With its white sandy beaches, crystal blue lagoon and iconic sunsets Maldives are known for being the world’s ultimate honeymoon destination! Yet Maldives is also a fantastic destination for family holidays. A successful family holiday in the Maldives is all about choosing the right hotel but the amount of choice is insane these days with all resorts available (over 120 !).
Here are some important things you need to consider before booking your holidays.
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After a long flight you’ll be desperate just to get checked in, you do not want to have wait hours before being transferred to your island especially with exhausted children. After more than 10 hours on the plane, a short transfer is the key. Unfortunately due to the geographical location of the islands and the size of the country, transportation can be a problem if not checked carefully prior booking your holidays.
Speedboat can operate 24hrs a day, doesn’t matter at what time your international flight will land in Male, your speedboat will be waiting for you and you will be transferred to your resort upon arrival.
Resorts arranging speedboat transfers are located in North Male Atoll and South Male Atoll . According to your resort location, your speedboat transfer from the airport will take between 10 and 60 minutes. Do not worry; seasickness is something very uncommon in Maldives. Sea is usually very calm and rides are very peaceful. Children will be delighted with the speedboat ride, it goes fast, it bumps and water splash all around the boat.
Please note that hotels arrange combined speedboat transfers and schedules vary depending on the arrival and departure times of all guests on that given day. Combined transfers will require you to wait a bit at the airport, while all guests are cleared from Immigration and have been identified prior to commencing your journey onwards.
LEARN MORE : MALDIVES TRANSFERS /1 : SPEEDBOAT
If you want to avoid waiting time we recommend you to book a private speedboat transfer. Private transfers are arranged at your own convenience and do not require the waiting period. We recommend you to book your speedboat transfer independently of your stay. Some local travel agencies can arrange private speedboat transfer to your hotel with rates up to 50% less expensive than resort prices.
A seaplane transfer is probably the most spectacular mode of transportation to your resort. Kids (and parents ) will enjoy an amazing aerial view of Maldivian atolls and islands. Seaplane can reach almost every corner of the country given that they don’t require a runway.
Maldivian authorities permit seaplanes to fly only from sunrise to sunset (seaplane will fly from 6am till 5pm). If you want to reach your resort on the same day, we advise you to arrive in Maldives latest by 3.30PM (15:30).
If you can’t find an international flight to get you there in time (or if you international flight is delayed) , you will have to spend a night in Male or Hulhumale and get another transfer the day after. Same thing will happen if weather conditions do not permit seaplanes to take off. Please note that if you have to stay overnight in Male or Hulhumale, nor the resort, the airline company or the seaplane company will take responsibility. You will have to book and pay for your own accommodation and refund for your non-used night is usually denied by the resort or the airline company.
LEARN MORE : MALDIVES TRANSFERS : SEAPLANE
Just like speedboat transfers, hotels will arrange combined seaplane with schedules depending on the arrival and departure times of all guests on that given day. The average waiting time is usually 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours . Seaplane schedules can be affected by international flight arrival delays. Most of the resorts have a private lounge where kids and parents can enjoy refreshments and relax before departing for their final destination.
According to your resort location, your seaplane transfer from the airport will take between 20 and 60 minutes.
Seaplane is a fantastic experience for your child but keep in mind that waiting time, seaplane flying time restrictions, weather conditions and international flight delays can significantly alter your transfer duration.
🛫 DOMESTIC FLIGHT
In case your resort/Island is located too far away and out of range for seaplane to operate then domestic flight is the only solution.
Unlike seaplane, domestic flight requires a runway. From Male airport your domestic flight will take you to the regional airport closer to your resort.
After landing, a short speedboat ride from the regional airport to your resort will end the journey.
There are 12 regional airports in the country and all of them are linked to the capital by regular flights. Domestic flights have a published schedule whereas the seaplane schedule is made up according to the numbers of arriving and departing passengers and their international flight times.
Domestic flight is a small plane ( Dash8 or ATR ) , faster and much more comfortable than seaplane. Domestic flights are all Air conditioned and you will be served juice and biscuits midflight. Seats are comfy, with good legroom. Domestic flight is great for the comfort of your offspring.
One the main advantage of Domestic flight is the ability for the aircraft to fly day and night when seaplanes only fly in daylight hours. It means that you can easily book an international flight arriving or departing at night time. It will give you extra time to enjoy the resort, you will not be asked to leave early afternoon by seaplane and wait several hours at the airport to catch your international night flight.
LEARN MORE :MALDIVES TRANSFERS : DOMESTIC FLIGHT
Domestic flights are also cheaper than the seaplane transfer. If you are on a tight budget, if you want to save extra money for some nice excursions or fun activities with your kids this is a transfer mode to consider.
On the other hand, domestic flight transfer will substantially increase your travel duration. Waiting time + new check in + new flight + speedboat transfer is difficult for children, especially the youngest ones.
MEDICAL FACILITIES & LOCATION:
The transfer time has to be considered but also your resort location. Usually the longer the transfer, is the most remote and isolated your resort will be. Speedboat will serve close by resort, seaplane the far-off island and domestic flight the very (very) remote located resorts.
When visiting Maldives you have to consider your child well being but also your child safety. Spending your holidays in a very remote island is great but what happen if your child get sick? All the resort will have in-house doctor or a nurse but if you need serious medical care you will have to go to the community clinics located on the closest local island from your resort. These dispensaries have very limited and basics facilities/services. For investigations, medicines, or specific medical you will have no choice but to go back to Male hospitals and you will be completely dependent on the seaplane and domestic flight availability and schedule ( !! seaplane do not operate after 5pm !! ).
“Better be safe than sorry” , we strongly recommend you to avoid remote island and prefer a close by resort accessible by speedboat. Resorts can arrange Speedboats at anytime, direct to Male or Hulhumale hospitals and health facilities.
