FAMILY TRAVEL REVIEW: Winter Sun in the Maldives.
Think the Maldives is purely for the honeymoon crowd? Think again. We discover why the Maldives is the perfect winter escape for you – and the kids.
It’s midday when we touch down in Velana International Airport, Maldives. A short 15 minutes boat transfer later and we’ve arrived in paradise at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa on the private island of Furanafushi.
Just an hour since we arrived and we’re relaxing on the white sands surrounded by crystal clear waters with cocktail in hand. They say the Maldives is an escape from the everyday, and boy are they right.
This five-star resort seamlessly blends with the surroundings. The pristine beaches, the lush greenery, the exotic bird song, this resort is a piece of paradise. It’s certainly not hard to see why Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has been crowned winner of ‘Best Hotel in Asia’ and ranked in the top 5 for the ‘Best Hotel In The World’.
The luxury resort offers 176 guest rooms designed to sit perfectly with nature. Boasting 7 unique restaurants and bars, and an amazing array of facilities, yes there are plenty of honeymooners here, but there’s plenty of families too and this resort is geared up as much for fun in the sun as it is for sunsets for two.
We’re travelling here in early November and the start of the peak season, when there’s less rainfall. It’s a delicious 30degrees, and yes there are showery downpours, but they give welcome respite from the sunshine.
Our accommodation is a beautifully private beach cottage. Complete with outdoor shower and bathroom (ok, so the outdoor shower took some getting used to!) the cottage has its own plunge pool and discreet private pathway that leads to white sands.
There’s so much on offer here regardless of the weather, from water sports such as kayaking and paddle-boarding (both available free of charge in resort), there’s also tennis courts, a well-equipped air conditioned gym, yoga classes on the beach, even botanical walks.. but we’re British and when the showers come, we head for food or drinks, but preferably both.
There’s an impressive 7 restaurants in resort, from international cuisine in Anchorage Bar to the culinary journey offered at Masala Hut, with its authentic Indian dishes. An evening at fish restaurant, SeaSalt, is highly recommended, choosing fish from the tank made for a dinner surrounded by theatre. The food didn’t disappoint either, the local snapper served Maldivian style was one of the highlights of our dining experiences during our stay.
There’s amazing nature to discover at every turn, from the reef sharks that swim over your toes in the shallows, to the fruit bats hanging in the trees, the odd heron dipping into the lagoon, the lizards, the birds – a whole island of discovery for littlefolk. There’s a kids club too which has had an overhaul as part of the resorts $20 million renovations – and it’s become the perfect pad for kids who want a bit of entertainment and play as part of their holiday. With a schedule of activities for littlefolk including arts and crafts, parties and games – not to mention the brilliant outdoor space with its tree house, and even a gaming den, this is a place dedicated to younger guests.
Nothing is too much trouble for team Sheraton – an added bonus if you’re travelling with kids. Waiters appear with complimentary offerings you didn’t even know you needed, from ice cold towels to chilled fruit kebabs, always well timed, never invasive – they just understand attention to detail here.
The resort focuses on making your stay as relaxing as possible and relaxation was in need when we headed to The Shine Spa for Sheraton for our Asian Journey treatment. The Shine Spa is an idyllic spa located on its very own island, reached by walking across the lagoon on a wooden bridge, the walk over to the spa is so naturally beautiful and peaceful that you’ve mentally switched off before you even reach the treatment room. Post treatment and we’re ready for more lazing and more snoozing,
However, if you need more from your holiday than lazing on a beach or chilling out in your own pool, then there’s plenty more on offer here, from snorkelling and dolphin spotting sunset cruises, to remote sandbank picnics – you’ll make family memories to last a lifetime here at Sheraton Maldives.
Nightly rates at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa (www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/mlesi-sheraton-maldives-full-moon-resort-and-spa/; +960 664 2010) start from $400/£315 per night based on a family of 4 sharing a 1-bedroom cottage on a B&B basis.
We flew to Male via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines from Manchester. www.turkishairlines.com