Maldives Special 2023: The Standard Maldives proves an ideal base for a luxury, multi-generational trip to paradise
Nestled on the beautiful Huruvalhi Atoll, The Standard Maldives is quite simply a paradise island. Since we published our preview of this year’s Maldives Special, The Sloaney Travel Team has been flooded with questions about this magical destination.
The Maldives has become a popular part of the world to visit for those seeking winter sun, memorable snorkelling and diving experiences, as well as unadulterated rest and relaxation in luxurious surroundings.
The Standard Maldives is a wonderful resort for those wanting to explore the delights of the Indian Ocean, with all members of their family. Located a seaplane ride away from Male (approximately 30-40 minutes), it feels as though you are part of a James Bond film when you arrive at this property. While the seaplane journey itself naturally adds some extra time in the air after a long flight, the breath-taking views of the Maldivian Atolls make it worthwhile and ensures that the beginning of your trip feels extra special.
The seaplane terminal is located in a separate building to Velena International Airport and it has benefited from an impressive renovation, with no expense spared during its upgrade. Representatives from The Standard Maldives are on-hand to greet arrivals at the main airport and to help guide guests seamlessly through the transition from airliner to seaplane, with the latter located a short bus-ride away.
The seaplane journey is incredibly smooth, with take-off and landing particularly soft. If you are travelling with a baby, noise cancelling headphones to help dull the sound of the plane may prove helpful, but young children generally enjoyed the thrill of taking off and landing on water and they were not concerned by noise levels.
The charming Standard Maldives International Airport consists of an isolated jetty that is positioned offshore from the resort. A speedboat whisks visitors from the jetty to the Huruvalhi Atoll in a matter of minutes, where you are greeted by staff waving and provided with a cold beverage.
For those travelling with little children, we were very impressed with the general manner and helpfulness of The Standard staff, who not only assisted the young children when navigating a very busy arrivals lounge, but also calmed any flight or boat nerves and took extra precautions to make sure that they felt as safe as possible while in transit.
The five-star island property has a luxurious, but very relaxed atmosphere. It benefits from a remote setting with long stretches of white sand and turquoise water. The facilities at this hotel are outstanding and it is perfectly set-up for a multi-generational break. The Standard Maldives combines a cool and contemporary vibe, with a sense of modern luxury. During our visit there were an eclectic mix of guests. Both couples and families were harmoniously enjoying the delights of the island and everyone demonstrated the utmost respect for other guests, helping to make it a suitable and welcoming destination for all.
During our visit, we were chiefly focusing on the suitability of the property for a multi-generational family break and stayed in the Two Bedroom Lagoon Beach Pool Villa. This villa layout comprises two separate smaller villas, which are joined by a substantially sized plunge pool and a shared dining area. It is an excellent arrangement for those travelling with different generations or extended family. It allows for privacy within your travelling party, but also plenty of opportunities for socialising together too.
The Two Bedroom Lagoon Beach Pool Villa sits proudly next to the arrivals deck and it is located on the sunset side of the island. The beach is incredibly quiet and there is generally a great sense of privacy at this resort. However, this is also complemented by the opportunity to become more involved with various activities and social side of The Standard Maldives, should you wish.
The Two Bedroom Lagoon Beach Pool Villa is particularly well situated on the island for those who want to immerse themselves in the social scene that surrounds the main swimming pool. The huge infinity pool provides the perfect photo background, with the water stretching endlessly into the sea behind. A DJ plays during sundowners and the cocktail list includes some delicious frozen options to help cool you down in the high temperatures. There is also the opportunity to try beach volleyball, the beanbag game, cards or chess.
The main restaurant is nearby and this offers bar snacks, casual dining and a fantastic buffet during the primary mealtimes. The buffet food is very impressive, with the curries a particular highlight. In fact, one of the pleasures of travelling to this part of the world is the fantastic cuisine. Culinary influences come from Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and Japan, with a broad use of spices evident, as well a fresh tropical fruit aplenty.
The Standard Maldives has a number of restaurants to try during a stay. The sushi that is served at the Beru Bar is among some of the best Japanese food that we have ever tried and it is certainly equal in quality – and perhaps surpassing – the likes of Zuma and ROKA.
