The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, a 100-villa resort on the beautiful beaches of the North Malé Atoll opening in Q2 2021, is focusing its attentions on cultural immersion in the Maldives. Every decision in the resort’s design and development has been made by looking at it through a prism of Maldivian island life to ensure guests feel the warmth and generosity of these rich traditions and are able to explore them further through the design, service, dining, landscaping and experiences at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands.
The totality of island life at the resort is closely linked to Bodu Beru, an indigenous form of dance and drumming. Crafted from coconut wood, the national tree of the Maldives, bodu beru drums are one of the oldest known traditions from the region, dating back to the 11th century. Bodu Beru is central to Maldivian ceremonies and celebrations and this authentic local spirit will be brought into the resort though art and music. Each villa will have a unique Bodu Beru artwork personalised with a Dhivehi number, and every evening an elegant sunset ritual will be performed by Maldivian gentlemen distilled from that traditional drum procession. A torchlit procession will gather to light a central round torch, marking the setting of the sun and the transition from a day of discoveries to a night of indulgence and reflection.
The Maldivian embrace will also be felt through the high level of service at the hotel. On arrival, guests will be met by the blowing of the Sangu horn, which traditionally would have been blown in island communities to announce an arrival or important news. A welcome drink made from local screw pine, an exotic fruit dense in nutrients, will be shaken and served in the villa by the Aris Meeha, who will greet the guests in Dhivehi. Each villa will have its own Aris Meeha – a butler concept inspired by the historic royal courts of the Maldives, one of the highest-ranking positions in the Maldivian Royal household. Similar to a modern-day butler, Aris Meeha will be considered guests’ closest confidante whilst on the islands and fulfil every detail of their stay. In addition, the resort will have a Moodhu Edhuru (loosely translated as guru of the sea) who will pass on local folklore inspired by the rich Maldivian marine culture, narrating stories each evening around the beach campfire.
The immersion in local cultures also reaches into the hotel’s dining concepts. The team will work closely with local fishermen, to provide the freshest fish, seafood and the well-known local lobsters, and to ensure that the fish is caught sustainably. Fresh vegetables and herbs will be cultivated in the resort’s organic garden and guests can learn to cook Maldivian dishes including mashuni, a breakfast staple made with tuna and fresh coconut, and sample the local bites, hedhika, for afternoon tea. The resort’s signature cocktail selection is inspired by the maritime spice routes that shaped the Maldivian story and includes five spices: cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin and turmeric.
On the islands themselves there are thousands of palms and carefully selected native plants and shrubs, all of which have been saved from deforestation or chosen from local nurseries to eliminate the negative impact of importation. The 30m Banyan tree in the resort’s spiral garden – dedicated to the resort’s architect, the late Kerry Hill – is an excellent example of this as it was transplanted from Medhukumburudhoo Agricultural Island on the Shaviyani Atoll.
The Maldivian embrace is central to the resort’s ethos will bring a real sense of place to the resort for guests to enjoy and explore. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives will have 100 simple, yet staggeringly beautiful villas built across four picture-perfect paradise islands, all with ocean and lagoon views of the crystal-clear waters. Guests will be able to dine at seven different restaurants, as well as enjoy exceptional treatments by Bamford at The Ritz-Carlton Spa. Families will delight in the full Ritz Kids program as well as a range of experiences to protect and explore the ocean around them, including Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassador of the Environment program.