Toddling off to the Maldives: Charlotte Hawkins and her two-year-old enjoy pristine beaches, amazing sealife and …

If your idea of paradise is golden sands, coconut palms, deserted beaches and clear blue water, perhaps with the odd cocktail thrown in for good measure, then surely the Maldives are as good as it gets.

For me, one thing that nudges these islands ahead of their rivals is the seclusion.

There are more than 100 island resorts, giving an exclusive, boutique feel. You are never more than a few paces from a beach, and if you’re lucky you can have an entire one to yourself.

The waters are crystal-clear and shallow enough to give a spectacular view of an amazing array of marine life.

Good Morning Britain star Charlotte Hawkins (pictured) took her toddler Ella Rose to the Maldives for a family escape 

Having first visited for our ‘babymoon’ when I was six months pregnant with our daughter Ella Rose, my husband Mark and I decided to return and show her the paradise we had fallen in love with.

We opted to stay at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which has twice been voted the Indian Ocean’s best hotel. 

It ticked the family-friendly box, and the prospect of eating at an underwater restaurant sounded as if it would not only appeal to us, but also to a two-year-old with a short attention span.

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Before we left the UK, I had been concerned that Ella Rose would find the 11-hour flight an endurance test, so we booked an overnight service – and it worked a treat.

As luck would have it, I had completed a ‘fear of flying’ course the week before for a Good Morning Britain live broadcast, which was just as well as the seaplane transfer from the capital Malé to our resort was a bit of a daunting prospect for me, but I did get a fantastic view of the islands.

As soon as you step off the seaplane you’re encouraged to kick off your shoes as you don’t need them.

ocean, so you can snorkel straight from your back door, and find a fascinating range of creatures.

Pictured, a pair of oriental sweetlips

We saw little ones going off on mini-excursions and taking part in cookery lessons, so there were plenty of activities for those who wanted them. The infinity pool with sunloungers around the shallow areas meant parents could catch some sun as well as keep a watchful eye on their children.

We spent time meandering in a pedalo, but for the more daring there is a full array of watersports on offer, including flyboarding, where you are propelled above the water while wearing jet boots. This took place out at sea near the beach bar – watching the less successful participants proved to be a highly entertaining spectacle.

Rangali Island is actually two islands connected by a footbridge. One island has an adults-only area, and the other is predominantly for families.

Staying in a water villa means you can make the most of the view all around you while still feeling secluded. The top decking area is completely enclosed, so it is safe for little ones.

The second bedroom for older children comes with bean bags and video games.

Steps from the decking lead to the ocean, so you can snorkel straight from your back door, and you’ll find a fascinating range of creatures under the villa.

Frequent visitors include baby sharks and rays which you can spot through a glass panel set into the bathroom floor. A jacuzzi on the deck is the perfect place to watch the sun go down while sipping a glass of wine.

It is a long journey to get to the Maldives but certainly well worth it. You are guaranteed to get a warm welcome.

There is something magical about the golden sands, vivid blue water and abundance of shimmering fish. The anticipation starts on your journey in – as you peer from the window on the plane, you get a spectacular view of the islands mapped out beneath you.

It is all the more poignant knowing that these islands may not be here for ever – they are under threat due to rising sea levels. When asked about the chances of his grandchildren being able to live in the Maldives, one former president said it was 50-50.

So go now to experience a slice of paradise.


Inspiring Travel Company (inspiringtravelcompany. offers seven nights’ BB at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island from £7,589 per family, based on two adults and a child sharing a Beach Villa, including return flights with Emirates from Heathrow and transfers.