Followers of PackThePJs will know that visiting the Maldives has been top of the ‘to do’ list for over 15 years! Finally, earlier this month we actually got there 🙂 The brand new Kandima resort, in Dhaalu Atoll, has got to be the most amazing place on earth. What we did whilst there will be covered in future posts: This is an overview of the island, as seen through our eyes …
The 3km long Kandima resort is located in Dhaalu Atoll, 170 km from Male International Airport. The main island of Dhaalu Atoll is Kudahuvadhoo, which is where the domestic airport is located that serves Kandima. Many who arrive at Male International Airport will take a short 30 minutes domestic flight to Dhaalu Airport, followed by a fast 20 minutes boat ride to Kandima. Alternatively, there is a 40 minutes seaplane transfer from Male direct to Kandima.
For more details on these two transfer options, please see our review of both here.
Kandima is a new resort, opened in February 2017. When PackThePJs visited in August 2017 the remaining accommodation was being rolled out. Kandima is a lifestyle resort. Up until now the perception of a Maldives holiday is one of lying on a beach doing nothing all day. You can of course do this here, but there’s so much more on offer besides. All generations are catered for: from the very young, to the elderly; couples to families, and to honeymooners too. You can be as active, or as sedate as you wish to be.
Upon arrival at Kandima your first impression is a smiley one! Greeting you from the boat are a row of Kandima staff ready to welcome you, and offer an ice-cold flannel to cool down. The staff are always smiling; it’s clearly a very happy place!
At check-in you are given RFID wristbands, similar to those rolled out on modern cruise ships. These are to be worn all the time and replace a door key to your accommodation.
We were transported to our accommodation (Beach Pool Villa with Jacuzzi) on the back of golf-caddy bus (can’t think of a better way to describe them!) I’ll talk about rooms in a minute – suffice to say ours was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Couldn’t fault it. WOWs all round.
A standout feature at Kandima is the swimming pool – it’s huge at over 100m long (longest in the Maldives). The pool is child-friendly, with one end being quite shallow (even the deep end is only waist level). The pool wraps around Breeze, a fabulous bar area. There are sunken seating areas in the pool. Because they are difficult to describe I’ll show you with these photographs:
I loved sitting here reading a book while the children played pool. Toby especially liked Breeze because of the pool table. He clocked up at least 2 hours of practice every day.
We listened to some fabulous live bands while relaxing here in the evenings. As well as the sunken seating areas, there are daybeds, loungers, sofas, cabanas, and on the adjoining beach, some fabulous swing chairs!
I’ve not mentioned the wifi – there’s good wifi coverage throughout the island (we found).
Many of the key features deserve their own sections, so let’s do that.
Kandima offers 274 ‘rooms’ of seven different types. These are:
- Sky and Beach Studios
- Beach Villa with Jacuzzi
- Beach Pool Villa with Jacuzzi
- Aqua Villa
- Aqua Villa with Jacuzzi
- Ocean Pool Villa
- Honeymoon Aqua Pool Villa
We stayed in a Beach Pool Villa with Jacuzzi. You entered the villa into a large, contemporary, air-conditioned room, containing a large double bed and sofa (in our case it had been opened out to a second double for the children). There was a comfy chair facing a large flat screen TV, a dressing table, and an area containing a Nespresso coffee maker, kettle, bottled water – and the smartest drawer ever (you’ll have to wait until our post on the accommodation to see what I mean!) There’s also the obligatory mini-bar and safe – but a nice touch is that a hairdryer can be found in the dressing area 🙂
The bathroom was EPIC … it was 100% outside. Yes, even the loo. It was a walled garden converted into a very modern bathroom. Complete with loo, sink, standalone bath, rainstorm shower, jacuzzi (easily fit the 4 of us), and a comfy cabana.
The bedroom area leads out, via some patio doors to a sun terrace that overlooks your very own infinity pool.
Beyond the pool was a short, private path walk to your very own bit of the sea! It was beautiful.
Restaurants and Bars
Kandima offers ten different restaurants and bars. All tastes are catered for! We mainly ate at Flavour and Zest, for a buffet breakfast and buffet-style evening meal. The food is very varied, and some is made to your specification in front of you. It was lovely food and the children particularly ate FAR too much as they loved it all!
