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Friday, 23 March 2018

Kandolhu Maldives - Where To Stay In The Maldives? Full Hotel Review, Luxury Maldives Overwater Villa

green backless dress

Kandolhu Maldives has a really special place in my heart. I'm just sorry this review has taken me so long to write but I wanted to give it my all. I get asked about the best place to stay in the Maldives on a weekly basis, so as well as the Instagram posts and the videos from my trips, I wanted to do a full blog post review of my stay at Kandolhu Maldives. This was my second time at Kandolhu (read my first review of my stay at Kandolhu here) and I have to tell you, it truly is my happy place. Let's talk about why you need to stay at Kandolhu Maldives.
kandolhu maldives
kandolhu maldives
Transport - I've been to some difficult to reach places in the Maldives and actually wouldn't recommend going to any resort that requires a domestic flight. It's way too much travel. We had a total nightmare once, jumping off a 15-hour flight from London, then onto a plane to an airport in the middle of the sea, then a second domestic flight. It sounds like fun but over 24 hours of waiting around and flying take its toll. Kandolhu Maldives is so easy to get to, you can get either a quick seaplane over to the resort (20 mins) or a speedboat from another resort, we headed over from Conrad Maldives so hopped on a speedboat which the Kandolhu team efficiently organised. One thing I always notice is how professional and amazing the staff are on the speedboat, instantly welcoming us with hot towels and water. You arrive and you are instantly in paradise, usually greeted by the staff at the resort too which is so heart-warming, you instantly feel as if you are at home. I was so excited to step off the boat and be back 'home', in our magical, happy place. 
kandolhu Maldives small luxury hotels

The Bedrooms at Kandolhu Maldives - There are a number of different room categories at Kandolhu so I thought it would be nice to tell you which rooms I have stayed in.  Kandolhu offers 30 villas in 5 different styles. If you are going for a week, you could always change rooms halfway through for a different experience. I know some people like to do 2 weeks in the Maldives and island hop between different resorts so if you are doing this, I'd definitely recommend doing at least 4 nights at Kandolhu or 7 if fancy a whole week! 3 nights is too short to soak in this beautiful slide of paradise. My favourite thing (apart from the cloud like beds, beautiful views and best bathtubs I've ever seen) is the fact that the mini bar is included if you are an ultimate inclusions guest (all inclusive). The staff go above and beyond to ensure it's stocked with the best wines, the best spirits and the best chocolate (guilty, I may have eaten one two many bars).

jacuzzi beach villa kandolhu

Jacuzzi Beach Villa - First we stayed in a jacuzzi beach villa, which is perfect if you want to be on the beach and if you love snorkeling. The villas are like perfect little houses, you'll never want to hand the key back. These are located on the western shores and come with a king bed and the most divine spacious open-air garden bathroom (as seen on photos below) with an outdoor jacuzzi tub as well as an outdoor shower. The room was spacious and it was a total joy to get ready in the bathroom. Our bags were delivered straight to our door by the sweetest staff member too who explained the room to us. The staff are so knowledgeable from the moment you step off the boat and will ensure everything is perfect. I've never come across such fabulous staff. 

jacuzzi beach villa bath kandolhu
jacuzzi beach villa kandolhu

Ocean Villa - Next we stayed in the ocean villa, the most divine, over the water, elegant room I've ever come across. This room is huge and comes with a day bed overlooking the best sunsets (it's the best office space, ever, I could have napped here all day long). The bathroom faces the lagoon and you get the best sunsets whilst sitting in the bath. The design of the rooms at Kandolhu are perfect, with modern touches mixed with traditional, local Maldivian touches. You have steps that lead straight down to the Indian ocean here too and if you're lucky? Can watch the baby sharks as they swim beneath your feet. A new addition this year? The room comes equipped with a GoPro for your usage (the staff are more than happy to help you with the set up and putting your photos onto a USB for you to take home) and a Kandolhu beach bag equipped with everything you need for the best day. To me this is just above and beyond and shows the kind of hotel Kandolhu are. They really will do anything to ensure you have the trip of a lifetime.

kandolhu ocean villa

Ocean Pool Villa - As if the first two room categories aren't good enough, let me show you my favourite room category. The Ocean Pool Villa. Kandolhu are famous for their Ocean Pool Villa and I'm sure you'll have seen it floating around on various Instagram accounts. Hopefully, the photos below and my vlog from this trip will do it justice. The Ocean Pool Villa faces the sunset and definitely offers the best experience, it's incredibly lavish, with a private walkway, oversized bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and the airy bathroom. I don't even have the words to say how much I adore this room. I've never seen anything like it.

