I had once visited the Maldives in my youth, before the tsunami, and before I had found the courage to go snorkelling, to truly appreciate the waters, and the activities and the maturity to really appreciate the luxury. So this trip, I did my absolute best to pick a good resort with just the right amount of luxe, and the right amount of rustic charm. I think Michelle and I have found it.
Kanuhura is a resort on the island of the same name in the Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives. It’s about 40 minutes by seaplane from the capital of Malé, (pronounced Mah-leh).
The island experience begins on Malé itself, where you will be whisked from your plane or your hotel to a lounge at the seaplane airport on Hulhumalé, the artificial island the airport and seaplane facility is nestled on. There you’ll enjoy a beautiful lounge meant only for Kanuhura’s guests, and soon will be taken to your seaplane which takes you to Kanuhura itself.
Kanuhura is a very small island, only 800 meters by 200 meters, and it is possible to walk or buggy from one point of the island to the other in about 10 minutes with little trouble at all.
The welcome at Kanuhura is warm and kind. But it really is impossible to describe how hard the folks at Kanuhura work to make your stay excellent. The service staff are discreet but efficient. We were never once disturbed by the knock on the door and the hollered *Housekeeping*, but the room was always made up in the day and turned down whilst you’re out for dinner. Instead of the generic chocolate every night on your pillow, you got a different type of petit four every night. The complimentary fruit basket we received was refilled every night, or had the fruits changed as they ripened. The beach is kept pristine. The kayak and dive centre staff are enthusiastic but highly efficient (Having German staff members help).
The villa we stayed at (Villa 136) was just about perfect. It was on the side of the hotel facing the main jetty so although the peace was interrupted occasionally by the landing seaplane, the feeling of solitude and having a space all to yourself was always present. The hotel was booked to 89% capacity, but truly, one never felt like any other guest was a priority or that there were inconveniences due to others or had to wait at any point in time.
Facilities-wise, Kanuhura is not Club Med, but had enough to keep me entertained. There was a gym, (smallish but very well equipped with an extremely helpful trainer on standby) a big pool, 4 restaurants, and a spa (where I had an absolutely amazing treatment). There are an amazing array of water sports one can partake of, as well as tennis, squash, fooseball, darts, snooker, and a movie theatre. It really boggled the mind that there was just so much to do.
I should also say: the food is very good. Whilst some dishes may be puzzling or not quite what you’d expect *Rendang but in a steak anyone?*, the truth is everything tasted very nice and was startlingly fresh. You will however, probably become quite sick of fish by the last night of your stay, but hey ho.
What really helps make Kanuhura stand out is really the fact that is is the whole package. The private villas that *fair warning if you’re not too comfortable with having trees overhead or bugs invading your toilet* have outdoor bathrooms and awesome staff. The good food and great facilities. The intimate private island for a lazy afternoon off the main island. The warm waters filled with fish, the quiet, the calm, the sea, the beach, really anything you could ask for, if you wanted a lazy holiday, filled with some light activity.
It’s really hard for me to be objective about this place, because on one level I want to keep it a secret, so that no one else may discover it’s beauty, but at the same time, it had blown past my expectations on so many levels that I can’t help but recommend it fully and with no compromises. If you’re looking for an island retreat, that is different from staying at a typical chain hotel (Kanuhura is part of the Leading Hotels of the World programme but it’s mainly a collection of independent hotels), then I cannot recommend Kanuhura enough. Whilst I’ve read or heard many reviews of other stellar Maldives resorts, and undoubtedly they would be excellent as well, Kanuhura has truly been spectacular to us, and I truly cannot wait till I’m able to return.
Pro-Tip: Don’t bother with the Water Villas, the standard Beach Villas possess stellar views (If you get the side facing AWAY from the beach villas), as well as your own private strip of beach, are closer to the facilities and provide a more private feel.