I was recently lucky enough to visit the private island of Kudadoo (by Hurawalhi) in Lhaviyani atoll. The island motto is Anything. Anytime. Anywhere. I thought that rather daring, considering what demands some people can come up with, but after having visited I am sure the staff at Kudadoo can manage whatever, whenever, wherever.
Remember EVERYTHING is included on Kudadoo. Most extensive package you will find anywhere. Considering what you get, it is actually very good value. I was very pleasantly surprised by the price tag, knowing quite a bit about the price level in at Maldives high end resorts. SO relaxing not having a bill to settle at the end.
Just a few examples of what is available at all times: unlimited spa, unlimited diving and excursions on your own private boat and endless watersports not to mention dining in your villa or on the beach. Basically, I cannot think of what would not be included.... Can you imagine such a place? Total BLISS!!! Another point is that it is all of the highest standard too. I could live in the spa, for instance. That view....
Hernö gin and Fever tree tonic waiting in our room. Total class, especially for Swedes like us!!!!
Kudadoo is truly your private island. Who has not dreamt about that? Well now it is possible. You will fall madly in love with this paradise, just as we have!!!
Tiny paradise pearl Kudadoo is designed by renowned architect Yuji Yamasaki. It is an architectural triumph scented by fresh ceder wood. More on that below.
For reference I have visited over 40 Maldivian resorts since my first visit in 1999 and I do have something to compare this resort to. Since this will be one of the first reviews for Kudadoo I will try to be very thorough. So just relax and be ready for an extensive story of heaven on earth.
We came on speedboat from nearby Hurawalhi (also an extremely nice resort) and was cordially met by most adorable kiwi, GM Brad Calder, Resort manager Bahaa and our butler (friend!!) Boos®.
There are 15 residences on Kudadoo. Two with an extra bedroom and 13 one bedroom residences. We were given #1, with an extra bedroom, towards the sunrise. That extra bedroom is as big as any “normal” villa in the Maldives. The whole accommodation is beyond enormous. Huge. Vast. It is all about light and air and space. You can open up almost everything should you want, and the design is so clever you still feel secluded at all times. The outside deck is partly below a roof and partly open air with a gigantic pool and a sunken dining area. A swing and 2 separate outside tables. Four deck chairs. An outside shower (so pretty!) for after swimming in the sea. From the deck to the (spectacular) house reef and drop off it’s no more than 10 feet. The view is to die for.
The interior design is in remarkably good taste with all that ceder and stone and marble. Exquisite materials everywhere and attention to detail like nowhere I have been before. The minibar was empty (sharp intake of breath!!) but that is a really clever idea, since the thought is that every guest can tell the thakaru (butler) what they like specifically. Of course there was chilled champagne, canapés and some homemade crisps in pretty glass jars (LOVED those!!) waiting for us.
ALL the mod cons you can think of every amenity and then some, and an excellent sound system from B&O. I immediately hooked up my phone with blue tooth and blasted Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles (gotta love that 70ties music) feeling sensational!
Outsid-ish shower and inside bathroom is a great combination since it is nice to have AC in the loo and when you get ready for the evening. The vanity table was in solid, dark marble. Sadly, I could not take that with me. The bath towels are gigantic. About 2 meter x 1,40 meters. The striped ones for outside.
Delicious - pizza Kudadoo!
Executive chef Antoine Lieveaux is a wonderfully passionate man. His thoughts and presentation of food is that of a true master. We had a session in the soon to be famous Wine and cheese room with him and the sommelier Ilyas (99% Maldivian, 1 % pinot noir) and it was a real experience of both the palate and the mind. On Kudadoo there is no menu per se, that should only be seen as suggestions. The “Unscripted dining” at the retreat means you may to pick from fresh produce presented and let the chef do his magic. Exiting! Judging on the delicious tuna (for example) we had, you are in for a real treat here. Ilyas kindly provided a fave Chardonnay of mine from Kendall Jackson. You can of course, dine in your villa or at some destination and, even more importantly, you have the possibility of dining at the restaurants at nearby Hurawalhi, a luxury resort in itself, which is a huge advantage, giving you so much dining range during your stay. If you should wish, that is.
