Six months have been passed since our stay at Holiday Inn Kandooma, but we’re still thinking about the good mood, relaxation and all the positive experiences we had at this wonderful resort.
A dream came true for us – that’s why a wrote such an extra-long review. Enjoy :)
Just a short info in advance: I wanted to spend my 30th birthday far away from home, at a pleasant holiday resort, which has a big recreational value and is surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
After several days of deliberation, we decided to go to the Maldives.
Unfortunately, we booked the journey way too late (7 days before departure).
Due the lack of time, we didn’t had many choices to look for a place to stay, because most hotels were already fully booked. We found out, that the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma still got some rooms left, so we immediately booked 7 days all inclusive.
Of course we’d read the hotel’s reviews in advance...however, I am a person who get led astray by such reviews – that behavior is complete nonsense...I know! But every time again, I get confused & mislead because I read every single review. Stupid Me!
You have to know, that I am a very discerningly person, when it comes to cleanliness & food, so I want to get sure, that there are no problems with this issues.
The only thing, I should say: Don’t get crazy in consequence of the reviews and explore your own experience & impressions!
That’s what we did and it was a RE-MARK-ABLE experience!
We flew with Emirates from Munich to Male with a stopover in Dubai. After about 9 hours of actual flying time, we arrived well at (hot) Malé.
At the airport, we received a very warmth welcome by two hotel-staff members.
The took our luggage and loaded it immediately onto the speed boat, with which we had to drive another 40 minutes to the resort.
40 minutes full of speed, surrounded by deep blue water (and adequate safety vests) was a great start for great holidays :)
Arrived (in one piece) at the hotel, we’d enjoyed a refreshing drink at the lobby with a very nice hotel desk clerk. She gave us a warm welcome and explained us, the most important things about the resort.
Which restaurants are available, at which times they were open, information about the diving school, surfing school, ...
During this small introduction, our luggage was already brought to our "Beach House". After we’d got all the necessary information, we were driven to our accommodation by a golf cart! What a wonderful way to start our holiday at the Holiday Inn Resort!
The Beach House (No. 78) was a 5 minute walk (relaxed 5 minutes) away from the reception and the restaurants, right on a very quiet and clean beach on the beautiful island.
Arrived at the Beach House, we were already overwhelmed by the open living room and the close proximity to the beach.
Although the resort has a age over 10 years, there was no visible wearout.
Neither there was mold in the (open) showers or in the joints, nor any dirt in the house. Even in the toilet, on the duvet covers & mattresses, the towels,...everything was clean.
Our accommodation, the restaurants, the toilets (everywhere!) and the entire island were in a impeccable hygienic condition. Since some hotels may be a leaf in Europe!
Most of the Hotels in Europe could learn a thing or two from them! Respect!
In addition to the fact, that the cleanliness left nothing to desire, you should also know, that the house was VERY spacious and everyday we’d got 2 (glas!)bottles of water and fresh oranges to squeeze it by ourselfs - just awesome!
After we’d unpacked our luggage, we explored the island.
The various animals (Crabs, bats, birds and of course lots and lots of fishes) and the pretty flora was mesmerizing. The colorful flowers, that bloom there, really got my heart pumping.
We were exploring/walking about 45 minutes. Without the "oh, look there! Oh did you see this?!" you could encircle the whole island in about 20 minutes - but we had no hurry :)
The various sections of the beach were great! There were some small, natural sections, where you could watch the crabs working at their "daily business", as well as sections of the beach from the catalog: clean and spacious white sand
Incidentally, that was another thing that has really surprised me - although the resort with 160 accommodation was pretty big, we have never felt "harassed" or disturbed in our privacy. The resort is designed pretty clever. The Guests could spread throughout the island very well, even at high guest appearance.
After our walk, we prepared ourselves for dinner - another very important issue: the food.
We had booked all inclusive board. The food was presented in „buffet style“ and the drinks were served by the wonderful service-team directly to the table. Since I booked AI-buffet board just once in my lifetime (and this choice turned out to be the absolute horror) I was critical than usual - but this turned out to be totally unnecessary!
The food was very fresh every single morning, noon and evening the whole 7 days and very varied. There was something of everything - but especially Asian food.
Plenty of meat (lamb, chicken, beef), fish, vegetables, salads, soups, desserts, easy ... Everything the culinary heart desires.
Me personally eat almost carbohydrate-reduced food, which often proves to be a problem - but not at the Holiday Inn. I ate quite often fresh fish, vegetables and super yummie salads.
In the evening, there were daily changing menu themes. One evening they fried fresh, raw meat / fish / vegetable with your sauce of choice in front of you in a wok; the other evening there was a BBQ; next day they presented local delicacies presented ... so it REALLY was always sufficient, very creative and very delicious!
