When you think of the Maldives, I bet two things immediately come to mind: those overwater villas at the height of luxury and the clearest blue waters you’ve ever seen in your life (depending on the Instagram filter). Luckily, during a three-day trip to Club Med Kani, I got to experience both those things and more. Here’s what it was like.
There are (so far) no direct flights to Male from the Philippines, so we took a connecting flight from Singapore via Singapore Airlines. It’s a four-hour flight from Manila to Singapore, and another four hours from Singapore to Male. (You can also book via a travel agency to avoid the hassle of planning it out yourself! TRY: Adventure Signatures)
Make sure to dress comfortably, but given that Changi Airport is one of the best in the world, I don’t think waiting should be a problem. (Our layover was only two hours and I honestly felt sad leaving so soon.)
FN TIP: If you fly in Business Class, Singapore Airlines has a popular Book the Cook service where you can order a "world class dish," including creations inspired by their International Culinary Panel. TRY: The Classic Lobster Thermidor, which is lobster tail sautéed in butter, flambéed in brandy, sprinkled with cheese, and served with creamy mushroom sauce, garlic and spicy mustard, and buttered asparagus. Yes, it’s amazing. (You’re welcome.)
Once you hit the Male airport, you go straight from immigration to the port where you’re whisked away either by plane or boat to your resort (assuming you’ve made reservations, of course). Since we were staying at Club Med Kani, we took the speedboat and was escorted by a Gentil Organisateur (GO) to our villas upon arrival. That was when I knew that Club Med Kani’s magic wasn’t necessarily just the location but the resort’s culture. But we’ll get to that later.
Club Med Kani: An ‘All-inclusive’ resort
The all-inclusive concept is somewhat similar to dive resorts in Anilao where your accommodations often come with meals and dive packages. But in Club Med, it's everything. The rate already includes a decadent buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as drinks and snacks throughout the day. They also have tons of activities you can choose from like yoga, table tennis, beach volleyball, and snorkeling–and there's no need to be intimidated because beginners get all the assistance they need.
They do have some premium products and services that you can pay for (kind of like mini-upgrades), but trust me when I say that what’s available is more than enough to satisfy even the pickiest eaters and hard-to-please friends. They also have some excursions you can sign up for at an added cost, but again, if all you’re looking for is a bit of RnR, then the basic all-inclusive package is all you need (though technically, there's nothing basic about the offerings). You can always decide once you’re there anyway, there's no need to pre-book.
The Overwater Villa
I stayed alone in a Manta Exclusive Collection Overwater Suite where there was admittedly too much space for one person—not that I'm complaining. Some of the villa’s highlights include a bathtub with a view, a giant, comfortable bed, great room service, and the fact that harmless blacktip sharks just swim around like your friendly neighborhood…well, shark.
FN TIP: While the all-inclusive package includes a breakfast buffet, try ordering room service for a morning and have breakfast in bed. Nothing will relax you more.
A solo room is more than enough if you're traveling alone, but if you're going on your honeymoon or a romantic getaway, the overwater suites are perfect for you and your partner.
As mentioned, there’s a lot you can do in Club Med, and they’re all beginner-friendly (or adjustable based on your level of experience). There are huts and kiosks scattered all over the resort based on what you want to try, and the GOs will assist you every step of the way.
For those who don't want to skip their workout, there’s a gym with glass walls so you still have a view of the shore even when you’re on a treadmill (though they do have a morning running group headed by a coach if you want to run outdoors). They also have an area on the beach for sunset yoga, and water activities like kayaking and sailing.
Of course, if you just want to relax, you can always lounge around with a drink in hand or go for a Balinese massage where you even get to choose the oil they'll use depending on your needs.
Now, if you're traveling with your kids, the good news is that they have a children's club where kids from ages 4 to 10 and 11 to 17 can take part in a variety of activities like cooking lessons, face painting, various sports, movie nights, and more. They also have an experienced GO assigned to them, and you can always get to know them first before signing your kid up for an activity.
Excursion: The Blue Water Lagoon
On our second day, we went on the Blue Lagoon excursion where you take a boat to a sandbank and snorkel around a protected coral reef. You need to know how to swim to be able to snorkel, but you don't need to be an expert. They have life jackets if you just want to float around, and they'll provide you with all the equipment.
Later on, you visit what's known as the "Coca-Cola Island" where you catch a glimpse of life outside the resort. The island is home to a Coca-Cola factory that uses desalted seawater, and it's thought to be the only factory in the world to do that. While we didn't get to go the factory, we were able to see the schools, football field, and souvenir shops, which is already quite an experience especially if it's your first time in the Maldives.
The GOs are the heart and soul of Club Med (also the dream job of every millennial who wants to meet people and travel for a living). They're some of the warmest, friendliest people you'll ever meet. They welcome you when you arrive and are there until you leave the island--with some song numbers and a whole lot of dancing in between.
You can always approach them when you have questions about schedules and services, but don't feel like you only need to speak to them for official purposes. It's part of their role to interact with the guests and every night, they put on a performance that leads up to a party where everyone--kids and adults alike--is invited to unwind and socialize.
Much like the guests, they all come from different continents, so it's a fun mix of accents, personalities, and interesting conversation. There's even a theme every night and the GOs tend to go all-out (I was lucky enough to make it to white night. It was intense!)
Club Med Finolhu
On our last day, we took a day trip to Club Med’s newest venture, Club Med Finolhu, which is a more exclusive, high-end resort just a five-minute boat ride from Kani. It's also an all-inclusive resort, but geared towards catering to adults aka it's THE perfect place for a honeymoon.
The solar-powered resort comes with gorgeous eco villas that each have a private pool:
And when you do find time to leave your villa, you'll find that the rest the resort has to offer is just as breathtaking:
The Club Med Finolhu guests also have access to everything its Kani counterpart has to offer, so if you're looking for a quiet escape, then Finolhu is the resort for you.
To avail of Club Med Kani packages, you may contact Adventure Signatures or follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more info. Rates start at $1,500 (approximately P77,500), two for one rate, for 3D/2N.