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Jeremy Nordkamp on smashing stereotypes, creating ‘New Maldives’ at Kandima

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The hospitality landscape of the Maldives is evolving rapidly, with a raft of new openings over the past few years. New resort owners, developers and operators now have to come up with new concepts to stay ahead of the curve. Existing resorts are required to go back to the drawing board in order to enhance and enrich the guest experience, so that they can continue to earn a loyal following and maintain a global reputation for excellence.

Amidst this transformation and rapid growth, there has perhaps never been a property built on such a radical concept than Kandima Maldives.

Aerial view of Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

Located on a lush tropical island in Dhaalu atoll, Kandima opened in March, offering a choice of 272 stylishly designed studios and villas, with nine different categories to choose from. The four-star plus resort has first class infrastructure, boasting the largest swimming pool and one of the biggest selection of F&B outlets in the country, along with an endless array of activities and events to keep everyone occupied.

But Kandima is much more than just a holiday. Maldives Insider speaks to Jeremy Nordkamp, the acting General Manager at Kandima, about this new game-changing destination and how it is shaking things up!

Maldives Insider: You have been involved from the pre-opening. How has it been?

Jeremy Nordkamp: It was in September last year that I was lucky enough to land this very awesome gig here at Kandima Maldives.

To be part of such a huge pre-opening is obviously a lot of hard work, but it’s been an epic adventure. My first introduction to Kandima Maldives was a 3D video rendering showing the concept of what Kandima was going to be. From that moment on, I knew I had to work here.

When I first got here, most of the buildings were still not finished yet, it was still a construction site. You then watch it build and grow and it was after our awesome launch party in April that I  realised just how much the team had achieved together to create this extremely special resort.

The launch party at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

MI: What is the idea behind Kandima?

JN: The Maldives has been screaming out for something different; an innovative product. Kandima is anything but ordinary. We are the New Maldives — that’s what we had in mind when we were developing this game-changing resort.

We’re not a highly priced, exclusive resort. We really encourage our guests to be sociable and inclusive. What’s exciting about Kandima is that we don’t charge thousands of dollars per night to stay here. This allows us to open up the Maldives to a whole new style of guest and make it more accessible for the everyday families, groups of friends and couples that come and visit us. We get to show off this beautiful country to a whole load of new tourists and visitors now!

The Beach and Sky Studios at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

An Aqua Villa at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

MI: How does Kandima differ from other lifestyle resorts in the Maldives?

JN: Kandima Maldives is about keeping it real! We want our guests to feel comfortable, relaxed and have fun, just like they do when they have an awesome day at home – but it will be even better! Guests can be as inclusive as they want with other guests, we host plenty of kool activities which means they make friends and are sociable with others. Traditionally, the Maldives is a place for honeymooners. But we want the world to know that we welcome everyone — we even have special packages for groups on a girls holiday and couples on their babymoon!

From the Kandima Insta Weekend. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

Guests are spoilt for choice with our variety of ten different bars and restaurants. Whether you want to dine as a group or slope off somewhere more intimate for a dinner for two, there are plenty of options, all inspired by global trends. Our all-day-dining buffet restaurants are based on a contemporary European food court concept with multiple cooking stations where guests can help themselves to everything. Sea Dragon is our signature restaurant, which combines authentic Chinese cuisine with a live seafood tank and a modern touch. It also houses the ultra-cool Forbidden bar where house DJs play into the night.

Dining on the beach at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

The Forbidden Bar at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

Our island is also so big that guests can slip away; just disappear and be romantic by themselves. We are also great for families, our Kandiland kids club is one of the largest in the Maldives and has a big outdoor pirate ship with water fountains. Kids just don’t want to leave once they get there. We love to say, ‘happy kids means happy parents’. Kids need a break from mom and dad, and mom and dad need a break from the kids. So here at Kandima, parents can just drop their kids at Kandiland and go about doing whatever they want; be it diving for the very first time, sitting at the bar and enjoying a few cocktails, or having some adult time.

The Kandiland kids club at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

Here at Kandima, it’s all about genuine hospitality with a human touch and smart solutions that make use of the latest innovations. An example is the RFID bracelet given to our guests — it’s a waterproof keyband so nobody at Kandima will ever lose their villa key again!

We also don’t have intrusive service. Our team members are there when you need us to be, but they are not shadowing you around the island. We train our Kandima Krew to treat our guests as if they are a valued friend. We want our Kandima buddies to treat our guests like they are in their own home; make sure everything is fresh and clean, the food is hot, the beer is cold, and that they have what they need.

