Kandima was a late-comer to the Maldivian tourist market and is markedly different to the classic honeymooner resorts. It’s aimed at sports-loving, party-going groups as well as couples and families, and has a range of accommodation options, from affordable studios to luxury pool villas.
Kandima is one of several resort islands in Dhaalu Atoll, surrounded by a large natural lagoon. One of the conditions of leasing the island was that the owners had to build an airport nearby, making it a half-hour flight from Malé and a 20-minute boat ride. You can also travel by the more scenic (though more expensive) seaplanes – these cost a family of two adults and two children aged under 12 a total of $1,370 (£1,047) return. One adult is £420 and a child £265.
Style & character
Unmistakeably Maldivian with its pure white sand, pale blue lagoon and lush vegetation of palm trees, jacaranda and bourganvilea. The island is long and skinny – it takes around four minutes to walk from one side to the other and 20 minutes from end to end. The pool, beach bars and restaurants are located centrally, with the beach villas off to the south and the studios to the north. The beach stretches all along the eastern coast giving access to shallow waters. The public areas are all bright pink cushions, white walls and loud music from the bars.
The feel is contemporary cool; unlike most other Maldivian resorts it does not get hung up on luxury or exclusivity. Most guests come here to play, have a good time and generally engage rather than close the doors and retreat. Celebrity guests from Love Island and Strictly Come Dancing love it as much as bloggers and Instagrammers.
Service & facilities
Kandima’s big boast is that it has the longest swimming pool in the country. It also has what is probably the largest kids’ club, Kandiland, equipped with a pirate ship and large in-ground trampoline. Aquaholics offers all manner of sports activities including diving with hammerhead sharks, parasailing and snorkeling; as well as boat trips and team sports.
There are art classes, cookery lessons and a million other things to do. The gym, Burn, is open 24/7 and the spa is suitably large and luxurious, with kickboxing classes as well as yoga. The medical centre even has doctors, nurses, dentists, X-ray, ECG and ultrasound machines, and a decompression unit.
Service is also superb. Staff are smiley as well as efficient, while the GM works the room at mealtimes and is ever present during the day. Electric golf buggies are on hand for ferrying.
- Fitness centre
- Kids’ club
Lots of choice. Studio rooms are functional but make the Maldives experience affordable. Ocean villas are on the wilder coast and offer greater luxury and privacy – as well as a view of the sunsets. There are a couple of honeymoon suites and several over-water villas. The best for families are the pool villas, which have direct access to the beach and a large sofa bed. The outdoor bathrooms have large standalone tubs and a choice of shower – open or covered. Décor is modern, bright and fun.
Ocean villas go for a rather quieter, sophisticated look, but elsewhere the décor is modern, bright and fun, with bold yellow cushions, pictures on the wall depicting sun and sea, wooden floors and light furniture. Hanging shell-shaped lights look the part but are rather low, making getting out of bed a bit hazardous. Tea- and coffee-making facilities and the wardrobes are in an alcove between the bedroom and bathroom.
Food & drink
There are 10 restaurants and bars. The Chinese, Sea Dragon, is sensational ($60 [£46] for half a Beijing duck; roasted crispy chicken with prawn crackers $26 (£20) and live lobster $18 (£14) per 100g. There is also an à la carte menu – mostly fish and local dishes – on the beach at Zest and at the grill, Smoked. The ice-cream parlour also serves coffees, sandwiches and cakes. The Forbidden Bar is for adults only and accessed through a psychedelic tunnel at Sea Dragon.
The large main restaurant, Flavour, offers themed buffets at dinner, and the biggest breakfast spread imaginable in the mornings. Around 20 counters offer fruit, yoghurts, cheese, cold meats and freshly prepared pancakes. There’s full English with eggs cooked any way you want, and full Asian, with varieties of noodles and sushi. There is also a huge array of bread and pastries, from healthy seed and rye options to Middle Eastern sweet cakes. Coffees and teas are served at the table.
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