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Reviewed April 18, 2015

We spent a fantastic 11 days at this resort for our honeymoon in April and cannot be more complimentary. Set on its own paradise island, we would highly recommend this for a honeymoon or very special occasion. From the moment we were met at Male airport (45 minute boat transfer), to the minute we left, we encountered such wonderful and friendly staff throughout. Team members we must call our are Pauline (beach bar), Paul (beach bar), Viska (beach bar), Jon (Kitchen Restaurant) and Asjau (F&B Trainee). The resort offers plenty of choice when it comes to Food & Beverage, from a great local buffet through to a top quality restaurant, with alternatives in-between. A multitude of water sports are available, we would highly recommend the turtle snorkeling. We opted for the Premium Inclusive package upon check-in, which whilst a little pricey, if you want to experience all the bars and restaurants, does represent value for money. If you want nightlife (which we didn't) then this is not the place for you. If you want great service, good food, paradise surroundings, then it most definitely is...

Room Tip: A beach house on West Beach is quiet, beautiful but close enough to main amenities.
  • Stayed: April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank PDonalH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joseph D, General Manager at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2015

Dear PDonalH,

Thank you very much for taking the time to review your recent stay at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives.

I was very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us. I have shared your feedback with the team and they were most appreciative and motivated to hear your comments.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future.

Kind Regards,

Joseph Della Gatta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2015

I and my wife stayed at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives for 4D3N over the last weekend period. We opted for their Garden Villa of 2 nights, and Overwater Villa for the last night.

Upon reaching Male Airport, the resort representative immediately welcomed me as an IHG member and made us both feel very welcomed indeed. We didn't have to wait too long before we were whisked away to their speedboat which brought us to the resort. Boat ride was about 45mins, so for those of you whom have motion sea sickness, please do be prepared. Nevertheless, it was not that bumpy after all.

When we reached the resort, Riza welcomed us both warmly and again, acknowledged me as their valued IHG member. Next, another of their staff from the reception, Meili showed us to our room and answered our subsequent enquiries with great zest.

The Garden Villa we stayed for the first 2 nights is simple yet spacious, and it comes with a kind of outdoor showering concept -- Most interesting... Basic toiletries are provided (e.g. toothbrush/paste, comb, shampoo, body wash, moisturiser, hair dryer etc.), so don't worry if you forgotten to bring any of these stuff over.

The Garden Villa comes with your own outdoor area with a sofa and hammock. We loved the hammock!! Do note that 2 units shares one Garden Villa roof (unlike their Beach House which is more expensive but you get the entire duplex floor house to yourself).

My wife and myself upgraded to their "half-board" option (breakfast + dinner) and tried twice for their dinner buffet. One of which is Indian-themed buffet while the other one is international-themed buffet. Both tastes great and value for money especially if you are a big eater, but for myself personally, I preferred the Indian themed variety spread with different types of Indian curry. Servers were very, very fast in clearing our plates and more importantly, they make the effort to make small talk with hotel guests. I would like to especially single out Daisy whom I felt was so polite and affable, and whom gave us honest and sincere answers when we asked for her opinion. Staff behind the food stations were also all very friendly and joked with resort guests easily. Generally, dining restaurant for dinner time was not packed at all, so even if you decide to go later, don't worry about not getting a seat. In fact, my advice to you is to go when the sky is darker and thus cooler and more windy.

April was pretty much a hot month, so be prepared for the occasional flies and bugs. It would be wise to arm yourself with some insect repellents if you intend to visit Maldives on a hot and scorching dry month.

In terms of activities, the both of us were spoilt for choices. The resort has a weekly sports/activity schedule including excursions to other local islands or to Male city. Basically, all of these activities would incur extra costs in USD$, except for the daily morning snorkelling which is complimentary for guests. Yes, please make use of this complimentary snorkelling at least once, very worth it!!

We also checked out their spa and gym but decided to spend the time instead at the beach with its pristine sea water instead. We literally swam quite a number of times per day at their beach waters (generally there are 3 swimming areas at the beaches surrounding the resort island which are deemed safe for swimming).

My wife also bought a belt from the resort retail shop and we found the retail shop manager very commendable in her friendliness and way of doing business with hotel guests.

For one of the nights, we stayed on and bought some cocktails for their DJ live spinning event night at their beach bar. At that time, resort was offering a 1-for-1 promotion for cocktails, and was a great bargain indeed. I especially liked the records spun by the DJ, which was a good mixture of contemporary, disco and techno. As what Singaporeans would say, "GOT STANDARD"!!

At another night, they also have a live band performing at one of their open restaurants, but being somewhat tired that night, my wife and I did not linger on.

However, there was one major service lapse which my wife and I felt was unacceptable. When moving our bags from the Garden Villa to the Overwater Villa, we realised to our horror that the porter whom moved our bags, he actually wrote in pen the Overwater Villa room number (I reckon was to serve as a reminder for the porter to move our stuff to the correct Villa number) on my wife's Longchamp bag and my bag as well, discreetly at a corner of both our bags. In our years of travelling, my wife and myself agreed that this was indeed the first time we come across such an incident!! So for prospective guests, I would strongly urge you to check your bags carefully as well...

