It was in 2004 that we visited the Maldives for the first time. Since then, we’ve been going quite a few times to stay in many different resorts for a holiday, and later as a tour operator for our tourism business in resort-inspections.
So, this was not our first trip, but it was certainly different than before.
The Maldives is a country of 1.200 islands, we call it the Turquoise Garland. As your airplane approaches Male Airport Island, you know you’re going in the right direction. Beautiful, white and soft sandy beaches, tropical islands, fresh coconuts… and most importantly: the coral reefs, my favorite place to hang out.
In the last years, Maldives used to be a popular tourist destination for honeymooners, but the last years we’ve booked so many couples, families and beach- and snorkeling lovers. It’s not necessarily for honeymoon couples only, any couple can enjoy the beauty of the pure nature. Also, we book trips the Maldives families a lot, as there are many resorts to choose from and you can enjoy the underwater world, beach and nature. The Maldives are 1.200 islands, called the Turquoise Garland and so beautiful seen from the air, you’ll never forget the beauty of these islands.
Maldives: A Safe Haven for Travelers
When the pandemic started, the Maldivian Government introduced the ‘Safe Haven’-strategy. Any resort complying to several very strict rules, was allowed to open. In July 2020, the first 100 resorts opened to receive tourists and it has proven to be successful. Staff is 100% vaccinated and tested twice weekly and wears face masks always. When they leave for a break, they go quarantine for two weeks. Guests need to show negative PCR-test results upon arrival, get their temperature tested when they enter the restaurants and need to clean their hands with the famous gel. There’s no obligation to be vaccinated. When there’s a sign of fever, the doctor in the resort will approach guests in a proper way. It’s a clear protocol, that is a leading example for the tourism industry. Of course, the geographical advantage is there, staying on an island.
We arrive at Male Airport Island, we don’t even come close to the capital which is on… yes: another island.
It’s still unbelievable the Dutch government marks Maldives ‘code amber’. It shows the lack of knowledge in the Foreign Affairs department. Germany and Switserland allow travellers to go to the Maldives since July 2020, talking about one policy?! Anyway, my business partners in the Maldives, whom I know since 2004, all confirmed many times our stay would be safer than at home. If the number of infections rises in the Maldives, it’s in the capital city of Male, which is located on an island. The local Maldivian people working in the resorts are not allowed to travel out (unless tested and quarantined), the tourists are not allowed to travel in. As a traveler, we arrive at Male Airport Island, we don’t even come close to the capital which is on… yes: another island. Germany and Switzerland already have given Maldives a code ‘yellow’, they’re all going! So yes, experiencing all of the above, we were confident travel to Maldives is safe and pure joy.
Being the first vaccinated Dutch lady traveling in the Maldives, the arrival was totally different.
A host from our resort awaited us at the airport, with a huge warm welcome and smile, despite the mouth cover, and lead us to the lobby to wait for our speedboat that took us in a private transfer to the resort. Check in goes smoothly, quickly and mostly with no contact. In Kandima Resort, the service and design are innovative, efficient, and personal.
Traveling gives me a Coming Home-feeling
I felt the relaxing, the space and especially the pure nature as a medicine. Traveling to me, is like a coming home feeling. I really needed the warmth of the tropics, and I loved the early morning walk and the beauty of the tropical green lush vegetation, snorkeling for hours watching colorful fishes and coral reefs, a kick boxing lesson. My battery was constantly charging. No more watching the phone and the news all the time like a manic. Pure nature, pure relaxing, enjoying the moment.
During this trip, we visited three resorts. Of course, we met the General Managers and Sales Managers of all properties, to catch up and hear how they are doing in these challenging times. And their teams of course, as in a resort it’s the team that makes it. Jean-Louis Ripoche and Jamie Crisp of Kandima Resort wrapped it up quite well: ‘Debby, it’s the best you can have, you have the whole resort to yourself.’ And they were right, the beautiful beaches, the nature, delicious food, its all pure joy. Occupancy rate was 20% at the time.
During our stay, at times, we were very lucky to have the pools and beaches all to ourselves.
Sustainable resorts in de Maldives
For example, when we checked in at Conrad Maldives back in 2004 we were asked to take all possible plastic waste from packaging back home in our suit case. The lady explained the resort had no solution to plastic waste. In 2017 we also visited the Maldives. I remember the airport was buzzing, crowds were looking to catch the right speedboat to the resort. Bulging trash cans with plastic bottles everywhere. Now, the airport is clean, your friendly host from the resort picks you up and brings you to your speedboat/water plane.