One of the most marvelous things, besides the freshly prepared food, was the included smile of the kitchen-chefs and service. We were received so incredibly warm and the drinks were served to us with such a hospitality - I really would not have expected that kinda serivce from such a large resort. Here again you realize that the saying: "As you would call into the forest, it echoes even out again" is absolutely true.
Cause I have a bit of experience in the hotel industry myself, I know the hard work of each individual in a hotel and I really appreciated the service at HI Kandooma. The guys & girls there did mostly everything for their guests, so the guests could enjoy an unforgettable holiday. It takes a tremendous amount of effort, nerves & work behind such a hotel job. An absolute challenge, because most of the tourists do not not always behave the way towards the staff it should be: with proper respect.
After 2 days I've talked more frequently with a variety of employees. Whether it was the service, housekeeping or the chefs. All of them absolutely helpful and very experienced. Many of the chefs have also worked abroad, including also in Germany / Austria. For this I have also repeatedly been told great stories. Super interesting!
I also want to thank very specially in Shathir and his Kandooma Cafe Team here. The guys were every morning, noon and evening just great! Supernice, always smiling and absolutely hospitable. Such a kindness I have never experienced in a hotel. Shathir and his team made the holiday spezial for us - if the boys had not been, our stay would have been just half as beautiful, interesting and funny as it was. A big THANK YOU from us to you!
Just as awesome as the service, was also my birthday!
I never thought that this birthday will be SO memorable and beautiful!
After breakfast we went back to our room and I was already overwhelmed by the first surprise: a beautifully decorated bed with a birthday card from the hotel staff. WOW! The housekeeping had actually decorated the bed with a variety of local flowers and placed "Happy B-Day" with palm leaves. Stunning!
Then I had a 60-minute wellness treatment (relaxation massage) at Como Shambhala spa.
The SPA – another recommendation! From the welcoming to the treatment, up to the Goodbye (including a small birthday song) - everything was 100% perfect with great recreational value!
In the meantime, my partner had planned (together with the great team from the Water Sports Centre) a trip of which I didn’t knew nothing about:
We went on a Catamaran (!) to a beautiful reef for a snorkel trip.
Since this was the first snorkel trip ever for me, I was very enthusiastic about the colorful underwater world. I’d never seen such intense colors and rich flora and fauna. Breathtakingly beautiful! This trip was also perfecty organized, because we had our guide (whose name I unfortunately can not remember), who’d showed us the special animals in the underwater world and he also took great photos with his underwater digicam for us (a great idea, because we were distracted by the magnificent underwater world).
After about an hour snorkeling, we took the catamaran towards a small mini-sandbar. It was a bit windier that day, so the catamaran ride was a bit of a challenge for our guide, which he did with bravura (and we with tons of fun)!
Just before we arrived at the small sandbar, we went on with the snorkeling. Again, we saw a great, colorful reef. I snorkeled in the turquoise sea, when I suddenly saw something strange, but that was no fish and no plant.
Curious, I popped in the vicinity of the „object“, until I saw that it was a banner with the inscription "Happy Birthday Nicole"!
The guys have actually attached this banner and some balloons to a small reef! I couldn’t believe my eyes. The surprise was definitely succeeded! I was absolutely speechless and just overwhelmed. Such an effort just for me - madness!
That was really unique and I will never forget this moment.
After 2 hours and a lot of pictures from reef, we did go back on the Catamaran towards the resort.
After I calmed down a bit, cause of the big suprise, it was already dinner time. Like every evening, we were welcome very warm at Kandooma Café and many of the guys already knew that I celebrated my birthday on that day. Another big suprise: I got a birthday cake decorated with love and a little serenade, which was sung with devotion. VERY tasty & lovely :)
The complete birthday was just incredibly beautiful and absolutely unforgettable. Thanks to the entire team of HI-resorts and their creative help.
Thank you, thank you and thank you to the guys from the Water Sports Centre - specifically Maanu - and to my sweetheart Sebastian!
The wonderful and relaxed days went by - unfortunately much too fast...
However, the last night I would also like to specifically mention. This was also a very memorable evening.
On the way to our dinner table, Shathir said "No, no - this is not your table tonight! Follow me!".
Unsuspecting we followed him towards the beach ... and saw a huge heart that was drawn in the sand, surrounded by candles. Amid oft he heart was our table. We were completely overwhelmed and both of us close to tears. So incredibly beautiful - absolutely breathtaking!
The view of the sea, in which twinkled the lights of boats and bridges; the laid-back atmosphere - barefoot in the sand; the romantic warm glowing candles, which framed the shape of a heart and in the midst of it: Us.
Again an exceptionally moving moment, we were allowed to enjoy just because of the great staff of Kandooma cafe. What a beautiful ending for a beautiful holiday!
After our romantic dinner, the food and beverage manager came to us, and told us, how important it was to the whole team, to give us this unforgettable evening. I’d NEVER experienced SUCH a lovely bunch of hotel employees. Really!