The Beru Bar is a welcome attribute for those travelling with grandparents or a nanny to help with children. It provides parents with a great opportunity to enjoy some time together in an adults-only setting. The Beru Bar is perfect for a ‘date night’ and it sits at the very end of the long decked walkway where the over water villas are located. The Beru Bar is an over-water-club, which is perched just feet above the ocean with a see-through dance floor. You can sit right on the edge of the terraced area and enjoy a spectacular starry sky, with fish swimming beneath.
The Standard as a brand is well-known for its excellent food and beverage offerings. This property is no different and the other notable dining options away from the main restaurant include Guduguda, which serves traditional Maldivian cuisine and the BBQ Shak, which focuses on grilling fresh fish or meat on the beach.
The Maldives is known as one of the best destinations in the world for snorkelling. However, if you are planning a trip to one of the islands, it is important to do some research about the location of the hotel and the quality of the house reef before you decide whether it is suitable for your interests. The Standard Maldives has an excellent house reef, but there are specific parts of the island where you can make the most of the snorkelling, with some parts better than others.
During our stay, we spent the mornings – when the current is calmer – exploring the section of the reef that is situated behind the spa building. It is here where you can find a subtle path in the sea bed that helps to take you out towards the drop-off. The drop-off is the very edge of the reef and the part where it literally falls away to the depths of the Indian Ocean. At this point, you will witness thousands of fish swimming and eating near the edge. They take shelter here and also swim peacefully together. For those who have never experienced a ‘drop-off’, it is a spectacular sight and one of nature’s very special assets.
Closer in from the sea and towards the beach, the house reef at this hotel is broad and home to an extremely diverse range of brightly coloured tropical fish. You could spend hours floating above the coral and watching the sea life beneath. We swan with reef sharks, lionfish, stingrays and countless vibrant fish. There were huge shoals of fish and an extremely varied collection – it is a truly mesmerising experience.
Slightly in from the drop-off, near to the spa, you will find one of the safest and inspiring places to snorkel; however, you should also be an experienced snorkeller and a competent swimmer. The currents can still be very strong at times (flippers will help), but we recommend swimming in the morning, when the sea is much calmer and easier to navigate.
For those who are less confident in the water, but would still like to experience the marine life, there is a buoy that is situated directly opposite the main swimming pool. If you swim out towards the buoy, you can enjoy exploring a small section of breakaway coral, which is home to some fantastic fish. There are also a couple of other isolated sections of coral nearby and these are within easy reach of the shore.
Although turtles have been spotted near the house reef, we didn’t manage to swim with any directly from the hotel during our visit. However, The Standard Maldives thoroughly embraces its surroundings and offers a number of different offshore experiences. One of these experiences involves swimming with turtles.
During the turtle expedition, the knowledgeable team take guests on a boat to one of the remote reefs in the ocean where turtles are regularly spotted swimming. This is an experience that is well-worth doing and we were able to swim with four or five turtles and gain some fantastic footage that can be seen on Sloaney TV. We saw the turtles playing and interacting together. These gentle creatures glide elegantly through the water and they are happy to be joined by swimmers, so long as you respect their space and keep a sensible distance so as not to interfere with their routine.
It should be noted that The Standard team were particularly helpful with the children and both of the Little Sloaney representatives on this trip (aged 2 and 5) jumped gleefully into the sea with their lifejackets on and were able to swim alongside these incredible creatures. Our chief snorkelling guide expertly helped with looking after the children – he pulled them along with a floating ring so that they felt very safe in what is quite a rough sea at times. The eldest was able to look underwater with the help of a snorkel mask and the youngest was carefully positioned by the experienced guide so that he could watch the turtles come up to breathe. Admiring turtles in their natural habitat is an incredible experience, which is educational and extremely moving.
Of course, the turtles were the stars of the show during the expedition; however, it was also fantastic to venture off the island and enjoy a boat ride. During the Turtle Expedition, we passed some of the other islands and enjoyed far-reaching views. Others who had already taken this trip relayed that they had also seen dolphins during their outing and we recommend including this excursion within your itinerary because it is multi-dimensional and offers more than just the opportunity to swim with turtles.
Back at the hotel, there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy. The island is home to thousands of hermit crabs and these provided great entertainment for the children. Evening strolls along the beach in the dark are richly rewarded. Hundreds of larger crabs venture out after sunset.
You can also watch some of the bigger fish that appear in the water at night. The reef sharks seem relatively timid on this island but they often make an appearance when the light fades. We saw them swimming during the day but also weaving their way underneath the decked areas at night.
