FAMILY HOLIDAY IN THE MALDIVES
Holidaying with kids. Let’s be honest, parent to parent, the idea of travelling with children can often lead to another holiday needed at the end of the trip. We love our little rug rats, but enjoying a family holiday with young ones can be very trying. My wife and I don’t choose our café selections on the quality of coffee beans but rather the café’s playground, the café’s ability to help us entertain the kids and importantly – an environment that locks them in.
We have holidayed all over Asia with our kids (6 & 3 years), while many of our trips have been very memorable and enjoyable, they have not always been relaxing, but fear not, we have discovered the solution. A magical place that allows you to have a great, memorable holiday with young children while allowing ‘us parents’ the opportunity to relax at the same time… a family holiday in the Maldives!
If you are like me and you get a lump in your throat at the idea of travel with children, don’t look any further – we have you covered. The Maldives is in central location, easily accessible, near major hubs such as Singapore and Dubai. Once you land, the beauty of many resorts in the Maldives is the proximity to the airport – most only a short boat ride away. And the ferry terminal is literally a 100m walk away from the airport arrival’s hall. For us, with kids who suffer from car sickness, this is a massive win as the kids love a boat ride, especially when it is to your own slice of paradise.
CLUB MED KANI – FAMILY HOLIDAY IN THE MALDIVES
If you are like our family, we like to travel – not just holiday. So we took the opportunity to visit two special islands within our 10 day family holiday in the Maldives. Our first resort was the much admired Club Med Kani which caters to a wide audience, but specialises in family holidays. The Club Med brand is consistent across the globe, all of the luxurious comforts you have come to enjoy in other Club Meds such as in Japan, Bali or Europe, is what you will see in Club Med Kani in the Maldives. Amazing options in villas from jungle bungalow styles to over water villas (however, you can’t stay with children under 8 years old for safety reasons).
We had two adjoining rooms so we could keep an eye on our kids yet have freedom once they were asleep. Our rooms were facing the beach which allowed us to wake up with the sunrise and relax as it set. The beauty about many Club Med’s is their location, and the location they have secured in the Maldives strengthens that reputation. Nestled between world class surf breaks with a quality surfbreak of their very own on the island known as Ninjas Surf Break, Club Med Kani is truly an escape for the whole family.
As a surfer, I especially loved the access to the surf without the guilt of having a bored family waiting for you to get the day started. There is plenty for you partner and kids to do while you enjoy a few barrels. With a plethora of activities such as; trapeze lessons, sailing, surf lessons, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, fishing tours, massages or take advantage of the planned schedules such as enrolling your children into the Happy Children’s Corner where they will make plenty of friends while building sand castles, cooking lessons, face painting, parties and rehearsing for stage performances all under the watchful eye of the very friendly G.O’s. This will then allow the adults a guilt free pass to enjoy the wellness centre for an amazing massage or a relax by the pool while sipping cocktails. Our daughter had so much fun in the Happy Children’s Corner she was upset when we would collect her for a family lunch.
Our days were spent relaxing, enjoying the pristine waters and white sand beaches while knowing the kids were happily entertained. Club Med Kani encourages alone time but balances quality family time by closing the kids club for meal times, ensuring families have some good old fashion quality time over meals. And unique to the Club Med brand is the G.O’s and there amazing service – always happy to help with a genuine smile and even sitting with you during meals to have a friendly and interesting conversation as they give you some amazing insights to the life of a Club Med staff.
The star filled nights can be as relaxing or energetic as you like, with plenty of family time, kids performing theatrical shows they worked hard on during the day, or adults indulging in one of the many bars to wet your whistle after a long hard day relaxing by the pool. The Club Med G.O’s are there mingling and enjoying a night too, helping entertain and breaking the ice making for an entertaining evening.
And like most fairy tales, our Club Med Kani Maldives adventure came to an end, we departed the pier waving goodbye to our new found friends as we boarded a boat back to the main ferry terminal where we would again take the ferry to our next Maldives family holiday destination.
