My new wife and I recently came back from our honeymoon (stayed a week) and found this place absolutely amazing. Since there're many other reviews with detailed write-ups on the resort, perhaps I'll focus on my thought process on selecting Anantara Kihavah (and all expectations, which were already very high given the price we're paying, were either met or exceeded).
I worked with three competing travel agents to begin my honeymoon search and ultimately decided on Atoll Paradise - they were by far the best. Extremely responsive (I'm quite impatient) via email, offered a very competitive price, and top notch service from arrival in MLE, to service onto our sea plane, and on the return.
As for search process. Our search criteria were (in order of priority):
- Luxury and romantic (budget was up to US$4,000 per night so I think everything was within our scope)
- Overwater bungalow (larger if possible, with enough distance between bungalows so it's not noisy)
- Private pool in overwater bungalow
- Also large pool in main area with bar service (Anantara actually has the largest infinity pool in the Maldives)
- Within 1 hour sea plane (did not want something reachable by speedboat b/c too close to Male)
- Small, natural atoll with beautiful beach and sand
- Good food and multiple restaurant options
- Relatively "new" decor with all the modern luxuries such as large TV (although we actually never watched any), A/C, wifi internet in room
- See through bottom in the room, including clear bottom bathtub
As you can see, we were quite particular and picky. Why not given how much we're paying right? Our final shortlist included Anantara Kihavah (initially read about this in the Robb Report), One & Only, and Huvafen Fushi. All comparably priced, all appear to be "best of the best", Anantara Kihavah was the newest and offered the largest bungalows. Also, Huvafen Fushi had enough bad reviews (still not many) that made me nervous about taking the risk.
In retrospect, I would still absolutely make the same decison. Except I would probably stay longer this time. It took me about 2 days to decompress from the wedding and daily life so by the time we were truly relaxed and enjoying the resort, we had to leave!
The week we were there (Roger Federer was there w/his family as well), the resort was about 95% occupied; however, it was incredible that we rarely saw anybody around. Other than during breakfast, lunch and dinner, I cannot tell you where people were hiding. We laid out by the main infinity pool with the bar for 6-7 hours a day post-breakfast and there was absolutely nobody else around.
In total, I spent about 3 months researching and planning our honeymoon, with nerdy excel spreadsheets and a lot of background information from other resources (I also outsourced the background research to American Express concierge as a 3rd party opinion). Between my own research, Amex concierge, 3 travel agents, I feel that I have done as much research as any other relatively normal person could / should. With that said, Anantara Kihavah is still my #1 choice. (N.B., I didn't consider the 2 Anantara resorts in the Maldives as they were not truly comparable as "luxury" resorts - Anantara themselves will tell you this).
Hope this helps!