I would like to thank Ben for sorting out a lovely holiday for us both - we had a fantastic time and we would recommend you to all our friends and family
The trip was excellent and all went to plan. Good communication from Des during the whole process. Will def use again.
Totally fantastic service, recommendations and flight times - will definitely be booking again.
Holiday destination was fantastic. Everything ran extremely well and DialAFlight did a amazing job for us. All bookings and changes we were kept informed of and all ran smoothly. I would have no hesitation in recommending them.
Always willing to assist and help with even the silliest of questions. Thank you for everything.
Stafford was brilliant, and kept us in the loop. He was really friendly and helpful, made our holiday process so easy and made sure we were happy with everything. Would definitely recommend DialAFlight.
Craig was brilliant from the initial enquiry to dealing with final requests and ensuring everything was OK a few days before departure.
Dylan is fantastic. Our operator changed the holiday twice due to Covid. Not only did he rebook but took the time to find best flight options and this was made 10x harder due to the final trip being in the Easter holidays. Always loved dealing with him but this time he really proved invaluable. Thanks so much!
Declan was brilliant. He was super patient and kind. He even called us just before the trip. We rebooked it 4 times due to lockdowns and illness and he wanted to make sure everything was in place and we were ok. Anyone else we spoke to was professional and helpful. There are not many companies you can say that about these days!
Sarah is absolutely fantastic. We will definitely be booking our next holiday with her
Excellent service as always and trip went according to plan. Maldives in particular was amazing
Stacey helped us book our holiday back in 2020. She was super helpful and then again when it all had to be changed due to Covid.
Les and Teddy, absolute stars!
Sean literally made our dream holiday come true. He’s amazing and we will hold the memory of this beautiful place in our hearts forever. Unforgettable holiday. We certainly found paradise in The Maldives.
Attention to detail, fast response and very polite and friendly staff - could not be any better.
Great service. Will definitely use you again.
Everything worked out perfectly.
Kylie was fantastic and a credit to your company
We had excellent advice from Marie and Tristan. They also made it stress free when we had to change our booking to new dates.
Dexter was excellent as always and made sure our first holiday with our baby went as smoothly as possible.
Superb support from Paul
Julie provided a first class holiday with no problems as usual.
Taylor helped us personally and professionally from start to finish. Happy to answer any questions however small. We felt comfortable that even if we needed support whilst we were away we had 24 hour help. We had the most amazing holiday of a lifetime! Thankyou. We have already recommended to friends
A superb efficient service as always and very reassuring when it came to making sure we had all the right paperwork for the trip
Fantastic communication throughout and excellent service - can’t fault it.
First class yet again from Neil and his team, excellent trip and excellent advice.
Kennedy is a star
Eric provided us with a first class service, always available and professional. Have no hesitation in recommending him and the company and will certainly use him again.
Holiday was perfect
I think it would be useful to provided specific information on what documents are required re: covid proofs by the airports, airlines and resorts visited on the holiday. A list and links to relevant sites would have been really helpful.
The idea of taking two small children to the Maldives is not something anyone of sound mind would usually entertain. The Maldives is a honeymoon destination, right?
The 26 atolls are renowned for their serenity… I'd been promised that the LUX* South Ari Atoll was different. Beloved of hand-holding couples but also child and eco-friendly, with a marine biology programme.
But on the flight, with husband Kenton, four-year-old Rafe and Allegra, eight, I was still questioning my decision to head there as a family.
On arrival there followed a 25-minute seaplane hop to our final destination.
South Ari Atoll is a big island resort by Maldivian standards. There are just over 190 villas and suites (either on stilts or nestled along the beach), nine bars and restaurants, a delicious ice-cream parlour, two pools, and countless watersports. But their ethos is to be a bit different from the usual family-orientated resort.
It is full of little secrets and surprises, such as a bright red phone box where you can call home for free, or the open-air photo-booth where my children amused themselves for hours by pulling funny faces at the camera.
There were messages in bottles hidden all over the hotel every morning, offering the lucky finder free pizza or bottle of wine. And a bar that popped up in various palm-fringed coves, where you could help yourself to a cocktail or three.
There were fresh coconut stalls, and stashes of chopped fruit here and piles of nuts there. In short, the walk to breakfast was fun. There was no better way to motivate Rafe to make the ten-minute walk down the beach each day for his boiled egg and soldiers than the prospect of finding a hidden treat along the way.
South Ari Atoll knows how to cater for children: there's a kids' pool, films on the beach, a kids' club with arts and crafts, and, best of all, the marine biology centre run by Italian powerhouse Francesca.
My daughter became rather obsessed with Francesca, a gorgeous polyglot, with a degree in marine biology and a passion for whale sharks with which she managed to enthuse everyone.
The resort has a major whale shark-spotting area on its doorstep, and Francesca and the rest of the marine centre staff photograph and monitor these gentle giants (they can grow to 40ft and weigh 21 tons) as part of a global preservation plan.
We spent most of our week on, or in, the water, either swimming in the crystal-clear ocean, snorkelling, or sailing. One evening, instead of going to watch stingrays being fed outside the Umami sushi restaurant, we fished for our supper. As a storm came in and the rain lashed down, the children became all the more determined to land any sort of catch - but to no avail.
Fortunately, some Japanese tourists who came with us caught plenty so gave us some of theirs. And what a delicious meal it made. There's nothing more glamorous than having your chef barbecue freshly caught fish while you sip a glass of rosé.
The best was yet to come. On our last day we went sailing on the resort's catamaran and we were joined by 30 or so over-excited dolphins that showed off their swimming skills for at least half an hour, much to Allegra's delight.
Just then the call went out from Dolores, from the marine centre: 'A whale shark! Over the starboard deck.' There was a mad scramble for masks and snorkels before we all threw ourselves over the side.
By a stroke of luck, as everyone else was swept in the wrong direction, I landed within a few feet of the whale shark's head.
Dark grey and the size of six London buses, it was one of the most beautiful, serene and impressive animals I have ever seen. For ten minutes we swam side by side, one of its large soulful eyes staring at me, and me staring right back. It was a heart-stopping, privileged moment I will never forget.
The hotel food was delicious, particularly the Umami sushi. However, it was the ice-cream parlour ICI that drove my children wild - choc, double choc, or choc with extra choc delight. There were marshmallows and sprinkles and Smarties to throw over the top. It was as if Willy Wonka himself had set up shop.
On that final day, as we stood on the jetty with our bags packed waiting for the seaplane, I did feel a terrible twinge of jealousy as a group of new guests arrived for their week of delights, while ours was over.
Whoever suggests the Maldives is not for families doesn't know what they are talking about - ask my children, one of whom came home a stingray-feeding pirate, while the other discovered she is actually a marine biologist.
First published in the Mail on Sunday - March 2016 More articles below...
First published in the Mail on Sunday - March 2016
More articles below...
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