It was my dear parents' 30th anniversary, so we decided to do something special. One week at Maldives sounds a wonderful idea -- a long overdue honeymoon that celebrates the bonding and love, without which I would not have been here. :)
You probably know that each island at Maldives hosts a hotel & resort, and picking an island to stay is the most daunting task before you can enjoy the sunshine and Indian Ocean. There are hundreds of choice, and within each resort, there are different room & service options. You date and duration choice adds to another layer of complexity. Almost every time I thought I could finalize, I got distracted by alternatives. It almost seemed like a never-ending step.
Then I stumbled upon Kandima and got excited by its modern branding. The price range (USD600-USD1,200/day/room) is acceptable. Moreover, the property was open just one year ago. (For hotel, new is always better than old -- my uncompromising belief.)
Voila! we finally had a winner. Now it's time to pack the swimsuits. :D
We stayed at the Aqua Villa, which I highly suggest everyone to try if coming to Maldives, and it was a blast! I love the clean, modern aesthetic and the all-inclusive package of our room. Walking outside the room to the backyard balcony, I had this surreal feeling that the light green ocean was just steps away.
The water was so crystal clean that we could just walk down the ladder from balcony and start snorkeling. It was the most effortless fish watching experience that I ever had. My parents also had a lot of fun, which made every penny count!
We were not 100% lucky as the weather was not always sunny. When it was raining, there was absolutely nothing to do but to eat; when it was cloudy, the color of water was very dull, not photogenic at all. So make sure that you come during dry season during spring and summer.
As long as the sun came out, there is no other place like Maldives. I immediately let go about the grumpy mood from the rain and cloud the day before, bouncing and jumping into the water straight away.
I have been to many well-known ocean beaches, but Maldives really took my breath away every morning I woke up and saw the baby blue water shining under the sun. (Finally a refresh after Caribbean has top my list for 3 years.)
Logistics-wise, it took some effort to get to Kandima: From Male, we took a domestic flight for about 1 hour, and then a speedboat for anther 40 mins. But it's also true that the more difficult to get to, the more original scene you will see. So no complaints on the travel, as the view is totally worth the hassle.
The Kandima staff was super friendly and helpful during booking and during our stay. There were minor glitches, but they helped fix quickly and didn't cause us much trouble.
Overall, it was a great trip and our family memory is priceless. I will recommend it to you if you:
- plan for mid-range budget
- love young, modern aesthetic
- prefer new development
- don't mind seeing many guests (cuz Kandima is large and capable of hosting a lot. There are particularly many Russians there -- I wondered why...)
A couple of advice if I could do it again:
- Put your valuables in the locker. We lost some small USD bills but couldn't figure out on which date. It was our fault not to put our purse in the safe. Since the amount was small, we didn't bother.
- No need to go with all-inclusive. It wasn't completely care-free, as there are still chargeable items beyond the all-inclusive package. Since my family don't have big appetite, the substantially higher price didn't really justify compared to a la carte.
Hope to come back to Maldives soon -- maybe for my own honeymoon next time! ;)