A lump surfaced in my throat as I saw my 4 year old, climbing up the 2-storey high trapeze pitched at the beach front. Just like that, without any fanfare, he did it – he leapt off the trapeze and ‘flew’, eyes forward in determination. He hung on tight before letting go, much to the applause of everyone – congratulating all 4 years old of him.
He went on to try the flying trapeze another 3 times across the two nights that we stayed at Club Med Kani. His sister outdone herself too by flipping upside down the trapeze many times effortlessly.
For this set of parents, it was not only déjà vu but a moment of reckoning, seeing our 2 kids achieve these milestones – overcoming their own limiting beliefs, building confidence and attempting something their parents would never be able to do, all from the opportunities at Club Med.
Having been to regional Club Med thrice (twice Bintan and once Bali), we picked Club Med Kani during our 20th Wedding Anniversary trip to Maldives, more for the kids.
Welcome to Kani
When we arrived at the Club Med counter at the airport, we were told to wait an hour for more hotel guests to arrive from other flights before we could board the speed boat to the resort. The kids moaned. They have been eagerly awaiting this holiday. Patience! Patience!
Fortunately, after 1.5 hr’s wait, the speed boat transfer was swift (35 mins). Upon arrival at the resort, our personal welcome and registration by our friendly G.O Marine was smooth. She walked us to our beachfront superior connecting room right at the far end of the island. The kids hurried us to send them to the Kids Club or ‘Kids Corner’ as it is known here in Club Med Kani. Honestly, we were more than happy to send them into the Kids Corner so we can have some couple time to ourselves.
Kids Corner at Kani
We were glad that the kids could still join the kids’ club activities despite having only about 2.5 hours left to the end of the programme. Once registered, the kids were ushered to enjoy afternoon tea which consisted of a sumptuous spread of juices, cakes and other sweet treats (yes Club Med really pampers the kids!)
Mommy and Daddy toured the compound to check out the activities which we can do for free. While strolling, we heard the unmistakable laughter of our 2 kids along with many others as they congregated around the huge Banyan tree in a treasure hunt game with a G.O dressed up as a ‘pirate’. Happy kids at Club Med = bliss for parents. Yay!
The next day, the kids did not need too much nagging to get ready for the day. Once after breakfast, it was off to Kids Corner again. For our 4 year-old, he was with the Kids’ Corner group under the care of G.O.s, Smile and Bambie. He was participating in activities ranging from the flying trapeze to sand castle building, pool games and simple art work, all under the watchful eye of the G.O.s.
Teens Club at Kani
Our 11 year old tween, Dana joined the Teen’s Club (for the very first time!) where she made friends with teens all over the world, among them, a pair of South African sisters. They hit it off very well and became fast friends cheering one another in paddle-boating, snorkelling and flying trapeze. Dana enjoyed the Teens Club so much that she felt sad to bid her friends goodbye on the final day of our stay. We promised her we’ll bring her to another Club Med Teens Club some day.
Meals at Kani
On the subject of meals. Being an all-inclusive resort, guests can enjoy meals, snacks and drinks all day round at different restaurants. For main meals, there’s the Vehli – the main buffet restaurant of the resort. If you’re craving for bites during the off-hours of the day, go for the Kaana, where noodles are served. Then there’s the Kandu, an exclusive onsite restaurant that faces the other side of the atoll which serves ala-carte dishes. For Kandu, prior dinner reservation is needed the day before.
Aside from these eateries, on selected nights (like the White Night), meals are served on the beach. This was a novel experience except that the weather was humid! Quality of our meals was good and portions generous. Special mention to the friendly and approachable F&B manager, Prakash who hails from Mauritius. We enjoyed our conversations with him and felt very welcomed.
Activities at Kani
Many of the basic water-based activities either at Kids Corner or from its activity center are included. These are largely non-motorised activities such as kayaking, paddle-boating and twice-daily snorkeling trips.
The resort does loan out life-vest, snorkels and fins to guests for free on one condition – only if you first pass the open water swim test in the ocean. If you fail the swim test or have no confidence to even attempt the swim test (like me), you are not allowed to join their free daily snorkelling trips. Do note that since Club Med Kani is set on a small atoll, the activities offered are largely water-based ones. Do not expect other non-water based activities like archery, tennis, golf etc.
