Traveling in Maldives with a baby
Pleasures and Perils of Holidaying with a Baby

Does holidaying in the Maldives with an infant make one lose out on the fun? Are these Indian Ocean islands better enjoyed as a couple? Our intrepid author has the answer

We recently took a trip to the Maldives where we made two super luxury properties our home for the week, the Ozen Life Madhoo and the Ozen Reserve Bolifushi. These are properties where a majority (or all) of the villas have private pools, some grant you direct access to white sand beaches whereas others are perched atop coral reefs in the middle of the sea, where you can watch all sorts of tropical fish frolic and swim all day through the glass-bottomed floors or just by peering over your villa’s edge. Furthermore, we had signed up ourselves for the indulgent package which basically is a euphemistic way of saying that we will start drinking at breakfast, mostly champagne, and will continue with this through the day, only punctuating this stupor with morsels of food to make sure we can get up and do it all over again the next day.

 

Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Well, I skipped one teensy weensy ickle little fact – we were traveling with a 6-month-old baby, Nirvair, and we had decided to not bring the nanny along. Yes, now that’s a plot spin worthy of being turned into an Oscar-worthy screenplay. Trouble is, we still aren’t sure though if it would get nominated as a drama, action, comedy, or tragedy!

 

Traveling with a baby Maldives inside image

 

Traveling with a baby has its advantages – when the baby is happy and in a playful exploratory mood, you really need no other form of healthier distraction. But infants aren’t so predictable and hence it can be tricky and quite daunting to take them anywhere. For one, minute they are away from home, everything is perceptibly new to them, so they are curious and irritable at the same time. The interiors of our suites and villas at the two properties were nothing short of majestic – high ceilings with big fans with elaborate blades are always a gaze-fixer for babies – so it took a lot of time before Nirvair was calm enough to take a nap, or just generally be less fidgety.

 

The hotels, for their part, were quite equipped to handle their youngest of guests. They had bottle sterilisers, diapers in all sizes, baby cutlery, and the chefs were tuned in to every baby food need we could ask of them and delivered on cue every single time.

 

Maybe if Nirvair was over three years of age, it would have been even easier, as both the resorts had these massive kids’ play areas (Bolifushi has one of the biggest in Maldives we were told) where the kids can let loose, participating in activities ranging from creative craft classes to simply chilling in a (shallow) pool. They even had a nanny service for evenings when certain families would like to enjoy a cosy candlelit moment around the dinner table sans baby. But alas, in our case, with someone so young, we needed an accompanying adult even in the play area so, with nannies out of our equation, we didn’t have much choice but to take our tot with us everywhere.

 

That said, we did manage two lavish sit-down dinners, one at M6M at Madhoo, where we were immersed 6 metres below sea level and had the entire population of the reef to keep us company just beyond the thick safety glass windows that made up the restaurant’s walls. The other was an absolute cracker of a 5-course meal at Origines at Bolifushi, where we sat staring into the horizon, where the sea meets the sky, where the sun had just set, with only the stars and the waning moon for company. Suffice to say that the Wagyu was grade 7 and that was pretty much par for the rest of the meal. I mean, the wine selection had vintage champagnes dating back two decades to kick start the meal so, once again, it was truly superlative. What really helped was that we managed to feed the tot by the time the first course arrived, so he slept off and let us enjoy the evening in relative peace.

 

Traveling with a baby maldives inside image

 

Remember that fancy resorts like these ones (on Madhoo and Bolifushi) are pretty much self-contained units so once you check in, the hotel must ensure they have enough of a plan of activities to keep guests pleasantly occupied. From fish-feeding to sundowners, yoga classes, spa treatments and gyms to extensive water sports (including snorkelling and even Scuba diving), both the resorts had it all. Now, we couldn’t do much in the water sports department, babies aren’t allowed on most such leisurely excursion boats, but the spa and sundowners still served us well.

 

So, does having a baby on a trip to the Maldives make one lose out on the real fun? Is Maldives only better as a couple? Well, to an extent, yes. If you can, bring a nanny along; both the Ozen properties had villas with 2 rooms (and the upgrade from a single room was marginal). The inclusive package guarantees that not just meals for you and your team are taken care of but you can crack open vintage premier cru champagnes right from breakfast and continue till the cows come home and it won’t make a dent outside your budget.

 

While travelling with older kids would definitely be easier, at least this trip broke the notion that Maldives is only a romantic destination for newly married couples on their honeymoon or those who haven’t spawned babies yet. We passed our week, making choices in favour of the baby; making compromises as some may say. But even while realising that an older Nirvair would have enjoyed Maldives more, the things we chose to do together as a family still ensured that we had a great time, and overall, the trip to these beautiful Atmpsphere Ozen properties will go down in our albums as a happy and memorable one.

 

Away with the Netflix and Hotstar downloads that you were waiting to greedily binge watch on the flights, let the book lie idle in your hand luggage, there wasn’t even the need for a playlist that one normally compiles just hours before leaving for the airport – the baby will keep you pleasantly occupied with his/her antics and before you know it, you are fastening seat belts again for the landing. It’s even better when the tot is sleepy and passes out minute you board and doesn’t nod awake till landing.

 

Alas, neither is life ever so ideal and nor are infants so predictable. Though sleep rode heavy on his eyelids, Nirvair persevered in staying awake, before, during and after flight, so, in a way, he did find a way to occupy us except that he was cranky, fidgety, irritable, bored, anxious, and hungry all at the same time.

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