Thudufushi has a sister island, the nearby Athuruga, and almost everything said about that resort is relevant to this one too.
They are both similarly sized (just under 50 rooms) and shaped (roughly round, on the edge of their own lagoon). The level of maintenance on both is top notch and they offer probably the best standard of all-inclusive in the country.
Both resorts do all-inclusive holidays only and the differences between them are subtle matters of lifestyle and atmosphere. These, in turn, reflect the differences in clientele. In comparison to Athuruga, Thudufushi is more distinctly a club, more 'all-together' and with rather more emphasis on looks and style. This would be due to Italians making up 8 out of 10 guests for much of the year. It is friendly and great fun but perhaps a little less easygoing.
The front office staff wear a very smart, quasi-colonial outfit. The barmen and waiters wear sarongs during the day and long, white Indian kurtas in the evening. The European staff and management wear the smart casual uniform of the club colours. The setting is refined and formal, as any upper class club might be, but the atmosphere is informal: there is constant banter between the staff and guests, plenty of chatter and laughter. During the day it's swimwear, wraps and bare feet, but in the evening guests return from their rooms dressed and made up for the preprandial get-together.
The evening meal starts later here than it does on Athuruga and the talking and drinking last longer into the night. In the same way, the daytime excursions leave later too, for this is essentially an Italian resort. Mealtimes are gregarious affairs and the food is splendid. From the open kitchen to the barbecuing fish on the beach, it is a nightly feast for the eyes and the taste buds. Afterwards, guests gather once more for the night's cabaret, put on by the European staff.
The restaurant, cabaret, beach bar and public areas front a fine beach on the west side of the island. This is the obvious place for everyone to gather and enjoy each other’s company throughout the day. The rooms facing east into the open water have a reduced beach with some erosion issues (and only morning sunshine), whilst those on the north and south enjoy splendid bulges of exquisite sand.
As is the Italian preference, all the rooms are outside the canopy, with open views of the water and direct access to the beach. The downside to this is that there is a lack of privacy, with every room in clear view of its neighbours. You can't have everything.
Inside, the rooms are spacious, solid and well equipped, with a range of complementary toiletries, double basin and bidet, dressing gown, wooden clothes hangers, comfortable chairs and broad veranda. A safe, hair dryer and full (free) minibar are included but not a tea and coffee maker, TV or CD player. 40 rooms are joined in pairs and 7 are single.
The reef is ideal for a combination of snorkelling and water sports. For half the island it is just around 40 to 60 metres away, accessible at high tide almost anywhere but also with two channels cut through. On the other side, the lagoon opens out to afford a shallow and calm area for canoeing, windsurfing and cat sailing. And this, indeed, is where the water sports and beach bar are found.
The dive centre is found here too, in the thick of things, open and friendly, with a capacity for greater use. Generally it's one boat twice a day, with occasional night dives and full day trips. The ratio of divers to instructors averages an excellent 4 or 5 and the system couldn't be easier on the guest: each diver's equipment is taken to the boat and returned, rinsed and hung up by dive base staff. The centre has achieved ISO certification, so assuring the highest levels of safety and procedures.
The island has a very fine canopy of mature palms over a quiet interior of soft sand and dappled sunlight. The Serena Spa is tucked away here, ethnic and alluring. A sizeable and nicely designed shopping arcade, not far away, is also alluring and takes you back out to the exterior of the island, to the fun, the sun and the togetherness.
Reviewed by Adrian Neville