I have just come back from a delightful trip to the Maldives. I would like to say that these islands, located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, are my ‘happy place’ in the world
I must admit that each trip made there has been unique and unforgettable! This time I stayed at the wonderful Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi with my daughters. The resort opened its doors in 2018; a rather extraordinary fact: the island’s name ‘Sirru Fen Fushi’ means ‘secret water island’ in the local dialect. Also, the shape of the island reminds us of a dolphin or a drop of water.
Known in the whole world for mixing excellence and sophistication, the Fairmont Maldives is an exceptional place where unforgettable moments are made! In this article, I will tell you about the highlights of our wonderful stay
First however, a little bit of a background history. The Fairmont brand was founded 100 years ago by Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, with the opening of the Banff Spring Hotel in Canada in June 1888, known today as the Fairmont Banff Springs. Behind this creation was a great vision: “if we cannot export this wonderful landscape, then we will have to import the tourists!” It was the first one in a series of sumptuous resorts all built in exceptional surroundings! It is a chain of hotels - that I have always been fond of as I lived many years in Montreal - which is famous for its authentic experiences and unostentatious luxury. There are over 75 hotels worldwide and, since 2016, is part of the prestigious Accor group, with more than 500 hotels in 110 different countries!
The experience at the Fairmont Maldives has been imagined as a string of little magical moments. You get this impression as soon as you step off the seaplane and start walking on the long charming pontoon leading to the resort
Wonderful interior design highlights
The interior design of the Fairmont Maldives is truly inspiring! I have noticed that the different elements of design in the common areas and in the villas echo a Maldivian style, while honouring natural resources, giving a contemporary and eco chic atmosphere. The Fairmont resorts are always connected with their community, and they always try to contribute to the image and history of the place it is located in. The Fairmont Maldives is the perfect example, as we understand quickly that the philosophy behind the design is to reconnect its customers to the natural elements and to a sustainable development, encouraging each guest to enjoy a well-balanced relationship with nature!
Three strong elements of this beautiful design caught my eye:
- The wooden ornaments and sculptures, representing free spirit and authenticity,
- The doors of the villas painted in a sublime azure, referring to the calm of a private sanctuary,
- The light suspensions made out of ropes, which we find everywhere around the island, reminding us that we must remain hopeful and that our future is bright. It is for sure the element that I was the most struck by, because, as an interior designer myself, I always try to bring joy and poetry to each place I design
The Fairmont Maldives consists of 120 luxurious villas: on the beach, overwater or in the jungle. All of them designed in a Maldivian rustic chic style, they constitute a real peace haven!
It is in a beautiful villa on the beach, facing the sunset, that we stayed in.
The design of our villa was contemporary, which made us feel really at ease, thanks to its lovely layout. The predominant colour palette, in the shades of white and beige, contributed to the feeling of comfort and tranquillity. As we enter, we are in awe of the tall ceiling and the sumptuous bed head, rising in plaits to the ceiling. A special mention goes to the rug inspired by Maldivian corals, as well as to the suspension light hanging over the daybed. One must highlight the fact that the villa has a large bathroom inside but also an exterior bathroom area outside with a fantastic bath. We had a lovely surprise the eve of our departure, as the attached photo demonstrates
The description of the villa would not be complete without mentioning the outside area where we spent really pleasant moments. Our villa opened up on a magnificent outdoor area. The vegetation offered a dappled shade effect which conferred a perfect privacy. The private pool was ideal for my daughters to cool down at any time of the day. The daybed was our favourite place to make the most of the Maldivian sunsets, which are unique in my opinion! One must not forget to mention that a few steps away take us to the edge of a superb lagoon with endless hues of blue.
The Infinity Pool
I will start with the fantastic 200m-long swimming pool, the longest in the Maldives! It fits in perfectly with the island’s natural landscape.
All around it you will find comfortable sunbeds to relax in the sun or in the shade.
Keeping busy at The Fairmont Maldives
You can also enjoy activities such as sailing, kayaking and of course scuba diving and snorkelling.
As I love to go snorkelling every time I am in the Maldives, it is with the adorable Denuka that I spent a whole morning exploring the incredible sea bed around the resort. We were lucky enough to be able to admire an incredible display of multi-coloured fish, as well as meet a superb sea turtle, kind enough to let us to get close to it
For children there is a kids club, very nicely arranged, which offers all sorts of activities, artistic or else. My little 5 years old Mayssa made the most of it and was happy to find her friends there as well as the kind team each day.
Finally, I enjoyed walking around the island each morning and doing a session at the resort’s gym.
Of course, as I love spas, I will take you to the Willow Stream Spa of the Fairmont Maldives, which is a real refined and peaceful oasis for well-being, over an area of 2000sqm and with the largest Jacuzzi in the Maldives. The word ‘Willow’ means the 5th element and the primary vocation of this place is to offer a sensory immersion combining the elements earth, water, air, fire and wood in order to reach a kind of balance with nature.
