A Holiday In The Maldives For The Whole Family, Where Kids Under 12 Are Invited To Stay For Free!
If, like me, you spend a good few minutes scrolling through travel pics on instagram then there’ll be one destination which never fails to get a like. I’m talking the Maldives – that tropical nation in the Indian Ocean, composed of 26 beautiful atolls made up of more than 1,000 coral islands and only a very short (4 hr) hop away from Dubai.
Known for its crystal clear turquoise waters, powdery white sands, colourful reefs and lush greenery, I know what you’re thinking – this is a place to hop off to with the husband, somewhere that honeymooners and the ‘before kids’ crowd go to do quiet coupley things – somewhere that children just won’t appreciate, somewhere with eye-wateringly high prices. Well actually mamas, there are ways to do The Maldives with kids that guarantee THE most special family holiday, whatever age your brood are – and I’ve found the perfect one.
Kanuhura in the northern Lhaviyani Atoll is one of the most established properties in the Maldives but has just reopened after a huge renovation which has taken it from incredible to completely faultless. The resort is a seaplane away from the Maldivian capital Male, possibly my most favourite airport in the world (where else do you step directly out from collecting your luggage into an arrivals hall surrounded by crystal clear water?) but the Kanuhura experience starts well before boarding with a super chic little lounge complete with food, drinks, books and showers for a quick refresh. And then the adventure really begins as barefoot pilots whisk you above the clouds and over 50 shades of blue to the island of Kanuhura.
From the moment you step foot onto the sun-bleached jetty, fresh coconut in hand, the magic of Kanuhura comes to life. And it’s more than the picture-perfect beaches, the turtles swimming close to shore, the incredible attention to detail at every step (the recent refurb has resulted in a ‘gypset’ vibe that blends bohemian with luxury seamlessly and in the kind of way that makes me want to redecorate pronto). It’s the staff, the smiles, the ‘we can make anything possible’ attitude plus all of the fabulous facilities and the very best of Mother Nature which creates an energy that I’ll never forget.
Families are encouraged to stay in the beach villas rather than the over-water bungalows (for obvious reasons but – of course – if you have slightly older kids and you feel ok with living on the water then the Kanuhura crew will make it happen!). There are various combinations of villas with living and sleeping space depending on how many you have in your gang – if you’re a family of 4 (or actually 5 if the kids are teeny tiny, my little family would totally fit) then a beach villa with pool is just the thing. All rooms have sea-views, some have their own pools, some have their own piece of beach – all are exquisite – you’ll never want to leave (I cried…honestly).
And that myth about there being nothing to do but beach, beach and more beach (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), well it’s just that, a myth. Of course if that’s what you want then go for it – but there is everything from fishing to diving, snorkeling to yoga, ‘Maldivian workouts’ al fresco to tennis and cheese and wine tasting (not together of course!), sunset dolphin cruises to a heavenly spa plus heaps more to keep you as busy as you want to be (and the staff will help create itineraries to suit). There are bikes to cycle around sandy paths, an orchid garden to explore and hammocks to lie in while clouds roll overhead. And then there are Kanuhura’s 2 private islands, Jehunuhura and Masleggihura for that Robinson Crusoe experience with a luxury edge (picnic under the trees and a chilled glass of Billecart-Salmon anyone?).
And as for the kids? Yes they can join you at the resort pool, they’re welcome in each of the restaurants, they’re fussed over and adored by all the staff and they have natures very own playground to roam and explore plus warm shallow waters to splash about in but there’s a chance you won’t see them after they discover Kanuhura’s K Club for Kids (aged 4-11, there are also areas dedicated for the cool teen crowd) which not only includes a beautiful indoor and outdoor space complete with water-splash area but also every possible activity under the sun – from pirate dress-up adventures on adjacent islands to cooking, art, nature activities, movie nights, astrology and everything else you can imagine.
Keen? How about if I tell you that kids under the age of 12 stay (and eat, play, enjoy) for free?! With mega great deals to grab on FlyDubai or Sri Lankan Airways to the Maldives, especially during ‘low season’ between May and October where it might rain a bit (but really, rain in Paradise doesn’t matter a jot), it really doesn’t have to be that eye-wateringly crazy expensive holiday that you imagine. And it really is one of the very best resorts for the whole family, an experience you’ll all remember and cherish forever.
For bookings and information visit www.kanuhura.com