When we first decided to go to the Maldives with New Horizon Escapes, our first thought was how overwhelming it would be to find the right accommodation across the 1200 islands. If you’ve had your eyes on Maldives for a while you will also know that the variety of resorts and islands out there are endless, so really where could we start? Luckily, as if the Universe was listening, we got an email from Noku Maldives, a Singaporean resort. We got invited out there to come and check out the island and the facilities for a potential escape. We didn’t hang about for a second, so we booked our flights and flew out there to see if Noku was what we needed. Prior to going we actually always believed that The Maldives were a bit overrated, we’ve travelled a lot so have seen a ton of sandy white beaches with palm trees and blue waters and didn’t see what all the fuss was about, but boy were we wrong!
When we arrived to Noku we realised that it was like nowhere in the world that we’ve been before. The scenery, the tranquility and vibe are completely unique in the Maldives. Noku had a very minimalist and modern feel to it and if you stopped and listened for any noise, there was none. The island was small, it had a couple of restaurants, a bar, a very small gym (we could work with it), a spa and beautiful scenery at every turn. The food there was delicious! The chef would make sure to always offer things that weren’t on the buffet and the staff offered some of the best service we had ever encountered. We fell in love right away, therefore walked away deciding to return there with the escape. Months passed, and one day, something happened…. We were scrolling on Instagram researching more resorts to see if we could find something really unique and …. we did…
We originally came across Niyama Maldives through one of our trainers Zanna Van Dijk who had been away with them earlier in the year and had nothing but amazing things to say about the place, so we decided to look a little further. The more we researched the islands the more we started to understand how much both of our brands aligned, so we decided to get in touch and see if we could arrange a visit. We had our fingers crossed that things would work out and eventually after a few weeks of communicating we agreed on a date to go and visit Niyama. We both decided to go with open minds and just allow ourselves to fully explore without making any early assumptions about the place.
Once we arrived at Niyama we were greeted by the amazing staff who made sure we felt very much at home. We were taken to our beach pool villa by our own personal butler to get settled in and enjoy the following few days of paradise. I think the first thing that Adam noticed was the popcorn machine and the coffee machine, and the first thing I fell in love with was the incredible tropical and zen bathroom (I could’ve easily made that my bedroom). The villa came fully equipped with everything you could ever need, so we were already extremely happy and the good feeling didn’t stop. Immediately outside the front of the villa we walked straight onto the beach to explore the area a little; At this point, can I just mention that the villa keys are not your traditional keys, but instead they are electronic bracelets you wear on your wrist at all times so you never have to remember to bring it.
As soon as we stepped outside we saw our personalised bicycles waiting with our names on them. We hopped on them barefoot and went exploring around the island, and the first thing we discovered about this island was that it was much much bigger than Noku (in fact it’s two islands joined with a bridge). First we went to grab some lunch at one of the restaurants and enjoyed the fresh food and amazing views, then after lunch hopped back on the bikes to go and explore “Play island” where we discovered that Niyama has it’s very own private surf break How cool is that? Did you know there was surfing in the Maldives? These guys know how to get you hooked in and so The Surf Shack bar became one of our favourite places to chill for a drink and watch the surfers do their thing.
The team at Niyama had created a little itinerary for us so for our first dinner we sampled their African themed restaurant “Tribal”. The food and the atmosphere was very cool and although we’re not big meat eaters (there was a great selection of African game on the menu) there was still a great selection of food and we had an amazing time, eventually leaving with our bellies slightly too full. We then slowly cycled ourselves back to the villa and got an early night due to the long haul flights that day. The first day here was pure bliss and we were excited to see what the following 2 days had in store for us.
The next morning we woke up and enjoyed the breakfast buffet at one of two restaurants open for breakfast on the islands. The food was super delicious and I must say Niyama provide an amazing spread when it comes to buffets. They always have a variety of fresh salads, fruit and vegetarian dishes, as well as expertly prepared international dishes. It was definitely one fo the best buffets we’ve had and we were excited to keep exploring around the island and tasting all the different foods from the plentiful restaurants. Once we finished our breakfast we decided to jump in the sea and test our snorkel masks and maybe see some cool marine life. The water here is incredibly clear, so we had a lot of fun messing around and creating content for the brand.
We never run an escape unless we’ve experienced all the accommodation ourselves, so part of our visit was touring the rooms to ensure they meet our expectations. A buggy came to collect us and we went our island tour. We saw and filmed all levels of accommodation for the website and even the ones that are WAY out of budget (because why not right?) which was great to see. This island was something special, and every day we were won over by it more and more. In order to respect guest privacy we weren’t permitted to fly the drone directly from the islands, however a short boat ride to the famous SubSix underwater restaurant enabled us to fly the drone and get a great birds eye view of the islands.
The water here was of a next level blue, I’m not really sure I’ve even seen a blue this blue. When we arrived we decided to quickly pop downstairs and see what the underwater restaurant looked like and… It was absolutely incredible, so we couldn’t leave without sampling the food! 5 courses and several hundred dollars later we had experienced something we had only ever read about. It was an amazing experience, and something we know that guests will find absolutely unforgettable.
At the end of our meal, one of the waiters mentioned that there will be a GLOW party happening in the underwater restaurant that night so we decided to come back that evening for a boogie with a difference. The party that night was not very busy as it was low season, but myself and one of the marketing girls Anjelie had a lot of fun painting our faces and dancing to house music while the surrounding fish went about their business.
The following day I decided to give parasailing a go. I’ve always watched the beach boys in Thailand offer parasailing experiences but I’ve got to say the safety of the operation and particularly landing on the beach has always concerned me, so the opportunity to do it at a very professional, luxury resort in The Maldives was too good to pass up . So here I was, in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, up in the air staring down at the island and the neighbouring islands. I always thought the experience would be somewhat full of adrenaline, but instead once at the top, it would’ve been the perfect spot to meditate in. The wind stood still and I was in my own little world. I’m really glad I got to experience it in the Maldives. Next up is sky diving and I hope to do it in a beautiful place like Maldives or Dubai.
During the whole 3 days we would start our days with a gym session at the very well equipped indoor/outdoor gym. It was definitely the kind of gym we would love to have at all of our partner resorts on escapes but we know this isn’t always possible, so we were ecstatic. Evenings were spent watching the sun go down at The Surf Shack, while sipping on coconuts and watching the surfers do their thing. Our trip came to an end way too soon and it was time to say our sad goodbyes. It was at this point that we both realised we found the perfect resort in the Maldives and that Niyama Private Islands would be our new partner in The Maldives. We’re extremely excited to be returning there for our next Nov & Dec escapes.
All of our 2019 and 2020 escapes will now be run from Niyama Maldives, a stunning resort we’re extremely excited to be working with in the future. We hope you enjoyed this blog and the videos and we hope to see some of you escape away with us to paradise.