The exclusive island nation of Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, conjures up images of a leisurely beach vacation, where all one does is pose prettily for the camera by sipping cocktails on a pristine white sandy beach surrounded by an endless expanse of blue. At least that is what every celebrity and Instagrammer spotted at the Maldives will have you believe. I too harboured this belief till my recent family vacation to the private island resort of Kandima Maldives. However, after five jampacked days of adventures and experiences, I had changed my mind.
Located a picturesque 45-minute sea plane ride from Male airport, Kandima is one of the largest islands in the Maldives. It is spread across three km and is one of few islands with a major green cover, in addition to its plentiful coral reefs. This large expanse works in its favour as it allows patrons to pick from a variety of suites and villas across price ranges, partake of various activities in the water and on land, and choose from 10 different dining options spread across the island.
Though the island is ideal for exploration, one can be forgiven for wanting to stick to their rooms. Each of the villas offers magnificent views and are decked out with creature comforts driven by the resort’s tech-forward stance. When I did leave my room however, it was to sample the charms of the water through a host of ‘experiences’, as the resort refers to them. These included water sports like snorkelling, jet-skiing, parasailing, sea-bobbing, sunset cruises, and fishing among others. Spotting dolphins that swam by our boat, as well as baby sharks and pilot fish from our infinity pool overlooking the ocean, was certainly the highlight of the trip. I also enjoyed a yoga session on the beach led by an Indian yogi from Uttar Pradesh, a painting lesson at the in-house art studio by a local Maldivian artist, and a relaxing massage at the resort’s spa. Other activities
I did not have time to try included tennis and football, biking around the island, photoshoots at their professional studio and a castaway island experience aimed at those looking for something truly exclusive.
At first glance, the dining options seem aplenty but in reality, only three of these are fine-dining eateries. Two are buffet-only restaurants catering to full-board travellers looking to save a buck. The others include a takeaway deli, a couple of bars and cafes. A few of the dishes we tried were fantastic, especially the grilled red snapper at their Mediterranean restaurant Aure, while others were average. However, we really appreciated the attentive service provided by the staff.
There is no denying that a holiday in the Maldives comes with a hefty price tag, which is perhaps the biggest concern for many. But our recent experience at Kandima made us believe this shouldn’t be the deciding factor. The variety of things to do and unmatched experiences to enjoy elevated our stay, proving to us that Maldives was much more than an expensive photo op. Families who enjoy indulging in the beauty of nature, have a penchant for adventure, and do not mind spending money on making memories of a lifetime, will enjoy the splendour of Kandima Maldives.