This September, immediately following our wedding, my husband Derek and I took off on the long journey to the Maldives. I’ll admit, getting to Maldives from Minnesota (or anywhere in the US) is a hike, but the 7 days we spent in paradise made the travel totally worth it.
Our home away from home for the week was Patina Maldives, located on the Fari Islands in the shimmering turquoise waters and stunning white sands of the North Male Atoll.
On arrival in Male, we were quickly swept away by our Patina Representative to the Male jetty which is adjacent the airport. It’s exciting to see the water the second you exit the airport doors. At the jetty we were met by a small crew for our 45-minute speedboat ride to the Fari Islands.
From the moment we set foot on the islands, we felt at home. The warm staff greeted us, gave us a short briefing, and then quickly brought us to our room by buggy so that we could settle into our villa. We stayed in a One Bedroom Water Pool Villa equipped with our own private pool, a massive deck from which we could scan the waters for fish, dolphins or small sharks and a comfortable modern interior with a strong air-cooling system which offered much needed relief on humid days.
Derek and I snorkeled directly off our villa’s deck almost daily. From there we saw loads of coral, more colorful fish than we could count, eels, sting rays, and both black and white tipped sharks. It was awesome! In other nearby waters during our activities, we also saw dolphins, sea turtles, other sharks, and so much more!
Our favorite sighting was on one of our excursions with our guide Ali. Coincidentally, we were snorkeling at Ali Reef when our guide started shouting through his snorkel. The sound is startling, you know something exciting – good or bad – is happening if your guide is shouting through his snorkel. Derek and I immediately stared to look ahead of us where Ali was pointing wide-eyed and full of animation below the waterline.
At first, we couldn’t see anything. Ali was about 10 feet in front of us and visibility was about 30-40 feet. All we could see was the deep blue ocean ahead. We were eager to spot what he was seeing, but equally nervous. We thought maybe it was a large shark coming our way. Then slowly something came into our line of sight. Somewhere between 8 and 10 eagle rays came into view. They were massive and majestic. I don’t know how large they were, but each could have been somewhere between 5 and 7 feet wide and just as long. We watched in silence as these giant aquatic creatures floated in a “V” formation towards us and then twirled into an almost dance like configuration. Within moments they continued on their way, and it was quite eerie to think how close they still were, but yet, we couldn’t see them at all. Derek still talks about this as his all-time favorite wildlife sighting and that’s quite telling considering he’s been lucky enough to travel to Africa on safari and visit Antarctica on an expedition cruise.
In addition to the amazing accommodations and wildlife sightings, the plethora of available dining options at Patina Maldives is fantastic! Over the course of our seven nights, Derek and I never had dinner in the same venue. We loved that! I was wary of the island feeling too big or having too many options, but each dining venue (of their 12 on the island) are intimate and unique. Some require advanced reservations and others are only open on certain days of the week. For example, Koen, is their Nordic-Japanese fusion tasting experience, with a maximum seating of 10 guests and it was definitely our favorite meal of the week. Another favorite was Helios, their Greek-inspired dining venue with the best sunset views on the island. They also had South American fare, Asian cuisine, sushi, seafood, and simple items like pizza and burgers. I very much enjoyed the three food trucks on the island – especially the gelato truck that offered free treats daily! Most of the restaurant venues were set in Fari Fari Village which created a kind of “main street” on the island. The vibe was fantastic: it was fun, intimate, and welcoming.
Plans are in the works for Patina’s sister property Capella Maldives coming in 2026! Derek and I set a goal to go back in a few years to see the new property once it’s complete!