After a busy year, I came to the conclusion a girls’ trip was in order with my mum and my one year old, Ava. We decided to stay somewhere tropical where we could relax by the beach and Ava could swim and play in the sand. I have always had the Maldives on my bucket list and thought this was the perfect opportunity to visit this secluded part of the world. The Maldives is usually associated with honeymooners as one of the most romantic destinations on the planet. However, times are changing and a new wave of resorts in the Maldives are now also catering for families as well as couples.
When I came across Kandima Maldives, a new all-inclusive resort, I was curious to find out more about their family friendly facilities and activities for children so I packed our bags and set off for our new adventure.
Getting there: Seaplanes and Speed Boats
We flew direct from London to Malé with a stopover in Dubai with Emirates. Once in Malé, guests can choose to either travel to the resort by direct seaplane and speed boat, or by domestic transfer and speed boat. We chose the seaplane option, the plane is smaller and also has the best views of the atolls.
After 45 mins and a water landing, we then boarded a speed boat to Kandima where we were greeted with a fruity refreshment, cold towel and the friendly faces of the Kandima staff, known as Kandima buddies. Our lovely Kandima Buddy let the three of us know all about the island and also what the resort had to offer inclusive of a detailed map, after asking a couple of questions we were ready to head to our beach front villa.
The Resort: Kandima Maldives
Kandima Maldives is located in the Dhaalu Atoll which has a large natural lagoon with lush tropical island surrounds. Up until 2014, this 3km long island was an untouched island. However, the local owner saw an opportunity to convert it into a new destination for visitors to enjoy.
It also boasts the largest pool in the Maldives measuring 100m long. The resort is all inclusive as it is marketed to families, couples, groups of friends and honeymooners.
Accommodation: Our Beach Villa with Jacuzzi
We arrived at our Beach Villa by an electric bus. We chose to stay in the beach villa as Ava is one year old and we thought this was the safest option compared to the over water aqua villas. The white sandy beach was at our back doorstep and she could wander out safely to play under our watchful eye. It was very convenient to go for a daily swim in the beautiful turquoise water just outside our villa which was really handy as we didn’t need to carry all our beach accessories with us, all we took was a towel, sunscreen and our hats. The sea is very calm with no waves which made it ideal for a new water baby like Ava.
There are two sides to the island, so make sure you book the beach villas on the side which you can swim on as the other side is a coral reef. The beach villas also have an outdoor bathroom with jacuzzi, bath tub and large rain forest shower. My mum and I really enjoyed this indoor/outdoor set up as I felt it made the villa that much more open, most nights my mum and I were in the jacuzzi while Ava had already gone to sleep.
Other accommodation options available at Kandima include beach and sky studios (with interconnecting rooms for families who need more than one room), beach pool villas and the beautiful over water aqua villas with jacuzzis. The aqua villas are great for couples and right opposite Zest restaurant for all day dining.
All rooms and villas have complimentary Wi-Fi and I really loved the Kandima app which allowed me to order room service, laundry collection, a room clean or book a restaurant all from my iPad rather than phoning guest services.
Dining: World Cuisine
When you book your accommodation package, you can choose to add half board or full board for food and beverages. It is really important to get your package right from the beginning, as food and beverages are imported from the mainland and hence you will pay a premium for them if they are not included in your package.
The island has 10 unique restaurants and bars to choose from. We had the half board package which included breakfast and dinner, we could dine at either Flavour or Zest. Both these restaurants were buffet style with an array of options from around the world including Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Japanese, Chinese and many more.
Ava appreciated the Kids Corner at both of these restaurants with plenty of choice for kids with menus that were updated daily. Flavour also has a dedicated kids area with small tables and chairs. All restaurants have high chairs, plates and cutlery for the children.
We didn’t get a chance to explore the other restaurants however Smoked (a modern smoke house) and Sea Dragon (a Chinese restaurant) were recommended as really fantastic by our Kandima Buddy. We did eat at the Deli which is a great place for a quick bite; think sandwiches, wraps, nachos, muffins and freshly squeezed juices.
The Beach Club where we had food and cocktails delivered to us by the pool, was also rather lovely and had really fresh food options and possibly the best mojitos I have ever tasted. Breeze Bar was also great during the day or evenings for cocktails and there is a huge life-size chess set which entertained Ava for hours.
Activities for Everyone
There are two large pools on the island. Our favourite was the pool near the aqua villas, the kids’ shallow end is really large and the beach cabanas are great. All three of us could fit comfortably in one. We spent the majority of our time either in the pool or swimming in the sea, particularly as this was Ava’s favourite activity.
My mum and I both really enjoyed the exclusivity found in the Maldives, as there were never any crowds or too many people, and because of this we could all truly relax.
Kandiland was fabulous, a kids club with indoor and outdoor play including water activities. Parents can spend the day with their little ones at Kandiland or staff can arrange pick up and drop off for the kids from your room or villa.
All the staff are qualified childcare workers and were so friendly and welcoming that Ava didn’t want to leave.
Aquaholics is the dive and water sports centre which is very popular and offers so many water activities from jet skiing to sailing, snorkeling, diving and the list goes on. Fitness is also a big thing at Kandima, from cardio blast to Aerial yoga, there are plenty of high-octane activities for the health conscious.
The resort also has tennis courts with instructors if you feel up for a game. The Kula Art Studio, explores your inner artist and guests can take an art class with Kandima’s resident artist Aima or one of the local artists who visit during the weekend.
The resort also has esKape Spa, a place to relax, detox and rejuvenate. There are also various events throughout the year from art festivals, pool parties, beach games and fitness events. For those who love live music, there is a DJ and other musicians playing daily at Breeze Pool Bar. The island is large, so we never heard any noise or music from Breeze Pool Bar, which was fantastic as it didn’t disturb Ava’s bedtime.
I was disappointed to miss out on snorkeling from the overwater platform, which runs six daily snorkeling excursions that take place every hour. The house coral reef is home to colourful fish, a variety of corals and other marine species.
And lastly, the resort also has a medical clinic with international doctors at hand who can also visit your room or villa if needed. This was an added piece of reassurance particularly when travelling with kids.
Sustainability at Kandima
Travelling now, knowing the effects of climate change and also pollution means that I am always keen to understand my carbon footprint and if the resort I am staying at has responsible practices when it comes to looking after the environment and its surroundings.
Kandima Maldives are taking the rights steps in this direction. They are removing all plastic straws and replacing them with them with paper ones from December this year. They have an in-house desalination plant, where they use ocean water to produce water for Kandima. The steam from turbines warms up the tap/shower/bath water for all the villas. Thus, Kandima don’t use any extra diesel fuel to provide warm water for the resort. The recycling plant recycles sewage, wet and dry garbage. Sewage gets treated and the water produced is used for gardening. Dry garbage is also considered as Kandima recycles the plastic bottles by Bon Aqua and these are shipped to the Coca Cola recycling facility to India, via Malé.
In my villa, I noticed the in-room signage regarding changing of linen and replacing of towels and was pleased to see Kandima have the option to replace your linen every 2-3 days instead of daily. There is ample bicycle rental (including kids bikes) instead of additional buggy service. Their buggy service and ‘hop on and off’ island buses are also electric. And lastly, their coral nursery is run by an in-house marine biologist Lee Miles and guests are able to educate themselves on the coral reef and also the wildlife.
Sadly, due to the re-occurring el Nino/global heatwave, water temperate rises often, which makes the coral reefs in the Maldives bleach. Maldives have been affected badly by coral bleaching in 2016. Kandima’s atoll has not been affected much due to the location of the island in the Dhaalu atoll.
Our Overall Experience
I’ve travelled to many places around the world but have never been as mesmerized by the crystal clear turquoise tinged water of the Maldives. The scenery and lush tropical greenery on the island is breathtaking. The outdoor bathroom in our beach villa was a highlight and I loved the indoor and outdoor feeling of our villa. The abundance of wildlife from lizards, crabs, birds and the rainbow of fish were also incredible and pointing them out everyday was Ava’s favourite pastime. Ava also enjoyed swimming in the in calm sea, jumping on a giant inflatable duck she discovered in the pool one day, the kids’ wonderland known as Kandiland and tasting all the new dessert options every evening at Flavour restaurant. Although, the uninterrupted time she spent with her grandmother was the best part of all.
The Maldives is one of those special places in the world that reminds you that you can slow down, breathe and enjoy being away from the urban rat race. Every day we were greeted with a friendly smile, Ava chatted and made friends with all her Kandima buddies and everyone went out of their way to ensure we were comfortable and happy. I really recommend Kandima Maldives as a wonderful place for not only families but for anyone wanting to stay in the Maldives.
Booking Paradise: Kandima Maldives
If you would like to explore the breathtaking Maldives and Kandima Maldives for yourself, then I have a special code for you to receive 10% off all rooms and villas. If you include the code LUXMUMMA when contacting Kandima for a quote or making a booking, 10% off will be applied to your reservation. Email email@example.com to get a quote or book.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about our stay in the Maldives, do pop a question below and I will answer it. And don’t forget to check out the video below!
*This is an honest review of Kandima Maldives by way of a media stay in November/December 2018.
Kerstin // Lux Mumma