Inside A Great Escape to the Maldives

For when it's time to rest and reset

What happens when you send a 42-year-old mum-of-three, who works full-time, to the Maldives by herself? Firstly, her heart rate goes down, the rest is pure escapism.

Our (selfless) volunteer, marketing manager Michelle Kaplan, put real life on hold to test our hypothesis: that a trip to this fantasy island is akin to coming up for air.

But before jetting off to paradise, some science. Michelle’s pre-holiday heart rate was a rapid 109 beats per minute (taking into account a last-opp passport panic). Her post-Niyama rate was a leisurely 72bpm. The glow, though, can’t be measured with data but it certainly radiated across the marie claire office.

“It was [sigh] just simply [sigh] heaven [sigh],” she says, recounting the experiment. “I arrived at night and when I entered my pavilion, the words ‘welcome to nature’s playground’, were written on the mirror. I couldn’t think of a better description.”


A look inside Niyama Private Islands’ family beach pavilions

The Maldives has long held a reputation as the destination for honeymooners, but Niyama serves up Maldives with a twist. Connected by a bridge, it has two islands – “Chill” and “Play” – offering balance for guests wanting more than just crystal lagoon views. Turns out “Chill” is the ultimate location for a solitude-moon. The deserted postcard-perfect beach is  still and full of silent moments, but feels more soulful than lonely. As Michelle recounts, “I remember feeling completely away from the world. As you look off over the water, there is no-one around, no land in sight – it is quite an amazing thing.”  Meanwhile “Play” is pitched at active couples, groups and families, with its parasailing, jetskiing, kids’ club, and choice of surf breaks.


Underwater restaurant Subsix

The food at the resort goes beyond fine dining, to serve as a window into the island’s culture. Highlights include pan-Asian restaurant Nest, a treetop dining experience in the jungle; and arriving by speedboat for a next-level seafood dinner at Edge, followed by drinks at Subsix, the underwater bar. And then there’s the food in the room: homemade ice cream, gourmet drinks, popcorn and more, all complimentary and restocked daily. Want anything else? Just ask your personal Thakuru (butler).


Two-bedroom ocean pavilions feature their own pool

Pavilions are either right on the beach or hitched directly over the water. They all come with a bicycle – the best way to explore – and many, including Michelle’s beachfront pavilion, feature a private pool.

Niyama is a 45-minute seaplane flight from Malé or a 30-minute domestic flight to the Dhaalu Airport, followed by a 10-minute speedboat. If it feels like a hike, just drop by Drift Spa for an IV drip by Beverly Hills IV Therapy to shake off the jet lag.

The verdict: Her cup filled, Michelle says she will be back. Although next time she won’t get away with leaving the family at home.


This story originally appeared in the December issue of marie claire.

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