ritz carlton maldives overwater villa drone

The Ultimate Review And Guide For The Ritz-Carlton Maldives

The Ritz Carlton Maldives is one of the newest hotels in the Maldives and the stuff dreams are made of. This incredibly stunning property has quickly become one of the top hotels in the Maldives and among the most aspirational hotels in the world. I had previously stayed at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa which was a transcending experience so I knew I had to come back to the Maldives again. I stayed in this beautiful property for 5 nights in November 2023 this is my review.

ritz carlton maldives overwater villa drone

This review will dive in great detail about everything we experienced at the Ritz as well as how to book the stay on Marriott points (which is what I did). Expect a ton of commentary, pictures, and videos because there is just so much to talk about with this resort. If you’re looking to understand as much as possible before booking this resort, look no further than this review and guide!

Sandbank Ritz Carlton Maldives
Table Of Contents show

Overview of the Ritz Carlton Fari Island


The Ritz Carlton Fari Island, along with the JW, is one of Marriott’s newest hotels in the Maldives. It was designed by Kelly Hill, the famous architect that also designed the Aman hotels worldwide. It joins an already expansive array of hotels in the Maldives that includes the Sheraton, The W, St. Regis, and Westin. The 13 hectare Ritz Carlton opened its doors to travelers in mid 2021 and has quickly become one of the best, if not the best hotel in Marriott’s Maldives portfolio.

Ritz Carlton Maldives resort

The Fari island chain is a completely man-made island group that encompasses three separate islands, each home to a separate resort. This tri-fecta of islands and hotels belong to one of the richest real estate Tycoons of Singapore and includes the Patina Maldives, The Ritz Carlton, and the Capella (which will be completed in 2026).

Ritz Carlton Maldives resort

What does a man made island mean? It means there was nothing but a small sandbank here to begin with and they brought in everything including sand and concrete from around the Maldives to build this island. Even the coconut trees were uprooted from other islands and shipped over to the Fari islands. Insane to think about really.

Ritz Carlton Maldives resort overwater villa

Where is the Ritz Carlton Maldives?

The Ritz Carlton is located in the Fari Island chain in the northeast part of the North Male Atoll roughly 40km away from Male International Airport.

The Fari island chain is home to an absolutely stunning reef, long stretches of white sandy beaches, stunning villas, and the top in class amenities you can expect from a place like the Ritz. Even though it’s a man made island chain (which is already crazy to think about the logistics of this), the Fari islands have maintained an idyllic island setting with beautiful vegetation that still embraces its Maldives roots.

Ritz Carlton Maldives aerial shot Fari Islands drone

The Ritz is located on a 13 hectare plot and includes 100 villas. It is spread out across three small islands and a “ring” of overwater villas. Among the smaller islands, two are home to beach and overwater villas. There is a small island in between the two islands that’s home to the Eau Bar, Summer Pavilion, and La Locanda restaurants.

Ritz Carlton Maldives at night
Also an amazing place at night

Getting to the Ritz Carlton Maldives From Male International Airport

From Male Airport, there are a few ways to get to the resort. You can mix and match these transfers as you would like.

  • Speedboat transfer: $860 per person ($925 in 2024)
  • Private Yacht transfer: $5,000 per charter
  • Seaplane transfer: $1,600 per person

Let’s just get this out of the way but the transfers to the Ritz are insanely overpriced in my opinion. The speedboat transfer is just 1 hour from the airport but to charge almost $900 per person for this is crazy. For comparison, my visit to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa involved a flight from Male Airport to Koddoo Airport, and then a speedboat transfer to the resort and it was $520 round trip.

Ritz Carlton speedboat transfer Maldives

The seaplane prices at the Ritz are even more insane because the ride is no more than 10 minutes as the Fari Islands are only 40km away from Male. For comparison, a seaplane to the Alila resort will set you back $650 per person roundtrip. This resort is also in the Baa Atoll much further away which allows you more time in the air.

Ritz Carlton speedboat transfer Maldives

Arriving at Male Airport

Upon arrival to Male Airport, there will be Ritz attendants already waiting for you, ready to take all your bags and take you to a departure lounge area where you will wait for the boat transfer to the resort. The Ritz does a good job of organizing transfers based on the guests’ arrival times. You are paired with others that are arriving at similar times so you’ll never wait more than 1-2 hours for the transfers.

We were actually on a dive liveaboard before this and somehow the Ritz attendants found us among a sea of other divers arriving at the same time! Because we arrived in the morning from our dive liveaboard, we were on the first boat to the resort at 9:30am.

The boat ride to the Ritz Carlton

The Ritz Maldives speedboat is very nice with comfortable interiors, wifi, and ensuite bathroom. We were offered welcome pastries which were tasty after a long journey. However, for the price paid for this boat transfer, I was expecting at least some champagne to welcome us but this never came. Water was also not provided proactively and we had to ask for it.

Ritz Carlton Maldives sign board

Arrival and Check-In


After 1 hour on the speedboat, we arrived to the view of the Ritz and what an absolutely stunning island it was. We were met with waves by the staff at the pier who handled our luggage, welcomed us with cold towels, and fragrant juices. Someone was even blowing on a seashell horn announcing our arrival.

Ritz Carlton speedboat transfer Maldives
Aris meeha butler in maldives ritz carlton

Meeting our Aris Meeha

Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by management and by our Aris Meeha Arafath. Aris Meeha is the Maldivian word for the butler concept that was used in the olden days of the Maldivian royal courts. This concept is prevalent throughout the high end resorts in the Maldives where you have a full time butler attending to your wishes and wants throughout the trip. You can call them for anything ranging from restaurant bookings, room service, booking excursions, getting around the island and more.

Aris meeha butler in maldives ritz carlton
Our Aris Meeha showing us the resort

Our Aris Meeha was a local Maldivian and easily one of the best things about our stay at the Ritz. Arafath went above and beyond to make our stay memorable. We promptly created a WhatsApp group (If you’re American reading this, start using it as it’s literally the communication mode of choice by the entire world) where we discussed any requests we had and where he would give us the summary of our day.

