The perfect Maldives family island you'll never want to leave

Why go:

There are hundreds of atolls to choose from if you're looking to book your holiday to the Maldives, so why choose Vakkaru. There are many reasons. First off, it's located a scenic 30-minute journey north of Male International Airport by seaplane - even I, who have a fear of flying, couldn't help but be mesmerised by all the shades of turquoise we flew over.

Secondly, it is poised within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll with many unexplored fishing and diving spots, and you'll even enjoy the largest visibility of Manta Rays if you're there from May to September. Finally, it boasts 360-degree views of the Indian Ocean away from all neighbouring island, meaning unbeatable sunrise or sunset views.

The vibe:

Vakkaru's name means 'coconut timber' in Dhivehi, and this sets the tone for the private oasis you're about to enter. Soft white sand lanes (shoes optional) lined by palm trees lead to buildings that are so open you don't know where the indoors finishes and the outdoors begins. The traditional Maldivian style can be seen throughout, thanks to natural fabrics, wooden beams and art.

Beyond the location and amenities, what really makes Vakkaru stand out is the service. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, everyone goes above and beyond to make your stay as perfect as it can be. We were assigned our own butler, Sato, who helped us with everything from our itineraries to booking meals and even taking pictures, taking on even the smallest of our worries so that we enjoyed the most relaxing holiday ever.

The rooms:

Vakkaru is relatively large, with 113 beach and over-water villas, but they are so secluded that you'd be forgiven for thinking you're the only one on the island. The villas were all redesigned recently and there are now three villa types including the Two Bedroom Beach Villa, Beach Spa Pool Villa and the Over Water Family Pool Villa.

Which villa you book is entirely up to you. Every one of them features its own private pool, with the beach villas having the added bonus of direct access to the beach and being slightly more secluded thanks to lush foliage surroundings.

You won't be able to find more magical than the lagoon villas though, suspended as they are over the glittering turquoise waters. For extra space, the family villa provides an even bigger living space (both indoor and outdoor) as well as bedrooms for the children.

(Image credit: © 2019 A. Shuau (obofili) / Vakkaru Maldives)

Each villa is styled in the traditional Maldivian way, but with a modern twist. Think giant four-poster beds with crisp white sheets, plush furniture in earthy tones, walls decorated with local art and generous marble bathrooms.

The food & drink:

You'll be spoiled for choice here, as there are six restaurants and bars on the island, covering an array of international cuisines from authentic Italian at Isoletta, South East Asian at Onu, global cuisine at Amaany and grilled meat and seafood at Vakku. It's quite hard to play favourites here, but if I had to pick, I would say the lobster curry with eggplant and mango at Onu was my personal highlight. The breakfast was second to none, with dishes from all around the world to pick from, including pastries and cooked breakfast. However it would be a shame not to try the fresh smoothies and the local Mas Huni, a savoury pancake topped with tuna, coconut and chili.

In terms of drinks, if niche wines are your think, then head straight to Vakkaru Reserve - the resort’s wine cellar - which offers limited-edition wines from around the world as well as signature fine dining and array of cheeses and charcuterie. For cocktails, try the Lagoon Bar. Though it has an extensive cocktail menu, the barman will happily create any bespoke drinks you would like.

The spa:

Merana Spa features both couple and single treatment rooms, hair and nail salon, spa boutique and a wellness area. Both the decor and the treatments are inspired by ancient rituals and infused with quality ingredients. You must try the Vakkaru Signature journey, an immersive full-body journey by the finest natural healing and moisturising elements of the coconut, including a headed coconut shell massage. You'll be floating on air afterwards.

If you want to keep active during your stay, there are plenty of classes to pick from, or you can hit the gym if you prefer. We tried sunrise yoga and loved it.

What to do:

Whether you're travelling as a couple or as a family, there is something for everyone. Vakkaru’s on-site dive and water sports centre Splash offers a variety of excursions, activities and guided tours with their in-house marine biologist, who has extensive knowledge of all the beautiful fish and marina you'll encounter.

If you're a family, then fear not, there is plenty for everyone to do. Children from between 3 to 12 can enjoy extensive kid’s facilities at Parrotfish Club, while teenagers and adults have 24-hour access to fun recreational activities at Coconut Club.

For Easter, Vakkaru Maldives is teaming up with the UK's first producer of gourmet marshmallows, The Marshmallowist to create bespoke treats like the "Easter Bunny Hot Chocolate Bar" at Amaany on Easter Sunday morning, "A Very Marshmallowist Masterclass" for adults at Vakkaru Reserve and for children at Parrotfish Club, an adults-only "Baileys x The Marshmallowist Cocktails" in partnership with Baileys at Lagoon Bar and an afternoon in the sun at Cabana Bar's "Easter Beats Pool Party" where The Marshmallowist will be serving her signature mallow ice cream sandwiches.

The need to know:

Rates at Vakkaru Maldives start at $997 per night based on two people sharing a Beach Villa. A seaplane transfer from Male (Velana International Airport) to Vakkaru costs $699 for one adult’s return transfer. Direct flights from London to Male with British Airways from £728.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.