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There are lots of parents, who aren't willing to compromise on standards just because they’ve had children. Whilst many still consider the Maldives as the reserve of the ‘Honeymoon couple’, it is a wonderful place to take children, with its soft white sands and safe shallow lagoons full of brightly coloured fish. It’s a place that all the family can enjoy.
The Maldives can represent very good value for money too especially during the summer holidays when in addition to the already reduced low-season prices, there are plenty of special offers. Many resorts offer Full Board or All inclusive packages so it’s much easier to keep track of all those little extras that add up, making the final weeks tally a little less of a daunting prospect.
The tropical climate means year round warm temperatures and though the Summer coincides with the start of the low or wet season (the South-West Monsoon typically occurs from May - September), which can mean cloudier skies, more wind and the chance of rain, this too can be a blessing as the temperatures are a more modest 28-30C during the day, this, combined with the breeze makes for a much less stifling environment for the mini traveller.
With a few exceptions, children are welcome at most resorts in the Maldives. The following is a list of child-friendly islands, although it should be borne in mind that new resorts are opening all the time, whilst others close for refurbishment, often re-opening with a completely different clientele in mind.
Antatara (Dhigu) – A collection of islands, families are housed on Dhigu, away from couples on Veli and Naladhu. The mini traveller receives a welcome gift pack, which includes everything from toothbrush and child toiletries to a make-your-own rocket kit. There are children’s menus in the restaurants and the smallest get served first. Free childcare is available for the over 4’s. ££
Bandos - Provides a crèche during the day and babysitting service in the evening. Rooms can cater for whole families and for older children there is an abundance of sporting facilities on land as well as in the water. £
Centara Grand – Reputed to have the most family friendly villas in the Maldives and also the only resort which allows children in the Over Water Villas (OWV) without the need to sign a disclaimer first, Centara is a popular family choice. The pool is also a major draw. ££
Constance Halaveli - There are special two-storey houses with stair gates and balcony guards for families as well as a spacious kid’s club and for the more adventurous mini masks and flippers can be found to fit budding Jacques Cousteau’s at the dive centre. £££
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – Has a free kids' club open from 08.30 to 19.00 every day for children aged 3 to 12 which has a covered pool and splash pad as well as indoor play areas. The chance to dine in the all-glass, undersea restaurant will surely entertain too. A children's menu, high chairs, baby sitting and cribs are all available. Children can learn to dive from age of 5. £££
Lux – For those reluctant to give up all their home comforts, Lux has a range of clubs and areas for children of all ages which include a cinema lounge, a well-stocked library, a computer room,a large outdoor playground and a ‘siesta lounge’ for when your toddler tires and needs an afternoon nap. There are also PlayStations, table tennis and pool tables and WiFi computers galore. ££
Filitheyo – Has10 family villas (two superior villas with interconnecting doors) suitable for families with young children having both double and twin beds. Cots are also available. It has a pool and plenty of shady trees for youngsters to play among, out of the sunshine. £
Club Faru (Fihalhohi)- A popular destination for families due to its close proximity to Huhule (just 7 minutes by speedboat) there are likely to be many other children to enjoy games in the sunshine with. Like Filitheyo it too has an abundance of shady places and a large pool in which children can play. £
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa – Children are made to feel very welcome at this resort styled on a Maldivian village. There are children’s menus in the restaurants (under 4’s eat free), a kids club with daily activities and a pool devoted to little ones with its own mini sun loungers. Surfing lessons are also available for the more adventurous older children. ££
Kanuhura - Offers babysitting services by professionally trained nannies (on request at a fee). There is an excellent kids’ club offering imaginative fun for kids (4–11) with organised games, videos, websurfing or the library as well as all that nature has to offer on the island itself. Duplex villas have double and twin rooms accommodating an entire family.££
Kurumba – Offers Majaa Kids for 4-12 year old children from 9am to 6pm 7 days per week. Children under the age of 4 can attend with a legal gardian or babysitter. Garden Pool Villas have been introduced with extra beds and two separate rooms for up to 2 Adults and 3 children. It has pushchair friendly pathways, a babysitting service and children’s menus are available in all its restaurants. There is a small play area for toddlers, and swimming pools for children. £
Kuramanthi - The Bageecha kids club offers daily programs for children aged 3 to 12 years which includes body and face painting, marshmallow grilling on the beach, night walks, guided snorkelling, beach games and marine life education. Babysitting services are provided (subject to availability) and on a practical note it has very good medical facilities should they be required. ££
Meeru – Children are welcome in the Garden View Rooms and Beach Villas and extra beds can be provided. There is a children’s wading pool (part of the main pool) and for the older children diving lessons. In addition a babysitting service is offered. £
Niyama Maldives - Has rooms with additional bedrooms and can do rollaways and cots. Babysitting is available at "Active" for USD15 / hour. Activities for teenagers and the young at heart are impressive. In Active: Maldives 1st simulator with all sorts of games from golf, shooting, baseball etc. Also a WI station, XBox, Cinema, pool table, table tennis etc. + an array of interesting games such as remote control cars etc.