Because of this service lapse, I would have without hesitation given a 3 star rating for this resort. But the promptness and sincerity of the Front Desk Manager Jeannie, saved the day. Not only was she sincerely apologetic for her staff's actions, her service recovery was very fast and top notch. Kudos to Jeannie and because of her, it is only justifiable to raise my rating to 4 star instead.

On the whole, I and my wife strongly endorse Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, not because I am their IHG member, but because of its fantastic staff, great facilities and well planned programmes, coupled with their well cleaned and maintained beaches, and just as important, the very good rates and packages they offer for their accommodation.

We'll be back...

Room Tip: Try at least 1 night stay at Overwater Villa. The experience of lying on the Overwater Villa hammock looking overhead at the stars is simply beyond words of experience...
  • Stayed: April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank JusT76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joseph D, General Manager at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2015

Dear JusT76,

On behalf of the entire team at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, we thank you for sharing the details of your "Fantastic Experience" at our Resort on TripAdvisor.

I truly appreciate the time taken to highlight all of your stay experience with us and please accept my sincere apologies regarding the issue that you encountered. I can assure
​you ​ that this is not a common occurrence and corrective action has been taken with the team to avoid such cases in the future.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the hotel again soon, and please let us know if there is anything we may assist with for your next stay. Thank You once again for your review as a TA Top Contributor!

Warm Regards,

Joseph Della Gatta
General Manager

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Reviewed April 15, 2015

Excellent for family travel. Great Kids Club with plenty of activities. Priced quite high but the same is the case for all international hotel brands operating in Maldives. The Villas are all good especially the ones overlooking the ocean.

Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
3  Thank Himanshu86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joseph D, General Manager at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2015

Dear Himanshu,
Thank you for sharing your experience at Holiday Inn Kandooma Maldives.
Glad to know that our facilities have met your needs. Pricing is a bit high considering that we are located in an island.
We hope to have another opportunity to serve you in the future.
Best regards,
Joseph Della Gatta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2015

We spent 4 nights and 5 days at the Holiday Inn Resort on Kandooma Island in mid March and what a memorable experience that was! We were travelling with our teenage daughters and it was important to keep them occupied.

We stayed in a 2-bedroom water pavilion villa which was like a dream come true! With beautiful interiors, we woke up to a rising sun every morning. The facilities at the resort included a 24 hour coffee shop, speciality restaurants, a jetty centre, a spa and quite a few bars.

We took a half board plan which included breakfast and dinner and we were free to choose our lunch. The breakfast spread was very nice and dinner options were great as well.

We took a free snorkeling lesson and also a complimentary snorkeling trip to the middle of the Indian Ocean which was fabulous for first timers like us. We had also booked ourselves a sunset cruise and were pleasantly surprised with the activity on board. We got off the yacht and stepped onto a net on the ocean while watching the sunset and enjoying our drinks.

The staff are very friendly and helpful. Our pick up and drop arrangements were very well managed. Expensive trip but a memorable one!

Room Tip: Specific sunrise or sunset view would be great.
  • Stayed: March 2015, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank 2014Neel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joseph D, General Manager at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded April 23, 2015

Dear 2014Neel,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your recent vacation with us on TripAdvisor.

It’s great to hear what a wonderful time you and your family had with us, enjoying all of our facilities - the dining, villa accommodation and recreation/ spa.

A big "Congratulations" on your snorkeling endeavors at Kandooma, as first timers, taking advantage of our free snorkeling lessons and discovering the magic of our environment - beautiful family vacation memories indeed!

Thank you once again for sharing your experience.

Best Regards,

Joseph Della Gatta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2015

This hotel was recommended by my travel agent. I discarded it at the beginning due to being a Holiday Inn. In fact it has little to do with other hotels under the same brand, being much superior. My travel agent was right: the hotel is probably one of the best choices in the Maldives below the five star hotels.

Transfers, both ways, went smoothly. They were expecting us at the airport. We just had to wait for other people from the same flight to get to the boat. A bit pricey, since we spent more than $500 roundtrip for the three of us. At arrival, friendly reception staff greeted us and took care of everything. People and bags travel by small electric car.

We travelled as a couple with a 10 year old kid. Stayed at a Beach Villa. Room was adequate in size for the three of us who only went there for a shower and to sleep since we spent most of the time at the main area. Had a problem with the air conditioned (actually it took me a couple of days to understand that it not me having difficulties with the remote). But once realised what was going wrong told reception, a guy went there and "called engineering". When came back the problem was solved for good. We always got the impression that staff was always trying to be king and helpful. Things always were sorted out and fixed much faster than, say, in the Caribbean. The fresh oranges in the room plus the several bottles of water are a nice touch. The free wi-fi was OK.

