If you know, then you know. Regulars at The Ritz-Carlton are familiar with the “Ladies and Gentlemen”, which is how the company refers its employees, and how they can deliver “wow!” moments. They learn to say “no” and find the best ways to serve guests. This hospitality ethos is the foundation of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands’ newest hotel. It opened its doors in June and was the first Ritz-Carlton property in the country. With 100 villas in overwater, beachfront and hybrid (suspended over the water, but with its own beach area) categories, it can be hard to choose where to stay; many opt to spend a few nights in each for different experiences.

All guests are attended by an “aris Meeha,” which is a person of trust that looked after the Maldivian royal family in the Dhivehi language. They attend to all guests’ needs, and Arix was no exception.

Arix was only a text away if I needed a ride in a golf cart to breakfast or assistance with my broken smartphone cable. My phone was charged within minutes with what I believe was his personal cord. )

The Ritz-Carlton pays great attention to details in its villa design. The smallest measures 1,615 square feet, with most villas showing a circular design meant to portray the rotating motion of the ocean and breeze. Kerry Hill, an Australian architect, decided to abandon the traditional thatched-hut structure found in Maldives. He instead chose a contemporary design.

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The hallmark of the villas is the wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor windows that slide open to create a seamless flow from outdoors to inside. The furnished patios lead to the infinity-edge plunge pool that runs almost the length of the accommodation. The ladder that led to my villa in the overwater had a ladder that took you to the platform from where you could either relax in a hammock, or plunge into the ocean. All three.

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A villa at the resort
A villa at the resort

Credit: 2021 The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

Back inside, the plush king-size bed wrapped in Frette linens overlooks the aquamarine water, as does an en suite soaking tub. My highest approval was given to the bathroom, which has a double vanity and offers indoor and outdoor shower options.

Remote working, a trend that seems like it will stick around, has never been as easy as while lounging on a day bed or sitting at a dining table outdoors. It was an unusual addition to Maldivian patios, and it was appreciated.

According to the resort, there have been quite a few extended-stay guests who find the outdoor nature of resorts in the Maldives to be fitting for the COVID-19 era. Even outdoors, staff are required to wear masks. There is only one section of an Italian restaurant and the gym. The United Nations lists the Maldives as a guest destination. This is due to the fact that it has been open since the Maldives opened for one year to anyone who can provide a negative PCR testing.

Guests will receive sealed masks, hand sanitizer and hand soap as part of their bathroom amenities package. This also includes the U.K.-based Bamford organic toiletries with hints geranium or peppermint. I recognized the same scent in the scented towels at the gym as in the spa’s products. )

The spa can be hard to miss as it is located in the middle of the resort’s villa section. The spa’s nine treatment rooms appear to hover above the water.

I also found the food exceptional, including Cantonese and Japanese (sushi, teppanyaki), Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, as well as Indian, Maldivian and other international dishes. This place is exceptional. The breakfast includes a la carte and an impressive spread, including fruit that can be carved to your specifications.

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Guests can be pampered at the on-site spa.
Guests can be pampered at the on-site spa.

Credit: 2021 The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

The manmade Fari Islands will eventually be home to three resorts (The Ritz-Carlton; Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, which is currently open; and Capella Maldives, Fari Islands, coming in a couple of years). Guests can travel by boat between them and their 23 combined restaurants and bars.

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Families will appreciate the kids’ club with a private pool and a waterslide playground, and all ages can enjoy entertaining watersport options. Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors to the Environment program educates visitors about the marine environment. Visitors can also enjoy activities like diving, snorkeling, and even a drone experience, which allows them to observe sea life from the shore. A photography studio, tennis courts and a circular swimming pool with an infinity edge complete the extensive list of amenities.

The resort has a strong eco-friendly emphasis. There are recycling and energy-efficient systems as well as a no-single-use plastic policy. The resort’s own water-bottling facility cleans and reuses bottles in guestrooms and restaurants. The island does not import bottled water. Still and sparkling water are available in all restaurants. The unique shape of the wooden slats in the villas allows air to flow freely through the space, which helps reduce overuse of air conditioners. There are also solar panels on the roofs. A daily sunset ceremony with traditional Maldivian drumming and torch lighting is part of the cultural side. It’s a great way to end your day in paradise.

Located in the North Male Atoll of the Maldives, the resort is only 50 minutes from the international airport by speedboat, so guests can take a swift ride without the added complication of adhering to a seaplane schedule.

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Perks for Travel Agents

Travel advisors can take advantage of Marriott’s STARS program, which includes a space-available room upgrade, early check-in and late checkout and a $100 resort credit for guests. To celebrate the resort’s opening, there are additional STARS rate plans that lift the resort credit to $300 per stay, as well as a “buy three nights, get the fourth night free” offer.

The Details

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands