Kudadoo Private Island shows that every so often, a resort comes along that makes you view everything differently. The Maldives dream is the endless supply of high-end resorts that offer white-sand beaches and luxury but none can offer Kudadoo’s fully-inclusive mantra of “Anything Anytime Anywhere” – and they mean it.
The mysterious fairy-tale island is the first jetsetter-level truly fully-inclusive resort that pushes the boundaries of luxury. Situated next to Hurawalhi on the renowned manta-ray and turtle hotspot Lhaviyani Atoll on a delicate plate of pristine sand, meticulously groomed floral gardens and surrounded by an abundance of wildlife.
Kudadoo takes less than 10 minutes to circle around the 15 exquisite Ocean Residences that horseshoe around a sparkling lagoon, to the Maldives’ largest over-water building (the Retreat) housing the main resort facilities. Best of all, you can combine your Kudadoo visit with sister island Hurawalhi which is only a 3 minute boat ride away. Only open for nearly 3 years, the resort has already established themselves as the region’s leading pioneers, winning multiple prestigious awards including a Hospitality Design Award.
It is also a fully powered solar energy resort and is highly sustainable throughout. The wonderful thing is that this is part of the whole experience which is focused on you rather than making sustainability one of the selling points. It’s a part of the fully-inclusive experience with a roof over the Retreat that incorporates 984 solar panels making Kudadoo purely powered by the sun.
So, what is included in the uber luxurious fully-inclusive resort? Dopamine (and champagne) on tap. The feeling of freedom (not having to constantly sign bills) makes it that more luxurious. All the activities and facilities on the island are for you to indulge! So head over to the Retreat which hosts an endless list of amenities including; a restaurant, bar, cheese room, wine cellar, games room and a spa.
A notable mention is the Kudadoo Wellness Retreat including treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt room, steam room, sauna, fitness gym with personal trainer, and a nail-bar plus an expansive pool and sundeck. I kept questioning how any of is this possible as the fully-inclusive service did not stop, cigars are even included!
We were spoilt for choice, everything was taken care of from the beautiful in residences dining to the exciting adventures hosted in Kudadoo’s watersports and diving centre, that was suited to our personal taste. You can also enjoy the facilities on the neighbouring sister property Hurawalhi Island, only a 3-minute boat ride away, including the iconic 5.8 Undersea Restaurant.
Beluga Caviar and a range of inner cellar wines (including a bottle of Château Pétrus 2004) were not included – thank goodness for a bit of reality!
The island’s remarkable architecture is designed by New York based Japanese American architect Yuji Yamazaki, the Retreat is the social hub and is constructed in an elegant and modern Japanese inspired style that combines luxury, functionality, and sustainability to celebrate the beauty of the surrounding nature instead of opposing it. The natural cedar wood and genius layout allows a flow of natural sea breeze and whispers of light cedar scent throughout – ideal to cool off from the tropical sun.
The exotic fauna and iconic palm trees balance out the sand, and on the island sits a comfortably positioned paddle tennis court. There is also a small and majestic mosque built which is open to everyone to visit and pray, created from white Italian marble tucked away in the beautiful greenery.
Our ocean residence
Our sprawling Ocean Residence (No.4) is larger than the average homes back in Britain. The impressive 310 sqm of indulgence is an understatement and does not dilute the distinctive attention to detail, from the choice of over 10 of pillows and bedding preferences, to the extensive list of fully-inclusive in-room champagne and other amenities.
The interior is beautifully designed to be light and airy with open plan layout and high-ceilings, emphasis on the Japanese style it is furnished with bespoke statement pieces that radiates an energy of calming feng shui. The bathroom both indoor and outdoor is behind a wall of frosted glass that slides open, showcasing the opulent bathtub and the genius natural air-conditioned design allow kisses of refreshing airflow. Goodies and treats are everywhere, our jaws-dropped at the overflowing in-villa bar with a selection of champagnes and top shelf spirits like Hernö gin from Sweden with all the gin garnishes you can imagine at your fingertips.
