Last month, Daniella Selig from London was officially the 750,000th visiting tourists to the Maldives in 2010. This was a significant landmark and a record for the Maldives. Daniella, with her husband Justin and two children were met with a colourful welcome ceremony to mark the occasion. During her stay, she was also invited to meet President Nasheed at his office. This was understandably a unique experience for the whole family! They had a very relaxed meeting and Daniella was also offered a free family holiday to the Maldives.
Now back in London, and the British winter, Daniela has kindly offered to do a brief interview with the Maldives Tourism and Promotion Board regarding her recent holiday and their meeting with the President:
Daniella, what attracted you to choose the Maldives?
“We were looking for a family holiday destination that would be hot and relaxing at the time we wanted to travel. We had previously travelled to the Maldives on our honeymoon a few years ago and had such a wonderful time that we knew we would be able to relax there. My husband enjoys watersports, particularly diving and sailing which we knew he would be able to do in the Maldives – in fact the diving there is some of the best he has ever encountered”.
Where else were you considering going?
“We looked into Florida, Thailand and Tenerife – we were also looking for value for money and we felt overall that we would get this most if we went to the Maldives. We also wanted to consider flight times, bearing in mind that we had children travelling with us so were looking for somewhere that wasn’t longer than 11-12 hours”.
Do you think the Maldives is suitable for a family holiday?
“Yes absolutely. We did have some initial reservations – namely flight duration, jet lag, kid’s entertainment etc but we definitely chose the right resort which enabled us to have a fabulous holiday for both ourselves and the children. We stayed in the wonderful Anantara Dhigu - If you find a resort like we did that had a kids club, child friendly staff and restaurants etc then it can work really well. For us, having a beach villa was particularly good as we had a balance of shade and sun, and the children could play inside or outside whilst we relaxed in close proximity to them. Anantara Dhigu was fantastic to our kids and provided goody bags, kids’ meals, cutlery, high chairs etc and brought warm milk for our toddler to our room on request. There were also babysitters available. I would highly recommend this resort for the perfect family holiday”.
What activities have you enjoyed most?
“My husband was very keen to partake in watersports – he went diving, sailing, took the kids on a kayak and went windsurfing”..
What did you think of the quality of service and the friendliness of the staff?
“The staff at Anantara Dhigu couldn’t do enough for us during our stay. They were extremely friendly and always wanted to chat to us. They were lovely with the kids, playing with them and entertaining them at mealtimes”.
What did your children enjoy most in the Maldives?
“They loved the beaches and the clear blue water – that they could swim and see the fish swimming next to them! They loved the water activities – swimming, kayaking and the speedboat rides to and from the airport. My son enjoyed the kids club, particularly the activity where they went to feed the sharks! The beach was perfect – compared to other beach resorts, they had plenty of space to run around, build huge sandcastles etc!”
What would be your advice to a family planning to visit the Maldives for their holiday?
“You will thoroughly enjoy your holiday and will able to relax whilst the children have fun at the same time. It’s also extremely safe and we felt really comfortable with the kids walking around the island. I would try and stay at a resort such as Anantara Dhigu which creates a perfect balance between family fun and relaxation for the adults. There is plenty of space to not feel ‘crowded’ with kid.
My only tips that were a potential problem would be to be prepared in taking the things you need with you. There are not really shops in the resorts to buy snacks, nappies, medication etc for children especially and if there are they can be quite costly. It isn’t that easy to travel to Male just to get these things so it’s better to be prepared and take them with”.
The president has given you a free holiday but, would you still have returned to the Maldives?
“Definitely yes! It’s an incredibly beautiful place and we had such a fabulous holiday there”.
Finally, what did you think of the President?
“He was a really lovely man – we were touched by how warm and friendly he was and how nicely he welcomed us into his office. The children felt very relaxed around him and wanted to perform a puppet show for him! You can see that he really wants to make the Maldives a wonderful place and build on its existing reputation”.