The first thing that strikes one upon arrival in Niyama Private Islands Maldives is the silence. Although there are 134 villas and pavilions spread across two connected islands – named Chill and Play – it is quiet. That’s one of the reasons why visitors to Niyama tend to feel they are in their very own tropical paradise.
It is this feeling, according to Niyama’s general manager, Hafidh Al Busaidy, that makes the islands perfect for the ever-growing market of GCC travellers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the Gulf, whether they’re with their families, on a romantic honeymoon, on a surfing trip or simply looking for relaxation and a bit of what Niyama bills as “nature’s playground.”
“Our rooms are very, very private. For such a large island, we probably have one of the lower densities of accommodations in the Maldives. We often hear that even though we’re full, our guests don’t see anyone else, except when going to the restaurants,” he says. “You have very good privacy here, and for Arab clientele, that works very well. They enjoy that, and in terms of convenience, it’s a four-hour hop and you’re here.”
The privacy that Al Busaidy mentions is a concept built into each of the rooms at Niyama. They range from beach studios (some with private pools) all the way through to a three bedroom beach pavilion with pools and the even larger “Crescent”, a series of five over-water villas that can house 14 adults and eight children and come with a private chef and housekeeper.
For those seeking privacy and quiet, human contact mostly comes in the form of one’s “Thakuru”, the attentive and cheerful Maldivian butlers assigned to each room, who are available to offer food and beverage suggestions, ferry guests around the property in a buggy, help arrange snorkelling tours, jet skis or other activities. Or, as was the case when Arabian Business visited, answer questions about Maldivian culture.
Given the small size of most Maldives resorts (Niyama is, at approximately two square kilometres, the third largest) and the fact that most are quite isolated and require a seaplane transfer or domestic flight and boat pick-up, a common concern in the Maldives is repetitiveness – the same activities, restaurants and bars in a seemingly endless loop.
Niyama, however, does not suffer from this problem. Despite its relatively small room count, the property boasts an impressive number of places to eat and drink. They include the Maldives’ only Afro-Latin restaurant, an underwater dining venue which doubles as a nightclub and, perhaps most impressively, Nest, an atmospheric tree-top Asian restaurant in which diners eat to the tune of tropical birds singing in the trees.
However, as Al Busaidy says – correctly – Niyama’s major selling point is the fact that it can be as peaceful and quiet or as busy and active as each guest desires.
“It’s as intimate as you want it to be, but it’s incredibly genuine,” he says. “We do luxury, but we don’t do it from a pretentious point of view. It’s not formal. People come to relax, and depending on what level of service they want, we are prepared to give them that.”
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