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Paradise Preserved: Avani+Fares is Leading Sustainable Luxury in the Maldives

By Angela Fairhurst

In a world where climate change looms as the greatest threat to human health, the Maldives stands as a frontline witness to its devastating impacts. With over 80% of its land area at risk of submergence from just a 1-meter rise in sea level, the urgency of sustainable development cannot be overstated. Escalating challenges such as soil erosion, beach loss, and saltwater intrusion into freshwater sources exacerbate the crisis. Rising ocean temperatures further compound issues, leading to reduced tuna catches and more frequent extreme weather events, including storm surges, floods, and cyclones, directly impacting the well-being of the population. Acutely aware of the urgency, the Maldives is leading by example, implementing low-carbon growth strategies, sustainable and resilient smart healthcare services, and prioritizing environmental health in its development policies.

Nestled amidst the turquoise waters and pristine beaches of the Maldives, on the heart-shaped Baa Atoll formed by 105 coral reefs and 61 islands, in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site, lies Avani+ Fares, a beacon of sustainable luxury that balances environmental responsibility with practicality, coolness with kindness, design with function, and service with privacy.

Avani+Fares’ Dedication to Environmental Responsibility

Avani+Fares Maldives Resort demonstrates a robust commitment to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives, particularly emphasizing its “4R” principle (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Replace) to minimize its environmental impact. This commitment is exemplified through several specific initiatives. 

The resort’s adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology as an alternative energy source signifies a proactive step towards reducing its carbon footprint and reliance on traditional fossil fuels. By implementing food composting practices, the resort contributes to waste reduction and environmental sustainability by diverting organic waste from landfills and turning it into valuable compost. Additionally, the resort’s sewage treatment and recycling systems demonstrate a commitment to responsible water management. Treating sewage for reuse as irrigation water not only conserves water resources but also minimizes the environmental impact of wastewater disposal. Finally, the use of heat exchangers on generators for central hot water heating is a resource-efficient approach that harnesses waste heat, enhancing energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. 

These initiatives align with the resort’s dedication to environmental responsibility and its broader goal of reducing its environmental footprint. Moreover, its ambitious target of a 75% reduction in single-use plastic by 2024 underscores its commitment to addressing plastic pollution and promoting sustainable alternatives. Additionally, the resort’s collaboration with conservation agencies to protect marine life and habitats showcases a proactive approach to environmental stewardship, contributing to the broader well-being of the Maldivian ecosystem.

As I set foot on this seemingly untouched idyllic island of white sandy beaches and vibrant biodiversity, I am immediately struck by its commitment to ecological preservation and community engagement, echoing the Maldives’ strategic approach to combat climate change and foster low carbon growth.

Since its inception in May 2023, Avani+Fares has epitomized this urgency by integrating innovative initiatives to combat climate change into its very core. At the heart of Avani+Fares’ ethos lies a commitment to environmental stewardship. From energy-efficient design to sustainable sourcing of materials, every aspect of the resort is meticulously crafted to minimize its carbon footprint. A tropic-proof rooftop solar system is installed on the back of house buildings, harnessing the abundant tropical sunshine to power the resort’s operations sustainably. Even the lush landscaping is curated to promote biodiversity, with native plants thriving in carefully preserved ecosystems. Gray water is saved and used to irrigate the plants. 

The food and drink of the four restaurants and two bars at the resort are inspired by the Maldivian ‘wana mola’, a traditional grinding stone and rolling pin used to blend fresh spices and leaves into pastes for marinades, grilling, and curries. In each restaurant, organic, locally, and sustainably sourced ingredients make up the fare which includes creative feasts from chefs around the world. Fresh coconuts from the ancient plantation and seafood from the crystal blue waters are part of the delights. Nothing goes to waste. Even the orange peels are used, candied by dipping them in 72% dark chocolate and presented to guests as a zero-waste guilt-free welcome treat placed in a glass jar in their rooms ahead of their arrival. 

Notably, there is no use of plastic on the island. Reusable glass water bottles and other eco-friendly amenities such as refillable toiletry dispensers and compostable toothbrushes and shower caps are provided. 

Avani+Fares’ dedication to sustainability extends to its gift shop, Island Bazaar, where guests can find a curated selection of Maldivian fashion, jewelry, and homeware brands offering guests authentic, handcrafted souvenirs, designed by a collective of local artisans and designers.

By featuring products made by local artisans and businesses, the resort supports the regional economy and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Guests can purchase the unique souvenirs, handicrafts, and other goods that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Maldives. From handmade jewelry to traditional textiles, each item tells a story and allows guests to take home a piece of the destination’s authentic charm. By patronizing the gift shop, guests not only support local communities but also contribute to the resort’s broader commitment to responsible tourism and sustainable development.

Integration With Community

Yet Avani+Fares’ dedication to sustainability extends far beyond its physical infrastructure. Community awareness and involvement are integral to its ethos, echoing the Maldives’ strategic approach to fostering low carbon growth. The resort actively engages with local communities, empowering them through educational initiatives and economic opportunities. From supporting artisanal crafts to promoting sustainable fishing practices, Avani+Fares is a catalyst for positive change, fostering resilience and self-reliance in the face of climate adversity. 


 

Mindfulness In All Activities

Avani+Fares also embodies a vision of holistic wellness that transcends mere luxury. AvaniSpa guests are invited to reconnect with nature and nurture their well-being amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Maldives, fostering a deeper appreciation for the fragile ecosystems that sustain us all. Whether indulging in rejuvenating spa treatments or embarking on short eco-conscious, caeful excursions to dive, snorkel, or see where the dolphins, turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, whale sharks, and other sea life cluster, every experience at Avani+Fares is imbued with a sense of purpose and mindfulness. 

Avani+Fares features the most exceptional AvaniKids and Teens Club I’ve encountered, featuring both captivating indoor and outdoor spaces, complete with splash play area and gaming chill out zone. Undoubtedly one of the most remarkable family hotels in the Maldives, Avani+Fares offers an entire realm waiting to be explored by both parents and children. A plethora of facilities and activities await youngsters and teens, including a first kids-only restaurant, Petit Bistro, and workshop areas that even house a quiet room for reading and napping. There’s no shortage of young entertainment against the backdrop of this breathtaking Maldivian family resort.

“At Avani+Fares Maldives Resort, we prioritize sustainability, attention to detail, and ocean engagement in managing our overwater villas. Our commitment to preserving the pristine environment of the UNESCO Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve drives us to adopt eco-friendly practices such as solar power, plastic-free amenities, and responsible sourcing,” said Riaan Drever, general manager of Avani+Fares Maldives Resort. “This ensures that the natural beauty of our surroundings remains intact for generations to come.”

He continued, “Every Avani Over-Water Villa offers expansive ocean views without compromising privacy, providing guests with an immersive experience. We empower guests to explore the ocean in an eco-conscious way through education on responsible spotting, swimming, and snorkeling practices. Our resort offers opportunities for guests to actively contribute to marine biology and coral reef protection programs.”

As I reflect on my time at Avani+Fares, I am reminded that sustainability is not merely a buzzword, but a fundamental imperative for our collective future. In the Maldives, where the specter of climate change looms large, Avani+Fares stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that luxury and environmental responsibility can coexist harmoniously. As we strive to combat climate change and mitigate its impacts, let us draw inspiration from the visionaries at Avani+Fares and embrace a future where sustainability is synonymous with paradise.

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