We decided to stay in Kandima Resort, an excellent choice in super deluxe stay, great sustainability initiatives and they all opened only very recently. We love new, crisp, fresh resorts.
The first thing we noticed was resorts now serve the guests locally grown veggies, fruits and herbs. Delicious, those fresh water melons, cucumbers and tomatoes. There’s a zero-waste approach and resorts turned from plastic bottles to glass bottled mineral water. The aircon in Kandima Resort, where we stayed, runs on cold sea water running through all the rooms. Amazingly new technology, as it was designed just for this resort. We were very impressed by all the new sustainable initiatives.
The Maldives Boring?
You have stretches of beautiful beaches, the sea, pools, restaurants and bars to enjoy. There’s a Spa, a Kids Club, snorkel reef, water sports center to book a nice trip, free kayaks and all sorts of water sports gear. You can have a nice cappuccino, eat ice cream, or just walk and discover the islands, every corner, every beach is different. And in the Marina you find a small Maldives history Museum, a Coral Rehabilitation Centre and a Beach Club (formerly known as Café del Mar). I would recommend to you stay a minimum of 10-12 days.
Kandima Resort Maldives
It’s a Honeymoon resort, but for every kind of traveler looking for pure nature. Its fresh, new, with colors of white, pink and turquoise. You can reach the resort by domestic flight/speedboat or… take the unforgettable flight by water plane. Its only half an hour from Male airport island, and you’ll be loving the view for the full half hour.
Part of the island is still ‘as it used to be’. The mangroves, the pure white sand bank, the beach and lush tropical green, it gives you the feeling of the Maldives long long ago.
Kandima Resort is built on an uninhabited island, which is full of lush, green, jungle vegetation, palm trees, a lagoon and a white sand bank. Shells you find of all colors and shapes, there are nice coral reefs to snorkel. White pearly beaches, the jungle, huge coconuts. There are fresh, modern aqua villas with beautiful modern design in the pure Maldivian colors. I love the art work, textiles, pillows and mosaics. The designers did an amazing job!
The resort was built in only eight months by 2.000 local workers and the owners have a heart for the Maldives as a destination. That’s why they decided to build the resort in the most sustainable way. The beach Villas are great when you love to have your own strecht of garden, looking at the beach. We sat there every afternoon to watch the sunset, a lovely family moment by the beach. Everywhere you walk, you walk on white powdery sand. Our daughter (2) took of her shoes and never wanted to put them on again. She was always playing with the sand, like a butterfly.
Pure nature, pure bliss
Kandima Resort is Insta-perfect. It’s paradise. Not just from the pictures, it really feels fresh and tropical with the beauty of pure nature. Its not just the outside, its the inside, the soul of the island is pure and bliss.
The island is about 3 kilometers long, and that’s a huge island for the Maldives. I personally love it that half of the island is jungle, mangrove and a small innerlake where young fishes are born, theres a white sand bank and a beach full of shells and kakuni (little crabs). Walking in these pure natural parts of the island, feels like being back in the ‘old’ Maldives. Before the tourists came. I love that special, pure feeling. Just you and the beauty of the tropical nature, white beaches and turquoise sea.
Go now, this is your perfect moment!
The visit to the Maldives was unforgettable. Going now, we have a totally new experience you can never have. And yes, preparation was quite a lot of work, but for all our guests we have Maldives-Travel-Checklist, so its only a matter of check marks, pack your suit case and go. Though we did get most risks covered by our insurance and the Emirates Covid-19 cover insurance that you get for free when you book a ticket with Emirates. On all other details I’ll be glad to inform you in the booking process.
And yes, there will always be risks when it comes to traveling If you’re lucky to go to the Maldives now, you will always be happy you did it.
Why travel Far in these times?
After three days of snorkeling above the reefs, seeing all these colorful fishes, I almost forgot all the ‘negative’ news. I also stopped checking my phone all the time to read the latest news. It was good to get some distance. The pure nature is a perfect medicine for us human beings. The beauty of this planet, the palm trees, tropical lush vegetation, the turquoise sea and white beaches are so beautiful. Its good to see the world from another perspective too. Staff in the resorts come from the Maldives, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and it was so nice to meet these international world-travelers and hear their stories.
