Here’s your exclusive guide to the best family-friendly resorts reopening their doors this autumn
The Maldives was one of the first countries in the region to welcome back overseas visitors. Private jets and yachts were allowed to access the country in June and in July international commercial flights were permitted to land again.
The country is heavily reliant on tourism, and, as highlighted by the minister for tourism back in May, the Maldives couldn’t afford to keep its borders closed indefinitely.
The government engaged with relevant industry stakeholders to compile a comprehensive set of guidelines for safely restarting Maldives tourism. A ‘Safe Tourism Licence’ is being issued to accredit hotels and resorts that have adhered to the new safety and hygiene regulations.
All resorts, liveaboards and hotels on uninhabited islands were allowed to reopen from July 15 and hotels and guesthouses on inhabited islands from August 1.
If you want to kick-back on those picture-perfect beaches, your holiday must be booked with one, registered resort or hotel. Multiple resort stays are, for the moment, prohibited.
Travelling to the Maldives, visitors must have a negative Covid medical certificate issued in their region or country of departure within 72 hours of travel they will also need to complete and submit the health declaration form and undergo thermal screening. Face masks must be worn throughout the airport. All foreign tourists will be encouraged to install TraceEkee, a trace and contact app. Formalities complete, guests will be issued with a free, 30-day visa.
Flights from Asia to the Maldives currently involve transiting through the Middle East. Airlines that are now flying into Male’s Velana International Airport include Emirates, which is offering a five-times-a-week service from Dubai, and Etihad, with twice-weekly flights from Abu Dhabi. Qatar Airways has been operating daily flights from Doha since July.
(All information was correct at time of going to press but given the very fluid global travel situation we recommend rechecking entry requirements and flight schedules on booking).
Kudafushi Resort & Spa
Nestled in Raa Atoll, Kudafushi Resort & Spa boasts white sandy beaches and a fantastic house reef. There’s a well-equipped diving centre, spa, a variety of restaurants and plenty of recreational activities to keep you busy.
Facilities for families: Little Bubbles Club is open daily from 9am to 6pm with a range of fun games and toys for younger guests. For children aged under three years, a chargeable babysitting service is available. And there’s an additional, out-of-hours babysitting service which can be arranged with 24-hours notice.
Getting there: Book a 45-minute scenic seaplane from Male’s International airport. Alternatively, pick-up a 30-minute domestic flight to Ifuru Domestic Airport followed by a 25-minute speedboat ride.
Opening date: The resort opened on July 15.
Where to book: kudafushiresort.com
JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa
Located north of Male on Vangaru Island, part of the Shaviyani Atoll, JW Marriott Maldives has five restaurants and adult-friendly treats including a Wine Room, a treetop Rum Baan and a Japanese overwater cocktail bar. The Duplex Pool Villa provides spacious family-friendly accommodation with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a separate upstairs living area, garden, private pool and direct beach access.
Facilities for families: The resort has a Little Griffins Kids Club and pint-sized activities such as banana boating and kayaking, plus surf, snorkel and dive activities tailored to youngsters. There’s family-friendly dining at Aailaa all-day restaurant, or poolside at Fiamma. Splash around in the dedicated family-friendly pool or treat littlies to a mini-manicure or pedicure at the resort’s spa. Babysitting is available on request.
Medical facilities: The resort has an in-house clinic and a doctor available 24-hours a day.
Getting there: Vangaru Island is a 55-minute seaplane journey from the international airport at Male.
Opening date: The resort will be reopening on October 1, 2020.
Where to book: marriott.com
Enjoy this multi-award winning resort in the North Male Atoll boasting secluded, detached bungalows and pavilions with private plunge pools nestled along palm fringed beaches. Recommended for families are the Grand Pavilions and the two-bedroom Ocean Pavilion.‘Must-do’ attractions include the spectacular underwater spa and the underwater restaurant.
