By J.P. Anderson By J.P. Anderson | November 21, 2022 | Lifestyle
With flowing architecture and the poshest of amenities, The Ritz-Carlton makes its Maldivian debut with a showstopping property worthy of the brand.
From the resort’s arrival pontoon, guests glimpse the tropical paradise that awaits.
From Bali and the Canary Islands to Cairo, Abu Dhabi and countless other exotic destinations, Ritz-Carlton properties have long beckoned discerning luxury travelers to all corners of the globe.
An aerial view of the resort, which sprawls over four islands
Now, the legendary brand has expanded its footprint to one of the most iconic luxury destinations of all: the Maldives. Nestled in the country’s North Malé atoll, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands delivers everything you expect from this sun-kissed Indian Ocean paradise—and elevates it in ways only The Ritz-Carlton can.
Some Maldivian resorts go all in on barefoot luxury and rustic-chic accommodations. Not so at The Ritz, which was obvious from the moment we disembarked aft er our luxury speedboat transfer from the airport: Set on a quartet of lushly landscaped islands over 33-plus acres, the 100-villa property is polished and sleek, with stunning, low-slung contemporary architecture that feels both of the tropics and chicly urbane. As we explored the landscape, meandering along the resort’s sandy paths via our provided bicycles, one is struck by the recurrence of circles—in the stunning ring of overwater bungalows that surround the circular spa, as well as in the round shape of the villas themselves, each positioned to offer guests expansive, uninterrupted views of sea and sky. And whether overwater or tucked steps from the adjacent secluded, sandy beach, those villas stylishly blur the line between outdoors and in, as we indulged in indoor-outdoor showers and slid back the floor-to-ceiling wall of glass to take a dip in our personal infinity pool. Rounding out the serene surroundings, contemporary furnishings mix island vibes (light woods, natural textiles, earth tones) with decidedly luxe amenities, from 55- or 65-inch LCD TVs to crisp Frette linens and Bamford bath products, making our villa feel like the most fabulous pied-à-terre on the planet.
Celebrate the sunset each evening with a traditional Boduberu performance and fire ceremony.
Posh accommodations are just the start of the property’s appeal. Pedal to the water sports area at the resort’s main beach for kayaking, jet skiing and flyboarding; learn about ocean preservation from on-site naturalists flying observation drones with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program (the first of its kind in the region); work on your backhand with a private tennis lesson; or indulge in the spa’s signature Maldivian Signature Rejuvenation treatment, which incorporates organic coconuts and a sand scrub.
Snorkeling is one of the many aquatic activities on offer.
No need to stress about scheduling, either: From private yoga classes and wine tastings to off -property jaunts for shark snorkeling, big-game fishing, night diving or even luxury shopping at nearby Fari Marina Village, your personal butler (known as an Aris Meeha) is on hand to offer 24-hour service and arrange every last detail, a decidedly Ritz-Carlton touch.
Overwater villas beckon with personal infinity pools and sliding glass walls that let the outdoors in.
Your Aris Meeha’s most serious responsibility may well be helping you choose where to take your meals each day, because the resort’s culinary program is impressive and expansive: All-day La Locanda tempts with a bounteous breakfast buffet offering everything from fresh fruits and juices to French pastries and delectable South Asian curries and dosa; Summer Pavilion offers exquisite Cantonese cuisine like toothsome crab fried rice and braised abalone with black truffle sauce, all in a sultry, lowly lit space that hovers over the water; Japanese omakase concept Iwau bewitches with delicate tastings of sushi and sashimi in an intimate open-air setting; and Beach Shack and Eau Bar beckon with casual vibes and live DJ sets.
The resort’s culinary island
If you’re craving something showstopping, the property also offers unforgettable private dining experiences, from dining on a sandbank surrounded by lapping waters to dining on a remote beach at sunset.
Even the dedicated indoor-outdoor children’s play area is an architectural gem.
We opted for a multicourse feast of Maldivian specialties served under a 30-meter banyan tree in the resort’s Mystique Garden; the Zen-like setting, intimate service and delectable local fare made it one of the absolute highlights of the trip.
Culinary off erings at nearby Fari Marina include signature bao buns from Tum Tum.
The Ritz-Carlton debut is far from the only buzz on the Fari Islands archipelago; the area welcomed luxury resort Patina Maldives in mid-’22, and Capella Maldives will be unveiled in 2023, with guests able to island-hop between the three properties. My verdict? There’s no need to stray from The Ritz-Carlton, Fari Islands—this posh corner of paradise has everything you need for the most memorable of Maldivian getaways.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RITZ-CARLTON MALDIVES, FARI ISLANDS