Ritz Carlton Maldives aris meeha

Check in process is seamless

I must say one of my favorite things about the Ritz is the seamless check in process. Instead of waiting at the reception area taking care of paperwork, we immediately got into the golf cart and our Aris Meeha proceeded to take us on a quick island tour to get acquainted with all the different facilities before taking us to our villa. We did the entire check in process which only included passports and a deposit at our villa overlooking the ocean.

welcome to the ritz carlton maldives

In our villa, we were greeted with a complimentary bottle of champagne, chocolates, handwritten notes, and other beautiful personal touches.

Ritz carlton maldives wrist bands
These wristbands are your keys which I absolutely loved having.

Luckily for us, the room was ready early so we could make the check in around noon. Even if the room isn’t ready, you will be able to use all the facilities of the resort while the room is prepared.

Ritz carlton maldives villa overwater

Overview of the Ritz Carlton Maldives Villas


To keep it short, the villas at the Ritz Carlton Maldives are everything you could want and then more. Even though the countless pictures online are stunningly beautiful, it doesn’t seem to captivate just how amazing these rooms are when you see them in person.

We spent an embarrassing amount of time taking photos, videos, and everything in between. We took photos in so many different positions and then multiply that a few times because when the sun moved, a different picture was beckoning. Thankfully we weren’t the only ones as other guests similarly flocked to their cameras.

The overwater villas are absolutely stunning. We ended up getting villa #339 (more details on this later on which villa to choose) and we were in love from the moment we stepped foot into the room. The villa is meticulously designed to offer breathtaking views of the crystal clear turquoise waters and pristine white sand beaches.

The overwater villas are perched on stilts above the ocean creating a sense of tranquility and seclusion. The design of these villas blend in perfectly with its surroundings and is the perfect mix of island living and modern luxury.

Ritz Carlton Maldives overwater villa pool

Ritz Overwater Villa interior

Inside the villa, no expenses are spared. The villa is spacious with elegantly appointed living spaces featuring luxury amenities and contemporary furnishings. As you walk in, you’ll see the bar which is stocked with top shelf liquor, TWG branded tea, Nespresso coffee machines with 4 different capsule types (including decaf), cocktail utensils like a shaker, cocktail books, and even a premade negroni mix. Inside the mini fridge is champagne, wine, beers, and various snacks. Non-alcoholic drinks and snacks are all complimentary at the Ritz.

Ritz Carlton maldives overwater villa room

The bathroom is vast with plenty of storage space for your luggage, a full hanging rod to hang your dresses. The Ritz uses Bamford branded toiletries, a luxury British brand that you’ll see all over the villa. The toilets are all Toto branded with electric bedets.

Ritz Carlton maldives overwater villa room

Each villa comes with an iconic Ritz branded beach bag as well as two beach hats. This was surprisingly useful when getting around the resort. Best of all, these are yours to keep!

Ritz Carlton maldives overwater villa room

The bathtub comes equipped with bath salts, bubbles, candles, and more. On one of the nights, as part of the daily turn-down service, we came back from dinner to a bathtub that was already prepared with the necessary bubbles and scents. There was even a bottle of complimentary red wine and chocolate coated strawberries waiting for us.

Ritz Maldives villa interior

Each room comes with a Bose Bluetooth speaker which makes it easy to blast some tunes while you relax in your beautiful pool or outdoor shower.

There are indoor and outdoor showers for your choosing. We showered exclusively outdoor as you can see the azure ocean in front of you. The fences are angled in a way that you can look out but the villa next to you can’t look in.

Ritz Carlton Outdoor shower Maldives

The pool at the Ritz Maldives villas

Finally, no review is complete without talking about the famous pool at these villas. The villa perfectly blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living. A huge floor to ceiling sliding glass door opens up the indoor space directly to the patio and infinity pool in front. From your bed, you will always wake up with a view of the pool and ocean.

Ritz Carlton maldives overwater villa room

The large 5m long infinity pool perfectly contours to the design of the villa and looks absolutely stunning from inside and outside. I spent much of my time in this pool overlooking the beautiful ocean.

Ritz Carlton maldives overwater villa room drone

Finally, there is a net bed hammock over the ocean because everyone needs their Instagram pictures. Don’t be shy after all.

ritz maldives netbed
Ritz Carlton maldives villa pool

The overwater villas, while located next to each other still have a great sense of privacy. The outdoor showers are blocked by the angled fence and the curvature of the villas allow for maximum privacy. A person would have to really stick their head out of the edge of the pool to creep in on what their neighbors are doing. Of course, the ocean in front of you is not guarded so snorkelers in front of your villa might be seen.

Choosing your villa at the Ritz Carlton Maldives


Finally, on to the important stuff, how to choose your villa for your stay at the Ritz? This is a question we spent endless hours scouring the internet for. WE read so many blogs, forums, YouTube videos, and everything in between but we were still unsure of what to do at the end of the day.

If you’re spending so much money booking your stay, you want to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Net bed ritz carlton maldives drone shot

Do we choose a overwater villa or a beach villa?

Lagoon side or Ocean Side?

Which villa numbers are better than others?

If these are also questions you’re asking yourself, rest assured, you are in good hands and I will tell you everything you could possibly want to know. Choosing your villa at the Ritz Maldives could probably warrant its own blog post but I will summarize to the best of my capabilities in this section. Get ready for a lot of information.

Ritz carlton maldives villa overwater drone

Overview of the villas at the Ritz Carlton Maldives

For starters, let’s break down exactly what type of rooms are available for offer at the Ritz. In total, there are 100 villas at the RC Maldives and they are broken down as such:

  • 1-bedroom villas: 85
  • 2-bedroom villas: 14
  • 3-Bedroom villa: 1
  • 39 beach villas | 61 overwater villas
    • Overwater villas: 19 lagoon facing villas | 42 sunrise facing villas

Here are the most important maps of your villa deciding journey which is also from the official website.

Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Island room layout and map

Please note that the compass on this map is actually wrong. The north symbol is in the wrong position and should be rotated about 120 degrees towards the left. This caused me so much confusion during my decision process which translated into me picking a villa I didn’t like.

Therefore, I’ve made my own map of the villas with the correct compass reading and an overview of which side is which.

Ritz Carlton Maldives correct map with different details

Overwater Villa or a Beach villa?

