- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
Located in Kandolhu (North Ari Atoll), Kandolhu Island by Universal Resorts is within the vicinity of Fish Head Dive Site and Fesdu House Reef. This 5-star resort is within the region of Gaathafushi Island and Maaya Thila.
Make yourself at home in one of the 30 air-conditioned rooms featuring iPod docking stations and minibars. Rooms have private balconies or patios. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and LCD televisions are provided for your entertainment. Private bathrooms have complimentary toiletries and hair dryers.
Spa, Wellness & Premium Amenities
Pamper yourself with a visit to the spa, which offers massages, body treatments, and facials. You can soak up the sun at the private beach or enjoy other recreational amenities, which include a health club. Additional features include complimentary wireless Internet access, gift shops/newsstands, and wedding services.
Food & Drink
Grab a bite at one of the resort’s 4 restaurants, or stay in and take advantage of room service (during limited hours). Relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge or a beach bar.
Business & Travel Amenities
Featured amenities include a 24-hour front desk, multilingual staff, and laundry facilities.
How to Get There
A beautiful small island with a stunning reef. The food was excellent - great choice from fine dining in the Olive restaurant (really creative food), to delicious Maldivian dishes in the main restaurant (Maldivian Mas Bai - yummy) and wonderful grilled reef fish in the Sea Grill. Our beach villa (with pool) was perfect - beautifully equipped & private. The quality of service from every single member of staff was truly outstanding, with great attention to detail ensuring all of our needs were met.
We couldn't have asked for more and can't wait to go back!!
I feel a review should have a balance of positive and negatives to give the reader a real honest view of the destination.
I can only say there are no negatives about a trip to Kondolhu. From the moment you arrive at their lounge at Male airport you know you are in very good hands. Then once we stepped onto the arrival jetty and were greeted by Mark, Laura and members of their team we just knew we had arrived in pure luxury.
We booked the holiday through Kuoni, having not been able to have a honeymoon (our wedding was 2.5yrs ago) we had booked this as our ultimate treat, a once in a lifetime, holiday. I fear we may be saving the money and venturing out again in the not to distant future. Kuoni spoke to the Island ahead of our arrival and we had the most amazing surprise meal on the beach on our 4th night, it was so special and will remain an amazing memory for years to come.
My husband was concerned the island would be too small and he will feel slightly trapped after a few days. This is not the case at all, the people are so friendly, you settle in to Island life with real ease.
Obviously the Ocean is the focus, from jumping in for a quick dip, to going Scuba Diving, you can do it all. The house reef is fantastic and you can easily think we will just go for a quick snorkel and still be in amazed by all the fish, corals and few SMALL reef sharks an hour or so later. No worries if you don’t have an underwater camera, you can capture all these moments on the GoPro that is leant to you as part of the hotel deal.
We also took advantage of the water sports centre with stand up paddle boarding before breakfast, kayaking around the island and for health reasons we even ventured into the gym! The gym was great had all the essential equipment for a few 30 - 45min workouts.
Alex went with the Suba Diving team for 3 days, and achieved his next level of Scuba qualification. I visited the spa twice and it was so fantastic, we have been back over a week and my hair is still shining from the oil I had on it.
The choice of restaurants is incredible for such a small island. We were on the ultimate inclusive package and we feel it worked well for us money-wise. A huge benefit is that the minibar is included in the package, so you can have all types of drinks throughout the day without worrying about the cost. You can even have a bottle of wine in the bath overlooking the sunset, all included in your package, pure luxury! Food wise we ended up becoming creatures of habit, all the restaurants are great but we really loved Sea Grill and ate there most nights. We got on really well with the chiefs and the waiting team, we even ended up taking a cooking class, just to try and recreate the meals at home. You can choose your fish and how you want it cooked so even though it’s the same restaurant, you could have something different each night. Saying that, on a Thursday any curry lover would be silly not to have the biryani.
It is a small island but it is perfectly balanced, every few days there is something organised for the whole island, that you can go to or not. (All of the information is on the regularly updated iPad)You get chatting to people but everyone is also there to spend time with their loved ones. So you have just the right level of interaction with people, mainly talking about what you saw in the Ocean that day.
This is the perfect place if you need to recharge your batteries and spend some all important time together. My only warning with this destination is be prepared for your ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday to become a place you wish to return to every year.
Background on us: We have now been to the Maldives six times staying at Kuramathi (March 2014 and March 2015), Kandolhu and Vilamendhoo (March 2016), Baros and Milaidhoo (March 2017), Kuramathi and Kandolhu (March 2018), and on this trip (March 2019) we stayed on Konotta and Kandolhu. We enjoy snorkelling, peace and quiet, and good food while on holiday, and are not interested in activities or entertainment, and also not too picky when it comes to things like sea walls, powder soft sand, or big lagoons. Service wise we like people to be polite and friendly, but do not want over bearing or pretentious ‘5 star’ service.
This was our third visit to Kandolhu, and in our previous reviews we have discussed in great detail the various where’s and why’s about the resort, so anyone wanting the basic details may want to refer to those previous reviews by clicking on our profile name, as this review will be more of an update on those reviews.