Facilities for families: There’s a parental-supervised kids corner for under ten, plus a teen ‘hangout’ with games, consoles and a pool table. The resort’s FLOAT dive and watersports centre offers fun banana boat and tube rides, jet skis and sea bobs, as well as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. The house reef is just metres from the beach and snorkelling equipment is provided free-of-charge. Guided activities include sailing, fishing, dolphin watching, diving and there are family sailing adventures aboard the resort’s traditional ‘dhoni’.
Medical facilities: The resort has an on-site and resident doctor on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The nearest hospital is 30 minutes away by speedboat.
Getting there: The resort is a half-hour speedboat ride from the international airport in Male - private yacht and luxury speedboat hire is also available.
Opening date: The resort will be reopening on October 1, 2020.
Where to book: huvafenfushi.com
The Standard Huruvalhi
Whether you’re relaxing in an overwater villa floating in the lagoon, or settled on a pristine sandy beach, The Standard Huruvalhi promises extreme relaxation. Pandemic? What pandemic? Every villa has a private plunge pool and lounge deck and families are recommended the two bedroom Lagoon Overwater Villa or the Standard Residence, the resort’s flagship property.
Facilities for families: The Lil’ Shark Kids club offers professional childcare services, a teen zone and a paddling pool. Fun activities include spotting baby sharks, learning the local language, stargazing challenges around the evening beach bonfire, sandcastle competitions and more. There’s also a Lil’ Chefs Club. But the highlight for small kids and big kids alike will no doubt be the 800sqft inflatable water park, accessed via the resort’s pontoon.
Getting there: The Standard is located between the Raa and Baa Atolls, a 35-minute seaplane ride from Velena International Airport. Alternatively, guests can catch a 20-minute domestic flight to Dharavandhoo followed by a 35-minute speedboat ride.
Medical facilities: An on-call doctor is available for guests.
Opening date: More news will be shared this autumn on the resort’s social media platforms.
Where to book: standardhotels.com
Niyama Private Islands
This stunning resort is spread across two islands; one is named Play, the other Chill. Grab yourself a Family Beach Pool Villa that opens onto the soft, powdery island sands, with private pool and dhoni swing. The villa includes an al fresco bathroom with outdoor soaking tub and rain shower and a living area that transforms into a bedroom for two children. No less than nine dining experiences are served up at the water, including venues that are overwater, underwater or in the treetops.
Facilities for families: The Explorers Kids Club is at the heart of the island of Play, with fun activities covering Master Chef classes, scouting for dolphins, jewellery design and kite flying. There are child-friendly watersports, from surfing and snorkelling to diving. Babysitting is available.
Getting there: The resort is a 35-minute seaplane flight from Male’s international airport.
Medical facilities: The resort has an on-site doctor available 24-hours a day.
Opening date: October 1, 2020.
Where to book: niyama.com
This beautiful resort is made up of three islands - the private island of Naladhu Maldives, the adults-only island of Anantara Veli Resort and family-friendly Dhigu. Think quiet beaches, great house-reef snorkelling just off the beach, delicious restaurants (spot the reef sharks swim by from the deck of Sea.Fire.Salt) and beachside or overwater accommodation. The restaurants on Veli can also be accessed by Dhigu guests. For families, the Two Bedroom Family Villa offers a private garden, direct beach access, hammock, shaded terrace with children’s play area and a villa host.
Facilities for families: The kids club offers a weekly-changing activity programme and the child-friendly watersports include diving, surfing and dolphin and turtle snorkelling excursions. Babysitting is available.
Getting there: Dhigu is located on Dhigufinolhu Island in the South Male Atoll, a 35-minute speedboat ride from the international airport in Male.
Medical facilities: There’s a 24-hour doctor on-site.
Opening date: The resort reopens on October 1, 2020.
Where to book: anantara.com
Club Med Kani
The king of the child-friendly holiday, Club Med claims to have the most family-friendly resort in the Maldives. Everything about the all-inclusive resort has been developed with kids in mind.
