The tiny islands of the Maldives are among the most beautiful in the world. Chances are that when you think of this archipelago nation your thoughts drift towards pristine white beaches, lush coconut palms and loved-up couples strolling hand in hand along the shallows of its azure-blue waters.
And while this may indeed be a destination better known as a honeymoon utopia, the Maldives also has a whole host of great options for a family trip to paradise — you just have to look a little closer for the resorts that go the extra mile to make kids welcome.
We’ve done the legwork for you and selected our pick of family-friendly havens in this tropical retreat.
- Where is it? Baa Atoll.
- Getting there: From Male Airport it’s 30 minutes by seaplane, or from Dharavandhoo Airport it’s a short 12-minute speedboat trip.
- What to expect: Quite simply, paradise. This is definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime destinations, with some of the highest prices in the entire archipelago, but what you get in return is out of this world.
Laid-back luxury at its finest, its thatched villas circle a private island nestled within verdant jungle. Fine dining, powder-white beaches and a dedicated personal butler all come with the territory, and a whole host of experiences await. Try a family cooking class or head out on a dolphin-spotting trip, sure to keep everyone happy.
- For the little ones: All the villas are on the beach, so there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to open water. It also boasts The Den, the biggest kids’ club in the country. In this fantasyland, little ones can frolic on water slides, cavort on a pirate ship, build things in the Lego room, and even hit up their very own mocktail bar. They’ll also love the on-site ice-cream parlour and cookie-making classes.
Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
- Where is it? Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.
- Getting there: A breezy 30-minute private yacht cruises here from Kaadedhdhoo Airport.
- What to expect: Beautifully chic, this contemporary island escape is set in a coral oasis and is perfect for a tropical family getaway. The villas are split-level and offer amazing panoramic views from the bedroom, on the upper deck. Rooms can be connected to form three-bedroom villas, too – perfect if you’re bringing the whole squad.
- For the little ones: As well as the obligatory kids’ club, on-site gourmet restaurant Blue Salt has a special children’s menu offering burgers, hot dogs and fish fingers in addition to as a whole list of tasty themed mocktails.
A resident marine biologist is on hand to teach little ones all about the breathtaking world that lies under the sea. Kids as young as eight can get involved in PADI diving experiences, and there’s safe snorkelling all around the island for them to get their Nemo hunt on.
Shangri La’s Villingili Resort & Spa
- Where Is It? Addu Atoll.
- Getting there: Fly into Addu Atoll and Villingili is just a short boat ride away.
- What to expect: Check into an Ocean View Tree House Villa at this elite hideaway to ensure delight on little ones’ faces as they wake up and fall asleep under a jungle-like canopy. The island has something for everyone – from the Maldives’ only golf course to a daily activity schedule that includes historical tours, nature walks and luxury yacht rides.
There’s also an incredible range of dining options – whether you favour an in-villa dinner or a torchlit feast under lush banyan trees – all served up with Shangri-La’s world-class service and style.
- For the little ones: You’ll be hard pushed to get them out of the Cool Zone. Whether they’re exploring the island for hidden treasure, discovering jungle wildlife, racing hermit crabs or creating island-vibe crafts to take home, they’ll be thoroughly entertained.
Kids can also feed koi fish, help marine specialists replant coral, take part in children’s yoga classes and climb the highest summit in the Maldives, at a very achievable height of 2.4m.
Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort
- Where is it? Dhigufinolhu, South Maid Atoll
- Getting there: 21km south of Male Airport, it’s an enjoyable 35-minute speedboat ride across turquoise waters.
- What to expect: In typical Anantara fashion, this place is divine. Awake to the sun shining on pure white sand and uninterrupted lagoon views wrapped in the privacy of a secluded garden (meaning you don’t need to worry about over-water-villa issues).
Shaded terraces boast sunloungers, hammocks and your very own slice of beach. Head out to explore the oceans together by dhoni or speedboat, or go on a family hunt for playful dolphins.
- For the little ones: The Dhoni Club will be your kids’ favourite place on the island. Home to two fun-packed dhoni boats, a climbing wall and a treehouse, they can play with Captain Red Claw, Cookie Crab and Little Hermie, and take part in loads of activities — from pizza making to water aerobics.
They can even embark on a coral-nursery visit with a marine biologist. As well as tailored menus in all of the resort restaurants, little ones also get their very own check-in kit packed with a beach bag, sunhat and colouring book, and the rooms come with child-sized robes and slippers, too.
Lily Beach Resort & Spa
- Where is it? Huvahendhoo, Ari Atoll.
- Getting there: It’s a 25-minute journey by air from Male Airport.