Staying over the water or staying with a beach in front of your villa will be the main decision you’ll have to make while staying at the Ritz. For starters, the bedroom beach villas and the 1 bedroom overwater villas have the exact same size, design, and layout. The only difference is that the beach villas have a private beach in front of the villa while the overwater villas are on stilts over the water.

Beach Villas

vs.

Ocean Villa

This really comes down to preference. Some people like having the beach in front of their room while others prefer the traditional Maldivian experience staying over the water. Beach access villas have more privacy as other villas can’t see into yours. The beach is shared with other beach villas but at the Ritz Maldives, only people staying in the beach villas can use the private beach area.

Beach villas are also much more suitable for families. Having your young kid running around a perfect white sand beach is much more appealing than running around the edge of a pool that drops off into the ocean. This is also one of the reasons the beach villas are priced higher than their identical overwater counterparts.

ritz carlton maldives overwater villa
Hard to beat this view…

WE chose an overwater villa because we wanted the traditional Maldivian experience of staying over the water. It’s what they’re famous for after all! Having stayed before in the Park Hyatt Maldives in both a beach villa and overwater villa, I absolutely preferred my stay in the latter! In addition, the public beach at the Ritz that everyone can use is already so expansive and stunning.

Ocean View or Lagoon View overwater villa?

After deciding which type of villa you want to stay in, it’s time to decide whether you want the ocean view or lagoon view villa.

ritz carlton maldives overwater villa drone
You can see from this shot that the lagoon view villas are on the right, and ocean are on the left. You can see the boat traffic within the lagoon that is in direct line of sight of the villas.

Ocean view faces east to northeast and have sunrise views. Lagoon villas have west views which will mean more sunlight and a view of the sunset. Naturally, the lagoon view villas come at a premium. However, the one downside to the lagoon view villas (and a big one at that) is boat traffic. The ferry between the Ritz and the Fari Island Village (and the Patina Resort) runs from 11am twice every hour and there are other boats passing by too.

Lagoon villas can see the boat traffic throughout the day.

This means there is no privacy as people on the boat can see directly into your villa. We took the ferry multiple times to have dinner at the Fari Island Village and could always see people moving about in their villas. If privacy is of concern to you, I would avoid the lagoon view villas altogether.

Lagoon view villas ritz carlton maldives
The lagoon view villas are within sight from the ferry to Fari Island

The Ocean View villas were my favorite and whatweI ended up staying in. Not only do they not have boat traffic throughout the day, they face the open ocean which means a more “end of the world” feeling. You will always hear the sound of the waves from your room as the open ocean meets the reef. You get the same incredible water colors and views from your ocean view villa as the lagoon villa and perhaps even more.

Drone shot ritz carlton maldives overwater villa sunrise
Drone shot ritz carlton maldives overwater villa

The only downside to the ocean villas are the lack of direct sunlight throughout the day. The ocean view villas face east to northeast so it is not good for sun. Some of the ocean view villas don’t have direct sun at any point of the day so you need to know which ones to choose from if that is important to you.

Drone shot ritz carlton maldives overwater villa sunrise

How to choose your overwater villa at the Ritz?

As we opted for the overwater villas, I have lots of experience with choosing the overwater villa of your dream. First thing is first, do you want to stay on an overwater villa from land or on the Ritz’s iconic “ring”. The ring layout of the villas over the water is the Maldives claim to fame which in my opinion the Ritz does an exceptional job designing.

Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas
Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas

For the overwater villas from land, these are a part of the two major islands within the resort and are located next to the beach villas (without access to the private beach). They are all ocean side as you can see from the map and have the exact same design as the overwater villas located on the ring. As they are located on land, they are surrounded by trees and vegetation which gives it a unique look from afar.

Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas
Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas

For these villas, I would absolutely avoid #100 – #103 as well as #212 – #217. This is because these villas are totally exposed and visible from the rest of the resort. Villas #212 – #217 are completely visible from the ring which means that everybody staying in the overwater villas on the ring will see into your pool and bedroom as they head into the resort. There is little privacy to be had.

Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas
Villas 212-217 in the background. As you can see, they are visible for everyone.

The same goes for Villa #100 to #103 as they are totally visible from La Locanda restaurant which means everyone eating breakfast will see directly into your villa. This is especially the case with #100. People won’t be stalking you at the Ritz (they have better things to do), but you might not be keen to walk around naked in these villas. If you prefer the island overwater villas, I would opt for #223 – #228 or #110 to #125.

The majority of the overwater villas are on the ring at the northern tip of the resort which is where I opted to stay. I think the ring is absolutely gorgeous and the aesthetics are among the most stunning I’ve seen.

Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas
Villa 339. Sun in the mornings.
Ritz carlton maldives overwater villas
Villa 326. No sunlight at all during the day. A better view however in my opinion.

For the ocean view villas, you need to decide if sun is important to you. The first ocean villa on the ring receives the most sun and as you go further down the ring, there is less sun. Some people actually prefer to not have sun in their villas but I much preferred the sunlight hitting and lighting up my pool. This is how I break down the ocean view overwater villas on the ring:

  • #321 to #327: Not much sun if any. Sunrise can be seen from the edge of the villas but you’ll have to really make an effort. Expect little to no sun throughout the day. #321 to #323 will see the boat traffic from the Fari Island ferry
  • #328-337: These villas receive more sunlight especially the higher the number. #336 has a dark patch of corals in front of the villa that might reduce the picturesque turquoise views but this might not bother most people.
  • #338-#352: These are my favorite villas because they have the most amount of sun. #352 has the most sun of the water villas on the ring but as it is the first villa, the overwater villas from land can see directly into your room (#221 – #227) and vice versa so better to avoid #351 and #352.

For the Lagoon side villas, here is my take on them:

  • These villas face west to southwest and all receive ample sunlight from about 10am onwards. Villa #350 at the beginning of the ring sees the most sunlight but there really isn’t a bad villa
  • Boat traffic is visible from every single room multiple times a day

Initially we stayed in #326 because we figured the closest villas to the lagoon side would be better. However, we quickly realized this received no sunlight so it was not ideal for us. We requested to switch villas to include more sun and our Aris Meeha without hesitation offered to switch us to #339.

ritz carlton overwater villas

#339 was much more our style as it received sun into the pool/deck until almost noon. Our Aris Meeha also offered us a free complimentary upgrade to a sunset beach villa (which is more expensive) but we wanted to stay overwater. The flexibility that the Ritz offered here was impeccable – ‘no’ was not part of their vocabulary, whatever we asked for was always met with ‘most certainly’.

