Ritz Carlton opens its first outpost in the Maldives. Here’s what you should know | Condé Nast Traveller India | InternationalJune 4, 2021
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is the brand’s first property in the Maldives. It has sustainability, nature-inspired design and community focus as its cornerstone. Here’s what you need to know before you go:
1. A design aesthetic inspired by the circle
Life follows a circular pattern in the islands. There are no real routines that must be followed and floating breakfasts segue into snorkelling with clownfish and sundowners by the beach. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands takes this adage seriously and has used the circle as its central design motif across its three islands. The standout ring-shaped spa over a lagoon is surrounded by nine treatment rooms, including a spa suite and lounge. A hundred overwater and beach villas open out onto circular decks, a private pool and the ocean beyond. They are designed to evoke light, air and water and the circle of life. Inspired by the expanse of water, the movement of the wind and the chiaroscuro effect of the foliage, Kerry Hill Architects have created seamless transitions between the ocean, the beach and built-up sections.
2. The property is integrated into a larger island community
Fari Islands in the North Malé Atoll is an experiment in hospitality as well as community living and sustainability. Four main islands make up the archipelago and house two other luxe properties apart from The Ritz-Carlton. This integrated resort project has a lagoon in common as well as the Fari Marina Village. This centre of arts, culture and entertainment houses a beach club, boutiques and several eateries including a gelato truck, an Asian street food trailer and an island patisserie. There is a thoughtfully designed campus for all the staff who work across these resorts as well as a coral adoption and marine biology centre to help guests understand the biodiversity and sensitive ecology of the region. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari islands offers round-the-clock dhoni boat transfers for its guests between the resort and the Fari Marina Village.
3. A resort where minimalism and luxury meet Maldivian traditions
Those who belong to the Maldives, respect the ocean, islands and its natural bounty in all its varied forms. Over time, customs have come to reflect this interaction. At The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, many of these traditions are moulded into the design and the brand’s signature hospitality. Guests are greeted by a local who blows the sangu conch shell, welcoming them to the island. Traditionally, this shell was blown across villages to send important news. There is an aris meeha, the Maldivian term for a personal butler, who is attached to each villa and attends to every detail during your stay. The resort’s design is minimalist and rooted in the island’s crafts and aesthetics. A handcrafted beru drum in each room references the local culture and also features in a daily sunset performance of the Bodo Beru. This energetic drum procession is a community ritual in the Maldives that traces its history back to the 11th century.
4. A culinary philosophy that is global, local and sustainable
Mashuni is a Maldivian breakfast staple combining coconut with fresh tuna. Guests can not only sample this but also learn how to make the dish. This is just one of the insights into the menu curation across the seven restaurants and bars across the resort’s islands and at the Fari Marina Village. It’s not just that there is global cuisine on offer, but also a sustainable approach to food sourcing as well as community, that adds something extra to the plate. Expect seafood freshly caught by local fishermen, organic herbs and vegetables from the onsite organic garden and food and drinks that offer a hat tip to Maldivian flavours. Summer Pavilion, inspired by Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name, offers tapas-style Cantonese cuisine in a spectacular overwater setting. Explore southern Italian specialities at La Locanda, teppanyaki, sushi, Mediterranean platters, cocktails and more.
5. Making sustainability and environmental awareness fun
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island has a strong commitment to the environment, which is especially relevant to the ecologically sensitive reefs of the Maldives. The architecture, cooling systems and building materials are all aligned to create a low carbon footprint. The brand has partnered with legendary marine explorer and conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau on the Ambassadors of the Environment program. This allows guests to discover the flora and fauna, both over-and underwater and learn more about conservation in these parts. And mind you, none of it is boring in the least! Activities include kayaking, underwater photography, night snorkelling, astronomy and more. The idea is for guests to leave the islands feeling inspired about living sustainably, protecting nature and the planet at large.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands North Malé Atoll, Malé 20013 Maldives (ritzcarlton.com; Prices start at $1,500/ Rs1,09,748 for an ocean pool villa)