- What to expect: With pristine beaches, beautiful villas and some of the most amazing dive sites just a stone’s throw from the resort, this is a real watery wonderland. The family beach villas are mere steps away from the lagoon and designed as a true home away from home — with plenty of space, multiple bedrooms, and a home theatre system that comes loaded with entertainment.
- For the little ones: Kids are in great hands at the Turtle Club, an activity-packed centre that will keep them busy all day. They can try their hand at bracelet making, watch movies, go hunting for hermit crabs, go for a paddleboat ride and lots more, all under the watchful eye of fully trained instructors.
Universal Resorts Kuramathi Maldives
- Where is it? Rasdhoo Atoll.
- Getting there: Opt for the seaplane and it’s a quick 20-minute flight from Male Airport.
- What to expect: Definitely one of the best family resorts around, choose a beautiful two-bedroom beach house and you won’t need to worry about little ones’ safety but can still enjoy a lagoon view from every window.
Rent a kayak for an afternoon paddle, or get the kids involved in conservation at the on-site Eco Center. While the nippers play in their very own club, head to the indulgent spa for a pampering session to remember.
- For the little ones: The Bageecha kids’ club offers a whole load of activities like nature walks, treasure hunts and beach fun, as well as parties during special occasions. And the house reef is perfect for beginner snorkellers.
- Where is it? Haa Alif Atoll.
- Getting there: From Male, it’s a 75-minute flight to the Maldives’ northernmost atoll.
- What to expect: This place has gorgeous beach and over-water villas, all with private outdoor pools ensuring an idyllic family retreat. Spend your days soaking up the sun by one of three delightful swimming pools or head to the calm Spa for a spot of relaxation.
On the water, try some diving or a bit of shallow reef snorkelling and, in the evening, tuck into delicious eats from several options including the award-winning White Orchid.
- For the little ones: In their very own Cool Zone, kids aged three to 12 have a dedicated swimming pool and mini loungers, games room, climbing wall, bungee trampoline and herb garden. For older kids, there’s the Chill Zone, packed with simulators, computer games and more. Water sports are open to all and kids have their own meal plans, too.
The Sun Syiam Iru Fushi
- Where is it? Noonu Atoll
- Getting there: It’s a flight of about 45 minutes from Maid Airport — settle in and savour the azure-blue views.
- What to expect: Spend some time in the resort’s stunning spa, recline in your private plunge pool or venture out to experience world-class diving from this upscale resort that’s also extremely family-friendly.
Villas are gorgeous and, beyond, tropical gardens and icing-sugar beaches abound. What’s more, the resort makes a dedicated effort to give back to the local communities, so pack some spare crayons or footballs in your suitcase and they’ll be passed on to the neighbouring islands, where they’ll be gratefully received.
- For the little ones: Koamas Kidz Paradise certainly lives up to its name: everything here is designed to keep your little ones wholly entertained. With climbing walls, a supervised swimming pool, arts and crafts, and an endless array of activities, children aged three to 12 will be in their element.
Vivanta By Taj – Coral Reef
- Where is it? Hembadhu, North Male Atoll.
- Getting there: It’s a one-hour speedboat ride from Male so sit back and enjoy the journey.
- Whet to expect: Exotic ocean views from your private deck, dramatic sunsets from the comfort of your bed and spectacular diving just offshore: this is only the start of what you’ll find at this lavish resort.
Totally in harmony with its Indian Ocean surroundings, it’s a thoroughly spoiling experience for the whole family. Stroll the island’s white-sand beaches, swim or snorkel in the warm waters or book into the Jiva Spa for a relaxing massage.
- For the little ones: Golden beaches, fantastic colourful snorkelling, daily stingray feeding, DVDs, board games, table tennis and badminton are all on hand to keep kids happy.For adventurous tots, a nearby submarine trip can be arranged (and for adventurous adults, babysitting is also available).
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
- Where is it? Kihavah Huravalhi, Baa Atoll
- Getting there: It’s just a 30-minute seaplane flight from Male Airport.
- Whet to expect: Underwater dining, boundless horizons and gorgeous tranquil luxury, as well as both over-water and beach villas. A UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve surrounds the island, where a whole magical marine world comes to life. The rooftop bar is a great spot for star-gazing, while the Spice Spoons cooking school is a definite must-try.
- For the little ones: This is a place where the fun and games never stop. Contending for the very best kid-friendly hotel in the country, the island is packed with wandering pathways ripe for exploring, and Thiththi Boli, the kids’ club, is a great escape for little ones.
When it comes to dining, children have their own menus and you can even arrange a private alfresco cinema screening amid the coconut palms, with a giant sofa for the whole family to cuddle up on.