The country’s latest hotspot has all at once reimagined the Maldivian mini-break and set a new standard for experiential travel
Looking to connect on a deeper level with the location that you find yourself in? Enter Patina Maldives. Set on the largest of the four man-made Fari Islands (it boasts the Ritz-Carlton as its Fari neighbour), the progressive resort is already drawing repeat visits from the world’s most discerning travellers, despite having only opened its doors (or dock) in May 2021.
It’s the debut resort from Capella Hotels & Resorts’s offshoot Patina Hotels & Resorts, (Capella’s existing locations consistently feature within the top 10 of the World’s Best Hotel lists and include Ubud, Bali; Sydney, Australia; and Hanoi, Vietnam), and promises to offer curated journeys to all its guests. But forget Maldivian cliches (read: sunset boat trips, dolphin watching and scuba diving), we’re talking hyperbolic displays of art and unparalleled culinary journeys.
Tree-lined, winding pathways glistening with sugary sand guide guests from villas to the beach, across to the village and back again. The resort is spread across 42 hectares and is lusher than most of the archipelago’s islands — 16,800 trees and 320,000 shrubs were transported to Patina from islands that were due to be cleared for industrial purposes, and this environmentally conscious stance bleeds across to the architecture.
Designed by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, the 90 one- to three-bedroom Beach and Water Pool Villas present a fresh perspective for the archipelago. Moving on from the obvious Maldivian fit outs, it’s instead all about clean lines, minimal constructs and a contemporary scene that would otherwise be found in Japan or Scandinavia. Matte grey stone flooring is complemented by barely-there linens and natural fibres in different muted colours, while clean wooden accents play out across both the interior and exterior. Patina is where starkness meets serenity and it really, really works: with the floor-to-ceiling doors wide open, fresh sea breeze flowing through the unembellished room and the infinite Indian Ocean ahead, a few moments in and we’re already rooted in the moment; mind and body relaxed.
The villas are where you’ll likely find musicians, sportspeople and their young families hiding out, while the island’s 20 Fari studios are perfectly prepped for new-age Silicon Valley types. Unfurling into the surrounding island life but perfectly placed just a stone’s throw from the Fari Marina Village — a community hub where guests eat and mingle come nightfall — studio life is all at once secluded and sociable; it’s no surprise as to why the next generation of entrepreneurs are spending weeks and sometimes months hauled up there.
But progressive lifestyle and architecture aside, what is it about Patina that’s making its ultra-luxurious Maldivian peers nervous? Let’s talk about the unexpected: the art. Curated by The Artling, sizeable bespoke commissions by the likes of Hiroko Takeda, Cassio Vasconcellos, Jose Davila and FAHR 021.3 are scattered around the island offering immersive experiences that encourage guests to consider the interplay between nature and man. Hidden between twisting palms, Chinese artist Hongjie Yang has installed a series of eight mirrored columns rooted into the sand. Standing at human height and built from marine grade stainless steel (to survive the frequent tropical storms), the columns alternate between polished mirror and jagged surfaces. Yang describes the installation as a ‘middle ground’, conceived to be the meeting point between the viewer and their own personal connection with the surrounding environment. Similarly, embedded down on Patina’s pristine beach, architects Filipa Frois Almeida and Hugo Reis have created a gesture that some interpret as a sail, others a sheet of paper, and for those well and truly in the moment, a lapping wave. But without doubt, the most striking construct comes from James Turrell’s Skyspace Pavilion — a signature piece by the California-based artist known for his freestanding pavilions that present light as a tangible material. Patina’s version consists of an open ceiling that appears to flatten the night sky and change its colour, distance, shape and density. Standing barefoot and in the middle of one of mother nature’s finest spots on earth, the effervescent and hyperbolic Skyspace Pavilion creates a moment of otherworldliness.
For the most part, two energetic F&B hubs define the island’s culinary journey. Portico, Wok Society and Veli Bar are at Patina’s epicentre, together framing the main beach and pool area — tranquil by day and dazzling by night. Here, guests can easily while away the best part of a day, from breakfast at Portico, brimming with flavourful food and delivered by the island’s charming staff, to a light Veli Bar lunch brought directly to their sun-drenched beach lounger. But the real gastronomical highlights sit within the Fari Marina Village, surrounded by super yachts and immersed in the nonchalant musical beats that flow from the Fari Beach Club. There is Chef Caesar Perez’s steakhouse, Brasa, where guests face the show kitchen; in Italian Farine, share- style antipasti are perfect for joyous family dinners; and in Koen, an interplay between Japanese culinary arts and a Scandi-style vibe, premium ingredients are plated up beautifully.
In the island’s remaining spots, Roots serves up plant-based dishes from Patina’s gardens, and Helios focuses on Mediterranean cuisine. Finally, for those travelling with their little ones, afternoon visits to Tuk Tuk Gelato and Go Go Burger are a delight for young diners. Late at night, sip drinks on the Villa’s veranda and take time for long, lazy conversations about the day’s events. This is what makes Patina so exciting — it’s not just focused on providing a luxury experience, but also inspiring guests to demand more from the places that they choose to spend their treasured downtime in. Book Now
Need To Know
Quiet luxury is the name of the game and if you look closely enough you’ll spot enough Hublot timepieces, limited-edition Louis Vuitton sneakers and Brunello Cucinelli linen sets to last a lifetime. Forget logo pieces and garish beachside prints, Patina guests are as wealthy as they are refined.
What’s a visit to the Maldives without daily immersions in yoga, massages and Watsu? The ethos is: “FLOW starts the moment you arrive. It rises as you give yourself to the nurture of spa immersions, the challenge of movement and the cerebral stimulation of stillness in meditation. It helps you show your body and mind love, and amplifies your connection with nature’s divine intelligence.” We certainly felt it.
Patina has achieved the unimaginable and mastered the meaning of family time without letting go of the luxury. From the food to Footprints — a kids club and haven for self- discovery that can compete with your local nursery — there is plenty to keep your little ones inspired.
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