Niyama Maldives invites you to Chill and Play on their Private Islands in the Indian Ocean, Rochelle Streater and her young family didn’t need to be asked twice.
How do you make guests instantly fall in love with your resort? Meet them at the airport, after they’ve stumbled off a 10-hour flight with a toddler and a six year old. Honestly, it’s that easy.
We couldn’t have been more grateful to spend the short seaplane transfer staring sleepily at the Indian Ocean, while functional grown ups cheerily chatted to our kids. So thank you Niyama Maldives, even if the rest of the holiday hadn’t been magical, we’d still love you.
Niyama Maldives thinks of everything from personal butlers to beaches
But, as it turned out, things were to get even better. If you think having your own personal butler on holiday is overkill, let me introduce Fasy. His official title might be Thakuru (Maldives for butler) but for us he was the Niyama conjurer: producing buckets and spades, teddies, sun caps, you name it, seemingly out of thin air, much to the enchantment of our kids; while also showing
us round our villa and even tactfully ignoring my tiny scream when I laid eyes on the huge, outdoor bathroom. Again, you don’t think you need one of these, until you have one.
Another word of warning, it’s physically impossible to be unmoved by an endless white beach right outside your door. When I say right outside, of course I mean just past our villa’s private pool and garden (also private).
Bear with me for an indulgent mum-moment here, but one of my best memories of a very memorable holiday, was watching my six year old cartwheeling along the water’s edge, free as a bird and not another soul in sight to see, except me.
Don’t dream of competing with Explorers Kids Club
All told, I’d have been happy with the pool-to-beach-to-bed shuttle for our entire stay: the luxury of do-nothing time is hard to resist. Sadly, our daughters had different plans, amply encouraged by a trial morning at the resort’s Explorers Kids Club. Oh foolish parents, did we seriously think we could compete with a team of bright-eyed, professionals dedicated to play, play, play mixed with a surprising amount of learning?
How the staff fitted all that in without a fuss remains a mystery, but just know, our two were totally smitten. In fact, I think if it hadn’t been for club opening hours, they’d have moved in, without so much as a kiss goodbye. OK we’d probably have got a grudging peck, just to keep the bases covered.
Admittedly, we weren’t exactly hanging around outside the kids club nursing abandonment issues. Niyama Maldives keeps you far too busy for that type of nonsense.
Everything from yoga classes to snorkelling is there for the asking. It’s also one of the few Maldives’ resorts with a surf-school. We decided not to hang-ten this time round, but did try kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkelling (with and without kids).
Although top experience of all had to be coral-frame building with the resident marine biologist. Actually seeing a coral nursery in real life is incredible, but adding to it, that’s a whole different thing. Plus you get to feel like an eco-warrior, which I’m obviously not letting anyone forget.
Discovering Niyama Maldives over and underwater
With the Indian Ocean in play, you’re going to spend a lot of time on the water and I can confirm it really is turquoise, clear as clear and stuffed full of neon-bright, cartoony fish. Never again will I accuse travel writers of hyperbole. If anything, they may be underselling.
When you’re not exploring the wonders of the deep (and shallow) you’ll be cycling, guaranteed. Out of the million and one thoughtful touches – from twice-a-day villa cleans to our wonderful Fasy – being given bikes on arrival was like Christmas, especially for our six year old: little sister loved her trailer, so thank you for thinking of that, Niyama.
Between riding around the two resort islands – Chill and Play – and generally just getting about, I was also a two-wheel convert. Starry-eyed enough to say, ‘Why don’t we cycle more back home?’: think the answer to that had something to do with an absence of sun and all the time in the world.
Surprisingly, though we did manage to do a lot, it wasn’t non-stop. Space to breathe was in there too, and it would be wrong not to mention the sheer chill of meal times – even with two kids.
Hidden in the treetops, Nest, was a clear winner for prettiest restaurant, with African-inspired, Tribe, coming close on atmosphere. But if it was down to best toes-in-the-sand vibe, Niyama Maldives’ beachfront restaurant has that: a side order of Indian Ocean is always hard to beat.
How to plan Niyama Private Islands
How to get there
Direct UK flights to the Maldives take from 10 hours.
Where to stay
Deluxe Beach Pool Villa from £500 per night (2 adults, 2 children)
Good to know
Explorers Kids Club cares for children from 1 to 12 years and is divided into 4 different age groups.
Niyama Private Islands is the only luxury surf resort in the Maldives and offers tuition from beginner to expert level.