We were extremely lucky to experience Bioluminescent plankton during our visit and it proved to be a real treat. This phenomenon involves tiny marine organisms causing the surface of the ocean to sparkle. We were able to see it to some degree every night; although, some evenings it was more prominent. It was most spectacular on the ocean side of the island, rather than the lagoon side, and it is a magnificent sight (you can read more in our special feature here and watch some footage on Sloaney TV).
Overall, The Standard Maldives caters very well for those looking to relax in paradise within the comfort of their villa, or by the pool; however, it is also a complete haven if you want to experience the incredible ocean life that makes this part of the world so special.
The opportunity to plant coral during our visit was one small way for us to show some love and thanks to the ocean. This was an informative and educational experience that was run by the hotel, with environmental policies in mind. The coral throughout the Maldives has suffered from coral bleaching in some places and there are now excellent plans in place to plant nursery grown coral into the ocean. We learnt a lot from those running this programme, including the importance of swimming with care in the Indian Ocean. Treading on coral can cause damage that will last 10 years, so it is vital to be careful in these precious surroundings.
The ocean life is one of the top reasons to explore this part of the world. It is nothing short of spectacular and The Standard Maldives is an ideal destination for those looking to share such an experience with all members of their family.
The Little Sloaney Verdict
Following the launch of our Little Sloaney editorial section, we now cover many luxury experiences with children in mind. Our Little Sloaney team were on hand to give their thoughts about the Standard Maldives, with the parents thoroughly recommending this hotel for those seeking family-friendly and relaxed luxury. Very helpful staff and the stunning location, with its excellent facilities, allows this property to accommodate all ages very well.
In their own words…
“This was my favourite beach that I have ever been to visit. I loved collecting hermit crabs in my bucket and learning about how they change their shells. I put them back after watching them for a little bit. I also really liked watching the stars in the sea (Bioluminescent plankton). Planting coral was amazing. There was also a nice kids club to visit, but I actually didn’t need to go to it because there were so many fun things to do on the beach. I liked watching the fish and the swimming pool was also really fun when I wanted a change.” Rose, aged 5
“Everyone was really friendly at this hotel. I really liked going up to order my ice cream in the restaurant all by myself. I liked it so much that I ordered three in a row! I really liked going on the boat and seeing the turtles come up for air. The staff were really nice to me and helped me enjoy the island as much as possible.” – Michael, aged 2
Parent tips for travelling to The Standard Maldives with children: Some specific points to note for a family visit to this island:
- There is an on-site diving shop that has equipment hire for little children; however, we recommend practising in a pool first and taking your own small life jacket. The float suits from Splash About are very good for young children who cannot swim. The hotel provides some inflatable toys for the pool, so you don’t need to worry about packing anything like this and there are buckets and spades available in the shop.
- There is an excellent Kids Club that has lots of activities to do, but the children will also play endlessly on the beach because there is so much to keep them interested. From collecting shells, to watching hermit crabs and spotting reef sharks, the nature on the island is nothing short of exceptional.
- Take a torch to the beach at night – the children will enjoy looking for different wildlife.
- The Two Bedroom Beach Lagoon Villa is excellent for travelling with children and a nanny or grandparents. It is located next to all the amenities and only a short walk from the main restaurant. It is incredibly spacious and offers one of the largest private plunge pools on the island. This is perfect for large families.
- The buffet at the hotel is excellent and there is a lot of variety. It is very good for children. There is also the ability to eat in your villa and order from a room service menu. This is helpful for those children who are still having a nap, because it means that parents can eat during naptime and keep an eye on any little ones having a snooze.
Those planning a trip in the near future can make the most of the Eat, Play, Love package, which includes a number of perks. Designed for those who wish to eat, play, and fall in love (again) in the Maldives, a couples’ massage and a bottle of chilled champagne are among the many bonuses. You can find out more here.
For general bookings, you can check availability and discover more information online at: Maldives Resort | Villas & Bungalows | The Standard Hotels or by contacting +960 658-5555. A special mention to Shamaau, who is very knowledgeable about the island and will certainly help to facilitate any additional requests.
Don’t miss our preview on Sloaney TV, with the full film due to be released soon:
With thanks to The Sloaney Travel Team
Words: Laura Toogood | Photography: Gilles | Filmography: Sarah Bacon | Producers: LT, G and SB | Little Sloaney Words: Rose and Michael