When you’re dreaming of an immaculate resort getaway, it’s most likely a Maldivian-style vision of paradise, with its spotless white-sand beaches and boundless pristine seascapes. And with a host of watersports to keep the kids entertained in these safe, calm waters, there’s no reason to think this place is just for honeymooners and canoodling couples.
As Christmas approaches, consider abandoning the torturous turkey preparations and crowded malls to doze in a hammock overlooking the bluest of blue lagoons, and splash about in search for dolphins, mantas and other marine marvels. Your very own Crusoe-style adventure, courtesy of boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith, starts right here…
Six Senses Laamu
Style: Tropical playground
Setting: Liquid Laamu
Dive into Maldivian paradise at Six Senses Laamu, where movies in the jungle, sunset fishing and snorkelling reconnaissance missions for bottlenose dolphins will fill the hours very nicely.
Sleeping Decked out in plush woods, the minimalist decor sensibly lets the turquoise waters and the palm trees take centre stage. The Lagoon Beach Villa has its own private pool for uninhibited splash-fests and families can snooze in style in two airy double bedrooms, each of which has its own bathroom. The villa’s garden delivers direct beach access – if you can extricate yourself from the day bed, that is.
Activities Kids aged 12 and over can immerse themselves in watery activities, which include tours of the house reef – spot reef sharks, barracuda and sting ray – and surfing Yin Yang, the Maldives’ most famous celebrated break. The Den kids club will amuse three to eleven-year-olds with climbing ropes and swings suspended between the trees for fine monkey impressions. Daily activities include water relays in the sea, pasta art and face painting. Youngsters can also flop in a deckchair and munch on some popcorn while catching one of the twice-weekly movie showings in the adjacent jungle.
Feasting: Travelling with an infant in tow? Don’t fret, as all rooms have an in-villa menu for babes in arms, with dishes including boiled vegetables with cream-cheese sauce and banana mash all created without salt, sugar, or additives. Children are welcome in the main restaurant, Longitude, anytime to sample the kids menu, and they’ll love the waffles, pancakes and smoothies served at breakfast at this overwater dining joint. But they’ll be in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style heaven sampling the sweet treats offered in the ice-cream and chocolate rooms.
Sassy Savings: Book with Smith to enjoy 15% off (offer valid until 30 April 2014).
One&Only Reethi Rah
Style: Maldives to the max
Setting: Atoll utopia
Those who don’t like to sit still will adore One&Only Reethi Rah, where you can don diving gear for an aquatic epiphany at the Maldives’ first PADI National Geographic dive centre, scale the heights of the region’s first climbing wall, smash aces at one of two championship tennis courts and tee off at the golf simulator.
Sleeping With direct views of the ocean, large families will love the vast villas, most of which come with their own quiet stretch of sand. Beach Villas have ample room for a cot and no steps or stairs to trip up toddlers. Free cots are available upon request for children under three. For families with older children, the Beach Villa Queens can comfortably sleep four.
Activities While you’re highly unlikely to tire of tanning at the 12 beaches at the resort’s disposal, the little ones will want to hang out at the Kids Only club (toddlers aged two-to-four need to be accompanied by a babysitter), which has a shaded sandy garden with swings and slides, a giant elephant, ball pool and toddler pool. There’s even a daily schedule of activities, where children are split into three age groups (four-to-five; six-to-eight; and nine-to-eleven-year-olds). Watersports hub Splash is home to the Maldives’ only PADI National Geographic dive centre – one of the country’s best shark sites is close by – and also has banana boats, canoes, water-skiing and windsurfing equipment.
Feasting Nothing is out of bounds to kids – even Rah Bar, should you feel in the mood for a cheeky rum cocktail or two. Boasting fab frangipani reflections in the overwater pools, Reethi Restaurant has plenty of space for children to run around after they’ve eaten from the international menu, while Japanese joint Tapasake has a special kids’ menu and Teppanyaki tables for fun-packed dinners. Or there’s Fanditha, which also has a children’s menu and cushioned floor-seating if you and the brood are craving a taste of the Middle East. Highchairs are available in all restaurants and toddler and child-friendly snacks are available upon request.
Style: Barefoot bliss
Setting: Private-island paradise
Kick off your shoes and let the butler – your Mr or Mrs Friday – indulge your requests at Soneva Fushi, where a superb spa and mesmerising house reef are among the highlights at this 55-villa boutique beauty.
Sleeping Book into the Soneva Fushi Villa Suite with Pool and Tree House and your kids will think all their Christmases have come at once. Located 2.5 metres above the ground, the tree house has a bunk bed and single bed and sleeps up to three little ones. Extra beds can be added for US$74 a night and cots are free.
Activities Bikes, trikes, beaching, swimming, racquet sports and an open-air cinema are among the pursuits to keep the kids happy, and a new children’s club is also scheduled to open this month. Planet-conscious families can explore Eco Centro, the resort’s recycling centre, where little Smiths are educated on reusing and composting, and can pick fresh fruit and vegetables from the organic garden. Leave the little ’uns with your other half or a babysitter (you’ll need to give day’s notice and it costs US$18 per hour) and check into one of nine treatment rooms in the Six Senses spa (it’s coolly nestled in the jungle) for a Maldivian coconut oil massage or Japanese Watsu treatment.
Feasting Set your taste buds racing at one of six restaurants, including Fresh in the Garden for Maldivian sambals, which are flavoured with homegrown herbs, and Mihiree Mitha for beachside wood-fired pizzas. Children are welcome at all times in all of the resort eateries, and there are soft toys and drawing materials to stop boredom creeping in. The restaurants offer children and infant menus and half portions can also be ordered. Fancy a family night in? Dishes from any of the restaurant menus can be ordered from the comfort of your villa at anytime. All meals are free for children under six; there’s a 50 per cent discount for Smiths aged between seven and 12.
Discover don’t-miss family stays globally by visiting Mr & Mrs Smith or give the expert Travel Team a call on 800 905 326.