If your typical Maldives hotel is discreet and understated, then Kandima Maldives feels like the funky younger cousin.
While it’s got all the luxury, comforts and stunning views you dream of, it rebels against the standard neutral tones with bright colours, and you’re more likely to find yourself at a pool party than a traditional dance display. Unsurprisingly, the clientele is younger, though varied: over a long weekend we observe families from all over the world as well as Chinese honeymooners, Aussie adventurers and the occasional British TV celebrity.
Accessed by a long walkway at the end of the sizeable island, our Aqua Villa looks out onto the sea and comes with a jacuzzi, from which I discover it is possible to both drink complimentary prosecco and observe distant dolphins (I can’t even bear to share this information on Facebook, it feels too cruel). There are sun loungers and steps down to the sea, and there are eyes and ears everywhere: no sooner have we accidentally brought sand into the room than someone appears with a vacuum cleaner. I only have to think about wanting a glass of water before it’s brought to me at lunch. Despite the large number of guests, staff have weirdly impressive memories and we barely need to specify our room number or preferences after day one. If you don’t fancy walking to dinner in this larger resort, there’s bike hire or a free group ‘taxi’ service: guests can wait at cute little stops near their villa or do what we do: start walking and hitch a ride with the buggy as it goes past.
Food options are impressive: those on half or full board can dine at Zest or Flavour: capacious, scenic restaurants with huge fresh buffets and chefs preparing special dishes on request. Check outside and you might find there’s a barbecue special: a Sri Lankan lunch goes down a treat on day one. There are several other restaurants for paying customers: Smoked is a classy modern grill with superb burgers and the best jackfish we taste in all of the Maldives. Book a special dinner at Sea Dragon and you will be transported to the Far East: a high-end modern restaurant inspired by ancient Asian designs. Chef James and team serve up seafood including fresh lobsters and classy Chinese dishes, and the Adults Only ‘Forbidden Bar’ recalls the smart speakeasies of New York’s Chinatown (I’m disappointed to miss their Drink and Sing night, which I think is a posh way of saying ‘karaoke’).
Drinks are plentiful and colourful – you can sip cocktails and watch the sun go down at several lively beach bars: at Beach Club, you can hang out in a flying saucer over the ocean – a curious but fun design touch. If you’re in the mood to chill, the spa is an elegant place with treatment rooms that look out onto stunning views: I find the signature Maldivian Ocean Dream massage instantly calming.
The dive centre, or Aquaholics as it is known here, offers a variety of high-quality excursions. My husband sees a host of colourful fish and eels on his dive, while I enjoy the chance to see dolphins up close in the family-friendly Dolphin Quest boat trip. On our final day, we rent a kayak and head out into the sea at sunset, watching a seaplane taking off into the bright orange and blue sky. Kandima is a colourful place indeed.
Tell Me More About Kandima Maldives
Kandima Maldives is available from US$ 276 half board per person, based on two adults
sharing. For bookings, please call (+960) 676 0077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.