The Ritz-Carlton Maldives: An Eco-Paradise of Reefs and Relaxation

9 mins

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, perfectly blends luxury, natural beauty and marine conservation

As I plunged into the crystal-clear waters of a coral reef surrounding the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, I found myself immediately transported into an underwater world teeming with life. A synchronised school of damsel fish darted by, followed by a flurry of blue stripe snappers, so yellow they almost glowed underwater.

A shoal of convict surgeonfish, named for their black-and-white stripes, gracefully swam by before a swarm of blue chromis suddenly swirled around me. As the sun’s rays filtered through the water, the light turned their blue hues white, like a flurry of snowflakes in an upended Christmas globe.

Flashes of orange to my left drew my attention away from the illusion of a wintery scene to a vibrant cluster of clownfish, while fusiliers added to the cast of characters that call this tropical marine world home.

shoal of coplourful tropical fish

Over the hour-long snorkelling experience, our small group of Ritz-Carlton Maldives guests not only enjoyed a constantly shifting view of colourful fish but also a giant clam that yawned its shell closed as our marine biologist guide approached, and an elegant eagle ray glided by, its wings moving effortlessly through the clear waters.

We were snorkelling in the North Malé Atoll’s Nassimo Thila reef, also known as Virgin Reef, approximately 45 minutes by traditional Dhoni boat from the resort. This beautiful Indian Ocean location, renowned for its rich marine life and vibrant cared-for coral reefs, make it an ideal spot for both snorkelling and dive enthusiasts. 

The true highlight of the excursion came in the form of not one, but two endangered green turtles that swam so close by, their intricate head markings – that are strikingly similar to that of a big cat’s coat – were clearly visible. Seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat was a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving not only the delicate ecosystem of the Maldives but also our oceans and the diverse marine life they support.

Preserving Paradise 

Recognising this responsibility, the Ritz-Carlton Maldives is actively engaged in a host of marine conservation efforts including turtle rescues, ghost net clear-ups, data capture and educating guests of all ages about the significance of protecting the ocean.  

One of their key programs is in partnership with the Olive Ridley Project, focusing on the rescue, rehabilitation and research of sea turtles, particularly those entangled in ghost nets – fishing equipment that has been lost, discarded or abandoned at sea.

Over 1,000 sea turtles in the Maldives alone, have been found entangled since 2013. 
Over 1,000 sea turtles in the Maldives alone, have been found entangled since 2013

During the northeast monsoon season (October to March), the Maldives sees significant marine life entanglement, particularly from ghost nets originating from other countries. Millions of marine mammals, turtles, seabirds and other species have been injured or killed by entanglement in, or ingestion of, ghost nets. Over 1,000 sea turtles in the Maldives alone, have been found entangled since 2013. 

Rescue efforts by The Ritz-Carlton Maldives has led the resort to establish a temporary holding facility for injured sea turtles and they collaborate closely with the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre in Baa Atoll where they are sent for treatment. In 2023, marine biologists and naturalists from the resort rescued five Olive Ridley Turtles from ghost nets. Three of them were rehabilitated at the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre before being released back into the ocean, with one named ‘Muraka’ meaning coral, even being fitted with a GPS tracker to monitor her journey post-release.

Jean Michel Cousteau with a sea turtle underwater
The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives offers the first Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment program. Credit: Ocean Future’s Society

But the resort’s marine conservation efforts don’t stop there. Additionally, the Ritz-Carlton Maldives uses ‘Eye in the Sky’ drone technology to monitor and map ocean plastic pollution and ghost nets. This program, developed in collaboration with British PhD researcher Melissa Schiele, was pivotal to the removal of 19 ghost nets weighing an astonishing 1,100 kilos last year. Thanks to the technology, the resort can also moniotor wildlife and last year over 21 ocean species were observed, including the Ornate Eagle Ray, Black Tip Reef Shark and Melon-Headed Whale.

Guests can learn about the technology through the Maldive’s first Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment program, which sees naturalists, trained under the renowned French oceanographic explorer, assist guests with nature walks and educational workshops with a particular focus on coral restoration. Coral in the Maldives is critically vulnerable to rising sea temperatures which can turn it white causing coral bleaching. More than 60 per cent of coral on the Maldives has been bleached.

In 2023 the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment program saw resort guests planting 50 coral frames, using fragments of living coral, as part of a successful conservation program. These frames hold over 2,000 coral fragments from and guests can see some of these flourishing coral nurseries in the shallow waters at the welcome jetty.