This authentic hospitality has branded itself in my head and in my heart!
Perhaps you understand now why I put the focus of this report so much on the team & the service - because that is precisely that, what made my holiday special.
Such excellent service expertise..it’s hard to find it in the most hotels and therefore, I would like to emphasize this fact and say THANK YOU! so much.
So...you want to still hear the negatives points, right?
Now I have to disappoint you, unfortunately. There’s nothing negative to say about the hotel & the staff...but unfortunately about the guests.
As written by guest before my feedback, a certain group of guests we noticed particularly on: Asian guests, specifically Chinese tourists.
At the time of our stay, there were approximately 95% of the guests from China, so we have seen quite a few funny and not so funny behaviors.
We noticed, that almost none of the Chinese guests could speak English and therefore (especially at breakfast) it came to inharmonious situations, such as: the vacationers pointed directly with their fingers into the food, to show the chefs, which ingredient they would like to eat. I’d thought, this behavior was quite nasty, because it’s possible to "point at things" even without touching them.
Unfortunately, there were always some jostling at the buffet, as if there were not enought food for everyone...
But what really annoyed us, was that the guests of the overwater villas had constantly occupied the beach chairs that belonged to our cabin, because they "only" had a deck over the water, and no beach.
We were not the only ones who had this "problem" – a bit shameful, I must say, that it was once again only Chinese guests who put this behavior on.
Unfortunately it came almost every day to the moment, that I had to say something polite to the chinese guests, so they could make themselves comfortable in their own place, they had booked ...
This wasn’t necessarily bad...“other countries, different manners“ - but we are ALL tourists and would like to enjoy our holidays with harmony. So everybody should stick to the standard etiquette!
Horrible, however, was the behavior of a Chinese family. A bunch of 7 people.
Starting from spitting on the ground/in the sand directly in front of our beach house. This was so disgusting! The burping and the fall below the comfort zone at all mealtimes (child about 11 years came uncomfortably close to me and starred at me for minutes, without saying anything and without that someone of the parents has felt responsible for the girl - very oblique situation); the incredibly loud talking/screaming. It seems to be normal talking/screaming at this volume to each other, cause there were several couples with this behavior.
It was so idyllic, as we lay on the beach and hearing a young chinese couple scream to each other about 400 meters (water <-> beach). Sure, it’s boring to talk with normal volume at a normal distance...
But the worst circumstance is, that many of these guests apparently have absolutely no relationship to the environment.
Although the resort was really clean, but you still saw the garbage, they had left right after visiting the beach.
By the pool, at the beach or at the dinner table...Butts, cans, tea bag packaging, aluminum foil (which NOT belongs to the HI resort), Leftovers ... much of it unfortunately also in the sea. THAT was so sad.
Such a disastrous handling of waste, I have never experienced anywhere so far and I hope for nature, the resort's staff and the reputation of the chinese guest, that this is also an important topic at the offered „etiquette-seminars" (no joke – there are such seminars especially for Chinese tourists'!)
Okay - enough written about the small, negative experiences.
Conclusion: I really recommend this wonderful resort with a clear conscience!
If you want to have perfect hygiene conditions, fabulous service and varied cuisine under palm trees, surrounded by turquoise sea, you should enjoy your holidays at HI Kandooma!
We will definitely be back! Thanks to ALL of you!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Find your tropical island paradise at the lagoon-facing Holiday Inn Resort (R) Kandooma Maldives. Let speedboats ferry you across the turquoise waters from Male International Airport to our contemporary Maldives holiday resort in just 40 minutes. Slip into island life from the moment you arrive at Holiday Inn Resort (R) Kandooma Maldives, with world-class diving and surfing facilities at your doorstep. Our beach villas ooze style and boast elegant touches like outdoor showers and iPod docking stations. Grab coffee and wood-fired pizza from the Bokkuraa Coffee Club beside our sparkling infinity pool, or unwind with a good book and enjoy views over the peaceful lagoon. You can indulge in a soothing Thai massage and other beauty treatments at our Kandooma Spa and book the Spa Suite's private garden with plunge pool for a romantic afternoon. Discover a Maldives hotel for family here, where you can learn to sail on a catamaran around the region's sandbanks and sip on alcohol-free cocktails on a sunset cruise. Diving and snorkelling among colourful reefs is just five minutes by boat from Holiday Inn Resort(R) Kandooma Maldives. As a child-friendly Maldives hotel, your children will be kept entertained with face-painting and fun games, while parents can unwind with a game of tennis or a workout at the gym. Top off a perfect day with a Maldivian seafood feast and breathtaking sunsets at The Kitchen restaurant. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Hotel South Male Atoll
- Kandooma South Male Atoll
- Kandooma Hotel South Male Atoll