Move over, honeymooners: The Maldives is more family-friendly than ever
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The Maldives has long been synonymous with honeymooners holding hands, walking along impossibly white sands. But couples should now expect to share the pristine beaches with families and kids of all ages.
“I think the days of the Maldives as being purely for honeymooners is well and truly over. So many Maldives resorts these days are set up for families, with amazing kids’ clubs and activities,” says Mum on the Move blogger, Marianne Rogerson.
Ready to plan that bucket-list trip to the Maldives? Visit TPG’s Maldives destination hub for more stories about traveling to the region on points and miles, where to stay and what to do while you’re there.
The islands’ nearly 200 resorts have cemented the family-friendly idea with their customized kids’ clubs. “Five years ago, all of the resort marketing concentrated on couples,” said family travel blogger Eric Stoen of TravelBabbo.com. “Now, as more resorts have opened, they’ve realized that families are a good market and, more importantly, that it’s possible to cater to both families and couples.”
While there’s never a bad time for a family vacation to one of the world’s most beautiful destinations, the dry season extends until April in the Maldives, making now a perfect time to visit. If you’re craving a far-flung, off-the-grid retreat, pack up the whole family and head to one of these resorts with the best kids’ clubs in the Maldives. Just keep in mind: Flying to the Maldives can be an arduous journey, with multiple connections and long flights. So, if you’re making the trip with little ones in tow, you might want to build in a brief stopover (or two) on the way there and back.
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This sprawling eco-friendly island has the Maldives’ largest kids’ club, The Den.
“Soneva Fushi has one of the most impressive kids’ clubs I have ever seen, with its own swimming pool and waterslide, a Lego room, music room, kitchen for baking classes, and arts and crafts room. We had to bribe the kids with ice cream to get them to leave and come spend some time with us,” Rogerson told TPG.
From snorkeling to yoga to crafts (organic face mask; recycled paper), it’s impossible for the kiddos to get bored here. Sustainability is at the forefront of the kid-friendly programming, with the goal being to teach them sustainable practices they can take home.
The Den is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and children under 4 must be accompanied by a parent or babysitter available for hire. They also host “Party Nights” from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., including a Pajama Night with a movie at the island’s theater and Camp Night with s’mores. Parents can sign their kids up for $15 per child, per hour.
This tropical paradise, just a 30-minute speedboat ride from Male’s Velana Airport (MLE), is home to the Maldives’ second-largest kids’ club, Kuda Koli. The Jumeirah Vittaveli is kid-friendly from the moment you arrive, with welcome gifts for little ones, to the minute you leave with crying kids in tow.
“Many times, the kids are crying because they don’t want to go upon departure,” says kid’s club manager Anna Smirnova.
Kuda Koli has a large pool for kids to splash in, swings, a sandpit, a ball pit and indoor and outdoor areas for them to play games and read books. “We have great facilities here, and our staff is very friendly with team members from different countries speaking many different languages,” said Smirnova.
The island’s most popular activity is the Treasure Trail. Every Sunday, kids head out on a mission to find seven treasure boxes hidden around the island with fun facts about the island inside. There’s also cupcake decorating, water balloon piñatas, a beginner-level acrobat class and movie viewings.
Kuda Koli is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for kids ages 3 to 12 years old. A $25 per hour babysitting service is available for kids under three, and kids under the age of 6 can eat lunch and dinner for free during their time at the kids’ club.
One of the newest arrivals on the Maldives kids’ club scene is the Baglioni Kids’ Club. The space is compact because most activities take place on their beautiful stretch of beach or in the crystal clear water. There are pool games, boat rides, beach relay races and there’s plenty of sandcastle making, so the kid’s at Baglioni are fully immersed in nature.
“The kids love to go to the beach and the pool to go swimming. They love to do beach activities like making sandcastles, beach Olympics, swim races and fun pool games,” said kids’ club attendant Aisthath Hudha.
This Italian-style resort prides itself on its world-class food. So, it’s no surprise the kids decorate Italian biscuits, make their own gelato and, soon, will start decorating personal pizzas. Other activities include making crafts with pasta, pirate bandana painting, face painting, a treasure hunt and plastic bottle recycling.
The Kids’ Club is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again from 3 to 6 p.m for kids ages 3 to 12. Guests can request other times and hire babysitters outside hours.
The Children’s Club, much like the five-star resort, is a design lover’s dream, with sky-high bookshelves and a tree planted in the middle. There’s a large outdoor area for kids to play tug of war, hide-and-seek, ride bikes or play on the pirate ship-shaped jungle gym. Inside, there are dozens of games, playsets, arts and crafts and more to occupy them. On the beach, there are fun activities such as hermit crab races and scavenger hunts.
Next door at Socialite, children and teens ages 11 and older can head to the game room to play pool, air hockey, video games, chess, darts and table tennis. There are also weekly competitions for teens.
The Children’s Club is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 1 to 6 p.m. for children ages 4 to 12.
One of the Maldives’ most impressive new resorts in the archipelago has a kids’ club to match. Hana Mariyam, manager of Muramas Kids’ Club, told TPG, “This is where we find the magic for the kids.”
There’s a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities including arts and crafts with sustainable materials, Maldivian language lessons, shadow tag and games in the pool.
Their newest activity is two different scavenger hunts around the island. “The Island of Joy Nature Scavenger Hunt will take kids to spot animals naturally found on the island like crabs, bats and lizards,” said Mariyam. The second scavenger hunt will focus on the art around the island. Joali is the Maldives’ first art immersive hotel, and the kids will get a map and a clue to hunt for the custom art.
Muramas will soon be expanding in size and adding hammock swings and monkey bars. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for kids ages 3 to 12. If kids are under 3, guests can hire a babysitter for $35 an hour per child for babysitting.
The Maldives are still a great place to splash out on a honeymoon. But the entire family will love this exotic retreat, especially if you book a stay at a resort that goes to great lengths to keep your kids entertained.
If you’re going to splurge on a property like the Soneva Fushi, Joali, Baglioni or Jumeirah, consider booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) if you have either The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. You could use Membership Rewards points to book your stay — or, preferably, to earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Either way, Amex FHR bookings include a room upgrade upon arrival, when available; daily breakfast for two; guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout; noon check-in, when available; complimentary Wi-Fi and a $100 food and beverage credit.
Guests eyeing the Category 8 St. Regis can expect to spend between 70,000 points on off-peak nights to 100,000 points on peak nights. If you’re a little low on Marriott points and want to build up your balance for a stay here, consider applying for a card like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which is offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Featured photo courtesy of the Abigail Waters.
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