Today we will take you on a quest to one of the Maldives’s latest resorts: the new Kandima Maldives Resort. The Kandima Resort is not your typical Maldives resort as it is the first true lifestyle resort in the Maldives. This doesn’t mean it lacks any luxury but it is aimed at a more outgoing and active audience.
Since the resort opened only a few weeks ago there are still some areas and facilities under development so in this review I will focus on the things that I was able to explore and experience.
Kandima is located on the largest island in the Dhaalu Atoll about 45 minutes South-West of capital Male. Getting there is easy, from Male International Airport it is a short transfer to the seaplane terminal from where a 45 min seaplane flight takes you directly to the resort. In the near future a new airport will open at a nearby island too allowing for domestic flights from Male too. For more tips also have a look at our Maldives Luxury Travel Guide.
The island is blessed with a 3 kilometer long white sand beach along the lagoon and thousands of palm trees. There are some coral reefs around the island but they are not accessible from the beach. There are also various dive sites where you can submerge yourself into the underwater world.
Studios & Villas
Kandima provides guests the choice of modern beach studios and half a dozen different types of villas. The beach studios are located in small condos on the lagoon side with four studios available in each condo. The studios all include a balcony or terrace with beautiful sea views. They are equipped with modern bathrooms with rain showers, a flat screen tv and mini bar. On the balcony or terrace you will find a swinging day bed – my favorite place to hang out.
The different types of villas include beach villas, beach pool villas, ocean pool villas, overwater ocean pool villas, overwater lagoon villas and overwater lagoon pool villas. Each of the villas has sea view but all have their pro and cons. They are well equipped, spacious and almost as luxurious as more expensive 5-star luxury resorts.
The beach villas, beach pool villas and ocean pool villas have spacious outdoor bathrooms with two showers (a covered rain shower and an open air shower), a jacuzzi, bath and lounge bed in the private courtyard garden. The pool villas come with a private infinity plunge pool with beach and lagoon views. The room is well equipped with a large wardrobe, minibar, Nespresso machine, sofa which can be folded out as an extra bed, large double bed, flat screen tv and desk.
The overwater villas are a bit smaller and lack an outdoor shower and private courtyard but all have amazing ocean or lagoon views with a terrace. The lagoon overwater villas have direct access to the lagoon, the ocean overwater villas have to do without direct access to the ocean as the currents on the ocean side of the island are too strong to swim. But obviously guests can use the main beach to swim in the ocean.
Our favorite villa type is certainly the Beach Pool Villa that we were staying in. Our villa with number 532 is located a short stroll from the main reception dubbed HQ and the main pool, bar and all-day dining restaurants. Since it is a new resort there is not that much privacy around the private plunge pool yet but it is matter of time until the vegetation grows and creates a private paradise.
The Kandima Resort is classed as a 4 star resort but looking at the facilities and villas it is on par with most 5 star resorts in the Maldives. Kandima offers a Spa, gym, kids club, dive center, watersports center, clinic and the longest swimming pool in the Maldives with 100m in length.
The Spa offers 10 treatments rooms all overlooking the ocean and we tried the signature treatment: a full body scrub followed by an activating massage. A nice combination that will leave you with a silky soft skin and relaxed muscles.
The dive- and watersports center is located directly next to HQ and called Aquaholics. It offers everything from diving courses to snorkeling and fishing trips. Guests can enjoy a range of watersports from Kayaks (free) and stand up paddle boards to paragliding, sailing and jetskiing. That Kandima aims to be more accessible as lifestyle resort than luxury resorts is evident here when you look at the prices for the various activities, they are by no means cheap but certainly more affordable than other resorts we have visited in the Maldives.
The kids club provides daily entertainment and day care for the little ones and is open from 8am til 8pm every day. This makes the resort also very interesting for families as the kids will have a blast in one of the largest kids’ clubs in the Maldives with new activities every day.
Restaurants & Bars
When the resort is finished it will have no less than 10 restaurants and bars. During our trip, we were able to try out three restaurants, the deli and the main bar.
Kandima is one of the larger resorts at the Maldives and this also reflects in the restaurant offering. The all-day-dining restaurant called Flavour is a very large open and airy space which offers buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. The live cooking stations offer specialties from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The terrace offers a panoramic view of the main swimming pool and the beach.
At the far end of the pool you will find the entrance to Azure. Nestled between the trees this fine dining restaurant offers intimate dining for couples and groups alike overlooking the lagoon. Food prices are on par with other (luxury) resorts on the Maldives but Kandima offers a large selection of more affordable new world wines making the resort more accessible for those without unlimited budgets.
The last restaurant we were able to taste is the Sea Dragon. This Chinese restaurant is the only restaurant located on the ocean side and impresses with full size fish tanks when you walk in. The dishes range from authentic Chinese to some modern interpretations.
The main bar is located near the HQ and the jetty. The floor is made of sand and invites you to come in barefoot for a drink or two all day long. In the evening there is a DJ or band providing some tunes for guests to dance or just relax on one of the many beds or sofas.
Pop in to the deli for a sandwich or grab some snacks to enjoy on the beach or in your villa. The minibar in the villa is not that well stocked but having the deli nearby assures that a bottle of wine or some snacks are never far away.
Kandima also offers cooking classes or can teach you how to prepare the fish you caught on a fishing expedition. Make sure to ask the chef when he expects fresh tuna as the tuna sashimi we had was to die for and came directly fresh from a local fisherman. I have been struggling to eat tuna ever since as nothing comes close to the one I had in Kandima.
The Kandima Maldives is a cool new addition to the resort offering in the Maldives. The facilities and villas are on par with more luxurious and expensive resorts we have visited. Having just opened some facilities are not operational yet and there still is some work to do here and there but in a few months this will be a great place to relax and enjoy all that the Maldives has to offer. The Kandima is also more affordable and more accessible than other resorts. That plus a range of events will attract a younger and more outgoing crowd.