Niyama is a luxury wonderland that's perfect for guests who want to be washed up on a desert island castaway-style, but with all the trimmings of a modern and chic hotel. No creature comforts have been spared and there's a distinct cosmopolitan vibe. I spent just three days exploring the island and I'll never forget the pink sunsets and friendly staff. Here's my top 9 reasons to visit:
Wake-up and smell the coffee
Flying over a turquoise ocean as clear as a gem stone and landing on a desert island in the Maldives is pretty spectacular, so you may be wondering why coffee takes the number one spot. But, go with it, we Europeans love our coffee in the morning and Niyama made my morning wake up extra special. Each day the wonderful Chili would write a new message on my cappuccino and wow us with his barista knowledge. Chili whipped up a cappuccino with 'life is in the detail' decorated on top in a matter of minutes, while we made the tough decision of whether to eat a Mexican style, Japanese style, English style - the list goes on - breakfast. The coffee love-in was proof that Niyama's service is unimaginably attentive and personalised.
Dine in the tree tops at The Nest
New for 2015 is Niyama's restaurant high up in the leafy tree tops. It's perfect for a super sophisticated date, with a touch of Tarzan and Jane thrown in (minus the scary rope swings over crocodile pits). As you ascend into the tree tops, you will notice how well the tables are placed for total privacy and the moody lighting makes the place feel very covert. The Nest serves Asian specialities from Thai to Teppanyaki and don't forget to order some plum sake at the end of your meal. If you make the mistake of ordering a whole bottle, (because it was just so delicious), then you'll find a buggy waiting to escort you home for the evening.
On our last night we hopped on a boat and were taken to Edge, a private jetty restaurant in the middle of the ocean. Book your dinner slightly earlier than usual so you can make the most of the sunset and stunning view of the island. The Niyama Negronis and Melon Daisy cocktails are sublime! End your week by dancing into the early hours at Subsix - a night club beneath the waves.
Bathe al fresco
For many, the attraction of the Maldives is being able to jump straight into the sea from an overwater villa. At Niyama the overwater villas are top notch but the beach suites are also hiding a very special secret: huge open air bathrooms with waterfall showers and all the toiletries a girl could wish for. Total bliss.
The Maldives is just a beach holiday, right? Wrong! Niyama offers so much more. Every evening the Niyama 'playlist' was slipped through our door and was jam packed with activities to do the following day. From early morning yoga to expeditions with the marine biologist, you could even squeeze in some marathon training and head out on a run with the personal trainer.
Befriend your Thakuru
Every guest has their own Thakuru (aka butler) to help them during their stay. Your Thakuru will book restaurants for you, whizz you around the island on a buggy and will be contactable 24 hours a day. The team at Niyama will even invite you to share your personal preferences ahead of arrival via a website that records your taste in pillows, wine, food and service style.
Pop 'til you drop
A popcorn machine in your room, a plasma screen TV and a library full of movies. Enough said.
Kids go wild
Niyama's brand new kids club is now one of, if not, the finest kids club in the Maldives. By now you've already got the idea that Niyama's standards are very, very high, and nowhere is this more evident than at the kids club. Little girls (and doting mothers) will love the fashion show that's put on every week; where every child will be able to dress up in desginer one-offs that are available exclusively on the island. Or, avid explorers will enjoy being whisked off to a deserted island to learn about Maldivian nature.
Top tip: Niyama is the only island in the Maldives to look after children under three years of age, which makes it perfect for parents needing some time to chill out.
Chill and play
Speaking of chilling out, Niyama is spread across two islands: Play and Chill. Fancy a treatment to rejuvenate your baby skin? (Yes, you heard correctly). Head to the LIME spa on Chill. Or, a day's scuba diving with Seb at the water sports centre? Then head to Play. For active explorers who think that a Maldivian island might give them cabin fever, there's no chance of this at Niyama; there's just so much to explore.