Pristine turquoise waters, swaying coconut palms and idyllic resorts, the Maldives has long been considered the ultimate honeymooners’ getaway – but times are changing! Some of the world’s best family resorts can be found in the Maldives, complete with kids’ clubs, family-oriented activities and amenities. Whether you have a toddler or teen, it might be time to look to the Maldives for your next beach getaway. But how do you decide on where to go when you’ve got 1,192 islands spread over 800km from north to south?
1. Anantara Dhigu, South Male Atoll: For that seamless island holiday
We love this resort for its relatively easy accessibility, myriad of restaurants (guests can dine at sister resort Anantara Veli’s restaurants, too), and bright, relaxed vibe. A collection of 110 elegant and spacious beach and water villas and suites (we like the Anantara Villa with private pool and beach access – great for kids!) dot the island, with bicycles and buggies for transportation.
Kids will love: The Dhoni Club – a collection of refurbished Maldivian boats situated in the middle of the resort. This club is complete with outdoor playground, sandpits and a full list of activities from painting to cooking classes. The al fresco setting is great to encourage children to enjoy the outdoors. (Open from 10am – 5pm daily, children under 3 must be accompanied by a guardian.)
Family activities: Snorkelling with manta rays or dolphins, beach games like football, chess and petanque, coral adoption programmes, and lazy lunches at Aqua overlooking the infinity pool. Kids eat for free? YES! Children under 12 dine complimentary in all restaurants.
Extras: Baby cots, high chairs, toddler toilet seats, toiletries, kids’ slippers and robes and customised meals.
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 35-min boat transfer direct to the resort.
2. One & Only Reethi Rah, North Male Atoll: For understated luxury
Set on the largest island in North Male atoll, this all-villa resort offers a superb island getaway. Privacy and space abound, and whether you choose the freedom of a beach villa, or the tranquillity of an overwater villa, these villas are some of the largest in the world. From the moment you step into the luxury boat transfer from Male, families can revel in the service, facilities and idyllic setting, featuring powder-white beaches, the One&Only Spa and not one, but two kids’ (and a teens’) clubs.
Kids will love: KidsOnly, their in-house children’s programme for kids aged 4 to 9, offers dining facilities, swimming pool and arts and crafts areas, as well as a host of activities under the watchful eyes of counsellors. Meanwhile, OneTribe (for tweens aged 9–11) offers a chill out space directly on the beach, inspiring adventure, discovery and island exploration. Teens are also catered for in the comfortable and dynamic environment of ClubOne, where teen counsellors guide activities. (Open from 9am – 7pm daily; children under 4 must be accompanied by a guardian).
Family activities: Rock climbing at ‘The Rock’; the Art & Pottery Studio (signature family pottery!); swim at Turtle Reef; garden-to-fork dining under the Banyan Tree at Botanica.
Kids eat for free? YES! Children under 11 dine complimentary in all restaurants.
Extras: Baby cots, high chairs, toddler toilet seats, toiletries, kids’ slippers and robes, and kids’ welcome packs.
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 35-minute sea transfer direct to the resort.
3. Grand Park Kodhipparu, North Male Atoll: For the family who wants to be first
Unveiled in July 2017, this 120-villa resort offers beach and water villas, 65 with private pools. The chic, yet authentic architecture and interiors were designed by world-renowned Hirsch Bedner Associates, inspired by Maldivian island life. Three restaurants, a spa, watersports centre and kids’ club allows families to do as much or as little as they please.
Kids will love: The Little Explorer’s Club is chock full of activities such as balloon art, henna tattoos, learning Dhiveli and coconut hunting. (Open from 8am – 9pm daily, children under 4 must be accompanied by a guardian.)
Family activities: Destination dining; sunset dhoni fishing; movies under the stars.
Kids eat for free? Children under 2 stay and dine complimentary, while those aged 2-13 stay for free and enjoy 50% off meals.
Extras: Baby cots and high chairs.
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 20-min sea transfer direct to the resort.
4. Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll: For the family travelling sustainably
Opened in 1995, Soneva Fushi has pioneered and still leads in the eco-sensitive, barefoot luxury resort sphere. Here, 57 villas with beach access, most with pools, make for stunning Robinson Crusoe-cum-Flintstone chic stays. Six restaurants, countless destination dining options, Mr/Ms Friday butlers, and villa bicycles or tricycles to take you from one place to the next (or buggy and Friday) are among the highlights. Self-sustaining, with recycling, upcycling, and food waste management initiatives on-site are an inspiration to behold. Despite all that’s available on the island, each villa feels so very private, like your own private oasis.
