Nick Walton visits Per Aquum Niyama one of the most romantic resorts in the Maldives to discover the future of the world’s favourite Indian Ocean playground.
Once upon a time, a visit to the Maldives was all about enjoying the destination’s captivating beauty and doing as little as possible in the process. While there are still plenty of guests who arrive at Per Aquum Niyama, a 45-minute seaplane ride from the international airport at Male, with that intention, making the most of their beachfront or overwater villas, the spa, or the serene little corners of the island that are idea for curling up with a good book, an increasing number want to balance out all that relaxation with activities that excite, inspire and even educate.
We checked in to our Beach Pavilion with Pool as the sun hung low, signally the end of another day in paradise. Our room is spacious and modern without being flashy; there’s a separate master bedroom, an elegant garden at the back complete with outdoor shower, a spacious bathroom with deep soak tub, and a cavernous lounge that looks out across the sea. The pink sky was captured in a reflection that rans the length of our private plunge pool, the mirror-like waters of the lagoon only meters away across a pristine, deserted beach. There was time for a dip and a chilled glass of champagne before we made our way, guided by our Thakuru butler Milo, to the Tribal restaurant and a chance to learn African Latino cooking techniques.
After breakfast at Subsix, which not only features the underworld venue below but also a chic restaurant and cocktail lounge above called Edge, we cruise back to the main resort pier to don flippers and masks before heading out, this time above the water, to Niyama’s own private picnic island, for spot of guided snorkeling and a romantic picnic lunch on a deserted shaded beach. We race across the mirror-still lagoon and watch as couples and families start their day under the sun, taking a dip in the lagoon or breakfast at BLU, the resort’s new Mediterranean-themed all day dining restaurant that’s wreathed around one of the most beautiful infinity pools in the Maldives. Under the Indian Ocean sun the colours of the island – red and yellow umbrellas, brilliant white sand, lush green canopies and impossibly blue water, and the yellow of an arriving seaplane – are intensified as they can only be at the heart of the Indian Ocean. It makes every return to the Maldives like a first encounter.
The perfect counter balance to a day spent on the beach is a treatment at the resort’s LIME Spa. The key here is wellness heritage and innovation in equal measure; you can try a host of signature treatments using island coconut oil or Maldivian sand, align your chakras in SubLIME, a serene garden with sauna and steam rooms and pools; or fight off the jetlag with one of the After Dark rituals that promise to send you directly to a tropically inspired Cloud Nine.
That evening we head to the trees and Per Aquum Niyama’s newest creation, Nest. This unique restaurant features a menu packed with Asian flavors; there’s a teppanyaki hot plate downstairs but for a true experience, ascend the stairs to the canopy walkways which link the separate dining areas of the multi-level treehouse. Each private pod is suspended six meters above the lush island jungle and offers an enchanting and utterly romantic escape amongst the treetops.
Per Aquum Niyama
PO Box 2002
Republic of Maldives
Phone. +960 676 282 8
Text by Nick Walton | Photos courtesy of Per Aquum Niyama