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Citizen Enfants

The Nautilus Maldives: A Family-Friendly Resort With Luxury In Every Detail

Refined luxury at The Nautilus, Maldives proves you don’t need to compromise on five-star treatment when travelling with children.

Standing out in the Maldives is no easy feat: privacy is a given, overwater villas and acres of private beach surrounding rooms come as standard, and one is spoiled by mesmerising scenery of uninhabited islands, swaying coconut trees and rich marine life.

The Nautilus Maldives has it all – and more. This sublime tropical haven has redefined the meaning of five-star in a world where the concept of luxury has been diluted. The private island, made up of 26 beach and ocean villas has all the hallmarks of a honeymoon haven whilst remaining completely family friendly: a rare accomplishment for a resort of this stature.

The island is in the north-east corner of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and just 30 minutes by seaplane from the capital Malé. Kids are foregrounded here: up to two children under the age of 12 stay and eat for free at the hotel’s restaurants. Citizen Enfants visited to escape the hustle and bustle of modern-day life and to experience this enchanting island retreat that has a mantra of “anytime, anywhere”.

The Vibe

The Nautilus is a bohemian barefoot island with an offering so unique and personal that practically anything is possible, for adults and children alike. The beauty of this island is that you are free to do, and be, as you please. There are no set times, rigid menus or set activities, so you have complete freedom to dream up your days. This really is laidback luxury at its finest.

From the moment we arrived at the sea-plane lounge in Malé, attention to detail began. Our four-year-old was taken to the lounge’s very own children’s play area by one of the hosts, keeping him entertained whilst we fed our youngest. On disembarking the sea plane, he was asked if he would like to sit in the pilot’s seat – an experience to make any child’s day.

On arriving at the resort we were greeted by our lovely House Master; a private hostess of sorts, but they somehow feel like part of your family and, by the end of the trip, are certainly your child’s best friend. They will set up a WhatsApp group with you and, in the background, will personalise your mini bar, arrange a visit to the kids’ club, organise private excursions (all excursions at The Nautilus are arranged solely for you and your family) or book you a child-friendly dinner. They also offer a packing and unpacking service, helping to ensure you relax with your family from the moment you step foot on the island. Every member of staff is incredibly friendly and helpful and makes the upmost effort to remember the smallest of details about what you like – but never in an intrusive way. You get the sense that they all genuinely love being there.

The Rooms

There are 26 houses and residences on the island, and the word ‘houses’ is accurate. There is no feeling of entry-level here; each residence is either surrounded by greenery and leads directly to the beach or faces out towards the ocean meaning you feel almost as though you have the entire island to yourself. Even the one-bed beach houses have what feels like your own private section of beach, where you can sit and watch the shoreline from the comfort of your sun lounger whilst still maintaining complete privacy.

There’s a personality and bohemian feel to the décor, with vibrant accent colours and beautiful, individually-chosen furnishings. All houses come with a private pool, furnished sundeck and interiors to swoon over while residences come with additional dining rooms and bedrooms and are ideal for larger families. For a truly once-in-a-lifetime stay, book The Nautilus Mansion – the island’s very own castle on the white sands, dreamt up by the owner as the ultimate private beach house.

The Food + Drink

There are three dining options on the island (four including the bar), each serving gourmet and international delicacies – and with kids’ menus too. None of the three restaurants have set opening or closing times, menu restrictions or dress codes, making it an incredibly relaxed experience for dining with children. 

Thyme has a laid-back beach house ambience with juices, fresh fish, salads and burgers, making it the perfect casual dining spot for breakfast and lunch and, given the beach front position, an easy spot with plenty of space for children to run around.

Ocaso, an al fresco grill set on the pristine sands of the island, takes you on a journey of Peruvian, Japanese and Mexican cuisine with a wine cellar of over 200 of the finest wines from France and beyond – all within the comfort of your own private cabana making it the perfect evening spot to sit and listen to the waves hitting the shore. At Naiboli pool bar, all-day deli bites and exquisite cocktails are served, each crafted in relation to your taste buds. Watch the sun go down in one of its cosy cabanas or swinging chairs while listening to live acoustic music.

At the end of a long jetty and situated over a lagoon, Zeytoun is a place to gaze out across the ocean as the sun sets with manta ray swimming below. Kids’ entertainment extends into the evening, ensuring no time is spent without having a blast. The restaurants all include a Maldivian children’s corner, where origami making, balloon twisting and face painting are offered to keep young guests entertained. Last orders? There is no such thing as timings are all fitted around you.

The Child’s Play

The kids’ club, Young Wonderers, does not disappoint. Designed to encourage relentless curiosity for the unique surroundings, young guests will find themselves painting coconuts, partaking in island treasure hunts, and cooking up a storm.  There are also Dhivehi classes teaching budding linguists the local language and Boduberu classes: one of the most popular – and very lively – forms of traditional Maldivian music. 

Little ones are catered for with the utmost attention to detail. Our sons were met with their own platter of beautifully-decorated cake pops and cup cakes with their names on, and had beds set up to feel like a home away from home – complete with cuddly toys, mini slippers, robes and children’s bath products. One of the most touching moments of our trip was a video montage, put together to capture our sons’ time on the island.

The To-Do List

There are so many stand-out signature private experiences on offer here including yacht cruises, barbecues on the beach, big-game fishing excursions, and an opportunity to witness manta rays in the wild (from May until November). For Citizen Enfants, the highlights were a trip upon our very own private 55-foot yacht to watch dolphins as the sun set, and the equally impressive al fresco family-film movie night on the pristine white sands. Both are memories that will stay with us for years to come.

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