15th February 2018
The name Hideaway Beach alone could tempt you into at least 20 minutes of idle dreams, most likely populated with plenty of sun, creamy sands, and quite probably at least one lazy-day hammock strategically strung for an ocean view. Luckily, this is a fantasy that’s almost entirely accurate at Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa.
The resort is tucked into Dhonakulhi Island, on Haa-Alifu Atoll in the northern Maldives: the less travelled part of the country, which always manages to feel like complete escapism, although it’s really only a 45 minute flight from Malé Airport.
It’s also one of the few Maldivian resorts where you only have the choice of villas or villas with pools. Which is like saying you have to decide between luxury and a little more luxury, both being exquisite. And even if you opt not to have a pool of your own, the resort has a lagoon that’s too lovely to ever be considered a compromise.
How much appeal does all this ethereal enchantment have for families? It’s a question that’s asked time and again in the Maldives. Granted you do have to be aware of the difference between resorts where kids are welcome, and kid-friendly resorts where they’re as keen to make sure younger guests have just as wonderful a holiday as the grown ups they’ve brought along.
But you only have to look at the raft of fun activities, events, clubs, experiences and sweet extras, all designed with kids in mind, to know instantly that Hideaway falls firmly into the latter camp. And, short of banning honeymooners from the island entirely, the resort couldn’t be more perfect for families. Not least of all because almost everything from its innovative kids clubs to watersports are included in family holiday costs, along with easy airport transfers, and breakfast every morning in the oceanfront Matheefaru Restaurant: it has a sand floor, which never fails to amaze under fives.
If the resort name hasn’t won you over, try ‘Tender Hearts Kids Club’ for size. The cute title speaks volumes for the style of care you can expect for three to 12 year olds here: warm, nurturing and authentically Maldivian. Imagine a 50m² dedicated playpark; all-over-the-island mini-explorer expeditions, dhoni cruises, treasure hunts, beach sports, fishing lessons and even cookery classes; and you get a rough idea of the fun stuff they get up to here, every single day.
Hideaway is also the first resort in the Maldives with a floating waterpark, and it’s definitely not just for kids. So don’t be shy about trying the climbing walls, trampolines, balance beams, slides, chutes and rides yourself.
Or you can just laze around in the chill zone, enjoy the warm and balmy lagoon waters, and keep a weather eye on younger, more energetic family members roaring round the Aqua Park – it’s free, whatever approach you take.
Long, crescent-shaped Dhonakulhi Island is trimmed right round with white sand beaches, lapped consistently by the startlingly blue Indian Ocean. Which makes for spectacular views from a sun lounger, and one of the world’s greatest adventure playgrounds when you’re feeling a bit more active. Take your pick of watersports at Hideaway, and even if you don’t have a clue where to begin, the resort’s professional instructors are on hand to help teach you the basics of anything from windsurfing and kiteboarding to wakeboarding, SUP, scuba, water skiing or catamaran sailing.
No lessons necessary to zip over the sea on a banana boat: you just have to hang on, and be prepared to abandon all parental dignity.
If you’re up for more refined seafaring, the resort is always delighted to organise island-hopping outings, dolphin and turtle spotting cruises, and even starlit sails on traditional dhoni. Then there’s the ‘penguin’: a semi-submarine that gives a complete dive experience without getting wet one bit – another Maldivian first for Hideaway.
Continuing the theme of its barefoot and beachy name, Hideaway family villas are thoughtfully planned to give you freedom to relax and be yourself. Ocean views naturally integrate into the design. Swimming pools or plunge pools make lazing around in your own garden almost irresistible. And Personal Butler Service adds another layer of luxurious, easy-going indulgence. As generous indoors as out in terms of space, there’s plenty of room for those times when everyone just wants to do their own thing. And it’s the Maldives, so of course every villa has a lovely terrace: where else would you stargaze after the kids are in bed?
Tender Hearts is a pretty magical kids club, add in fun watersports, and the undeniable attraction of Aqua Park, and there’s a high chance you might find yourself with some spare time on your hands. Luckily Hideaway Spa & Beauty Palace is the perfect place to while away a few soothing – or revitalising – hours.
And the resort’s lagoon pool is made for off-duty lounging with a fat book and a long, cool drink. Or you might want to head to the beach and get in some watersport tuition to impress the kids, when they finally come back from having the time of their lives.
The Tender Hearts’ philosophy applies to babysitting at Hideaway too, so if you want to have dinner like grown ups in one of the resort’s four restaurants or even just an evening drink at the beach bar, you can relax completely, your kids are in very capable and caring hands.
Book a family holiday at Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa for any dates between 25 April and 31 July 2018, from £5699, based on two adults and two children.