A vacation in the Maldives signifies many things – luxury, comfort, beauty, exclusivity and elegant grandeur. Making this package all the more appealing and wholesome is Kandima Maldives, a resort located in the Dhaalu Atoll, which is a serene 45-minute seaplane ride away from Male airport. When I was invited to sample Kandima’s ‘Affordable Luxury for All’ hospitality, I could not refuse, and took my husband and six-year-old son along to sample their family-friendly offerings. Having just returned from the vacation of a lifetime, I’m ready to lay bare all my thoughts!
Like many private resorts in the Maldives, Kandima functions on a one island one resort concept. Its technology driven, modern vibe is sure to appeal to global millennials. Led ably by Neeraj Seth, the Cluster Director – Marketing and Communications, the resort’s team curates a ‘reimagined lifestyle’ for every guest, ensuring that families, couples, groups of friends and solo travellers enjoy bespoke and memorable experiences tailored to fit their needs.
The experience begins in style as one arrives on a seaplane, flying low above the stunning reefs and lagoons of the Indian Ocean. From there, one is ushered into paradise – vast stretches of stunningly blue ocean surrounding a pristine white sandy beach with the lush natural greenery of Kandima island providing the perfect backdrop. Though you may be loath to leave this scenic beauty, your private haven awaits, which is accessed either through bicycles or buggy rides owing to the vast length of the island, which is over 3kms long. This short ride takes you to one of their 264 studios and villas categorised on the basis of amenities offered and price range. No matter which category you choose though, the views remain unquestionably amazing, and the smart villas equipped with flexible furniture concepts are amenable to adjustment as per preference. Families of 3-4 can comfortably stay in any category and enjoy the privacy of their chosen environs or explore the public areas of the resort before retreating to their dwellings at night.
We stayed in two categories of villas, each of which had its own charm. The first of these was the Sunset Beach Pool Villa with Swirl Pool, which opened directly onto the beach and offered stunning views of the sunset. Its open-style large bathroom with a jacuzzi was a treat for nature lovers. The second was the Ocean Pool Villa offering the signature Maldivian resort experience with its well-placed infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. This offers unbeatable views of the sunrise and, if one is lucky, sightings of exotic sea creatures like dolphins. I am told that the Aqua Villas with Swirl Pool are the most popular choice owing to their attractive price point. Whichever room you choose, the bright and vibrant interiors, comfortable setting and prompt and friendly service, is sure to appeal across the board.
However, I advise you not to become too attached to your room, because Kandima Maldives has plentiful recreational offerings. One can choose from a host of indulgent experiences based on their preferences, like exploring hidden gems in and around the island, staying active by hitting the gym or playing tennis, walking or bicycling around the island, indulging in art lessons with resident Maldivian artists, snorkelling in the open sea to explore the colourful reefs, practicing wellness through yoga and meditation, or choosing from a variety of exciting water sports and ocean experiences. A special mention is due to Kandima’s Kakuni point located at the end of the island which has stunning views.
Those looking for something exclusive and unique will be pleased to learn about Kandima Maldives’ Castaway Island experience, which allows you to spend time with loved ones on a secluded island. Though I did not partake of this experience, it’s description of ‘untouched powder white sand beaches and unexplored coral reefs, with sunset views straight out of a painting’ has me intrigued and I hope to try it on my next visit.
What I did try and enjoyed thoroughly, were their multiple wellness options. Relaxing yoga and mindful meditation by an Indian Yogi / wellness professional on the beach with the sun setting in the background, made for a truly wonderful experience. Those who prefer higher levels of activity can attempt classes like Aerial Yoga at Kandima’s yoga studio. Another experience I highly recommend is a service at Kandima’s award winning esKape Spa, where you can choose from holistic sessions ranging from exfoliation or healing treatments, authentic Maldivian therapies like esKapism or the rejuvenating Sea Coconut Secret treatment. Teens and tots can also avail the treatments with parents in the room.
No trip to Kandima Maldives is complete without attempting their many outdoor adventures, underwater experiences and water activities. The resort recently introduced a fun Seabob experience to explore the vast array of reefs surrounding the island through water sleds. More traditional activities include Parasailing, Dolphin Quests, Skydiving, Kayaking, Paddle-Boarding, Jet Skis, Wake-Boarding and more. There is something for every family member at the Aquaholics Dive and Watersports Centre – a choice of water sports, as well as diving or snorkelling in the vibrant reef around Kandima Maldives. Adventure seekers will enjoy the night snorkelling experience with UV lights that transforms your view of the Maldivian waves.
Any private resort in Maldives worth its name, must offer a variety of world-class dining options since all meals are taken on the island throughout the stay. Owing to its large size, Kandima Maldives has a selection of ten award-winning restaurants and bars to choose from, including three fine dining specialty restaurants offering culinary treats from around the world. These are Azure, Smoked, and Sea Dragon. Kandima Maldives’ healthy Mediterranean diner Azure is a fabulous option and once a week serves up delicious local Maldivian cuisine and entertainment. Their grill house Smoked serves flavourful and freshly sourced seafood, meats, and a large menu of vegetarian options; while Sea Dragon offers authentic Asian cuisine with a modern touch – from freshly caught fish to juicy lobsters, crabs and more.
Kandima Maldives is one of few private resorts that has a unique farm-to-table initiative, bringing the freshest of green produce to one’s dinner table. The all-day dining restaurants called Flavour and Zest are popular eateries. One can also enjoy private destination dining through exclusive curated experiences in and around the resort – including private sandbank dining, picnics at Kakuni Point, or personalised barbeque set-ups on remote islands with three-course menus and live music.
If the above points haven’t convinced you to pay Kandima Maldives a visit, their medical and safety standards certainly will. Their K’OnGuard program and the presence of an onsite medical clinic provides an additional layer of safeguards and gives visitors complete peace of mind during their wellness holiday.
Kandima Maldives has a lot to offer, and after spending five jampacked days there, we still felt we had not made the most of it and could have stayed for longer. It is the kind of place where you want to return repeatedly, and my family and I have resolved to do exactly that.
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on email@example.com.