One negative about the room was the open air bathroom. Most people find this very surprising to have no roof on the bathroom but since there are no tall structures nearby only birds (I haven't seen any drones :) can see you. Why didn't we like it? Since the Maldives are extremely warm, coming from a cooled (AC) room to the toilets involves a stupid thermal shock everytime you go in and out of it. Then there is the "noise" issue: You hear everything that goes on on next room's toilet (and vice versa), which is a nuisance. Then, if you go showering at 6pm after the beach remember this is mosquito time and the bathroom lights help to make you a target.

Talking about mosquitoes it seems the hotel was trying to deal with them. I brought repellent with me and the only evening I forgot to put it was bitten several times in the foot (an usual target).

We decided not to take risks with the outrageous Maldives' prices and booked all-inclusive. Thus, we had most meals at the Kandooma Café. Breakfast buffet was reasonable for a 4 star hotel. Some people complain about the lack of fruit variety. They had oranges everyday (at all meals), pineapple, papaya, even small bananas most of the time. I had virtually a different type of breakfast each day, from cereals to omoletes, etc. Lunch buffet was the worse. Minimal choice, little variety. Was certainly the worse part of the dining experience. Dinner buffet, though, was usually OK. They were, of course, trying to sell us the other restaurants (especially The Kitchen) and barbecues, etc, so there is little incentive to make the Kandooma Café experience a superb one. The staff, however, was excellent.

Having said this, for a short stay, below one week, the Kandooma Café is acceptable. Otherwise becomes repetitive. We had two issues however. One is the food is usually very Oriental, spicey and often "hot". Although I enjoy it, our 10 year old had a not so good experience. At the buffet there is no warning in front of the hot/spicey dishes, which made us frequently make wrong choices for the kid and being forced back to the buffet to bring something different. I suppose the management could try to make this restaurant more kid friendly but putting such warnings and by having a couple of stuff more suitable for kids. But then again this would eventually cannibalise sales at the Bokkara Coffee Club (pizzas and burgers) and thus they have no incentive to do it.

The other problem we had was the little discount given on other restaurants. As all-inclusive clients we are entitled to a 20% discount on the other places, which is ridiculously low. Actually, since all prices are expensive ($30 for a very normal pizza) and they top them with 22% (service and tax), the discount not even takes the extras away. Only good point is that kids eat for free on such places, but still we paid more than $70 for a pizza dinner with no especial drinks. This made us a little angry and never went again to the resort other restaurants and stayed with the base package.

Drinks are one of the positives of the all-inclusive package. Includes all soft drinks you want plus house wine, draft beer and even some more elaborate drinks such as gin & tonic, caipirinhas, etc.

Another positive was the Kids Club. The staff was great. They seemed to handle these little kids with genuine care. My kid and some *new( friends quickly discovered the playstation, the Xbox and Wii and went there occasionally to play. Many events were kids friendly (including Bingo).

Waterports staff was also excellent. Snorkelling equipment is free to use. They provide free snorkelling lessons and a trip to a nearby reef. However, its not spectacular. You can also get free kayak use and rent some equipment. We do not surf but some friends although praising the staff were not too happy with the experience (besides the bruises they got at the "surfers corner").

For someone like me who prefers to stay close to the beach alternating between reading and swimming this was a great experience. First day we went to a more secluded beach and had it virtually to ourselves. But then we decided to stay in the main beach in front of the Kandooma Café. There's everything there, including a beach bar from where to bring some drinks (under the all-inclusive), the main café (for a coffe, ice cream etc), the pool, etc. We find easy to get chairs either in the shade or out of it. Seawater is very warm. Pool water is the warmest I ever experienced. To my surprise, not many people at the beach and most of them quit readers like myself. Excellent!. Beach sand was rougher than expected and rocky under the water in many places.

Went to the gym. Better than in most city hotels but nothing spectacular. I suppose its actually OK for this type of hotel. Didn't try the spa although was tempted to try a massage.

At checkout day he had an evening flight. Ended up paying more than $200 for a late (5 hour extra) checkout which I found expensive. Also they told us our "all inclusive" ended at noon. I've stayed at hotels where they let you keep the room for free if there is not an host checking-in that day and where they let you stay and eat at the buffet without any extra charge. This "miser" attitude, although I'm sure entirely "by the book", was a bit turndown at the end.

Room Tip: Rooms in the South are close to the main hotel area (reception, pool, restaurants, etc) and have a very trabquile beach just in front of them
  • Stayed: April 2015, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
6  Thank Paulo P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joseph D, General Manager at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2015

Dear Paulo,

Greetings from Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma.

Thank you for your valuable and constructive feedback regarding your recent stay at the Resort.

I was glad to hear that overall you had a great stay with us, but please accept my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience that you may have experienced during your stay. Your feedback will assist us to improve the guest experience at the Resort.

Kind Regards,

Joseph Della Gatta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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