It’s hard to resist the charms of an awardwinning, all-inclusive Maldivian resort, with its rustic-chic style beach villas, its serene ambience and impeccable service. The island is lush with tropical vegetation, spreading idyllically along a hypnotic 2km-long turquoise lagoon. If you’re looking for a total hassle-free, five-star experience, Kanifushi Island is pretty much your proverbial paradise isle, as Marisela Paesano discovers…
The Maldives is situated in the Indian Ocean some 400 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, making it relatively short flight of less than five hours from Doha. Qatar Airways has two daily non-stop flights from Doha to Male; a red-eye departing shortly after midnight and a daylight flight departing early morning.
We were greeted by Atmosphere Kanifushi Island staff at Male airport and taken for light refreshments at the property’s arrival lounge, while you wait for your sea plane ride.
The coral atolls of the Maldives are scattered across the Indian Ocean, just north of the equator. The Kanifushi Island is just 30-minutes scenic flight from the Malé International Airport via Sea Plane with Trans Maldivian Airlines (a return transfer is US$490, including taxes).
On arrival to the Island, we had a very warm welcome filled with music and lots of smiles by Atmosphere Kanifushi’s staff members.
Imagine rustic-chic style Beach Villas with a direct access to the silky white-sand blue lagoon and surrounded by coconut trees and lush tropical vegetation.
The entire resort is built with natural materials, timber, granite and stone, the resort style is the perfect fusion between traditional and modern architecture. We checked into the lavish Sunset Junior Suite with direct beach access and sunrise views. There’s too much to take in, but we were specially blown away by the open-air bathroom which takes up the space of an entire garden, the huge whirlpool bathtub was stunning and tropical plants line the walls of this heavenly space.
Our next favourite area is the private deck which leads right onto the beach. Sun loungers have got our names written all over them – we spent so much time here relaxing and topping up the tan.
Inside, it’s very spacious, you have plenty of storage room, a comfortable king size bed as well as a beautiful sofa to lounge on. However, the standouts of this room were in the little details. These included an array of high-tech toys and gourmet treats. The mini bar is replenishing twice a day and you have your own personal room boy that will make sure you get everything you need to make your experience even better.
SERVICE AND FACILITIES
The service is faultless. Guests have their own room boy to look after them throughout their stay, and the rest of the staff will soon feel like old friends. Facilities include the Akiri Spa by Mandara, Dive and Sail center, Kids Club, Club House and five amazing restaurants to dine in! Daily snorkeling trips, excursions and adventures are also available upon request.
FOOD AND DRINK
Just because you are in the Maldives, at a 5-star resort in one of the most secluded spots in the Indian Ocean, doesn’t mean that the gastronomy is slacking. Its very much the opposite at Atmosphere Kanifushi, where the food game is so STRONG. World cuisine is represented through the resort’s five dining outlets.
The main restaurant on the island serves a wide variety of international cuisine, buffet style and live cooking stations are available here. The spectacular beach-side breakfast buffet caters to all tastes with American, Asian Continental and local Maldivian specialties include ‘Mas huni’ (tuna with onion, coconut and chilli), or ‘Faro Mas Riha’ (a spicy reef-fish curry). The breakfast is a delectable spread. Flaky pastries, tantalizing egg dishes, cereal bar, fresh fruit counter, healthy juices and so much more. They also serve lunch and various themed evenings such us Indian Ocean Night; a Culinary Journey featuring virtuoso cooking displays from around the Indian Ocean. The Passage to India soirée is a fabulously exotic buffet-banquet of curries, tandoors and dosai, with steamy cooking stations. The restaurant has a beautiful terrace that overlooks the beach. From the extensive breakfast buffet for lunch and dinner, The Spice is infinitely beachside indulgence at its best.
The main bar of the resort serves an array of exotic mocktails and cocktails. Strategically located next to the pool, it is probably one of the most favored locations on the island, to unwind and absorb the stress-free Maldivian environment.
One of our favourite spots on the island, the bar – restaurant has an infinity pool that offers a stunning view of the turquoise lagoon. You can enjoy a la carte lunch or dinner, the menu offers a specialty fusion cuisine, showcasing Asian and Mediterranean dishes. The bar has a relaxed atmosphere where you can definitely feel you landed in paradise.
Our absolute favourite food experience at Atmosphere Kanifushi had to be the venue that whipped up the most exotic flavours and unusual dishes. A masterpiece crafted vegetarian menu specifically for Jain Cuisine capable to convert the most committed carnivorous guests. A pure vegetarian restaurant, a FIRST in the Maldives, serving outstanding and delightful vegetarian cuisine from the Mediterranean, Arabic and Indian regions. Just Veg redefines vegetarian cuisine by experimenting with original flavours combinations, a truly vegetarian gem in the island.
Qatar Airways operates direct flights to Male. Visit www.atmospherekanifushi.com or call +960 3339 992 for reservations and more information.
At the resort’s Japanese restaurant, by the sea, chefs conjure up outstanding sushi, sashimi and Japanese fusion dishes. The show of Teppanyaki griddle cooking in the open kitchen is pure theatre. An authentic Teppanyaki experience, where you can enjoy a delectable dinner.
ACTIVITIES & RECREATION
The resort has a plethora of activities on both land and sea, for all ages – enough to keep even the fussiest of travelers entertained. Here are just some of the best excursions and pastime that we’d recommend:
What lies beneath the surface? Go deeper into the mysteries and secrets of the Indian Ocean. Immerse yourself in the house reef and speedboat to spectacular sites. On our morning ride out to sea, our instructor and the boat’s captain go over safety procedures and reassure us that this is going to be one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. Little did we know how true this was until hopping over the edge of the boat and starting our soothing snorkel session. We spot intricate bouquet of coral and groups of colourful fish.
Possibly one of the best excursions we embarked on at Atmosphere Kanifushi. Get ready for and unforgettable evening. They attentive staff had some canapes ready for the trip alongside with expert staff who will keep an eye out for the dolphins at sea. You will sail the blue water all while watching the dramatic sunset and how the Maldives does day to night. It’s a spectacular view that you will definitely want to capture on camera.
Now, when we say that Atmosphere Kanifushi is a haven for on-water activities, we are not exaggerating. You name it and they have got it! The resort has an array of water sports: jet skiing, water skiing, wakeboarding, catamarans, windsurfing, paddle board and much more. The choice is yours!