Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies went on the most epic girls trip to Avani+ Fares Maldives, the newest luxury resort to grace these beautiful Atolls on the Indian Ocean.
Who said that the Maldives was only for honeymooners? Avani+ Fares foregoes the reverence of other honeymoon-focused resorts and instead opts for a vibe that is lowkey, fun, casual and perfect for a bucket list vacation with your best gal pals.
Set on the western Baa atoll and facing complete seclusion, Avani+ Fares Maldives makes an exclusive 5-star addition to the UNESCO Biosphere reserve. We were one of the first journalists to visit the beautiful Avani+ Fares Maldives, which was on soft opening during our visit, certainly exceeded all of our expectations.
Baa Atoll is a natural island set within a coconut plantation and in front of an untouched reef that is reachable from Male, the Maldivian capital, by seaplane in 35 minutes. The Avani+ experience begins as soon as you touch down in Male with a stylish private lounge at the airport.
Here, you will get your first taste of Avani+ Fares’ ‘Haharu’ hospitality (which means heart in Maldivian) as you wait for your sea plane while enjoying some free drinks, pastries and of course, gorgeous views of the Indian Ocean. Fitting too, seeing as Baa Atoll is shaped like a heart.
The staff at Avani+Fares really take this Haharu hospitality to heart and greet guests with a warm welcome, refreshing cocktail and welcome song as soon as they arrive to the resort. Guests are picked up by buggy and whisked away to their rooms – of which you have a choice between overwater villas or beach villas among other more premium accommodation types. We stayed in one of the beach villas, which was cleverly fitted with all the bells and whistles a modern luxury traveller could ask for.
Picture floor-to-ceiling windows opening up to a private plunge pool, indoor/outdoor shower, comfy super-king sized beds and even some tasty treats from the restaurant. The rooms are cosy, contemporary and guests are treated to some welcome gifts too.
The beach is home to a bevy of wildlife which include turtle nesting sites, colourful coral reefs and a cacophony of songbirds. In terms of sustainability, Avani+ Fares runs its own Muraka Coral Project which includes a regeneration lab and reef protection activities.
The Skip Jack Bar, which is located on one end of the resort, is situated next to the lagoon-like infinity pool overlooking the white sand beach beyond. This is the perfect spot for lunch, cocktails or simply catching the rays. In the evening, the deck at Skip Jack becomes a dance floor complete with DJ. Watch out for those Haharu Tequila cocktails which are as delicious as they are deadly – we certainly had our fair share during our stay at Avani+Fares.
The resort sometimes hosts romantic Adrift Beach Dinners in front of Skip Jack, where romantic sandcastles surround even more romantic candle lit dinner setups. Perfect for enjoying an elegant meal with your gang while watching the sun set.
Ocean Terrace, led by the lovely Chef Walter, is the go-to-place for all your food needs and is located on the other side of the island. Breakfast is served here and so is a buffet-style dinner. Avani+ Fares has an Honest Food promise and so makes use of gorgeous, locally sourced produce whenever possible. During our visit, we even learned how to make our own Kombucha and chocolate covered orange peels from Chef Walter himself.
The Maldives is known for its white sand beaches and azure waters, but there’s plenty to do at Avani+Fares for those who don’t fancy a fly n’ flop holiday. Aqufanatic Fares, the resort’s dive centre, offers a wealth of water activities for all kinds of adventurers. This includes glass-bottomed kayaks, banana boats, jet skis, kite surfing– and our personal favourite – a motorised surfboard. Thanks to the heart-shaped atoll – the waters in front of the resort are clear and still – perfect for all sorts of water sports no matter if you’re a novice or a pro.
The piece de resistance, however, is taking the Avani+Fares boat on a dolphin quest or Manta Ray quest. The word Fares means ‘the land on reef’ in the Dhivehi Maldivian language, which is rightfully so as the resort is home to some of the most incredible aquatic life in the world.
During these excursions, expert guides will find schools of spinner or bottle nosed dolphins who are more than keen to play with boats and spin along the edges of the water. If you’re lucky, you can even go snorkelling with the famous Maldivian Manta Rays, which though take some effort to locate, are well worth the excurisons.
After a day out in the sea, indulge in a relaxing massage at the spa. Here, you will be treated to a selection of relaxing oils as your therapist massages away all the worries of your everyday life back home. We also indulged in a gong bath, which was definitely as relaxing as it sounds.
The best thing about Avani+ Fares Maldives is the way that the staff go above and beyond to really make you feel their Haharu Hospitality. During our stay, the girls planned a karaoke night – and so of course the resort obliged and transformed Skip Jack into our very own stage. What ensued may have been a night of debauchery, enthusiastic dancing to the tunes of Celine Dion and some slightly off-key singing – but it was certainly a night to remember and a testament to the resort’s unique brand of hospitality.
Having made some incredible new friends and memories, it was almost too painful to say goodbye to the resort, because we certainly left our Haharu with Avani+Fares Maldives.
Avani Beach Pool Villas from £657 per night including breakfast. For more information and to book visithttps://www.avanihotels.com/en/fares-maldives