After 5 days at the JW Maldives, a stop at the Ritz-Carlton resort was mandatory.
A 5 night booking cost us a total of 385,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for an Ocean Pool Villa. However, it’s hard to know how much it will cost in points in the future with the recently announced changes to the Marriott Bonvoy program.
Two weeks before our arrival, we were contacted to pay for the transfer. It costs $678 USD per person for a speed boat transfer or $1,300 USD by seaplane.
Get Marriott Bonvoy points
The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points to stay for free at over 7,000 hotels worldwide is to be a Marriott Bonvoy American Express (and/or Marriott Bonvoy Business American ExpressMD Card) cardholder.
In addition to the great welcome bonus on both cards, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases and 5 points per dollar at Marriott locations.
Alternatively, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points with American Express Membership Rewards credit cards. You can transfer Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy points at a rate of 5:6 (50,000 Membership Rewards points = 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points).
For example, with the American Express Cobalt® Card, you earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 in purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, bars, convenience stores and home delivery. It is one of the best credit cards in Canada for travellers. Find out why here.
Check out this page for all the welcome offers on cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
Location of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is located on the Fari Islands, only 50 minutes by boat or 10 minutes by seaplane from Malé. The resort has 100 villas, 56 of which are on stilts. The Ocean Pool Villas offer a view of the sunrise and are sheltered from the wind, while the Lagoon Pool Villas offer a view of the sunset.
Each villa has its own Aris Meeha who is in fact a butler who will assist you during your stay. Your butler is always available via WhatsApp or directly from the room phone.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is all about the environment. Solar panels are installed on the roofs of the villas to produce energy. In order to reduce plastic consumption, the water is directly purified and bottled on the island in glass bottles. Also, in restaurants, the straws are made of metal.
Coming from the JW Maldives, we were escorted directly to the docks opposite Malé airport. If you are arriving from the airport, a team will be waiting for you at the exit once your luggage has been collected to take you there.
The speed boat is very comfortable. We were served a plate of fruit, small cakes and drinks. For the return trip, we made the transfer at night and there was a lot of swell. Take this into account if you are seasick, in which case a seaplane transfer would be preferable.
Check-in is directly to the room on arrival. Thanks to our Titanium Elite status, we were able to upgrade to a Lagoon Pool Villa.
We were given electronic bracelets that allow us to easily open the room. We found this very convenient. If you prefer the traditional plastic cards, these are also provided.
The villa is circular in shape and has a beautiful mix of wood and marble for a very relaxing result. The lighting also provides a subdued atmosphere in the evening. The villa is divided in two parts, with a bedroom area consisting of a living room and a bathtub, and a bathroom and dressing room area.
Living room and bedroom
Dressing room and bathroom
The room is also equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine and a mini-bar that is refilled daily. Sweet and savoury snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available free of charge. A large selection of spirits, champagnes and wines are also available for a fee.
You can enter the ocean directly from the ladder on the terrace and the water is shallow. You can sometimes see stingrays swimming around the villa, but beyond that there is not much to see underwater on the lagoon side. We saw a lot more when we went to the ocean view villas.
Finally, the circular pool is of a good size and shallow (1 meter). It also offers a magnificent contrast with the ocean.
Services at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives
The complex has 7 restaurants, 2 of which are located on the neighbouring island (L’arabesque and Tum Tum). A shuttle service is offered every hour to the Fari Marina Village. Other restaurants are available on this island but are not part of the Ritz-Carlton. We were able to test all the restaurants except the IWAU and the Eau Bar.
La Locanda is an Italian restaurant and the main restaurant of the hotel. This is where breakfast is served between 7am and 11am.
This is served as a buffet ($65 USD), but also offers à la carte options. If you take the buffet, the à la carte options are included in the buffet offer. The à la carte options cost around $20USD, but the portions are a bit small, so consider ordering multiple courses if you have a big appetite.
We tried the buffet on the first day and then opted for the more economical and sufficient à la carte options on subsequent days.
For Marriott Bonvoy members, The Ritz-Carlton offers a local version of afternoon-tea between 4 and 5 pm.
L’Eau Bar is a seafood restaurant, so you can find oysters, caviar or Japanese influenced dishes. Every day, weather permitting, you can attend the sunset celebration around the circular pool. It’s a magical moment!
The Summer Pavilion (our favourite) offers modern Cantonese tapas-style cuisine. However, while the portions are modest, they are larger than you’d expect from tapas. A dumpling brunch is also offered on Wednesdays, to please your taste buds.
The Beach Shack is directly on the beach with a DJ all day. The cuisine served is international. There is even a S’mores sundae.
IWAU is a Japanese restaurant. This restaurant serves only multi-course menus and is the most upscale restaurant in the hotel. Seating is very limited and the restaurant is only open for dinner, so reservations are required.
Tum Tum is the first food truck in the Maldives. It offers very affordable and delicious Asian street food.
Arabesque offers Lebanese and North Indian cuisine. We were able to meet the chef in person so he could recommend dishes. Everything was delicious and well spiced.
If you make purchases in the bars and restaurants of your hotel, do not forget to charge these expenses to your room bill. So you’ll earn up to 17.5 points per dollar based on your Marriott Bonvoy status!
And when you check out, pay with your Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card to earn 5 points per dollar!
The Ritz-Kids is open from 9 am to 4 pm for children from 4 years old. A varied schedule of activities is offered every day: pirate safari, treasure hunt, video games, yoga, etc.
The gym is open 24 hours a day and offers a view of the ocean. A tennis court is also available upon reservation.
For yoga lovers, a class is offered at Mystique Garden every morning.
The SPA is located in the middle of the villas on stilts. It’s impossible to miss with its imposing architecture overlooking the ocean. You will find manicure and pedicure services and a wide range of massages: Thai, hot stone or bamboo.
The diving center offers scuba diving and aquatic fauna discovery activities as part of the Ambassadors of the Environment program, developed by Jean Michel Cousteau.
Non-motorized water activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddle, windsurfing and catamaran are free. Snorkeling equipment is available at the dive center.
The games room
The game room will delight children and parents alike. There is table tennis, video games, board games and a pool table.
Activities are organised throughout the day along the beach: bowls tournaments, table tennis, beach cricket, volleyball and many others.
Overall impression of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives
Overall, we had a good stay at this new property. We really liked the architecture of the villas and the hotel as a whole.
The restaurant is really one of the strong points of the hotel. In addition to excellent service and culinary variety, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands offers several dining options at a reasonable price for the destination.
The service offered by the butler and the rest of the staff is attentive and personalized. We felt privileged.
However, since this is a new property, several employees are in training, sometimes causing minor inconveniences in service delivery. Fortunately, the staff is always ready to listen and will do everything in their power to solve your problems and ensure that you have a memorable stay, a mission they take to heart.
Do not hesitate to check out my other reports: