Just returned from a week's vacation at Club Med.
Let me start by saying I don't like the club experience in general, & have stayed several times in the past at Club Med ski resorts, this was a "least worst option" at the time of booking.
Following the booking I read several reviews here, & was even more depressed, to the point where I tried to cancel the booking!
Having said that, I was utterly surprised by the club.
I know a lot of this forum’s elderly consider the Maldives a place of quietness & serenity, & because of that don’t appreciate or stay away from this one. I beg to differ.
Except for the main area (pool- reception- restaurant) in the middle of the island, you can hardly hear a sound anywhere else. They have water gymnastics in the pool & Zumba sessions twice a day with music. I couldn’t hear any of it when more than 20 meters away.
Our room was a beachfront looking east. I saw an average of 1 person walking along that stretch daily, usually the gardener or beach cleaner.
Same goes for the night club/ bar music – unheard unless you’re in the closest room.
If you’re into the “total quiet” experience, I estimate over 75% of the rooms will provide that.
Club-med is known for its G.O’s (Gentil Organisateur – the staff) dressing up & making a party out of every situation. I hate that. However it was hardly felt here, nobody gets in your face & again – it’s restricted to the main area & on specific times (usually dinner). I’m guessing they made adjustments to the Maldives.
In summary, if you’re into the “deserted island” experience this might not be the ideal location. If, however, you’re looking for peace & quiet, you’ll easily find it in Kani.
As a veteran of the Sinai, I found it great, perfect for 1st timers to the Maldives (such as me) & would highly recommend to others.
Quite close to Male (20 minute speedboat ride, I timed it).
Staff is very friendly, multinational, all speak very good English.
Snorkeling – I saw many posts re house reef importance & the lack of one in Kani. I won’t argue the importance as it’s a personal taste (I’m an experienced diver so this was somewhat important to me as well). I will say that Kani may not have a classic house reef, but there’s a very nice one 50 meters from the jetty/ dive center. If you don’t mind the short swim it’s well worth your while. Other than that they have a snorkeling trip twice a day (20 minute boat ride) FOC or a half day including lunch (which was excellent) with several stops. It’s ~170 USD, pricey but was worth it for me.
Scuba diving – I did not go on a diving trip to the Maldives as I stayed there with my wife who doesn’t dive.
I went on 3 diving sessions (5 dives), usually 30-40 minutes boat ride (the longer one was to the south atoll). The sites were great & I got to see everything on my wish list except for the Mantas. I have to especially note the dive center team (Euro Divers) – extremely professional, the best I’ve met. The level of service was amazing & even close to excessive – I’m used to carrying & setting up my gear but they wouldn’t allow it. They took every measure in optimizing the dives & were successful!
Food is varied throughout the day with snacks in between (all included) & surprisingly good. I wouldn’t bother with the special restaurant.
Drinks – I could argue the quality of alcohol on hand, but that’s maybe going into too much detail. Bars are available 9:00-24:00.
The room – I stayed in the beachfront room (actually all the rooms are beachfront, that’s what they call the bigger ones, of which there are only a few). I had low expectations due to past stays in Club Meds & was very surprised by it. I’m usually spoiled when it comes to the room & shower – this was great.
Overall service was excellent. From the minute we exited the arrival hall to when we arrived at the departures one we were taken care of. It all works like clockwork. Room cleaned twice a day, every request promptly taken care of. Special note goes to the chief – I asked that they upgrade our “world cup viewing facilities” as when we arrived you could watch games in the room or on a 32” in the recreation area off the lobby (with bad reception of the Maldives channel 4). The next day we had a big screen with HD projector running an English speaking Indian HD channel & the bar staff on hand every 15 minutes. For the late games, they left cold drinks in ice buckets.
Wifi – free in the main area & at the 5-trident lounge at the southern end of the island. Had no expectations, service & speed decent. Makes you only use it on rare occasions which is good.
Diving equipment, special note – I was in a dilemma re carrying my own. At the end I only took my mask. Waste of time. The equipment in both the dive center & the snorkeling trips was fine, masks of very good quality, wouldn’t bother.
My only Con – checkout was at 11:00, we got a late checkout at 14:00, flight at 23:30. But there are clean showers & changing rooms so no biggie.
We spent another 1,000 USD on 5 dives (+ a refresher dive) including full gear, the half day thing (340 USD) & massages (4 total).
Don’t forget to bring sunscreen & a lycra shirt. I did & they are ridiculously expensive in the shop. Same goes for cigarettes for the smokers.
Sorry for the length post, hope it helps.