Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeLuxury TravelReview: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Review: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands


Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to the Maldives and stayed at two of the country’s most exclusive resorts: The Ritz-Carlton Maldives and Patina Maldives. Both properties are located in the Fari Islands, a four-island man-made archipelago in the North Male Atoll, based a 45-minute boat ride from Velana International Airport. Read my trip reports here:


Today: Review of Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Patina Maldives, Fari Islands is the inaugural flagship resort from Patina Hotels & Resorts, a new sophisticated lifestyle brand by Capella Hotel Group. Designed by renowned Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, Patina Maldives offers 90 exquisite beach and water pool villas, ranging from one to three bedrooms. Situated in the heart of the Fari Islands archipelago, a man-made archipelago in the North Malé Atoll of the Maldives, a 50-minute speedboat journey from Malé International Airport, Patina Maldives offers guests the freedom to explore its two neighboring resorts (the Ritz-Carlton and soon-to-open Capella), allowing a choice between privacy and seclusion, and embracing a vibrant social scene centered at the development’s Fari Marina Village and Beach Club.

Patina Maldives, Fari Islands features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best luxury hotel for art lovers and the best resorts in the Maldives accessible by speedboat.

Have you ever stayed at Patina Maldives? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.

In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Opened in May 2021, Patina Maldives is part of the brand-new Fari Islands archipelago in North Malé Atoll, an easy 50-minute speedboat transfer from Malé International Airport. The Fari Islands archipelago is comprised of four man-made islands, with three of them being home to luxury resorts: The Ritz-Carlton Maldives (which I reviewed here), The Capella Maldives (expected to open in 2027) and Patina Maldives. The fourth island is home to a thoughtful hospitality campus for staff, with a focus on community, education, and engagement (the first of its kind in the Maldives). Patina Maldives is strategically situated on the archipelago’s largest island, which also harbors the social heart of the  Fari Islands: the Fari Marina Village (more on that below). Guests staying on the Fari Islands, including guests of Patina Maldives, have freedom of movement across the Fari Islands and its resorts, providing an elevated travel experience (complimentary shuttle transfer by boat is provided).
  • Patina Maldives is designed by renowned Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27. Inspired by the beauty of the Maldives’ landscape, Studio MK27’s biophilic design for Patina Maldives conjures spaces and atmospheres that encourage deep connections with nature, as well as communion with other people. Delicate architectural lines remain respectfully low, never breaching the horizon, and all pavilions – both the public spaces as the private villas – feel open, light and inviting. The materials palette throughout consists of earthy colors, matt surfaces and subtle textures that are intended to blend with the surrounding landscape. Wood, linen, rattan, paper cord, stone and natural fibers extend out from the interiors, blurring boundaries, drawing the outside world in whilst enticing inhabitants out. Many of Studio MK27’s own designs can be found in the furnishings, including woven lighting pendants, neatly crafted shelving units, and cabana and deck chairs co-designed with Norm Architects.
  • Kogan’s design vision is reflected throughout Patina Maldives’ accommodation, restaurants and social buildings, which are spread across the island. The central area of the resort features a low-rise pavilion which houses a small reception area and a library (styled in a minimalist Swedish decor). This intimate lobby space connects to the main restaurant, which features an indoor dining room as well as large semi-outdoor terrace looking out over a large communal swimming pool and beach club. From this central hub, several walkways irradiate throughout the island and crisscross the entire property, leading to the villas and other facilities (e.g. other restaurants and the spa) which are located in different areas of the resort, along the island’s 10 beaches. The island’s easternmost tip is home to the Fari Marina Village, the social hub of the Fari Islands and home to a vibrant Beach Club (with a second pool and watersport center), charming boutiques, art galleries and a variety of handpicked, upscale food and drink options.
  • Patina Maldives features 90 contemporary one- to three-bedroom villas, which are spread along the island’s shores and three overwater jetties. Accompanying the villas, the resort also offers 20 more modest rooms (Fari Studios) located at Fari Marina Village. During my holiday, I stayed in a One Bedroom Sunset Water Pool Villa, which was strategically positioned over the lagoon to capture the amber sun sink below the horizon. The villa’s indoor space featured a kingsize bed (clad in brown Frette sheets), sitting area, desk, and an ensuite bathroom with his & hers vanities and a walk-in rainshower. The interior featured a minimalist decor and earthy tones, with large-scale photographic prints of palms by Brazilian photographer Cássio Vasconcellos of Maldivian, infusing the villa with a tropical sense of place. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors allowed the villa to be opened to the elements on all three sides. The outdoor deck featured a private pool, a free-standing bath tub, two sun loungers and a hammock.
  • Patina Maldives features 10 culinary concepts, where chefs preserve time-honored techniques with a dash of originality:
    • Set along the main pool right next to the lobby lounge is Portico, the resort’s all day dining restaurant, offering flavorful food inspired by the Indian Ocean. Breakfasts are also served at Portico, both buffet and à la carte with a wide range of sweet and savory dishes.
    • Next to Portico is Wok Society, a high-energy social club serving soulful Asian creations (such as dim sums) and craft beers, under the guidance of Chef Zhang Sichuan
    • Over on the sunset side of the island, the conviviality and flavors of the Aegean are celebrated in the soulful kitchen of Helios, a laid-back beachfront destination.
    • Located in Fari Marina Village, the resort’s signature restaurant Koen intertwines Japanese culinary arts with Scandinavian prominence on premium ingredients in a sophisticated 10-course signature tasting menu.
    • Also located in Fari Marina Village is Brasa, a Latin restaurant with open-fire cooking which serves grilled meat dishes originating from the Patagonian region of South America.
    • Another restaurant in Fari Marina Village is Arabesque, which invites guests on diners on a journey from Lebanon to North India. The sunken dining room, with hanging lanterns and colorful fabrics, sets the scene for shareable mezze platters, tandoor-grilled meats and iconic street fare.
