Welcome to Paradise. Book a holiday at Per Aquum Niyama in the Maldives, and you can expect it to do exactly what it says on the tin. It is satisfyingly just how it looks in the photographs here, in the unfiltered photos on Instagram, and in all of it’s own shiny marketing materials, is exactly how it is in reality; practically perfect in every way.
The seaplane arrival jetty, pictured above, this is the view I had envisioned while I had been dreaming of going to the Maldives. I had thought, perhaps, that the years of being told that these islands are the ultimate romantic postcard destination would have meant a little rose tinting. Not at Niyama. Here, all those dreams come true…
Resort: Per Aquum Niyama
Location: Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives
Phone: +960 676-2828
Nearest airport: Malé international
Seaplane? Yes, from Malé, organised via the resort
Packages: Yes – visit the resort’s website for the latest deals
Pool? Yes, two communal, plus most accommodations have own pools
Wi-Fi? Yes, throughout the hotel. Bit patchy in places.
Perfect for: Couples in search of Paradise, and discerning families looking for Paradise with children in tow. This resort has the best kids’ club we’ve seen.
The overwater villas on Chill Island, Per Aquum Niyama
Per Aquum Niyama is nestled over two islands, titled ‘Play’ and ‘Chill’. It is aimed at both couples and families, and honestly, it works. It is about as far removed from an ‘all-inclusive all-encompassing’ style of hotel as you could get. When you arrive, there is no real reception. Instead, you are whisked away by your own personal ‘thakuru’, or butler, and introduced to your room.
The rooms, restaurants and beaches are accessible by a single sandy track that runs higgledy piggledy around the trees through the centre of the islands, which are joined by a low lying bridge. You get about by bike, which you are allocated outside your room, by walking, you’ll need to walk off the food after most meals, or by golf cart, which is driven by your butler.
The sunrise is worth waking up early for, and is best viewed from your water villa if you are facing the right direction. Liasing with the hotel before your stay about these kind of things is a good idea; talk about first world decisions, hey? But most people stay in the Maldives for a week, and making the most of your time by planning ahead is a reeeeeally good idea. Thought it was all going to be just sunbathing and snorkelling? Think again. But first, your room…
We stayed in a Deluxe Over Water Studio Villa with pool
Check out my Per Aquum Niyama room tour video for a real feel of what it is like inside a deluxe over water studio
Our open air shower
Our bath with room for two, and his and her sinks
Popcorn with maker in room, and daily snacks, including homemade ice cream
And off we go! Cycling around the islands was our most favourite thing to do. We loved the freedom. I still cannot believe how turquoise the waters are.
So, it’s luxurious – but what is the resort really like?
The resort is as typically mid-Indian Ocean luxurious as you could imagine, teaming those picture perfect views with modern luxe interiors and top spec technology, topped off with seemingly effortless service. But at the same time, this isn’t your standard five-star place. It is city slick with a laid-back, no shoes vibe.
It is peaceful here. The main topic of conversation between guests is around which restaurant they have enjoyed the most, or how many times their bikes have been ‘borrowed’ – note: when you park up your bike, be prepared for it not to be there when you return! Not to worry, the staff will supply you with new ones straight away.
The buzz surrounding the restaurants is exciting. You would expect great food, but these are on another level. Especially when you think about how remote this resort really is.
Dune restaurant and bar – perfect for lunch, and a cocktail at any time
The infinity pool, aside the Dune bar
What is there to eat at Per Aquum Niyama?
Loads! And all in stellar locations – in the treetops, out at sea, under the sea, on the sand… Even dining in your room is an experience, when you have views over a tropical lagoon!
A restaurant built in the treetops serving Malaysian curries. There is also an incredible, showstopping teppenyaki grill, underneath. I’d recommend going to the grill for lunch and book a treetop table for evening. The lobster spring rolls are the star attraction on the menu for good reason!
The Teppenyaki Grill at Nest
The chef’s garden
This was our favourite place for the buffet breakfast, and serves Mediterranean food for lunch: one of the most beautiful spots on the resort, next to one of the infinity pools and a good beach area for sea swimming. We loved spending pretty much a whole day here.
Just add inflatable flamingo
You catch a little boat, there, which runs regularly out 500 metres off shore. This is a restaurant on stilts Expect seafood on the menu, along with sushi. I’d recommend catching the boat out early for sundowner cocktails at the bar, before dinner.
The Maldives’ first underwater nightclub, six metres underneath the sea, which you reach from Edge. We went to the weekly ‘Glow’ party at Subsix after our meal at Edge, where they had laid out glow sticks and UV body paint for us to decorate ourselves with!
Our sunset surprise – cocktails on a perfectly positioned section of the beach, organised by our thakuru
What else is there to do at Per Aquum Niyama?
How about trying some of the diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding or sea kayaking? And if that sounds too much like hard work, then why not book a Maldivian dhoni crewed boat, pull up a bean bag, pop the Champagne and sail into the sun set?
And don’t miss: 14 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN THE MALDIVES OTHER THAN SUNBATHE
The Lime Spa
Per Aquum Niyama has been open since 2013, part of the 120-property strong Minor hotel group, and one of two Per Aquum hotels in the Maldives. It’s sister hotel, Huvafen Fushi, is much more targeted solely at couples, and features the world’s first underwater spa. Niyama has Lime Spa, which was just a short cycle on Chill Island from our villa, centred round lots of treatment rooms and a tropical garden, with massage rooms that face onto the beach and lagoon.
Spa menu and guest info is on an iPad
The Lime Spa treatment sea view rooms
The Scott Dunn-managed kids’ club at Per Aquum Niyama
Who wouldn’t want to play here? Climbing wall, water play park, trampoline, outdoor kitchen, a stage… seriously, as well as ALL of the above, there is the most jam-packed schedule of group games and activities that kids from as young as 12 months up to teenagers, can join in with.
How long would you stay for?
We were there for four nights. That wasn’t enough. We packed so much in to our time there, and managed to have a day of ‘beach time’, too, but I am hungry for more. I reckon a week to ten nights would be heavenly. And if we did go back (yes please!), I would love to tie in a ten-night trip to Sri Lanka before, to make the most of flying around ten hours.
It’s expensive – is it worth it?
There’s no getting away from the fact that any of the resorts in the Maldives can cost a pretty penny. The reason is three-fold. One, it’s expensive to set up a resort hotel, starting with the water desalination plant every single island needs. Two, the hotel brands are super slick and the service and accommodation is well worth the amount they charge. Three, its exclusive, beautiful and simply better than your average holiday, which is why it comes at a premium, i.e. it IS worth saving up for. Plus, since more people, and families, are looking to travel to the Maldives than ever before, there are more packages and offers available.
Does the Maldives live up to the hype?
Turquoise waters, blue skies, white coral ridden sands. So far, so textbook Paradise. But I knew this hotel had gotten under my skin when I found myself searching on its jobs website a week after I returned. ‘Executive housekeeper’, you say? Yeah, I could do that! Anything to get me back on that sweet sweet island. How will anything ever again match up, hey? I have been getting the heeby jeebies ever since we arrived back at a rainy old Gatwick, where I normally would be looking forward to my next adventure. There is no doubt about it – the Maldives is the holiday of a lifetime. And Per Aquum Niyama is one of the biggest jewels in its crown.
+ Read more articles all about the Maldives…