Ocean Pool Villa kandolhu
Ocean Pool Villa

Ocean Pool Villa kandolhu
Ocean Pool Villa kandolhu maldives

Ocean Pool Villa  maldives

So to conclude with the rooms? The beach villas are fantastic if you're a beach lover and just want to wander around the beachy area and feel like you're in a jungle with your private outdoor bathroom (it's so special). The water villas (with no pool) are exceptional because you have the ocean at your feet and can swim into it at any moment (plus you can watch as Maldivian birds perch on your balcony as the sunsets) and that bath, wow it looks right out onto the sunset. The creme de la creme, the ocean pool villa, is extra special. Whether you fancy a swim in your pool, a dip in the ocean or the best bath you will ever have. You will be forgiven for not leaving your room for the whole week. If these three aren't for you, they also have duplex pool villas and beach pool villas so definitely check out the Kandolhu website for more. Small Luxury Hotels are also one of my favourite places to book luxury trips and I knew Kandolhu was gonna be good when I saw them advertised on there as SLH only list the best hotels on their site. One thing I would say? If you are on more of a budget but still want to visit this magical resort, I can hand on heart say, all of the rooms are magical and have the special Kandolhu touch. The resort is small meaning no matter where you are staying on the island, you can still wander around and explore. You will be happy with any room at Kandolhu, promise.

kandolhu Maldives restauarants

The Restaurants at Kandolhu - My biggest piece of advice? Go for the ultimate inclusions package. It basically means you're all-inclusive. Everything is shipped over to your little island so food costs are higher in the Maldives, meaning it can be quite costly to eat every day. At least when you're all inclusive you don't need to worry about any extras. It's one of the few resorts I've been to like this and it makes the trip so relaxing. Whilst Kandolhu is small, they have a choice of four a la carte restaurants, a bar, beach dining and in-villa dining available. You can book your room as either Bed and Breakfast, A La Carte or the Ultimate Inclusions package. You can always do ultimate inclusions and pay extra for special private beach dinners etc, so you can have the best of both worlds. 

Breakfast at Kandolhu Maldives - Breakfast at Kandolhu Maldives is definitely worth leaving your comfy cloud-like bed and ocean view for. The market serves all-day dining and the loveliest a la carte breakfast, you can also have nibbles from the loveliest buffet too. I basically lived on fresh fruit juices (the papaya one is divine) and their special honey. You can get in villa dining too if you'd prefer not to leave your slice of paradise. 
lunch at kandolhu maldives
Lunch at Kandolhu Maldives - You can also grab lunch from a divine a la carte menu at The Market or head for some bar snacks at the bar next door (Vilu bar). The lunch menu is one of my favourites, with such a nice Sri Lankan twist on some of the dishes. You can check out all the menus online before booking but there's so much choice on the menus. There is a new restaurant too now, which I will have to go back and try haha, called Ata Roa. It looks to be a gorgeous little light lunch hut full of tacos and craft cocktails.

sushi at kandolhu maldives

dinner at kandolhu maldives
dinner at kandolhu maldives
Dinner at Kandolhu Maldives - For such a small resort, there are a fair few dinner options too. Obviously, you have the option to eat at your villa and watch the sunset at your own pace, or, you can visit one of the numerous restaurants. You can also go all out and organise a special, beach dinner which the hotel are more than happy to do. Sadly ours had to be canceled as we chose the only rainy night for it and it was the final night of our trip, it's a sign, we must go back! I have to say, they certainly don't skrimp on the chefs at Kandolhu, they whip up some of the best dishes I've ever tasted.

Olive - Olive is set high up and offers panoramic views of the ocean and they serve Mediterranean dishes. I had possibly the best pasta of my life here. The food is on a par with Michellin Starred food I've had, it's so well cooked and flavoursome.