For children, a fun and educational pastime involves collecting samples from the beach and examining them under a microscope to detect microplastics. Other eco-activities on offer at the resort include diving with a marine biologist, wildlife monitoring, beach-clean ups, and if you are lucky, a guided tour and workshop led by Jean-Michel Cousteau himself.


As well as caring for its natural environment, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, is also the epitome of eco-luxury. Opened in 2021, the resort features 100 contemporary villas and suites each built with circular architecture to reflect the curves of the surrounding atoll.

Villas and suites have been built with circular architecture to reflect the curves of the surrounding atoll

Beautifully designed with eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient technologies, every room has bathrooms stocked with refillable Bamford products – a brand synonymous with sustainability – reusable glass water bottles that are replenished with purified water from the resort’s own desalination plant, and personal care items such as toothbrushes and combs made from bamboo.

Each room offers private pools, direct access to pristine white sands or a crystal-clear lagoon, and breathtaking yet private, views of the turquoise Indian Ocean.

While guests are allocated a personal butler with an electric buggy, bicycles are provided and highly recommended. The resort spans a significant portion of one of the Fari Islands and cycling is a relaxing way to soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

family cycling across bridge in Ritz-Carlton, Maldives
The resort is perfect for cycling

The flat, sandy pathways that interconnect villas with other resort facilities, are lushly landscaped with a range of trees and shrubs including coconut palms, fragrant frangipani and blossoming bougainvillaea. Just be mindful of the White-breasted Waterhens, affectionately referred to as Island Chickens by resort staff for their chicken-like behaviour, that run freely around the grounds. 

Dining Experiences

The resort offers seven restaurants including Iwau, a Japanese outlet where teppanyaki and omakase are the standouts. Diners can enjoy the show while a skilled chef cooks various dishes for an entertaining culinary experience. La Locanda, located on stilts in the ocean, offers authentic Italian cuisine with views across the unending turquoise terrain.

EAU Bar on the beachfront offers cocktails, wines and light bites in a casual, oceanfront setting. The Faye cocktail with island grown chillies and locally sourced curry leaves is a must-try.

Try a sundowner at Eau Bar

Don’t miss lunch at The Beach Shack where a vibrant vegan ceviche featuring edamame, avocado, guava, and sweet potato in a coriander and passion fruit dressing is highly recommended. Pair it with a refreshing antioxidant drink made from moringa, pineapple, coconut water, and homemade cinnamon syrup for a deliciously healthy meal. 

Across all the restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, plenty of plant-based dishes are available with many featuring ingredients sourced from the resort’s organic garden and local producers for fresh, farm-to-table dining. Each day, they also transform 700 pounds of food waste into nutrient-rich compost on-site, to nurture their beautiful resort gardens. 

Relax and Reflect at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives

Amenities at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives also cater to relaxation thanks to their award-winning Bamford Spa, a first for the brand in the Maldives. Overlooking the lagoon and situated in a circular building inspired by the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, the spa offers a range of holistic treatments. Don’t miss the B Balanced treatment, a 90-minute full-body experience tailored to support overall wellbeing. It incorporates breathwork, bamboo tapping, and gua sha massage for rejuvenation. ​

the spa in aerial view at Ritz-Carlton, maldives
The spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives

An unmissable highlight is the sunset dolphin cruise. Setting sail in the late afternoon, the tranquil waters and setting sun create a picture perfect backdrop. During the cruise, playful dolphins in their droves, leap and twirl beside the boat. With sparkling bubbles in hand, the blend of the ocean’s beauty and its resident dolphins, makes for an unforgettable evening. 

unset catamaran with couple and pink sky

As my last night at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives drew to a close, the soft sounds of traditional Maldivian music danced on the balmy air as I strolled along the wooden walkway back to my beachfront villa. The ocean lapped gently at the piers and looking up, the stars shone so brightly they were visible despite drifting fluffy clouds. The scent of frangipani wafted as resort staff touched their hearts in greeting as they cycled past and remembering the vibrant marine life experiences and the resort’s efforts to preserve this underwater wonderland, I felt deeply connected to this paradise, both above and below the water.

To book your stay visit the Ritz-Carlton, Maldives, Fari Island website here


2 night stay in a Beach Pool Villa costs on average $1,886 per night

Emirates fly four times a day to Malé International Airport. Economy flight start from AED 2,185

45-minute speedboat ride or a short seaplane flight from Malé International Airport is provided by The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island 

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