Andrew Dent reviews Dhigali, one of the latest family-friendly island resorts to open in the Maldives
Most people think of the Maldives as a honeymoon destination, and whilst that particular holiday might be distant memory, there is no need to rule these Indian Ocean Islands out now you have kids.
One of the newest islands to open up to families is Dhigali (pronounced D-ga-li). Along its 1km length are 180 contemporary-style villas and suites, plus three infinity pools all wrapped up in rich, shady fauna. The only thing between beach villa beds and the ocean is your very own private plunge pool. There are also the classic Maldives lagoon and over-water villas where you can go straight into the ocean down a small ladder – endless fun for older kids.
The dining options are fantastic and most people come on a half-board package. The majority of the meals are taken at Capers restaurant with an array of fusions with plenty of healthy options and a cool island vibe.
The kids club, Play, offers complimentary outdoor and indoor programmes for children aged 3-12 including treasure hunts, coconut painting, marine biology lessons and nature walks. A highlight is the Dhigali’s Water Garden, an outdoor playground with splash park. This all offers the perfect opportunity for parents to head to the spa where therapies draw on indigenous traditions.
There are plenty of activities to do off the island during your stay. It’s well worth booking a picnic on one of the surrounding sand bars. Magically your sun umbrellas, towels, food and cold drinks are set up for your arrival. The boat ride, swimming, snorkeling and lunching make for a great half-day excursion. Another activity not to be missed is a fishing trip on one of the resorts smart boats. You don’t need to venture far off shore to get some good bites and it is an appropriate activity for all ages.
Water sports are plentiful with kayaks, sailing, tubing and jet skis to hand. I would recommend taking a Jet Ski trip around the island and off to some of the other local islands for an adrenaline-fuelled hour.
Dhigali is a perfect place for all the family to learn to scuba at its PADI dive school. There is a ‘Bubblemakers’ course for kids 8 years and above which costs US$95. A 5-dive package for adults is US$240. The staff are incredibly friendly, the equipment is excellent and the marine life just off shore is bountiful. The coolest thing that I did during my stay was a nighttime snorkel. It is quite an experience being armed with a flashlight and flippers and heading off into the abyss. The dark brings up a different array of creatures from the deep.
Sunsets are a big deal in the Maldives, and Dhigali does not disappoint. So when you need to get that perfect Instagram picture, just head to the Haali sunset bar. It’s a super cool bamboo-style structure that has a funky bar right on the tip of the island. Sit in one of their swings and indulge in a caipirinha to see another tough island day off. It is possible to actually sleep in the tree house connected to the bar, which makes for a really fun family adventure for one night.
All in all, the Maldives is an excellent destination for a family holiday. You can make a holiday here as active or as lazy as you choose. Dhgali is a fine choice as there is so much variety, I guarantee you will return home rejuvenated and full of beautiful family memories (and Instagram photos).
Kuoni offer seven nights half-board at Dhigali in a beach villa including flights on Oman Air from London Heathrow and transfers. The price for selected departures in November, 2019 based on two adults and two children (2-11 years old) sharing is from £7,499 per family with a saving of up to £4,710 per family.
To book quote tour ref: MV023