Best Experience: Couples, Families, Beach, Diving
Updated Nov, 2019
Kanuhura blends rustic elegance with laid-back luxury living in a stunning and unspoilt part of the Maldives. Tropical paradise that enchants with its serene natural beauty, the resort opened again after major repairs in late 2016 on the remote island of Lhaviyani Atoll, and with a fabulous range of facilities, tip-top dining, perfect beaches and fantastic children's club.
Those who are tempted by a luxury break in the Maldives and want more from their holiday than a good tan need to take a look at Kanuhura Maldives that is ideal for families, couples and solo travellers. No more ‘bored at the beach’ as Kanuhura Maldives reimagines luxury travel as a carefree paradise for free spirited travellers.Forty minutes by seaplane from Malé airport, it’s one of the bigger islands located in the northern atolls.
The resort underwent a full refurbishment in 2016 and has been beautifully redone with a new lifestyle concept 'Gypset' - combining the unconventionality of the Gypsy fused with the sophistication and speed of the jet set. In its new incarnation, Kanuhura aims to attract an international bohemian crowd. The concept is based on the capricious antics of a wavy-haired American super-model-cum-jewellery-designer called Erin Wasson who is the resort’s current muse. Somewhere you can disconnect from the modern world, kick back and make new friends? Spot-on.
First impressions are good. Located on the Lhaviyani Atoll, Kanuhura is surrounded by hundreds of uninhabited islands and unexplored dive sites. The island of Kanuhura can be described as a 'castaway chic experience' with 5 star accommodation set in pristine, natural surroundings. At this secluded paradise of not one, but three private islands, you can linger on the deserted white sands of the tiny sister islands of Jehunuhura and Masleggihura, or simply appreciate the region's natural beauty on a catamaran or sunset dhoni cruise.
By Maldivian standards Kanuhura is large, so large that guests are given bicycles to get around – great fun but buggies are also available if need be. The island's ample size, and the fact that it's completely ringed by dazzling white sands, means you never have to look far to find a patch of paradise to yourself. The bright, airy feel permeates into the public areas which feature thatched roofs, white woods, colourful artworks and slinky modernist furniture. The young staff are enthusiastic and professional. DOWNLOAD RESORT MAP
Wide white sands are the main Kanuhura's draw. Not a single groyne breaks up the beach and no sea walls impede the view. The west side is nonetheless preferable for its width and softness. The east side looks out to the ocean and the beach is narrower and a little less fine. The southern and northern tips of the island alternate a big bulge of fine sand as the 2 seasons drive it from one end to the other. It’s a rare island now that leaves the beach to nature’s course.
The whale-shaped island of Kanuhura lies in the Lhaviyani Atoll, a 35-minute seaplane flight from Velana International Airport, Male. This particular atoll is known for its large species of marine life – five-metre wide manta rays, spinner dolphins, green turtles, yellow fin tuna, puffer fish the size of pillows and the occasional whale shark– and Kanuhura has 41 different dive sites to choose from within a one hour sail. There's not quite as much snorkelling here but the broad, white, gently-sloping beaches are perfection.
Generously spaced across the island are 80 luxury villas, 60 right on the beach and a further 20 stilted over the water. Accomodation optionds dotted along the sunrise and sunset sides of the beach with many different categories to cater to individual preferences. All are big and bright with a sunny Californian vibe – whitewashed woods, geometric prints, some with flashes of coral, others with splashes of turquoise and teal – as well as zen-cool outdoor bathrooms and wooden decks rolling straight onto the sand or into the sea. Extensive use of hand-crafted wood and other natural materials create an elegant rustic interior befitting the naturally beautiful island surroundings. All villas and suites have a semi-open bathroom with bathtub, separate indoor or outdoor shower, hairdryer, bathrobe, TV, telephone, complimentary internet access, air conditioning, ceiling fan, mini bar and safe. Other pleasing touches include free movies, eco-friendly pump-bottle toiletries and complimentary bicycles.
Often, there is an over-demand for the 5 Beach Villa Duplexes, which have a double bedroom with a twin bedroom interconnected. 2 Grand Beach Villas could also be used for families. Compared with resorts of a similar category, the beach villas are maybe on the small side, but attractive decor compensates for where a metre or two of space is lost. Unlike most upscale resorts in the Maldives, where privacy is currency, the bungalows on Kanuhura stand just a few feet apart. While this upends the whole ‘marooned in paradise’ concept that fuels the honeymoon industry, it lends a brilliantly convivial atmosphere. The water villas and the grand beach villas are on the east side but the most popular rooms are on the west side, with the advantages of sunset, a finer beach and better foliage in between the rooms.
