We’ve been travelling the globe, with our kids for 11 years now. In all our travels, there are just a handful of places that have left deep, indelible impression on us. Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives is definitely one of those…with all the following right reasons.
- The Service:
There is no question about it – this is on the top of our list, particularly the service we received from the staff at the water-sports center.
Travelling with kids to a new country and trying new sports – like open ocean snorkeling, can be stressful and risky. But the staff at the water-sports center was ever so friendly, assuring and caring enough to make us feel safe and welcomed. Their patient coaching and keen eye for details gave us the confidence to try our first snorkeling in the open seas!
The restaurant staff also demonstrated similar traits of warmth. We had virtually all our meals there throughout our 4-day stay at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives and each time we entered, either clad in wet swimwear or our casual beachwear, the staff would greet us and ensure that the kids are nicely settled for their meals. Service is prompt and obliging.
The hospitality of the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives staff made our vacation so memorable. In fact, we feel bad that there were no way we could have remembered all their names (too many!) except for a few like the kids’ fav ‘Bee’… We want to say, again, to the entire staff, a big ‘Thank you’ from the bottom of our hearts.
- The Facilities
Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives has ‘family’ in its DNA which is evident in its facilities and services. Not only does it have a double-storey kids’ club equipped with a reading and playing space, it has recently added a generous outdoor water-play area. Sprawled around the resort compound are various other free recreational facilities. Many of the non-motorised sports are free for guests to use, on a first-come-first-served basis. These include, kayaks, canoes and paddle boats, enough to keep us occupied throughout our stay!
A service we truly appreciate is the free snorkeling lessons every morning conducted in the hotel’s main swimming pool.
The islet that the resort sits on is surrounded by a shallow reef suitable for unsupervised snorkeling. During our stay at the water villa, we took advantage of this by going snorkeling when the tide is safe. There, we saw stingrays, eagle rays, puffer fishes and many beautiful reef fishes up close! What a bonus and unforgettable experience!
We were impressed that resort guests can loan life vests (both adult and kids sizes!) and full set of snorkeling gear for free throughout our stay. This really empowered us to snorkel free & easy, whenever the tide permits. Life vests are also available for use around the beach areas for those who decide to have an impromptu dip in the ocean. And I promise you, the oceans in Maldives are alluring and waters crystal clear!
- The Rooms
During our stay, we experienced both the double-storey beach villa and the Overwater Villa suite. Both have its merits. Both are large, spotlessly clean with plush beddings and amenities that spell ‘relaxing’ and ‘comfort’ among others.
Double-storey Beach Villa:
The Double-storey Beach Villa has a separate twin-bedded room for the kids with their own bathroom. On the ground level is a large living room for the family to rest and relax. We were impressed with the patio has simple shower facilities to wash away the fine white sands before we go up to our rooms upstairs.
Showering in their open-roof shower was quite novel. At night, we bathed under the glow of the moon while in the morning, we were feel the gentle tropical breeze and hear the sound of the gentle lapping waves enticing us to get out and explore.
The Overwater Villa has got to be our favorite accommodation in Maldives. We were fortunate that the resort allows for us to stay there, after signing an indemnity form, since we have a preschooler.
The Overwater Villa suite is spacious, unique and comfortable. It could comfortably fit in a super single and a single bed for the kids in addition to a king-sized bed for us parents! This makes it perfectly comfortable for a family of 4.
The bathroom has a luxurious touch and boasts of a large bathtub and an enclosed shower. The additional open shower area, which allows us to bathe in the open under the moonlight, adds to the novelty.
Out at the front of the villa is a balcony that doubled-up as our makeshift ‘snorkeling center’. It has a small ladder leading down to the pristine waters below. Another feature we love is the overhanging mesh netting that allowed us to stand over the waters. Perfect for sun-tanning and lazing around, much like a hammock but better! If you ever travel to the Maldives, you mustn’t miss the overwater villa experience.
- The Food:
Food plays an important part in Maldivian hotels, as most resort guests would have no other alternative venues for their meals.
The main restaurant, Kandooma Café, offers a sumptuous buffet spread for every meal. Dishes comprise mainly of western and local Maldivian fare with a modest but decent selection of Asian picks. These include Chinese dimsum and soup noodles. David and I particularly enjoyed their Indian cuisines particularly naans, pooris and curries. In fact, they were so flavourful that we zoomed in on their Indian dishes for most meals first.
We love their pastries and desserts too, which are all ‘home-made’ right in the hotel according to pastry chef, Anis who hails from Indonesia. Their croissants and cakes in particular stood out for us.
Worthy of mention too is Holiday Inn’s ‘Kids Stay & Eat Free’ policy where kids get to eat free (from the Kids’ Menu) for every accompanying main course the adults order in their restaurants (for dine-in only).
The Kitchen is an exclusive beachfront restaurant that offers a fine selection of ala-carte dishes and themed buffet on selected evenings. We commemorated our 20th wedding anniversary there over an extensive spread of grilled fresh seafood, sashimi and delectable desserts while watching little hermit crabs scuttle across the beach after sun set. Exquisite and unforgettable dining experience.
- That Special Touch:
While family is in the resort’s DNA, we feel that going the extra mile for their guests is in the spirit of Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives. The team knew of our 20th Wedding Anniversary and they led us to a nice dinner spot which was fully decorated! It was such a pleasant surprise.
We were even more touched when we returned back to the villa after dinner to discover that during turndown service, the housekeepers had decorated our bed with a ‘Happy Wedding Anniversary’ message using elaborate towel-art and creative leaf crafts. The kids were overjoyed and us, speechless.
On certain evenings of the week, guests at The Kitchen will get to witness the shark feeding sessions which take place around 6pm. These wild sharks range from large nurse sharks to black tip reef sharks. We were awestruck to see wild sharks in feeding frenzy against the stunning Maldivian sunset. A very special experience indeed!
Letter to the GM:
You have such a fine team of staff who goes all out to ensure that guests have an unforgettable stay in your resort in Maldives. We love the whole family-friendly vibe and count it our blessing to have picked the right resort – Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives on our very first visit to the Maldives. We learnt how to snorkel from your watersports team and did our first family snorkelling in the Indian Ocean under their watchful eyes. The service and hospitality we received were flawless, the warmth and smile from your team made our 20th Wedding Anniversary one to remember. Please know that your resort will always have a special place in our family’s hearts.
For more info, visit the official website: https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnresorts/hotels/us/en/south-male-atoll/mlekf/hoteldetail# You can also pop over to our Instagram Highlights Album – DIY Maldives for more pictorial & video highligths!