Ritz Carlton Maldives – Resort Overview


There are no shortage of things to do at the resort. This section will go over what is available at the resort in the public spaces.

Bicycles to get around the Ritz

One of my favorite things about the Ritz Maldives is the use of bicycles. Each villa comes with complimentary Dutch style bikes for you to use. These bikes come equipped with a rattan basket which came in very handy. The entire resort from the tip of the ring to the dive center at the southern tip is just under 2km which makes biking the perfect way to get around.

Ritz carlton maldives bicycles
The best way to get around the island!

I absolutely loved biking through the resort. You’re able to not only get a bit of exercise in, but you can control your own schedule and go where and when you please.

Ritz carlton maldives bicycles

If you don’t fancy biking around the resort, you can always call your Aris Meeha and they will pick you up with the buggy. We ended up never calling our butler once for a ride as we elected to use our bikes 100% of the time. We are very active people however, and we even bike full time in places like Singapore.

biking ritz carlton maldives
Biking through the resort.

I love the size of the Ritz Maldives

I was worried that the Ritz Carlton Maldives would be too big of a resort for my liking. I read how it had over a dozen restaurants split between two different islands and thought I might not like the huge size of the place. I was quickly mistaken. The resort is absolutely perfect in size.

From the tip of the ring with all of the overwater villa to the southern tip of the resort is just under 2km. This is a 30 minutes walk or a relaxing 10 minutes bike ride.

Ritz Carlton maldives aerial drone photo

We came to really appreciate the size of the resort as it made us quickly forget I was at a “resort”. Sure, this is a hotel at the end of the day but it didn’t give off that feel if you catch my drift. With its numerous small sized restaurants, our bikes at our disposal, and the jungle within the island, it felt like we were in a little village that was left for us to explore.

As an example, we would get ready for dinner, go for sunset at the Eau Bar, take the ferry to Fari Island Village while looking at the sunset and stars, and have dinner at a restaurant like Arabesque. On our ferry ride back to the Ritz, we would star gaze some more, before getting on our bikes to have a night cap at the Eau Bar. Finally, we would bike home to our overwater villa on the ring to finish out the night. This gave us the feeling like we were “coming home” after a night out. I much prefer this to other resorts where you might just walk 50 meters to the main dining restaurant just to walk back when you’re finished.

The Main pool

If the stunning infinity pool at your villa wasn’t enough, the main public pool will surely wow you. The main pool is one of the most stunning and unique parts of the Ritz Maldives. This completely circular pool is almost 40 meters in diameter and is an absolute beauty to look at.

Ritz Carlton main pool maldives

It’s surrounded by the beautiful ocean and beach giving you some of the best photo opportunities in the resort. The main pool is at the Eau Bar equipped with a full bar menu, food, and shisha.

ritz carlton maldives pool
Ritz Carlton main pool maldives

Forgot your toiletries at home? Don’t worry. All of the Ritz facilities come equipped with sunscreen, tanning oil, towels, showers, etc.

Fitness Center

Staying 5 nights at the Ritz meant I wanted to get some sort of work out in so I didn’t feel so bad eating so much food. Thankfully, the gym at the Ritz Carlton Maldives offers everything I need to get a good pump in. The gym is located near the grand sunset beach and has a spacious interior overlooking the ocean. The fitness center is stocked with equipment including free weights, smith machines, leg press, cables, and even a deadlift bar for the hardcore! There is also a yoga studio with more machines, mats, and the like.

Ritz Carlton Maldives gym fitness center

Next door to the fitness center is a full sized tennis court where you can play tennis whenever you want or have private lessons with the experienced professionals that come to the resort. The instructor that was there when I visited used to work at Novak Djokovic’s camps in Serbia. I heard they would bring in a Wimbledon winner a few months later.

Grand Beach – Main Public Beach of the Ritz Carlton Maldives

The main public beach of the Ritz is located at the southern part of the resort. The “Grand Beach” as it is named, is located in front of the Beach Shack restaurant and fitness center. If you are not staying in a beach villa, this will be the main beach you use.

Ritz carlton main beach maldives
Ritz carlton main beach maldives

The beach is beautiful with stunning water colors and perfectly manicured beach. I found the beach at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa to be even more stunning but there’s nothing to complain about here. There are plenty of sunbeds, beach chairs, beach volleyball, badminton courts, and more. You can also rent kayaks and standup paddleboards free of charge.

We also played beach volleyball every day before sunset organized by the resort. I loved getting the exercise in as well as meeting other guests staying at the resort.

Ritz carlton main beach maldives

Fari Island Village

Fari Island Village is located on the island directly north of the Ritz which is also home to the Patina Resort. The Patina, Ritz, and Capella ( to be completed in 2026) all belong to the same Singaporean family and are connected so that guests can experience each place.

Fari Island village ritz carlton maldives

The Fari Island Village is home to numerous restaurants, boutique stores, art exhibits, pools, beaches, and more. Top notch restaurants like Arabesque, Brasa, and Koen are part of the Fari Island Village. We came here on numerous occasions for lunch and dinner. This concept of having a “village” nearby to the resort is something I loved as I felt like I was “going out”.

Fari Island village ritz carlton maldives
There’s even another pool at the Fari Island Village in case you were bored of the pool at the Ritz.
Fari Island village ritz carlton maldives

The ferry from the Ritz runs once per hour and more often during the busy dinner hours. The ferry is free of charge and I absolutely loved sitting on the upper deck looking at the stars as it sailed from island to island. It is just a short 10 minute ferry ride.

Fari Island village ritz carlton maldives
Fari Island village ritz carlton maldives

Restaurants At The Ritz Carlton Maldives


As you’d expect with an ultra high end hotel, the Ritz Carlton makes no compromises on its restaurant and food quality. They’ve really elevated the dining scene on a private island by offering over a dozen restaurants to its guests. I tried most of the restaurants at the Ritz and they are without a doubt some of the best hotel food you can ask for, especially being on an island in the middle of nowhere. The Ritz brings in top level chefs and the service is impeccable.

