Perfect for multigenerational families and larger groups, this spot offers various activities while maintaining a sense of relaxation, privacy and pure escapism.
Set the scene
A thrilling 40-minute transfer by seaplane from Velana International Airport in Male, and just seven minutes by speedboat from sister island Iru Fushi, Siyam World is all about fun and action. There’s a palpable mission to offer experiences previously unheard of in the Maldives. It attracts a lively crowd of young couples and families seeking to tick the boxes for entertainment and relaxation. The island has 133 acres of lush exotic vegetation, lined with 2.5 miles of silky white buttermilk beaches, shallow azure blue lagoons and 3.75 miles of house reef – but despite its size, and with bars and restaurants spread across this large space, there’s still that covetable sense of privacy, space and relaxing calm.
All islands in the Maldives are government-owned, and the 100-year licence and permission to build a resort on Dhigurah went exclusively to local contractors. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Siyam World opened in October 2021 and is the creative vision of partners in life and business Ausy Waseem, the resort manager, and creative director Sara Siyam, supported by a 1,200-strong team of employees, 60 per cent of whom are locals. The hotel is a new addition to the Sun Siyam Resorts collection, founded and managed by Maldivian entrepreneur Ahmed Siyam Mohamed.
There are 472 villas (300 over water), with between one and six rooms, so this place perfectly suits families or groups of friends holidaying together. Every villa has a private pool. Especially lovely is the Beach House Collection, which launched in December 2021. Contemporary and spacious in design, these are arranged over two floors. Bedrooms on upper floors, with wooden double-height ceilings, offer the most magnificent sunrise views. The outdoor bathroom has a rather splashy gold-tiled walk-in rain shower room, a freestanding hot tub, sun loungers and a private pool. Large glass doors lead out to a private open-air courtyard seating area, lush garden and direct access to the beach.
If you have deep pockets or really want to splash out, book The Palace, a 130,000-square-foot six-bedroom villa with two pools that can sleep 16 adults or 12 adults and four children.
The food and drink
Expansive – this is an all-inclusive resort with 10 restaurants and seven bars. Breakfast is as lavish as you’d expect: pancakes flipped to order, chia bowls and Indian delicacies. Gourmet Thai is served at overwater restaurant Takrai – order the Massaman Neua, a slow-cooked beef curry. At Andalusia, the traditional Spanish restaurant, executive chef David Galero serves tapas, seafood, red meat and rice-based dishes. This is where the island’s huge wine cellar is hidden, too, stocked with more than 200 bottles from around the world, including a selection of kosher and vegan wines from Spain.
Veyo Spa is a tranquil sanctuary, its 18 treatment rooms arranged in a perfect circle among lush jungle right in the middle of the island. Treatments include Maldivian traditional healing, massages and moon rituals. There are couples’ retreats, honeymoon packages and a family fun day for parents with kids between 7-12 years old that includes yoga, meditation, sound healing music therapy and outdoor massage. Book an enchanting yoga session with Maya, a ray of sunshine who makes it impossible not to leave glowing with happiness and calm.
This was the biggest and most extraordinary surprise – and will especially delight horse lovers. Horses in the Maldives, you ask? Not possible. And yet. Siyam World is the only resort in the Maldives to have a horse ranch. I took a 6.30am ride along a picture-perfect dream beach on mare Noor one of four glorious and fiery Marwari (or Melani) horses at the resort. This rare and original desert horse breed from the Marwar region of Rajasthan is one of the few indigenous breeds left in India. These horses are extremely beautiful and elegant and have distinctive and unusual inward-curving ears. Trained and looked after by Shad Mahapule, who used to train racehorses in India, these creatures are treated like royalty. Whizzing along the long beach in full-flying gallop by the waterline on this exquisite creature is a privilege, a priceless highlight and a bucket-list tick-off.
Upon arrival, a personal ambassador is assigned to each guest or villa. Ambassadors will look after anything, such as booking excursions and pick-ups for pre-booked treatments and activities. They can be contacted directly via WhatsApp, removing all organisational stress and allowing guests to lean into relaxation and holiday mode as soon as they set foot on the island. The service is on point, efficient and extremely friendly. Brightly coloured golf buggies transport guests from A to B, and there’s a shuttle service constantly touring the main paths on the island, collecting guests and delivering them to their desired destination until the early hours.
Children under 12 sleep and eat for free when staying at a villa with two adults. Grown-ups can hang out at beach parties at Siyam World’sWorld’s beach infinity pool or try snorkelling and diving at the incredible house reef. There are also activities and water sports with expert tuition for families to try, such as tennis, football, paddleboarding and, for the utterly fearless, adrenaline-raising flyboarding, sea bob and banana boat rides and high-speed jet skiing. Siyam World is also home to the Indian Ocean’s biggest floating water park, Siyam Water World.
The (complimentary) Kidz World caters for children aged 4-12 and offers lots of fun activities for the little ones.
Maldivian Mariyam Thuhufaa, the resident marine biologist, and her team continuously work on maintaining the reef. They run the coral-planting restoration project, where guests can get involved with reef regeneration and make a lasting and meaningful contribution. Living pieces of coral that have broken off the reef naturally by waves are carefully cleaned and attached to a metal structure, which guests can sponsor, and then returned to the house reef. Thuhufaa also organises marine biology talks and takes part in the Kidz World programme to educate younger guests on the importance of protecting coral and sea life.
Accessibility for those with mobility impairments
Most guests make the journey to the resort by seaplane, which is not wheelchair accessible – however you can make the transfer via domestic plane and then a speedboat. Wheelchairs can be moved easily on the jetty's, in the restaurants, spa and around the pool areas and most of the sand on the resort pathways is compact. Staff can ensure that guests who need it are placed closer to the amenities, but there are some parts of the island that would be inaccessible.
Anything left to mention?
Majestic herons wander the beach and take off for flight at sunset – try to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.
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