Annette, our Australasia expert, is blown away by her recent visit to Niyama resort in the Maldives. Here she reveals all about her unforgettable week away.
I am an Australia & New Zealand addict. Since visiting as a backpacker and staying in some salubrious joints, I’ve progressed to the dizzy heights of pretty much every luxury lodge and resort around both destinations – an absolute honour and a privilege, and I’m ashamed to say that I am a terrible hotel snob as a result! The only downside is that any holiday to my part of the world is always part work as I want to see as much as possible each time I visit, hence lots of destinations & hotel hopping.
So when it came to my choice of where to go to celebrate a big birthday milestone (after just returning from a work trip to OZ & NZ which meant 15 flights and 12 different hotels in 3 weeks), I was looking strictly for a ‘fly and flop’ type of destination, somewhere I’d never been before, had no interest in exploring and I certainly wasn’t going to be looking at rooms and meeting the managers – this was my big holiday and all I needed was a luxury resort in the sunshine, not too far away, for a laid back week of Kindle time, good food and sunset cocktails with my best friend.
The decision was made to go to the Maldives, and in particular to a resort called Niyama. The upsides - It ticked the most important boxes for me – sunshine, white sand, not too far away (let’s face it, compared to Australia, almost everything is near!), and a 5 star stunning looking resort. The downsides – I’m not on my honeymoon, would I be surrounded by love’s young dream everywhere, and feel I had made a bad choice, and would it be just like Tahiti and I’d feel like I’d actually been there before or worse still it wouldn’t be as good?
I most certainly stand corrected. I have never had a more perfect week in the sun and, whilst I cannot comment on the Maldives as a whole, the part that I discovered, Niyama, is one of the finest resorts that I’ve ever stayed in.
Luxury is a term that is waved about in the travel industry like a floppy flag, yet it’s not always an easy thing to define. For me, some things are a given – beautiful surroundings with all the trappings you’d expect in a top resort, but it’s the indefinable something that makes holidays extra special – and the chances are that for each visitor it could be different.
I knew I was somewhere special the moment we arrived in Male and were taken to the Niyama private lounge as we waited for our seaplane to depart. The personal service and attention to detail began here, and so it continued for the next seven nights – nothing was too much trouble, from the easy going good natured staff who looked after everything you didn’t even know you wanted or needed, to the absolute beauty of the location and the absolute private accommodation with its own pool and Jacuzzi and with a bathroom to die for.
And that’s before I even mention the food! Lots of places to eat (not always the case in a small resort)– from the Deli for a delicious prawn sandwich to a fine dining overwater experience at Edge, only reachable by boat, for a seafood platter extraordinaire with those giant prawns you never ever get in the UK (although they are available in Australia of course!). The sun shone, the crystal clear turquoise water shimmered and I loved it.
Top tip: Head down to the beach bar early evening for a cocktail or two and watch the sunset – it’s magical and extremely photogenic, and what Instagram & Facebook were invented for: to make all your friends back home extremely jealous!
There’s no question that Niyama in the Maldives is the perfect luxury honeymoon destination, but it’s also the perfect family holiday destination – young and older children are so well looked after here with exceptional kids clubs and activities. Spa addicts are well catered for – 24 hours a day if you like, and of course anyone wanting just to kick back and do nothing will never want to leave.
And of course, it turns out that it’s the perfect holiday for spoilt travel agents who think they know it all and have seen it all; I would return in a heartbeat.
Fancy a slice of Niyama for yourself? Read more here or call the experts today on 020 7337 9010.