HOLIDAY IN KANDOOMA – FAMILY HOLIDAY IN THE MALDIVES
A morning spent on boats taking in the surrounds was a great way to move from one resort to the next, like taking a tour of the extensive Maldivian island chain, the Holiday Inn Kandooma is south of Male while, so we got to see some different islands and landmarks as we continued our journey south.
In our Maldivian dreamy haze, we passed idyllic island after island until we slowed down as we approached our final destination – the Holiday Inn Kandooma. Another amazing Maldivian island, with stereotypical pristine white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. And to our surprise, some guests we had befriended at Club med were already on the island – following what seemed like a very practical family holiday exploration of the Maldives. With our friends having already been there for a few days, we joined them for lunch and a debrief of the amazing things to do while at our stay in Holiday Inn Kandooma. And of course, the resort offered every activity one would expect while in the Maldives, from snorkelling to island hoping activities, with a few rarer gems thrown in there such as the water jetpack (known as flyboarding) where you can live your childhood dream of flying through space with your jetpack on like the superheroes we admired, to sunset cruises where you become the ‘bait’ and can cruise the waters hanging from boom nets on either side of the boat which was great fun with the kids.
After checking into our Holiday Inn Kandooma beachside family villa, offering plenty of room for our family to spread out and relax while having the safety of the kids under the one roof, we quickly ran to the beach where I inquired about surfing, our children ran for the Kandoo Kids Club and my wife booked a massage. Safe to say, all the wants of the family were covered making this an exceptional family holiday in The Maldives.
Some special highlights for us – that you may not have considered joining with kids – were the fishing trip, having our 6 and 4 year olds catch their first fish was very exciting. The dolphin tour was also amazing, with the sun setting in the background as we watched large pods of dolphins play with the glistening chop of the ocean, diving and frolicking at the bow of our boat. And lastly, the very special and extremely unique activity I enjoyed with the kids was the sandbar located a very short paddle from the resort where it was very safe for kids and surfing novices to try their hand at the sport.
Holiday Inn Kandooma has a very experienced surf team on hand to take guests to neighbouring breaks for intermediate to experienced surfers, or to simply enjoy the Kandooma break itself. But with the kids, I really enjoyed the sandbank as it offered an inconsequential lesson as the soft sand cushioned the landing for beginners attempting to balance on the crest of the small waves. It was such organic fun, playing in pristine surrounds with the family all enjoying such a healthy sport in surfing.
Exhausted from days of activities, we spent the nights enjoying buffet style meals at the main restaurant, the Kandooma Café, however, the options on the island were amazing from fresh Seafood and Asian delights, overlooking the sea, at the ala carte hot spot, The Kitchen, to the casual dining of the Bokkurraa Coffee Club. A special highlight is the sunset drinks at The Sunset Deck above the Kitchen restaurant with almost 360 degree views of the island, perched up high, giving you a great perspective on the truly amazing natural beauty of the island. Tip, on Wednesday’s at sunset they do shark feeding just near the sunset deck.
The accommodation really is beautiful with plenty of options, and the main pool/restaurant area encourages parents to laze around in lounges overlooking the horizon while kids have plenty to entertain from the pool to the small play equipment to the Kandoo Kids Club. The staff were very friendly and we left both our kids there while my wife and I surfed together. The environment was fun and safe for the little one. They also offer a babysitting service for children under 4 years old. We found the Holiday Inn Kandooma to be very dedicated to younger children and perfect for a family holiday in The Maldives. The kids eat-free moto also helps, as parents often know, you purchase a meal for the kids to take no more than two bites or throw it on the ground. The kids eat-free policy helps parents relax and allows kids to trial many different flavours without hurting the hip pocket.
We couldn’t help but compare the two resorts, and of course like the family before us, we highly recommend exploring the Maldives while there and doing some island hoping. While both resorts were amazing, we found the Holiday Inn Kandooma was best prepared for younger children while the Club Med Kani was better geared for older kids. But all in all complimenting each other for a well-rounded family holiday in The Maldives.
This family holiday in the Maldives review was written and photographed by James and @kelly_beckwith of The Asia Collective.