This luxurious Beach Pool Villa Sunset offers sensational ocean views. Elegantly furnished with discrete sophistication and a modern touch, this Villa is the perfect place to unleash. Watch a beautiful Maldivian Sunset from your private plunge pool - unique unforgettable moments of communion with nature. This outstanding accommodation makes it the place to be in the Maldives. The spacious bathroom opens to the outdoor with the open-air shower and is equipped with the latest luxury amenities. Room Features : spacious semi-outdoor private bathroom, separate outdoor shower, bathtub, private veranda, private setting, free internet access and private pool with sea view.
If you want a real ‘over-water' living experience!, you will have to go up to another category. The Water Villas sit on stilts over the crystal clear lagoon and offer an expansive 125m² of floor space with private sundeck offering the space to relax in the sun on your lounger or over the water on suspended hammocks. With fresh and contemporary decor contrasting cool whites with vibrant colourful accents and natural wood furniture, each Villa features a spacious semi-outdoor private bathroom, walk-in wardrobe and comfortable modern bedroom.
Restaurants and Bars
Dining is an unadulterated pleasure here. The venues, the choice and the quality are excellent. Kanuhura offers a great choice of food and drink options with six restaurants and two bars in unique settings to choose from. Expect a new culinary journey each day with exquisite international flavours and authentic Maldivian delights from sophisticated fare and casual barefoot dining on the beach to an exclusive island dinner.
Open for both breakfast and dinner, A Mano is the resort's main buffet restaurant that offers international and local cuisine in a serene beachside setting. A lavish breakfast is served at all-day restaurant and includes everything from Maldivian curries to Chinese dim sum to sushi and sashimi, as well as fruit, yogurts, cheeses, eggs and free-flowing sparkling wine in a bright and airy setting with natural wood, bamboo and white stone offsetting the beautiful indoor trees and paper lanterns. One example is the choice of jams, with blood orange marmalade, quince preserve, lemon curd, 2 honeys and, it seemed, every veri veri berry!
Spilling out onto the beach with Jehunuhura's views, an exclusive sister island to Kanuhura, Veli offers Asian-fusion cuisine, a modern interpretation of traditional Asian dishes. There's also a traditional Indian oven here, which offers amazing tandoori cuisine including beef rendang, spinach and spiced paneer, tandoori lobster.
For hearty Italian flavours, Bottega serves a blend of original and authentic dishes, taken from selected regions across Italy. You'll enjoy sumptuous cuisine served in true Italian style; there's even a pizzaiolo kitchen and wine cellar, which houses an impressive collection of premium vintages. The pasta At Bottega is unparalleled. For pasta-lovers looking to get their full of beautifully created pastas, you will be happy to know that the pasta dishes are some of the best on offer at Bottega. For those who can’t resist a fish pasta (a must during a holiday by the sea), then the linguine allo scoglio (mixed seafood), con aglio (garlic), olio (olive oil), peperoncino (chilli) e pomodoro fresco (fresh tomato sauce) is unmissable also because it’s Bottega’s star dish. There’s a risotto dish that is hugely popular with guests. One of the popular menu items at Bottega is the risotto con pomodori secchi (sun-dried tomatoes), spinaci freschi (fresh spinach) e Formaggio Montasio.
Private lunch or dinner bookings can be enjoyed at the Chef's Herb Garden. On a communal table in an exquisite setting on the beach within the island's hanging herb and spice garden, you'll enjoy an exquisite set menu of fresh and aromatic dishes, which you can personalise with the chef prior to the meal. If you're keen to learn more, there's also a series of interactive culinary demonstrations available to see here too!
One of the most idyllic dining experiences that the resort has to offer is Drift, the island's sumptuous beachside grill restaurant that inhabits an exceptionally secluded setting on the sands of Jehunuhura. This table is a few minutes away from the main island by boat. Fresh, locally-caught fish is one of the highlights of the menu. This island also hosts guest picnics and weddings, but after 6pm one couple can book the entire island to themselves for a romantic dinner, illuminated by hundreds of candles.
Perfect for lazy afternoons, the Deli serves freshly brewed coffees, exotic teas, sandwiches and a selection of freshly baked pastries and cakes. Guests can even take a picnic basket away with them to enjoy whilst exploring another part of this beautiful island.
For drinks, the Cowry Club is the resort's contemporary lounge and pool bar, which boasts an exceptionally large selection of local and classic cocktails, each skillfully prepared by the island's mixologist.
Alternatively, head to the tranquil beach lounge Iru. This beach lounge bar is designed to create an array of different experiences throughout the day, with low table seating for picnics, beaded swings at the bar, tepee shaped tents, rocking chairs and games tables, all inspired by a vibrant blue Missoni print. The perfect spot to relax and enjoy exotic cocktails at sunset with some relaxing lounge music. Enjoy a Maldivian creation with the relaxing sounds of smooth jazz during the day and Bossa Nova Brazilian beats after sunset.
Kanuhura is perfect for family beach holiday. Children can stay with their parents or guardians at no extra charge.
