Landing in the seaplane at the Niyama dock was like stepping onto the movie set of Avatar. The teal blue water extended as far as the eye could see and in the middle of that teal were the lush islands of Niyama Private Islands. With staff members waving us onto the property, we deplaned and were greeted with delicious cold beverages and scented towels. We found paradise yet again. Niyama was an incredible treat, so read on to find out what we loved.
It really is difficult to go wrong in the Maldives, with the stunning, never-ending lagoons and picture-perfect white sand beaches and Niyama was no different. Niyama is made up of two islands: Play and Chill. Our Beach Villa with a pool was beautifully situated on the “chill” island, a slightly quieter side with nothing but the white sand and blue waters outside our door. “Play” and “Chill” are connected by a short bridge and both sides are equally beautiful. The “Play” side had the majority of the restaurants and water sports areas, whereas “Chill” was made up mostly of the villas and over-water bungalows. I don’t believe you can go wrong with either side.
Lobby & Check in experience: 5/5
As with many of the 5 star properties in the Maldives, your check-in happens at the seaplane transfer lounge. We never stepped foot in the open-air lobby at Niyama and we were immediately greeted upon exiting the seaplane as if we were family. They knew exactly who we were and they handled all our luggage for us. The moment you arrive at Niyama, you don’t see a reception desk or step into a line for anything. Each guest is assigned a Thakuru, or butler, who takes care of anything you need throughout your experience.
We were provided a Beach Pool Villa, which was absolutely dreamy. The room itself has a comfortable king bed facing the ocean, a massive refrigerator filled with free ice cream and other treats as well as a mini bar with chargeable items as well as complimentary popcorn and a popcorn machine in case you want to have a movie night in.
The patio has a traditional Maldivian lounger as well as two beach loungers and a pool. You have direct beach access (while still having the privacy of being tucked into the trees).
The best part, though, was the bathroom. The bathroom in the Beach Pool Villa was the size of the villa itself and completely outdoors! There were two vanities, a shower room, a toilet room and a stunning stand-alone tub and outdoor shower. As nice as the indoor shower was, I never used it because the outdoor shower was bliss.
They do spray the property for mosquitos so it was not an issue. To avoid being bitten, just like anywhere else, avoid being outside right at dusk.
There was no real need to leave our personal paradise, but there was so much to explore on the islands that we dragged ourselves out of the beautiful villa to explore.
Personally, the Beach Pool Villas here were incredible and I would 100% stay in one again. If you’re debating between Water Villas or the Beach, I’d urge you to consider the beach villas for the enormous bathrooms and access to soft sandy beach right outside your doorstep.
Niyama leaves you wanting nothing. They have absolutely everything you would need for a month long vacation on these islands. My only regret was not staying longer to explore all the amazing activities and features of the property. There is a beautiful spa, gym, 9 restaurants, a water sports center with motor and non-motorized sports and a full activities center with tours and excursions. They also throw parties at their various bars and restaurants, so there is always something going on.
We were invited to a dolphin cruise to explore the surrounding areas in search of dolphins and it was a blast jetting around for a few hours on the open seas. Keep in mind, dolphins are wild animals so you do not always see them and sadly, this time, we didn’t. However, it was still a blast since I love being out on the water. This is just one of the many excursions available. The activities center was full of options and the service was excellent. We had inquired about kiteboarding and if they suspected we’d get enough wind to go out on our kiteboard. Unfortunately, it wasn’t looking like there would be any wind those few days, but the activities agent said he’d give us a call if anything popped up on their radars. I thought to myself, I’m sure he will never call but nice of him to offer. However, I was wrong- he remembered us and gave us a call a few days later to let us know that he was still checking for us and there would be no wind that week. This was very representative of the service here in general: it was excellent.
My favorite aspect of Niyama was the beach cruisers that were outside your villa the moment you arrived. While the property wasn’t so big you couldn’t walk around (or call for a buggy), it was such a blast to bike around – especially at night. The lanterns that hung from the trees lit up the winding pathways and you could explore the entire island safely and anytime day, or night. We preferred to bike to all our activities and meals because we enjoyed the freedom the bikes gave, and they were so cute!
With 9 restaurants, we could have stayed at Niyama forever. We thoroughly enjoyed every single experience we had here, from the poolside lunch at Blu, to treetop dining at Nest to the underwater experience at Subsix. The dining here was incredibly unique. Every restaurant offered something completely different, which made it such a unique experience.
If you’re looking for a great spot to enjoy a good cocktail, you cannot skip the rum bar at the Surf Shack. They play reggae music and serve dangerously good rum cocktails as the sun is setting over the horizon in the distance. The theme was so thorough that the bartenders even had rasta dreads!
We had breakfast each morning at Epicure, where we were able to enjoy all the delicious options like the made-to-order egg station, fruits, breads and of course the mimosa station! We really loved the inclusion of regional cuisine that was made-to-order and changed every day: from dosas to delicious regional egg dishes.
Nest offered delicious Thai cuisine, while you sit inside the tree tops on these beautiful platforms built around and throughout the trees. You can hear the ocean in the distance and the birds chirping around you. I mentioned arriving on property and feeling like we were on the set of Avatar- but this really felt like Avatar. Candlelight flickered around the massive palms and soft music played in the background as you were served delicious cocktails and wine along with your perfectly cooked Thai food.
The most unique experience we had was at Subsix, the underwater restaurant situated 6 meters (~20 feet) below the surface. To get there, you are shuttled out on a red pontoon boat through the teal blue lagoon. You are greeted at the dock and taken down a flight of stairs to the absolutely stunning restaurant surrounded by fish and sea life. We were served delicious dishes like tuna carpaccio, seared scallops, lobster medallions and pan seared seabass. Incredible service supplemented this meal and this was truly a life-long memory. I will never forget sitting below the sea and being surrounded by the fish.
On our last evening, we enjoyed sundowners at the hip lounge at The Edge, the restaurant situated above Subsix in the middle of the lagoon. We watched as the fire-red sun set on the horizon in the distance as the DJ played trendy music. After our beverages, we enjoyed a delicious meal at The Edge restaurant, literally eating at the edge of the dock. The good service seemed to follow us throughout our stay and we were wined and dined to the sound of the ocean lapping against the dock.
We were even lucky enough to catch one of Niyama’s Glow Parties, that take place in the Subsix restaurant 6 meters below the sea. We painted each other’s faces with the glow-in-the-dark markers and danced the night away. It was so fun!
The service across Niyama was excellent. Everyone wanted you to have a great time and they were very focused on making sure you had what you needed. It also was incredibly impressive that every morning, staff members were raking the sand all over the island to make sure there were no leaves or sharp shells around the beach. The sand outside our villa was always perfectly raked.
We tended to have the same waiters around the island at many meals and they were so nice! They remembered our preferences and it was so nice getting to know the staff members a bit more.
We loved the style at Niyama: the dark, intricate wood details and pops of red made the blue water look even bluer.
The themes at each restaurant and outlet were so thoroughly and thoughtfully considered. No detail was spared here: from the intricate details at each restaurant to the lavish room amenities. We loved the consistent red pops of color around the property from pillows to furniture to the pontoon boat that takes you out to The Edge.
Overall, the luxury experience at Niyama Private Islands was absolutely spectacular. The staff, amenities, dining and freedom to explore will stand out in my mind as a very special place that I am 100% going to get back to one day. I highly recommend this 5-star Maldivian paradise to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation with the option to play around with endless activities and excursions.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Niyama Maldives on a media stay. Please know the opinions expressed are all our own and may not reflect the hotel’s own views.