Used to be our kids wanted a hamster or a PlayStation for Christmas. Now they’re asking for a week at the Four Seasons Kids’ Club*—in the Maldives. How times change. You have to admit, though, it’s a pretty nice present for the parents, too. Have you checked your stocking?
The Maldives is a ring of remote islands (1,190 in all) in the Indian Ocean. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is a surf paradise with a small village feel. Everything is walkable and nearby.
There’s also a sister resort linked by seaplane or cruise (for kids eight and older) to the north, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. This one is set in the Baa Atoll wilderness—a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
We spoke with Masniza Molitav (affectionately known as “Mas”) about the extraordinary offerings at Kuda Huraa and everything the resort is doing for families.
FS Family: What makes Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa special?
MM: The fact that there’s so much for families to do together! Jumping on a traditional Maldivian dhoni (traditional fishing boat), venturing out on a shark snorkel safari, joining the pros to hang 10 on world-class surf breaks, taking a trip to the Island Spa (on its own tropical island) for some family pampering…
FS Family: And you have a surf school for kids…
MM: Our on-site Surf School is run by the pros from Tropicsurf, Australia. We offer courses for guests six and older. All instruction is in our shallow lagoon. More experienced surfers then move to one of six surf breaks within a 20-minute speedboat ride. It’s a great opportunity for parents to share the sport of surfing together. Family lessons are very popular.
FS Family: What about your interactive Kids Spa?
MM: The Island Spa’s Kuda (“Little”) Spa Menu includes a range of natural, island-inspired treatments for kids as young as six (accompanied by a parent or guardian), with special sessions that teach kids that their health really is in their own hands. There’s mud that cleans, miracle shells, and flowers and fruit that leave them smiling from the inside out. It’s a great first introduction to the health benefits of spa and nature’s role in that process. Kids also love the whole arrival experience by a tiny wooden dhoni, just a few minutes sail across the resort lagoon.
FS Family: What are the family diving courses like?
MM: Scuba diving is amazing for families to do together. Our PADI 5-Star IDC Centre offers all the PADI courses and has equipment for children as young as five. For five to eight year olds, we’ve introduced Supplied Air Snorkelling, which gives kids the experience of breathing through full scuba gear without diving below the surface of the water. They’re kitted out with child-size versions of everything they need before going on a guided tour of our coral gardens, close to the shore, with one of our dive instructors.
Children eight to 12 have the option of the Bubblemaker Experience or becoming a member of the PADI Seal Team. Bubblemaker takes place in the swimming pool and gives kids a first taste of steps necessary to explore the underwater world. In the PADI Seal Team program, kids embark on cool AquaMissions in our safe, sheltered coral gardens. They can master the basics and then progress to specialty scuba missions, such as navigation, night, and search and recovery. Each diving adventure is designed to be fun and educational.
We also offer complimentary snorkelling lessons to kids so they can discover the magical underwater world close from the shore.
FS Family: Tell us about your kids’ club*. We hear there are crab races and yoga.
MM: Yes—and that’s just the start! At “Kuda Mas” (Little Fish) Kids Club, children do arts and crafts, beach sports, visit the spa, cook and go on outdoor adventures (lizard safaris to discover the natural surroundings). The Kids Club regularly visits the resort’s Marine Discovery Centre to spend time with the marine biologists, learn about the baby turtles and watch 3D marine movie presentations. We also run special evening activities: Movie Night, PJ Party, Disco Party… allowing parents a few evenings a week to themselves.
FS Family: What’s doing for tweens and teens?
MM: Kuda Huraa is ideal for teens and tweens. They can go off on their own adventures without Mom and Dad cramping their style! Most like to try surfing or hang out at the Surf Shack. But there are lots of options: parasailing, Jet Skiing or banana boat rides, spa massage or a cooking class in Baraabaru, our Indian restaurant. Our recreation team staff are experts at putting together schedules based on individual preferences.
FS Family: Describe the Reefscapers coral transplant project.
MM: It is one of the most successful coral regeneration projects of its type in the world. Our marine biologists attach small pieces of broken coral to sand-covered metal frames that then grow into new coral colonies, helping to regenerate ailing coral reefs and build new ones. Families can sponsor a frame and even help our marine team transplant it in the lagoon. They can then follow the growth of their frame online and get regular progress updates. It’s a great project that really helps educate us about the importance of the reefs, and the many environmental and human threats that corals face.
FS Family: What creatures can kids expect to see?
MM: It is very common to see hermit crabs, lizards and geckos all around the island, but underwater is where the incredible discovery really begins. Our coral gardens are home to everything from comical puffer fish to stunning lionfish, fascinating turtles to elusive eels. Kids may also see reef sharks and manta rays on our snorkel safaris, as well as our resident spinner dolphins on the sunset dolphin cruise. We also have a resident school of baby black tip reef sharks that visit the waters in front of Sunset Lounge every evening. And of course, there are the island’s cutest residents: the baby sea turtles growing up in the turtle pools of our Marine Discovery Centre.
FS Family: You have special bungalows for families, right?
MM: Yes, our family rooms solve the challenge that families with three children often face when visiting a resort: the need to book an extra room. Our new Family Beach Bungalows are airy, right near the beach and include a private pool. Each has an adjoining study room with a single bed and pull-out underbed, plus desk, wardrobe and TV. With direct access to the dressing area and bathroom, the set-up is ideal for families with younger children.
FS Family: What should we be sure to eat/see/take home?
Be sure to see the dolphins on a dolphin cruise, the sharks on a shark snorkel safari, the work of the Reefscapers in the coral gardens and the baby turtles in the Marine Discovery Centre. The memory of the whole family enjoying a private picnic on a secluded sandbank—surrounded by nothing else but crystal waters and blue sky—is also not to be missed.
The best thing to take home? A traditional handcrafted Maldivian lacquer ware box. They are made exclusively on the island of Thulhaadhoo and were originally crafted for the royal family of the Maldives many centuries ago. Each one is hand-carved and hand-painted, and is a true testament to the colorful, natural beauty of the Maldives.
*Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) is a Four Seasons complimentary recreational and educational program for children of resort guests. Most KFAS clubs are designed for youth four to 12 years old, and open daily from 9 to 5. (Younger children can often join KFAS with a nanny or parent, or resorts can arrange for babysitting.) But details vary from property to property, so check the resort’s website for more information.
Kids can go all day or just for an hour or two. Activities inside and out include games, sports, music, treasure hunts, swimming, arts and crafts, cultural education, environmental preservation work and yoga. Not your average camp, the VIP offerings are pretty extraordinary—for example, at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, children get to experience Hawaiian cultural traditions, such as making fragrant leis by hand with flowers gathered from the resort’s extensive gardens, ukulele lessons and learning about the legend of how Maui got its name; plus fishing along the shore and examining the sea cucumbers, urchin, hermit crabs and coral that live in the nearby tide pools.
Read more about the Maldives in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read about sea turtle spotting in the Maldives in Four Seasons Magazine.
Explore all of the Special Offers at Four Seasons Resorts across the globe.
Masniza Moklitav (“Mas”) hails from Ipohk Perak, Malaysia. She joined Four Seasons in Langkawi in 2004 as part of the restaurant team. Her love for children (she has three of her own) lured Mas to join as Kids For All Seasons kids’ club supervisor in 2010. She moved to the Maldives as supervisor of Four Seasons Resort Maldives “Kuda Mas” Kids Club in 2011. “As a Malaysian, I was immersed in a great deal of different languages and cultural backgrounds, which has motivated me to constantly want to keep learning new things,” Mas says.
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