Food has always been one of our favourite things about Kandolhu, but somehow we think that the standard has somehow managed to improve since our last visit. We were slightly worried that the departure of Mikel (the previous Exec Chef) just a couple of months ago may have lead to the standards on the island slipping slightly while they wait for the new Exec Chef to take over the reigns, but we saw no signs of that. The new menus at Olive and Market (put in place last year by Mikel) include some very nice new dishes, and all of the old favourites still remain. Somehow the curries at Sea Grill seem to have got even better, and have now also been joined by an amazing Biryani night as well. Ata Roa continues to be a great lunch venue, and generally we just thought that the food was amazing and we looked forward to every meal.
The already excellent AI plan has been further improved by the fact that the wine selection has been upgraded to include many bottles that used to sit in the premium section, and we definitely noticed an improvement in the overall quality of the selection. The cocktails continue to be a real high point with very generous measures and a great selection.
They have also improved the snack selection in the room, so with full bottles of premium spirits, 30 bottles of (improved) wine, a selection of beer, and Red Bull all included in the mini bar in the room, Kandolhu continues to probably have the most comprehensive in villa AI plan in the Maldives.
Sadly, like every resort in the Maldives the coral on Kandolhu has been very badly hit by the bleaching, and due to the fact that it was previously predominately table coral based it does not show as much sign of recovery as some other reefs. Luckily there are a huge number of healthy anemones on the reef, including a couple of huge ‘garden’ areas, so those really help to add some life and colour to the reef.
However, the poor condition of the coral has not had any affect on the fish life, and in fact I would say that on this visit there was even more fish life than on our previous visits. As well as the usual resident schools of Big Eye Trevally, (big) Red Snappers, and Batfish (which all seem to have grown in numbers), there was also a new school of Thin Lined Fusiliers which we saw on the reef every day and was the biggest school that we have seen on any reef in the Maldives. It was fish soup very day, which included an almost constant school of baitfish.
I also made an effort this year to try and catalogue the actual number of turtles on the reef, as Kandolhu has always been famous for the amount of turtles on the reef. The dive centre has a book with photos of the 25+ turtles that had been identified, and I can only assume that it is very old, as within the 8 days that I was there I saw and photographed 30 different individuals, including 20 that weren’t in the book! On my second snorkel I made a real effort to actively seek our turtles and saw 12 in just over an hour.
Generally I would say that the snorkelling on Kandolhu this year was the best that we have experienced in all of our visits, with more turtles, more fish soup, a few Eagle Ray sightings, and lots of big fish. It still isn’t a great reef for sharks, but we did see both whitetips and blacktips on pretty much every snorkel, and had a few sightings of the 5 or 6 Nurse sharks that live on the reef. Overall it’s a reef that I would highly recommend, especially as access to the reef is so easy via the two jetties.
The service on Kandolhu has always been very good, and we really enjoy the fact that the management actively encourage staff to let their personalities show. As a result the service is always relaxed and friendly, and we’d always enjoy our time chatting to the staff, and most tend to have a very good sense of humour. Some people who are used to more detached or ‘fussy’ 5 star service may not enjoy this kind of service, and some may also not like the fact that they don’t have a dedicated room host or butler, but on such a tiny island we really don’t think it is necessary. They also have a new F&B manager who we thought was excellent and a really great addition to an already great team.
If I was being really picky I’d probably say that the drinks from the bar can be a little slow in coming when the restaurants are very busy, but I just strategically used to order my next cocktail when I was halfway through my first one. Problem solved!
I said in our Konotta review that we liked the resort rather than loved it, and to be honest I think that you can only know this once you’ve found a resort that you truly love to compare it to. For us Kandolhu is that resort, and it just fits us like a glove. The atmosphere on the resort is perfect, the food is superb, the AI plan is amazing, and the reef is excellent. It’s no wonder that Kandolhu has so many repeat guests, and we will continue to be amongst them! It’s not a cheap holiday by any means, but for us it is worth every single penny.
Kandolhu is a true definition of paradise. No reviews can do justice. You have to go experience it. Being the smallest island I visited in the Maldives, I truly fell in love with the vibe here. Imagine being secluded in the cutest island on earth, with the best waters, views, food, bathtub and rooms. It only takes 5 minutes to tour the whole island and one really feels completely away from all the distractions in life. What's left is you in paradise having the sweetest moments of your life. One advice is to book the overwater bungalows to experience amazing sunsets while chilling on probably the most beautiful bathtub ever made! Enjoy.
We stayed at Kandolhu for five nights, having spent a week at Dhigali, and we were completely taken aback by the incredible experience we had. The staff are immediately so warm and attentive, friendly and helpful, and remained so throughout. We were especially appreciative of Estele and Vita in the main restaurants, and the fantastic chef Jairo at Ata Roa who was an absolute delight to talk to. Laura was brilliant at helping us plan our visit before we arrived, and everyone in the dive center was great and helpful. I would highly recommend the Manta Mission. Although the reef is naturally bleached, there is still an incredible array of life there. I have never seen so many turtles and sharks, and myriad colourful fish. The food in all the restaurants was excellent quality throughout our stay; I am already missing the scallop ceviche from Ata Roa and the tempura prawn nigiri from Market. Our beach villa with pool was a fantastic setting with a private beach and everything you could possibly think of in the room. Overall a 5* stay with no exceptions.