Why you should social distance in the Maldives this winter

like countless A high-profile destination with more than 160 resorts (and counting) spread across nearly 1,200 Indian Ocean islands, the Maldives drew some 550,000 visitors in 2020 as tourism plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic, That compares with a record 1.7 million in 2019. But as tourism slowly recovers, sun-seekers are flocking back to the remote island nation, drawn by its colorful turquoise seas, inherent social distancing and unparalleled Attracted by accommodation.

A case in point is the Ritz-Carlton, Maldives, Faree Islands, which opened in June. The resort straddles three scenic islands in North Male Atoll – a 45-minute luxury speedboat ride from Velana International Airport – and is the long-awaited entry into the archipelago for the revered brand.

In an environment that is particularly vulnerable to the cumulative impacts of climate change – 80 percent of the Maldives is less than one meter above sea level – it was imperative from the outset to minimize the resort’s impact on its fragile surrounding ecosystem. Kerry Hill Architects used groundbreaking prefabrication to create the visually lightweight construction of the 100-room resort, reducing heavy site handling and reducing waste and pollution during construction. The property’s primary reliance on solar power also reflects its low carbon footprint, while its physical infrastructure helps foster new coral nurseries: hundreds of concrete columns supporting its above-water structure will stimulate coral recruitment over time.

Your Island Home: Each Beach Pool Villa at The Ritz-Carlton offers shore access and sweeping views of the Indian Ocean.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives, Faree Islands

The circular nature of island living – the resort’s signature theme – resonates throughout the property. Stylish, spacious overwater villas, dramatic infinity pools and sculptural spas are all Arismiha— island butlers who take care of the royal family in Dhivehi (the national language of the Maldives) service each villa (all with private pools), a golf cart ride to the dive center and spa with just a WhatsApp message, Restaurant reservations, and special requests.

Lagoon villas are powered by solar roofs.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives, Faree Islands

The resort’s seven restaurants, two of which are located in the nearby Fari Islands Marina, exceed the loftiest of expectations with their inspired cuisine. Reef fish ceviche with tangy gazpacho and Jaffna-style mud crab curry are a hit at this casually elegant seaside restaurant at The Beach Hut, where waves lap the shore to an icy beat set by a DJ.

Summer Pavilion, the sister restaurant of the Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore, serves exquisite Cantonese cuisine on hand-painted tableware under golden paper lanterns. Iwau centers on refined Japanese cuisine, with creations such as shrimp and foie gras with grilled asparagus, brioche and herb-pepper creme – a delicacy created by general manager Mark Hehir during his tenure as head chef at the Tokyo Hilton.

Cocktails at the resort’s Eau Bar are inspired by local flavours.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives, Faree Islands

Between meals and drinks, guests are engaged in a series of activities from morning till night. Practice your backhand with the resident tennis coach.Find your zen with sunrise and aerial yoga, or try handline fishing aboard a traditional wooden sailboat Dhoni (Maldives Fishing Boats) At twilight, the moment the sun dips below the horizon, smooth red snappers and kingfish seem to catapult onto your hook.

To truly immerse yourself in the ineffable magic of the Maldives, head to the beach. Snorkelers and diving enthusiasts can explore the amazing resources of the Indian Ocean, swim with turtles and manta rays, and learn about marine conservation through Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Environmental Ambassador Programme. Products including “Cities Under the Sea” explain the important role that different fauna, such as sharks, play in coral reefs. These top predators keep the oceans healthy and balanced—the oceans produce more oxygen than all the rainforests on Earth combined.

Enjoy a world-class snorkeling experience among the atoll’s recovering coral reefs.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives, Faree Islands

Then it’s time to dive in and get up close and personal with the Maldives’ most colorful inhabitants. Yellowfin oriental sweetlips have black and white stripes, and steephead parrotfish are painted in lavender and teal – every excursion presents a rainbow kaleidoscope of stunning species. For the particularly brave, night snorkeling – frequented by eagles and manta rays, octopuses and nurse sharks – offers breathtaking glimpses into the ocean’s little-known and incredibly complex ecology.

Guests can also watch as the JMC Ambassador team uses drones to locate ghost nets—disused fishing nets that entangle and kill hundreds of thousands of marine animals each year. The team has already dismantled several of the nets – a reminder of just how much work it took to preserve this oceanic Eden.

A version of this article appeared in December 2021/January 2022 issue of wealth The title is “Integrating into the Maldives”.

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