There is something so incredible about completely disconnecting and spending days doing practically nothing other than lying in the sun for hours on end. And that’s exactly what we did during our week long honeymoon in the Maldives. Kandolhu, Maldives is the perfect island paradise for a romantic getaway and truly did it’s job as a honeymoon destination, creating a private and romantic experience for us. We spent 7 night on this paradise island wining, dining, and scuba diving. And we can confidently conclude that it is the perfect honeymoon location for those looking to unwind and truly relish in their newlywed status.
Here is what you need to know about Kandolhu Island:
Staying on Kandolhu Island
With just 30 villas, Kandolhu Island hosts enough people to create a great atmosphere, but few enough to create a feeling of luxury and exclusivity. From the moment we arrived, we felt like truly special guests. Within hours, island staff knew our names and room number and never failed to say hello or start a conversation when they walked by. It was an experience unlike any we’ve had before – even in the all-inclusive resort world!
There are five types of accommodation available on Kandolhu Island: beach villa, pool villa, duplex pool villa, water villa, and water pool villa. We booked a pool villa knowing that we wanted plenty of privacy and an area to lounge around in. However, we were upgraded to a duplex pool villa on arrival – more space, more privacy, and topped off with a sunset balcony!
Every room on Kandolhu Island comes with its very own iPad and GoPro Hero 5. The iPad contains all the information a guest could ever need about the island, along with our favorite – the Island Pursuits newsletter. This newsletter, updated daily, contains a weather forecast and an overview of upcoming events, as well as details on specials and activities. This is how we found out about the Sri Lankan cooking class we took; it ended up being one of our favorite parts of our honeymoon!
The GoPro comes with a floaty handle and is waterproof up to 10m. It’s perfect for documenting activities like swimming and snorkelling! For guests that leave their computers at home, Kandolhu will put all of the footage onto a USB. While we loved our accommodation in general at Kandolhu, little details like this made it really stick out in our minds!
Kandolhu’s Duplex Pool Villas
Our duplex pool villa contained a living area, outdoor bathroom, and bar area on the ground floor. The bedroom, along with a second bathroom, was upstairs. The balcony off the bedroom was perfect for sunset champagne sipping and late night stargazing. Our ‘backyard’ consisted of a deck, private pool, and sun-lounging area. Beyond, a little walk way lead to the beach. The villa had just about everything we needed, so we barely left it (except for meal times & activity times)! What more could someone want on their honeymoon?!
The minibar contained everything from chilled water bottles to alcoholic beverages and snacks. Right next to the normal fridge was a wine fridge that contained 30 different bottles of wines. There was a mix of red, white, and rose, with Cava in the normal fridge for the bubbly lovers. Because we booked the Ultimate Inclusions package, we enjoyed these wines & snacks in unlimited quantities, and free of charge. (More on the Ultimate Inclusions package below)
Other Accommodation on Kandolhu Island
While we did not have the chance to experience any of the other villas on Kandolhu Island, we are confident that they must be as brilliantly designed as our Duplex Pool Villa! Walking around the island, it was clear that each type had a good amount of privacy. The least private, in our opinion, are the water pool villas – their modern design includes a glass-wall bathroom. These face the water, however, so the only people who can look in are those swimming behind your villa or those kayaking/snorkelling by. It’s something to keep in mind, though, if you’re a lover of mid-day baths!
The pool villas and beach villas have direct access to the beach, while the water villas have direct access to the ocean. The island is small enough that everything is within a five minute walk, so it really doesn’t matter where on the island you are staying. Villa type really comes down to personal preference and priorities.
Bars & Restaurants
Kandolhu Island offers four a la carte restaurants: The Market, Sea Grille, Olive, and Bonzai. The Market is the main restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The other three are only open for dinner. Vilu Bar is also open throughout the day, offering bar snacks and (delicious!) cocktails.
Kandolhu is a very relaxed island, so it’s perfectly acceptable to show up to meals barefooted. Also, reservations are not required (with the exception of Bonzai). It is also possible to enjoy dinner in your room or at a private table on the beach.
As the main restaurant on the island, The Market serves a variety of local specialties and international favorites. Breakfast consists of some made to order options, as well as a small breakfast buffet. The buffet includes meats, cheeses, fruit, baked items, yoghurts, and fresh juices. We were also brought the smoothie of the day each morning when we sat down for breakfast.
The menu for lunch and dinner includes salads, sandwiches, noodle dishes, and more, with special menus on certain days. While on our honeymoon at Kandolhu, we enjoyed a kebab day, as well as a Sri Lankan lunch. Despite The Market being the only option for breakfast and lunch, we never got tired of the choices!
Kandolhu’s Sea Grill is heaven for seafood lovers. The counter at the entrance features the catches of the day. Sean loved ordering a full fish for dinner so he could pick out the exact one he wanted! This can be prepared either on the grill, or tandoori style. The staff are so knowledgeable about flavors, making recommendations for marinades & sauces and even a wine to pair with your meal. I think if we had to eat at one place every night, it would definitely be Sea Grill!
