We've been spending two weeks every Easter in the Maldives for the last four years, and our first trip was to Kanuhura, back when it was a One&Only hotel. That trip was simply magnificent, one of those amazing holidays where you sit back and really appreciate how lucky you are... The next year, we came back... and the one after (the hotel changed from One&Only to Sun Resorts, as did its sister hotel in Mauritius, the Touessrok)... and this year.
The thing about Kanuhura is, it's the perfect resort, period. I've done my research, I know all about the other resorts out there, and there are many of them. But Kanuhura ticks all the boxes for us. For one thing, it's laid-back elegance. I don't want to be surrounded by people wearing ridiculously expensive watches and showing up for dinner in high heels and Sex & The City outfits. I want the place to be elegant, but relaxed. And that's the scene at Kanuhura. No showing off. No glitz. But an interesting, elegant crowd that's there to kick back and enjoy a relaxed time. From the moment the seaplane landed to the moment we got back on it, I did not wear anything on my feet. No shoes, no flip flops, nothing. For two whole weeks. Nothing but swimming trunks, polo shirts and T-shirts, and bermuda shorts for dinner. That's it.
The island itself is NATURAL. Many of the resorts out there are artificial, including some of the most well known (and expensive) ones. Sand and trees brought in, the whole thing artificially landscaped and created. Kanuhura is authentic--and its beach is unbeatable. You can walk all around it in about half an hour, it's sand all around, pristine white dream-like sand... no rocky side (like a lot of islands), not reefs up close. Basically, the biggest sea-water swimming pool you can imagine. Divine. And the sea life is ABUNDANT. No need to take a boat. Just grab a snorkel from the sports shop and swim out to be surrounded by huge shoals of amazing fish. It's seriously unreal.
The island doesn't have planes flying overhead (it's far North), big ships sailing by, doesn't suffer at low tide as some others do (I was shocked when we approached Male on our way back in the seaplane, flying low over one of the top resorts I knew about, and seeing it at low tide where it looked positively apocalyptic). As far as a natural paradise is concerned, you can't beat it. We've been to several luxury resorts in Phuket, Mauritius and in the Seychelles, and this beats them all by a mile. Oh, and not a mosquito to be seen. Ever. They fumigate it every day at dusk, which isn't intrusive and keeps it insect-free.
The hotel's other main asset, though, is its staff. Many of the managers have been there since we first got there. They know my daughters' names, we feel like guests in their home. Nothing is too much trouble. Small examples: we loved the new Linguine and raw tuna the chef at the Olive Tree came up with this year. I asked the restaurant's manager for the recipe. The next day, at breakfast, we were presented with a typed recipe. My daughter misplaced her tennis shoes one afternoon when there was a brief downpour of rain (if it happens, and it rarely does in April, it lasts 10-15 minutes and the sun blasts everything dry within half an hour) and everyone rushed for cover. We were leaving the next day, and couldn't find them. Ten days later, a DHL package arrived in London. The shoes (old Nikes!). With a small note from the manager apologizing that the staff hadn't been able to find them before we left. Amazing.
But that's the attention to detail you get there. Spectacularly helpful, friendly staff, from our room's cleaner to the manager, Mr Scanu (who greeted us off the plane and waved us off from the pier again when we left). The food is great, fruit galore, anything is possible. The barbecues on the beach are spectacular. Yes, the spa can be expensive, but are any five-star spas cheap these days? Yes, the internet can sometimes slow down, but I have fibre optic here in London and it's erratic too. Those are minor quibbles. All in all, you couldn't ask for a lovelier place to stay and relax and dream...
So it depends on what you're looking for... if you're looking to party, to pose, to pop bottles of Crystal loudly and see and be seen and parade your new diamond-encrusted Franck Mueller watch, it might not be the place for you. But if you enjoy the St Geran or, say, the kind of atmosphere you find at Four Seasons resorts, then look no further. The best rooms are the Grand Water Villas, there are 2 of them. Beach villas are great, especially on the sunrise side. And there you have it... enjoy!
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