Breaking the mould of the Maldivian resort is Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, whose zero-waste, energy-positive practices and biophilic, Brazilian-Modernist design puts it at the forefront of eco-conscious luxury. Thatched roofs and gold taps are out; a James Turrell-designed art pavilion, earthy, soft palettes and cleverly concealed in-villa control panels are in. And while the ultra-contemporary marina and Studio MK27-conceived Beach Club resonate with urban cool, the resort never loses focus on why you’re here. Every detail, from the Bassam Fellows, Vitri and Paolo Lenti furnishings, the spa’s dreamy sensory deprivation tanks, and the window systems that open exquisite two-storey villas to the elements on three sides, has been pored over with your comfort and relaxation in mind.
There are 90 one-, two- and three-bedroom beach and water villas, all designed by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability and a charge: late check-out up to 6pm costs 50 per cent of one night; for late check-outs after 6pm, you’ll be charged a full night. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £1762.71 ($1,905), including tax at 23.2 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of $6.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast, a welcome bottle of champagne, evening cocktails and daily fruit and spring water. Children can buckle up for a free scuba-diving lesson per stay, and you can borrow bikes, snorkel sets, paddle boards and kayaks.
At the hotel
Marina village, beach club, swimming pools, boardwalk of boutique outlets, art pavilion, restaurants, bars, spa with hammam and sensory deprivation tanks, pool table. In rooms: Private pool, floor-to-ceiling sliding window system, free WiFi, outdoor oversized bath tub, Haeckels bath products, rainforest shower, espresso coffee machine, TWG and Twinings tea, minibar and refreshment centre, dining area, smart TV, tablet, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo on request.
Our favourite rooms
Furniture has been custom-built for Patina Maldives in partnership with leading designers such as Bassam Fellows and Gervasoni by the brainiacs at award-winning Studio MK27. Its leading brain, Marcio Kogan, is a graduate of the Brazilian-Modernist movement, and his earthy palettes, matte surfaces and functional, geometric designs have been brilliantly adapted to the needs of honeymooners and flop ‘n’ droppers here, with cool in-villa gadgets such as integrated control panels and concealed device-charging compartments. Just bathing alone is a delight, with twin vanities carved from Nero Marquina marble, bespoke Italian porcelain tiles and alfresco free-standing double bath tubs. All villas have private pools and spacious outdoor terraces, with an indoor-outdoor concept achieved by a floor-to-ceiling window system that opens the space to the elements on three sides. The two-storey, three-bedroom beach houses really take the biscuit, with huge, split-level outdoor spaces including a sunset-facing terrace and lush gardens.
Every beach or water villa comes with its own private pool flanked by Dedon-furniture-dotted terrace spaces, all cleverly angled towards the lagoon or the ocean. Plus, there are two further full-sized public pools on the island.
As you’d expect, much thought has gone into the hotel’s spa offering. It’s loosely built around the idea of ‘flow’, which could describe the seamlessness of the service just as much as it could the wellness philosophy. British skincare brand Haeckels has produced a line of exclusive products for the resort, and there are Watsu treatment rooms, a hammam suite, sauna, salon and hydrotherapy pools to tempt you. However, for the ultimate blissed-out experience, book a stint in one of the sensory deprivation pods.
Patina’s plan is that stress levels start decreasing at the packing stage: if you forget anything, resort staff are on hand with a solution. No request is too large, so just ask.
Like everything here, your children’s enjoyment is added to the equation with skill and expertise, with a thoughtful kids’ club, first scuba lessons free, bikes, snorkels, paddle boards, kayaks, Playstations and Xboxes on request.
Children of all ages.
Any of the two- or three-bedroom villas can be configured for families, but the three-bedroom beach house is best for larger troupes.
The resort’s commitment to sustainability has led them to make every first child’s scuba diving lesson free, in which the resident marine biologist will teach them the importance of biodiversity and caring for coral and the seabed. Footprints is the eco-conscious kids club for ages 4-11, and opens daily between 10am and 6pm. Here you’ll find a weekly activity schedule of cooking classes, wellness workshops, 3D printing and laser-cutting classes, and making model toys out of recycled plastic.
Children are catered to throughout, although some restaurants are more suitable than others: try Arabesque and Helios, or treat them to gourmet burgers and ice cream from the food trucks.
Babysitters and nannies can be hired. Prices vary depending on the length of stay, but usually between $35 and $50 an hour. Baby monitoring equipment is available.
No need to pack
If you’ve forgotten something, chances are Patina staff can replace it. Just ask.
Playstations and Xboxes can be borrowed on request.