Olive brings Mediterranean flavors to Kandolhu with their Tasting Menu, as well as through their a la carte dishes. The restaurant is located above The Market, so feels cut off from the rest of the resort. This gives it an incredibly peaceful and romantic vibe. It’s also the perfect spot for stargazing during dinner! Olive has the most limited menu of all the restaurants, but each dish we tried was incredible!
Note: the Olive Tasting Menu just refers to the name of the restaurant – one of us looked at it too quickly and thought we’d be trying five different types of olives and wines to match (oops!). Note to Kandolhu: an olive tasting menu would be EPIC!
The smallest restaurant on Kandolhu Island is Bonzai, a Japanese-style hibachi restaurant that only seats six. We enjoyed sushi as a starter, followed by a very meaty meal that the chef prepared right in front of us. The style is similar to any hibachi restaurant (knife tossing performance included), but the intimacy cannot be beat.
In addition to its four restaurants, Kandolhu offers a spa, a fitness centre, and a water sports centre. All three are available to all guests on the island. While we didn’t even get around to peeking in the fitness centre (too busy lounging!), we did try out the other two:
Varu Spa is a total oasis in the middle of an oasis. The open entrance gives the whole place an open air vibe, and there’s something about it that relaxed us the moment we stepped inside. The staff are extremely welcoming and will have you sit down at the desk to fill out any necessary paperwork before leading you back to the changing rooms. A sauna and plunge pools are available in the changing area, as well as robes and lockers.
Once dressed and ready for the treatment, guests are welcome to enjoy a glass of water in the lounge area upstairs before settling into a couples treatment room. Sean and I chose the Revolution of Sense couples treatment; however, all of their treatments sounded absolutely amazing! Following the treatment, guests are again offered the chance to sit in the lounge area and enjoy a cup of hot tea. We happily accepted and, once we felt fully rejuvenated, changed back into our clothes and returned to our villa for more relaxing.
Kandolhu Water Sports
Guests at Kandolhu can rent water sports equipment free of charge, including snorkeling equipment, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and catamarans. We picked up snorkeling equipment on our first day and kept it in our room so we could get up and go whenever we felt the desire. With an incredible house reef complete with sharks, rays, and turtles, on-demand snorkeling is the way to go! Sean and I also rented a kayak one morning in order to do a loop around the island. It’s an incredibly peaceful way to get some exercise in the morning, and it also offers a unique perspective of the island.
We loved how easy it was to pop by the water sports centre, tell them what we wanted, and go! It’s very possible that it’s not as simple when the island is full; however, the most important thing to note is that the equipment is there for every guest to use!
Kandolhu Island Packages
Kandolhu Island offers three meal plans – bed & breakfast, a la carte, and ultimate inclusions. Bed & Breakfast only includes breakfast at The Market; a la carte includes breakfast and lunch at The Market, and dinner at any of the four restaurants; ultimate inclusions includes all meals, as well as a selection of alcohol (30 different wines + premium spirits) and a few bonus items, as well.
Considering Kandolhu is an island and meal choices are non-existent outside of the four restaurants, we highly recommend purchasing an a la carte or Ultimate Inclusions meal plan. Of course, alcohol is the main selling point in the Ultimate Inclusions package (it can get pricey otherwise!), but for those who do not drink, or have kids along for the ride, the a la carte option may be more suitable.
As an adult couple, we found the Ultimate Inclusions package to be perfect for our honeymoon. In addition to the meals and drinks, Ultimate Inclusions also includes a 10% discount on spa treatments, and the option of either a Champagne Sunset Cruise or a Snorkelling Excursion. For those used to all-inclusive packages in the Caribbean, Ultimate Inclusions is the way to go!
In addition to the perks that come along with the Ultimate Inclusions package, honeymoon packages are available to honeymooners staying at least four nights on Kandolhu Island. The honeymoon package includes:
- a complimentary 30 minute couples massage
- a four course private dinner on the beach including sparkling wine
- a fruit basket & floral decoration on the bed on arrival
We think Kandolhu is the perfect honeymoon destination even without these perks; the honeymoon package is really just the icing on the cake!
Getting to Kandolhu Island
Kandolhu Island is reachable by a combination of sea place and speed boat from Male International Airport. We were initially worried because we weren’t given too many instructions; however, on arrival at Male, we located the desk for our travel agent and were then whisked away from one person to the next, each willing and eager to help us get to Kandolhu.
We booked our Kandolhu honeymoon through Kuoni Travel and everything was arranged for us. Rooms can be booked directly on the Kandolhu website; however, we highly recommend going through Kuoni to ensure all travel, accommodation, and packages are set.
Keep an eye out for our next post on what to do in Kandolhu – or pretty much any Maldivian island!
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