All of this makes us exciting. We are bright, colourful, cheeky, sexy and a bit naughty. And based on the values of the umbrella brand Pulse Hotels and Resorts — smart, playful, rooted, responsible and human — Kandima is a place with soul, deeply rooted and respectful of our guests, colleagues, community, culture and surroundings.

The Beach Club at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

MI: Can you highlight some of the community programmes carried out by Kandima?

JN: We have this amazing programme called Kandima Smiles. The Medical Centre we have here also boosts a fully equipped dental surgery – the only one in Dhaalu atoll. When the European dentists come over, we make sure we take them over to the local island to give the children dental check-ups. If there are any serious issues, we will bring them back to Kandima free of charge to carry out the dental treatment they need.

We are also focusing very much on young creative Maldivian talent. We want Kandima to be the largest Art Gallery in the country – showing off talent from around the Maldives. We have given artists a platform – giving them a new opportunity to showcase their work – whether that’s fine art, live music, fashion design, photography or arts and crafts. The initiative is called Kula, an art programme where local artists conduct classes for guests. Young, up and coming local artists have the opportunity to sell their artworks at our art studio and gallery, so that they can perhaps buy new equipment to continue doing what they love. USD 1 from every night stay here at Kandima goes into the Kula programme, and the funds are put towards nurturing these local talents and giving them a platform to exhibited their works.

A local artist showcases his talent during a Kula art class held at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

MI: What is the feedback and reaction of the market so far?

JN: The feedback we have received by our guests, tour operators, travel agents and everyone who has come to #GetKandimatised has been beyond anything we could imagine! Our product has been well received by all our guests who love the laid-back, sociable, fun, colourful and vibrant energy you feel at Kandima.

That Kandima feeling obviously comes from the beauty and contemporary style of Kandima, but I’m proud to say that it’s predominantly from our very kool Kandima Krew. We have a great team of people here who deliver that Kandima brand DNA and promise, but also a homely, friendly style of service.

From the Insta Weekend held at Kandima Maldives. PHOTO/ KANDIMA

MI: What is the next step for Kandima?

JN: It’s been an incredible adventure, being part of such a wonderful concept and working with an amazing group of people. We had our first guests in March and they left feeling over the moon. We had our launch party, for which we invited over 100 VIPs, including our key partners. And the feedback that we get from talking to the guests on the island, and on TripAdvisor and Facebook is phenomenal.

To see the team members happy and the guests happier, you can’t help but feel incredibly proud of the people that have already made Kandima what it is today.

Kandima is still the new kid on the block and we have many more kool, fun and awesome ideas, events and parties that are just waiting to get out there to wow our guests. We’ve just had the Maldives first ever Insta Weekend, which couldn’t have gone better and we are now geared up for the festive season! Watch this space and be prepared to #GetKandimatised!

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Unwind and Explore: Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa Invites Families to a Rejuvenating Summer Escape

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Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa, an all-pool villa haven nestled amidst the breathtaking natural seascapes of the Indian Ocean, invites families to embrace the joy of relaxation and the spirit of adventure this summer with a slew of experiences designed to inspire playful discoveries and foster tranquil reconnections with the mind and body.

Fun for All Ages

Budding adventurers and creative little spirits alike can discover new adventures at Krakengiri Kids’ Club, one of the largest kids’ clubs in the Maldives. Led by a multilingual team of certified childcare professionals, young guests can engage in an exciting array of daily activities that combine learning and play.

Upstairs, Re:Fuel, a rooftop lounge for teens, hosts engaging milkshake-making workshops and fun family movie nights under the starry Maldivian sky.

In June, the resort offers a Holiday Camp for teens, who can personalize their wellness experiences as follows:

  • Pick up new sports such as tennis, pickleball, and badminton on the multi-purpose court with the hotel’s resident Sports Animator
  • Work out with a personal trainer at the fitness center
  • Try aerial yoga for beginners, yoga for better sleep, breathwork, and meditation with the resident yoga practitioner
  • Enjoy a restorative massage in the overwater treatment villas of Amingiri Spa.

The experience is available at USD 150++ per person for a combination of any two 30-minute sessions.

Restful Retreats

Amingiri Spa introduces Water Connect, a private in-villa pool experience guided by a certified water shiatsu specialist. The gentle movements and targeted massage techniques melt away tension and create a deeply relaxing sensation akin to being cocooned in the womb. The serene escape is available between 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at USD 150++ for 30 minutes.

Starting in June, guests can indulge in a brand-new Sleep Wellness menu designed to ease the mind and body into a state of deep and rejuvenating slumber. Guests can choose to unwind with a calming signature massage on the spa’s Skye Deck, bask in the timeless glow of an evening hammam ritual in the modern hammam room, or embrace tranquility with an in-villa session incorporating guided meditation, yoga, and breathwork.

