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Patina Maldives, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives

There is no place like the Maldives for luxury getaways, with one visually stunning resort per island and year-round tropical weather. Of the nation’s 1,192 islands, only 200 are inhabited. The fiery sunsets are beautiful, the snorkelling is world-class, and the private overwater villas and white-glove service bring visitors back repeatedly.

Opened last June, Patina Maldives and The Ritz-Carlton Maldives are a 45-minute boat ride from Malé International Airport. They’re part of the Fari Islands archipelago which comprises the two resorts, Fari Marina Village and a future Capella Hotel.

Fari Marina Village has berths for up to 20 yachts, boutiques by The Rake offering fine jewellery and clothes, and a library curated by Ultimate Library. The different islands are accessible by 5-minute dhoni (boat) transfers throughout the day.

(Related: Be a member of this luxe eco-island for a cool $725,000)

Fari Marina Village: An idyllic escape

Verdant landscaping envelops each of Patina Maldives’ 90 contemporary one- to three-bedroom Beach and Water Pool Villas.
Verdant landscaping envelops each of Patina Maldives’ 90 contemporary one- to three-bedroom Beach and Water Pool Villas. (Photo: Patina Maldives)

There are 14 bars and restaurants, and three food trucks across the complex. Having 17 dining options is a big deal. Most resort guests end up with jaded palates, since there are barely a handful of dining spots per island. Additionally, it’s convenient to be able to charge dining and spa incidentals to your villa.

Warm azure waters, balmy weather and the bluest horizon make most happy to just shoot the breeze on outdoor decks. Explorers can enjoy a calendar of daily activities, from yoga to marine excursions, discovering what lies beneath the crystal-clear sea.

In a nod to sustainability, the resorts were built using prefabricated materials along with timber from sustainably managed forests. Single-use plastics are banned, kitchens are zero-waste, and bottles and cans are recycled along with water used for irrigation. A desalination plant and a Nordaq water filtration system (often used in fine-dining restaurants) mean water is treated and bottled on-site.

(Related: Rent the stunning Raffles island resort in the Maldives for US$1 million)

Patina Maldives: Mindful Wellness, Art and Culture

Patina Maldives luxury villa vacation resort
Photo: Patina Maldives

Designed by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27, the Patina Maldives’ is designed for laid-back travellers seeking a stripped-down luxe vibe and interiors straight out of Wallpaper* magazine.

Thanks to the top international guests it attracts, the resort is a unique property in terms of design and culture. Recently, it has even sponsored a turtle genetic expedition study by the Olive Ridley Project.

The Fari Art Atelier at Patina Maldives has hosted previous art residencies such as those by Daniel Arsham. Additionally, tennis legend Martina Hingis and former Spanish football captain Carles Puyol have held tennis and football camps, respectively. All over the island, there are also artworks by international artists, including Synthesis Monoliths by Hongjie Yang and Amarta Skyspace by James Turrell, which is also used as a meditation space.

As part of the Patina Maldives’ commitment to uplifting the mind and body, spa FLOW is a holistic wellness program. These include Reiki practitioners, sensory deprivation pods, and a deeply relaxing vagus nerve massage I adored. Their visiting wellness practitioner programme previously had Dr Lindsay Browning, a neuroscientist and licensed sleep specialist, offering personalised sleep strategy sessions.

I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Steve Harvey, a mindset mentor, holistic healer and life coach. His clientele include some of the biggest names, such as Jennifer Lopez, Chris Martin, Roberto Cavalli and Roger Federer. My two-hour Emotional Freedom Techniques and Usui Reiki session was incredibly transformative. As clichéd as it may sound, I felt truly healed afterwards.

(Related: Wellness retreats: three new places to relax and recharge)

An array of sumptuous dining options

There are 14 bars and restaurants, and three food trucks across the complex, including Arabesque.
There are 14 bars and restaurants, and three food trucks across the complex, including Arabesque. (Photo: Patina Maldives)

Food-wise, Patina’s signature restaurant Roots offers beautifully presented, delicious plant-based dishes featuring organic produce from the island. Helios is worth a visit for tasty Greek food on the beach. There’s a chance you won’t get a booking if you stay at The Ritz-Carlton, but persevere and you reward yourself with a wonderful meal and sunset views.

Kids can participate in activities like dolphin cruises, spa workshops, and cooking classes that teach them about food provenance and a balanced diet at Footprints, a kids club. It also has a Fab Lab where children can print and cut 3D models out of recycled ocean plastic using laser cutting technology.

Read more at: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Related: The Maldives plans to tackle rising sea levels with a floating city by 2027

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives: Five-Star Hospitality and Luxury Adventures

Blurring the line between indoors and out, each villa at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives offers water views, an infinity pool, and sundeck.
Blurring the line between indoors and out, each villa at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives offers water views, an infinity pool, and sundeck. (Photo: The Ritz-Carlton Maldives)

The curvilinear architecture of Kerry Hill’s last project represents the circle of island life. Even the overwater Lagoon and Ocean Pool Villas are Instagram-iconic because of their futuristic round shape. If you want to see a spectacular sunset, reserve a Lagoon Pool Villa.

With unparalleled service and hospitality, The Ritz-Carlton is the ideal resort for travellers looking to feel pampered. The staff tripped over themselves to delight us at every turn, and each villa has its own butler. Daily treats accompanied by handwritten notes were just captivating. One day, I even had a surprise bubble bath and turtle towel art. Why a turtle? To make up for the fact we didn’t get to go snorkelling at Turtle Point because of inclement weather.

A first in the Asia-Pacific region, The Ritz-Carlton offers the Jean- Michael Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment programme, featuring Cousteau-trained naturalists. Other interesting activities include drone flights by marine biologists exploring the outer reef of the atoll and checking out the surrounding reef at sunset as naturalists pilot an underwater drone. Additionally, the resident science team uses drones to monitor ocean plastic pollution.

(Related: This luxury hotel brand has the highest approval rating among wealthy guests)

Epicurean highlights by the ocean

There are several epicurean highlights at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, including Summer Pavilion with refined Cantonese cuisine. Iwau, which offers set menus at its Chef’s Table, also serves modern Japanese alongside traditional nigiri sushi and sashimi. You must also stop at Arabesque, a Lebanese and North Indian grill restaurant in what looks like a luxury Bedouin tent. Don’t leave without trying the fork-tender lamb shank and the rich, soulful gravy that covers the freekeh that accompanies it, the mezze platters, and tandoor-grilled meats.

For younger guests, Ritz Kids offers sack racing, Maldivian palm origami, a mocktail mixologist class, a large central water slide feature and a packed calendar of other activities.

Regardless of the resort you choose, you’ll enjoy an unmatched experience exploring either destination on land and sea — or simply relaxing at your leisure.

Read more at: Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

Related: Maldives set to open world’s first underwater hotel villa