If you thought the Maldives was the ideal spot only for honeymooners – think again.
Club Med has recently taken big steps to make sure that a getaway on its resort islands there will appeal to those with smaller footprints, too.
And it’s not just tokenism – the firm has gone all out to make kids welcome in paradise, with its Kani resort now offering a whole range of activities for four to 17-year-olds, from kayaking to sand castle challenges, and dedicated staff to look after them.
Club Med has recently taken big steps to make sure that a getaway on its resort islands in the Maldives will appeal to those with smaller footprints, too. Its Kani retreat, pictured, now has a Mini Club Med activity club
Previously the family friendliness of the Kani resort could pretty much be summed up by one rule – children over eight are allowed. Fast forward to 2017 and not only does Kani accept children from the age of four, but parents can stretch out on the sand and relax while their kids are kept occupied by the resort’s dedicated staff
Making a splash with the children: Surfing is one of the activities available for kids at Club Med Kani
Previously the family friendliness of the Kani resort could pretty much be summed up by one rule – children over eight are allowed.
So parents had to pack the colouring-in books and hope for the best.
Fast forward to 2017 and not only does Kani accept children from the age of four, but parents can stretch out on the sand and relax while their kids are kept occupied by the all-new Mini Club Med, which provides activities for kids in two age ranges – four to 10 and 11 to 17.
The youngest group have access to a playground and can take part in shows, have cookery and arts and crafts lessons and enter sand castle competitions, with over-eights able to go kayaking and sailing, too.
The older group, meanwhile, can put table tennis, beach volleyball and soccer, surfing, snorkelling, scuba-diving, big game fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, glass-bottom boat trips and outdoor movie screenings on their itinerary (though some cost extra).
Children rustle up some tasty delights during one of Mini Club Med’s cookery classes
What’s more, Mini Club Med is also open to children staying at Club Med’s nearby sister resort, Finolhu Villas – a posher, more exclusive option.
It’s used to be for over-18s only and is still largely geared towards adults, with no facilities for children, but the villas will now accept occupancy of two adults and a child over 12.
Children staying at Finolhu can reach Kani and take advantage of the Mini Club Med activities thanks to a short speed-boat transfer service.
So that’s the children occupied – but what about the adults? Is it paradise for them, too?
On the activity front, Kani scores well.
I sample parasailing, which I love, despite being afraid of heights.
I also hit the air-conditioned gym, which is kitted out with cardio machines and dumbbells, and marvel at the ocean view through the windows as I pound the treadmill.
The food options get the thumbs up, too.
Children can explore the resort’s mesmerising marine life – thanks to Club Med scuba-diving lessons
The Club Med Kani resort offers the whole family a stunning sun-kissed treat in the tropics
The main restaurant, Velhi, offers international cuisine with Chinese, Italian and Indian stations among others. I’m a vegan but find I’m well catered for, especially at the Italian and Indian stations. There’s soya milk, too.
Two other dining options are the late afternoon noodle bar and speciality restaurant Kandu (requiring advance booking). Kandu serves breakfast, late lunch, and snacks throughout the day.
Relaxing in the Maldives isn’t hard, but the Mandara spa in the resort makes certain my stress levels remain rock bottom.
I opt for a traditional Balinese full-body massage. It’s total bliss.
After winding down it’s time to perk back up with a glass of the complimentary prosecco in my room.
Each weeknight presents different entertainment options, from dance show versions of Grease in the theatre to BBQ dinners on the beach. There’s plenty on offer.
I attend a White Party (dress code – white) and party until the early hours, cocktail always in hand.
Once it’s time for bed I retreat back to my overwater villa – a Lagoon Suite.
These rooms are more spacious than most accommodation on the island though a little further from the main activity areas as they’re located at the ends of the island.
This aerial shot of the Club Med Maldives resorts is nothing short of breath-taking
Kani offers guests the chance to make sure stress levels hit rock bottom – at its Mandara spa
Each one has its own lounge area and giant bathroom with sea-facing bathtub and lovely natural light.
They’re a little dimly lit at night and air conditioning is slightly weak due to a small architectural issue, though they’re being totally renovated by summer 2017.
For Lagoon Suite guests there’s a separate dedicated check-in reception and plush, staffed private lounge and bar, which is less crowded than others at the resort. The Wi-Fi seems better, too.
The next day I spend an afternoon sampling the blissful pool and fine afternoon dining at Finolhu Villas.
The sister resort offers guests beautiful, spacious top-end private rooms surrounded by carefully crafted natural beauty, and refined luxury services and dining options – for a higher all-inclusive cost than Kani.
Finolhu guests can come and go to Kani as they please via free transfer, to use the facilities, but Kani’s can’t do the same.
My conclusion? Club Med in the Maldives really has come of age.
A departure on the September 8, 2017, from Heathrow to Kani for an all-inclusive seven night-holiday will cost £1,549 per adult (was £1,722) and £1,029 per child (was £1,144) + children under six stay free.
Visit www.clubmed.co.uk/d/Indian-Ocean/Maldives or call 08453 67 67 67.
The all-inclusive sun package includes: Return flights and resort transfers, accommodation; gourmet full-board, specialty restaurants & all-day snacks; open bar with a selection of spirits, wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks; a wide range of sports and activities and evening entertainment (live bands & shows).