As an island that's great for all the family, the complimentary kids' club here provides the ultimate in children's entertainment, where wee ones aged four to 11 can play and eat for free; activities focus on getting youngsters out and about as much as possible, identifying fish, going on treasure hunts, dressing up as pirates and sailing to Jehunuhura. Just a few metres from the idyllic white sands there's a stylish indoor games area, while outside kids can indulge at the splash shallow swimming pool and wooden jungle gym. With a huge range of activities and entertainment on offer, children can partake in a number of different activities – there's a great selection of watersports and a weekly cooking class, as well as craft workshops, fishing trips, movie nights and even scavenger hunts to entertain. There is also a teens club for youngsters aged 12-17, with a action-packed programme of sports, recreational activities and excursions. There's a games room with a pool table, Subbuteo (table top) football and movie nights there.
Supervised mealtimes, children’s menus, infant purees, and trained babysitters are available upon request as are baby cots, high chairs, bottle sterilizers and other equipment that you may need on your holiday. Parents or a baby-sitter should accompany all children under 4 years of age. A babysitter or professional nanny (for children from the age of four months) are available on request for an additional cost.
Who says the Maldives are boring? Kanuhura has enough activities to keep you busy for weeks on end, from daily complimentary classes including yoga, pilates, stretching and Maldivian warrior training (humphing logs and throwing coconuts on the beach) to snorkelling, deep sea fishing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding (again, all free). There are also a large freshwater swimming pool, two floodlit tennis courts, an air-conditioned squash court, mini soccer field, bikes, fitness centre with personal trainer and group classes, a games room, an orchid garden and a bio marine centre to keep guests entertained during their stay.
The vast, empty lagoon is perfect for swimming and for watersports. The wind cuts across at an ideal angle to sail catamarans and windsurfers up and down. There’s plenty of protected water too for waterskiing, wakeboarding and kitesurfing. The centre does regular catamaran excursions to nearby islands and to Kuredu for the snorkeling. A big bonus is the frequent sighting of dolphins, and occasionally pilot whales, in Llaviyani Atoll.
There is a PADI certified dive school 'Sun Dive Center' which offers courses from beginner to Divemaster as well as Nitrox diving and night diving. The downside of such a lagoon is the absence of housereef snorkeling. To compensate, the dive base runs guided trips every day to several good local spots, the most fascinating of which is ‘The Shipyard’, where 2 wrecks are located, one partly above the waterline. Wolle, the dive base leader, describes it as the best wreck site in the country.
On top of all of that, there are two more ravishing islands for guests to frolic on; Jehunuhura, which you can speedboat to anytime to take advantage of sun loungers, cabanas and Drift restaurant; and Masleggihura, where (for a fee) you can be dropped off and left completely alone for a few hours. Bliss.
With highly-skilled therapists from Thailand, India and Bali and a thoughtful range of rejuvenating treatments, the Kokaa Wellness Retreat & Spa is an oasis of relaxation on the island, with soft hues and delicate scents creating a welcoming retreat for those looking to uplift their body and mind. The eight treatment rooms and one treatment suite offer an incredible selection of treatments and healing therapies, and there's also an outdoor spa pavilion, sauna, steam room and cold plunge pool to explore. Signature treatments to try include the Maldivian They Dhemun, a traditional body treatment for relieving muscular tension, and the Crystal Massage, an invigorating massage that aims to restore vitality through the healing properties of crystals.
Overall the location, size of the rooms, the staff, and the service get very high grades. Kanuhura offers something for everybody, great food and tip top service. However, the mix of clientele and differences in ages, attitudes and expectations, seemed to you to just miss clicking as a single resort. Otherwise it’s one of the best. There are also quite a few guests who state they'll return for a second visit, which is always a good sign.
“First time in Maldives, great experience, I definitely recommend this resort”, “Best vacation in the Maldives.”, “Stay in paradise”, “wonderful place”, Exceptional, “Beautiful location and great staff!!”, “Perfect winter escape”, “Nice overall but better places to stay in the Maldives”, “Great location, very nice and attentive staff, brand new facilities, great for families or couples”....
Pros: What Guest Love
- A beautiful and remote private island with ample beach space
- Friendly staff from check in to finish with personalized touches
- Kid-friendly outdoor pool, kids' club, and kids's menus
- Excellent accommodation for families
- Quality and delisious food and beverage options, including six restaurants
- All villas have easy access to the lagoon
- Stunning Beaches
- Great diving
- Lovely Spa
- Land activities
- Picnic island next door for more beaches and fresh seafood
- Spa and fitness center
What You Need to Know
- The resort is located on a private island in Lhaviyani aoll and is 35 minutes by seaplane from Male airport
- Check-in from 14:00, Check-out before 12:00
- Getting to the resort requires an expensive seaplane ride
- High speed Wi-Fi comes with an extra charge
- No all-inclusive packages with alcohol
- While there is no house reef close to the resort, the hotel can arrange fabulous snorkelling trips by boat from the island.
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