I don't care what anyone else says, the Maldives is always a good idea. As soon as the dire weather in the UK starts looming in for the winter, instantly we all feel the need to escape to somewhere with guaranteed sun, to get our daily dose of Vitamin D. And what better place than the ever-popular, Maldives.
I've been fortunate enough to have visited a few times. Each time it's always been a different yet memorable experience. I also always remember the moment I land at Velana Airport; having the rush of serotonin when catching a glimpse of the ocean peeking through in the distance.
This time around, I was here to visit the Shaviyani Atoll, home to the upscale Fairmont Maldives. Boasting one of the country's largest resort lagoons, as well as having a huge emphasis on sustainability, there was no doubt I was eager to visit.
First Impressions & Setting
Let's start with the arrival process. For first-timers to the Maldives, one thing you need to always look out for before booking a resort is the mode of transport needed once you arrive at the airport. If you're staying on an Atoll that's not Malé, you'll most likely be taking either a speedboat, domestic flight or a smaller seaplane. Handy tip: always check the frequency of these transfers with the resort you're staying at, so you can plan flights where you're not waiting too long at the airport.
At Velana airport we were instantly greeted by Fairmont staff who took care of our luggage and escorted us to their branded cars, which would drive us to the seaplane terminal. It's worth noting that Fairmont has recently partnered with electric car brand Polestar, to offer both a luxurious yet sustainable part of your journey. With just a short wait at the lounge, we were ready to hop on the iconic red and white seaplane, that would take us to our destination in a little under an hour. As we landed, we could see the Fairmont family waiting for our arrival, with the sound of drums beating and clapping to welcome us all in. Jinah, our host for the duration of the stay, kindly introduced himself, whilst driving the buggy to the reception for check-in. One thing you can expect from 5-star resorts in the Maldives, is the level of service will always be impeccable. It aims to give you a no-fuss vacation where you can truly sit back and relax.
Our "secret water island" as dubbed by the locals glistens like a pearl. Poster white sand beaches fringed with swaying palms, kissed by the turquoise waters of the 600-hectare lagoon that gives way to the tranquil blues of the Indian Ocean and a never-ending horizon.
Whilst Fairmont is a globally known chain, they have still managed to make their hotels and resorts authentic to the location. Each one with its own unique style, atmosphere and vibe.
Our home for the next few days was their Beach Sunrise Villa, nestled beneath tropical trees to give a secluded feel. The spacious accommodation boasted an impressive amount of space, with high ceilings, His & Her dressing rooms, a dual sink bathroom and even a lounge area that could be converted to a separate bedroom. Combined with modern elements, the decor gives a slightly 'jungle feel' or a similar vibe to what you'd find in Bali.
Outdoors included not only a large bathtub (which yes, we did get to try out) but also a private pool, rainfall shower, comfy cabana, sun loungers and a discreet pathway that would lead you to the beach. Honestly speaking, the villa probably could fit a family of four. After taking in our new abode, we decided to crack open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, gifted to us by the resort staff alongside a bowl of exotic fruits.
When you have a breakfast buffet available in the Maldives - trust me, you're in for a treat. A buffet is available at breakfast, lunch and dinner at their 'Raha' restaurant. A dining hub that offers a variety of cuisines and often has themed nights. Raha has an impressive selection of dishes, suited to all dietry requirements. During our stay, the head chef was also kind enough to go through what was gluten-free, for my friend. Luckily, she was still spoilt for choice.
On one evening we dined at Kata, their signature Japanese restaurant which celebrates Asian flavours with a modern twist. Perhaps one of my favourite restaurants, with a sophisticated outdoor seating area where you can overlook the water.
Azure is located a little further and draws on the culinary riches of the sea. They have a creative seafood menu, designed to tantalise your tastebuds. The interior has a somewhat nautical theme that of course, is seafront facing. We were treated to the chef's choice menu, which included a 3-tiered seafood platter of freshly caught local fish.
The resort includes one of the largest infinity pools within the Indian Ocean region, on-site boutique stores, a wellness spa, a fully equipped gym, a sustainability lab, an arts centre and a kid's play area. And of course, you have the watersports and the entire lagoon to explore the waters.
A few experiences we tried: Snorkelling / Coralarium / Watersports - Near the sunrise villas, you'll find Fairmont's very own house reef, where you can dive into the inviting waters and check out an array of colourful coral, fishes and even sea turtles. Complimentary snorkel equipment is available during your stay, as well as life jackets.
Located opposite the sunset side of the infinity pool, you'll also notice Fairmont's 'Coralarium' in the distance. The world's first semi-submerged art gallery and an installation which helps to preserve the corals. You can either snorkel/swim at your own pace or join a guided tour which they sometimes hold.
During your visit, you'll also notice a beach hut where you can book to rent non-motorised watersports equipment such as paddleboards and kayaks. I'd highly recommend trying out the crystal kayak - a completely transparent kayak that not only looks cool but also allows you to see underwater as well.
Willow Stream Spa - A tucked-away oasis where you can indulge in a variety of rejuvenating and relaxing treatments. The treatment menu offers a selection of carefully curated treatments that are authentically connected to the local island culture. We opted for a 60-minute deep tissue massage, to help melt our muscles after several hours of travelling. The spa also boasts one of the largest Jacuzzi in the Maldives, were you can blissfully relax in bubbles whilst soaking up the Maldivian sun. At the tail of the spa Jacuzzi-pool, you'll find a platform that hosts morning sunrise yoga.
Sustainbility Lab - A unique feature to the resort, where guests can learn more about the sustainability practices that Fairmont Maldives have in place. The lab aims to educate guests on the importance of these practices and what we can do to help keep both the island and the waters, safe from potentially harmful practices. Within the sustainability lab, you'll also learn how they turn these plastics into school supplies and even furnishings. Something you'll soon notice around the resort is how some of the colourful pieces are actually made from fishing nets or ice pack boxes.
Cycle around the island - One of my favourite features, is the retro-style bicycles they have for guests to use. The entire resort is actually all within walking distance, to get to the main areas - so don't worry if you don't plan to cycle. However, we thoroughly enjoyed spending some timed cycling laps around the island. Plus, it's great exercise!
Floating Breakfast - Is it even the Maldives, if you don't experience a floating breakfast? Choose from a selection of your breakfast favourites and enjoy a morning in the comfort of your own villa.
Other activities - Where do I begin? We tried coffee art, mocktail/cocktail making, coconut leaf folding and painting. These fun free sessions are a great way to break up the day for both adults and children, especially during peak heat times when it's best to stay shaded. You'll find these sessions written daily on the blackboard of the Arts & Crafts centre, where you can then ask your villa host to book you in.
The Fairmont is an established hotel group, where you can see why guests are loyal to the brand. I'd say this resort can suit all types of holiday goers, where you can come here either as a couple, with family or even friends. There's plenty to do and the resort puts on activities and themed nights to keep things exciting. It's a great way to interact with other guests and also employees at the Fairmont. Their dedicated app, allows ease to contacting guest relations and also see 'what's on' during your visit.
Book your next stay at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi - Maldives by visiting: fairmont.com/maldives/
This stay was gently offered by Fox Communications PR for Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi - Maldives. All views and opinions here are as usual my own.