Arabesque restaurant Ritz Carlton Maldives
The outdoor section of Arabesque at night.

There are 5 restaurants at the Ritz and 12 restaurants (although some are not really restaurants) at the Fari Island Village which is the island that the Patina hotel is on. As the Patina and Ritz (and soon to be the Capella) are owned by the same family, guests from the Ritz can have dinner at all the restaurants.

I particularly liked this as you had so many options to choose from that you would never get bored of the same places. Each restaurant at the Ritz are smaller and more intimate which let you feel like you were going for a night instead of feeling like you’re just at a resort flocking to the same huge restaurants as everyone else.

The restaurants that are part of the Ritz are as follows:

  • La Laconda: Italian fusion restaurant that is also the main restaurant for breakfast
  • Summer Pavilion: Elevated Chinese food
  • Eau Bar: Laid back lounge style restaurant that overlooks the main pool and perfect for sunset views
  • IWAU: Japanese Omakase style experience overlooking the ocean and stars
  • Beach Shack: The main restaurant on the main public beach of the resort. Amazing food to be had here
  • Arabesque: Middle Eastern and Indian fusion restaurant at the Fari Island village
  • Tum Tum: Food truck on Fari Island village serving delicious Asian inspired snacks like Bao Buns

The restaurants belonging to the Patina but also accessible by Ritz Guests are the following:

  • Roots: Vegan tasting menu restaurant set in a beautiful garden (open only once a week)
  • Brasa: Argentinian style steakhouse
  • Fari Beach Club: Similar style of food as the Eau bar
  • Koen: Japanese/Nordic fusion
  • Wok Society: Elevated Chinese food with a trendy setting as well as craft beers
  • Helios: A Greek style restaurant
  • Farine: European style bistro serving baked artisan breads, charcuterie, and wine
  • Go go burger: Food truck selling burgers

Cost of food at the Ritz Maldives

As with everything at high end Maldivian resorts, expect to pay top dollar for food and alcohol. Food at the Ritz is among the highest you’ll find in the Maldives. Here is an example of costs at the Ritz Maldives:

  • Breakfast buffet: $65 per person
  • Grilled prawns at the Beach Shack: $65
  • Roasted lamb shank at Arabesque: $75
  • Pasta alla vongole at La Locanda: $55
  • Omakase dinner at IWAU excluding wine pairing: $300 per person
  • Shisha at Eau Bar: $75 per shisha
  • Glass of wine at Eau bar: $18-22
  • Glass of Beer: $13-15
  • Cocktails: $18-$23

You also need to add GST and Service to all the prices above which will be another 27% or so. An additional tip can be added (not required) which would be distributed among all staff within the restaurant (while the service chagre is distributed among all staff in the resort). The dinner at IWAU is therefore almost $400 per person excluding drinks.

In general, we spent about $250-$350 for a dinner for two without alcohol. This included 1-2 starters, 2 mains, and maybe 1 dessert. Lunches would be about $100-$150 with just two mains and no alcohol.

Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives

Breakfast time at the Ritz was one of my favorite times of the day. The breakfast is served exclusively at the La Laconda restaurant from 7am – 11am. The restaurant is located on the water with great sunrise views over the ocean.

La Locanda Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives

As you can expect, the breakfast buffet is amazing and comes with everything you can possibly think of when it comes to breakfast items. You’ll find a huge spread of things like pastries, omelettes, pancakes, french toast, waffles, and avocado toast. There is insane amount of freshly made breads and pastries that smelled amazing. The granola section takes up a whole section of the restaurant and I didn’t even know so many different types existed. In addition to the standard items, there is also a Chinese dim sum station and a dosa station with an attendant making you fresh food.

My only complaint of the breakfast was the lackluster fruit selection. They had six different fruits (papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, lychee, watermelon and grapefruit) but the flavor was mediocre at best. If you ordered waffles from the a la carte menu, it came with a tiny amount of berries which due to being imported, were even less flavorful.

La Locanda Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives
The local breakfast

The cost of the breakfast buffet is $65++ per person which might actually be the cheapest value for money at the resort. You can absolutely stuff yourself with food and then skip lunch altogether.

La Locanda Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives
Ritz Carlton Maldives Breakfast Menu

I hate overeating for breakfast which is exactly what I would have done had I paid for it which is why the Ritz also has a la carte breakfast options. This menu has many of the buffet items but you can order it piecemeal to control your appetite. The portions are still plenty big so you likely won’t need more than 1 item.

La Locanda Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives local breakfast
Head Chef Didi giving us the full treatment.

We ended up order specific Maldivian breakfast items which aren’t even on the a la carte menu. Local Maldivian breakfast consists of Mashuni, Rihaakuru, and Kulhimas. Mashuni in particular is a must try as it is one of the best breakfast items you can have (tuna, coconut flakes, shallots, and chilis served with thin chapati bread). The local waitstaff were so impressed and loved that we wanted to eat their food that we kept getting little freebies. The cost for this breakfast was 1/3 of the breakfast buffet and we felt great afterwards as the portions were perfect for us!

La Locanda Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives local breakfast

La Locanda Dinner

We came back to La Locanda for dinner as well. Their Italian menu is quite good especially as they are so far away from Italy. Getting the fresh ingredients for Italian food must be difficult for a place like the Maldives. The focaccia bread as a starter is absolutely perfect and I couldn’t stop eating it.

Beach Shack

The Beach shack was one of my favorite restaurants at the Ritz. The beach shack is located directly in front of the Grand beach which is the public beach. The restaurant has a island rustic Bali style vibe that reminds me a lot of the cafes in Bali.

Beach shack restaurant Ritz Carlton Maldives
Beach shack restaurant Ritz Carlton Maldives

The Beach Shack was perfect after a morning of lazy lounging on the beach in one of their numerous sunbeds. Food at the beach shack is a mix of various snacks and grilled seafood dishes. I absolutely loved the grilled garlic tiger prawns and octopus.

Beach shack restaurant Ritz Carlton Maldives
Beach shack restaurant Ritz Carlton Maldives

The staff were on top of everything like always making us feel like royalty. Even the chef came out on numerous occasions to garner feedback from us but I had nothing but good things to say.

