Surrounded by wildly white sands and blue-hued lagoons as far as the eye can see, Niyama Private Islands Maldives is a natural playground with all the luxury you require; if that wasn't enough, personal thakurus (butlers) will guarantee a seamless stay in the Maldives, arranging everything from boat trips and snorkelling itineraries, to cinema screenings and destination dining experiences.
The resort's two islands - 'Play' and 'Chill' - are connected by a wooden bridge, providing two paradisiacal places in which to do as much, or as little, as you desire. While Chill cocoons you in peaceful moments and slow rhythms, Play kicks things up a notch with active adventures and family-friendly frolics that are often too tempting to resist.
Overwater is the order of the day on Chill, with the island's wonderous Water Pool Villas and Ocean Pavilions seemingly floating offshore. Inside, you'll find sleek styling including plush king-size beds and partially open-air showers, while their spacious outdoor decks incorporate picturesque pools and bubbling Jacuzzis. Also finding home on the isle of Chill is The Crescent: a quintet of extraordinary overwater villas that can host up to 14 adults and eight children. Secluded yet never too far from the island action, these one- and two-bedroom residences all feature private pools, in addition to direct ocean access for those who prefer something saltier. As a guest of The Crescent, the benefits are seemingly endless; savour sunset cruises, beach barbecues and movies beneath starry skies, all while two dedicated Thakuru butlers, a private chef and a housekeeper keep your private slice of paradise running smoothly.
The villas, suites and pavilions on the isle of Play can mostly be found sprawling the sandy shoreline, making dipping your toes in the crystal-clear lagoon on your luxury Maldives holiday almost effortless. Many boast beautifully spacious decks with swings and loungers for alfresco relaxation, while in some of the abodes' private pools, you can watch water come alive with fibre optic lights and underwater speakers. Not to be forgotten, the in-room Deli-In is brimming with tasty treats and perfectly chilled drinks, so there's no need to venture far when hunger strikes! The Three Bedroom Beach Pool Pavilion is one of the island's most extensive residences, featuring two seriously splash-worthy swimming pools and a private spa treatment room, in which adults can relish those much-deserved massages. By night, clamber into the Dhoni-shaped swing for an exclusive film screening, or simply stroll along beachfront for an undeniably blissful bedtime ritual.
When it comes to eating, the atmosphere on Chill is suitably serene - yet sophisticated when required. All-day eating is effortless at Epicure, where the menu intertwines flaky pastries with fruit salads and fine cheeses, while alfresco beach lounge Dune is the island's hotspot for lunch with powder-soft sand between your toes. There's also Niyama's signature African and South American restaurant Tribal, hidden in the walls of a boma where fires crackle and dinner time is all about sharing and coming together. Just off the coast of Chill, uncover two of the resort's most coveted dining concepts. Half a kilometre out into the Indian Ocean, overwater venue Edge celebrates the freshest, finest seafood for local sources, paired with a sommelier-selected list of classic, rare and fine wines. However, beneath the surface, something even more spectacular awaits - descend a dramatic three-tier staircase and arrive at underwater playground SubSix, where Champagne breakfasts, subaquatic lunches and gourmet dinners are utterly breathtaking.
Play's dining delights celebrate the best of the Maldives' natural environment. Climb up into the trees and navigate your way to Nest, a unique eatery perched in the jungle canopy. Served Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian chefs, there's a varied à la carte menu and flamboyant teppanyaki displays, best followed by sampling the world's most expensive coffee. Back on the beachfront, Mediterranean-inspired Blu serves a bountiful breakfast - choose one of twelve ways to enjoy your eggs - followed by a laid-back lunch of freshly prepared salads, sandwiches and seafood pastas. If you simply can't bear to stray from your sun lounger on your luxury holiday in the Maldives, Sunshine Thakurus are sure to curb your cravings as they bring refreshments of coconuts, fruit skewers and icy popsicles, along with extra towels and more sun cream should you need it.
Although the isle of Play is practically paradise for kids, its slower-paced sister shouldn't be ruled out entirely. When it's time to escape the sun for a while, the air-conditioned, indoor space at Active will prove popular with young and old alike; think the latest consoles including PS4 and Xbox, classic games including darts and pool, and even golf simulators for perfecting your swing. As dusk falls, you'll also find Niyama's 'silent' outdoor cinema hidden at the tip of the island. Pop on your 3D glasses and headphones, sink into a cosy beanbag and grab your sweet or salty popcorn for an exclusive beachfront screening, choosing from a list of big-name titles to suit all ages.
This island playground was diligently designed with the littlest VIPs in mind, with the ever-enticing Explorers Kids' Club right at the heart. Considered one of the Maldives' best, the action-packed programme immerses children in the eye-opening nature and cultural beauty of the Indian Ocean islands, with four age-segmented 'tribes' to choose from. The club is well-equipped to fuel every child's fascination for hours on end; an outdoor fun area includes a playground, trampoline and splash park, while the little gourmet kitchen and mini stage make sure young ones are always the star of the show. Adventurous spirit abounds with all-day activities including wildlife walks, island treasure hunts, gourmet Master Chef classes and dolphin-spotting safaris, and for those tiny travellers who tire a little more quickly, nap time in the dreamy sleep room includes a serenading of Dhivehi lullabies. For whoever, whenever, we promise the isle of 'Play' will live up to its name.
Adventures For Adults
It's safe to say, if you're looking for a luxury holiday full of relaxing rituals and complete escapism, the Drift Spa is the dream location. A sanctuary at sea featuring bewitchingly blue views across the lagoon, there's six overwater treatment rooms in which to savour treatments including Maldivian coral sand scrubs, and massages utilising aromatic citrus ingredients. If you plan to linger a little longer, stay all day in one of the two treatment sanctuaries - complete with private gardens, outdoor bath and rain shower - or return in the evening for after-dark indulgences, including the expert assistance of a 'slumber guru'. The epitome of 'Chill', the Lair lounge is the perfect place to press pause for an hour or two; grab a good book, browse the DVD library or congregate for a cosy catch up as you peacefully hide away from the heat of the sun.
Whether you prefer to be underwater or above the waves, Play's watersports centre Float has everything you need to endlessly explore the grandeur of the Indian Ocean. Snorkel the house reef with complimentary equipment, spotting shimmering shoals of tropical fish, or enlist the help of an in-house expert for a guided tour of the island's lesser-known marine treasures. You can also choose to charter one of Niyama's five vessels if you'd prefer to stay dry, exploring the beauty of the surrounding local islands as pinner dolphins twirl in the wake. One of the most heard phrases when on the isle of Play? Surf's Up! The only luxury surf resort in the Maldives with its own wave breaking right on shore, there's nowhere better to bag yourself a board. Paddle out to Vodi Surf Point and catch wildly beautiful waves, or if you're a beginner, learn to surf with a dedicated instructor in the more placid lagoon, where you can practice fundamental techniques before trying out a more sizeable swell.