Adults only? You must be kidding: The biggest, newest resort in the Maldives offers bucketloads of action for families
- Tamara Hinson stays in a villa with a private garden at Siyam World, a resort occupying a 54-acre island
- During her stay, she books scuba excursions, Maldivian leaf-folding lessons and a mixology masterclass
- Tamara also tries her luck at the nearby floating water park – and calls it ‘brilliant fun but seriously tough’
My top tip for visitors to the Maldives? There’s more to it than over-water villas and exclusive islands you can walk around in five minutes.
The Maldives is not just for loved-up honeymooners; it also caters for families and those looking for a more affordable Indian Ocean break. And Siyam World, the region’s largest resort, with 472 villas, is proof.
Most guests arrive by a 30-minute flight from Maldives capital Male to Dharavandhoo, then take the resort’s speedboat for a ten-minute transfer to the island.
Children welcome: An infinity pool and stunning ocean views at Siyam World, the Maldives’ biggest resort
If you opt for a seaplane (returns cost about £310 pp), you’ll see the world’s largest floating water park, spelling out the word ‘Siyam’ in enormous inflatable letters.
This 54-acre island has no fewer than 21 room categories, ranging from two-person beach villas and over-water bungalows with slides to plush four-bedroom residences with butler service.
My one-bedroom billet is small but perfectly formed. In the tiny, private garden, stepping stones lead across the sand to the shower. It’s Instagram-friendly, but the first selfie I send my husband isn’t of me posing by a plunge pool, but standing in the garden beside the washing line on which my smalls are drying.
Above is a bird’s eye view of Siyam World. ‘On many Maldives islands, greenery has been cleared with the severity of an over-zealous bikini waxer but, here, there’s wonderful wilderness,’ says Tamara
On many Maldives islands, greenery has been cleared with the severity of an over-zealous bikini waxer but, here, there’s wonderful wilderness. Several nods to its past remain, including the ruins of a Maldivian burial site, or ziyaaraiy, and a stone well, dug centuries ago by passing fishermen.
With five bars and six restaurants on hand, including two buffet options and Maldivian and Spanish cuisine, refuelling is not a problem. Neither is passing the time. Sports facilities include a Fifa-standard football field and tennis courts with three different surfaces.
When I’m not enjoying snorkelling or Indiana Jones-inspired hikes around the island, I book scuba excursions and paddle the island’s length in a transparent kayak.
The 54-acre island has no fewer than 21 room categories, ranging from two-person beach villas to plush four-bedroom residences with butler service
One of the over-water bungalows with slides at the resort
I sign up for a sunset fishing tour, Maldivian leaf-folding lessons and a mixology masterclass, but make a sharp exit from the latter when staff start dragging guests into dance-offs to Macarena. I retreat to Mint, a quiet beachfront bar.
But the floating water park looms on the horizon — and I take the plunge on my final day.
It’s brilliant fun but seriously tough, with horizontal ladders to scramble across and steep inclines which I try (but fail) to conquer by repeatedly throwing myself at the slippery rubber.
While braver guests tackle trickier sections by running at high speed, I take a slow-and-steady approach, navigating on all fours and clinging limpet-like to the obstacles. I’m put to shame by a Welsh family who whiz around the floating course, and my downfall comes as the seven-year-old daughter and I approach an inflatable tower, off which guests fling themselves.
She looks terrified, so I tell her that I’ll do it if she does. Seconds later, to my dismay, she throws herself into the sea with casual abandon. And I slap into the water with a bellyflop.
Perhaps I should stick to the leaf-folding lessons next time.
Double villas with a pool at Siyam World (sunsiyam.com) cost from £428pp per night on an all-inclusive basis. BA (ba.com) flies London to Male from £616 return.
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