THE RIGHT HOTEL:
A great family holiday in the Maldives is all about choosing the right hotel for you and your children.
🍽️ MEAL PLAN
Consider booking a resort offering all inclusive packages (meals + drinks ). All inclusive is a bit costly but it is the perfect meal plan with children and especially with teens. All inclusive will prevent any stressful and endless refusals explanations for a soft drink or any snacks. Drinks sold separately are extremely expensive ( soft drinks ≈ USD 5 + 10% SC + 12% GST) and if you want to avoid a spiralling bill you better consider ALL inclusive package.
Please note that once on your island, there won’t be any occasions to go out for meals, drinks, or activities.
Some resorts won’t allow kids under 12 years old to be accommodated in over-water villas and it is a good thing. Leave these water villas to the honeymooners, the retired couples and other tourists with no children. Over water villas are surely nice and beautiful but unfortunately they are not safe for children. I am sure you do not want to spend your entire vacations worrying about your children tripping & falling into the ocean from the terrace of your villa or from the jetty leading to your accommodation.
❥Two-bedroom beach house at Kuramathi. Ideal for families, two storeys with separate living spaces, with individual entrances.
With kids under 12 years old, beach villas are highly recommended. You can peacefully leave your children play on the beach while you monitor them from your sunbed. If your budget permits you can also opt for a beach villa with pool. Beach villas plunge pools are small and not to deep, perfect for your kids to have fun and cool off while you enjoy a cocktail on your private terrace.
❥ The family beach villas at Lily Beach have interconnected rooms.
Check for resorts with family villas ( villas with 2 bedrooms or more ) , it will give you extra space and privacy. Some resorts also offer interconnecting rooms which are basically two identical attached villas connected by an inside door.
❥ The two bedrooms pool villa at Anantara Dhigu features two semi connected villas.
👛 SPECIAL OFFERS
Save money and keep an eye out for kids special deals. Some resorts will offer kids for free (or discounted ) under certain conditions ( age, travelling period, sharing room …) . Free nights offers, meal plan upgrade, free transportation are some different offers proposed by the resort.
These special offers are most likely to be available during low season ( May to September ) or for earlybird bookings ( booking made a long time in advance)
🚸 KIDS CLUB
Kids club are great and are very common in Maldives. Kids club are perfect for your children to interact and have fun with other kids staying on the resort. Kids club help parents to get a bit of personal and private leisure time.
❥ Meeru resort, a big midrange island with a small kids club (for Children aged 3 – 12) and a teens room (13-17)
- Children ( 3 to 12 years old )
Check carefully if your resort has a kids club, what is the age range (usually from 3 to 12 ) and the opening hours ( generally from 9am till 6-7 pm). Moreover, check carefully the activity program and the kid’s club facilities.
Some will resorts will just have a very basic activity program such as crab racing, arts and crafts, water games, sand castle while some others will offer unusual and fun activities like treasure hunts, cooking classes, snorkelling lessons, motorized water sports, scuba diving, gardening, mini disco, kids dinner on the beach etc…
❥ Kuramathi island , midrange resort with a big kids Club , very well equipped and great service. From 8.30am till 7.30pm for children aged 3 till 12 .
All kids Club are not equipped the same way. A basic kids club is generally composed of a large playroom with games and an outside playground with outdoor games. The most sophisticated and luxurious kids club will have swimming pool with slides, climbing walls, splashpark, different rooms dedicated to different games and even sometimes a massage room for the children ! Of course such facilities come at a price.
❥ Soneva Fushi, a 5 stars luxury resort with probably the most incredible kids club. Short opening hours (10 am till 5 pm) , chargeable for night time activities.
- Teens (above 12 years old)
If most of the resorts have a kids Club not all of them have a teens Club. Teens Club are usually more a dedicated room for teens to relax,play and socialize. They can find there video games, table tennis, darts, music system etc …
Offers for teens are very limited in Maldives, few resorts only will propose teens activities such as water sports competitions and races, teens spa treatments, teens yoga, teens excursions etc …
❥ One and Only Reethi Rah, a 5 stars luxury resort with great kids Club and fun activities. Reethi Rah teens club offer an expansive roster of activities for teens from 12 till 17.
- Infants & toddlers ( 1 to 3 years old)
There are usually no nursery facilities in Maldives. However all the resort with a kids club will offer babysitting services for children under 3 years old (chargeable).
❥ Cheval Blanc an Ultra Luxury resort has a beautiful kids club with daily activity programme & night activities. Teens club open from 9am to 10pm.
If your children are light sleepers avoid being located next to the bars as resorts usually have light entertainment at night time (live band, dj, traditional music night …).
If your kids are big enough to move freely on the resort , then request for a villa close by the main pool and the kids or teens club. It will allow them to run backwards and forwards from the villa easily.
With young children request for a room next to the main restaurant , it is easier with hungry kids !
Once in your resort you will have nowhere to escape and nowhere to go shopping (except the small and not always well stocked souvenirs shop). Do not forget to bring all the basics like sun-cream, basic medicine, small toys/beach toys, rash guard, hat, sunglasses and most importantly the swimsuit! For babies don’t forget diapers, formula milk and all other important supplies.
To conclude, it is preferable to choose a resort located close by the international airport and accessible by speedboat. For safety reasons request for a beach villa (preferably an interconnecting room or a family villa) and check carefully your resort kids club/teens club facilities and programme. Always check the existing special offer and kids packages.
For parents looking for more authentic or budget stay you can now easily travel the Maldives by staying in a guest house or experience a cruise holidays. You won’t get the luxurious hotel packages but you will surely save a lot of money and get to see the real and amazing Maldives.