Kids will love: The amazing Children’s Den – a standalone complex complete with pool, water slide, cinema room, Lego room, arts and crafts area and activities such as ‘Pirate Treasure Hunts’, ‘Stunning Sand Sculptures’ and more for toddlers to teenagers. Best of all, they also schedule in ‘Time with your family’. (Open from 10am – 5pm, children under 4 must be accompanied by a guardian.)
Family activities: Sunset dolphin watching cruises; family paddleboard races; leisurely in-villa breakfasts; and lunch in the organic vegetable garden. Also visit the outdoor Cinema Paradiso; see the planets, stars and the moon up close at the high-tech Observatory; and graze at the complimentary all-day chocolate and gelato rooms.
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 30-min seaplane transfer direct to the Soneva Fushi Airport (ie sandbank) in the Baa Atoll.
Kids eat for free? No, but chefs are happy to customise meals for them.
Extras: Wooden baby cots, high chairs, toddler toilet seats, customised gourmet meals, organic vegetable from the garden, adult tricycles with cushioned seats in the back for kids.
5. Conrad Rangali, South Ari Atoll: For inspiring experiences for the whole family
Spread across three islands, this resort offers family-dedicated experiences at the livelier Rangalifinolhu, more romantic adults- only getaways at Rangali Island (if you want to escape for dinner and leave the kids with a babysitter), and an immersive, relaxing experience at The Spa Retreat. Eight restaurants and four bars take care of your gastronomical needs while the myriad of activities will help burn off all those delicious calories.
Kids will love: Operated by trained childcare consultants, the Majaa Kids Club has a fun schedule of activities ranging from coconut planting to origami, kite-flying and snorkelling for kids 3-12, including a selection of lunch menus for little gourmands. (Open from 10am – 6pm, children under 3 must be accompanied by a guardian.)
Family activities: A private family yoga class; glass-bottomed boat cruise; whale shark and turtle safaris; or a spellbinding lunch at Ithaa, the all-glass, undersea restaurant.
Kids eat for free? YES! Little ones under 12 dine free from the children’s menus.
Extras: Majaa Kids Club pack upon arrival. Regular kids’ amenities and a children’s menu in most restaurants.
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 30-min seaplane transfer direct to the resort.
6. St. Regis Vommuli, Dhaalu Atoll: For the glamorous island getaway
Opened in 2016, this 77-villa resort offers all the hallmarks of the St.Regis brand: tasteful, innovative (slightly futuristic-looking) design and works of art, plus that signature St. Regis butler service, ‘Family Traditions at St. Regis’ activities, and those unforgettable Bloody Marys. We also love the shapes and interior accents inspired by the surrounding marine life, such as the Whale Bar with its turtle bar, seashell-shaped library and sea urchin. Whether your villa is on the island, steps from the turquoise water, or overwater, you can be sure to expect a stunning, stylish stay.
Kids will love: The Children’s Club offers activities such as yoga, meditation, cooking, painting and puzzles, all built around a daily theme such as Nature, or Fitness. (Open from 10am – 6pm daily, children under 4 must be accompanied by a guardian.)
Family activities: Private fishing trips to a deserted sandbank, followed by a barbecue prepared by your chef and butler; glass kayaking; sand castle building; and movie nights under the stars.
Kids eat for free? YES! Little ones under 12 stay and dine for free with the summer offer Kid’s Pass.
Extras: Baby cots, high chairs, toddler toilet seats, toiletries, kids’ slippers and robes.
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 60-minute seaplane transfer direct to the resort.
7. COMO Maalifushi, Thaa Atoll: For a holistic family retreat
The first and only resort to open in the Thaa Atoll, COMO Maalifushi and its 65 land and water villas feature the unique aesthetic of Japanese interior designer Koichiro Ikebuchi. Elegant and pared back, the vibe here is calming, the service passionate, and the experience uplifting. Besides quality time in your villa, you can surf, spot hammerheads and whale sharks nearby, or escape to COMO Shambhala Retreat while the kids explore the lagoon.
Kids will love: Play by COMO encourages the resort’s youngest guests to make the best of COMO’s service, design, cuisine and wellness approach, offering family bonding, and independent activities to engage and excite children. Kids can snorkel with the resident Marine Biologist, go on guided nature walks, and exercise their budding culinary skills with sushi and pizza making classes.
Family activities: Family yoga; castaway picnics; splash net dolphin cruises; and Island barbecues on Lavadhoo Island are great highlights.
Kids eat for free? Infants under 2 eat for free, kids ages 2-12 are half-price.
Extras: Baby cots, toddler toilet seats, high chairs, kid’s plates and cutlery, bottle warmers and sterilisers, baby baths, prams, kids toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, Children’s Welcome Kit
How to get there: Fly into Male followed by a 60-min seaplane transfer direct to the resort.