Inspired by the luxurious environment of the complex, The Willow Stream Spa proposes modern techniques that are connected to the Maldivian culture and carried out by a professional team. The treatment rooms are spacious, light and invite you to a totally switch off. I fully indulged in the personalised treatments in this peace haven for a whole morning, with my eldest daughter Ayla. Also, it was Mother’s day in the Maldives, making this moment a souvenir to remain forever in our memory
My eco design crush at the Fairmont Maldives
I am going to introduce to you a project within the Fairmont Maldives that really impressed me!
It the only and unique recycling laboratory in the Maldives, managed by the incredible and passionate Sam. This laboratory recycles 7 types of plastics in order to make items such as souvenirs, tables, chairs and clipboards for neighbouring schools. Since its start, the laboratory has recycled around 1100 kg of plastic!
I was allowed to have a guided visit and I really enjoyed talking to Sam. This young visionary aims to, on one hand, educate the customers of the complex to recycling practices, and on the other, influence local communities towards these practices, encourage the neighbouring islands to collect and recycle their plastic, and the schools to teach their children about the marine biodiversity, sea conservation and recycling.
As a designer, I am very sensitive to this subject. Therefore, I spoke to my eldest daughter who was also touched by the subject and she asked to meet Sam, who very kindly agreed to spend a moment with her to help her create a few souvenir objects. A big thank you to Sam!
On a similar topic, I will now talk about the Coralarium. I must admit that I was spoiled to discover as many superb and unique installations at the Fairmont Maldives!
Designed by the famous environmentalist and English eco artist Jason Dacaires Taylor, the installation is a collection of abstract sculptures, inspired by the natural beauty of the coral. The Coralarium, an artificial coral, aims to raise awareness amongst the customers of the under-sea world, and to encourage the under-sea creatures to use it as their home. It must be said that the Fairmont Maldives is set in the biggest lagoon of the Maldives, home of over 250 tropical fish species, including turtles, manta rays and dolphins! The customers can find themselves close to this sea life and enjoy snorkelling sessions with a guide; a member of the island team of biologists. One can say without a doubt that the Fairmont Maldives is a real caretaker of the planet!
5 Star Resort dining
Furthermore, Fairmont Maldives offers exceptional culinary experiences in its different restaurants. I will start with the Raha, which means comfort and serenity of the mind! In a relaxed atmosphere, we had our lunch there every day. Facing the lagoon, it offers an incredible and varied buffet, with typical Maldivian recipes as well as diverse Asian cuisine. A special mention goes to the sea food barbecue and the simply exquisite desserts; and the immense kindness of Ashok who spoiled us!
I will continue with Azure, which means the colour of a beautiful sky! The location of this restaurant is simply exceptional, offering superb views on the Indian Ocean. Its beautiful eco-design confers a certain personality, and I loved the intimate lighting in the evening. I spent a lovely evening there, in the company of Sam and my daughters. We were given a fantastic selection of assorted sea food, followed by succulent desserts! Bravo to the Chef Atta that we were able to meet, and a big thank you to Purni who looked after us so well!
Now let’s change the scene and go to the Kata, which is the signature Japanese restaurant of the Fairmont Maldives. With its warm atmosphere, rocked by the Maldivian evening breeze, it promises an incredible culinary immersion in the Japanese gastronomy, offering a large variety of sushis, sashimis and sea food prepared in the agemono style. We spent an excellent evening there in company of the adorable Ely!
The Onu Onu is the bar of the Fairmont Maldives! It was my favourite design as shown in this picture I loved its conception: high curved ceilings, from which these famous signature light suspensions come down. Its name comes from the Maldivian word for bamboo and was made by Balinese artists. It is an ideal spot to sip on cocktails, during the day or in the evenings to enjoy the sunset. The evening before our departure, the place turned on the festive mood and invited its clients to a cocktail dinner party, with a traditional Maldivian dance show! It was really convivial and we had a pleasant evening!
How to conclude...
if not in saying that our stay was simply wonderful! We received a lot of careful attentions and we were pampered from start to finish! I must thank the whole team for its kindness and professionalism. I will start with Elena, who has done absolutely everything to make our stay the most pleasant one. Thank you, dear Ely Also, we met two wonderful persons: Sam and Gertrude. I hope I will see you soon! A special mention goes to Jinah, our butler who became a great friend to my daughter Mayssa
I recommend the Fairmont Maldives to all those who are looking for a peace haven amongst the Maldives archipelago. A sublime resort, environmentally aware, whose conviviality, eco-friendly luxury, and excellent service, are its true meaning! A magical place, transforming moments spent there in some unforgettable memories!