If you want to see blue, and you don’t know where to go, why don’t you go where fashion sits? Puttin’ on the Ritz.
It’s all about the view. For me, the number one reason to visit the Maldives is to gaze upon the tapestry of dappled blues that make the destination other-worldly with its dazzling aquatic vistas. When your flight first enters the Laccadive airspace, the expanse of variegated azure and turquoise beneath seems like you are not descending on just one of the planet’s premier destinations, but rather that you have arrived an entirely different planet altogether. One of our biggest thills when visiting resorts is finding unique ways the property has optimized the bucket-list worthy views (and conversely, one of our biggest pet peeves are when such views are disrupted or not optimized).
One advantage to Ritz Carlton Maldives being built on reclaimed land is that they were able to design the entire island layout from the outset. Holistic design is definitely a hallmark of this relatively recent entry to the super-luxury class of Maldives resorts. The Ritz does literally put the “O” in “OMG” employing an “O” thematic element. The villas, the kids club, the spa, various common areas and features are all constructed in this circular shape (see photo below).
Contrary to the Louis XVI rococo ornamentation of its London patriarch, the style aesthetic was contemporary simplicity executed with a palette of natural colours and textures. Brushed concrete and washed wood evoke a cashmere-like softness to all the surfaces.
But our favourite aspect of the design was its optimization of views. For starters, the reclaimed land meant that the foliage was less dense anyway. Also, the extensive square meterage of the island provided copious space to afford optimal layouts (many times disrupted views are the casualty of having to squeeze too many things into too small of a space). And the narrow shape of the property meant that just about every inch was ocean view. And the designers did not squander this bonanza. Everywhere we sat seemed deliberately optimized for a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean expanse.
If you are going to put your resort in the super-premium sector, then having some sort of “Wow” factor is fairly important. Many of these resorts opt for the subaquatic vista with an underwater restaurant. A few have opted to go “up” with vertical vistas (eg. Anantara Kihavah, Jumeirah Maldives, Velaa). But the Ritz’s distinction was to go closer to the ocean. They do so with expansive floor to ceiling windows covering nearly the entire width of the villa. Furthermore, the villas are positioned relatively close to the shore line and have only a smattering of small foliage between. As a result, when you enter your room, your entire peripheral vision is filled with the ocean so clear and close that you feel you could stretch out and dip your toe in it. It brings the outside in. Sitting in our bed in the beach villa, we felt closer to the water than we have in many water villas (and in the water villas themselves, this design only amplifies their aquatic intimacy).