Try to describe a family holiday in the Maldives without using the word, paradise. It’s almost impossible, and Reethi Faru on the teeny, tiny private island of Filaidhoo doesn’t break with tradition: it’s a heavenly resort, from sugary white sand beaches and tropical coconut groves to the shimmering sea-glass greens and blues of the Indian Ocean as far as the eye can see.
But there’s quite a bit more to this resort than idyllic loveliness. If you haven’t heard of the term bio-luxury before, Reethi Faru is the concept in action. The team here think of themselves as guardians of their small patch of paradise, and work tirelessly to protect it, from creating artificial coral nurseries to building with sustainable and recycled materials. Yet, amazingly, there isn’t a single eco-initiative here which takes away from the luxe experience. Proving it is possible for resorts to be responsible and luxurious as well as innovative, imaginative and endlessly thoughtful. Although if you think balancing conservation and luxury is clever, get ready to be really impressed by the sheer genius blend of family-friendly and fantastic fun that’s as much part of the Reethi Faru ethos as coral care and cultural integrity.
Together-time is what family holidays are all about, but you don’t necessarily want to be together because you’ve no room to be anything else. All credit goes to Reethi Faru for understanding that perfectly and designing their Family Garden Villas with a shared living room in the middle and a double bedroom on either side. Most families find 126m² is more than enough space to spread out, especially as each bedroom has its own private terrace, and the villas are also surrounded by lush, tropical grounds on the peaceful east side of the island.
If you don’t spot how conservation conscious the villas are as well, don’t be surprised. It’s impossible to tell the difference between luxurious and ethical.
But you’ll be pleased to know that, from the bricks up, these family holiday homes are eco-friendly and built from sustainable materials. Traditional building techniques have been used, the architectural style is vernacular, the decadent rainwater shower is low to no-impact, and even shade is an organic by-product of blending buildings with beautiful gardens.
Taking tender care of their beautiful island doesn’t stop Reethi Faru having an equally big commitment to making sure families have a fantastic, adventurous and experience-rich holiday. The south side of the island is almost entirely dedicated to getting kids into the Indian Ocean and energetically trying just about every water sport imaginable.
Conditions are pretty close to perfect here for learning new skills like windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and SUP. Guided snorkelling tours bring kids into the closest possible contact with the resort’s amazing house reef and its rare, colourful, well protected marine life.
And, if you want to safari with dolphins, sail away for a beach picnic or dip into local culture on one of the inhabited islands nearby, the Water Sports Centre is also the starting point for fun family voyages of all sorts. Wannabe divers from age 10 can take scuba lessons at the resort’s PADI and SSI accredited Dive Centre.
Reethi Faru’s white sand beaches are incredible natural playgrounds. When you want a break from sea views, the resort’s 25m infinity pool is a serene, freshwater alternative. There’s always something interesting happening at the Health & Sports Centre. And if nothing says holiday spirit like some friendly competition, you’ll find beautifully kept courts for badminton, tennis and squash, as well as a games room where foosball and table tennis rule.
Fresh ingredients, fantastic fish and seafood, traditional cooking techniques and authentic Maldivian flavours, bring the essence of bio-luxury to eating at Reethi Faru. With nine restaurants and bars to choose from, no one ever goes hungry, any hour of the day or night, and keeping kids well fed and happy is a priority, whether they’re adventurous types or more taken with the simple pleasures of pizza and homemade ice cream.
Reethi Faru Resort & Spa, Filaidhoo Island, Raa Atoll, northern Maldives
How to get here
Direct UK flights to Malé International Airport take 10 hours and 20 minutes. Reethi Faru is 45 minutes by seaplane from Malé International Airport. Alternatively, guests can take a 20 minute domestic flight from Malé to Dharavanhoo Airport, followed by an exhilarating 30 minute speedboat journey to Filaidhoo Island.
Two bedroom, semi-detached, Family Garden Villa from £423 per night. Sleeps up to six.