By Travis Levius
Sep 15, 2022
“ALL-INCLUSIVE” CAN FEEL LIKE a dirty word in the realm of refined luxury travel, but Kudadoo Private Island, based in the Maldives’ idyllic Lhaviyani Atoll, isn’t your average whole package getaway. “All-indulgent” might better describe the ultra-luxe, solar-powered resort with just 15 villas and nearly US$4,000-a-night starting rates. Driven by an “Anything, Anything, Anywhere” ethos, the resort practically encourages decadence: Three daily spa massages and alone time in the Maldives’ first Himalayan salt chamber? Several world-class wine bottles for your private beach dinner? Champagne-fueled sunset dolphin cruises and parasailing excursions on a whim? It’s (nearly) all covered.
The VIP experience begins well before the 40-minute seaplane journey from Male International Airport; after booking, guests receive thorough “Lifestyle Preference Forms” to fill out, so that all needs and wants are anticipated before arrival, from favorite minibar libations and water activities to pillow fragrances and mattress types. Unlike most Maldives private island resorts with endless walkways and ample beachfront, Kudadoo is a tiny palm-fringed plop in the ocean, with one- and two-bedroom villas (all overwater) forming an arc above a glistening lagoon.
The dramatic lattice-wrapped villas, devised by esteemed New York–based Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki, feature large private pools, a sexy semi open-air bathtub and shower wing, marble bathrooms stocked with biodegradable toiletries and a mini-bar with a fully-stocked (and complimentary) wine fridge. Surrounding each pool is a massive sustainably sourced wooden deck with two dining areas, loungers, a swinging daybed, and a ladder which provides direct access to the lagoon where abundant fish and friendly reef sharks dwell. It’s all serviced by personal butlers, who hail from some of the world’s best resorts; they’re a Whatsapp message away for any requests, large or small, 24 hours a day.
When visitors are ready to see more life on the island than tropical fish, there is just one main “hub” for communal action: The Retreat, a hulking two-story lodge adorned with nearly 1,000 solar roof panels. Within the airy, wood-stacked overwater venue is the sole restaurant; an amber-lit cocktail bar with occasional live music sessions; games room; gym (with personal trainers at the ready); boutique shop; and an enormous outdoor pool flanking the bar area, though most guests prefer bobbing in their own private swimming holes back in the villas. The two-story Sulha Spa hosts the Maldives’ first Himalayan salt chamber, and the offer for unlimited, all-inclusive body treatments — whether in their elevated treatment rooms or in one’s own villa deck — is often too good to pass up for jet-lagged guests.
Other inclusive delights include a private, two-hour “Dream Island” sandbank picnic experience; diving off the hotel owner’s private yacht; personal training sessions with award-winning bodybuilders and fitness experts; snorkeling with manta rays; and unforgettable dolphin sunset safaris. As generous as the inclusions are at Kudadoo, there are still a few chargeable experiences: respectable Champagne pours such as Taittinger and Moët & Chandon are included, but if you want the likes of Pétrus or Dom Perignon from the owner’s private wine selection, that’ll cost you extra. Worth the splurge and time off of the island is a trip to Hurawalhi, its five-star sibling based a short speedboat ride away, for a meal with a view in the world’s largest underwater restaurant, 5.8 Undersea (book well in advance).
This is not a place for “nickel and diming” — almost regardless of the add-ons travelers indulge in at Kudadoo, there is no endless list of additional charges at checkout, redefining what “carefree” travel means… in the Maldives of all places.
All photos courtesy of Kudadoo Private Island.