My most magical moment was the arrival in the Maldives. I will never forget how I felt right at that moment
When we landed at Dhaalu Airport, we were picked up by a small van to be brought to our speedboat going to Kandima Resort. I looked out of the window and on my left I saw a few men building a local wooden Dhoni boat. On my right I saw two bikes parked under a palm tree. We drove on a white sandy road, the turquoise sea I could see from afar. The tears welled up in my eyes. Traveling to me, feels like coming home. And I think many of our guests recognize this feeling. We hope, with this Pilot-Journey, to inspire many (new) guests to book their unforgettable journey with us and get new bookings. To have our guests enjoy the most beautiful destinations in the world, that remains my calling.
To have our guests enjoy the most beautiful destinations in the world, that remains my calling.
THANK YOU KANDIMA TEAM
Thank you: Jean-Louis for your warm welcome and the nice meetings, Jamie for everything: our gorgeous room, great site inspection, delicious dinners, great cocktail and help and advice in making us want to return immediately and asap, Moosa for spoiling us in every way in our beach villa thank you so much, Abdullah how passionate you talk about the building of the hotel such an inspiring story, Ana my colleague mermaid, front-desk you are all superb, Mieke… your deserts, Janaka your delicious dinners and tuna, Ketut selamat pagi, Mizzy so helpful and friendly always, Abu let’s dance to the drums and a warm thank you to all of you from the Kandima-team. A stay never to forget. Always wanting to return to our home away from home.
How to get to the Maldives? Emirates Airlines!
We have check out the routes and flights and had a chat with different airlines. We decided to fly with Emirates Airlines, who gave us flexible conditions. You can cancel or change the flight short before departure and the ticket has an end date of 24 months. Also, they give you the Travel with Confidence-insurance. A travel insurance that guarantees the coverage of most costs involving getting corona on the journey, like medical expenses or quarantine.
Our flight was great. We were given anti-bacterial gel on board, mouth masks and the aircraft was clean and staff wore protective clothing. Passengers all sat apart from each other, which gave us a good feeling. The ICE entertainment system shows the latest movies and series, we had delicious meals in sustainable boxes. Our daughter got spoilt with toys she played with during the whole holiday. We were in Dubai before we knew it.
On Dubai Airport, everything is clean and there’s a pilar with anti-bacterial gel every ten meters. Everyone keeps distant and wears a mouth cover. You see the relief, people are so happy they can travel, they are fine with complying to the new rules of safety. And there were travelers from all over the world, which was also nice to see, the world opening up again.
Documents and procedures
Returning to Holland, there were all kinds of misunderstandings regarding the Declaration of Health for the Dutch Government. Here’s were a small country with a finger always pointing to other countries, can’t even get their own ducks in a row. The problem is, when you arrive at Male Airport, you can find the form online on the website of the Foreign Affairs department. But you can not fill it out. You have to download it and print it. Staff of the airline on the airport kept laughing ang laughing, they asked if we came from the Middle Ages, they don’t have printers on an airport they said. Arriving at Schiphol Airport, there was nobody there to collect our ‘Quarantine Declaration Form’, so checking us? Calling us to check if we would really be at home? How then?? It’s a real fake show if you ask me. So, having this experience and being well prepared for 200% plus having these experiences, I warmly recommend your next visit to the Maldives.
Did you enjoy reading my story? And are you ready for more?
We’ve visited many resorts and islands, atoll and coral reefs since 2004 and can tell you all about these beautiful places.
You’re most welcome to email us, pick up the phone or make an appointment to come have a cup of coffee together. We’ve traveled from middle-range resorts (think USD 100-EUR 80 a person a night garden view room on half board basis) until the top of the world resorts, from USD 800/EUR 650 per room per night on bed and breakfast basis for a beach villa.
A ticket from Amsterdam to Male will cost around EUR 650 in low season, high season from 1.200 for the return flight in eluding taxes.
In Business Class you fly from EUR 2.500 for a return ticket, until EUR 6.500 in high season (Christmas). Book your tickets well in advance and you will have nice availability in any class with value for money ticket prices.
Please remember, every traveler has his/her own image of the ultimate Maldives holiday. We’re champions in matching you in that perfect setting, as we know the resorts by heart. And every island and resort has its own vibe, the vibe you’re looking for.
So, email us and we’ll start planning your unforgettable-Once-in-a-Lifetime dream trip to the Maldives! Love to read you at: firstname.lastname@example.org