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At Home With Pearls In Nilandhoo, Maldives

Nilandhoo Maldives

To say a place feels like home is normally a cliche’, particularly when you’ve traveled deep into the Indian Ocean. But to really experience an island in the Maldives, you have to feel like you belong. 

Guesthouses are rapidly spreading across the nation, with new buildings moving into every other inhabited island. In Gaafu Alif Nilandhoo, however, Pearl Beach View has taken up residence in a local home, and invites you to do the same. 

One of the first guesthouses in this southern atoll, the four-roomed abode offers the chance to enjoy island life as it was intended. Buried in bougainvillea, the guesthouse lounges on the far side of the island, way back from the main harbor…a two minute walk should get you there – if you find more ocean, you’ve overshot by 50 feet.

Through the garden gate, you’ll find traditional stringed joali, hammocks swinging over freshly raked white sand, a couple of guys playing chess over a coffee, and a small cat named Terminator (okay, that part’s unusual). Inside the house, through doors propped open with coconuts, a reception/lounge area leads onto the simple but satisfying rooms – all A/C & en suite.

Lying on the table – just above a sticker showing the guesthouse’s high rating on booking.com – are details of the tropical excursions on offer. Almost covering the wall opposite is a large painted map of the atoll – one of the world’s largest – to help you decide. 

Your hosts are happy to recommend an itinerary based on the length of stay. The desert islands of Odagalla, Mathidhoo, and Hinamaagala come highly recommended, and are planned with meticulous island calm. Staff can drop you off with a cooler, a tent, and a mobile phone, and a request to call them when you’re done, leaving you in charge of your own island republic for as long as you please. 

Additionally, the atoll is regarded as one of the best in the Maldives for diving (and that’s really saying something), with local shark and turtle populations particularly prevalent. The guesthouse has fully trained staff members who can show you the underwater wonders of Huvadhu, arranging snorkelling or diving trips. Also, you haven’t really ‘done’ island life if you haven’t let them take you fishing (just saying). 

For those looking to spend a little more time colonising Nilandhoo, the island can be surveyed easily in the less hot hours between 4 and 6pm. One of the smaller islands in the atoll, one car has been spotted on occasion, but is wholly unnecessary on an island measuring less than half a km across and 1.5km from north to south. The nearest ATM is half a dozen islands up the reef in the atoll capital, so it’s advisable to pick up some Maldivian rufiyaa on your way through Male’. Food is available in the guesthouse (and breakfast is free), but a little coffee money is a good investment to watch local life from one of the island’s four cafes.

The population of around 600 people resides on the southern half of the island, with fields of tropical fruit spreading north before a sandy path terminates at the island’s best beach, reserved for guests. Just across the channel lies the Residence resort, which can also be visited by Pearl Beach View guests who wish to visit the bar (alcohol is unavailable on local inhabited islands).

After a few days on Nilandhoo, you’ll forget home was ever anywhere else. 

How to get there?: Flights from Male’s Velana International Airport leave for Gaafu Alif Koodoo multiple times each day. From there, Nilandhoo lies a 12 minute speedboat ride south. Alternatively, the cheaper local ferry service stops at every island, but currently runs only on Monday and Thursday (depending on weather).

How to book?: Booking can be arranged through major hotel websites, including Air BnB, booking.com and Agoda. Alternatively, the guesthouse can be contacted directly via pearlbeachview.com. 

2k Isles’ Tip: Spend (another) lazy afternoon taking the guesthouse’s complimentary glass-bottomed canoe over the shallow reef area on the outside of the island to the secluded northern beach. Stock up on picnic supplies from one of the local shops before you go, keep an eye out for tiny black-tipped reef sharks, and wait for the sun to drop into the lagoon.

Naj and Dan's Two Thousand Isles project is taking them on a journey of cultural (re)discovery around the Maldives. MVHOTELS.Travel is excited to be part of the trip, sharing their guesthouse reviews from atolls. 
Visit their website at http://twothousandisles.com
Photo courtesy of Naj
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Is Maldives a Family-Friendly Destination?

Maldives might be popular as a romantic adventure destination. But did you know that the Maldives is the perfect place for an unforgettable family vacation as well? If you’re looking for a memorable getaway with your family, look no further. Picture this: turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and endless opportunities for fun in the sun with your loved ones. Sounds like a dream, right?

