Karen Kilyk, luxury vacation designer, reviews the two all-inclusive Club Med Resorts in the Maldives.
The Maldives is an archipelago of over 1,000 coral islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean. Only 202 are inhabited and 120 are home to only one resort each. While many of the resorts are top luxury, a vacation there is really all about the clear water. Top activities include fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailboating, although generally loafing about on the spectacular beaches and admiring glorious sunsets are equally popular.
All-Inclusive Club Med
All Club Med Resorts are in breathtaking locations, the Maldives being no exception. Gourmet dining options include local delicacies, as well as international cuisine and are available all day. Premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are unlimited, so you never worry about a check. Unlimited snorkeling – right from the shore or on a short boat ride – as well as many other water sports such as paddleboarding and windsurfing are also included.
I visited both of the all-inclusive Club Med resorts in the Maldives: Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas. Both resorts are on their own private islands about a 30-minute boat ride from the capital, Male. Boating is such a way of life in the Maldives, there is a pier right at the airport! Club Med includes water transfers in your Maldives stay at either resort, or you can also upgrade your arrival by taking a float plane to your island resort. The aerial view of the islands and the multi-hued blue waters is a memory-maker!
Club Med Kani
This family-friendly resort is a turquoise playground. It’s a traditional all-inclusive resort with superior garden- and beach-view rooms, slightly larger deluxe rooms, and expansive overwater bungalows. I stayed in one of the beautiful overwater bungalows in an exclusive area of the resort called Manta which included a private concierge, a private beach area, and a private bar. They also offer family overwater bungalows that have a small additional bedroom
The resort offers many activities throughout the day with a daily schedule delivered to the room each evening. And if you tire of doing things (or nothing) spa treatments are just the answer to soothe or rejuvenate body, skin, and soul. Club Med Kani draws many families, especially from Asia and Europe. It has a small kids club where kids can enjoy some supervised time with other kids while parents are perfecting their loafing skills. Staff performs evening shows, which are really a lot of fun, and one night a local market set up on site.
All of the food was excellent. There is one table-service restaurant available by reservations, and a large buffet area with food stations where a chef plates and serves the food. The resort created a party atmosphere each evening – suitable for kids early on, then taking on a more mature ambiance after kids’ bedtimes. Theme nights included dinner on the beach or around the pool with a Cirque du Soliel-style show performing over the pool.
Club Med Finolhu Villas
Finolhu is gorgeous and up to par with any 5-star resort in the world. All accommodations are standalone villas, either beachfront or overwater bungalows. The overwater Sunrise Villas are the same very large size as the beachfront villa I stayed in. The overwater Sunset Villas are even larger! The main difference is in the size of the deck and a larger plunge pool.
At this Club Med, I preferred the beachfront villa because I liked the privacy created by the bushes separating my own private stretch of beach (just outside my door) from other villas before merging with the public beach area. A private open-air area of my villa featured a deep soaking tub, a daybed, and an outdoor shower. Additionally, the villa had a private plunge pool on a large deck with a sunbed and comfortable loungers. The décor is beautiful and all villas have a butler to call or text as needed. What’s not to love?
The island is small so a visit here is all about water sports and relaxing. They do offer a pleasant morning yoga stretch class and a mid-day pool aerobics class. I didn’t get a massage, but other ladies told me theirs were excellent.
The food is excellent at Finolhu. Everyone raved over how fresh and beautifully prepared it was. The atmosphere at both Kani and Finolhu is very relaxed – barefoot and shorts being the norm, even into the restaurants in the evening. That said, I noticed most people changed for dinner at Finolhu. This Club Med is also all-inclusive, although the liquor in the in-room mini-bar does have a fee.
My Favorite Experiences in the Maldives
The waters surrounding the Maldives contain two-thirds of the world’s species of reef fish. The snorkeling was my favorite experience. The water is so incredibly clear it was like looking through the air once I put on my mask and stuck my face in the water. There is amazing visibility to the bottom, no matter how deep.
My first “large beast” sighting was a shark, then two! Happily, they were uninterested in me as I swam closer than I ever thought possible. The next sighting thrilled me in a different way – I saw two green sea turtles! It was surreal. I saw a Moray eel, a shimmering wall of blue fish, and so many other species like parrotfish, lionfish, “Nemo fish,” and countless others. The Maldives is a fabulous place for divers and snorkelers. My host, Robin Bear of Club Med, has been a diver for 25 years and said the drift dive from Finolhu is the best she’s ever experienced.
This was my first visit to any Club Med and I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Kani’s overwater bungalows are beautiful. That resort is a good choice for families, groups of all ages, and couples who don’t mind peals of kiddie laughter in the background. At Finolhu, I was honestly surprised at the level of luxury. It’s a step or two above Kani with the dining and overall experience, so it’s a good pick for honeymooners, anniversaries, and couples looking for pure relaxation.
For more information on planning your own Maldives vacation, please contact Karen.
Disclosure: Karen traveled to the Maldives as a guest of Club Med, although all impressions of the resorts are her own.