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By Laura Querino on 5th July 2022
Creating magical memories whilst on holiday as a family is something you should never take for granted.
As most parents know, children grow up so quickly and that time together when they are young is something that should be treasured. Long haul flights aren’t fun with two children under the age of four in tow, but for me it’s 10 hours worth enduring for the end results. Pristine beaches, tropical temperatures and a top class resort.
When we went to the Maldives a couple of years ago I fell in love with the Indian Ocean. You feel totally secluded and a million miles away from any chores or annoyances of being home. It is truly relaxing. It is also a place where you can find many luxury high-end resorts, which cater for children very well.
So on a miserable November day we packed up the car and started our five and a half thousand mile journey to Male, direct with BA. We had booked a resort poised within the Unesco Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll called Vakkaru which only opened in Dec 2017. On arrival at Male airport was where our holiday began. We were greeted with a smile by one of the resorts staff, who took our luggage and escorted us to Vakkaru’s private lounge where we were able to relax in luxury as we waited for our seaplane. As soon as we got to the lounge, any stresses from the flight left me as I was handed a scented cold towel and offered food and drink.
The 30-minute seaplane was a fabulous experience, where we enjoyed gorgeous views of many Maldivian Islands on our way to Vakkaru. On arrival we were greeted by at least a party of ten who welcomed us to the Island. We were handed an iced tea and introduced to our personal butler, Iku, who drove us by buggy straight to our villa.
There are 113 beach and over water villas on the Island. I always find myself a little anxious when you are shown your room, but I was not disappointed. There was a gorgeous four poster bed which faced the ocean, a huge bathroom, two indoor and one outdoor shower, a separate room for the children (always a bonus) and a beautiful terrace with our own pool. I was quite certain that we were going to be happy here! The decor was very tasteful and organic with lots of woods which complimented this beautiful Island. Our little girls cot was already made up and there was even organic bathroom products for the children. Everything in the room, including the mood lighting, curtains and TV were controlled by the Ipad. It was high-tech, high-class and luxurious - just perfect.
Vakkaru’s name means ‘coconut timber’ in Dhivehi and the buildings’ natural designs and traditional Maldivian touches create an idyllic feel across the island. The resort has six restaurants and throughout our stay, we dined at each one. The seafood at Vakku was gorgeous and the chef was happy to create a dish off menu depending on what he had fresh that day and what we fancied that evening. They were also great with the children, creating bespoke dishes that they knew they would enjoy. The resort also has a South East Asian restaurant which serves freshly made sushi and probably the strongest wasabi I have ever tasted. It is located out on the ocean, where you get to watch the Manta Rays while dining. If you’re looking to experience nature in full force while you grab an Italian bite, Isoletta was built around the island’s trees, so you may find a palm or two growing through the middle of your table. Amaany is the resort’s buffet breakfast where you’ll find cultural breakfast options, like dim sum and stir fry, as well as the classics, like an omelette station, fruits, yoghurts, meats, waffles and pastries.
Our personal butler, Iku, was so friendly and helpful and would check on us daily during breakfast and dinner to ask if we needed anything and if we would require a lift back to our villa following our meal. I probably had more requests than most, having the two children, but he was always happy to bring extra milk whatever time of the day. He was literally on hand 24/7 and did his utmost to make sure our stay was perfect. He was also extremely good with the children who loved driving upfront in the buggy with him. Whether you passed a member of staff on a walk to the beach or while grabbing a drink - everyone had a smile and seemed genuinely happy to serve you.
The main pool at Vakkura is stunning, with a backdrop of palm trees and the occasional bat flying over head. Large daybeds line one side of the pool, and like everywhere on the resort the service is top-class. As soon as we got to the pool, towels would be placed for us to lay on, iced water would arrive and the children would be offered frozen watermelon and ice cream - whatever time of the day. The children loved swimming in the big pool and our little boy became so good that when we returned home he was put up a level in his swimming class - which made us very proud.
If the children weren’t in the pool, they were at the Parrotfish Kids Club. Our little boy is four and could go whenever he wished, however our little girl is only one and unfortunately we had to book a babysitting service if we wanted to leave her there, which is completely understandable. The club is very spacious, with its own small outdoor pool, lots of activities and a very large climbing and slide area. The children enjoyed cookie and pizza making and lots of arts and crafts. The staff are so friendly and make the children feel very welcome. I didn’t have any problems leaving them both there and more often than not, I was asking our little boy to leave.
On a couple of occasions we took up the baby sitting option and were able to enjoy some time together without the children at the luxurious overwater Merana Spa. This stunning spa features both couple and single treatment rooms, hair and nail salon, spa boutique and wellness area - which looks out onto the Indian Ocean. We both enjoyed the resorts signature massage which started with a foot scrub and inhalation of some scented oils. The 90 minute massage was just what the doctor ordered and it’s not often that you get to watch tropical fish swim past while you are being pampered. Following the treatments we enjoyed ginger tea and dried fruits in the wellness area, taking in the stunning scenery and really allowing our bodies to relax.
The experience was so relaxing that not even a day past before we returned to the spa to experience the Merana Healing Journey which allows you to reconnect with yourself, de-stress and find your inner peace with a series of physical postures, breathing exercises and calming sounds of the Crystal Singing Bowl.
The resort's general manager Nicholas Mason seems to genuinely love the island and takes great pride in making sure it is at the top of its game. One evening he invited us to join him for cheese and wine in the resort’s wine cellar (which is actually above ground), where he even organised a member of staff from the kids club to keep the children entertained. The sommelier was so passionate about the wines she was serving us and we had a very enjoyable evening.
After five nights, it was time to move on and continue our mini tour of the Maldives. We were all sad to leave on our seaplane back to Male, however what we didn’t know was that we would be returning just four days later having missed the resort so much! The staff were so friendly and appreciative that we returned and it even said ‘welcome home’ with palm leaves on our bed. Our new butler Mogany was just as helpful and friendly and truly loved spending time with our children, allowing them to sit up front on the buggy and flying them around in a game of chase.
Vakkaru is a beautiful secluded island in the Maldives, but it isn’t just this that makes it so special. The decor of the resort and rooms, the food, the service and the friendly faces make this independently owned resort very unique. It is perfect for creating those magical memories that will stay with you forever.
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