    • On the far end of Fari Marina Village is Fari Beach Club, which offers a multi-sensory dining and entertainment experience centered on fresh, sustainably caught seafood and a crudo bar.
    • For a quick bite, guests can catch one of the pop-up food trucks in Fari Marina Village: Go Go Burger offers a wide variety of burgers (including tuna and Beyond Meat options); Tum Tum offers cuisine from across Asia; and Tuk Tuk Gelato serves ice cream ((vegan soft serves included)).
    • Farine is a contemporary European bistro serving freshly baked artisan breads, Italian style antipasti of cured meats and cheeses, and hearty main courses for those looking for easy casual eating.
    • Roots offers a fresh flair plant-based meal experience centered around nutritious, organic and home grown produce.
  • Patina Maldives features a serene spa facility – called FLOW – which is set in the heart of the island, surrounded by tropical vegetation. The main spa pavilion is centered around a shallow reflection pool, with a skylight above offering a play of light and shadow. There are six treatment suites, including a room dedicated to the practice of Watsu. Other facilities include a flotation tank suite, two warm plunge pools with jets, cold showers, and a Yoga room. Bespoke wellness programs combining movement, nutrition, and biohacking with nurturing therapies are designed for each guest, harnessing their energy to embrace total freedom, enhance overall vitality and boost immunity. Rooted in the belief that wellbeing of the individual is inextricably linked to that of the planet, Patina’s light-footed offering combines the cleanest of products with a collection of experiences, Immersions and technologies designed to release the mind and promote cellular growth.
  • Patina Maldives has partnered with Singapore-based contemporary art consultancy The Artling to curate a collection of unique artworks. The collection is designed as a series of artistic encounters with which guests can directly interact, with each bespoke piece forming an integral part of the island landscape. Some examples:
    • On arrival, guests are greeted by Home Deep Blue, a large tapestry by New York-based artist Hiroko Takeda, whose work celebrates the traditions of Mingei Undou, the Japanese folk craft movement.
    • In a palm-fringed clearing, a series of eight mirrored columns stand directly onto the white sand, drawing viewers in and immersing them in reflections of themselves and their surroundings.
    • Close to the water’s edge, self-taught Mexican sculptor Jose Dávila has created a relation of contrasts with Los Limites de lo Posible IX, a series of stone sculptures in which perfect geometric shapes hewn from volcanic recinto interact with the capricious natural forms of unaltered sandstone boulders.
    • Further along the beach, Porto-based studio FAHR 021.3 has installed Momento, a large yet simple swoop of white concrete. Guests are invited to interact with the piece: to sit or lie down in its curved embrace or walk through it.
    • Arguably the centerpiece of the island’s art collection, Amarta is part of the long-running series of ‘Skyspaces’ by renowned US artist James Turrell. Turrell has been experimenting with these extraordinary sanctuaries since the 1970s, playing with light and the idea of the ethereal as a tangible material in some of the farthest corners of the world. From the inside, the Skyspace pavilion’s open ceiling appears to flatten and frame the sky, while concealed lighting subtly shifts the viewer’s perception of colour, distance, shape, and density.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
  • Just like its neighbor The Ritz-Carlton, Patina is set on a man-made island, which was built using sand scooped from the ocean floor and layered atop living coral reefs, mimicking a process that usually takes thousands of years. To ensure the construction was as sustainable as possible, marine biologists were brought in to work alongside the architects. Damage-reduction measures included covering the existing reef with silt nets to protect the corals from suffocating sand and dust, examining the currents to avoid interfering with natural flow patterns and stopping construction during the important coral-spawning season. Nonetheless, there is an ongoing debate around this type of construction and the amount of damage it might inflict upon the environment. I am not an environmental expert of course, but if sustainability is something you care about (and you should), you might not feel at peace here.
  • Regardless of the fact whether the construction of a man-made island resort on a living coral reef is a responsible thing to do in times of environmental protection, the “natural look” of the island is also vastly different from that of the Maldives’ stunningly beautiful natural islands. The vegetation at the island’s center is not as lush compared to the soaring jungle of coconut palms you’ll find at the natural islands (although I assume the vegetation will mature over time). The resort’s man-made beaches (with a rough type of sand) can’t compete with the magic and spectacular beauty of the soft white sand beaches on natural islands. If it’s your first visit to the Maldives, you will still be blown away by the tropical scenery, but if you are a repeat visitor the Maldives (like me), the setting – and especially the look and feel of the artificial beaches – might disappoint you.
  • The resort features a wide variety of restaurants, but its signature dining venue – Koen – disappointed me. The dining room’s design – with guests seated at a counter around the open kitchen – was great but the food was underwhelming (and not worth the high price tag). In addition, during my dinner, there were several painful mistakes made by the sommelier who seemed very inexperienced, which kind of ruined the fine dining experience. The next day I shared the information with the food & beverage manager and he took the issue seriously. And to the resort’s credit, they did some great service recovery as they comped our dinner the next day at Brasa, where the overall experience (and food) was top-notch.
  • With 90 villas, Patina Maldives is a large resort, and despite the island’s huge size, there are certain areas that may feel crowded when you visit the property at times of high occupancy.  That’s especially the case with the resort’s central area, which comprises the swimming pool and the all-day-dining restaurant Portico (which sometimes feels more like a busy all-inclusive rather than a luxury restaurant). At breakfast, there were a few occasions where we had to wait for a while before a table became available.
  • The overwater villas are very close by each other and, what’s worse, they do not offer full privacy as the terrace of each villa looks onto the terrace of the villa next to it. As a consequence, you can easily see and hear your neighbors. For example, my neighbors were not particularly loud, yet, I could hear every word of their conversations. If privacy is a must make sure to book a villa at the end of the jetty (but even those villas are not completely private).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Wow factor: 8/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good (8.7/10)