Maldives has been popular among families for quite some time. Whether you’re looking for a small getaway or a luxurious retreat, there is no place like the Maldives to make some memories. If celebrities like the Beckhams and the Ramseys choose this destination over and over again, why shouldn’t you? Get ready to discover why this tropical oasis is the ultimate playground for families. The Maldives offers everything from kid-friendly accommodations to exciting activities for all ages. And we’ve got insider tips and tricks to ensure your Maldives getaway is nothing short of spectacular.

Where Can I Find Family-Friendly Accommodation Options in the Maldives?

Nothing says family-friendly accommodation like a cute little beach villa or even an expansive overwater villa. As the Maldives resorts offer everything from babysitting services to special inclusions in rooms for families, every resort can be a kid-friendly haven for your next Maldives trip. In resorts such as SAii Lagoon Maldives, rooms are set up thoughtfully for families travelling with babies with additions such as baby cribs at the property. You can always call ahead of your trip to the Maldives and request special add-ons to cater for the kids. Additionally, almost all resorts in the Maldives also come with a kids club, where kids can play, make new friends and learn something new over the summer.

If you’re looking for the best of the best, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen might recommend a family trip to Soneva Jani. Over the years, Soneva resorts have become a go-to destination for celebrities, especially those travelling with kids. But if that’s not in your budget, here are some more family-friendly resorts you can visit.

What Kid-Friendly Activities Are Available in the Maldives?

If you really want to book a trip to the Maldives, but you’re scared the destination might not be for your kids, don’t worry. Maldives resorts cater to guests of all ages. Whether you’re travelling with an infant or a teenager, there’s something fun to explore in all corners.

If the beach days get too boring, kids can always drop by the kids club where art, culinary and adventure make up a good time. Lately, resorts such as Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Baglioni Maldives offer amazing kids and teens clubs. While younger kids can enjoy weekly activities like arts and crafts, teenagers can enjoy spa days, snorkelling & kayaking to movies under the stars through the kids and teens club.

What Do Other Families Say About Their Experience in the Maldives?

The feeling of a vacation in Maldives does not require a lot of words, you can see the joy through pictures and posts. Whether it’s Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas getaway with the family at Amilla Maldives or the recent trip by the long-time partner of Christiano Ronaldo, Georgina Rodríguez and their family at JOALI Maldives, you can just tell families have the best time in the Maldives. But if you want it from travellers just like you and I, here are some amazing reviews from families after their Maldives trip:

It was our second time in the Maldives and we chose again the Lux South Ari Atoll. We came in our honeymoon in 2020 right before the pandemic situation and we promised that we will come back as soon as possible. So, we did in April 2021! And we took our families and friends with us! We really loved the island, the food, the restaurants and the staff! We liked the experience even more this time. It was the perfect place for our family vacation, we felt very safe regarding the pandemic situation, the weather was perfect and the whole personal contributed to our best holiday says a guest who visited LUX* South Ari Atoll, on Agoda.

Another guest who visited Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa also shared their experience.

We celebrated my daughter’s 5th birthday in this lovely resort and their surprises were truly memorable.🥰 Our room was beautifully decorated and our bday girl was so happy as she got to do lots of fun activities including a magic show!🪄Very family-friendly resort! Special thanks to Vida who was so so approachable, had the initiative to take care of the kids, entertained them so the parents can have some peaceful holiday.😊

What Are Some Tips for Planning a Family Trip to the Maldives?

  1. Choosing a Family-Friendly Resorts: As the Maldives caters to a variety of travellers, there are family-friendly resorts as well as adults-only resorts. Make sure you’re booking a trip to a resort where kids can enjoy the vacation as much as you. Always look into the kids-club activities and the upcoming festivities for the holidays as well.
  2. Pack Wisely: Don’t forget to pack essentials such as sunscreen, hats, swimwear, and more, as the Maldives is a beachy and tropical destination. Don’t forget any necessary medications, as well as entertainment for kids during travel downtime!
  3. Plan Kid-Friendly Activities: Make sure to research family-friendly activities offered by your resort or nearby attractions. You can explore activities such as guided snorkeling trips, dolphin cruises, island-hopping adventures, and cultural experiences. Look for activities suitable for different ages and interests to ensure everyone has a fantastic time.
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