Into the wide, blue yonder
AS the boat bounced over the impossibly turquoise sea, the palm-fringed tropical island of Kandima appeared on the horizon. Stepping onto the jetty, then the white sand, we understood what Robinson Crusoe must have felt like. Masterminded by Sanjay Maniku—whose father was one of the pioneers of tourism in the Maldives—and Mohamed Khaleel, Kandima is the latest resort to spring up in this archipelago of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, 80 of which have hotels.
The 2½-mile island in Dhaalu Atoll, lapped on one side by a lagoon, now houses nearly 300 rooms. There are beach villas with plunge pools and lavish open-air bathrooms, interconnecting studios for groups and ‘aqua’ apartments on stilts with access to the sea. The vibe is modern, with contemporary architecture, cerise and red soft furnishings and a relaxed ethos that encourages guests of all ages, not just honeymooners, to do as they please.
We spent our days luxuriating in 31˚C heat, swimming in the crystalclear sea, collecting shells and marvelling at crabs scuttling along the beach, which is swept by an army of staff each morning. At the all-day dining restaurant, Flavour—when the resort opens fully this month, guests will have 10 restaurants and bars to choose from—we enjoyed grilled reef crayfish and Asian dishes prepared in huge woks by chefs from the Sea Dragon restaurant, at which guests will be able to dine while overlooking the ocean on languid Maldivian evenings. PL Sky Studio from £160 per person, per night, based on two sharing on a halfboard basis, excluding international flights (about £730) from London Heathrow to Male International Airport and local transfers (00 960 676 0077; www.kandima.com)