Kandooma Island lies 35km south of Male' International Airport, and in true tropical paradise fashion, the way to get here is via a 40-minute speedboat ride to the South Male Atoll. Transfer charges: US$219 per adult and US$134 per child under 12. Children under 4 years old travel for free.
We spent 8 days at the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives starting on May 16. This was a once in a life time trip for us. It took 5 separate airplane flights, 22.5 hours of flight time, and covered[More]
over 10,150 miles to get here from the middle of the United States, but it was so very worth it.
Our experience started with the reception at the Male Airport. We were greeted by the staff after we picked up our luggage. Within 15 minutes our luggage was stowed on the speed boat and we were on the boat. We were given life vests, cold water, and cold wash clothes. The boat transfer was on a very fast boat with great indoor seating and even a place to sit outside on the back of the boat. For people who are concerned with sea sickness I would not worry too much. On both transfers the sea is pretty calm. My spouse suffers from motion sickness, but had no issues on either transfer. Both transfers lasted less than 45 minutes. I would agree with other reviewers that the cost seems a bit high, but I knew the cost going in so I cannot really complain too much.
We were taken from the docks to the reception area via a golf cart. We were given a welcome drink and another cold wash cloth. We were then given a short presentation on everything that the resort had to offer. We were then transported to our room via the golf cart and given a personal tour of our beach front bungalow. We were in number 4 which turned out to be the perfect spot for us.
The island is around 13 acres and you can walk around the entire island in about 20 minutes. It offers sandy beaches, areas of corral near the over the water bungalows (great area to do snorkeling), and an area for surfers on the back side of the island.
I was concerned about the weather as we were visiting in the “rainy” season. I watched the weather forecasts on the internet prior to my arrival and would always see 88 degrees and thunderstorms. In our 8 days we had sunny skies on 7 of those days. It rained at night on two occasions while we slept and it rained once during the day for an hour and then the skies cleared up and the sun was out again. There was always a breeze which made was really awesome.
We took bug spray as we were concerned for mosquitoes. We never even got it out of the package. We never saw one single mosquito the entire time. The only bug issue is ants, but you have to expect that…..the island is made of sand! The room came with its own can of ant spray. Every morning I would spray around the door and a couple of other places and that would fix the ant problem.
We did a fishing trip while we were there and had a great time. I ended up catching a large Dorado while on the trip. The hotel staff cooked up our fish in the stone oven that they use to make their awesome pizzas. The fish turned out great and we enjoyed it for two nights.
The resort offers everything a ton of activities that includes kayaks, jet skies, snorkeling trips and equipment, dive trips and gear, various boating trips, and many too many more than I can remember. They offer a daily snorkeling trip for free which is a must when staying here.
The pool seemed to be the center attraction for the guests as it would be busy all day long. It has multiple levels from ankle deep to over 5 feet deep. It also has a Jacuzzi area for relaxing. There are showering stations on both sides of the pool to wash off the sand before getting in.
There are multiple places to eat and drink on the island. The Sunset Deck offers an awesome view of the ocean as it sits on top of the The Kitchen Restaurant and it also has seating on top of this light house looking building. The Kitchen Restaurant is a more formal dining area that is open to the sea and overlooks a really great beach. The Fisherman’s Market on Saturday night offered more fresh seafood that you could ever eat. They have a great little bar right on the beach which is where we spent a lot of time while hanging out on the comfy lounge chairs. We ate at the Bokurra Coffee Club on our first night and our first taste of their fire cooked pizza. We also hit up the lounge bar for drinks on the day we left.
The beach bungalow offers a sand floor living room on the bottom floor complete with table, chairs, and a sofa. It also has a shower area for cleaning up before heading up to your room. The room is well air conditioned and very comfortable for sleep. Our only complaint was that the bed was too hard for our liking. They offer 6 oranges and an orange press for fresh juice every morning. We really enjoyed that. The room has a sliding glass door to the balcony which is furnished with a table and chairs. The bathroom is an open air concept bathroom. The shower does have a window where people can see you shower, but don’t worry they can only see your head.
Here is what to expect when it comes to the prices of stuff on the island. Everything that you purchase will get hit with two types of “taxes”. A 10 percent and a 12 percent add on. Keep that in mind when figuring out what something costs. An additional 22 percent will add up in a hurry if you are watching your budget. Here are some examples of costs just so you can prepare your budget ahead of time. Draft beer $5, mixed drinks $12, coke $5, pizza $25, foot long hot dog $30, burgers $33, and fish and chips $33. Then add 22% to those prices.
I saved the best for last. The employees of this resort are second to none when it comes to service. I can honestly say that we did not encounter one issue from the employees on this trip. They always had a friendly smile for us and would always greet us as we passed them while they were working. They are the biggest asset to this Holiday Inn Resort. I hope that management takes note of these comments and forwards my sincere gratitude to them. Thanks for making this trip one to remember. [Less]