When my cruise ship took off from the sea outside Male International Airport, I immediately saw why the Maldives is such a great vacation destination. Postcard-worthy, palm-fringed islands appeared below me, as well as ring-shaped coral islands and beautiful white sand cliffs – to call them romantic would be an understatement. The beauty of this place is what draws couples from all over the world, looking for carefree beach days, fun, and privacy.
I came alone, however, to check out the new Avani + Fares Maldives resort. After a full day’s travel, it took 35 minutes of sailing and a quick boat transfer to a private island in Baa Atoll. But the entertainment that greeted me was worth the trip.
Avani+ Fares Maldives
- The resort has more than 15 types of accommodation, including studios, villas and pavilions.
- Avani+ Fares is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and guests can sail on beautiful reefs full of colorful fish and coral.
- Among the seven restaurants on site is the Maldives’ first children-only restaurant.
The latest addition to the Avani Hotels & Resorts portfolio (which includes more than three dozen hotels worldwide), this Maldivian island hideaway is a welcoming destination known for its luxurious, five-star accommodations with overwater (and underwater) bungalows. There veins The over-the-water resort here – in fact, the resort offers 10 remote villas with private rooms and plunge pools overlooking two beautiful lagoons – but Avani + Fares Maldives is a dream destination for everyone., families, friends, and solo travelers included. And this starts with different types of accommodation.
“Guests can choose from more than 15 types of studios, villas, and apartments, ensuring that every traveler has their own privacy,” said Riaan Sinclair-Drever, the resort’s general manager. Travel + Leisure. Large or multi-ethnic groups, for example, can book a four-bed room, which can accommodate eight adults and four children.
My one-bedroom beachfront suite was hidden under a palm canopy (which I was very thankful for, given the heat of the other days), and a small walkway connected the building to the white sand beach. Being close to the lake, I didn’t spend much time in my natural pool. I took some refreshments in the evening, and found another activity at the pool – you can eat your breakfast on a floating tray, a great Instagram moment.
The decor was very similar to Avani’s modern decor, which favors comfort and luxury – think: sleek modern materials and ocean-inspired colors. In the bathrooms, the walk-in shower opens to a large outdoor space with a second shower and soaking tub – the perfect spot for stargazing and a glass of Champagne.
There is one tourist attraction here that most five-star resorts in the Maldives do not – as one of the 61 islands in the Baa Atoll, Fares is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is an amazing marine environment, full of reefs teeming with wildlife. Visitors of all ages can experience the beauty of the reef with snorkeling equipment provided. It’s a good idea to bring your GoPro or underwater camera, so you can dive into the water ready to take pictures of reef sharks, corals, and the most beautiful fish that look like they swam out of a Pixar movie.
“We have one of the most amazing reefs, and Fares Reef and Hanifaru Bay nearby, and [we] offer swimming lessons so visitors can learn on the spot,” says Sinclair-Drever.
Water sports are a major part of the resort’s program. In addition to a diving center with training rooms (after all, the Maldives is one of the best places in the world for diving), the resort has a water treatment center with high-quality equipment. Glass-bottom kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are provided, and if you want more fun, you can try e-surfboarding, water skiing, or Jet Skiing. I decided to do something I hadn’t done in twenty years: I sat on an air-conditioned sofa with three other guests while a speedboat pulled us along the turquoise waters. One day, I boarded a boat and went manta ray snorkeling in the middle of the ocean – and I saw several spinner dolphins, too.
The resort also has the first kids-only restaurant in the Maldives, where everything, including tables, chairs, and countertops, is adult-sized. In addition to the children’s and youth clubs, there is also a gym, which helps ensure that the youngest guests of the resort have a ball.
The dining was very special for the non-small guests. During my five days on the island, there wasn’t a food craving I couldn’t satisfy in the seven restaurants, or through the dining room. Some of the highlights, for me, were Asian groceries, fresh seafood, and several kombuchas that I enjoyed every afternoon. Don’t miss the chef’s homemade orange peels, which I couldn’t find. The hotel’s chef (who is Swiss, and knows a thing or two about chocolate) is trying to reduce food waste, so he came up with this recipe to recycle leftover orange peel.
But the best place to eat here is on the beach. On my last evening at the property, several tables were set up in front of the beautiful infinity pool, where guests were treated to a spectacular sunset view, and a candlelit dinner.
And while many visitors call it a night after dinner, mine had just begun. I did karaoke right there on the beach; Now I can say that singing Celine Dion just hits differently on a white sand beach in the Maldives.
My experience was just a taste of what the resort has in store for visitors. Live music, dinner on the beach, DJ sets, and fireworks are all part of the action here. Oh, and the biggest rum group in the Maldives doesn’t cut it.
You can now book your stay at Avani+ Fares Maldives, where nightly rates start at $525 and include breakfast.