Sliding open the floor to ceiling glass doors onto the expansive terrace area there was a Zen atmosphere from the pure privacy and uninterrupted gaze of the Indian ocean. The outdoor amenities attract all your attention with the mighty 44 sqm private infinity pool, a super fun and relaxing double-bed size swinging sofa, cut-out glass panels in the flooring reveal the ocean below, next to the sun beds and outdoor sofa area.
I am no early riser by any nature, but the overwhelming opulence and panoramic views from the absolute privacy of our perched four-poster bed had invoked the inner cockerel in me. Not wishing to waste a single moment, sitting on the intimate terrace every morning on the dot of sunrise, seeing the reflection of orangey-pink sun against the private infinity pool we were lucky enough on multiple occasions to witness groups of dolphins’ swim by (around 7am each morning) and this amazing experience makes any sunburn painless.
There are two-types of rooms, 13 one-bedroom over-water ocean residence (310 sqm) and 2 two-bedroom over-water Ocean Villas (390 sqm) as well as additional rooms available for your own personal staff. Both Ocean Residences offer high-speed WIFI, an energy-efficient air-condition system, vanity table as well as a traditional outdoor shower. Other goodies include a creative drawing set, sun-care protection and beach accessories.
A laundry service is also available, just fill in the laundry list and your butler will arrange everything. Dashika came back with our clothes smelling fresh, folded delicately in a woven box and was neatly hung up in our own separate cupboards – better than mum (don’t tell her!)
Prices start from £2,775 per night on a fully-inclusive basis.
Arriving at Kudadoo, we were greeted by our butler Dashika whisking us away in the buggy and taking care of all our needs. You can inform your butler of any personal request and preferences prior to arrival, so everything is ready when you arrive. Before even stuttering a word Dashika magically appears from nowhere with his warm and charming smile ready to suggest what is next. This was the theme throughout our stay, especially when I misplaced my phone (it was on the bed!) and before I could even think, he appeared and was ready to assist with anything just like a faithful friend.
Things to do
With this fully-inclusive set up, you cannot run out of things to do. You could arrange for a full-day of in-residence spa treatments, or for something a little more fast paced, give the water activities a go. You can do anything you want, anytime you want it, and anywhere you want. If there’s one place that leaves you spoilt for choice, this is it.
Heading up the breezy stairs in the Retreat to the Sulha Spa, I was are greeted with herbal tea, catching my eyes are the Balinese light features at reception. My spa treatment was a Balinese Massage.
Tibetan singing bowls play in the background, as I look out above the elevated view from the second floor of clear blue sky that matched the ocean. There is also an alluring Himalayan Salt chamber called the Lonu Cave, known for its healing remedies and Halotherapy, it is the first and only one in the Maldives. After a game of paddle tennis with Resort Manager Bahau, I placed my feet on some salt and breathed in the Himalayan salty goodness.
Diving with turtles is a bucket list activity worth ticking here. The mesmerizing and beautiful turtles are an abundant member of the ecosystem around the island. Arriving at an idyllic setting a short boat ride away in one of the many turtle-hotspots (nickname the turtle airport) in the surrounding area, I was surprised by how quickly we saw the iconic sea creatures in their natural habitat, snorkelling with these peaceful animals was an eye-opening and educational experience under the watchful guidance of the resort’s resident marine biologists.
The diving and watersports centre has a variety of unlimited activities including canoeing, a fun tub, jet ski ride or parasailing. Dashika had planned us a jet ski safari which was the perfect watersport for our experience level. Jet skiing across the endless stretches of the turquois blue playground in the Indian ocean was a super thrilling experience, we glided across the shimmering sea with anticipation of encountering dolphins, turtles, and manta-rays. Exploring the surrounding neighbouring islands and idyllic lagoons during the sunset, I was in sync with nature and the surrounding environment.
The Food Experience
At first, I was apprehensive. Only one restaurant on the island?! This didn’t sound fully-inclusive but the comprehensive menu and unscripted dining is a whole experience to itself and challenges the executive chef Harshal’s creativity in creating something so completely unique and special to you. With so much opulence and indulgence, we slipped into full A list mode. Here, there is one restaurant with endless possibilities.
