Where To Stay, Eat And Play In The Maldives

Your guide to vacationing in the magical Baa Atoll region of the Maldives.
Avani + Fares

It’s just before 6am when I climb out of bed and slip into the warm waters of the Baa Atoll—an area of the Maldives renowned for its biodiversity and chain of secluded island paradises. 

As I float, the sun emerges from behind a thick row of palm trees, coating the early morning sky in streaks of pink and making me linger even longer in the water. Aside from the tiny crabs scuttling across the sand, and a far-off glimpse of a dolphin’s fin, I’m completely alone. 

Staying in the Baa Atoll feels a little like being marooned on a desert island—only, one that you don’t want to be rescued from. Home to the Unesco Biosphere Reserve, the region’s waters are abound with coral reefs and marine life, including the world’s largest aggregation of manta rays. On land, coconut palms, soft white sand and dreamy overwater bungalows await. 

But with each resort in the Baa Atoll occupying its own island, it is of course, important to choose the right one.

Avani + Fares Maldives resort.
Avani + Fares Maldives resort.

Where To Stay In The Maldives’ Baa Atoll? 

The recently opened Avani + Fares Maldives Resort is located at the western edge of the Baa Atoll, with its own house reef, collection of cool restaurants and seriously stylish accommodation. 

Seamlessly blending luxury with nature, the resort makes no distinction between where the beach ends and the hotel begins. Sandy palm tree lined paths curve their way around the resort, while my own villa, sitting moments from the water, opens straight out onto the sand. 

Avani + Fares Maldives
Villas open onto the sand with private paths leading to the water. (Credit: Supplied)

The real charm of the resort, however, lies in its laid back energy that is perhaps, somewhat unusual for a five-star resort. Guests traipse barefoot between beach and bar while hotel staff are always up for a laugh and a bit of playful banter as they mix you a cocktail (or three). 

Avani + Fares
The author at Avani + Fares Maldives beach. (Credit: Supplied)

Of course, you would be wasting your time in the Baa Atoll if you didn’t spend at least half your day in the water. While it might be tempting to spend all day lounging beside the idyllic resort pool, the house reef is where the action’s really at. My group was guided through the resort’s underwater playground by diving instructor Emma, who introduced us to a myriad of colourful fish, reef sharks, turtles and even a pod of dolphins.

Swimming alongside these creatures isn’t just a whole lot of fun but also leaves you with a renewed appreciation for the natural world. While in theory, we all understand the importance of protecting the natural environment, swimming alongside a pod of dolphins in a natural coral reef leaves you with a sense of urgency about environmental conversation. 

The resort understands this on a deep level and their commitment to sustainable practices is obvious. You won’t find a plastic water bottle or straw on the island with the resort instead opting for glass bottles in every room and paper straws with every drink. Food waste is composted and the resort maintains strong connections with conservation agencies to protect its vulnerable marine life. Even the hotel’s toiletries are given the sustainable treatment: toothpaste, in a clever tablet form, comes in reusable containers and bins are lined with paper rather than plastic.

Where To Eat In The Maldives Baa Atoll? 

It’s not unusual to make it to the end of your stay in the Maldives without trying any real Maldivian food—most of the resorts offer an abundance of European and Asian style dishes. The restaurants at Avani + Fares, however, place a focus on local flavours, with dishes inspired by wana mola’, a traditional Maldivian grinding stone and pin used to blend fresh spices. 

Avani + Fares
Dine under the sun or the stars. (Credit: Supplied )

At the poolside Skipjack Bar, you can try traditional Maldivian snacks of fried fish and banana fritters, along with endless plates of local tuna ceviche. Dinners are best served at Ocean Terrace, where you can spend long balmy evenings under the stars with your feet in the sand. 

How To Get To The Baa Atoll? 

From the capital of Male, we were taken to the Avani + Fares resort via a seaplane. The journey takes around 40 minutes and gives you a magical view of hundreds of islands and coral reefs dotted across the turquoise sea.

As the plane approaches Avani + Fares, you might get the sense you’re descending into Neverland on Peter Pan’s ship. Once the plane lands on the water, guests are transferred to the island via a speed boat, with resort staff waiting on the arrival jetty with a refreshing welcome drink. 

You can fly to Male on Singapore Airlines from Australia, with a stopover in Singapore Changi Airport. 

The writer travelled to Avani + Fares Maldives with courtesy of Hatching Communications 

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