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: get the following complimentary VIP perks when booking Patina Maldives via Virtuoso:
    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
    • $100 USD food & beverage credit
    • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Patina Maldives (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best weather in the Maldives is between January and April, which also means high season (with low availability and high room rates). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, eat, work out or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled in recent years.


HOW TO GET THERE

Patina Maldives is easily reachable by a 50 min speedboat ride or 10 min seaplane flight from Male International Airport (MLE). Check the Wikipedia page of Male International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer flights to Male International Airport.


PHOTOS

Here’s a selection of photos of  Patina Maldives. To view more hotel photos (including breakfast, lunch and dinner), click here.

PATINA MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & PAVILION
PATINA MALDIVES
ARRIVAL JETTY & PAVILION (VIEW)
PATINA MALDIVES
JETTY WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
PATINA MALDIVES
JETTY WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
PATINA MALDIVES
JETTY WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
PATINA MALDIVES
JETTY WITH OVERWATER VILLAS
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
ONE BEDROOM SUNSET WATER POOL VILLA
PATINA MALDIVES
FLOW SPA
PATINA MALDIVES
FLOW SPA
PATINA MALDIVES
FLOW SPA
PATINA MALDIVES
FLOW SPA
PATINA MALDIVES
FLOW SPA
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: LOBBY LOUNGE
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: LOBBY LOUNGE
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: LOBBY LOUNGE
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: PORTICO RESTAURANT
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: PORTICO RESTAURANT
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: SWIMMING POOL
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: SWIMMING POOL
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: SWIMMING POOL
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: SWIMMING POOL
PATINA MALDIVES
CENTRAL AREA: SWIMMING POOL
PATINA MALDIVES
MAIN BEACH
PATINA MALDIVES
MAIN BEACH
PATINA MALDIVES
MAIN BEACH
PATINA MALDIVES
BEACHES AROUND THE ISLAND
PATINA MALDIVES
BEACHES AROUND THE ISLAND
PATINA MALDIVES
BEACHES AROUND THE ISLAND
PATINA MALDIVES
BEACHES AROUND THE ISLAND
PATINA MALDIVES
BEACHES AROUND THE ISLAND
PATINA MALDIVES
BEACHES AROUND THE ISLAND
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE: BEACH CLUB
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE: BEACH CLUB
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE: BEACH CLUB
PATINA MALDIVES
FARI MARINA VILLAGE

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