I finally understand why people spend a fortune on luxury holidays
If vacations were invented to rest the body and rejuvenate the mind, my escape to Club Med Finolhu was like discovering the prototype
It started with a vaguely threatening message. “I went to your villa and moved your things.” Except this was no cat burglar playing mind games, it was Opal, our butler, moving my laptop from the sundeck of our water villa because she’d noticed a thunderstorm marking its territory on the horizon. She’d also packed away my swimsuits, the message continued, so they wouldn’t be blown away into the middle of the Indian ocean. And replenished the mini bar like a Snacks Santa.
It had been some time, but I recognised what was going on — this is what it felt like to be taken care of.
My misadventures with adulting began somewhat prematurely at the age of 15 when I left my home in Goa for college in Mumbai. Moving to this city as a teenager was like being locked in a candy store overnight, only to realise an hour later that the candy was laced with LSD.
It was everything, everywhere all at once. Caught in a maelstrom of new responsibilities, old traumas and never-ending demands. In the course of becoming a fully functioning member of society, I’ve wrestled pressure cookers in the kitchen and drunk girls in bathrooms, ending up with dal splattered on the ceiling and puke decorating the floor. Two decades later, I’d become so used to doing things myself, I’d almost forgotten there was any other way to exist.
That is, until I plonked myself in Club Med Finolhu’s lap of luxury.
Chuck a clam at any island in the Maldives and you’ll likely discover a paradise so sublime, you’ll mumble idiotically, “It looks like it’s been Photoshopped.”
This hotel property is no exception.
Cerulean waters flirt with maida-like sand, while a friendly neighbourhood patrol of stingrays, baby sharks, and unicorn fish shimmy right up to your waterfront villa.
I’m not the kind of vacationer who has much experience with sunrises, but I can vouch for its poetry-inspiring sunsets. And if you hit writer’s block mid-stanza, wander over to the beach hammock and watch as Indra embroiders his treasures on the midnight sky canvas.
TL;DR: Nature is doing the most.
So for this veteran backpacker, the real luxury experience at Club Med Finolhu is the way the staff anticipates your every need, whim and fancy, and conjures it to life. You may not have thought to bookend your lunch with margaritas, but Alvarro the magician from Mexico will make you wonder how you could have been guilty of such oversight. Thanks to Cindy, the snorkelling instructor who will convince you that mermaids are real, we spotted two hawksbill turtles and swam with dolphins.
Club Med Finolhu is also where I discovered that Malabar parottas are meant to be fluffy. Sanjay, the lone Indian chef on the team, whipped up an off-menu Kerala fish masala and mini parotta clouds that connected my quarter-Mallu soul to the ancestral plane. And piqued the curiosity of the Belgian couple at the next table.
If holidays were invented to rest the body and rejuvenate the mind, my four-day escape to Club Med Finolhu was like discovering the prototype. Communing with nature in a place where clocks are invisible, that was the system reboot my circadian rhythm was begging for. I slept soundly, for hours, without the symphony of horns and electronics turning my dreams into disco. Lazily stirring awake when my body was good and ready. Rediscovering what it felt like to not be in a perpetual rush.
And if that isn’t luxury, I don’t know what is.