The experience started from the moment I touched down in Male airport. Situated over two tropical, palm fringed islands in the Maldives’ southern Dhaalu Attol, The Niyama resort offers a staggering array of activities for lovers of both land and sea. It is home to the worlds first underwater nightclub and offers spa treatments 24 hours a day. Straight off the ten hour flight from London, we were greeted by a member of the Niyama staff and whisked straight to a private lounge to wait for our 40 minute seaplane where I enjoyed green tea, fresh popcorn and a comfy seat overlooking the hustle and bustle of the Sea Taxi station.
Views from the seaplane.
Our beautiful ocean pavilion complete with in room bar and deli, movies and music on demand as well as a pool and steps to take you straight into the ocean from the terrace.
Views from the two man bath.
The perfect place enjoy the ocean with a book in the privacy of your own terrace. Cool off with some snorkelling via the ocean steps and admire the rich marine life that teems beneath your room.
Unfortunately its an inescapable cliché to talk about how turquoise the water in the Maldives is. With the vivid intensity of Listerine, It’s possible to admire the colour of your pedicure as you glide through the ocean.
Collecting shells on the beach yielded some beautifully intricate specimens of coral and hermit crabs.
Although you’d never find me writing odes to wild flowers whilst weeping into a tearstained moleskin notebook, my breath was really taken away at this sunset and this photo barely does it justice.
The bar at Tribal, the camp-site style South African restaurant that serves up incredible Karoo lamb and a killer chilli and ginger mojito. Everyone receives a ‘Dow’ on arrival which consists of vodka, Kenyan honey and lemons and is thought to have medicinal properties. I’m not so sure on its health benefits but they were wonderfully refreshing nevertheless. Tribal is one of three restaurants on the island along with Epicure and the overwater Edge, only accessible by boat. I would often stop by the hotel’s on site Deli for a fresh pineapple and mint juice or a scoop of homemade sorbet.
Seaside infinity pool with enormous double sun beds and a bar serving fresh juices and cocktails.
Me and my two beautiful sisters – Chloe and Poppy.
Lime Spa offers 24 hour service and boasts an enormous range of Anne Semonin, Insitut Esthederm and Ren products as well as over water couples treatment rooms, a juice bar and a serene relaxation area lying beneath a jungle like canopy. The best treatment in my opinion was the Niyama Signature Massage with the wonderful Sibu who managed to get rid of my post exam hunchback in one session.
Traditional Maldivian ‘Dhoni’.
My sister and I aboard the Dhoni where we all sat on huge squashy cushions and nibbled coconut chips and tuna sashimi.
Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice with the vast array of coral reefs surrounding the island whilst those who prefer to observe the wildlife from above can enjoy a visit to a marine biology site alive with dolphins and turtles.
Although this was my first visit to the Maldives, I would definitely return to Niyama. the staff were so helpful and kind and the manager, Brian has really pushed it into the realms of extraordinary luxury. Its intimate size means that whilst you won’t be eating in an empty restaurant, you will also have full privacy and peace when you want it. The selection of entertainment for children means it is perfect for families but the vast expanses of beach and sea mean that couples won’t be disturbed by a rowdy miniclub.
Despite my inability to enjoy sunbathing and excessive lounging around, I was never bored, slept like an angel and was able to fully unwind amongst the truly arresting sites and smells of this sultry paradise.
- FLY – British Airways fly direct to Male from London Gatwick (flight time 10 hours) followed by an additional 40 minute sea plane to Niyama.
- BRING ALONG – A high factor suncream (at least SPF 30) is essential due to the Maldives’ proximity to the equator with the breeze making it difficult to fathom how strong the sun is. Mosquito repellent is key (I recommend Jungle Formula extra strength) as well as aloe vera to soothe any burns (Higher Nature Ultimate Skin Gel is the only one worth using)
- LEAVE AT HOME - High heels are completely superfluous here because of the natural sand paths as are expensive closed toe flats. I just ended up wearing espadrilles to dinner and flip flops to the beach. It can be very hot and humid at night so you won’t need any extra shawls or jumpers just a pretty dress, a slick of red lipstick and you’re good to go.
My holiday was booked by Lara at Turquoise Holidays www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk
Find out more about the hotel at www.niyama.peraqum.com