Beach shack restaurant Ritz Carlton Maldives

Summer Pavilion

Summer Pavilion is the Ritz’s elevated Chinese fusion restaurant. The menu consists of Cantonese items including dim sum, Szechuan dishes, and various regional dishes like Peking duck (which has to be preordered).

Summer pavilion restaurant ritz carlton maldives
Summer pavilion restaurant ritz carlton maldives

The interior is beautiful with modern sharp edges and overlooks the ocean. The Chinese chef at this restaurant prepares amazing food and our dishes did not disappoint. We got the salt and pepper tiger prawns, eggplant, and Szechuan style cumin beef.

Summer pavilion restaurant ritz carlton maldives
Summer pavilion restaurant ritz carlton maldives

Arabesque

Arabesque is one of the best restaurants if not the best restaurant in the Ritz. Located at the Fari Village a 10 minute boat ride away. Arabesque specializes in Middle Eastern and Indian food. The restaurant is small and cozy with a sunken dining hall reminiscent of a Bedouin camp like the ones you’d find in Egypt or Jordan.

Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant
Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant

The food was as delicious as promised. We ordered a meze platter to share where we chose from a variety of options which included truffle hummus, moutabal, garlic prawns, lamb sausages and more. The portion size was great for two people unlike in Lebanon where you constantly overeat unless you are in a big group. For the main, we shared a braised lamb shank which had incredible flavors.

Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant
Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant
Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant
Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant
Arabesque Ritz Carlton Maldives restaurant

Make sure to book at least one night at Arabesque for your stay at the Ritz. They are also open for lunch but I found the night time vibe with its unique decorations to be the winner.

IWAU

IWAU is the Japanese omakase style tasting restaurant of the Ritz Maldives. It’s located right next to Eau Bar adjacent to the main pool. I never dined here but from talking to others, everyone really enjoyed the experience.

IWAU Ritz carlton maldives

You are sat at a counter where the chef preps all the courses for you like in a traditional Japanese omakase. The backdrop is also beautiful as you face the ocean and the open stars above you.

IWAU Ritz carlton maldives

Tum Tum

Tum tum is located at the Fari Island village and is the “street food” food truck of the resort. It’s located in an airstream like the ones you can find in Joshua Tree (how in the world did they get that to the Maldives?) and the food here is Asian casual snacks like Bao Buns.

Tum Tum food truck Ritz Carlton maldives
Tum Tum food truck Ritz Carlton maldives

We had their peking duck and beef rendang bao buns which were sensational. The chef even came out and offered us his version of fried rice where he wanted our opinion on the dish. Overall, a delicious casual meal for lunch.

Tum Tum food truck Ritz Carlton maldives
Tum Tum food truck Ritz Carlton maldives

Next to Tum Tum is another food truck serving burgers that looked good as well as a Gelato shop.

Tum Tum food truck Ritz Carlton maldives

Eau Bar sundowners

The Eau Bar is the spot to be for a sundowner. It faces due west and the sun sets directly over the beautiful circular infinity pool. Every day around 18:45, there is a short ceremony called ‘The Defining Moment’ where staff perform a traditional dance. This is free of charge to attend and the place to be for sunset.

eau bar sunset ritz carlton maldives

The Eau bar also serves small snacks as well as proper food but we never ended up eating here as there was just too many other options.

eau bar sunset ritz carlton maldives

We did smoke shisha twice during our stay and it was a proper experience at that with the waiters very attentive.

Eau Bar drinks Ritz Carlton Maldives

Brasa

Brasa is located on Fari Village and is an Argentine steakhouse. We came here on our last night to mix up the seafood we had been eating throughout the week. Brasa has a collection of steaks, lamb chops, pork loin, and other grilled specialties. They have a large wood fired grills perfect for generating the heat required to cook the steaks asado style.

Brasa Steakhouse Ritz Carlton maldives

We had wagyu and angus steaks and they were cooked to perfection. The steaks were juicy and tender, but also packed with that beefy flavor. The sides including the mashed potatoes and yuca fries went perfectly with the steaks.

Brasa Steakhouse Ritz Carlton maldives

Special Occasion Dinners

In addition to the numerous restaurants offered at the Ritz and the Fari Island Village, the Ritz will often times have special themed dinners. During our stay, they had a Diwali night dinner which featured a set menu from Arabesque and was phenomenal.

dinners at ritz carlton maldives

On another night, they had a Maldivian themed BBQ on the beach featuring local food. There was even a complimentary cocktail hour on the beach before the BBQ.

maldivian bbq night at the Ritz Carlton Maldives
Maldivian BBQ night pre-drinks

These types of dinners will always be a fixed price; Diwali night was $190++ and the Maldivian BBQ was $220++. I really enjoyed these themed dinners and would definitely recommend going to one if it coincides with your dates.

dinners at ritz carlton maldives
Beautiful setting for the Diwali dinner
dinners at ritz carlton maldives
dinners at ritz carlton maldives
dinners at ritz carlton maldives

Activities at the Ritz Carlton Maldives


You might wonder if you’ll get bored staying on a private island for so many days but I can assure you the days will not be boring. There is no shortage of things to do and I often found myself wondering how the day passed by so quickly.

Ritz Carlton Maldives biking
Or just spend way too much time taking photos at the resort.

In your room will be a schedule of various events happening throughout the week. Some of these events are paid while others are free. Things like snorkeling, a sandbank visit, couples massage lessons, cooking classes, beach yoga, and more are always on the offerings. Of course, if you want a private tour or to go scuba diving, that’s available as well.

Dive Center

As an avid diver, I had to check out the dive center. Located at the southern tip of the resort, the dive center is outsourced to the Dive Butler company that operates in one of the nicest dive offices I’ve seen. Having just been on a Maldives dive liveaboard, I wasn’t so keen to dive any more from a resort. The people working here were very professional and told me that I probably wouldn’t be impressed with what the dives they had if I already went on a week long dive trip beforehand.

Ritz Carlton Maldives Dive center

The price of the diving is as expensive as you would expect from a high end resort like this. A 1-tank dive at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives is $190++ with discounts available from 6 tanks onwards. This is almost double the price of the diving at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa which I already thought had crazy prices!

Sandbank Visit

There’s nothing more beautiful than a sandbank in the middle of the ocean in my opinion. From the Ritz, there is a sandbank you can visit that is about 30 minutes away by boat. The resort will organize weekly trips to visit the Sandbanks and I think this is actually one of the best deals in the entire resort.