Sulha means "peace" in the local Dhivehi language and the spa is situated on the second floor of the Retreat, towards the east. We were met by Susanne, spa manager Maldives for Duniye spa, and of course Cerissa (aka Chuckles) showing us around. Again, the view from that height over the ocean from a bath tub outside. OMG. Apart from the spa treatments they also have a Lonu (salt) room completely covered in cool Himalayan salt for respiratory, relaxing treatments and steam room and a sauna 8being Swedish, I felt right at home!) Again, everything done to the max. Low key, solid luxury.
I had the most amazing treatment – Earth&Ocean- by therapist Nita, who I have met before. I was totally zen afterwards.
Wonderful eco products and amenities
I have always admired the Lighthouse on Baros and it is a landmark to be sure. I am convinced that the Retreat on Kudadoo will become just such a landmark too! The eastern part has the gym on ocean level, so to speak, and the spa above. The western part has the pool (the sunsets from there are insane!!) and the bar and the restaurant part. The bar. Well, there are back lit pieces of peach colored onyx everywhere. Stunning at night. Also, like any civilized bar, there is Hernö Gin to be had. The restaurant is south facing with seating inside and out and the cheese room and wine room – NOT to be missed – and a display of currently available fresh produce in lovely glass jars. Really great concept that.
Being such a large building, the Retreat is surprisingly light and airy. Here the architect has managed to open up corridors of light and the air is constantly gliding through. The whole roof is covered in solar panels that can provide enough energy for the entire resort. Clever thing is that they can also literally save surplus energy for a rainy day. Love that.
The house reef
I actually snorkeled the house reef in 2012 while on Komandoo. It is just as super now as it was then. Having a house reef mostly consisting of brain corals, Kudadoo has largely been spared coral bleaching as the brain corals are rather more resilient to water heating. Huge schools of glimmering blue fusiliers and cheeky little “Dory” everywhere is special for Kudadoo.
This is how close it is to drop off!
I have never experienced anything but warm and kind service in the Maldives. It is one of the best things about this country, so genuinely kind. That being said, when you add training and experience of high end resorts to that you get world class service and staff. The trick is to be expert and professional without appearing stiff and making the guest (in the Maldives usually relaxed and in some state of undress) feel uncomfortable or intimidated. On Kudadoo it is an art form. Everyone we interacted with, from the GM onwards, is a joy to meet and get to know. Passionate about their work, proud of the resort and clearly well trained. Most important. Genuinely concerned about the guest having an amazing time. Thank you all. I am humbled and grateful to have met you and hope to see you again soon. Boos is a sensational butler and person. Thanks man!
There is a rather famous host in a TV show called “the Actor’s studio” –James Lipton. He has interviewed loads of huge moviestars and at the end of each interview he does a short, fun, questionnaire. The last question is: “If heaven exists, what would you like God to say to you when you arrive?”
Now I know the answer. The answer is; “Welcome to Kudadoo”
From the heart, a huge thank you to everyone on Kudadoo who kindly, graciously and professionally took care of us and made us feel truly at home. I wish you all imaginable success with this outstanding resort. Personally I think this is the new benchmark for the Maldives.
I have NO difficulty imagining people wanting to come here. What I do not think has been taken into consideration is how to make people leave. I wanted to chain myself to a palm tree and cry like a toddler. Well I did. At least the last part. When we left Kudadoo behind in the early morning hours and rode into the sunset towards our sea plane transfer I felt kicked out of heaven and shed some tears. But the good part is – they let you back in.
If you want to have a look at my videos from Kudadoo on Youtube, look up my account in my name. /Linda Lundmark
Aaahhhh...that champagne! A glass of crispy Taittinger