We dined at Azure one lunchtime, following a cookery ‘masterclass’ lesson (more of this later!) Lovely beach-side setting – beautiful simple, tasty food.
Time ran away with us, so we didn’t get the opportunity to sample the very impressive Sea Dragon fine dining restaurant, and its Forbidden Bar. Guests we spoke to said the modern Chinese food was incredible.
The Deli was a lovely space, serving amazing coffees. The food here looked lovely, but we never sampled it ourselves. You could buy high-end snacks to take back to your accommodation (not that you were ever hungry!)
We spent most of our time at the Breeze Pool Bar – because of the swimming pool, and because of the pool table!
Not quite open (in July/Aug)
Aroma hadn’t quite opened when we were at Kandima. And as a coffee connoisseur I demand a re-visit to sample it! Aroma sounds like my kind of place, offering fresh ground coffee, baked goods, fresh juices … and seating just asking you to take a book and chill out for a bit. On my next visit, I’ll definitely drop the kids off in Kandiland on the way to Aroma to catch up on a novel!
Smoked wasn’t quite open either (boo hoo – it was SO close though!) It’s an impressive building with an open BBQ kitchen. Steaks and fresh fish will be served here … I’ll try this out on the next visit too!
The Beach Club is an outdoors area, built on the beach, centred around a lovely pool. Wooden decked areas house double cabanas that circle the pool, and at one end there’s a bar serving cocktails! There are two private ‘oversea’ seating areas accessed by a walkway. This whole area feels very ‘party’ – I can imagine live music playing, people dancing and having huge amounts of fun 🙂
Our visit didn’t allow us any time to experience the spa, unfortunately. However, we did ask one of the lovely smiley staff if they’d take us on a golf cart-bus tour of the island, and they happily obliged. We could have hired cycles too though.
The spa overlooks the ocean-side of the island. As well as treatment rooms, here you’ll find a steam and sauna room, nail bar, hairdresser and yoga studio.
All modern machines you expect to find in a good gym are found in the fitness suite. There are personal trainers here, and you can sign up for aerobic, Zumba and boot camp classes (if you are that way inclined).
Kandiland Kids Club
Kandiland Kids Club also faces the ocean side of Kandima island. It has a lovely setting, with an outdoors area that any child would love to spend time in. They have divided the substantial indoors space into various activity areas. Fully qualified staff who speak multiple languages work at Kandiland.
We’ll write more about Kandiland, and what activities are on offer, in a standalone post soon.
Water Activity Centre
Aquaholics is Kandima’s water activity centre.
Here you can learn to scuba dive in their very own tank (before heading out to sea).
On your first morning you collect your complimentary snorkels. masks and flippers here, which you keep for your entire stay. You can hire kayaks for an hour (complimentary).
Also you can arrange water sports lessons, jet ski, parasailing, banana boating, windsurfing, and sailing too. You can arrange pretty much anything and everything water-based here!
Highlights from our visit were the activities/excursions we joined. We will cover these in more detail, but they included:
- Night reef fishing
- A pro-kitchen cooking masterclass
- Dolphin sunset cruise
- Snorkelling out on the reef
There were others too, including visiting other islands, but we ran out of time.
Wildlife on Kandima
Talking about Kandima, and the Maldives, wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wildlife. A huge highlight for me was watching massive fruit bats fly from tree top to tree top – all day long.
We spotted some very handsome lizards …
… millions (and I mean millions) of hermit crabs …
… spinner dolphins, actually spinning! And even a baby reef shark in waist-deep water of the lagoon. Herons could be spotted in the water in quiet parts of the resort, and twice we spotted a leggy roadrunner-like wading bird zoom across the path leading from our villa to the beach. Flying fish skimming the water, and not to forget the incredible fish of the actual reef. Oh yes! Probably the biggest ‘bug’ we’ve ever seen! We have idea what this was.
I hope this has given you a taste of what Kandima resort is like. We will cover specific features/experiences separately. If you can’t wait for the next post, hop over to Kandima’s website here x