Sandbank Ritz Carlton Maldives

We went via jet-ski to the sandbank because I didn’t know that they were offering boat trips. If you like jet skis, I can highly recommend a visit to the sandbank but be prepared to pay an insane amount of money. We paid roughly $700 for one jet ski to the sandbank and back (with a guide of course).

We didn’t know beforehand that the trip was only 1.5 hours which was way too short for such an excursion. It took 25 minutes to get to the sandbank which meant we only had about 30-40 minutes on the sandbank. After taking a few videos and photos, we had to leave again. For $700, this was a big waste of money and definitely one of the few gripes I had with the Ritz.

Sandbank Ritz Carlton Maldives

Our Aris Meeha apologized for the confusion and made it up to us later. The confusion was that this tour was more of a “jetski tour” as opposed to a sandbank tour (which we care more for).

Snorkeling activities

There are numerous snorkeling trips you can take from the Ritz Maldives. Snorkeling trips are available to see the turtles, nurse sharks, and reefs nearby to the resort. These trips are sometimes run as a group trip once a week or a private boat with your own guide. We didn’t end up doing any of these activities since we had just finished a Maldives dive liveaboard the week prior.

There isn’t much of a house reef in the Ritz-Carlton Maldives as it is on a man-made island. However, there are a few coral patches being grown around the resort which has attracted a bit of fish life. Around the overwater villa ring, you can often times see things like stingrays, black tip sharks, and even cuttlefish in addition to various reef fish. Snorkeling gear is free of charge and they will bring it to your room upon request.

Kids Club

If you’re bringing the whole family, rest assured that your kid will be well taken care of if you want some private time.

Ritz Carlton Maldives activity list

The kids center at the Ritz is insane and it made me wish I was still a kid and could play here. Designed for those ages 4 to 12, the program uses its four pillars—land, water, environmental responsibility and culture—to create a schedule of daily activities including sports, arts and crafts, cooking classes and more. The experience is based out of the Ritz Kids Club, futuristic indoor-outdoor space with playgrounds, napping pods, an area for video games and movies, and a pool with slides and jets. Babysitting for kids below the age of 4 service is available at a charge, upon request.

Spa at the Ritz Maldives


The spa of the Ritz Carlton Maldives is located in the center of the overwater ring. This huge donut like structure is beautiful outside and inside with a round hole in the middle that allows rainwater to flow through the center of the building, like the Jewel in Changi Airport.

Spa center at maldives ritz carlton

Spa center at maldives ritz carlton

While I never got a massage treatment, other guests I talked to raved about it. 1/3 of the masseuses are from Bali so I have no doubt they will be amazing. They did offer a free couples massage lesson on one of the days which was very fun as we got to learn the proper techniques to massage each other.

spa center maldives ritz carlton
Ritz Carlton Maldives spa menu

Booking The Ritz Carlton Maldives


Booking the Ritz-Carlton Maldives can be a whole post in and of itself. The Ritz is one of the most expensive properties in the Maldives and it warrants the price in my opinion. It’s definitely a crazy contrast with traveling Maldives cheap through the local islands. However, if you know a thing or two about credit cards and travel hacking, you could book this stay for a lot cheaper or even for free like what I did.

Cash price of the Ritz Carlton Maldives

The Ritz Carlton Maldives costs anywhere between $2.5k to $4k per night for the standard ocean view overwater villas depending on the time of year. Lagoon view rooms will cost more which I will dive into detail later. Interestingly, the beach villas at the Ritz Maldives cost more than their overwater counterparts. The rooms are the exact same in size and layout but the Ritz gives a premium to beach access.

You can see cost breakdowns from the screenshot below (these rates do not include the mandatory GST and Service charges which are another ~26% on top of these prices).

This makes it one of the most expensive hotels I’ve ever stayed in which makes the next section even more interesting.

Booking the Ritz Carlton Maldives using Marriott Points

I booked my entire stay using Marriott Bonvoy Points. As Marriott no longer uses hotel categories, instead focusing on dynamic pricing models, the nightly rate for a stay at the Ritz Maldives ranges between 100,000 to 150,000 points for the ocean villa which are the lowest. Unlike the Hyatt which only allows you to book the “standard” beachfront room with points, Marriott allows you to book any room you’d like as long as you have the points.

Status will not get you upgrades at the Ritz Maldives. It will also not get you a free breakfast although Titanium and Ambassador Elite members will get a 50% discount on the breakfast bill (Silver gets 10% off and Gold 25%).

Booking Ritz Carlton Maldives on points
Price to redeem points for the Ritz Carlton Maldives.

When you book with points, Marriott also gives you the famous promotion of book 4 nights and get 1 free. Therefore, my 5 night stay at the Ritz Maldives cost me roughly 440,000 points as the nightly rates at my time were around 110,000 per night. You can expect lower rates in the rainy seasons (May to October) and on the higher range between December and April. By booking with points, you’re getting somewhere in the range of 3-4 cents per Bonvoy Point which is insane value for money.

Getting almost a half million Marriott points is no joke but is easier than you think if you know what you’re doing. If you are not well versed in credit card hacking, make sure to read my travel hacking post which explains everything you need to know about the credit card game including using my credit card spreadsheet to keep track of everything.

Marriott Co-branded credit cards

There are 5 Marriott branded credit cards on the market currently, 2 from Chase and 3 from American Express:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy AMEX
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX
  • Marriott Bonvoy AMEX Business
marriott bonvoy credit cards

The sign on bonuses for these cards are constantly changing and you can expect more fruitful sign on offers than what’s currently being advertised (as of Dec 2023).

Racking up Chase Ultimate Rewards points

The Marriott branded credit cards are just one of the options you have at your disposable. The much better option are the Chase credit cards. Chase points transfer 1:1 to Marriott Bonvoy making these points very valuable for your stay at the Ritz. Sometimes, Chase will even run promotions where you can transfer 1 Chase UR point for 1.5 Marriott Bonvoy points.