One & Only Reethi Rah - Has an impressive complimentary kids’ club (from 2 years), complete with dinky swimming pool and pint-sized sun loungers. ClubOne for teenagers (up to 18) is staffed by its own sports and entertainment team. The islands ‘parents go lightly’ scheme allows guests to preorder everything from nappies to buggies for their villa. £££
The Beach House at Manafaru – Offers complimentary kids’ and teen clubs, and has a range of facilities including; a giant trampoline, tennis, volleyball and badminton courts, Nintendo Wii, an 18-hole golf simulator and a special spa menu. For the‘Lil’ Mud-Man’ treatment, youngsters are given a bowl of chocolate mud to smear over themselves, before jumping into a mud bath and having a mini massage...followed by a slice of chocolate cake. £££
Vilu Reef – Offers a babysitting service (children over 2 years) and has its own children’s playground, with plenty of shaded areas to protect delicate skin. There’s a pool and a full range of sport and recreational facilities on land and in the sea on offer for older children. £
Other Family friendly islands include: Angsana Velavaru, Royal Island, Island Hideaway, Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru, Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Vivantaby Taj - Coral Reef, Hilton Iru Fushi Beach & Spa Resort, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort and Holiday Inn Kandooma
The following islands all have ‘policies’ which exclude children to some extent.
Meeru – The northern part of the island only allows children as day guests on the beach. Children are not allowed in the Restaurant or Bar at this end at any time of the day. Children are welcome in the Garden Rooms and Beach Villas rooms. Only guests of 18 years of age and older will be accommodated in Jacuzzi Beach Villas, Water Villas, Jacuzzi Water Villas and Honeymoon suites. There is also an over 18's pool.
Vilamendhoo – sister island to Meeru with a similar policy ie: Only guests of 18 years and older will be accommodated in Jacuzzi Beach Villas and Jacuzzi Water Villas .
Dhoni Island – Children under 16 not accepted unless exclusive use of the island is booked .
W Resort – no under 13’s.
Centara Ras Fushi - Describes itself as 'Adult orientated'. No under 12's allowed
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru – whilst they do not have facilities for children, nor do they recommend the island for under 12’s, it is entirely at the discretion of the parents.
Baros – no under 8’s .Cocoa Island –Children are discouraged but not excluded.
For obvious safety reasons, the majority, if not all resorts, insist on parents signing a disclaimer if they wish to stay in Over Water Villas with young children, Centara Grand being the only exception to this rule. For those same reasons most parents, will tend to seek out beach accommodation so that they can sit on the veranda whilst the children play safely on the beach in front of the villa. Therefore any resort which has entirely OWV’s is likely to have fewer children in residence, such as Cocoa Island for example.
Likewise, swimming pools are another family magnet . Avoiding islands with a pool is one way of reducing the likelihood of encountering children whilst in the Maldives.
* £ - up to £1000, ££ - up to £1500, £££ - £1750+ (Price guides are per person, per week and inc. transfers)
Updated : JUNE 2012
Update: Dreaming of the Maldives Blog that regularly updates info regarding islands that are child friendly....