The Sea Grill - This is our personal favourite, you can eat delicious freshly caught seafood or have sizzling meat with the most delicious sides. I always ask for a side of bok choi because it's the freshest bok choi I've ever had. You can choose a spice and marinate your meat however you wish, there are so many options.

Banzai - Banzai is such a fun experience, it's the most delicious Japanese teppanyaki serving up sushi and an exciting show as the chef cooks it right in front of you. It's a really entertaining experience but the food is so good too.

 Shop the dress / 

kandolhu maldives
 The Resort - Kandolhu is a lush, green island with the whitest beaches you have ever seen.
It's located in the North Ari Atoll and only takes 20 mins by seaplane. It also has one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, take it from someone who has now visited a few different resorts. We couldn't believe the fish we saw here, so close to our villa.

It is small, with just 30 villas and I'm often asked 'don't you get bored in the Maldives? but by the time you've had breakfast, lunch and been for a snorkel, you're watching a divine sunset and getting ready for dinner.

There is so much to do a Kandolhu, whether you want to wander around the whole resort, head for a massage (the best massages, ever so definitely book in for one whilst there, it's necessary), go to the gym, go up into the little library, or do an excursion. You can do watersports, diving or even head out on a day trip to a local sandbank.

Kandolhu can pretty much make anything you wish to happen, not to mention the private beach dinners they set up for guests. We also headed out onto a sunset cruise where we ate delicious canapes, sipped champagne and if you watch closely, you may be lucky enough to see dolphins.

eyelet bikini
orange eyelet bikini  Shop the bikini / 

luxury Maldives hotel

So whether you're going for a swim with your snorkel kit (the guys at the dive centre are SO friendly and will show you a map of all the best reefs, or take you our snorkelling), seeing what footage you can capture with your GoPro (thanks to manager Marc, the most amazing addition to a stay) or go for a little wander after lunch. You definitely won't get bored at Kandolhu. Your Maldives trip is what you make of it, you could do beach activities every day and gym every morning or, just soak it up and not leave your villa for a week. It's completely up to you. That's the joy of Kandolhu, you can relax or be active and explore.
spa at kandolhu
Maldives sunset

pretty little thing yellow co-ord
Two-piece /

One thing is for sure, you won't want to leave this magical island and it's exceptional sunsets, staff, and food. You kind of expect 'all inclusive' food to be of lower quality, but Kandolhu completely changed my opinion of this. I have never had such high quality, delicious food and the chefs truly are incredible. I'm still dreaming of that pasta.

kandolhu maldives
To conclude? Kandolhu is my happy place, it truly is magical. We were so excited to head back for the second time and the staff even remembered us which made it even more special. We got to know some of the staff too and heard their stories, it's really heartwarming and I can see why people return to Kandolhu, again and again.

From the moment you step foot on the island, you feel relaxed. Kandolhu is the ultimate luxurious island. The staff make you feel at home, they're friendly, professional and efficient and I only have good things to say about each and every member we came across - particularly the lovely, kind gentleman who dropped our snorkels to our room and ensured our suitcases arrived safely. You will leave Kandolhu feeling rejuvenated and ready to book your trip back that's for sure. Luxury, tranquility and rejuvenation. Make sure you snorkel, go for a Maldivian massage and try all the food. Don't forget to have some cocktails at the bar because they whip up the best cocktails with top spirits flown in from around the world. There really is no expense spared when it comes to ensuring every part of your stay is luxurious and of the highest quality.

I talk about Kandolhu so often because no-where has ever impressed me so much. Every single inch of the resort is perfect. A very special shout out to Marc and Laura, the resort managers who clearly treat their staff so well as the resort is full of happiness and love. I love how they mingle with the guests too, ensuring everything is magical.

Kandolhu, I will be back. I like to explore new places but Kandolhu just does something to me, there is no other place like it.

You can watch my video at Kandolhu below and find out more on their website here.

Have you ever been to the Maldives? Would you like to go? Do you like the sound of Kandolhu?

Book Kandolhu Maldives. 

You might also like:

Kandolhu Hotel, the best Maldives resort? 
Conrad Maldives Review 

Lots of love, Em x

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