Some 45 minutes by flight from Velana International Airport, the little and pristine island of Filaidhoo is a flawless setting for Reethi Faru Resort. The resort enjoys a remote location in the uncrowded Raa Atoll, about 140 kilometres from the capital city, Malé. Unlike many other Maldivian resorts, where there are many other hotels nearby, and fishing and diving boats can often be seen sailing by, this resort feels totally undisturbed.
For those who decide to holiday here, the spoils and indulgences are numerous. I arrived at the resort in blazing sunshine to a setting so marvellously picturesque that it felt as though I’d stepped into Photoshop. Reethi Faru Resort’s character and style is mainly easy-breezy chic with traditional Maldivian elements such as tall beamed ceilings and thatched roofs, wooden decks and whitewashed interiors brought to life by splashes of tropical colour. Secluded villas on land open out to the powder-soft sand and those above the lagoon lead directly into the water.
150 villas line Reethi Faru’s shoreline and float above the Indian Ocean, either nestled in tropical gardens, beachside, complete with Jacuzzis, or on stilts over the lagoon. The Garden Villas (49 m²) and the five Family Garden Villas (126 m²) are set on the east side of the island. The 43 Deluxe Beach Villas (64 m²) and the six Family Deluxe Beach Villas (147 m²) are set on the north-west, northeast and south-east beaches. The 25 Deluxe Jacuzzi Beach Villas (68 m²) are spread along the south-west beach. The 44 detached Water Villas (78 m²) and two Presidential Water Villa Suites (226 m²) are built on stilts over the lagoon.
The Deluxe Jacuzzi Beach Villas – while anti-sentimental in name but beautiful in appearance – caters to couples who want more privacy. The grandest accommodation of all, the two Presidential Water Villa Suites feature two bedrooms, with spectacular views from the balcony.
Similarly styled and with a private Jacuzzi, the villas are intended for a holiday with several friends to celebrate a special occasion.
Unlike many Maldivian resorts where you’ll pay premium prices for a sizeable room, the Deluxe Villas at Reethi Faru Resort are incredibly spacious given the low prices. Villa interiors are understated, contemporary and elegant with wood detailing, large windows, king-sized beds and an adjacent living area. I whiled away hours on end simply relaxing in mine.
A highlight for me during this trip was a private chat with the general manager Riddian Davies at the Haruge Bar. Over a brief coffee, he explained the truly remarkable conservation work that the owners, Mahogany Pvt Ltd, has carried out in an attempt to make Reethi Faru one of the Maldives’ premier bio-luxury resorts.
Efforts to convert Reethi Faru into a holiday destination began in 2015, at which point the corals were damaged by coral bleaching and natural storms. Since then the deployment of artificial reefs to create the “Reethi Garden” or coral garden has allowed for the restoration of corals and the minimisation of the impact on the vibrant house reef and the thriving eco ecosystem.
The island is lush with greenery, and Reethi Faru’s conservation teams continue to nurture indigenous palms and trees across the island. I was certainly more moved and convinced by the sincere sustainability efforts I saw in action here than in any resort I’ve visited.
Following the chat, I proceeded to the Sunset Bar, situated on the south-west beach and positioned to catch the sun set on the horizon of the Indian Ocean. I found the bar a wonderful place to enjoy an early evening stroll and an aperitif. One of the specialities there is a classic iced tea made with fresh tart oranges, lemons and mint, and the bar counter is fashioned from lovingly restored local wood.
The five restaurants and four bars, created by Chef Sreekant and his international team, offer authentic Maldivian dishes, alongside boutique international cuisine. Dinner was set at Vakaru – the main restaurant where the dinner theme was Italian. The wonderfully high ceilings ensured that I stayed cool and comfortable due to the natural breeze.
As a result, my dinner conversation with the host spanned many a topic. The exceptional level of choice also includes the romantic Reethi Grill, a spot by the beach with personal cabanas. The Reethi Grill hosts lavish spreads of dishes created in front of you. Entertainment of the gourmet variety takes place at Reethi Grill’s live cooking station and wood-fired pizza oven.
My second day at Reethi Faru was set to be a busy day. After breakfast, I proceeded to interview one of the staff for our Careers section. Haleem Lye’s story is one that not only reflects the high service style of Asian hospitality but is also a story of the painstaking process to try and develop a benchmark property in the Maldives.
Following completion of tasks on my schedule, next on my itinerary was a pampering session at the coconut grove enclosed Coconut Spa. As I make my way across the winding pathways framed by the lush natural jungle, my mind wonders back to the concept of Reethi Faru. Of using eco-friendly materials during construction to minimise the carbon footprint.
Of maintaining a sustainable, eco-friendly environment. Of continually improving conservation policies. Of creating memories rooted in experiences related to bio-luxury. Reethi Faru has managed to create such a holiday escape experience which is the primary booking motivation for many.
If you think that is all, you are still in for more. The PADI Dive Centre provides an educational and recreational opportunity to experience the coral-rich world below. Also impressive are the tailored experiences and itineraries Reethi Faru facilitates. Expertly trained staff magically materialise if an expedition or water sports lessons are required and yoga instructors are happy to give classes throughout the day.
All in all, for moneyed travellers looking to holiday indulgently in a destination that is taking sustainability increasingly seriously, these are just some of the many reasons to have a good look at Reethi Faru Resort.