The Maldives.....Perfect for Families Too

Sarah Freeman on 23 June 2019
Once you arrive in Male, the seaplane check in desks are right outside arrivals and the actual terminal is only a 10-minute drive away. You simply check in, drop your cases off and the next time you see them they’re in the room at your hotel. I’ve always wanted to experience a seaplane journey but wasn’t sure what to expect. Relaxing in the hotel's private lounge, I enjoyed some lovely refreshments and got the chance to use the complimentary wi-fi, then we were called to Gate 1 and quickly whisked on board. The planes seat around 15 people, it is a little cosy inside, with a very narrow aisle and your luggage is stacked at the back of the seats. Also don’t worry about the pilots being barefoot, that’s completely normal! Seaplanes are more expensive than speedboats, but I promise the views more than make up for that, it was like I was in the middle of a Yayoi Kusama painting, random paint splats of ice-cold blue, gold and green scattered amongst the vast expanse of ocean.

Niyama is a much bigger resort. Spread over two islands interconnected by a wooden bridge, “Play” (aimed at surfers and families) and “Chill” (aimed at couples and larger families) offer a wealth of activities for all the family. Niyama is a much more active resort, with a daily calendar of activities ranging from aqua Zumba and beach volleyball, to coconut painting and bracelet making. With one of the largest water based offerings, you can gain your Padi qualification, go snorkelling, parasailing or jet skiing to name a few, plus it’s one of the only resorts in the Maldives with a surf school, the chance to try a Seabob and even the new craze; jet packing.

There’s a 24/7 fitness centre on site, a games room with everything from Xbox stations, pool table and table tennis to a mini cinema and even a golf simulator (both for private hire). For children, the kids club is extensive, with a water zone, climbing wall, stage and trampoline etc. At USD $20-30++ per hour it’s not cheap but with children accepted from 12 months and babysitting also available, it offers a nice respite if mum and dad need some alone time.

One of the strong points about Niyama is its restaurant offerings, they’ve been creative in developing unique environments. Epicure is an airy indoor restaurant that's perfect for a leisurely breakfast and then there's a fantastic outdoor beach restaurant called Dune that offers a wide-ranging menu at lunchtime.

Fancy dining on elevated walkways in the rain forest? Try “Nest” with its eclectic Asian influenced menu, visit an African village setting at “Tribal” and enjoy a 72-day dry aged steak. How about dining offshore at the seafood restaurant “Edge” and then going 6m under water and having cocktails at Subsix. For late night drinks you can also relax in the rooftop lounge Fahrenheit which features live music and DJ's in the evenings.

I was lucky to be spending 4 nights in a beach pool villa and I have to say I was thoroughly spoilt. A humongous main room with king sized bed, private deck and pool with direct beachfront access beautifully screened behind masses of vegetation. The outdoor bathroom once again was beyond words, Bali inspired with two outdoor showers, soaking tub and lovely amenities. There’s a huge array of accommodation on the islands, from water villas to beautiful two-bedroom pavilions. Larger families will love the 3-bedroom beach pool pavilion with secluded beach, two giant pools and spa treatment room. For large groups (up to 14 adults and 8 children), you can even rent The Crescent, 5 overwater secluded villas with their own walkway, private chef and 2 dedicated butlers plus a whole host of other benefits. With a whole host of celebrities and royalty known to frequent Niyama, you know you'll be in great company.

I always knew that a trip to the Maldives was going to be special, but my preconceptions of this being for honeymooners only has been well and truly turned on its head. The Maldives is the perfect luxurious holiday destination for anyone, whether you like complete relaxation, fun packed days, crave seclusion or are part of a group, there’s an island and a resort to suit you perfectly.