In keeping with its ‘details first’ ethos, Patina Maldives has thought long and hard about its social and environmental impact. For example, the timber used throughout the resort is FSC-certified and sourced from completely transparent supply chains. Plus, all 1,600 builders, architects and engineers were provided with reusable water bottles to ensure no plastic was used on site from the outset. The culinary concept on the island is nose-to-tail, root-to-leaf, and kitchens are zero-waste (more impressive than it sounds in the middle of the Indian Ocean). The bar does its data-led bit, too: every cocktail and spirit served at Patina Maldives, including the Fari Beach Club, will eliminate 30 grams of carbon emissions in comparison to conventionally prepared drinks. Energy-wise, 50 per cent of the resort’s energy will be from solar power by 2030, and staff take beach-cleaning excursions to neighbouring islands, with a target of 10kg per trip to be turned into ocean plastic products. Finally, you’ll be pleased to know that all this scientific know-how is being passed onto future generations: free dive lessons are given to children to nurture respect for the environment, and the kids’ club itself is 100 per cent solar powered.
We’d need weeks to have experienced every table on the island (erm, yes please), but a cool corner of Brasa after dark certainly put us in the mood.
It’s your shout: go as glam or as louche as you like (within reason), although no swimwear is permitted at Roots, Wok Society, Helios and Farine.
Where to start? There are 12 dining options at Patina Maldives, catering to early-bird health-kick hunters, late-night fried-food-requiring revellers and everyone in between. The resort’s most sophisticated flavours might be found at Fari Beach Club, where nutrition, fine drinking and a carefully curated music programme combine under the guidance of multi-Michelin-starred chef Nick Bril; or at Koen, which marries the subtleties of Japanese and Nordic cuisine at a sushi-style counter. Roots is a plant-based restaurant with holistic eating its aim; Brasa is a Patagonian grill run amiably by chef Cesar Perez; Wok Society is a high-energy social club with soulful Asian creations and craft beers; Helios transports you to Greece thanks to its hearty Aegean kitchen; Farine is a relaxing bakery and café serving pastries and fresh roast coffee; and Arabesque is your go-to for Lebanese and North Indian dishes. There are three food trucks, too, for feasting on the go: our favourites being Go Go Burger (good to know that even the most exclusive Maldivian resort recognises the qualities of the humble burger) and Tuk Tuk Gelato, which will send your little scuba divers into raptures.
Veli Bar is a relaxed, poolside hangout that borrows from the same Brazilian-Modernist blueprint of the villas: its rectangular, open-sided facade lets its chic clientele do the talking. Veli means ‘Zen’ in the local vernacular, and that’s how we felt reclined on its oversized communal seating. Don’t miss out on evening cocktails and canapés, too, held under the portico from 5pm to 6pm.
Roots and Wok Society serve breakfast 7am-10.30am, then Roots follows Fari Beach Club and Helios by serving lunch from noon to 3pm and dinner 6pm-10.30pm. Farine plates up lunch from 11am-5pm. Koen and Brasa open for dinner only (6pm-10.30pm).
Any and all meals can be ordered to your villa. Ask staff to fire up your terrace barbecue if it’s grilled treats you desire.
You need a transfer to reach this hotel. For approximate costs, see location information
Patina Maldives is a jewel of the Fari Islands in the North Malé Atoll.
Velana International Airport is where you’ll touch down, and is 45 minutes by speedboat from the resort. Return airport transfers are free for stays of five consecutive nights or more.
You can also arrive at the resort via luxury boat or – most dramatically – seaplane. To book either, please contact our in-house travel team.
Worth getting out of bed for
With every whim taken care of, there’s no pressure here: expend zero energy or fill your hours with activities galore – it’s your call. If you do venture beyond the dream-bubble of your villa, a fine place to start is the Marina Village where yachts from neighbouring islands moor up to take advantage of Patina’s exceptional choice of restaurants and drinking holes, the epicentre of which is the Fari Beach Club. Browse the boardwalk boutiques such as modern men’s outlet the Rake or take in the ambitious art installations at James Turrell’s skyspace pavilion. You can get active, too, of course: bikes, snorkelling sets, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks are all available to borrow for free. Plus, as part of the resort’s extensive sustainability commitment, the first eco-minded kids’ scuba-diving lesson is free per child.
Just when I thought our 45-minute ride from Malé International airport would mostly be a snooze, Patina’s speed boat came to a mid-emerald-sea halt. I am the first to bolt out of my seat but was back within a flash to announce to Mr Smith that ‘a bunch of highly intelligent mammals are teasing us with glimpses of their glistening bodies gliding through the water!’
Mr Smith raises an eyebrow but kicks off his loafers and leaves the comfort of the lounge to join me on deck just in time for them to show-off their mid-air acrobatics. Let’s face it, even the most seasoned travellers get insanely excited at the sight of a pod of dolphins frolicking in the Indian ocean… [READ THE FULL REVIEW]