Family favourite accommodation options run from interconnecting superior rooms to a family overwater suite (for eight years plus). Mini welcome amenities will be introduced later this year.
Facilities for families: Club Med Kani boasts the only flying trapeze in the Maldives and one of the largest dive centres, offering snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding and sailing (eight years and up), and kayaking (six years and up) ad scuba (11+). The Happy Children’s Corner welcomes kids aged four to ten years with games, sports and creative activities. A GO (Gracious Organiser) leads cooking lessons, face painting, coral propagation and loads more, with watersports activities and instruction for kids aged six and over. And there’s a Petit Club for littlies aged two to three years (US$80 per day).
Getting there: The resort is a 30 minute speedboat transfer from Male International Airport.
Medical facilities: There’s an on-site nurse, and an on-site doctor for diving-related issues.
Opening date: Quarter 4 of 2020.
Where to book: clubmed.com.hk
Six Senses Laamu
The resort of choice for the more ecologically-minded guest, Six Senses Laamu boasts a host of enticing facilities. Fun family friendly activities include a huge free-form swimming pool, heaps of beaches, a house reef accessible from the resort’s overwater facility, a personal GEM (Guest Experience Maker) and five dining spaces, including an ice cream parlour and a chocolate studio.
Facilities for families: The list is endless; think jungle cinema, watersports centre, bicycles, an organic garden, earth lab and chicken farm, surf, wakeboard, windsurf, dive and catamaran sailing classes, volleyball, football, badminton, table tennis, treasure hunts - and complimentary ice cream. Plus there’s a Junior Marine Biology programme for six to 16 year olds with one-on-one mentoring from marine biologists. Back on dry land, there’s the Den children’s club for four to 12 year olds and in-villa babysitting.
Getting there: Take a 35-minute inter-island flight from Male, followed by a 20-minute speedboat ride.
Medical facilities: There’s a fully-equipped clinic and doctor permanently on site and the resort is a 20-minute boat ride away from Gan regional hospital.
Opening date: August 1, 2020.
Where to book: sixsenses.com
Soneva Fushi is the first resort in the world to offer 3D astronomy to guests. And there’s a ton more fun for families, including villas with waterslides, plenty of watersports and an outdoor Cinema Paradiso. Fill rumbling tums with 30 different flavours of complimentary ice cream at The Ice Cream Room or complimentary chocolate treats at The Chocolate Room. Popular family accommodation includes the Family Villa Suite with Pool and the Family Villa Suite, which includes an upstairs children’s room and observation deck.
Facilities for families: The Den children’s club offers a weekly programme of activities as well as a pirate ship, two swimming pools, a Lego and Duplo room, a dress-up room, cinema, library and music room. There’s a separate lounge area for teens. Wildlife Explorer is a fun immersive activity for families and there are also guided snorkelling expeditions with a picnic. A babysitting service is available.
Getting there: Soneva Fushi is located on Kunfunadhoo Island in Baa Atoll. It’s a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male or a domestic flight to Dharavandhoo Airport followed by a 12-minute speedboat ride.
Medical facilities: There’s an on-site nurse and the nearest medical clinic on neighbouring Eydhafushi island is ten minutes away by speedboat.
Opening date: July 15, 2020.
Where to book: soneva.com
The five-star Kagi Maldives Spa Island in the North Male Atoll will soft launched this autumn.
The 50-villa property offers a full wellness experience at Baani spa with personalised wellness programmes, four treatments rooms, outdoor bathing, relaxation lounge, beauty salon, fully-equipped yoga and sound-healing studio and steam rooms. Alternative therapies including crystal and sound healing, lifestyle and health coaching and nutrition lessons will also be available. Tai chi, qigong, yoga and pilates will be offered, with a rotation of visiting expert practitioners.
Opening in 2021
Avani + has just confirmed that it will be opening a property next year on Fares Island in the Baa Atoll. This will be Avani’s debut in the Maldives. Avani + Fares Maldives Resort will offer 200 guest rooms and villas - watch this space for more details…