PER AQUUM Niyama is the cool kid on the family block in the Maldives – little wonder it is known as Nature’s Playground. The resort is part of the cutting-edge portfolio PER AQUUM, which also includes Maldivian luxury island resort PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi. PER AQUUM Niyama is on the south-western atoll of Dhaalu and is accessible via a thrilling 45-minute seaplane flight from Male – the family adventure begins before you’ve even arrived! It’s a tropical hotspot truly worth making the long-haul journey for picture-postcard white sands and turquoise waters. Niyama staff adore younger guests and special attention is always lavished on little VIPs.
Now double the fun, Niyama comprises of two islands, aptly named ‘Chill’ and ‘Play’ – linked via a bridge. Chill is the original island (opened in 2012) while Play (opened March 2015) has reinforced Niyama’s dedication to family-friendliness.
We love Niyama’s little treats in the rooms – high-tech toys such as the InnSpire TV system for kids and Niyama’s unique take on a minibar – ‘Deli-In’ – a fridge brimming with gourmet drinks and treats including complimentary ice cream. There are even popcorn-making machines in the rooms. Personal thakurus – butler service ‘Maldivian-style’ – are also one of Niyama’s signature touches for all rooms.
The new wildly imaginative kids club, Explorers, on Play island, is in the style of a big circus tent and takes tots from 12 months right up to 12 years. Niyama is the only resort in the Maldives offering a club for children under three. Children are split into four age groups or ‘tribes’ (Globetrotters, 12 months-2 years; Adventurers, 3-4 years; Voyagers, 5-7 years; Pioneers 8-12 years), and activities are tailored to their abilities and interests – everything from Master Chef classes, snorkelling safaris, kayaking and dolphin-spotting to mini Olympics, crazy crab soccer, salt-dough-making and Niyama’s unique treasure hunt. Add to that a playground, trampoline, splash park, a climbing wall and even a stage where budding actors and actresses can live out their Hollywood dreams. Mini fashionistas can take to the catwalk to showcase the latest designs from the resort’s boutique, while in Munch – the mini gourmet kitchen – kids can enjoy cookery classes. Little ones can drift off to sleep listening to traditional Maldivian stories in their den.
Float is Niyama’s watersports centre, with a wide range of activities, or why not pick up bikes and go exploring? LIME Spa, located on Chill – caters for modern families: family spa experiences are on offer, as is a dedicated children’s spa menu, with kid-friendly treatments ranging from Daphne the Dolphin Massage to Cool Camel after the Sun treatments, and even a Captain Red Claw Manicure.
Niyama does cutting-edge family dining better than anyone. Kids can tuck into child-pleasing treats like mini tacos at Tribal, Niyama’s Afro-Latin dining boma, with roaring fire, where a Maasai warrior greets you. Then there’s cool Blu – beachfront Mediterranean dining with a poolside ice cream parlour. And Nest, a one-of-a-kind concept for the Maldives. Kids adore this multi-level treehouse design, where they can climb into the treehouse and navigate the jungle on a labyrinth of wooden walkways to your private dining pod high in the treetops. Families love The Deli – grab-and-go delights, jars of tempting sweets, smoothies and paninis, plus favourite coffee for mums and dads – all reasonably priced!
PER AQUUM Niyama’s new Beach Suite with Pool on Play are a great family option. Children can sleep in a separate living area (transformed into a bedroom at night), while parents enjoy their own bedroom. These suites are right on the beach, and are great for chilling and playing. They have indoor/outdoor rain showers, hi-tech toys, popcorn and cocktails, ocean views and private pool. Niyama’s two and three bedroom beach and ocean Pavilions, meanwhile, suit families seeking more space.
Best time to go: Christmas school holidays, February half term, Easter holidays – choice of direct and indirect flights. Maldives combines well with Dubai, Oman and Sri Lanka.
Book it: Turquoise Family Offers at PER AQUUM Niyama: Up to two kids under 12 years sharing with parents can fly on the seaplane, stay and eat (buffet or children’s menus) for free between 11 April and 31 October 2016. During the same period, children aged 12-18 can enjoy a second room at half price.