Steph Theodosiou experiences a luxury jungle island in the middle of the Indian Ocean and discovers what’s on offer at this Maldivian paradise.
When asked to think about the Maldives, you would be forgiven for only imagining honeymooning couples relaxing on white sandy beaches next to dazzling turquoise water. All those things certainly are in abundance, therefore making the Maldives a perfect destination for such requirements, however, the Niyama Private Islands go above and beyond to create a truly unforgettable experience, whether you are on your honeymoon, a family break or even travelling solo. Here’s why you should be planning an escape to this paradisiacal resort soon.
The resort at Niyama Private Islands is spread over two connected islands named ‘Play’ and ‘Chill’, and affectionately refer to themselves as “nature’s playground” – a very fitting nickname for the lush surroundings and fun, immersive activities available. The vegetation is tall, bountiful and beautiful, but even when you are in the middle of what feels like the dense jungle, you are, in actual fact, no more than a few minutes’ walk from the ocean.
The complimentary bicycles are a brilliant way to explore and take in the exceptional colours and sounds; they are also particularly useful at 5:45am when you are racing to the other side of the resort to catch sunrise at The Crescent.
There is even a Spice Garden, where the gardeners grow and tend to all sorts of wonderfully fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit. Adhering to the notion of permaculture, all the produce is utilised in the restaurants and the coconut oil used during spa treatments (excellent for rejuvenating the skin and hair) is made from coconuts hand-plucked from the trees at the break of dawn.
A foodie’s heaven
Guests at Niyama certainly do not have to worry about going hungry or thirsty in paradise: there are three beach bars, a deli and an extraordinary six restaurants, all with unique features showcasing a variety of global gastronomy.
Relax to chilled vibes and beats with fruit-infused spirits, cocktails and aged rum whilst admiring the infinity pools or sea views at Dune, Fahrenheit or Surf Shack.
Tantalise your taste buds with Mediterranean at Blu and enjoy a personalised service via their all-day dining menu. Here, you can tailor anything and everything on the menu to your liking.
Indulge in all-day dining at Epicure with lavish breakfast buffets and extensive a la carte selections at their themed buffet evenings, which include traditional Maldivian dinners with singing and dancing.
Fancy a quick treat? Head to The Deli for milkshakes, yoghurt smoothies and homemade ice creams, or grab a freshly prepared gourmet snack en route to your next activity.
Tribal is the only Afro-Latin fusion restaurant in the Maldives, complete with Maasai warriors and blazing fires. The menu is a showcase of dishes that reflects a celebration of rich culinary heritage, embracing the ancient spice routes and the diversity of cultures that have influenced Africa and South and Central American Tribal cuisines. House specialties includes the abundant fresh produce
found along the shores and in the waters of the two continents, African Game and artisanal meat cuts – the warthog is a delicious must-try.
Accessible only via speedboat, restaurants Edge and Subsix are located in the middle of the ocean half a kilometre from the shore. Expect fine dining at Edge, with Michelin-starred chefs from all over the world flying in for exclusive residencies.
For a mesmerising and otherworldly dinner, head six metres underwater and dine with the sea life. Subsix’s floor-to-ceiling windows allow uninterrupted views into the big blue expanse surrounding you. Specialising in champagne breakfasts, decadent lunches and wine tasting, expect delicacies including wagyu beef tartare, local lobster and barramundi.
The most awe-inspiring feasting experience, however, is dinner in the treetops at Nest. Dining areas hang between the trees connected by wooden walkways and gently glowing lamps, creating an ethereal atmosphere. A diverse collection of Asian food, combined with intimate teppanyaki demonstrations, makes for an unforgettable, cosy evening in the treetops. The unique dessert Bird Nest Soup also features on the menu: an edible bird nest which is harvested for human consumption and turned into a gelatinous, jelly-like texture topped with longan fruit and goji berries. A must for all adventurous foodies.
Private candlelit dinners or barbecues on the beach, at your accommodation or on a boat can also be arranged; the accommodating Niyama team are always happy to lend a helping hand for your special occasions.
To beach or not to beach: that is the question
Niyama has a collection of 134 different luxury accommodations to choose from, but even at full capacity, the islands feel empty. Choose between one-bedroom Beach Studios to Suites and three-bedroom Overwater Pavilions with optional extras including pools, jacuzzis and treatment rooms. Every space is within immediate proximity to the ocean, so the difficult decision is: do you want to feel the sand between your toes first, or do you want to jump right in from your terrace?
For groups looking for the ultimate discreet getaway, why not consider exclusively hiring The Crescent? Situated at the edge of the resort with its own private jetty, these five ultra-chic Overwater Villas with Pools can host up to 14 adults and 8 children and come with their own chef and housekeeper. You can even sit under the stars and enjoy your very own private film screening at the gigantic outdoor cinema hidden amongst the palm trees.
An incredible assortment of activities is available to suit all guests of all ages. On land, choose between sunrise yoga, outdoor gym classes, beach volleyball and tennis, to name a few, whilst younger guests can be kept amused at the Explorers’ Kids Club or the games hut, complete with gaming consoles and various board games.
For the water babies, Niyama has a huge array of water sports, cruises, dolphin excursions, coral adoption and snorkelling, jet ski and speed boats trips. They also pride themselves in being the only resort in the archipelago where surfable waves break right onto the island, so treat yourself to a surf lesson with the pros.
Drift into tranquillity
The six over-water treatments rooms with lagoon views at Drift Spa are the perfect pamper location. Choose to open the French doors to feel the warm breeze and hear the water lapping on the sand, or select a soothing playlist, whilst the therapists nourish your body with local ingredients like Maldivian coral sand and coconut oil.
Guests have unlimited access to the sauna and steams baths, plunge pools, jacuzzis and juice bar located within the lime tree garden at the relaxation area.
Make it happen
Destinology, the experts in luxury travel, offer the following seven-night stays to Niyama Private Islands:
From £2,499 (GBP) per person, based on two sharing a Beach Studio on a half board basis and including return flights with Qatar Airways from London Heathrow and return shared seaplane transfers. This price is valid for travel between 1 May – 20 July 2018.
From £3,069 (GBP) per person, based on two sharing a Beach Studio on a half board basis and including return flights with British Airways from London Gatwick and return shared seaplane transfers. This price is valid for travel between 1 October – 19 December 2018.
Destinology.co.uk / +44 (0) 1204 824619.