Club Med Kani offers a variety of accommodation. For families travelling with a preschooler (below the age of 8, like us), we were not allowed to stay in the overwater-villas for safety reasons. So we booked the interconnecting Beachfront Superior Rooms that come with 2 separate bathrooms.
While the rooms were spacious, we found them apparant signs of wear and tear. This is not our first Club Med holiday and we love every experience we’ve had so far. However we feel the rooms at Club Med Kani (maybe those assigned to us) are in need of proper maintenance to be at par with the other Club Meds we have stayed in. We gave our feedback to the Front Desk Manager and the Chief de Village before we checked out.
Insights from Club Med Kani:
Whether you’re experiencing Club Med for the first time or adding Kani to your list Club Med experiences (like us!), here are some insights we would like to share from our stay. Before that, we would like to add that for any vacations, amenities and facilities aside, it has always been the people who made that special connection with us that make the trip memorable.
Here we want to specially thank the G.O.s who took great care of our kids, ensuring that they were safe and happily engaged. From the Kids Corner, we thank Smile, Bambie, Kiera and the Circus G.O.s. From the Teens Club, we thank Kliven who was funny but cautious, especially when it comes to safety! Not forgetting Prakash and the F&B team, the warmth and hospitality they rendered made us look forward to each meal time.
Here are some other insights to maximise your Club Med Kani experience:
- Accommodation: Some of the rooms can be rather far from the resort center where the action is (i.e. 15-20 mins leisurely walk). If you have young kids or need to return to the room regularly, you may want to request for a room nearer the resort center. Many TripAdvisor reviewers gave glowing reviews of the Overwater Villas and Lagoon Suites but it’s a pity we couldn’t stay there due to Buddy being underaged. If you are headed to Club Med Kani, it might be worthwhile to splurge on those room types for a more comfortable stay.
- Swim Test: If you intend to snorkel or join any water-based activities, you would need to pass an open water swim test conducted by the resort staff out at sea. You would need to swim about 100 m without a life vest. If you fail the test, you would not be allowed to loan any snorkelling equipments so it might be wise to bring your own so you can snorkel anytime you want, as you wish.
- No Snorkeling Lesson: Note that at the time of this review, there are no snorkeling lessons conducted for hotel guests. If you wish to snorkel, you must already possess some basic snorkelling skills before coming to Club Med Kani so that once you pass the swim test, you can join their free snorkeling trips.
- Kandu: This is the ala-carte restaurant that you need to book in person one day earlier for dinner. It is closed on Saturdays so we suggest making reservations once you check-in to secure a coveted table for that quieter dining experience with your special someone. We didn’t get to try it as reservations were full.
- Dry Bag: Bring a dry bag along. You will need it to keep all the electronics gadgets and small belongings when you go snorkeling or swimming. It’s never wise to leave valuables exposed or unattended. They may either drop or be damaged during activities.
- Other Essentials: Bring along plenty of sunblock, hats, quick dry towel (to wipe sweat, it’s humid in Maldives!), swimming costume, goggles, snorkelling gear (if you can), aqua shoes, your own bottles to refill drinking water…and a sense of adventure.
- Sunset Bar: The sunset bar is a great place to unwind and enjoy some free cocktails and mock tails on the house (except coconuts which are chargeable at USD7 each). The kids can have their shakes there too. The G.O. bartenders are friendly!
- The Swing: The iconic Club Med Kani swing that is out at the beach front. During high tide, it seems like you’re right in the middle of the ocean! Makes for an iconic photo-op.
- Water-based: As this is a beach resort, most activities are water-based. There are no archery, tennis, golf, hiking trails etc. Motorised water sports such as jet skis and fly boards etc. as well as spas etc. are all chargeable.
- Say ‘Hi’: to the local wild life that is. Don’t just rush from one place to another, one activity to another. Stop and admire the many cute tiny hermit crabs on the beach and the Grey Heron which makes regular appearance at the breakfast restaurant. Look around for the darting chameleons or look up at the occasional flying fruit bats. If you snorkel, enjoy the company of the local reef fishes, turtles and rays which is what makes Maldives memorable.
This post is dedicated to the G.O.s who gave our kids a memorable time at Club Med Kani.