My friend and I booked a one-week All-inclusive package in Kandooma. We've never been to the Maldives before so we decided to upgrade to a water villa, to fully enjoy the crystal clear Maldivian sea from our room even at nighttime. We weren't disappointed. As soon as we got into our room on the first day, we saw a baby black-tipped reef shark swimming in front of our private sundeck. Two nights later, an eagle ray came to visit! There was always something to watch from the hammock, some strange-looking fish which kept us entertained. We were also very impressed with the cleanliness and lay-out of the room which looked exactly like it did on the website photos (this wasn't always the case in some resorts). The cleanliness of the bathroom exceeded our expectations. Everyday of our stay, housekeeping did a fantastic job. Well done.
The service from landing at Male to leaving the hotel was also exceptional. There was one small issue which we did not like - as soon as we were served drinks at the hotel lobby upon arrival, we were asked for either credit card or cash as a deposit of USD 700 was required, apparently for any 'extras' we might incur during our stay. It was quite shocking for us, considering the huge amount of money we already paid for the holiday. No harm done, we paid in cash at the end of our stay for the excursions and they cancelled the credit card charge. We preferred not to have had that experience, though. After that, the rest of the holiday was a dream! Almost 98% of the staff we met during our stay had a warm greeting and nice smile (we assumed that those who didn't were just having a bad day). The restaurant staff, chefs and bartenders all seemed genuinely interested in making our dining experience pleasurable. Food and drinks were very good and varied, and more enjoyable with lively banter from staff like Anees and Raja (Kandooma cafe).
There was a big pool which was just lovely to soak in during the afternoons. The views into the ocean from the pool was great and I found it perfect for just watching the goings-on at the jetty for the day. What really made our holiday memorable was the beauty of the crystal clear waters of the Maldivian sea. We're not good swimmers but we're still able to fully enjoy the sea with the help of everyone from the Kandooma Water Sports Center! The resort provided free snorkelling lessons and trips which we joined almost daily. They were very patient with novices like us and were more than happy to assist us in any way. On one of the trips, my friend suffered from leg cramps and needed to be hauled back into the boat. The assistance we received was truly exceptional and nobody made us feel like we were an inconvenience. They even made sure that we made the most of our time on the boat while waiting for other snorkellers by telling us more about the reefs, and of course, joining in the picture-taking! Special thanks to Ahu, Capt. Naseer, Tele-tele and everyone on the boat that day! We went on a 2nd dolphin cruise with Robyn, resident marine biologist, which she rearranged for us as the first trip was unsuccessful. The 2nd time was awesome, we saw loads of dolphins and they seemed to want to show off their acrobatic jumps and spins! Thanks, Robyn. We also went on a catamaran sailing (highly recommended) with Ali who made us feel at ease on the catamaran, considering it was our first time. He took us to a beautiful reef and my friend even saw a turtle! We also went on a night fishing excursion where everybody had a good catch. It was part of our AI package, however upon arrival at the resort, we were told they didn't offer the free excursion anymore eventhough it was on the Thomson website. Our rep, Lou, was able to sort it out about 4 days later, which we were happy about. We caught a lot of fish and they cooked it for free and served it at dinner that same night. Lovely.
Kandooma offers free Wi-Fi all around the island and one can even use computers in the Library. There's a well-equipped gym (also very clean and well-maintained), and a Spa which we didn't use (we thought it was a bit overpriced). There's also a Diving Center which was quite irrelevant to non-swimmers like us. The Kids' Club had table tennis which we were able to use before the evening entertainment started.There was a variety of nightly entertainment including a very informative Marine Biology night, Trivia, Bingo, Boduberu (Maldivian drums-playing), Karaoke (which I regrettably participated in without maxing out on the alcohol first!!) and live bands which played on 2 different nights. We liked the first band better, they played more contemporary songs. The most entertaining for us though was the Crab race, organized by Roto and Ahu (multi-talented, aren't you?), who had the crowd, adults and children alike, in stitches. It was such a good laugh, don't miss it.
All in all, we can say that this was our best holiday ever, not only because we were surrounded by Maldives' exceptional beauty, but also due to the warmth and friendliness everybody showed us during our stay. We really felt like we were in the company of friends. Shukkuriyaa, Kandooma. See you again soon!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Find your tropical island paradise at the lagoon-facing Holiday Inn Resort (R) Kandooma Maldives. Let speedboats ferry you across the turquoise waters from Male International Airport to our contemporary Maldives holiday resort in just 40 minutes. Slip into island life from the moment you arrive at Holiday Inn Resort (R) Kandooma Maldives, with world-class diving and surfing facilities at your doorstep. Our beach villas ooze style and boast elegant touches like outdoor showers and iPod docking stations. Grab coffee and wood-fired pizza from the Bokkuraa Coffee Club beside our sparkling infinity pool, or unwind with a good book and enjoy views over the peaceful lagoon. You can indulge in a soothing Thai massage and other beauty treatments at our Kandooma Spa and book the Spa Suite's private garden with plunge pool for a romantic afternoon. Discover a Maldives hotel for family here, where you can learn to sail on a catamaran around the region's sandbanks and sip on alcohol-free cocktails on a sunset cruise. Diving and snorkelling among colourful reefs is just five minutes by boat from Holiday Inn Resort(R) Kandooma Maldives. As a child-friendly Maldives hotel, your children will be kept entertained with face-painting and fun games, while parents can unwind with a game of tennis or a workout at the gym. Top off a perfect day with a Maldivian seafood feast and breathtaking sunsets at The Kitchen restaurant. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Hotel South Male Atoll
- Kandooma South Male Atoll
- Kandooma Hotel South Male Atoll