There’s an almost mythic quality to the allure of the Maldives as a romantic honeymoon destination, but this dream-worthy collection of islands is also a paradise for the dedicated wellness seeker.
Our December Spa of the Month – The Ritz-Carlton Spa featuring Bamford at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands – will revolutionise your luxury spa retreat, for 2023 and beyond. Discover unique pampering rituals that will leave you feeling truly refreshed and renewed from head-to-toe.
THE PACKING EDIT
The Maldives is made up of 1200 individual islands; the spa oasis at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives is located on the Fari Islands, approximately 45 minutes by speedboat from the main airport in Male. Easy to navigate by buggy or bike, the award-winning resort stretches with a linear structure across multiple (man-made) sandbanks. There’s a dive centre at one edge, sprawling beach villas and restaurants towards the middle and, at the far end is the piece-de-resistance: the water villa-surrounded spa.
Throughout are clear waters, ocean views, white sands and lush green foliage – all the classic signatures of Maldivian beauty that consistently manage to take your breath away. The theme of perfect circularity runs throughout the resort, too – from the rounded spa and villas with beautiful sunrise and sunset views, to the underwater environmental sustainability programmes overseen by world-famous scuba diver, Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Even at full occupancy, the resort is designed to evoke your own private, personal retreat, so you’ll never feel shaken out of your blissful tranquility. The aim: to make you feel completely at home, at peace, and at ease.
The Maldives is already known as a hub of relaxation, but something rather remarkable happens when you arrive at the spa at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. Walking the short stretch of water bridge to reach your destination, there’s a noticeable shift in your demeanour: your breathing slows, your walking pace drops, and your shoulders start to unfurl.
It’s entirely deliberate.
Every detail of the ring-shaped spa has been architecturally designed to bring a sense of calm and improved wellbeing, even to the most busy of minds. Perched over the resort’s crystal-clear lagoon, the space successfully envelops you in the calming embrace of the Maldivian ocean and you emerge having come physically and mentally “full-circle”.
Once inside one of the nine treatment rooms (complete with private showering facilities), you’ll experience soul-soothing rituals inspired by the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. All treatments are tailored to bring balance and restoration – an experience only further improved by the exclusive spa partnership with Bamford, the British-born beauty and wellbeing brand known for its wellness rituals and luxury organic, sustainable products.
The spa menu is a feast for the senses, but two treatments stand out: the Bamford Signature Facial, which perfectly blends targeted treatments (to improve signs of fatigue, sun irritation and blemishes) with relaxation rituals over a 90-minute period. Nothing is rushed and there’s no need to choose between the two. Then, there’s the Bamford Signature Journey – 150 minutes of complete head-to-toe bliss. Every detail has been considered – from your welcome courtesy of a personal message made out of local seashells, to the way your skin (and mind) are prepped with an initial 10-minute steam.
A full-body scrub follows, one that manages to both invigorate and encourage a deeper slip into semi-consciousness, and a thorough head, face, and body massage with strokes designed to follow the ocean’s healing rhythm to remove all tension. Even then, the ritual is not complete. As a final touch, your therapist runs a coconut oil-enriched bubble bath for you to flop into without a care in the world – only the desire to enjoy the chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne placed beside you.
There are 100 villas on the resort, although you would hardly know it – so effectively is each one built to feel like your own personal sanctuary. There are one or two bedroom options available depending on the size and nature of your group, but the main decision is the type of villa you choose.
There’s a water villa – set directly above the crystal-clear waters – if relaxing on a hammock overhanging the ocean appeals, or a beach villa for direct access to the white sand and lapping shoreline waves. Our recommendation: if you love the ocean (and a social media picture), try the former, and if privacy or family-time is the most important aspect of your stay, the latter.
All villas have joy-inspiring, unobstructed, wide-reaching views of the ocean or lagoon. That’s courtesy of a full floor-to-ceiling sliding door (instead of the fourth wall), meaning that the Maldivian landscape is never far away. The bed is even angled to make the very most of this too, so that opening your black-out blinds in the morning is a breathtaking experience that will never lose it’s appeal.
As well as the inviting warmth of the sea, each villa has an integrated infinity pool and sundeck, to ensure you feel right at home. Plus, there’s an indoor and outdoor shower, large bath-tub, and full marble bathroom – complete with Bamford amenities – to refresh you throughout your stay.
“You cannot find true wellbeing, if you aren’t well-fed” – if that’s not already the mantra of the resort’s culinary department, it should be.
There are seven restaurants and bars at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and they are as wide-ranging as they are delicious. Our advice: start your morning with coffee made into an art form at La Locanda, or try a traditional Maldivian fish curry for breakfast, providing excellent fuel for a day of snorkelling.
Many of the restaurants have overwater dining areas too, so shoals of fish and even baby sharks have been known to be your eating companions. Then, make real memories at the Beach Shack and IWAU, where lobster dinners and fresh seafood are served underneath the stars, close enough to the water to hear it lapping on the shore.
Just a short 5-10 minute boat ride away, don’t go home without experiencing the Fari Marina Village – an island outpost shared with the nearby resorts. It provides even more opportunities for activities and dining, including food-trucks and the Arabian-inspired restaurant, Arabesque – where you can enjoy mezze platters and tandoor-grilled plates among the hanging lanterns of a Bedouin tent.
THE KID’S CLUB
Relaxation can be a little harder to come by if you have little ones running around, but the “Ritz Kids” programme at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is excellent, meaning your spa retreat can still be a family-friendly affair.
The building itself is beautifully chic, blending effortlessly into the tropical environment, and your tots are greeted with a welcome rucksack on arrival (complete with sun-safe essentials like a cap) to ease any jet-lag tantrums. Then, throughout your stay, little ones can indulge their curiosity and be introduced to Maldivian culture with a full programme of cooking classes, child-safe sports activities, and arts and crafts. There’s special attention paid to the need to protect the islands’ (and world’s) beautiful environment too.
So, whatever your kids are inspired by, you can rest assured that while you sink into the spa, your whole family are enjoying a five-star experience.
Whatever you need to make your stay extra special, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands will provide, with the help of your Aris Meeha – a 24-hour, always-on-hand, personal butler.
Sometimes the joy is in the little things – having your clothes pressed on arrival and a picture taken as the sun goes down – but they’ll help you make the most of your Maldives stay, too. Ask them to book organised snorkelling trips to turtle nesting grounds or a yacht journey to frolic with dolphins playing games in the surf. You can even enjoy a sandbank picnic for that special romantic memory, or watch the sunset while taking part in yoga on the beach or with cocktails in hand at the bar. Whatever you choose, your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing is in safe hands.
CF Top Tip: Avoid a busy schedule close to your Bamford x The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands Signature Treatment. It will allow you to savour the post-treatment bath and steam for that little while longer.
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