The Chase Ink card suite is the best way to rack up huge amounts of Chase points. Currently, the Chase Ink Preferred is offering a 100,000 point sign on bonus which means one of these cards will get almost one free night at the Ritz simply by opening this one credit card. The Chase Ink Unlimited and Chase Ink Cash are also both offering 90,000 point sign on bonuses and you can easily get all 3 cards.

chase ink busines

Therefore, if you and your partner are both working at it, you can simply open 2 credit cards each and get enough points to stay at the Ritz Carlton! By both opening a Chase Ink Preferred and Chase Ink Unlimited/Cash, you will have nearly 400,000 points from sign on bonuses. As Marriott allows you to pool points together between multiple accounts, you therefore have enough points to get a 5 night stay at the Ritz!

The whole process is rather simple if you spend a bit of time at it. If you think this is too munch work and takes too much time, ask yourself how much is your time worth? Probably not the $20,000 USD it costs to actually stay at the Ritz!

Pro Tips for staying at the Ritz Carlton Maldives


Arrive early to the Ritz Carlton Maldives

This is my absolute #1 must-do tip for visiting the Ritz Maldives and essentially any other resort in the country. If your flight arrives in Male International Airport in the afternoon or in the evening, absolutely stay in Male for the night. If you’re already paying many thousands of dollars a night to stay in the villa of your dreams, why would you waste all of that money by arriving in the evening when things are already dark and the day is over?

Ritz Carlton Maldives

Stay in a hotel near Male International Airport in the town of Hulhemale just north of the airport. There are a hundred different options with perfectly acceptable accommodations for under $100 a night. Your hotel will be no more than a 15 minute drive and most of the hotels offer complimentary shuttle service and breakfast.

The following morning, you are already refreshed and ready to enjoy the resort. The Ritz’s boat runs all throughout the day and you can get a slot on the first boat ride to the resort around 9am. If you’re lucky, your room will be ready upon arrival. Otherwise, your luggage will already be stored and you can enjoy the full suite of facilities at the resort!

Get the local breakfast

As I’ve already talked about in previous sections, getting a local breakfast is the way to go. Not only is the local Maldivian food delicious, but you get a healthier breakfast for much less money without overeating to start your day. It’s a win-win situation.

La Locanda Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Maldives local breakfast

Pre-book all your dinners

While lunch is never busy, dinners can sometimes be booked out. The Ritz and Fari islands in general revolves around small and intimate restaurants, as opposed to huge resort dining halls so make sure to book things when you know. Popular restaurants like Arabesque and Summer Pavillon will see a lot of demand from guests, especially during high season months.

How much did we spend at the Ritz?

In total, we spent about $4,000 USD at the Ritz for our 5 night stay. This does not include the round-trip speedboat transfers but is entirely for the food, one activity, and alcohol.

We drank very little (maybe 1-2 glasses of wine the entire stay) so this bill could have been much higher if we elected for the $300 bottles of champagne. Everything can be paid for by credit card at the resort.

Final Thoughts


The Ritz is one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. From the aesthetics, design, natural beauty, and customer service, everything was top notch. The staff went out of their way to make us feel like family and elevated the already incredible experience. It felt like anything we wanted was possible (even though we are very low maintenance people).

Ritz Carlton Maldives overwater villa

You know you really love a hotel when you are already dreading checking out on day 2 of a 5 night stay. It almost felt like I left a piece of myself at the Ritz. Not a bad thing as I am already planning a trip back!

FAQ for the Ritz Carlton Maldives

What is the difference between ocean view and lagoon view at Ritz Carlton Maldives?

The villas on the ocean view and lagoon view sides are identical. It simply comes down to the view. Lagoon view gets more sun in general and faces the sunset. The Ocean view villas face the open ocean and the sunrise. Both sides have that incredible turquoise colored reef in front of the villa. The downside to the lagoon side is that there is a constant flow of boat traffic that can see directly into your villa. If this bothers you, I would definitely elect to choose the ocean view rooms.

How Expensive is the Ritz Carlton Maldives?

Expect to pay somewhere between $2,500 to $4,000 for the cheapest ocean view overwater villa. This price does not include the speed boat transfer and does not include price for food or alcohol as there are no all inclusive options.

For booking on points, you can expect to pay 100,000 to 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points per night. When you book with points, you will get the 5th night free if you book for 4 ngihts.

What is the best time of year to visit the Ritz Maldives?

Like the rest of the Maldives, the best time to visit is the dry season between November and April. Dec to Feb are the peak seasons but prices will be higher. Rainy season can be a good time to visit because it does not rain the entire time. If you get lucky, you’ll get picture perfect weather at a cheap price with less tourists.

4 Comments

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  1. Hey Johnny,

    Awesome article – I’m headed to the Maldives for my honeymoon in November. Curious if you could help with a few things:

    1) Do you recommend we contact them in advance to let them know it is our honeymoon?
    2) I noticed you made a comment about $300 bottles of champagne – did they have regular priced options for drinks/cocktails?
    3) Did you tip your servers / is it recommended to on top of the 27% charge
    4) Do you know if you can contact them to request a room? We would love privacy & sun, so thinking 339 may be best for us but would love your advice on on overwater

    • Hi there, glad you like the blog!

      1. I think you can do this, you can also leave it in the comments section when you make the booking to let them know.
      2. Yes for drinks and wine there are “normal” options with the cheapest glass probably around $16 or $18 I can’t remember.
      3. I tipped servers that I really liked and had some connection with. The extra tip on top of the service fee goes directly to the person you want to tip towards.
      4. As you’ve probably already read on the post, I told them which villa range I wanted and even changed villa while I was there bc I wasn’t so satisfied.

  2. Hi Johnny, thanks for this very detailed write up!

    I am going to the Ritz Carlton Maldives next week and have a lagoon pool Villa. I’m wondering which Villa is the best villa to request I would like the most privacy I can get as well as the most sun possible which 3 villas do you recommend me requesting?
    (Are the villas at the tip of the circle private from the incoming boats and get sun?)

    • Hi Sol, the Lagoon villa simply don’t have much privacy. They will all have boat traffic at least once every hour or two. The boat runs pretty far from the villas but they could still see you if they really focused. The villas at the tip are still visible to the boat albeit for not as long. They don’t get the sunset view though just based on the geography and layout of the ring. I would probably pick vila 317, 318, 319 for getting sun and privacy but i think you still won’t have full on privacy here.