Moofushi has a particular identity, which has developed over the many years that the island has been under private Italian ownership (or long lease to be more exact). This identity is its strength and the source of continuing success.
The rapid expansion of the top end of the market and the continual upgrading of formerly modest resorts do, however, show up Moofushi's physical style and appearance.
The resort rooms have long been sold only through Best Tours, one of Italy's most exclusive tour operators. It is a place where celebrities, top executives and the rich can come and know they won't be bothered. It's a place to get away, to escape the pressured life and to rediscover the pleasures of simplicity. In an almost rustic setting, the regulars of Moofushi meet up year after year, as if dropping into their private club on the equator.
The atmosphere this creates is the secret of the resort. And the secret behind the secret is the longevity and attitude of the owners, management and staff. There is a togetherness and human commitment to the cause that is striking. From the owner meeting and reminiscing with guests over a preprandial prosecco to the pastry chef of 15 years service taking them on at volleyball, the resort does welcoming very well indeed. In several ways Moofushi acts like an extended family frequently reuniting.
During Christmas and August the children arrive on holiday whereas the rest of the year is mostly for the older members of the family. This is an all-Italian resort but not of the active type with animators. Peace and quiet is appreciated and although there is a board advertising the daily activities they are more along the lines of gentle stretching than boom boom aerobics.
Having said that, big game fishing has long been a popular activity here as the resort lies between two oceanic channels. There are regular catches of marlin, sail fish, yellow fin tuna and so on brought back, measured and photographed.
There are two guided snorkel trips to the house reef from the beach every day and these are excellent for much the same reason. The current in the channel (sometimes strong) attracts many of the big fish and has promoted coral regrowth. Each snorkel is rewarding but just in case that tires, the resort also puts on two or three free snorkel trips a week by boat.
The dive base is prominently located at the end of the main jetty, which reflects its popularity. The dive base leader has been there forever and its reputation has grown strongly over the years. For some guests, this is indeed the main purpose of their holiday.
Every guest is on a full board package and whatever the primary motivation for coming to Moofushi, the food, if not quite up there with the very best resorts, seems always to be appreciated and lingered over. The 3 buffets per day can be varied with the occasional à la carte treat at the Bougainville restaurant. This specialist seafood (and Australian beef) restaurant, split between an overwater deck and a second floor balcony, offers something extra special to be enjoyed under the stars and accompanied by a fine wine.
The only thing that is disappointing about Moofushi is the room interiors. At best they can be described as simple. The beach rooms are relatively large - a second and third bed for children is not a problem - but for a resort in this high category, the style and the materials used are not what you would expect. This is even more true of the water bungalows, which were rebuilt rather quickly after the tsunami and it is evident.
Moofushi, nonetheless, is a resort that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. As mentioned at the top, it is the atmosphere that really makes the place. It is everything together that still gives this resort a special identity.
Reviewed by Adrian Neville