If you haven’t caught up on the first part of this post then you can read about the flight here. Else you’ve come to the right place, here and now The Maldives. I’d love to say it was just the same as our trip back in 2013 for our honeymoon, it wasn’t – it was different but this time around it was for the family. Last time I felt utterly relaxed one hundred percent, I could spend all day just doing nothing, browsing the sky, the stars and watching the calm sea in which hidden under it was life.
This time around it was less self-indulgent and more about the whole family, it took us a little while to get Ariella used to eating out every night. It took a little while to adjust her and us to the jet lag, you can’t just sleep it off when you have a child to attend to. It was magnificent to go back and include her in our adventure, she sat on sand for the first time and what sand to sit on it was. Everything aspect of the Maldives is designed to look appealing on the eye, to be luxurious and accommodating. Largely their career prospects are naturally tourism, when you live in such a secluded paradise what else can you expect? They are good at it, excellent in fact.
The day we arrived was warm but a little cloudy, it rarely stays cloudy for long during the dry season (Dec – April) and we only had one real rain storm on our last full day before we flew home. It was ideal weather to ease Ariella into the change in temperature, as well as us! Ariella was knackered and so were we, we settled her down for a nap but she wouldn’t sleep so we ended up waiting until proper nap time (timing adjusted for the location) which worked out really well. We really didn’t struggled that much on the way there, it was much harder adjusting back. Ariella fit really well into the travel cot, I was concerned that she might be too long for it but they had huge travel cots and I think she was as comfortable in it as she is at home.
On Friday evenings the Island lights up for a Maldivian themed event, cocktails, entertainment, food stations and live music. All the other restaurants close and everyone dines as one with lots of food being made up. It was a real welcome and was love to involve Ariella in, at this point she didn’t seem to mind staying up late – I guess for her being five hours ahead it didn’t feel that late. The island provided sarong’s for us all to wear and we fashioned Ariella one, as you do. We watched the bar staff perform and drank lots of Champagne, we were eased into the holiday with a bang. It was such a wonderful evening, I felt like we had returned – I had dreamt of returning for years and finally we were back! Ariella went down a hit with all the other guests who adored her.
The bar staff were juggling with wine, it was really cool to see! Then they knocked all these Jager bombs into the glasses with one hit.
It was wonderful to wake up the next day (and every day!) to our own lap pool, the first night I lapped the pool with the stars above and below me. Ariella enjoyed the pool too, the little swimming toys I had picked up were perfect fun. We even incorporated the flexible bucket for her to gather each of the swimming toys up in and collect them tidy. I highly rate the Jojomamanbebe sun protection swimwear and hats, it really was a life saver over there. Really easy to wash out and then dry in the sunshine, very light weight so you don’t need to worry that they were get too hot.
I think given that we had brought a small human with us to the Maldives we did pretty well to include her in as much as possible. When we went to the pool for snacks and cocktails we always grabbed a bed, this allowed her to use her iPad while we enjoyed our drinks and watched the horizon. If not the iPad then I would take along a mobile toy, her Grimms rainbow friends came with us. The island was actually at full capacity for a large portion of our stay but never felt crowded and there were always places to sit wherever you wanted.
We even did the excursions but were careful to pick things that we felt were child friendly enough. This is us on the Sunset dolphin cruise, I think if Ariella had been walking at this point we wouldn’t have but seeing as she wasn’t going to be running around on an open boat (without sides in places) it worked well.
We ate as a family quite a lot in the evenings, but occasional to break up the holiday we decided to book a babysitter from the kids club. This worked really well as Ariella was familiar with the staff and we were able to enjoy the other restaurants on the island more which had considerably longer menus. We did attempt to take Ariella to the Chinese restaurant one evening which had a huge amount of different courses, she really didn’t cope well and I can’t blame her! We learnt our lesson after that. I think a lot of this is trial and error, eating later was tricky for Ariella – she was eating from 7pm in the Maldives whereas at home she eats around 5.15 – 5.30pm. I do wish they had a high tea style offering, usually the hotels we stay in the UK do an it’s really handy!
Our butler did a fantastic job scheduling our dining bookings for the holiday, I hadn’t really thought to do that before we arrived. But we were able to get 7pm bookings for all the restaurants which is prime time, Ariella dined in the Indian restaurant (Indocelyn) with us with a little star, the main buffet style restaurant (The Palms) as well as the fine dining Seafood underwater restaurant (M6M). We took her once to the Chinese restaurant (Peking) which turned out to be our very favourite.
Much time was spent enjoying the beach, as we opted for a beach villa we had direct access to the beach and Ariella while not initially liking the feeling of sand eventually came to accept it. It’s definitely still not her favourite but she didn’t mind sitting near it (and eating it).
The housekeeping staff would make up lots of interesting animals for Ariella out of towels or palm leaves. She was made to feel really welcome, it was lovely to see what animal would be waiting for us next – they kept us guessing though by not always doing it!
The underwater restaurant called M6M which we went to twice, once with Ariella during the day and then next for our wedding anniversary in the evening. The evening was a lot more relaxing, but I’m glad that I attempted it with Ariella in the day. She couldn’t manage to stay still for the full menu but she loved seeing all the fish.
Holiday with Ariella was a compromise, the day we played and swam, we ate and we had good fun. During the evenings while Ariella slept were our own, we read books, we swam, we enjoyed drinks from the mini bar (best mini bar we’ve ever had!) and we watched the stars. I could by the end of the holiday have stayed here forever, all together
Long before arriving I emailed the spa reception team to ask them to book our spa appointments for the holiday. I arranged for us to each have four treatments spread out so that one had one during one day then the next day the other had theirs. A few days gap between every now and then worked out really well. This meant that it felt fair and we had an hour’s pampering each session, during some of Jamie’s treatments I would call a buggy to take me and Ariella to the kids club and that would pass the time quickly. Last time we came to the Maldives the Island we stayed on did have a kids club but I confess I wouldn’t know where. It was nice to have access to an air-conditioned room with toys, I only took a few key toys with us.
Jamie also went fly boarding twice, it looked all very worrying for me from a distance – I watched from our Villa. But he seemed to enjoy it and on his first go lots of dolphins came to swim with him which he is told has never happened before. I can understand the attraction I suppose, ha!
We did have one big eventful stress while there which was when we realised one day before leaving that we had run out of nappies! It was early morning and I thought we had more stored in our luggage as it turned out we didn’t. Our butler sorted things out for us really quickly, someone fetched some more nappies from the main island Male and brought them back by boat. Surprisingly this didn’t cost a fortune as there were already sending the boat out for departures.
If you are wondering whether to take your toddler with you on a long haul flight, to a hot country, maybe one that generally more of an adult destination. I say do it! We would do it again, Ariella coped marvellously, she did bite both our faces during a tantrum about her high chair – that happened but I think she would have done that anyway. It was amazing, it was relaxing and it was beautiful – nothing is off-limits. If you can think of it there is always way to do it and I say you won’t know unless you try! For us we will have these memories of our holiday forever and that’s all you get folks.