A Magical Escape at Kandima Resort Maldives
If you're looking for a boutique style spa to recharge and tune your senses, Kandima Resort in the Maldives is a haven with a difference. Whether you're looking for sport, wellness or pampering, this is a chic luxury escape away from the crowds.
A luxe hideaway from the stresses of everyday life, there’s plenty of relaxation on offer too via the excellent esKape spa, laidback Breeze bar, or any number of deserted stretches of beach to lose yourself on; the beauty is, even when the island – in Dhaalu Atoll and at 3km, one of the Maldives longest - is at full capacity, you’ll feel like you have the place pretty much to yourself.
Affordable luxury is Kandima’s mantra – and it delivers in droves. Choose from a chic sky studio, set back on the beach in discreet contemporary blocks of four, a beach villa boasting incredible outdoor foliage-filled bathrooms complete with ubiquitous open rain shower beneath the palm trees or a decadent overwater villa, where you can plop straight into the ocean from your teak bathing platform to snorkel amongst batfish, eagle rays, stingrays, clown fish and reef sharks.
Kandima also offers a wide array of no less than 10 restaurants and bars. Delicious buffet style curries, freshly baked fish, ceviche, sashimi, stir fries made to order and colourful salads at Flavour and Zest compete with a la carte offerings at the Chinese inspired Sea Dragon, (try the sweetcorn and crab soup, spicy squid and local fish steamed in soy and ginger), Mediterranean style Azure and Smoked, where you can sit with your feet in the sand while deciding between wood fired reef fish, Chicken piri piri, sticky ribs or fresh lobster.
If you fancy something more intimate, a private chef will arrange a beach barbecue dinner with friends, a deserted island supper party or a romantic dinner a deux while the Deli and Aroma café serve coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, cakes and a huge array of chocolate throughout the day if you feel the urge for a snack.
Kandima’s children’s club Kandiland is the largest in the Maldives, hence this is a very kid-friendly resort, something to bear in mind when booking, especially during the school holidays.
Aquaholics, run by the affable Ben, is a hive of activity, offering everything from diving for beginners through to advanced level, snorkelling trips, big game fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, sky diving, parasailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, turtle and dolphin spotting excursions, even surfing at a nearby break when the swell is right.
For gym bunnies, Kandima boasts well equipped Burn gym for weighty work outs, an adjacent outdoor pool (in addition to the resort’s two further enormous pools) and a yoga shala where Sandeep takes you through short but intense power yoga classes incorporating Hatha, Ashtanga and Iyengar disciplines as well as a divine beach sunset yoga session designed to reset you for a restful sleep.
Something a little different is the KULA art initiative, which Kandima launched in 2017 to support the local community of craft, fashion, photography and art students. There’s an artist in residence – it was Ablow when I stayed – who encourages talented oil paintings from even the least artistic guests and the centre, situated by a beautiful lake, hosts regular exhibitions by Maldivian artists as well as donating funds to support internships, local schools and scholarship programmes.
EsKape spa is a must for anyone looking to reset their mind and body. The tropical garden setting and open pavilion style reception and relaxation area set the tone for what lies ahead. I tried three treatments – a relaxing massage, an aromatherapy massage and lymphatic drainage.
All aided the reset I was looking for, with broad firm massage strokes getting to the heart of my niggly spots, banishing my jet lag and promoting a deep sense of wellbeing. The lymphatic drainage massage was lighter in pressure with more sweeping movements and kickstarted my body into a detoxifying purification process which continued over the following night and day.
I visited during Covid-19 and the standards of hygiene were reassuringly high. Staff wore masks (guests were only required to wear masks when choosing from buffet selections) and temperatures checks were made each morning at breakfast. A full blown health clinic offers quick and efficient PCR testing for your homeward or onward journey.
With so many unknowns in the world today, it’s comforting to be embraced by - and feel safe in - a place where very little has changed and your happiness is at the heart of everything.
Kandima offers various plans from bed and breakfast through to Platinum all inclusive packages. For further information and prices, check out kandima.com.
Qatar Airways, the World’s Best Airline as voted by Skytrax 2019, offers flights to Doha with onward connections to the Maldives from £606 return per person at qatarairways.com.