Turquoise waters lapping gently shelving beaches, coral reefs teeming with turtles: it’s often branded a honeymooners’ getaway, but the Maldives is a paradise for families, too, with abundant activities, crowd-pleasing eats and spacious villas. Whether you’re here with tots or teens, there’s a resort to suit. Alicia Miller rounds up three winners
One of the Maldives’s largest resort isles, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru has plenty of space for little ones to roam. Hop on free bikes and explore the greenery-lined sand paths linking multiple beaches, pools and restaurants. Pop into the Marine Discovery Centre to meet rescued turtles or front-crawl past (friendly) baby sharks feeding off the beach. For parents, the al fresco AyurMa spa in the island’s heart is one of the Indian Ocean’s finest.
Snorkelling above dancing manta rays in the surrounding Baa Atoll – from June to November the gentle giants flock in their hundreds to feast on zooplankton. The Four Seasons team will ring you on a dedicated ‘manta phone’ as soon as there’s a sighting to make sure you don’t miss the moment.
Vast, super-private villas – choose from beach or overwater – don’t come cheap, but they sleep four. Travelling with a big, multi-generational brood? The largest pads accommodate nine.
Soneva Fushi’s Water Retreats are the ultimate childhood fantasy – each one is furnished with a private water slide, depositing thrill-seeking kids (and adults) right into the shimmering shallows. There’s plenty else to entice on this activity-packed island, from free treats in a dedicated chocolate parlour to beachside film screenings and night paddleboarding. The largest kids’ club in the Maldives, The Den, has multiple pools, an 8m-tall pirate ship, music room and cookery classes. Meanwhile, teens get a cool lounge and mind-expanding adventures to neighbouring islands.
Learning to fish sustainably with Maldivian fisherman Rocket, who has been supplying Soneva Fushi for more than 20 years. Afterwards, feast on your catch prepared to Rocket’s wife’s recipe.
If you don’t fancy the slide, other Soneva Fushi suites – all large, all castaway-chic – come with private pools and hammocks. The Private Reserve, with its own spa and gym, has nine bedrooms.
The Maldives can be spenny, but an all-inclusive resort helps keep the bank balance in check. And Sun Siyam Olhuveli Beach Resort & Spa is one of the best for families. An easy 45-minute speedboat ride from Malé – no need to wrangle with seaplanes – it spans three islands, two of which are geared up for all-ages fun, with a beachside pizzeria, dedicated children’s pool and volleyball court. As well as bottomless drinks and food, your stay comes with a free snorkel safari, a windsurfing lesson and non-motorised watersports.
Toasting with virgin piña coladas at the Sunrise Bar, set by a buzzy pool flanked with white sand. It’s open 10am until midnight, making it a prime spot for family meet-ups in between activities.
Framed by palms, the comfy deluxe rooms are especially great value – and steps from the beach. Or upgrade to a two-bedroom suite with private plunge pool.
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