Exclusive Offer

Guests who stay a minimum of four nights enjoy the added value of a half board meal plan and complimentary shared roundtrip speedboat transfers with Maldivian Bliss. This offer is available for stays through to December 20, 2024.

From May through to September 30, 2024, children stay and dine free: parents staying with two young children ages 11 years and below in an Overwater Suite with Pool and any of the Two-Bedroom Beach and Overwater Villas will also enjoy the half board meal plan and complimentary shared roundtrip speedboat transfers when booking Maldivian Bliss. Hilton Honors members enjoy full points for their stay. Terms and conditions apply.

Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa is part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 22 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly on the hotel’s website will have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors app.

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Maldives Madridistas: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands Nets Exclusive Football Camp Partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation

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Younger guests at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands can embrace new patterns of play this summer at an exclusive, Maldives-first Real Madrid Foundation football camp. From 4 July – 12 August, a youth coach will lead a comprehensive Real Madrid Foundation programme of daily soccer sessions for ages 5-9yrs, 10-14yrs, and 15-17yrs. The coach will be joined by an elite player ambassador from UEFA’s all-time no. 1 ranked football club toward the end of the programme.

This summer’s inaugural Patina Maldives x Real Madrid CF Foundation football camp is the first edition in an ongoing partnership, with additional future football camp dates to be confirmed. Led by a licensed Real Madrid Foundation coach, sessions will focus on developing each participant both individually and as part of the group, in order to ‘Play The Real Way’ – the training methodology that combines play, as well as sports values.

Sessions will take place on a new, purpose-built 6 a side astroturf pitch located near the Fari Marina Village at Patina Maldives.

All participants will receive an official camp football camp shirt, shorts, socks, drawstring bag, sweatbands, and cap; while those completing a minimum of four days’ coaching will also be presented with a Real Madrid Foundation participation certificate.

Real Madrid Foundation football clinics at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands are priced at USD195++ per child per session for guests of the resort. Bookings are also open to guests from neighbouring resorts, from USD250++ per child per session.

Rates at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands start from USD2,054 (approx. GBP1,620) per night based on two adults sharing a One Bedroom Pool Villa including daily breakfast, complimentary Guest Benefits, tax, and service. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information and reservations, please visit https://patinahotels.com/maldives or contact reservations.maldives@patinahotels.com. For more information on Pathways, please see here.

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A blissful island Easter celebration at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives

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Experience unique and enriching getaways at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, as the luxury resort unveils exciting benefits for family getaway packages launching this season. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the ethereal charm of the Maldives.

Nestled in the pristine Raa Atoll, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives seamlessly blends eco-friendly architecture with contemporary sophistication, complemented by the untouched, rugged beauty of the Raa Atoll. Situated amidst miles of untouched marine life, Alila Kothaifaru invites guests to reconnect with nature in the most extraordinary ways. With spacious villas and private pools, guests can truly experience the essence of a getaway where luxury and adventure harmoniously coexist.

Surrounded by azure skies and the turquoise waters of the Raa Atoll, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives offers an idyllic setting for a family escape during the Easter break. Here, guests can unwind in luxurious, nature-immersed surroundings, embark on exciting adventures together, and indulge in unforgettable wellness and culinary experiences.

During Easter weekend, Play Alila will delight young guests with a diverse range of festive island-inspired activities, including Easter egg decorating, arts and crafts, face painting, and more. For those seeking relaxation, Spa Alila offers enticing packages for parents and children to enjoy quality bonding time.

For the adventurous souls, do not miss the chance to join our Sparkling Underwater Egg Hunt. Hidden throughout one of our nearby dive sites, these eggs hold a special surprise. The lucky diver who discovers the egg with a unique mark will win an exclusive clutch made of Swarovski crystal valued at EUR 1,800!

Embark on an Easter journey to remember at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives. Explore all of the Easter events and activities at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives here 

Family Getaway Package

  • Booking Period: Until 30 October 2024
  • Stay Period: Until 25 December 2024

Experience a family holiday rich with memorable moments. From nature walks to energetic beach activities, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives’ offerings extend to the whole family. Indulge in a host of fun adventures together, or relax while your children participate in creative indoor and outdoor activities. Enjoy special family welcome amenities upon arrival, return seaplane transfers, daily full-board meals, and a special offer on wellness treatments. Experience the beauty of our island while creating lasting memories to be treasured!

Stay with us during the Easter period from 25-31 March 2024 and be treated to a wide range of festive island inspired activities such as Easter egg decorating, arts and crafts, egg hunting around the island and underwater, wellness offering, and many more!

For more information and reservations, please contact kothaifaru@alilahotels.com or visit alilahotels.com

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