Ask for any customisation or preferences and your wishes will be granted, we asked for something off menu that is complex and local to fulfil our inner Maldivian divas – Maldivian Mashuni but with fresh tuna rather than the traditional canned tuna. Before our eyes came the delicious and fresh dish made to our exact demands with pleasure from Harshal.
Every day, breakfast was an anticipated event. You can order the iconic Instagram worthy floating breakfast in the privacy of your infinity pool, we decided to be more social and head to the Retreat every morning. Greeted by friendly smiles and surreal settings make breakfast tastier. There is an overwhelming selection of pretty much everything, 7 different types of eggs benedict – my favourite is the poached Lobster with a Miso-Yuzi hollandaise sauce.
There is also an authentic selection of Asian breakfasts, the highlight of my morning was the fresh ginger congee with roasted pork, seared scallops with steamed bok choy. With such a vast selection and generous portion offerings, feel free to do as we did and ask for half portions so you can try everything.
We decided to try some in-residence dining for lunch, a Wagyu burger cooked delightfully medium as requested was the go-to in the privacy of our terrace. Also arriving swiftly was the Signature pizza still hot from the wood fire, black dough topped with a gorgeous array of seafood.
On one evening, there was a Tandoori night for dinner, a real taste of India with Maldivian infusions. Sitting along the over-water tables, we had the fresh sea breeze of the night blowing gently at the romantic lanterns, looking out into the illuminated ocean floor, we started with some martinis. The meal was just as spectacular as the setting, a line up of tempting curries cooked with Maldivian reef-fish, giant prawns and more. We also enjoyed watching head chef Harshal prepare freshly made roti/chapati on a traditional tandoor.
For a luxuriate after dinner craving, visit the treasure trove of unfounded delights. The cheese room was something I have never seen before. This room is open to everyone (it is fully-inclusive) and boasts over 50 varieties of artisan cheese, honey, and cured meats.
Entering the glorious walk-in cheese cellar my eyes darted straight to the Iberian ham. Roaming freely, we were able to experiment with flavours and textures mixing honey and cheese together on our charcuterie board, just as if we were in Tuscany – we recommend the truffle honey with any cheese or anything for that matter.
There is a range of world class wines for you to choose from too. If struggling to pick there is an on hand expert sommelier at your service to help. Those looking for a special occasion can savour from the resort’s private collection of wines, renowned for having some of the world’s greatest wines.
The Retreat Bar
The Retreat Bar is stunning. As the sun sets, the bar becomes an iconic feature lit with relaxation in mind and surrounded by petrified wood stools from Indonesia. Before I tell you about the cocktails, it is important to note how unique these stools are. Petrified wood is a natural product, and is the result of a tree having completely transitioned to stone by the process of mineralization through the centuries. As each product is naturally formed and therefore unique, each stool is almost a piece of art and weigh in excess of 75 Kilos each!
The cocktails and mixology here are at a world class level. Of course you can ask your favourite tipple (even Chivas 18 year old whisky is included) but there are many original creations using home grown natural flavours. Our favourite Kudadoo signature cocktail was simply named Tartufo with truffle infused sake, Liquor 43, citrus, cinnamon and more truffle. There are also over 15 martinis to sample so pace yourself and be sure to chat to the mixologists to find your favourites.
What makes Kudadoo special?
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi is the peak of ultimate opulence, designed as a sanctuary of serenity for those seeking a unique, fuss free, fully-inclusive luxury experience. Kudadoo’s promise of “Anything Anytime Anywhere” goes beyond the standards of hospitality not only in the Maldives but the world.
Our time here was a dreamy fairytale that granted all our wishes and desires. The abundance of personal space, privacy and service on the island along with the alluring ambiance of Lhaviyani Atoll made leaving harder.
Saying our goodbyes to Kudadoo and the great team that make this look effortless was a truly emotional moment that makes you think that once is definitely not enough…
To discover more, visit: kudadoo.com
All imagery courtesy of Crown & Champa Resorts.
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