News & Reviews Indian Ocean Maldives The Maldives’ Best Family-Friendly Resorts

Beyond its reputation for romance, the Maldives is also a superb family destination: its sublime beaches, laid-back privacy and excellent resorts delight guests of all ages. Thanks to fierce competition between hotels, its kids’ club offering is arguably the world’s greatest too – and the islands’ abundant wildlife and natural seclusion make them ideal for families craving space, freedom and adventure. These are seven of our favourite retreats.

Velaa Private Island

From the moment they set foot on its sand, Velaa welcomes children as part of the island’s family – greeting them with personalised gifts and bespoke activity programmes.

From guided snorkelling and flyboarding lessons, to castaway picnics and dolphin-watching charters, many of the resort’s activities can be tailored to families – while its bespoke dining will please even the pickiest tastebuds.

Lha Velaa Kids Club doesn’t just entertain little ones: it immerses them in local culture too, in a state-of-the-art centre designed by the owner’s daughter. Its pool, waterpark and soft-play area are among the Maldives’ biggest, overseen by expert staff with boundless energy – running everything from pirate-themed boat trips and Dhivehi language lessons, to games of koraa (Maldivian hopscotch), for ages 4 to 12.

Cheval Blanc Randheli

When it comes to pleasing the youngest guests, no detail is too small at this resort – whether personalised bathrobes and fluffy slippers for bedtime, inventive menus or mini spa treats.

Those with babies will appreciate the homemade purées and thoughtful amenities (extra nappies and sunhats? No problem), while the personnel’s heartfelt, caring style is a parent’s joy. For kids of all ages, the vast array of activities keeps boredom firmly at bay: from wakeboarding tuition and talent shows, to ‘flying lessons’ in the resort’s seaplane.

There are two kids’ clubs: Le Carrousel for little ones, and Le Paddock for older children, whose perks include pools, trampolines, climbing walls and a huge waterpark – alongside seriously cool tech, such as a surf simulator and VR headsets.

JOALI Maldives

JOALI is a playground for the whole family: a place to spy turtles from a semi-submarine, cuddle up for stories in swinging beach hammocks, and explore pristine atolls by speedboat.

The resort’s ethos isn’t to separate children and adults (though it does have a superb kids’ club, Muramas, for tots and tweens): instead, its activities are tailored to all age groups, for multigenerational fun. Its Beach Villas are especially suited to families, featuring private pools and spacious gardens.

Wellness is a priority too, with a ‘wellbeing menu’ especially for young guests – featuring mini massages, mani-pedis and yoga sessions designed to calm kids’ busy minds.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

From waterpark fun in The Stars Club, to juggling classes, resin art and colourful soft play, the Waldorf has a huge array of child-friendly activities – and plenty of thoughtful extras for babies, such as high-quality strollers, monitors and essential supplies.

The Kids’ Concierge programme helps little ones get the most from their trip (ages six months to 12 years), with babysitting and a dedicated concierge to design daily schedules. Many of its wider activities can be adapted to families too – such as guided snorkelling on the house reef, and coral conservation workshop with the in-house Marine Biologist.

Refreshingly, the resort’s offering focuses on older kids too, with its teens’ Club Nova providing a safe, supportive space for 12-18 year-olds to socialise – whether via beach volleyball games, movie nights, or classes ranging from circus skills to fire dancing.

One&Only Reethi Rah

Family suppers on secluded sandbanks, bedtime stargazing from a forest treehouse, learning to dive on thriving reefs: Reethi Rah has countless ways to bring everyone together.

There are 12 sublime beaches for barefoot paddling and sandcastles, as well as 44 hectares of tropical paradise to explore by bike (that’s more than 60 Premier League pitches). For ages four to nine, KidsOnly offers everything from pizza making to Maldivian drumming – while One Tribe has team games, watersports and a chill-out zone for tweens and teens.

Those with large families should book the Grand Sunset Residence: it sleeps ten guests in unparalleled comfort, with two swimming pools, private beach access and a dedicated team to cater to your clan’s every whim.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

The AyurMa Earth Explorers ritual is exclusively for kids aged seven to 10, combining yoga poses, song, eco-education and body painting – designed to encourage them to eschew their phones and discover the Maldives’ natural beauty instead.

It’s just one of the resort’s many inventive kids’ activities, which also include a hologram room where children can explore a VR reef, and a trainee marine biologist programme to help rehabilitate rescued turtles – ideal for inquisitive teens.

Kuda Mas kids’ club also thinks outside the box: here, little ones can try cooking classes, mini spa days, hermit crab racing and palm leaf crafts. The resort’s coral-restoration project is one of the Maldives’ most successful, and guests of all ages can help by building their own reef section – which after the holiday, you can watch grow online.

Soneva Jani & Soneva Fushi

Tom’s disdain for so many aspects of the Soneva is already well documented, so it’s a brand we’re often hesitant to recommend – but there’s still lots to be said in favour of its kids’ offering.  The waterslides in Soneva’s villas are a guaranteed hit with young guests. And that’s not all: both its Jani and Fushi resorts have excellent family offerings, with well-appointed kids’ clubs and thoughtful accommodation touches – ranging from cots, playpens and swings, to the chance to let loose in the hotels’ chocolate rooms and ice cream parlours.

Soneva Fushi’s playground is the size of six tennis courts, featuring everything from LEGO zones and swimming pools, to a huge pirate ship and giant piano keys built into the floor. Meanwhile, over-12s can broaden their minds at Soneva Academy – available at both resorts – exploring marine wildlife, eco-initiatives, shipwrecks and more.

For a dazzling night out, book Fushi’s Astronomical Dinner Cruise: a four-course supper and stargazing experience with the resort’s own Astronomer aboard a private yacht. At Jani, a ‘James Bond-inspired’ observatory awaits, for after-dark explorations of the Milky Way and beyond – an interstellar journey to captivate the whole family.

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Lucie Cahalan

Written by Lucie Cahalan on 1st May '24

Lucie Cahalan worked with VIP guests in London's best hotels before co-founding Dorsia Travel. This is where she shares her views on what works, and doesn't, in the world of luxury travel.

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