries. From humble beginnings as small coral fragments or ‘nubbins’, the thriving frames reach colony size after approximately three years of careful cultivation by the in-house marine biology team before being replanted at the reef. Burgeoning populations of coral-associated species like damselfish are indicative of the health of the island’s reefs, and the success of the coral propagation initiative.
Just 30 minutes by speedboat from Velana International Airport, Huvafen Fushi exists in a dreamlike bubble; beyond the banal intrusions of flight or boat paths, wreathed only by horizon. A sanctuary of iconic design and natural beauty, the resort’s 44 enrapturing, naturally modern villas – each with a private deck and freshwater infinity pool – are enhanced by the signature Thakuru butler service first pioneered by Huvafen Fushi over 15 years ago. An array of unique culinary experiences are infused with the resort’s customary serenity, from subterranean gastronomic adventures curated by renowned consultant sommelier Guillem Kerambrun at Vinum, the Indian Ocean’s only underground wine cellar; to laid-back Izakaya-style dining at Huvafen’s unmistakable overwater restaurant, now returned to its birth name, Salt.
SpaQuarium is bookable either as a shared experience for groups of four to six guests, from USD95++ per person; or as a fully private couples experience from USD250++ per couple. For those wishing to explore Huvafen’s nocturnal marine world further, the resort also offers guided night snorkeling trips where guests might encounter lobster, octopus and lionfish patrolling the reef.
Abercrombie & Kent (www.abercrombiekent.co.uk; 01242 547 760) offers seven nights in an Ocean View Pool Villa at Huvafen Fushi from GBP4,499 per person – saving up to GBP5,650 per couple - based on two adults sharing, including return flights and transfers. Valid for travel until 30 April 2021, subject to blackout dates and availability. Terms and conditions apply.