Only adults? You must be kidding: The Maldives’ largest and newest resort has plenty of family-friendly activities
- Tamara Hinson stays in a villa with a private garden at Siyam World, a resort occupying a 54-acre island
- While there, she books diving trips, Maldivian leaf-bending lessons and a mixology masterclass
- Tamara also tries her luck at the nearby floating water park – and calls it “brilliant but really challenging fun”
My best tip for visitors to the Maldives? There are more than overwater villas and exclusive islands that you can cruise through in five minutes.
The Maldives aren’t just for adoring honeymooners; it also caters to families and those looking for a more affordable break in the Indian Ocean. And Siyam World, the largest resort in the region, with 472 villas, is proof of that.
Most guests arrive via a 30-minute flight from Malé, the capital of the Maldives, to Dharavandhoo, then take the resort’s speedboat for a ten-minute transfer to the island.
Kid-Friendly: An infinity pool and stunning ocean views at Siyam World, the largest resort in the Maldives
If you opt for a seaplane (return costs around £310 pp), you’ll see the world’s largest floating water park, spelling out the word ‘Siyam’ in huge inflatable letters.
This 54-acre island has no less than 21 room categories, ranging from two-person beach villas and overwater bungalows with slides to luxurious four-bedroom residences with butler service.
My one bedroom unit is small but perfectly formed. In the small private garden, stepping stones lead through the sand to the shower. It’s Instagram-friendly, but the first selfie I send my husband isn’t of me posing near a plunge pool, but standing in the garden next to the clothesline my little ones are drying off on.
Above is a bird’s eye view of Siyam World. “On many islands in the Maldives, the greenery has been cleared with the severity of an overzealous bikini epilator, but here there is beautiful wilderness,” says Tamara.
On many islands in the Maldives, the greenery has been cleared with the severity of an overzealous bikini epilator, but here there is wonderful wilderness. Several nods to its past remain, including the ruins of a Maldivian burial site, or ziyaaraiy, and a stone well, dug centuries ago by passing fishermen.
With five bars and six restaurants on hand, including two buffet options and Maldivian and Spanish cuisine, refueling is no problem. Neither do you pass the time. Sports facilities include a FIFA-standard football pitch and tennis courts with three different surfaces.
When I’m not enjoying snorkeling or Indiana Jones-inspired hikes around the island, I book scuba diving trips and paddle the length of the island in a see-through kayak.
The 54-acre island has no less than 21 room categories, ranging from two-person beach villas to luxurious four-bedroom residences with butler service.
One of the resort’s overwater bungalows with slides
I sign up for a sunset fishing excursion, Maldivian leaf-bending lessons, and a mixology masterclass, only to crash out of the latter when the staff start dragging guests into dance parties. in Macarena. I retire to the Mint, a quiet beachfront bar.
But the floating water park looms on the horizon – and I take the plunge on the last day.
It’s great fun but very challenging, with horizontal ladders to climb and steep inclines that I try (but fail) to conquer by repeatedly throwing myself on the slippery rubber.
While the bravest guests tackle the trickiest sections running at high speed, I take a slow and steady approach, navigating on all fours and clinging like a limpet to obstacles. I am ashamed of a Welsh family circling the floating course, and my fall comes as the seven-year-old daughter and I approach an inflatable tower, from which guests throw themselves.
She looks terrified, so I tell her I will if she does. A few seconds later, to my dismay, she casually throws herself into the sea. And I hit the water with a flat stomach.
Maybe I should stick to the leaf folding lessons next time.
Double Pool Villas at Siyam World (sunsiyam.com) cost from £428 per night on an all-inclusive basis. BA (ba.com) flies London to Male from £616 return.