Holiday Inn Kandooma
Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives
The beaches on Kandooma are poor. There is no way around that, you would have thought, but Holiday Inn have brought their imagination and professionalism to the problem and been so successful that you’d hardly notice the drawback but only enjoy their special holiday experience.
The holiday is centred around the fabulous, almost futuristic, thatched buildings of the reception, restaurant, kid’s club, bar and lounge, around the large swimming pool and palm-shaded sunloungers on the sand. Here is almost everything the holiday-maker requires. It is here that the notices are displayed to tell everyone what is going on that day and the next. And it is here that you lounge and swim during the day, here you enjoy your meals inside or out and here you drink and are entertained in the evening.
This resort manages to be a place to lie back and take it easy whilst also having the option take part in activities on and off the island all day and into the evening. The sunset cruise is a good example, where you can sit on the roof and sip cocktails watching for the sunset or get down onto the boom net and splash around like mad in the surf. Back on shore you might join in the geography quiz or take an early dinner and retire.
This is a resort that works really well for families and for guests who enjoy being among like-minded people and a bit of entertainment. Then again, because most people are in and around the pool, couples can enjoy their own space in the quiet of their room. Around half the guests are from Asia and half from Europe. As the transfers are by boat, it suits arrivals and departures from Asia very well. There is no need to stay a night at the airport or Male.
Kandooma used to be a dive island, a place that didn’t care too much for luxury but cared a lot about the diving. The sites that attracted all those divers are still around and so many guests still do come for that primarily. For beginners there is the outside reef and for the many experienced divers there are superb channel dives promising the great and the big of Indian Ocean. In recent years Kandooma has also developed a reputation among surfers for the breaks off its shoreline.
There is no direct access to snorkeling from the beach and signs ask guests not to go out because of currents but there is a free boat trip every day to the housereef, which is only 4 minutes away. Trips to other reefs are also on the weekly menu.
A few spots around the island have been made into decent sandy beaches and this is just enough, but elsewhere, and in the lagoon, it is crunchy and sometimes sharp with corals underfoot.
The rooms are not large but they are places you will be happy to linger. They are delightful and even uplifting in their ‘Seaside Living’ design straight from a coffee-table book. The lightness of the white is enlivened with dashes of bold colour. It is not just effect either, the iPod set up, the fresh coffee and plunger, the loose tea leaves and the solid metal orange squeezer with complimentary oranges are all great touches that make you really feel at home by the sea.
The Beach Villas and Garden Villas, being low and rectangular, do not quite have the magic of the Duplex Villas and the Waterbungalows but offer good value for money. Many guests come on bed and breakfast basis but half and full board are readily available.
Finally, the Como Shambala Spa is the product of a great spa company. It is one more aspect of a resort that has a great deal to offer and is only let down by the beach.
Review updated 2013Join the discussion Star this resort Check availability and price